Part Four on Ecstatic Speech
by Rev. Robert Liichow
“To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles…”
The Apostle Paul
This has been somewhat of a longer rabbit trail than I usually take our readers down but it is important to have some working knowledge of the so-called “sign gifts” of the Holy Spirit, since so many people are claiming divine abilities on a global basis. As Christians we are called to give an answer (apology) for what we believe (see 1 Peter 3:15). I admit the context of Peter’s statement is directly pertaining to our hope within us, eternal life; however, we should be able to defend all of our beliefs regarding our faith. Last month we briefly considered the three gifts that supposedly “reveal” something, yet as we discovered two of these three gifts are never defined for the Church and thus no one can honestly claim to possess gifts which we cannot even define according to the Bible itself.
The Gifts that Do Something
The next triumvirates of gifts are often referred to as the “power gifts” or supernatural abilities to perform various tasks.
The Gift of Faith
As with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, these are supernatural abilities and not mere human abilities on steroids or something. Thus the “gift of faith” is not the gift of believing the Gospel; although the ability to believe is not a human endeavor either (see Eph. 2:8) it too is a gift. Yet the gift of faith to receive Christ Jesus is not the same as the gift of faith spoken of here by Paul. All Christians are recipients of the gift of faith in Jesus Christ by God’s grace. This gift of “faith” is an additional gifting that enables the recipient to believe God with an unshakable resolve. The enthusiasts among us define this gift as follows:
The gift of faith is a gift of the Spirit to the believer in order that he might receive miracles . . . Those who operate in special faith, the gift of the Spirit, can believe God in such a way that God honors their word as His own, and miraculously brings to pass the desired result.
God gives a believer a gift of power because there is something that He wants to do. It is always to bless somebody or help somebody. Or, God can give a believer the gift of power to stop something that is evil . . . He will give you the gift of faith: the amount of power to get the job done. . .
The gift of faith may be defined as the special gift whereby the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary confidence in God’s promises, power, and presence so they can take heroic stands for the future of God’s work in the church. The spiritual gift of faith is exhibited by one with a strong and unshakeable confidence in God, His Word, and His promises.
Πίστις is the Greek word for faith in this text and it simply means to believe to the extent of complete trust and reliance in God and His promises. The book of Hebrews the eleventh chapter gives us a plethora of examples of Old Covenant people who overcame through the gift of faith. In simplest terms the gift of faith would be the divinely granted ability to believe the unbelievable in the face of all adversity based upon nothing more than faith in God and His promise(s).
The Gifts of healing
This gift, like all the others, is supernatural and has nothing to do with medical science or serving in the vocation of a doctor or nurse. The reason I stress the supernatural facet of these charismas is because there are those among us who would relegate these gifts and many supernatural biblical events to really “natural” occurrences, i.e. there is an anti-supernatural vein in our Body.
The gifts of healing —
The gifts of healings are manifested for the supernatural healing of sickness and disease without any natural source or means.
It’s a plural gift because many things cause sickness. Some sicknesses are caused by accidents. Some are caused by personal neglect. Some sicknesses are caused by bodily abuse. Some sicknesses are caused by organic ailments. Some are caused by a spirit of infirmity or actual satanic oppression.
Tracy and I were taught by Mr. Hayes (above), Robert Tilton and many others that there was a specific “gift” of healing for every disease and ailment afflicting mankind. Robert Tilton claims to have a “gift” for healing people’s back problems. T.L. Osborn claimed to have a divine healing gift for people with deafness. He once claimed to have healed 99 deaf people in one village (naturally this occurred somewhere overseas). The gifts of healing is the second most abused of these nine gifts cited here by Paul, the first being speaking in other tongues (I promise we will get to this gift eventually). The following is a more theological consideration:
ἴαμα, τος: (derivative of ἰάομαιa ‘to cause to be well again, to heal,’ 23.136) the capacity to cause someone to become healed or cured—’the power to heal, the capacity to heal.’ ἄλλῳ δὲ χαρίσματα ἰαμάτων ἐν τῷ ἑνὶ πνεύματι ‘and to another man the same Spirit gives the power to heal’ 1 Cor 12:9. In some languages it may be difficult to speak of ‘giving the power to heal.’ A more natural form of expression is ’cause to be able to heal.’
The Bible is filled with examples of how our God healed people supernaturally. We naturally read of our Lord Jesus Christ HEALING ALL who were oppressed by the devil (Acts 10:38). Peter and John on their way to the temple to pray healed a lame man who was over 40 years old (Acts 4:22). In Acts 5:12-16 we read the account of the people in Jerusalem and surrounding towns bringing their sick and those tormented by unclean spirits — and ALL of them were healed. Acts 9:32-35 shares the account of the man with paralysis whom God healed via Peter. Paul healed the father of Publius of a fever and dysentery in Acts 28:7-9. We see in the founding of the Church a great display of the power of God and a careful examination of the healing accounts will demonstrate that many of them were part of the redemptive history of God towards a specific people group. For example the people of Lydda and Saron “turned to the Lord” through the signs confirming Peter’s preaching. Healing(s) as with everything our Lord does is not without a purpose, everything that happens is a part of the tapestry of our existence in this life, including sickness and healing.
Why This Gift Is Abused
Two forces work together to cause this gift to be abused by unscrupulous people. First, sickness and death are universal to us all. There is absolutely no one born of man that has not suffered the ravages of sickness and eventually succumbed to death itself. Secondly, the Bible seems to be replete with examples of God’s divine healing and miracle power setting people free from the ravages of sickness and death.
People who are very ill or have dying loved ones will virtually do almost anything, believe anything and give whatever is asked of them in order to receive their healing. What is it worth to see your wife healed from Lyme’s disease or your child delivered from leukemia? Is a donation of $50, $100, $5,000 enough to “prove God” of the sincerity of your faith when the healer asks for it?
By taking biblical examples and inserting stories (lies) of the tremendous outpouring of healing in the last meeting in the other town the SINister works the people up into an altered state of consciousness rendering them devoid of critical thinking. Loud music, lighting, the psychological dynamics of masses of people in confined spaces, the subtle manipulation of wish fulfillment and the natural smarmy charisma of the SINister him or her all work together forming a synergy of deception on those in need and a huge payday for the fake healer.
The question really is, does God still heal people today? My answer is, simply yes He does, but He does so according to the sovereign good pleasure of His will and not at the command of any man or woman. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).
Does God heal through healing evangelists? No. To begin with there is no such ministry in the Bible. There is the ministry of an evangelist (see 2 Tim. 4:5), but even Timothy, the evangelist, needed to take some wine for his stomach ailments (see 1 Tim. 5:23) but there is no such designation as “healing evangelist.” Aimee Semple MacPherson, Kathryn Khulman, A.A. Allen, William Branham, Oral Roberts, T. L. Osborn, Peter Popoff, W. WV. Grant, R.W. Schambach, Benny Hinn, etc. are ALL FRAUDS, LIARS and DECEIVERS. They possess no healing gifts at all.
What is miraculous about the so-called “healing” evangelists is that NONE of them can offer any independent verifiable PROOF that people have been or are being healed under their SINistries and yet still have huge followings and reap millions of dollars each year they are in existence! One would think after a year or two of non-miracle crusades people would have quit listening to Mr. Hinn or others. Yet almost 20 years later, they still flock to his false promises and lies, leaving sick and much poorer spiritually and financially.
The Working of Miracles
One can “fake” healing by simply paying shills to claim they have been healed in the meeting. Miracles are a different manifestation altogether.
Although they are often lumped together healing and miracles are not the same. A healing is when someone is sick, say with cancer and after prayer it is totally gone, no trace, nothing on the X-ray. A miracle might be someone without an arm or a leg that suddenly has a new arm or leg appear on their body, they were not sick, merely missing a limb in this hypothetical case. A better example might be when the dead are raised. Paul raised a young man (Eutychus) from the dead who fell out of a third story window due to Paul’s long sermonizing (see Acts 20:7-12). Eutychus received a miracle, not a healing.
When the working of miracles is in manifestation, there is a divine intervention in the ordinary course of nature.
What is the working of miracles? Well, there are a lot of different kinds of miracles, but it’s a power gift, where power from God is sent from heaven down to earth to do something that’s beyond the natural, beyond the natural thinking of a man.
BUBBLE BURSTING ALERT!!
Very few people were ever used by our God to work miracles, the list is very short. Start at Genesis and go through to The Revelation and jot down: (1) who God used and (2) what was the miracle about, you end up with a pretty short list. What is more, when you consider the nature of the miraculous events in the Bible they are all of significance to the redemptive history of God’s people.
If you listen to any of the “purveyors of power” on the circuit today you will be given the false notion that miracles were occurring left and right in the daily lives of the believers. There are many books in circulation concerning miracles, let me cite just a few:
“I Believe in Miracles” – Kathryn Kuhlman
“Miracle Signs & Wonders” – Marilyn Hickey
“The Price of God’s Miracle Working Power” – A.A. Allen
“Chaos of Miracles” – LaDonna C. Osborn
“Miracles Just Don’t Happen” – Lester Sumrall
What the above books attempt to do is basically to reduce the definition of what is a miracle according to biblical standards, by watering down the definition the miraculous becomes commonplace. I have heard Marilyn Hickey say many times how she “prays” for a closer parking space at the mall and then when a space opens up close to the door she proclaims it a “miracle.”
Bible miracles include manifestations like parting the Red Sea (Exodus 14:21-22), walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33), turning water into wine (John 2:1-11), blindness coming on a blasphemer (Acts 13:11), etc. Can Mr. Hinn, Dollar, Copeland, Meyer, Price or anyone else point us to an actual miracle in their SINistries? NO, they cannot do so because despite all their testimonies of the great things “God” is doing through them, they can produce NO evidence of any divine healing or miracles.
In the New Testament miracles either validated the personal ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ or authenticated the ministry of the apostles:
I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in
all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Cor. 12:11-12
And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Corinthians 2:4–5
But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power. For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power. 1 Corinthians 4:19–20
Only those divinely authorized by God can perform miracles. I agree with what fellow I.O.H.H. member, Dr. R.C. Sproul says on this topic:
If anybody can perform miracles, if a person who’s not an agent of divine revelation can perform a miracle, then obviously a miracle cannot certify an agent of revelation. Let me say it again. If a non-agent of revelation can perform a miracle, then a miracle cannot authenticate or certify a bona fide agent of revelation. Which would mean that the New Testament’s claim to be carrying the authority of God Himself, because God has certified Christ and the Apostles by miracles, would be a false claim and a false argument.
So what’s at stake here is the authority, the authenticity, and the truthfulness of the Bible itself. That’s why I have this tight definition, and why I don’t expect miracles, because I don’t expect to find Apostles running around today. So the narrow miracles, they stopped at the end of the Apostolic age.
This is why we are warned several times about the danger of being misled by those proclaiming the ability to work miracles which are really nothing but false signs and wonders:
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:22–23
And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. Mark 13:21–22
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God. Acts 8:9–10
Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Acts 19:13–16
Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9–12
What is truly amazing to me is how desperate the extremist “faith” people are in seeking to either feel or see something or be involved in doing something phenomenal and sadly, they often base their faith on these tangible experiences. Yet the Bible plainly teaches that our faith is based on what we have not
seen or felt. I agree with Sproul that the time of those performing biblical miracles ended with the death of the apostle John.
As was stated earlier miracles were performed to validate Jesus earthly ministry and those of His chosen apostles. Jesus rose from the dead and ascended into heaven; He sent the 12 and at the death of the last apostle there is nothing more to validate miraculously.
How can anyone hold a “miracle crusade” due to the divinely sovereign act in manifesting a miracle? It is the height of PRESUMPTION (not faith) to declare what the Holy Spirit is going to do on any evening or moment for that matter. The Spirit gives His gifts as HE WILLS (1 Cor. 12:11) not when Mr. Hinn or Copeland demand an appearance or manifestation of them.
I openly challenge any of the living self-proclaimed miracle workers to please provide DMI with just one independently verifiable example of a miraculous event tied directly to their organization. I know the atheist James Randi has a $1,000,000 prize for the first person who can perform a miracle in his laboratory, as of today (12-30-13) the money still sits in Randi’s account.
In closing this section out, please understand I am not saying that our Lord does not move supernaturally on our behalf or in our lives, He most certainly does. When my daughter and I were T-boned by a semi at about 60 mph, destroying our very small Saturn and we got out without a scratch that was the mercy of God. That was not a “miracle” it was an answer to prayer as I cried out to our Lord immediately and He spared our lives. If we loosen our definition, then we lose biblical authority. So yes, our Lord answers prayers, heals people, grants faith in the impossible at times, but there are no godly miracle workers roaming the land today, only wolves in sheep’s clothing. Selah.