Arminian Today

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Strange Fire Review (Chapter Eight)

In chapter eight of Dr. John MacArthur’s book, Strange Firehe writes about faith healers and false hopes.  He opens the chapter by examining two leading faith healers: Oral Roberts and Benny Hinn.  MacArthur shows that both men have made bizarre claims (such as Roberts’ claim to see a 900 foot Jesus who warned him that unless he received millions of dollars, he would be killed or Hinn who claimed to have received his healing anointing after visiting the grave of faith healer Katherine Kuhlman).  MacArthur does this to show that faith healers are not even close to the biblical healings nor to the men of God that God used to do these healings.

MacArthur then dives into the New Testament to show what types of healings God did and the men of God that He used.  He makes several key points:

  • New Testament healings were not performed for money or fame.  In fact, many of the healings were performed on obviously poor people who never could have paid for these healings (Matthew 9:27-31; 20:29-34; 21:14; Mark 8:22-26; Luke 17:11-21; John 5:1-9; Acts 3:1-10; 14:8-18).  Jesus, unlike modern faith healers, told the healed to tell no one what happened (Matthew 8:4; 9:30; Mark 5:43).  In contrast, Benny Hinn told TBN viewers that if they gave to TBN, God would perform a miracle for them.  Hinn brings in $100 million a year to his ministry all in the name of healings.
  • New Testament healings were completely successful (Matthew 14:36).  There were no failures.  Every attempt to heal was successful.  This is not the case with modern faith healers.  MacArthur points out that Hinn promises all to be healed based on the promises of God’s Word yet when the sick are not healed, Hinn will often say that a person didn’t have enough faith to be healed.  Rather than question his own teachings, Hinn will point the blame at those whom he is trying to teach.  MacArthur also points out that Hinn has often questioned why God doesn’t heal everyone including an article in the LA Times where Hinn ponders this question.  MacArthur points out that Hinn (nor any faith healers) can document complete healings like those done in the New Testament.  Not even one.
  • New Testament healings were undeniable (John 11:47-48; Acts 4:16-17).  While NT healings left unbelievers having to dip so low as to say that Jesus was healing by the power of Satan (Matthew 12:24), modern faith healers have convinced no one.  MacArthur points out that HBO followed Hinn around in a documentary called, A Question of Miraclesbut the director concluded the series by saying that no one was healed at Hinn’s crusades.  None.  The director even wrote in the NY Times, “If I had seen miracles, I would have been happy to trumpet it but in retrospect, I think they do more damage to Christianity than the most committed atheist.”
  • New Testament healings were immediate and spontaneous.  Leapers are cleansed (Mark 1:42), blind men were immediately given sight (Mark 10:52), the paralyzed are able to walk immediately (Acts 3:8).  Nearly all NT healings were immediate and spontaneous except a select few (Mark 8:22-26; Luke 17:11-19; John 9:1-7).  Jesus was able to heal on the spot (Matthew 8:14-15; 9:20).  Yet not so with faith healers.  MacArthur points out that faith healers often claim that the atmosphere must be prepared for healings.  Where is this in the NT?  Why must faith healers rent a stadium to do miracles instead of doing their healings out in public for the lost to see if in fact healings point to God (Hebrews 2:1-4)?
  • New Testament healings authenticated a true message.  NT healings were used to open doors for the gospel (John 20:30-31).  NT healings also pointed to the deity of Christ (John 10:38; Acts 2:22) and authenticated the Apostles (Romans 15:18-19; 2 Corinthians 12:12).  In contrast, MacArthur points out that even Satan can do false miracles (2 Corinthians 11:13; 2 Thessalonians 2:9) and if the gospel message is not accurate, it is from Satan (Galatians 1:8-9).  Yet faith healers are not known for preaching the gospel but instead they are known for loving money.  Further, faith healers are often caught in sinful acts and rarely repent until caught.

In conclusion, MacArthur acknowledges that the Lord does heal in answer to prayer.  James 5:14-15 calls us to pray for the sick but we are to leave the results up to God.  Further, James 5:14-15 is not the same as the New Testament gift of healing.  Faith healers cannot do apostolic quality miracles and have given no proof that God is using them to do miracles.  To this day, faith healers have produced not one verifiable healing that points to the glory of God.  Instead, faith healers are shams, use parlor tricks, showmanship, are frauds, and scam artists who feed off the desires of the sick.

I agreed with much of what MacArthur wrote in this chapter.  While I will continue to pray for the sick to be healed, I make no claims that I have seen miracles or that true faith healers exist.  I believe in the supernatural power of God and I believe He is more than able to heal whomever He desires.  Ultimately, true healing only occurs in heaven (2 Corinthians 5:1-8; Revelation 21:4).  My earthly father is blind.  Yet I am confident that he will see in heaven.  Sickness is part of the fall of man in Genesis 3 and thankfully the second Adam has reversed the curse so that in eternity, sickness must flee from the presence of God and His holy ones.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/11/2014 at 12:14 PM

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