Consider the following statements from John MacArthur as we get ready to dig into the Word of God on Sunday. We will be looking at Acts 9:32-43 and the healing ministry of Peter.
Healing was a miraculous sign gift to be used for special purposes. It was not intended as a permanent way to keep the Christian community in perfect health. Yet today most charismatics teach that God wants every Christian well. If that is true, why does God allow Christians to get sick in the first place?
Charismatic Chaos, Zondervan, © John MacArthur, 1992, p. 264, www.zondervan.com.
Scripture teaches that although God is concerned about our bodies, He is infinitely more concerned about our souls (Matt. 10:28). We must realize that even if Christians could heal everyone at will the way Jesus did, the masses still would not believe the gospel. After all Jesus marvelous healings, what did the people do? They crucified Him. The apostles fared no better. They did miracle after miracle of healing. And what happened? They were jailed, persecuted, and even killed. Salvation does not come through experiencing or seeing physical healing. Salvation comes through hearing and believing the gospel (Rom. 10:17).
Charismatic Chaos, Zondervan, © John MacArthur, 1992, p. 248, www.zondervan.com.
Scripture reveals six noteworthy characteristics of Jesus’ healing ministry (in contrast to those who profess miraculous healings today):
1. Jesus healed with a word or a touch… There were no theatrics, no special environment.
2. Jesus healed instantly… People often say, “I’ve been healed, and now I’m getting better.” Jesus never did “progressive” healing. If Jesus had not healed instantly, there would have been no miraculous element sufficient to demonstrate His deity. His critics could easily have said the healing was just a natural process.
3. Jesus healed totally… There was no recuperation period.
4. Jesus healed everyone. Unlike healers today, Jesus did not leave long lines of disappointed people who had to return home in their wheelchairs. He did not leave healing services or programs that ended at a certain time because of airline or television schedules.
5. Jesus healed organic disease. Jesus did not go up and down Palestine healing lower back pain, heart palpitations, headaches, and other invisible ailments. He healed the most obvious kinds of organic disease – crippled legs, withered hands, bind eyes, palsy – all healings that were undeniably miraculous.
6. Jesus raised the dead… People who tout the gift of healing today do not spend much time in funeral parlors, funeral processions, or cemeteries.
Charismatic Chaos, Zondervan, © John MacArthur, 1992, p. 257-259, www.zondervan.com.
Since no charismatic healer can come up with genuinely verifiable cases of instant healing involving organic disease; since no charismatic healer heals everyone who comes for healing and hundreds go away from their services as sick or crippled as when they came; since no charismatic healer raises the dead; since the Word of God needs no confirmation outside itself and is sufficient to show the way of salvation; since charismatic healings are based on a questionable theology of the atonement and salvation; since charismatic writers and teachers appear to disallow God His own purposes in allowing people to be sick; since charismatic healers seem to need their own special environment; since the evidence they bring forth to prove healings is often weak, unsupported, and over-exaggerated; since charismatics are not know for going into hospitals to heal though there are plenty of faithful people in hospitals; since most instances of healings by charismatics can be explained in ways other than God’s unquestioned supernatural intervention; since charismatics get sick and die like everyone else; since so much confusion and contradiction surrounds what is happening – let me ask the return question: How do you explain it? It certainly is not the biblical gift of healing. Healings are occurring today. But the biblical gift of healing is not present.
Charismatic Chaos, Zondervan, © John MacArthur, 1992, p. 265, www.zondervan.com.