DOES GOD STILL HEAL?
Copyright (C) 1992/2003
By Phil Scovell
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DOES GOD STILL HEAL?
TABLE OF CONTENTS
A TEMPORARY GIFT
QUOTING THE DEVIL
WEAK MINDED BELIEVERS
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
PHYSICIAN - HEAL THYSELF 8
HALL OF FAMERS
THE FAITH OF JESUS
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
THE APOSTOLIC GIFT OF HEALING
PUNY PALE AND SICKLY
REASONS WHY GOD MIGHT HEAL
I PETER 2:24
IN NEED OF A MIRACLE
OTHER THAN PHYSICAL NEEDS
DOES GOD STILL HEAL?
Brother John MacArthur preached a number of messages which
he entitled "Charismatic Chaos." Later A book was published BY
THE SAME TITLE. In these messages he attempted to explain away
every false doctrine and erroneous practice he says are
characteristic of the Charismatic believer. Though I am not
taking the time to address each and every sermon in the series, I
felt it necessary to at least focus on some of the more prominent
topics. My first was called "Charismatic Chaos And Speaking In
Tongues." Since the subject of healing and tongues is
doctrinally harmonious, I suggest the reader write and request
it. Some of my own personal testimony is incorporated in that
first rebuttal; something omitted from this booklet. I likewise
suggest the reader obtain a copy of my booklet entitled "Saved
And Healed?" which was a letter written to the Radio Bible Class
as a rebuttal to several of their radio teachings on the subject
of the atonement and bodily healing. It covers aspects not
emphasized in this writing.
I have confessed before, and do so now again, that many of
John MacArthur's sermons are in my personal library. I likewise
read his writings, and have often tuned to his radio broadcast
over the years. I highly recommend his teachings, except of
course in some areas, to any one and appreciate his courageous
stand for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This does not, on the
other hand, excuse his Biblical errors of interpretation and
application on some doctrines. Shoot! No body's perfect.
My quotes are taken from a sermon I found in electronic form
on a Christian bulletin board system (BBS) and downloaded with my
computer. I again cannot guarantee that everything I found in
this electronic version of John MacArthur's sermon is the exact
reproduction of his recorded message but it claimed to be the
basic wording of his taped message. If the reader wishes to
obtain the recorded version of his message, write to Word of
Grace, P.O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412. Request GC 90-60
entitled "Charismatic Chaos" Part 9 - Does God Still Heal? It is
also available in book form from any major Christian bookstore.
As I said in my first rebuttal, I found no copyright symbol
in the electronic transcribed version of his sermon nor was there
any written statement of such copyright. If I am in violation of
any copyright laws, it is unintentional.
As in my first rebuttal on tongues, I have divided Brother
MacArthur's sermon into several sections in order to address each
aspect of his teaching systematically. I am only covering the
high points, that is the major areas of disagreement, rather than
every aspect for obvious reasons; it would simply take volumes.
A TEMPORARY GIFT
One of Brother MacArthur's favorite hobby horses, besides
the subject of speaking in tongues, is the gift of healing.
Though he is very adamant about his stand that tongues passed
away with the last apostle, whoever he was, he is less so on the
topic of healing. Why? Well, because some people do get healed
today and he doesn't want to be caught with foot in mouth saying,
"Hey, God doesn't heal today...that died out with the last
apostle. Even people in his own church would laugh him right out
of the pulpit on that one. If he were going to be doctrinally
consistent, however, he would also confess that tongues and
healing died out with the last apostle; whoever he was. He does
say, as we will see, that the "gift of healing" itself passed
away but he tempers his statement (covers his tracks) by saying
God does have the power to heal today but only if He feels like
"The gift of healing was a temporary sign gift for the
authenticating of those who wrote the Scripture and
those who preached the message in that first century.
And once the Scripture was completed and that
authenticity was established, the gift of healing
This, of course, is Brother MacArthur's old standby. The reason
is this: If certain things were only given to the
apostles/disciples by Christ, then when they died, well then, the
gift died, too. The problem with this philosophy is that
Scripture never says any such thing but Brother MacArthur says it
does. Since I covered this fallacy of the "temporary gifts"
extensively in my first rebuttal to his message on tongues, I
will not give space to it here.
"Now, let me say this, people are going to say, [Well,
are you saying God doesn't heal?] No, I'm not saying
that, if God wants to heal, He can heal. That's
completely, obviously within His power, and if it is in
his purpose then He can heal."
Well, we must give him a little credit since he does confess God
"can" heal if He wants but according to Brother MacArthur's
interpretation, God normally isn't in the mood for such trivial
mundane concerns...He's just interested in getting you saved.
You're apparently on your own for everything else.
Here's another trapdoor:
"I simply say, I want to reiterate that I believe that
God can heal. God can do anything He wants to do."
The unfortunate aspect of this statement is that apparently God
normally chooses to do very little about the sick and diseased in
His family. What a God! He can, and does, save us totally and
for all eternity without batting an eye but as far as anything
else, He's apparently less than willing to meet the needs of His
own saved/delivered/rescued people. But then of course we serve
the New Testament version of God today; the Old TEstament God was
somehow, and somewhat, more powerful.
The truth is that God can't do anything He wants. The
sovereignty of God gets the blame for every unanswered prayer and
every unhealed person and anything and everything else that is
unexplainable in the Christian's life. It's easy. Pray about
something for awhile and if nothing happens, well then, it wasn't
What do I mean when I say that God can't do anything He
wants? The very nature of God's sovereignty prohibits Him from
doing certain things. He cannot undue is salvation plan. He
cannot reverse promises He has made. He cannot flipflop on His
commitment to honor His Word. He cannot cancel His Son as the
only means of salvation. He doesn't wake up some morning and
say, "Oh, well, shoot. I wonder what's new in the universe
today. Hey, look at those silly Christians down there playing
around. I think I'll teach them a lesson and change my mind."
Then waving His magic wand, bingo! Everything disappears. God's
own sovereignty makes such impossible. To listen to Brother
MacArthur, however, God, though He claims to be our Healer,
sometimes doesn't feel like healing.
QUOTING THE DEVIL
I am often amazed at who Brother MacArthur uses to prove his
point. Though I will refer to some of his key witnesses in the
first section, look at who he quotes in the following statement.
"People who are clear-minded and balanced become
irrational. Remember, Satan knows this. That's why
he said in Job 2:4, [Skin for skin, yes, all that a man
has will he give for his life.]"
The only problem with quoting the devil here is that Satan was
dead wrong and eventually was forced to confessed Job was a tough
nut to crack. The truth is, Job wouldn't even give in after
Satan killed his children, burned his farm to the ground, and
afflicted him with terrible bodily sores. Read it for yourself
if you doubt it. Apparently Brother MacArthur failed to finish
reading Job's story.
WEAK MINDED BELIEVERS
Brother MacArthur also makes several unsettling statements
about these silly Charismatics who all believe alike on the
doctrine of bodily healing.
"Now we all know that desperation accompanies disease.
Sickness drives people to do frantic, extreme things
they normally wouldn't do. People who are clear-
minded and balanced become irrational. Remember, Satan
Concerning the "faith healers" themselves, he says:
"They play games with people's minds--the power of
suggestion. They prey upon people, making them believe
things that aren't really true and they use deception."
The thing I dislike the very most about Brother MacArthur's
arguments against the Charismatics is his continual association
of Charismatics with all fakes and fonies of every kind. In this
sermon he even accuses all those silly dumb people of once being
"clear-minded and balanced" but irrational (nincompoops) for
believing God. We are even accused of having our minds played
with; forcing us to believe in God when God really doesn't wish
to be bothered. Of course it's true that there are many
charlatans who prey on people's emotions and it is true that many
people are fooled. I wonder, though, what God thinks about those
who continually preach and teach and write books and produce
radio programs to attempt to void His promises clearly stated in
His eternal Word. I wonder how God the Father views those who
perpetually downplay His Word, canceling His gifts He sent His
Son to bleed and die for, and insist we cannot trust God today
for certain things because it died out with the last apostle;
whoever he was. I wonder if God is pleased more with those who
believe Him for some things, though they may never realize the
answer to their plea, than those who continually doubt and
ridicule those who attempt to trust God.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT
He also says:
"It was never intended as a permanent way to keep the
Church healthy; yet today Charismatics teach that God
wants every Christian well all the time. If that is
true, then why did He let them get sick to start
Here again Brother MacArthur uses the technique of attributing
some of what he's heard to all Charismatics. That's easier, of
course, because then you don't have to justify anything; you can
just generalize and people will believe you.
When he asks, "why did He let them get sick to start with?"
he's overlooking what Charismatics generally teach on sickness.
You see, Brother MacArthur and many who disbelieve God wants His
Church without spot or wrinkle, like to sometimes suggest,
especially since they deny God's healing power for today, that
maybe God once and awhile gives us a physical cross to bear in
order that we might better glorify Him. The only problem with
this idea is that it cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. You
do find God allowing disease to come upon the disobedient but
those are also healed when they repent. In those cases, God
isn't giving them the disease, He's allowing it as He did with
Job. Job was healed, too, of course; something Brother MacArthur
fails to mention.
Let's set the record straight. Yes, it is true some
misguided Bible Believers have wrongly accused the sick of being
thus because of sin or because of lack of faith. When it comes
to physical infirmities such as blindness, lameness, deformities
and the like, God never claimed those has His personal punishment
upon those He wanted to improve spiritually. In fact, He told
Moses that He had made the blind and the deaf. He did not say,
however, He had made them blind or deaf but actually was showing
Moses that He, God, since He had made them physically, could make
them see and hear.
The answer to Brother MacArthur's question "why did they get
sick in the first place" is immaterial. It could be a result of
sin, a demonic affliction, a generational curse, or simply a
physical infirmity which occurs naturally in the human race. To
say that God let them get sick, therefore, implies that maybe God
doesn't like them or care for them? The emphasis should not be
on their sickness but on the healing power of God.
Brother MacArthur is notorious for sighting examples of
those who have failed in the ministry and concluding what they
taught must, therefore, be invalid, wrong, and even heretical.
This sermon is no different than the one he taught on the gift of
tongues. He sights more than a dozen Charismatic failures as
though that proves what they taught was heresy. I agree that
many preachers of the Gospel have taught for years and then
committed adultery, stapled their fingers, become addicted to
drugs and alcohol, suffered obesity, forsaken their families,
died in car crashes, discovered to be secret thumb suckers,
strayed from the truth of the Bible, stubbed their toe, succumb
to cancer, cheated on their wives, gone balled prematurely, been
caught with their pants down literally, or even jailed for income
tax evasion. I certainly hope that Brother MacArthur is not
suggesting that this somehow voids the validity of God and His
Word. I'm not attempting to defend anyone Brother MacArthur
sighted in his sermon; I'm simply saying that some of the
greatest evangelical fundamentalist preachers have sinned. Is
that any big surprise? The devil most certainly is going to
attack those that are the most visible to the world because there
the most damage can be done. Reading over Brother MacArthur's
list of failures is nothing new. Those who have strayed
doctrinally should be avoided at all costs. Yes it's a shame
that many Christians are fooled into following certain fakes and
quacks but it happens all the time. How many disabled and
infirmed people in Brother MacArthur's church are going to wind
up in Heaven some day only to discover he was wrong about tongues
and healing. Picking out people such as Brother MacArthur has in
his sermon and using them as examples is less than honest. I
could parade dozens of evangelical fundamentalists across these
pages who have committed homosexual acts, adultery, fornication,
been arrested for drunk driving, beat their wives, caught with
prostitutes, exposed as pedophiles, or any other horrible sins
one wishes to mention. Though they are most certainly wrong,
some even worthy to be imprisoned or institutionalized, this in
no way changes the Scriptures. In fact, it confirms the
Scriptures: "Be sure your sin will find you out." I could
mention names, too, of many who believe in the gift of healing
who have not gone off into doctrinal oblivion, lived secret
sinful lives, mishandled donor's monies, and have been healed
personally again and again and again. I doubt, though, he would
accept their testimony. If Brother MacArthur cannot prove his
beliefs with the Bible itself, I can see why he would insist upon
using all these witnesses to bolster his case. Our final
authority should be the Bible but for some reason Brother
MacArthur uses very little Scripture to confirm his teaching on
the gift of healing.
GUILT BY ASSOCIATION
One of Brother MacArthur's famous tactics is associating
what Charismatics believe with all the false teachers, cults, and
occultists of the world since time began. He apparently believes
since what he sees and hears sounds like what they say and do,
well shoot then, the Charismatics must have gotten it from all
these weirdo cults. Listen to what he says.
"Now if false teachers want credibility it is very
obvious that they can sure draw a crowd and gain
creditability if they can heal. And so that is always
a kind of ploy that is used by false teachers--it has
been so in history, whether you are talking about
tribal witch doctors in Shamanism, in Animism, and in
Paganism, or whether you are talking about Occultic
kinds of healings, or New Age kind of mind healings,
or whether you are talking about the charlatans and
the frauds who parade themselves even as Christian
healers. It is a great way to draw a crowd. Why?
Because the number one human anxiety is illness and
He even goes one step further by saying:
"It is very much like the occultic kind of healings you
hear about in pagan parts of the world. You have the
oriental psychic healers who say they can do bloodless
surgery. They way their hands over afflicted organs
and say incantations and claim people are cured.
Witch Doctors, Shamans, claim to raise the dead.
Occultist use Black Magic and Lying Wonders to do their
Those are dangerous comparisons.
Another of Brother MacArthur's tactics for proving that the
gift of healing died out with the last apostle (whoever he was)
is that those who believe in such miracles of healing all die.
Of course he emphasizes they died with physical illnesses such as
heart disease or cancer. One, he says, even died after being in
a car crash. All this bothers Brother MacArthur. He even goes
to the point of quoting Annette Capps, Daughter of Charles Capps,
to prove his point.
"Now, it seems obvious, at least a curiosity to all of
us, that so many leading advocates of faith healing
Annette Capps, the daughter of Faith Healer Charles
Capps, and herself a Faith Healer, raised that
question in her book; her book is entitled [Reverse
the Curse in Your Body and Emotions.] This is what she
[People have stumbled over the fact that the so-called
"Healing Minister" later became ill or died.
They say, "I don't understand this. If the
Power of God came into operation and all those
people were healed, why did the evangelist get sick?
Why did he or she die?" The reason is because
healings that take place in meetings like that
are a special manifestation of the Holy Spirit.
This is different from using your own faith.
The evangelist who is being used by God in the gifts of
healings, is still required to use his own faith
in the Word of God to receive divine health and
divine healing for his own body. Why? Because
the gifts of healings are not manifested for the
individual who is ministering, they are for the benefit
of the people.]
Now that double-talk basically means that somebody
could have faith for somebody else's healing but not
enough faith for their own healing. And so, sometimes
without faith for their own healing they die, while
they have enough faith for other people's healings who
live. She goes on to say,
[Over the years I have seen various manifestations of
the gifts of healing in my own ministry, but I
have always had to use my own faith in God's
word for my healing. There have been times that
I have been attacked with illness in my body but as I
ministered many were healed even though I did not
feel well. I had to receive my healing through
faith and acting on God's word.]
Thus, she astonishingly concludes that if a Faith
Healer gets sick, it is because his or her personal
faith is somehow deficient when applied to his or
Apparently Brother MacArthur has trouble reading and
understanding plane English. I thought Annette made it very
clear. Since we are in fact, according to Brother MacArthur,
discussing the "gift" of healing and not simply healing itself,
Sister Capps says that the reason some "faith healers" get sick
and die is first a matter of gifting. A man or woman may indeed
have the gift of healing (perhaps it would be better to say they
have a calling or anointing) and when they pray for the sick,
things happen; many are healed. I like the way a well known
Charismatic Bible teacher explains it. He says he prefers to
explain those individual healings as individual gifts of healing;
not so much a gifted, or anointed, healer per say imparting the
gift. Anyhow, that's how I see it myself. What Sister Capps is
saying, just to be clear, is that gifts are given to those
seeking healing because of what they believe; not whom they
believe; whom, meaning person, (I.E., the so-called faith
healer). Brother MacArthur becomes very concerned about so-
called faith-healers that can't heal themselves. Is it in fact a
lack of faith on their part? Perhaps. What amazes me isn't that
they get sick and die, it's the fact that most of them, the ones
that don't die I mean, keep right on preaching that God heals
today. Talk about courage and willing to practice what you
Actually, when you think about it, the concept of the sick
preaching healing isn't so weird. Brother MacArthur, I'm sure,
believes in eternal life. I bet he's never talked face-to-face
with someone who has died and come back to earth who was a
Christian before their death. I wonder then why he believes in
eternal life. Of course! He believes it because the Scriptures
teach it. Well, according to his philosophy, though, you have to
have physical proof. Has Brother MacArthur ever been physically
visited by Jesus Christ? Unlikely. Does he believe Jesus died,
was buried, and rose again? Certainly. Do people say Jesus was
a fake and that He never performed miracles and that He's still
in the grave? We know many do. Why, and how, does Brother
MacArthur believe otherwise? That's right...by faith.
PHYSICIAN - HEAL THYSELF
Since my brother is bothered by so-called faith healers
getting sick, some even dying, and for some reason being unable
to heal themselves, perhaps I should address this in more detail.
As Sister Annette Capps pointed out, the gift of healing is
a gift. The one presenting this gift, in this case the "faith
healer," is in fact only presenting it. If John MacArthur
doesn't think it's easier to exercise faith in behalf of others
compared to exercising faith for one's self, then he knows a lot
less about faith than I supposed. I can pray for others to be
well, get their rent paid on time, or ask that God will help some
money to come in for groceries much more easily than for myself.
Why? There's power and authority, according to Jesus, in
agreement (Matt. 18:19).
then, of course, there's the problem of pride. When a
person has been called of God, and in some cases even been
specially anointed in that area of ministry, it's difficult, to
say the least, to ask others to pray for you. What am I saying?
Let's use brother MacArthur as an example. He's called, and
anointed of God in my opinion, to minister the Gospel, teach the
Word, and pastor God's people. What if Brother MacArthur, after
many years of teaching and preaching, begins to experience a
personal problem in his life. Let's say it's something serious
that if others would hear, might become very judgmental. Would
it be difficult for a man of God such as Brother MacArthur to
admit to anyone, even himself, that he needed help? You know the
answer. Faith healers (I hate using the term but since Brother
MacArthur does, I will, too) are men and women. They no doubt
generally find it easier to minister than to be ministered to by
others. It's very difficult to announce you are something less
than what others think and pride is one of our biggest enemies in
There's yet another aspect of the ministry which most never
consider and that is servitude. Those called to the service of
Jesus Christ are nothing more than servants. They aren't super
men and women; they aren't super spiritual human beings; they
aren't "faith healers;" they aren't the fourth personage of the
Trinity. They are servants just like Brother MacArthur. Do you
think Brother MacArthur puts the needs of his people and ministry
and family ahead of himself? Of course he does and so does every
other true servant of God. These so-called faith healers to
which he refers often are totally given to God and they could
care less if they get sick and die. Oh, sure, they'd like to
stay around and continue in the ministry but true servants of God
could care less about themselves. People like that may find it
very difficult to admit they need prayer and someone else to
minister to them. It is wrong for Brother MacArthur, or anyone
else, to judge all servants of God by the few visible which are
obviously doctrinally off their rocker. "Physician heal thyself"
is a dangerous attitude to have when considering God's servants.
Something else to consider is the physical and emotional
pressures of the ministry. Does Brother MacArthur ever get
tired? Does he ever become exhausted from pushing too hard? Has
he ever had to subtract himself from the riggers of the ministry
just to get some rest? The answer is obvious. Do you suppose he
has ever pushed himself too hard and thus become ill from too
much hard work? Very likely. Should these so-called faith
healers to which he refers be any different? They don't claim to
be supernatural; they just claim to be servants. Servants often
push themselves too hard and pay for it physically. I get the
impression, though, from reading over Brother MacArthur's sermon,
he believes they shouldn't even age or die.
Finally, there is the aspect of intercessory ministry.
Though little is taught on the ministry of an intercessor today,
the truth is that anyone in ministry is serving as an
intercessor; one who stands before God in behalf of others.
Those who feel called, and perhaps anointed, in the areas of
healing are literally intercessors. Though Brother MacArthur is
apparently unaware of this, intercessors serve the people in
unique ways and are willing to sacrifice themselves in order that
others may draw near to God. If they die or become ill in the
process, then so be it; why would they care. All an intercessor
is concerned about is seeing that others come to God. Actually,
an intercessor could be defined as warriors who are happy to die
in battle for others.
HALL OF FAMERS
I often wonder if my Brother would criticize all of those in
Hebrews 11 who died in faith believing. They died confessing the
coming Messiah; they died believing in the cross of Jesus Christ
as their salvation future. their faith, however, was seen of
Women received their dead raised to life again: and
others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that
they might obtain a better resurrection: And others
had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea,
moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned,
they were sawn asunder (cut in half), were tempted,
were slain with the sword: they wandered about in
sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted,
tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they
wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and
caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a
good report through faith, received not the promise:
God having provided some better thing for us, that they
without us should not be made perfect. (Heb. 11:35-
I would rather be identified with these faithful men and
women though some probably said their faith failed.
THE FAITH OF JESUS
Brother MacArthur continues his attack on Charismatics by
"Thus, she astonishingly concludes that if a Faith
Healer gets sick, it is because his or her personal
faith is somehow deficient when applied to his or
herself. Now, to take that a step further, you must
understand that these people go so far as to say,
"That even Jesus Himself sometimes did not have the
faith required for people to be healed."
Frankly, I'm unaware of Annette Capps ever saying any such thing
but let me focus on his comment about what Charismatics believe
I hate to say this Brother MacArthur but I have never heard
any Charismatic, not even the weird ones, say the faith of Jesus
did not always work. It is true, and perhaps this is to what
Brother MacArthur is referring, that not everybody with which
Jesus made contact, was healed. My Brother actually says the
contrary later in his sermon but for now, let me state that he
must be fellowshiping with a bunch of way out Charismatics if
he's getting that out of their doctrine.
According to the Gospels, Jesus did not always heal
everybody. He did raise the dead several times but not all the
dead. He did cast out demons from people but no where in the
Scriptures does it report that all demon possessed people were
cured that were in the world during our Lord's ministry. He did
open blind eyes many many times but not all blind people were
healed. In fact, the Scriptures actually record the following:
And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid
his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. And
he marvelled because of their unbelief. And he went
round about the villages, teaching. (Mark 6:4-5).
Boy, what a can of worms this passage uncorks. Haven't you
asked yourself why, if Jesus healed being God, He just didn't go
right ahead and heal those suffering people? The answer is:
unbelief. It even says that Jesus marvelled at their unbelief.
Wait a minute though. I thought Jesus went around healing
everybody all the time. You mean, He didn't go ahead and heal
all these unbelievers? Why not? Why, for that matter, was He
taken aback by their unbelief? If Jesus is God, and He is,
wouldn't He have known all this? The answer is that Jesus did
not come to earth as God; He came as man. Was He God? Of
course, but He did not heal as God; He healed as a Spirit filled
man. Read it for yourself. Jesus never did any healing until
after the Holy Spirit came upon him. He taught the Scriptures
from age twelve but according to all four Gospels, He did no
miracles until the Holy Spirit came upon Him. You see, Jesus
restricted Himself in order to fully identify Himself with us.
That's why He later told the disciples, "Verily, verily, I say
unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he
do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go
unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that
will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son (John
14:12-13). I know, of course, that people like Brother MacArthur
interpret this to mean that the whole body of Christ collectively
around the world will do greater works together than little old
Jesus did by his lonesome but that's not what Jesus said. He
looked right into the eyes of His disciples and said they would
do what He did if they...what..."believed." There you go. We're
back to that believing bit again. You mean somebody has to
believe before they can be healed? Listen, you can't even get
saved unless you believe God first (Rom. 10:9). Then why does
Brother MacArthur and others say believing isn't important? They
want magic instead of faith. Jesus didn't heal magically; He
healed with the same power of God that has been available to
mankind since the world began. God hasn't changed; we have and
Brother MacArthur confirms it.
In Mark's Gospel account, he has recorded that Jesus did no
"mighty works" there because of their unbelief. The two words
are translated (dunamis) which is translated elsewhere in the New
Testament as (miracle). Face it Brother MacArthur...Jesus did no
miracles among these people because of their own unbelief. The
same thing happened to the disciples after Jesus had given them
power to cast out demons. They failed at their attempts to cast
a demon out of a young boy. The father, in desperation, finally
came to Jesus and the Lord cast it out. Later the old disciples
cornered Jesus and asked why they had failed. He said it was
because of their own unbelief (Matt. 15). As long as John
MacArthur and anyone else, for that matter, refuses to believe in
God's gift of healing, it won't work and they won't see any real
Brother MacArthur divides spiritual gifts into three
categories. The first he says are "gifts of men;" (I.E.,
apostles, prophets, evangelist, pastors/teachers). Actually, I'm
not at all sure why Brother MacArthur says this since he believes
the first two, apostles and prophets, no longer exist.
The second category he calls the "permanent gifts." Those
he identifies as knowledge, wisdom, preaching, teaching,
exhortation, discernment, showing mercy and the like.
Finally, he states the "temporary gifts" are such things as
miracles, healings, tongues, and the interpretations of tongues.
Well, there's nothing new here because this is what he says
throughout his entire series on Charismatic Chaos. It's what he
launches off into next that I find interesting.
Brother MacArthur is a leading spokesman for the vast number
of evangelicals who deny God does miracles today. What most of
them mean is they've never seen a miracle so they must not exist.
They don't even give God room to do one somewhere else on the
planet; they just deny He does them at all. Let Brother
MacArthur speak for himself.
"God is always acting in a supernatural way, even
today. Every time someone is saved that is a
supernatural work. But "miracle" is a technical term
to describe an act of God which He does through a
human agency, and they are very rare. And even when
you go back into the Old Testament and you find
miracles where God acts through a human instrumentation
to authenticate his messenger and the message, they
are rare and nothing like the healing ministry of
Jesus. No one ever just roamed everywhere, healing
everybody. So what you have in the case of Jesus [is
something] you have never seen before. Nothing like
this has ever happened before in the history of the
world. And so this is a very unique thing. And to
assume that it never happened before (to know that by
Old Testament revelation) and it happened at the time
of Christ, uniquely, and then it faded out in the end
of the New Testament era, and now for some strange
reason it has all come back at the same level as once
it did and we are supposed to have this massive kind of
healing going on as it did in the day of Christ, is to
demonstrate an imbalanced and an unsound perspective
of the purpose of the miracle ministry of Jesus. It
was to authenticate His Messiahship, and it is
therefore irreproducible and unrepeatable."
Now, of course, you have to swallow a big chunk of unbelief
all at once if you wish to agree with these statements. In all
fairness, Brother MacArthur does spend a lot of time in some of
his other messages attempting to explain away miracles and
tongues and such "temporary gifts" of the Holy Spirit. If you
really want to find out more, you'll have to buy his books or
purchase his tapes. I did cover some of this in my first
rebuttal on tongues but it's worth repeating.
The logic is apparent. If God does not do any miracles
today, then one can easily eliminate a lot of problems concerning
the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The strange thing about this
fallacy is the lack of Scriptural evidence; there is none to
substantiate his erroneous claims. His Philosophy has to do with
what he thinks is said concerning that which is perfect is come.
Brother MacArthur thinks that's the completed written Scriptures.
He is wrong and I spend a great deal of time discussing this
doctrinally erroneous teaching in my first rebuttal.
Brother MacArthur has figured out that the ministry of Jesus
was unique to our Lord's period of time and is no longer needed
today because, shoot, we've got the Bible and we apparently don't
need Jesus any longer. I guess Brother MacArthur has forgotten
Jesus is the Bible, (I.E., the Word of God). Listen to what he
"and it happened at the time of Christ, uniquely, and
then it faded out in the end of the New Testament
What faded out? Apparently the miracle working power of God.
But there's more.
"It was to authenticate His Messiahship, and it is
therefore irreproducible and unrepeatable."
Brother MacArthur wants us to believe that God's power was
only available to do miracles during rare occasions in the Old
Testament, a lot during the ministry of Jesus, and for a
dwindling period of time with the apostles and some of their
helpers. Thereafter it faded right out. No wonder we don't see
miracles today with that kind of teaching.
Actually, Brother MacArthur's biggest beef is that
Charismatics misinterpret the true John MacArthur definition of a
miracle. Brother MacArthur gets all bent out of shape if someone
says they were healed of a headache and refer to it as a
"miracle." Who cares! Can't we praise God they no longer have
the headache instead of denying it happened because it wasn't a
"John MacArthur miracle?" So what if it doesn't meet his
scientific definition. If he prefers to call it a supernatural
act instead of a miracle, I won't quibble with him over
terminology. The only reason he makes this a big deal is because
he simply doesn't believe God does miracles today; they died out
with the last apostle, whoever he was.
The bottom line is this. If the miracles Jesus did
authenticated His Messiahship, why wouldn't miracles, or
healings, authenticate His Messiahship today? The answer is
obvious...they do authenticate that Jesus is still Messiah today.
The problem Brother MacArthur has is Jesus isn't performing them.
Of course he's wrong again because it is in fact Jesus performing
the miracle today through his disciples just as He did through
His disciples - the twelve and the seventy and all who followed
Him. You see, Brother MacArthur is more than willing to admit
that Jesus gave such authority and power to the twelve disciples
and then to the seventy thereafter. He even admits in his
presentations that it is likely that others had this authority
given to them - he labels them the "helpers" of the apostles.
From there he flat out states that the gifts were not available
to anyone else and that they "faded out" toward the end of what
he calls the "New Testament era." For crying out loud! We are
still in the New Testament era. If you don't believe it, ask
Peter when he preached about it in Acts 2. Peter clearly states
that we are living in the period of time when those who call upon
the name of the Lord will be saved. He makes it absolutely one
hundred percent clear that this period of time, when people can
call upon the name of the Lord for salvation, have these
spiritual gifts available to them.
Brother MacArthur's greatest trapdoor explanation comes from
a passage anti-healing and anti-tongues proponents hate.
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my
name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with
new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they
drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they
shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
The only problem quoting this passage is Brother MacArthur, along
with the late Dr. Walter Martin, (a Charismatic Baptist of the
Christian Research institute) and many other evangelicals,
believe this Scripture isn't part of the Bible because it isn't
found in every Greek manuscript. Thus the passage is
disqualified? This is very convenient because if the passage
isn't the inspired Word of God, well then, it cannot confirm that
such spiritual gifts are for today. Nice! On the other hand,
those who do believe the passage is in fact part of Mark's
inspired Gospel but still deny God's miracle working power and
the gifts of the Spirit, simply dismiss it by saying all these
things passed away with the last apostle; whoever he was.
Before leaving this doctrine of miracles, I need to mention
that Brother MacArthur says the disciples of Jesus didn't perform
"Now, it is true that Jesus passed on to the Apostles
power in two of the three categories. Remember now,
He healed diseases, He had power over demons, and He
did miracles of nature (natural phenomenon). The first
two he gave the Apostles. They never did any miracles
of nature. But "Peter," you say, "Walked on water!"
Yes, but that was a miracle Christ was performing and
that occurred only in His presence. They never did
anything like "Feed the 5,000" or "Walk on water"
after that, or "Still a storm" or anything like that.
The only two things they were given power to do were
"cast out demons and heal the sick (including raising
Raising the dead isn't a miracle? One minute Brother
MacArthur is telling us that a miracle is something that denies
natural laws of science and the next he's telling us that raising
the dead isn't a miracle. If raising the dead isn't a miracle,
then I give up.
If my Brother wishes to deny the miracle working power of
God today; choosing rather to refer to healings, salvations, and
answered prayers as supernatural acts, I'll yield to this for
arguments sake. I, however, believe God does perform miracles
and know of some that deny natural laws which in fact would meet
Brother MacArthur's scientific criteria. Do you think he would
except them as valid even if they were proved? Besides, how does
this change the gift of healing? So what if Charismatics loosely
use the term "miracle" when they should be calling them
"supernatural acts?" I hardly see how such should negate, or
otherwise void, the miracle working power of God. Why then is
Brother MacArthur saying it all passed away with the last
apostle; whoever he was? Because he doesn't want to address the
administration of the gifts of the Spirit. Why doesn't he wish
to address them? He'd have to then teach them. Why doesn't he
wish to teach them; preferring to say they passed away with the
last apostle; whoever he was? Because he'd then have to live by
faith. The gifts of the Spirit, you see, are manifested,
administered and managed, by the Holy Spirit of God. They work
by faith. To believe and teach in the gifts of the Holy Spirit,
therefore, means we must live by faith and that's a lot more
complicated in the minds of some than living by rule and
Brother MacArthur begins this part of his sermon by proving
the gift of healing has died out because no one today can prove
they've been healed. His philosophy is evident by the following
"But the gift of healing, and the ability to heal, and
special anointing for healing, and healings that can be
claimed and therefore realized, and all the typical
"faith healing" technique billed on the idea that God
wants everybody well all the time, has no Biblical
sanction whatsoever in the Post-Apostolic era."
From here Brother MacArthur again uses examples of unhealed
people to confirm that God can't heal today through the gift of
healing. Here's a little flavor of his logic. I corrected the
misspelling of one name in the following.
"Now if you take a closer look at these healings you
will find some very interesting things. The only
documented cases that you can find, the only actually
documented cases you can find, are cases of people who
didn't get healed. The cases of supposed people who
do get healed, you can't find any documentation. One
of the most telling studies of this was done by a
medical doctor by the name of William Nolan who
decided that he would look into the healing ministry
of really the prototype of all of it, Katherine Kuhlman
when she was still going strong before her death. And
he wrote a book after studying her, called "Healing, a
doctor in search of a miracle." And he went beyond
Katherine Kuhlman, but the major section of interest to
me was the section on Katherine Kuhlman. And he made
the point in his book that Miss Kuhlman did not
understand psychogenic disease. She did not
understand, that is, disease related to the mind. In
simple terms a functional disease might be a sore arm.
An organic disease would be a withered arm or no arm at
all. Now Katherine would heal a sore arm but not give
somebody one who didn't have one. A psychogenic
disease would be thinking your arm was sore and
Katherine could make you think that your arm wasn't
I am very familiar with the book to which he referred by Dr.
William Nolan; author of "Healing, a doctor in search of a
miracle." Though it was a number of years ago when I read this
book, no where, that I recall, did Dr. Nolan confess he was a
born again Christian. He, Dr. Nolan, claims he was in search of
a miracle but there was little doubt in my mind that his search
was to prove no such miracles happen; they are all medically,
psychologically, or scientifically explained or they were
fraudulent. I suggest the reader find Dr. Nolan's book and judge
for yourself. At the time I read his work, I was not a
Charismatic and was thrilled to discover there were no miracles
being done today. It just proved one more time how crazy the
Charismatics really were.
Of course Catherine Kuhlman has been dead for a number of
years and I doubt Brother MacArthur ever attended one of her
healing meetings. I will be the first to admit that I have a
number of questions about her ministry. Using an unsaved medical
doctor, however, to substantiate Brother MacArthur's fony healing
claims somehow seems odd.
You can tell Brother MacArthur has an axe to grind when he
says the following.
"Perhaps a more familiar name in the healing movement
would be the name of one who is elevated almost to the
status of the Roman Catholic elevation of Mary, and
that's a woman by the name of Katherine Kuhlman.
Katherine Kuhlman died of heart failure in 1976,
curiously enough. She had battled heart disease for
nearly twenty years, and that statement is made by
Jamie Buckingham who would have been one of her
I'm not sure why my Brother tries to associate Katherine Kuhlman
with the Roman Catholic Mary but I have never heard Katherine
Kuhlman called such by any Christian until now. I don't know if
Brother MacArthur studied Katherine Kuhlman's doctrine but I
noticed right off the bat that he never mentioned what she
believed and taught; he was only interested in what some unsaved
doctor said about her.
TRICKS OF THE TRADE
Throughout his sermon, Brother MacArthur pummels the faith
healers by calling them every name in the book which apparently
helps Scripturally prove his case that they are a bunch of fakes.
As I showed earlier, he even equates Charismatics with all kinds
of cult and occultic groups to make sure we get the idea that
such people should be avoided at all costs. I laughed, however,
when he brought forth another unsaved, nonchristian, disbelieving
witness to absolutely, positively, no question about it, beyond a
shadow of a doubt prove it's all fakery.
"More recently, a very interesting man by the name of
James Randy--Have you heard that? He's called the
"Amazing Randy" (he gave himself that name). He is a
professional magician. As a professional magician he
has written a book in which he examines the claims of
"faith healers." Why? Because he knows all the
gimmicks. He is the man who exposed television
evangelist Peter Popoff's fakery in 1986, on the
"Tonight Show." You remember that Peter Popoff was
one of the healers that claimed to get "words of
knowledge." He would stand there and he would say,
"Jesus is telling me this about you." And the truth
was he had a little earphone and his wife was giving
him all this information because everybody who came to
the meeting had to fill out a card. And I don't know
if you know about how that works but healers
throughout the years have always had the "preservice"
meeting, when everybody who wants to be cured and get
in the "healing line" fills out a very full card. And
there is a very simple way, by staggering the cards,
that the guy can be holding up a card to his head and
telling you all you need to know about yourself, to
convince you that this man speaks for God. In the
case of Peter Popoff he was repeating information his
wife was putting in his ear, from the "crib sheets"
assembled in the "pre-meeting." Now the "Amazing
Randy" is really not so amazing, he's just a magician.
But he is openly antagonistic to Christianity. His
antagonism is fed, I think, continually by what he
finds out. But, nevertheless, he seems to have done
his investigation thoroughly. He asks scores of "faith
healers" to supply him with direct, examinable
evidence of true healings. Quote, he said,
[I have been willing to accept just one case of a
miracle cure, so that I might say in this book
that at least on one occasion a miracle
But not one "faith healer" anywhere has given
him a single case of medically confirmed healing that
couldn't be explained as natural convalescence,
psychosomatic improvement or outright fakery.
What is Randy's conclusion? I quote,
[Reduced to its basics, "faith healing" today (as it
always has been) is simply magic! Though the
preachers vehemently deny any connection with
the practice, their activities meet all the
requirements for the definition; all of the elements
are present and the intent is identical.]"
Well, shoot. How can a Christian who believes in healing
argue with Randy and Brother MacArthur on this one? I mean, if
Randy says all "faith healers" are fakes, well then, they must
all be fakes? Randy isn't a Christian. Do you honestly think if
The Amazing Randy ever saw a real miracle that he would be
converted to Christ? Jesus said the rich man in hell requested
that Lazarus be resurrected from the dead so he could go and
witness to his brothers in order that they might be converted.
The rich man thought if his brothers could see a miracle, a
living resurrected miracle, they'd be converted and wouldn't wind
up in hell like he did. Abraham said that they, his five
brothers, had the witness of the Scriptures and that was all they
needed. The rich man still wished Lazarus to be raised from the
dead in order that his own family wouldn't die in their sins and
suffer in the fires of hell. Abraham said that even if they
witnessed the miracle of the resurrection of the dead, they would
not believe. [See Luke 16:1-31]
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
A missionary friend of mine in Mexico recently returned to
the states for a few weeks and told me of some experiences he had
praying for the sick. One, he said, looked like a broken arm.
The woman's arm was bent at an impossible angle and though he
confessed not to be a doctor, he said it look fractured. He
prayed and touched her arm and before everyone's eyes in the
room, the bone popped back into place instantly. The woman began
running around the room shouting and waving her arm; showing
everyone what had happened.
I often tell the story of my son when he was nine years old.
From the age of two, he had occasionally experienced extremely
acute stomach pains; often late at night. One night he had one
of these stomach attacks and I helped him into our bedroom to
have him closer to us during the night. Though I laid him on the
foot of our bed, he got up and lay on the floor; doubled over
from the pain. After several minutes of listening to his moans,
I got up and knelt beside him. I asked him to show me where the
pain was and he placed my hand low on his right side. With my
hand on the sore area and my other on his back, I prayed silently
for less than sixty seconds. As I prayed, I claimed several
verses of Scripture that related both to the promises of healing
and the promises that God would hear and answer my prayers.
Suddenly, my son stood up, lay down on the foot of the bed and
fell fast asleep. The next day he was in the basement helping
his mom do some things and they both came up talking excitedly.
My wife said, "You need to hear what Trenton just told me." My
son then said that during the night when he knew I was laying
hands on him and praying, he suddenly felt this tingling feeling
all over his body. Then he said he felt this snap inside his
stomach right where the pain was the worst. I asked him to
explain what he meant by a snap but he only could explain it as a
snap; like a twig breaking. "What happen then," I asked eagerly.
He said the pain instantly vanished and that was when he got up
off the floor and lay down on the foot of the bed. He's never
suffered one of these attacks since.
If you want to hear of something really weird, I even have a
personal friend whose tooth had a large whole filled with
something that looks like gold. To make this bizarre healing
even worse, you can clearly see little tiny crosses on the
surface of the filling. I said it was weird.
While I'm on the subject, a pastor friend's mother had been
to the local small town dentist the day before they had a healing
service with a guest speaker. The woman invited the dentist;
explaining there would be a healing service. Though not a
Christian, he thought he'd attend just to prove it was fake.
Suddenly, during the healing service, the pastor's mother
explained something had happened to her teeth. Her dentist,
having just worked on her teeth the day before, asked her to open
her mouth. After examining her teeth, he reported that he had no
idea what that stuff was in her teeth because it wasn't what he
had put in. Why does God do it that way? I don't know.
I could take the next few pages and relate stories of
stillborn children suddenly brought back to life, inoperative
medical cases mysteriously cured, skin diseases and skin growths
disappearing before the very eyes of onlookers, a stomach and
internal organs eaten away with cancer mysteriously regrown;
confirmed by doctors, sight restored, and multiple sclerosis
cured to name a few. I personally have been healed instantly
twice at home as I prayed when suffering from a bad cold and
another time from the stomach flue. I doubt, however, none of
this will change Brother MacArthur's, or The Amazing Randy's,
minds. You see, they must have proof. There is no doubt in my
mind that if they had such proof, they still wouldn't believe.
At least that's what Jesus said about the rich man in hell. The
proof needed is the Bible itself. If you won't believe the
Bible; you won't believe even the physical proof.
One more thing before leaving this section. Brother
MacArthur refers to Dr. William Nolan and his book to prove
Katherine Kuhlman was a fake. I have a personal friend who is a
medical doctor and was in several Katherine Kuhlman meetings. He
personally told me he sat near a woman who cried out during the
service and when he quickly looked over to see what was wrong,
something fell from her eye. The woman began shouting she could
see. In the excitement of the moment, the doctor said she
reported she had an artificial eye. Was it a plant? Was she a
fake? I don't honestly know. The one thing I do know is the
gift of healing is still available today and people can still be
healed by the power of God. Miracles are still around, too, even
if The Amazing Randy and John MacArthur deny the power of God and
the Biblical evidence.
In this section of his sermon, Brother MacArthur attempts to
discredit the gift of healing today as not representative of
those methods Jesus and His disciples employed. He stresses six
different aspects of those methods which I will list and then
comment on individually.
Brother MacArthur identifies our Lord's healing methods as:
1. Jesus healed with a word or a touch.
2. Jesus healed instantaneously.
3. Jesus healed totally.
4. He healed anybody.
5. He healed organic disease.
6. He raised the dead.
I, of course, have no disagreement with the first; Jesus
healed with a word or a touch. Sometimes even with His spit. I
do, however, disagree somewhat with the second; Jesus healed
instantaneously. Here's what Brother MacArthur says:
"Never in all His healings does the Bible say He healed
somebody and they started getting better. No,
there was never a process, because if there was a
process the point wasn't made. Right? Because if
there was a process then it could be explained in
another way. It was instantaneous."
From here, Brother MacArthur sights several examples of
instantaneous healings by our Lord. He claims the Centurion's
servant, the woman with an issue of blood, the ten lepers, and
the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda were all healed
May I point out a few people Jesus did not heal instantly?
Two that come to mind right off the bat are both blind. The
first blind man was brought to Jesus in order to be given his
sight. Jesus led him by the hand out of the town and then, get a
hold of yourself, spit on his eyes! Then our Lord laid hands on
his eyes, according to Mark's Gospel record, and after removing
His hands, asked the man if he could see. The blind man said, "I
see men as trees, walking." Jesus again laid his hands on the
man's eyes and this time the man was fully healed. [See Mark
Another case of the blind being healed is recorded in John's
Gospel chapter 9. Here Jesus spit on the ground, made clay,
pressed it in the eye sockets of the blind man and instructed him
to go to a certain pool and wash. Why did Jesus do it this way?
I mean, it's kind of unsanitary. I think it's likely the man had
no eyes. Though it's true the man was healed the moment he
washed the goop from his eyes, Jesus did not heal him on the
spot. Brother MacArthur claims Jesus always healed instantly.
Then, too, Brother MacArthur is mistaken when he claims
Jesus healed the ten lepers instantly. Jesus told all ten men to
go to the priest and offer sacrifice and the Scriptures record
they were healed as they went; not on the spot. [See Luke 17:12-
19]. Honestly, I wonder if Brother MacArthur is reading the same
Then, of course, we have the healing of the nobleman's son
in John's Gospel. This man requested Jesus to come with him in
order that his son might be healed. Jesus told the nobleman to
go his way because his son was healed. The man believe Jesus and
went home. Before he arrived, some of his servants met him and
told him his son was healed. Here's what was said next. "Then
enquired he of them the hour when he began to amend. And they
said unto him, Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him."
When he began to amend? If you study the words "when, began,"
and "amend," you'll discover a gradual recovery following the
immediate cure of the fever. The word for "amend" in this verse
is actually a word that means (to get better) or (to bring to
amend). It actually means to convalesce, (I.E., to gradually
return to normal health or to recuperate). Some may say my
interpretation is subject to personal opinion. It is quite
interesting to me, however, that this word translated "amend" in
this passage is the only time the Greek word appears in the
entire New Testament.
My point is Brother MacArthur simply is mistaken when he
claims Jesus always healed instantly. The reason Brother
MacArthur makes this claim of instant healing is to discredit
anyone who fails to get healed instantly today. If it isn't
instant, it isn't the healing power of God? Shoot, even James
5:14-15 to which he refers in his sermon doesn't claim
instantaneous healing for the sick that come for anointing.
In his third statement, Brother MacArthur says Jesus healed
totally; implying no partial healings. I agree. Why he
believes, however, this means everyone must be healed totally and
suddenly today is a mystery.
I have some trouble with his fourth statement. "He healed
anybody. You didn't have to have a long line of people filling
out cards. And He certainly didn't have a whole group of
people who came into the meeting in wheelchairs and left in
wheelchairs (if they had wheelchairs, or crutches, or
whatever). Luke 4:40 says, "While the Sun was setting, all
who had any sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and
laying His hands on everyone of them, He was healing them."
It's an incredible thing. He healed everybody. He healed
everybody instantaneously. He healed everybody totally and
He healed everybody with a word. There wasn't some folderol
there was just a word!"
Well, first, I've already shown that Brother MacArthur is
incorrect when he says Jesus healed everybody instantaneously.
Then, of course, I spoke earlier how Jesus Himself was amazed at
the unbelief of some and didn't heal but a few sick people,
performing no miracles, in that particular place. It is
incorrect to say Jesus healed "anybody" and "everybody."
Certainly there are places in the Gospels which state Jesus
healed everybody but it is in reference to those that came for
that purpose. It would be convenient to say Jesus healed
everybody, of course, because then we could compare what He did
with what is being done today but the truth is, Jesus simply did
not heal everybody; He healed those who came to Him for that
purpose. I can say that for the same reason I said earlier;
Jesus did not raise all the dead. More on this in a moment.
I likewise agree with his fifth statement concerning the
fact that Jesus healed organic disease. Brother MacArthur's
implication is, however, that no body can do that today nor has
anyone been healed organically.
Concerning his sixth and final aspect of our Lord's healing
ministry, He says,
"He raised the dead. He came up on a funeral and he
raised the dead! You remember that? Here comes
the funeral procession; the widow is going to bury
her son and Jesus stops the procession, touches the
casket and says, "Young man, arise!" and the dead
man sat up and began to speak. Now, I will tell
you something, people who tout the gift of healing
today don't spend a lot of time in funeral
processions; the reason is obvious. And you need
to note, by the way, that Jesus did virtually all His
healings and raising the dead in public before
vast crowds of people. Why? Because the gift of
healing was real and it was an authenticating gift.
He used it to confirm the claim that He was the Son of
God in a way that displayed His power and
The implication here again is that Jesus raised the dead
everywhere he went and such simply isn't true. Of course Brother
MacArthur and other doubters love to make fun of those who
believe in the gift of healing by saying they never go to the
graveyards and hospitals. Shoot, Jesus never even did that
Brother John. Name one Scripture that says Jesus went to a
graveyard and raised every person from the grave. Jesus even
went to the cemetery to raise Lazarus from the dead after four
days but He never raised any other single person in that
cemetery. Furthermore, there is no record that Jesus went to a
hospital simply to raise all the sick from their beds of
affliction. In fact, in John chapter 5, Jesus went to the pool
where the Bible says many sick folk lay in hopes of a miracle.
Jesus only healed one single person in that makeshift hospital.
It is, on the other hand, recorded again and again that Jesus
healed the multitudes that followed him. He, too, healed people
along the way as He traveled. If you red the Gospel's carefully,
however, it will be discovered that Jesus healed mostly those who
came to him because they believed He would heal them. He also
healed in behalf of those who represented others unable to be
brought to Him because of their condition. Jesus was not a
magician nor did He just have "a gift" of healing; He was "The
Healer." No body I've ever heard in the healing ministry today
who has authentic Bible doctrine has claimed to have what Jesus
had; they simply claim to be His servants. That, however,
doesn't seem to be good enough for Brother MacArthur; he wants
proof; before and after proof.
THE APOSTOLIC GIFT OF HEALING
Brother MacArthur then attempts to make the point that the
apostles healed in the exact same way Jesus did and manifested
all six of the aspects of our Lord's healing methods. Note how
Brother MacArthur equates this to our period of time in the
following statement concerning the healing ministry of the
"They healed organic disease, not just functional,
psychosomatic, symptomatic problems, and the apostles
even raised the dead. Now, nobody is exhibiting those
six traits in a healing ministry today. So if this is
supposed to be the recapturing of the Apostolic era it
is really "out of sync" with that."
Of course he fails to mention the apostles weren't perfect.
They failed miserably when a demon possessed boy was brought
before them and they couldn't cast it out. I thought, though,
the apostles had the gift. After all, Jesus had given it to
them; even Brother MacArthur says he believes they had the gift.
Well, shoot then, if you've got the gift, shouldn't you be able
to exercise that gift every single time and never fail? If
you're Jesus perhaps but if you're just a born again servant of
God, you might miss it once and awhile. Not according to Brother
MacArthur; you've got to be perfect if you have the gift.
He finally gets around to saying exactly what he means in
"And a final note; according to Scripture, those who
possess those abilities to heal could use their gift
at will. That's not true of the contemporary healers
because they don't have that gift. They play games
with people's minds--the power of suggestion. They
prey upon people, making them believe things that
aren't really true and they use deception."
That's right. When you flat out don't believe the gift of
healing is used by God today to heal His own people for whom
Christ died, you must conclude they are all a bunch of screwball
fakes playing with your mind and trying to get your money.
Continuing with this logic of the gifts of the Spirit
passing away with the last apostle, whoever he was, Brother
MacArthur makes sure we note that the Apostle Paul had at least
two friends mentioned in the New Testament that he failed to
heal. Well, join the club. The other apostles had trouble even
when Jesus was still on earth so I'm not surprised Paul had some
healing failures, too. It kind of made me feel sorry for poor
old Paul the way Brother MacArthur suggested that perhaps the
temporary gift of healing was slipping away; fading right into
the sunset; the close of the apostolic New Testament era. I'm
surprised Paul made it as far as he did in the ministry. He must
have been as weak as a kitten, spiritually speaking, by the time
PUNY PALE AND SICKLY
Here's something else Brother MacArthur believes concerning
the gift of healing and the Charismatics in general.
"It was never intended as a permanent way to keep the
Church healthy; yet today Charismatics teach that God
wants every Christian well all the time."
Yes, we also believe in preaching that God doesn't want
anyone to sin. Do they? Of course. Then why preach it. We
also preach people can have eternal life in Jesus Christ. Do
people still die? You bet they do. Then why preach it. We
preach against divorce. Do people, even Christians, still get
divorced? Yes. Then why preach it. We likewise preach the soon
return of Jesus Christ. Has He come? Then why preach it. If
you are going to criticize Charismatics for preaching that their
Heavenly Father wants them well by suggesting their lack of one
hundred percent health means their doctrine is false, you're not
being honest Brother MacArthur. I will comment Scripturally on
this concept of perpetual bodily health and the will of God
REASONS WHY GOD MIGHT HEAL
In Brother MacArthur's closing remarks, he admits we can
look to God for healing today. He gives three reasons.
1. He might heal because of His person.
2. God heals because of His promise.
3. God heals because that is His pattern.
The problem is that he conditionalizes each of these by limiting,
or otherwise restricting, God.
First, remember that Brother MacArthur has canceled all
miracles of God for today's Christian. He claims God might heal
you today if you have a disease or an illness; he does not allow
for miracles. What does that mean? Well, everybody in a
wheelchair has no hope. The blind are without hope. Cancer
victims are without hope. Physically inured people of all kinds
are without hope. If you're minus a limb, you're without hope.
Why? Brother MacArthur says God stopped doing miracles when the
last apostle died; whoever he was. All of those people today in
need of a miracle must wait until they get their glorified body's
upon the return of Christ. You see, God no longer handles the
impossible cases. Oh, sure, He once did because, according to
Brother MacArthur, there was no written Scriptures and God had to
prove His authenticity. Now, however, because we have the Bible,
God somehow has lost His miracle working power. Sure, Brother
MacArthur says, God can heal sicknesses once and a great while.
God can also heal someone of a little illness but nothing else.
The rest of the poor suffering "organically" infirmed Body of
Christ are beyond God's help and concern.
Here's what Brother MacArthur says concerning God's healing
"1. He might heal because of His person. You remember
his Old Testament name, that wonderful name: it's
really Yahweh Rapecca (sp.)--The Lord that Heals.
God heals because of His person. "I the Lord am
your healer," He told the Israelites. - But why did he
choose to heal people? Because He was
demonstrating His compassion, and a compassionate God
has a heart to heal."
Remember, though, God is kind of like those modern-day faith
healers to whom Brother MacArthur refers throughout his message;
He, God can't heal physical disabilities; He's just into
psychological and emotional healings today. Maybe, if you're
lucky, God will touch somebody with a disease or an illness but
Though my Brother claims God will keep His eternal promises which
He made to His own, he conditionalizes God's promises to make
sure God conforms to his doctrinal teachings on the gift of
healing. Notice how Brother MacArthur words it.
"2. God heals because of His promise. He says,
[Whatever we ask in His name, believing and according
to His will, He will do it.] - If in God's will
He has designed that [then] He will do that because
of His promise."
It's sad God can't keep His promises. Aren't you glad God hasn't
done that with salvation? I mean, what would we do if God
promised to save us and once we claimed His promise, we later
discovered the promise died out with the last apostle; whoever he
Finally, Brother MacArthur gets around to telling us it's
God's pattern to heal so God "might heal" if He wants.
"3. God heals because that is His pattern. It is true
that in the atonement God bore our diseases, Matthew 8
says it. Matthew 8 says, "He Himself took our
infirmities, and carried away our diseases." Now,
we have already discussed 1 Peter 2:24 and I won't
do it again; it doesn't mean that healing for every
sickness is in the atonement for now! But healing
for every sickness is in the atonement for
someday--isn't it? And someday He will remove all of
those diseases. Ultimately, eternally we will be
delivered from sickness and infirmity. And it may
just be that He would choose because of that pattern of
providing a salvation that ultimately delivers us
from bodily infirmity when we get a glorified
body, that maybe He will give us a taste of glory
How can Brother MacArthur accuse Annette Capps of double talk in
her book after making that statement. In one breath he claims
God provides for our sicknesses and diseases in the atonement and
in the next he says but not for today. Man, I've heard of
limited atonement but that's ridiculous.
I PETER 2:24
Those who disbelieve God can, and does, do miracles today
and who also deny there is a gift of healing, are scared spitless
of I Peter 2:24 and do their dead level best to explain it away.
I'm sure the reader knows what it says but let me quote it
Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the
tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto
righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
Now Brother MacArthur and a host of other disbelievers in
God's power absolutely refuse to accept this verse literally.
They almost always spiritualize it by saying that we are healed
spiritually, (I.E., when we are born again). I have taught at
great length on this passage in my letter I referred to earlier
which I mailed to the Radio Bible Class in Grand Rapids, Michigan
so I won't spend any time on it here. May I point out, however,
that the Greek word Peter used "by His stripes we are (healed)"
is used 28 times in the New Testament and in every case but
perhaps one, it's in reference to a literal healing; be it
physical or psychological/emotional. I believe I can even prove
the single reference left is also in reference to the physical
but that aside, Peter was quoting directly from Isaiah 53:6 which
every Israelite took literally. In fact, it was a prophecy which
Peter confirms was fulfilled on the cross. You either believe,
as no doubt Brother MacArthur, that we can be "cured" from our
sins or you believe we are forgiven. I'm sorry Brother
MacArthur, we cannot be "cured" of our sins.
Brother MacArthur concludes his message by recommending we
also consider medical help and of course I concur. Yes, it's
true some people go off the deep end and say we should never seek
medical attention for things but I, nor any other Biblically
sound Charismatic, thinks we should forsake medicine, doctors, or
hospitals no matter how hard Brother MacArthur tries to make you
think otherwise. Brother MacArthur hasn't bothered to identify,
or otherwise quote, those leading Charismatics that believe in
balance; he just wants you to think they're all a bunch of nuts.
You'll have to decide on your own, however, by using the
This is not a teaching on the gift of healing nor on the
healing power of God; it's a rebuttal. I have done my best to
show that Brother MacArthur's interpretation of this doctrine is
highly suspect. I, too, once believed as he. One of the biggest
reasons for my fear of the Charismatics and the gift of speaking
in tongues had to do with this healing doctrine; I simply
couldn't bring myself to believe. After being filled with the
Holy Spirit, however, and given the gift of tongues, I suddenly
realized I might have been in error and thus began to diligently
study the Scriptures. It took many many months and many many
hours of prayer before God began to convince me by His Word that
I had been wrong.
There is another problem with which I had to deal on this
subject of healing. I have been totally blind since age eleven
when I lost all my sight due to detached retinas. Yes, it's of
course true some silly Charismatics try and lay guilt on you by
saying if you just had enough faith, but I've out grown them now
that I have a better understanding of the gift of healing. Do I
believe God can perform a miracle in my behalf? Yes! God is
going to have to do exactly that in my case because I'm not just
blind; I have two artificial eyes. I'll need more than a
healing; I'll need a recreative miracle.
Someone asked me once, "What are you going to do if you live
your entire life believing God and it never happens." What they
meant was, what if you die believing God was going to give you
sight and nothing ever happened. First, I said, when I die, or
when the Lord comes, I'll see Him face-to-face with my new
glorified body. Secondly, I will have the honor and privilege of
living the balance of my entire life, perhaps fifty or sixty
years, believing God for something. Now be honest; whom would
you rather be. John MacArthur who will stand before God and
confess he preached for years that God was helpless to do
anything after the "apostolic era," or the guy who stands before
God who lived by faith in God's miracle working power. Do you
think God is going to belittle the one who walked by faith and
confession, though perhaps never seeing the fruition of his
confession till he receives his glorified body, or will God honor
him. I think the answer is obvious.
Jesus once told a story about an employer who hired several
men at different hours of the day. At the day's end, the man
paid each of the newly hired employees the same amount no matter
how long they had worked. Some complained but Jesus said the
point was that some think, because of their labor and dedication,
they should receive more. Jesus said, however, the first shall
be last and the last first. I may never be granted the miracle
of my physical sight in this life. I may die believing for
something God simply was powerless to do anything about. When it
comes to standing in line, however, you'll need a telescope to
see Brother MacArthur from my position near the front.
Though I touched on this briefly, Brother MacArthur
criticizes Charismatics for believing that God wants us to walk
in health today. I've mentioned that such arguments are based on
the reluctance to honestly live by faith and the Word of God for
every area of life. I personally know two people who never go to
the doctor and never take any prescription or over the counter
drugs for anything. Do they get sick? Once and awhile but not
very often. What do they do when they become ill? They pray and
claim God's gift of healing for their lives. They have both been
miraculously healed and been restored time and time again from
not only illnesses but in one brother's case, from what the
doctor's called an inoperative situation and in the other, he
claimed to be healed in seconds from a broken ankle. Do they
have medical records, x-rays before and after, and doctor's sworn
statements? Of course not. Why would they need them; they're
healed. It's Brother MacArthur who needs them.
I am not going to launch into a long doctrinal study on the
gift of healing and the will of God for a person's life in this
writing; I'm simply attempting to give representation of God's
Word on the subject. The bottom line is one's personal
relationship with Jesus Christ. If you are born again and don't
believe in healing or miracles, one day we will all stand in our
Lord's presence well and perfectly whole. I, on the other hand,
believe God cares for us today and that He still performs
miracles in our behalf. I believe Jesus Christ died for us
physically and by His stripes we are healed. Do I still go to
the doctor? Of course. I even believe I will one day die and be
buried if Jesus doesn't come first. Yet I still confess I
believe I am going to live forever. How? By faith.
IN NEED OF A MIRACLE
I would like to conclude this booklet by offering a word of
encouragement to those who need God to work in their behalf.
First, make sure you know the Word of God well on this
subject of the gift of healing. The devil is using a number of
Christians to rob us of what rightfully belongs to us through the
vicarious suffering and bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus
Second, stay away from these people who say Jesus Christ and
God the Father are powerless to perform miracles today. You will
discover that most Christians, even many Charismatics, are very
negative when it comes to just exactly how much power God still
has today. Avoid them as much as possible and whatever you do,
don't discuss what you believe in your heart with these doubters.
Third, ask the Lord to give you an agreeing praying friend
that will stand with you in your belief. Frankly, this is the
hard part. There aren't many real believers today in the healing
power of God but ask the Lord for that partner. You'll find
times you want to renege on your confession of faith and it helps
to have a partner to help you through those times. Don't forget
the Holy Spirit is your prayer partner, too. He'll pray every
time you do and knows the mind of God better than we. He, the
Holy Spirit, will make sure your prayers get to God.
If you don't find a friend to be your partner in agreement,
ask God to assign your case to some intercessor somewhere in the
world. Request that this intercessor continually pray in your
behalf until your request is answered. It doesn't make any
difference if you don't understand how intercessory prayer works;
just ask God for that intercessor and the Holy Spirit will see
Fourth, once you are convinced by the Scriptures that God,
not only has the power, but in fact is willing to work
miraculously in your behalf today, make it a commitment. By that
I mean, pray and ask God to heal you or to perform that needed
miracle in your behalf. Confess your belief in His Word and
confirm your belief as often as opportunity affords until it is
brought to fruition. I'm not suggesting you put a public
confession in the newspaper to announce to the world of your
decision; I'm simply saying to confess it first to God, second to
the devil and any deceiving spirits that will try and get you to
deny, or otherwise change, your conviction, and finally confess
it to anyone who either asks or challenges your decision. Will
you feel stupid making such a confession? Of course and those to
whom you may confess it on occasion will make sure you do. They
may even call you stupid but just smile and bless them in the
name of the Lord. If that doesn't work, tell them to buzz off.
Some do-gooder Christian may say, "Well, shoot, you lost your arm
in the war. You don't believe God is going to give you a new arm
do you?" Just smile real big and say, "You mean you don't?" No
matter what, just keep right on believing God. In fact, die
believing God if necessary. If we continue to confess God's
promises and die and stand before God, I guarantee God will be
greatly pleased and will confess to us, "Well done, my good and
OTHER THAN PHYSICAL NEEDS
Finally, perhaps what you suffer is not physical but
emotional or psychological. All this works the same way as it
does for physical healings. If you are careful when reading the
Gospels, you'll discover Jesus healed emotionally,
psychologically, and physically. In fact, Isaiah states, "But he
was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our
iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with
his stripes we are healed (Isaiah 53:5). the third statement,
"the chastisement of our peace was upon Him," is in direct
reference to the emotional and psychological. Take time to read
all of Isaiah chapter 53 and you will see just how much our Lord
suffered emotionally and psychologically on the cross for us. No
matter the need, our God heals.
When considering the emotional and psychological, however,
don't allow anyone to tell you to forsake medical treatment. For
some reason, some people who believe in God's healing power will
easily agree to having physical needs treated medically but they
bow their neck when it comes to the emotional and psychological.
There is nothing wrong with being treated medically by
professionals for emotional needs and there are many good
Christian professionals in this field. Healing in this area of
one's life is no different, absolutely no different, than for a
As you wait patiently on the Lord, keep in mind that faith
is a defensive weapon. Faith doesn't attack; the Word does (Eph.
6:10-18). It is what you believe, or your level of commitment,
which makes the difference; not how much, or little, faith you
think you have. Don't forget that even Jesus had to repeatedly
refute the devil when He was tempted forty days in the
wilderness. [Read Luke 4:1-14]. Don't give up once you have
made a commitment.
To assist you in maintaining a confession, I have prepared a
booklet called "IT IS WRITTEN." This booklet is nothing more
than several confessions, Scripturally documented, which you can
use to fend off the fiery darts of the devil. The Scriptures
themselves will help solidify your faith as you read through
them. If you feel uncomfortable reciting written confessions,
then just read all the Scriptures out loud which come with the
booklet. We do serve a miracle working God and His Word confirms
End Of Document
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