I was taught and many believe that the miraculous gifts such as healing have ended.  Those were gifts that were present at the birth of the church and may happen today in other places in the world where the church is being birthed, and especially so in the third world.  The Scripture used for this is found in 1 Cor 13:

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.

This is the ONLY Scripture that is used to say the gifts have passed away.  One Scripture.  And it’s understood as the key Scripture that is to say that these things have passed away.  

 I was taught this.  And I believed this.  Until I was healed.  Until I experienced the power of the Holy Spirit.  Until I studied the Scripture and decided to look at it not what I was taught, but what it said and what the verses in other Scriptures said (this serious study happened before I ever was healed and met the Holy Spirit).

So let’s look at these verses:  Prophesies cease.  Tongues are stilled.  Knowledge passes away.  Childishness is put aside and maturity is all about love.

There are numerous interpretations of this text and you can easily study them online.  But the way I look at this verse is that when a prophecy is given, it will be fulfilled and be done.  A word was given many years ago that the International House of Prayer would meet in a massive convention center in Kansas City.  They received that word when they were small in number.  Twenty-five years later on New Year’s Eve that are meeting in the KC convention center with tens of thousands praying in the New Year.  A prophetic word was given.  It was fulfilled.  It ceases.  Same with a tongue.  And a word of knowledge.  They all pass away because they are for a time and a moment.  Just as it came to pass that the Jews would return from captivity, that a virgin would be with child, that Jerusalem would be destroyed, etc…  They all passed away.  We are not still waiting for a virgin to be with child.  It is fulfilled and done.

So what about the childishness?  Well, there’s not shortage of that.  When people have prophetic things spoken or they see God heal through them, childishness rears its ugly head.  People feel special or elite.  They begin to fight over things that are insignificant.  The hold on to prophecies in the most ridiculous ways.  It’s ugly.  Paul clearly says that this is not of God.  LOVE is of God.  We put childish handling of the supernatural aside.  We treat it with maturity.

So why else do I think the gifts of the Spirit including healing are operating even today?

  • The context before and after this text is about “eagerly desiring spiritual gifts” which would make no sense if we believed the above verses were about the gifts passing away.  Seriously, if that was what he meant, chapters 12 and 14 would be useless.
  • Paul says to not “forbid the speaking in tongues.”  This validates that the gifts of the spirit had gotten so out of hand (as we clearly read) that some wanted to do away with it all.  Paul says not to do away with it all, but administer order.
  • Jesus healed folks through God’s power and he is our model in all things
  • The disciples when empowered by the Holy Spirit brought healing to people
  • The apostles even prayed for healings to happen to validate the message of the gospel (Acts 4:30)
  • This is the ONLY verse that people use to say the gifts and healings are gone and it doesn’t make sense contextually.  
  • I experienced a healing in my own body that still stands today, and it did indeed rock my world.  I know myself and if 10 billion people told me otherwise, I know experimentally and measurably that I was healed instantly from something I had my entire life.
  • People around the world (including in the US) are experiencing a move of God in the miraculous
  • It is VERY condescending and paternalistic to say it happens on the mission field for those poor people and not in our own country.  God have mercy on us for thinking that.

The reason that so many are quick to do away with gifts and praying for healing is that sometimes we don’t see it ourselves, especially with healing.  We pray for someone, they are not healed.  And there’s this tension created from abusiveness that says to the sick person, “you don’t have enough faith.”  That’s terrible.  That’s not the way Jesus did things.  He healed people with great faith (centurion) all the way down to the person who had very little faith–  “Lord I do believe, help my unbelief.”  Every person that Jesus prayed for was healed.  Every person.  It’s more about the faith of the person praying than the one on the receiving end.  Jesus demonstrated this.

Secondly I think our biggest factor, and huge in so many ways is that discouragement often defines our theology.  This is so dangerous and yet so very much a part of what we believe at times.  If we are sick and are not getting healed, we get discouraged and to protect God’s honor, we redefine what we believe.  This happens in areas beyond healing too but it’s mostly seen with healing.  So how do we handle this discouragement?  We keep on believing.  We keep on trusting.  And we keep on praying for others.

I know one pastor friend of mine has a wife who has a horrific illness.  He’s been deeply discouraged as intercessors around the world have prayed to no avail.  One night the Lord asked him, “Will you continue to preach that I heal people even if I never heal your wife?”  It was not a question he answered quickly nor took lightly.  He wrestled for quite some time before he came the place of “Yes, Lord.”

Another person I have heard about is a person in California.  He is 90% deaf and has never been healed.  But when he prays for deaf people they are often healed.  He has not let offense and his own lack of healing stop him from believing the Scriptures and reaching out to others. 

Sometimes it is just about perseverance.  I have read that John Wimber prayed for around 800 people before he began to see healings take place.  There’s a man not too far from here who said he prayed for around 700-800 before he began to see healings.  He even had several of those people he prayed for during that time die.  Yikes!  I heard a pastor from Canada who sees a lot of healings and he said it took 300 before he began to see changes.  So that’s encouraging as well as raising the bar of perseverance.  Maybe the rest of us won’t have to wait that long.  I don’t fully understand it but maybe we learn something in the process of praying for the hundreds.

I also think that we need to have integrity with healing.  When Jesus healed someone, he told them to go the priests and get it checked out.  These were the modern day doctors.  And I believe that if this was the practice of Jesus, it should also be our practice.  If someone claims healing, tell them to go to the doctor to confirm it.  This is a witness to the doctor but it also validates what took place.

Ok, so that was a lot of thoughts.  This is an unplanned post.  But as I write these things knowing that many of my friends were brought up as I was so I thought it good to explain some things.