Healing theology: Why it ticks people off.

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I’m not sure I know a doctrine in the North American church that manages to offend and tick more people off than the doctrine of healing.  (Wait, I do know another one:  Wealth. Combine the two, and you’re in even more trouble.  But that’s a touchy subject for another day…!)

Here are the 4 top reasons I believe it is always God’s will to heal:

  1. Because it says in His Word that He came to heal us and make us whole (Psalm 103 and many others).  He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10) and to destroy the works of the enemy (1 John 3:8).  We know from Scripture that sickness is a work of the enemy, not from God.  How do we know this?  Because only good can come from God.  He is not suffering from multiple personalities – He is either Jehovah Rapha (our healer), or He is the giver of sickness.  He can’t be both, and He only says He’s one of those things.  We know which one if we read His Word.  (Also, why would he put sickness on people, just to have Jesus come and take it away from them?  Jesus wasn’t able to work against the Father, so if sickness was the Father’s work, Jesus would have been working against Him if he healed.)
  2. Because Jesus came and healed ALL he came in contact with.   There is not one place in the New Testament where Jesus left someone unhealed and told them it was God’s will that they remain the way they were.  (The thorn in Paul’s flesh doesn’t count, because it states it was a “messenger of satan” – not sickness  – and it was eventually removed once Paul learned to lean on God’s grace and not himself.)
  3. Because the Greek word for “saved” (SOZO – my favourite topic that I will scream from the mountaintop to free people from religious bondage – and the subject of my recent tattoo!) also means “physically healed”.  In fact, there are many places in the NT where the word “sozo” was used when someone received a physical healing:  The woman with the issue of blood and the ten lepers, just to name a couple.   Healing is part of the same package that salvation is part of.
  4. Jesus told us repeatedly in the Gospels that we are to go out and heal the sick, free people of demons, and raise the dead.  Mark 16 says that healing is actually a sign that will follow those who believe.  Luke 9 says that he sent out the disciples to heal ALL diseases.  He wouldn’t tell us to do something we’re not capable of (with him).  And it wasn’t just the disciples, so don’t let yourself off the hook.  The apostles did it too.  It wasn’t just for them, any more than any of the message of the Bible was solely for those who walked with Jesus.  It was for us too.

Here are the top 4 reasons people don’t believe this is true and it downright ticks some people off:

  1. “Because Uncle John died of cancer and lots of people were praying for him.”  Praying for a sick person is actually something Jesus never did.  (I know, right?!)  And just because he wasn’t healed, why does that change what God’s will was and is?  God’s will is that NONE should perish (2 Peter 3:9), yet people still perish and fail to repent. There is a big gap between what God desires for us and what actually happens, because we have free will.
  2. Circumstance theology:  this is the fancy word for #1.  It’s when people take our earthly circumstances (ie: the healing didn’t or hasn’t happened), and then determine God’s will based on that.  Uncle John died of cancer so that must mean that it’s not always God’s will that people are healed.  A good rule of thumb that I’ve learned, is that NOT EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS LINES UP WITH THE WILL OF GOD.  There are things that have happened in my day already today that were not the will of God.  Yet they still happened, because there are two forces that work against God’s will:  1. The enemy; and 2. My own flesh.  Now, the great news is that both of those things can be overcome.  But if you maintain your belief that whatever happens – even if you activated the church prayer chain about it – is God’s will, you will never get to the point of overcoming those things, because you are missing their involvement completely.
  3. Christians love to spiritualize suffering.  For some reason, we think we are to suffer for Jesus.  Yes, trials will come.  Yes, we are told to take part in Christ’s suffering.  But if you look at the original Greek, we are to “simpatiko” with Christ – to identify with, to have compassion, and to be of one mind with – not physically suffer.  Jesus was called to suffering so that we might be saved through him; my suffering does not accomplish that.  Yes, God will use the hard things I go through to refine me, but He doesn’t author them.  He would much rather I learn through seeking Him and heeding His Word, just like I would rather my children learn not to run in the road because I tell them, and not because they got hit by a car and got paralyzed.
  4. Because we don’t see it happening.  (P.S. You should go somewhere where it is.  It’s way more exciting!)  Just because we don’t see it, again, doesn’t mean it’s NOT God’s will.  It just means we’re missing something.  Remember again how Jesus said, “These miraculous signs WILL accompany those who believe (not just disciples): They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages.  They will be able to handles snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them.  They WILL BE ABLE TO PLACE THEIR HANDS ON THE SICK, AND THEY WILL BE HEALED.”  (Mark 16: 17-18)  Jesus said that, not me!

Part of my journey with this, is that I had to get to the point where I asked myself, “Do I believe the Bible, or do I believe my experiences?”  “Do I believe what God said, or do I believe what I see or don’t see?”

Why can we have faith for salvation, but not for healing?  “Sozo” says they’re part of the same package, so why is one part easy to believe and another isn’t?  I believe part of it is because we never see “failed salvations”.  We don’t know if someone actually went to heaven or not.  But we’ve seen people sick with cancer, or lose a baby, or live with diabetes (or perhaps we ourselves have been the person).  So those experiences taint our ability to accept God’s word about healing (but not salvation), and we eventually decide healing must not always be God’s will.

Friend, God is good.  If you’re not experiencing these things in your life, it’s not because God doesn’t want them for you.  It just means you’re like everyone else and you’re on a journey of faith.  There’s no judgement, no condemnation no matter what you believe.  There is no one waiting to wave a finger at you if you don’t believe these things or even if it makes you downright ticked off.  But I encourage you – do your own study.  Dig into it.  Ask God to show you more of Him and what His desire for you is and what His character is.  I need to do this daily, as I grow and change and realize areas where I’ve missed it.  (And there’s lots!)  But regardless, His love for you is great.  And that’s a doctrine that we can all agree on.  🙂

So maybe your answer to my title question is different than mine.  Perhaps your answer to why this theology ticks people off is because you think it’s wrong, faulty theology.  You’re entitled to that opinion, and I am open to hearing where in Scripture it says that sickness and disease come from God, or that He won’t heal us.  I am always open to some good discussion!

I’ll leave this on this note:  I heard a quote once that really resonated with me, and it said something along the lines of:

The truth that has the most chains around it 

is the one that has the most ability to set you free.

So maybe – just maybe? – has the enemy put enormous amounts of chains around the doctrine of healing in our church, because it is that very truth that has the MOST ability to set people free?  Why does God being SO good anger people the way it does, instead of excite and spur them on to walk in more of His goodness?  I guess that is for each of us to ponder and decide for ourselves.

Peace and blessings.  Thanks for hearing my heart.

 

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