The Dangers of The Word Of Faith Movement Part C

(We continue our series on the dangers of the WOF movement.)

 

Always God’s will to be healed

Why is physical healing so important? Benny Hinn said “it’s as easy to receive physical healing as to receive forgiveness from sins” “healing should never be separate from salvation”.[1] At another occasion he said ‘it is easy to get healed as it is easy to get forgiven’[2].

So why does Hinn speak of healing in a salvific sense? The relation between salvation and physical healing is so close that the WOF teachers believe it was part of the benefits of the atonement. The WOF ‘teachers believe that diseases are healed through Christ’s spiritual atonement in hell, not his physical death on the cross’[3]. They believe that all diseases are of a spiritual cause. Kenneth Hagin states that thus ‘God’s method of healing must be purely spiritual’. Concluding that the atonement was a spiritual act only[4]. Hence, they conclude that if Christ paid the price that we be healed in this life, then it is always God’s will to heal since he paid for it.

But let us ask this question: what happens to those believers who are sick and are not healed? In order to keep their theology, the WoF teachers have defined sickness as a sin. Hence, physical healing becomes a ‘sign’ that someone has experienced God’s saving work in their life. Yet if a genuine believer is sick and does not receive any healing, then they would treat them as an abnormal Christian at best. E.W Kenyon said “it is wrong for us to have sickness and disease in our bodies when God laid those diseases on Jesus” “Sickness does not belong to the body of Christ” “it is not normal or natural”[5]. Logically then, if someone is not healed, they are outside of God’s will. And if so, then according to the WOF teachers, they are probably not even saved. Because if God does not heal you, it is not His fault. It is your lack of faith. Unbelief and negative confession, according to them, produces sickness. Kenyon warned strictly not to ‘talk about illness’ for it ‘is a tantamount to devil worship’[6].

Even worse, they conclude that even taking people to the hospital won’t help, since they believe that sickness is caused by a spiritual problem rather than a physical one. Rather, they encourage believers to use their faith in positive confession and have an expectation, thinking that it is always God’s will to be healed (physically healed). What if a believer has cancer and are not healed, are they in sin?

Kenyon said “I believe that it is the plan of God our Father that no believer should ever be sick. That every believer should live his full length of time and actually wear out, if Jesus tarries, and fall asleep in Jesus. It is not- I state boldly- it is not the will of God my Father that we should suffer with cancer and other dread diseases which bring pain and anguish. No! It is God’s will that we be healed’[7]

Does this mean that when someone is suffering with a disease they are not glorifying God, but sinning? Miss Gloria Copeland and many other WOF teachers would say so. She said: ‘it is nonsense to say that sickness and disease works for good’ ‘it’s a slander to talk evil about God’ ‘that is pitiful’ ‘or that he is doing it to teach you something’. [8]

So what is their Scriptural evidence to support their doctrine on healing redemption? Their so called ‘proof’ text is found in Isaiah 53:5 which says the following: “and with his stripes we are healed”. It does seem to say that we will be healed and they are right to say that one of the blessing of the cross is that it promises complete healing, a physical one as well as a spiritual one. However, this promise of a complete physical healing is not for now but for the future. This promise will be fulfilled in the second coming of the Lord, when we will have glorified perfect bodies. If God meant that we must be healed and have glorified bodies now, after we are saved, then why do we see throughout the New Testament and the Old, believers becoming sick? Why do any of us become sick if Jesus promised complete physical healing? It is obvious to see that though we are promised physical healing, it is not for now. The primary reason why Jesus Christ went to suffer on the cross was not so that we would be physically healthy in this world, but as you read the text it says “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;” then it says “and with his strips we are healed”. So according to the context of the entire text, healing here refers to spiritual healing.

Let’s take for example Ephesians 2:1 which says we are dead in our sins. It does not mean that we are all literally dead, rather in a spiritual sense we are dead to God. God is indeed concerned of our bodies, but He is more concerned about our souls and our spiritual condition (Matthew 10:28). Salvation and spiritual healing come together once we believe in Christ alone by faith alone as our Lord and Savior. That is why we are commanded to preach the Gospel which is the power unto salvation (Romans 1:17). That is why God uses as a means to save people, the preaching of the Gospel (Romans 10:17).

Is it always God’s will for us not to be sick and suffer? Not always. Nevertheless, God uses suffering in order to glorify His name. The saints glorify God through their endurance of preaching and living faithfully the Christian life even in the midst of suffering. One example is the Apostle Paul. We read in 2 Corinthians 12:9-11 that even though he was suffering with a thorn in the flesh, he learned that even in those times, God’s grace was sufficient. In Romans 5:3-5 after telling us of the great hope that he has: justified by faith in Christ, eternal life and access to God through Christ, he then concludes that knowing this (Romans 5:1-3), he can rejoice and even endure in his sufferings because he realizes that He has Christ. That glorifies God. Let us also consider Job. Job was a righteous man before God (Job 1:1) yet God allowed him to suffer to test his faith. In the end, Job’s attitude was one of humility (Job 42:1-3). God’s plan for us is to become Christ-like by joining with Christ suffering (Romans 8:16-17).

 

[1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIE-rtV9Qu4&t=368s, 2:18 min

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIE-rtV9Qu4&t=4268s 1hr. 02min: 07sec

[3] D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, updated edition, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995. P.148

[4] Ibid p.149

[5] Kenyon, Jesus the Healer, p. 44, p 67 from D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel, updated edition, Hendrickson Publishers, 1995, p. 149-150

[6] Ibid p.150

[7] Ibid p.156, Kenyon, Jesus the Healer, p 65

[8] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIE-rtV9Qu4&t=4268s  1hr 05:46 sec

(For more study on this topic, listen to this audio seminar by Justin Peeters called ‘The Hurt of Healing’ : http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=515131654102

 

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