Modern-Day Healers and Miracle Workers
“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.”
Jhn 14:12 (KJV)
“And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Mar 16:17-20 (NKJV)
“And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”
Act 19:11 (ESV)
“God forbid: yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.”
Rom 3:4 (KJV)
I have struggled mightily to finish this chapter. Finishing this chapter was the largest obstacle that I had to overcome in finishing the book. I struggled because I didn’t know how to disprove the naysayers who say that the great men and women who performed healing miracles after the time of the twelve apostles were all false teachers.
I have studied the lives and read the books of some of these great men and women of God, and my heart ached, and my anger burned against those who would proclaim that their work under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit was false.
Recently, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me the answer to my dilemma. It, as answers from God typically are, was simple yet profound. The answer to the naysayers can be found in the words of Jesus. Jesus said that we, as believers, would do greater works than the works He performed on earth. He wasn’t just talking to the twelve apostles. Jesus said that there would be signs that follow those that believe. I have shown throughout this book that in the Old and New Testaments, healings were performed outside of those performed by Jesus and the Twelve.
I have detailed in Scripture after Scripture the will and the power of God to heal throughout the Bible. The power of God that healed in the Old Testament, that flowed through Jesus and the Twelve and Paul, is still active and available today. That power has a name. It is the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit that moved upon the face of the waters at creation (Gen 1:2) and raised Christ from the dead (Rom 6:10-11) still moves today. The Holy Spirit moves and manifests in gifts of healing and miracles, words of knowledge. The power of the Holy Spirit is manifested/activated by faith today just as it was manifested through Jesus and the Twelve.
Jesus is “same yesterday, today and forever.” The Holy Spirit is the same. How is it, then, that the operation/manifestation of the Holy Spirit in modern times gets to be viewed with such disbelief? How did it come to be that the "healers" and "miracle workers" of my grandparents, parents, and my lifetime come to be thought of as frauds, charlatans, and false teachers?
In my research for this book, I ran across a commentary on one Smith Wigglesworth, one of the greatest faith healers/miracle workers of his or any recent generation. I’d like to walk through the points found in the commentary in hopes of dismantling and dispelling the biblical inaccuracies contained in it.
“Of course, Jesus healed many people as evidence of His deity and power. And the twelve apostles were given the gift of healing as confirmation of their message to the world. But there are no apostles today, and those who claim to fill that role or to have the power of an apostle are deceivers. Today's ‘faith healers,’ like their protégé Smith Wigglesworth, perform their ‘miracles’ only in carefully organized meetings and on a stage they control. None of them are walking through hospitals healing everyone as they go.
Smith Wigglesworth taught several false doctrines:
• All sickness is proof of the presence of the devil. This leaves no room for God's purposes in suffering (2 Corinthians 1:8–9; Hebrews 12:6).
• Illness and disease are linked to personal sin. This ignores Jesus' teaching on the subject (John 9:1–3).
• It is always God's will to heal a person physically. Paul's testimony teaches the contrary, that is it not always God's will to heal us in this life (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).
• If a person is not healed, the blame lies in that person's lack of faith. This overlooks the fact that Jesus once healed a man who had no faith at all (John 5:1–9).
Given all the false teaching from Smith Wigglesworth, we conclude that he was a false teacher, regardless of whatever popularity he enjoyed and whatever shows of power he may have included in his act.”
Commentary Inaccuracies detailed:
- “the twelve apostles were given the gift of healing as confirmation of their message to the world.”
o In Luke 9:1-2 (KJV) “Then he called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” While is true that Jesus gave the twelve apostles the power to heal the sick, he gave the same power to the seventy-two. Luk 10:1, 9“After this the Lord appointed seventy-two and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go… Whenever you enter a town and they receive you, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick in it and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’” Later, the Apostle Paul (Acts chapters 14, 20) and Philip (Acts Chapter 8) also performed healing miracles.
- “This leaves no room for God's purposes in suffering” (2 Corinthians 1:8–9; Hebrews 12:6).
o 2 Cor 1:8-9 (ESV) “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.”
o The author of the commentary presumes sickness is included in “God’s purposes in suffering” and in the “affliction” Paul suffered. The word affliction in this Scripture is thlîpsis. None of the definitions or uses of this word refer to sickness or disease: “The KJV translates Strong's G2347 in the following manner: tribulation (21x), affliction (17x), trouble (3x), anguish (1x), persecution (1x), burdened (1x), to be afflicted (with G1519) (1x). Outline of Biblical Usage: a pressing, pressing together, pressure metaph. oppression, affliction, tribulation, distress, straits”
o Hebrews 12:6 (ESV) “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”
o The author of this commentary presumes, with no Scriptural evidence, that God disciplines/chastises those He loves with sickness and disease. What a horrible assault on the character of God! If we study the lives of some of those with whom God had a close relationship, such as Moses, Abraham, and David, men who made terrible mistakes, we NEVER see God chastising them with sickness and disease. Jesus rebuked the disciples and even told Peter, “Get thee behind me, Satan,” but never chastised them with sickness and disease. One of the ways the Bible says God corrects us is through the Word of God. 2 Tim 3:16-17 says, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
- “This ignores Jesus' teaching on the subject (John 9:1–3).”
o Jhn 9:1–3 (ESV) “As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” The author of the commentary and many others have wrongly interpreted this Scripture to mean that the man’s blindness was the work of God or that God’s will was that this man be blind. I contend that the “work” that God wanted to be “displayed” in him was God’s miraculous power over blindness! I contend that this man was born blind and was there to encounter Jesus at the time that he did so that God could demonstrate that the power of God to heal is greater than blindness.
o Further, if it were God’s will for the man to be blind, why would Jesus go around undoing the work and will of God and working against His purposes in the earth? Well, the answer is He wouldn’t. In fact, the Bible says in 1 Jhn 3:8, “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” Jesus destroyed the work of blindness in the man because it was the work of the devil and not the work of the Father.
o The author of the commentary seems to imply that sickness can’t be linked to personal sin. In 1 John chapter five, Jesus tells the man who had been healed of an infirmity after 38 years, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.” The man had an infirmity that crippled him for 38 years, yet Jesus tells him that something worse could come upon him if he sinned again. This seems to be consistent with Eph 4:27 (KJV) “Neither give place to the devil,” and Gen 4:7 “If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.”
o So, while it may be true that personal sin may not cause every illness, Scripture shows that it can most certainly be the case. And the roots of sickness and disease are identified by Jesus as the work of the devil and not the Father because everywhere Jesus went, He destroyed the work of sickness.
o Moreover, Jesus later sent the twelve and the seventy-two to heal the sick and cast out devils wherever they found them. Jesus, the Son of God, became “fashioned as a man” (Phi 2:8), put on human flesh, and healed the sick by faith through the power of God. He gave that same healing power to the twelve apostles and later the seventy-two. These men also healed the sick by faith. That same healing power is available for us, by faith today, to destroy the work of sickness and disease in our own bodies and wherever we encounter it.
o If it were God’s plan to just rain down healing from Heaven, why would He use men and women on earth in the Old and New Testament (including Jesus) to minister healing individually?
o God's equation, His will, His plan for healing are His power and grace plus our faith and, in some cases, our obedience to depart from sin. Many times, Jesus asked a person to take a faith action or step and/or asked, “Do you believe I am able to do this?” (see Mat 9:28, Mar 5:36, Mar 9:23, Mar 11:23-24, Luk 8:50)
o I have to insert here that often, when people who don't believe in healing talk about God humbling someone or sending them sickness to teach them a lesson, it includes people who don't recover. The man born blind was healed. Saul, who was blinded and became Paul, was healed/recovered.
- It is always God's will to heal a person physically. Paul's testimony teaches the contrary, that is it not always God's will to heal us in this life (2 Corinthians 12:7–10).
o 2 Cor 12:7–10 (ESV) “So to keep me from becoming conceited because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
o I have written a chapter on “Paul’s thorn in the flesh” in “The Bible Promises of Healing Vol I.” In short, I believe the Bible shows that the “messenger” that was given by “Satan to harass” Paul was a demon.
o Easton's Bible Dictionary Messenger:(Heb. mal'ak, Gr. angelos), an angel, a messenger who runs on foot, the bearer of dispatches
o Satan led a third of the angels in rebellion against God. When they lost, they were cast into the earth. The Bible refers to them as demons.
o I believe this “thorn”, this angel “given” by Satan, went about harassing and persecuting Paul by stirring up mobs to beat him, stone him, imprison him, cause shipwrecks, etc., to stop him from sharing the revelation of the risen Christ. I believe the devil similarly inspired Herod to put Peter in prison.
o The devil also stirred up mobs against Jesus to try to stop the flow of revelation that Jesus was indeed the Christ, the son of the living God. I believe God could not take away the persecutions and mobs, even after Paul prayed three times, because God has not promised to take the devil and his angels/demons away until a time later appointed to put them all down at Jesus’ return. Until that time, we are told to rely on His grace or, as He told Paul, “my grace is sufficient for thee.”
o Satan came himself to try to deceive Jesus in the wilderness. When deception didn't work, Satan brought full-scale persecution against Jesus just as he did in the Old Testament when he stirred up persecution against the prophets. Jesus said, “You who killed the prophets” (Luk 13:31-35). The devil's work is to snuff out the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, the revelation of God the Son. Satan did not want the revelation of Jesus, the Word of God, to be exalted in the earth, especially after Jesus' death. The thorn was “Satan’s messenger, not God trying to keep Paul from being exalted or proud.
o I ask this of those who would still cling to the notion that the same God who gives an “abundance of revelation” (as was given to Paul) and then punishes those with sickness and disease for having the revelations. Where are your revelations? Where are the revelations that were given to you that were so powerful that you had to be humbled by God? It doesn’t make sense. Only the devil stands to gain by blocking revelation from God. The devil is the one who stirred up people to kill the prophets in the Old Testament and to kill Jesus and Paul in the New Testament. The devil is the one identified by Jesus in Mark chapter four who tries to steal the Word that is sown in our hearts or to choke it off with the lust of other things, the deceitfulness of riches, or the cares of this life. The Bible says the devil is the one who tries to blind men to revelation (2 Cor 4:4).
o God does not reveal His Word or release revelation and then try to thwart or hinder it by sending sickness and disease to the person He gave the revelation to.
- If a person is not healed, the blame lies in that person's lack of faith. This overlooks the fact that Jesus once healed a man who had no faith at all (John 5:1–9).
o “Jhn 5:1–9 (ESV) “After this there was a feast of the Jews, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem. Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, ‘Do you want to be healed?’ The sick man answered him, ‘Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk.’ And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.”
o The writer of the commentary totally missed it here. Yes, the man’s initial response seems to indicate that he has no faith in being healed because he believes that he can't get to the healing pool when it is stirred. However, when Jesus tells him to take up his bed and walk, the man takes a faith step and tries to get up even though he has been lame for 38 years!
o What an incredible act of faith that was! The Bible says that “faith without works is dead” (Jam 2:14-26). The commentary writer missed that Jesus often asked the person needing healing to take a faith step or action as a demonstration of their faith.
o In Matthew chapter 12, Jesus tells a man with a withered hand to “Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.”
o In John Chapter 9, Jesus tells a man born blind to go wash after he had put mud on his eyes (Jhn 9:6-7): “Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, ‘Go, wash in the pool of Siloam’ (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.”
o In Luke chapter 17, we see Jesus tell ten lepers to take a faith step to receive their healing. Luk 17:12-14: “Then as He entered a certain village, there met Him ten men who were lepers, who stood afar off. And they lifted up their voices and said, ‘Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!’ So when He saw them, He said to them, ‘Go, show yourselves to the priests.’ And so it was that as they went, they were cleansed.”
o In this case, it wasn’t enough for the ten lepers to verbally express their belief that asking for the mercy of Jesus could heal them. Jesus required them to take a faith step. He told the leper in Mat 8:3 to take a similar step. According to a commentary I found on Mat 8:3, this was a big step of faith in that it required them to go against the existing laws governing lepers: “The leper in the story acted contrary to the instructions, stipulated in Leviticus 13-14, of how persons with such skin diseases should act. Being contagious and unclean persons, lepers were supposed to isolate themselves from others, demonstrate their impurity and warn people of their illness.”
http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S2305-08532014000200004#:~:text=The leper in the story,warn people of their illness.
In Acts chapter 3, Peter follows the same pattern as Jesus when he heals a man lame from his mother’s womb, Act 3:6-8: “Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God.”
People like the author of the commentary above don’t understand that modern-day workers of miracles/those operating with healing gifts are copying a biblical pattern. How is Jesus saying "Get up, take up your bed, and walk" in Jn 5:8 or Peter saying it in Acts 3:6 different from a "faith healer" telling someone to get out of a wheelchair?
The author of the commentary doesn’t understand what’s happening in modern times because they don’t understand the pattern of Scripture. This pattern extends back to the Old Testament. In 2 Kings chapter 5, Naaman was told by the prophet Elisha to go “wash himself” seven times in the Jordan River to be healed of leprosy. Until Naaman took this faith step, he couldn’t be healed. God sent a means of healing through the prophet Elisha, but Naaman had to respond in faith, take the faith step of washing in the dirty Jordan River, to receive the healing that God had already made available.
“And He was casting out a demon, and it was mute. So it was, when the demon had gone out, that the mute spoke; and the multitudes marveled. But some of them said, "He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons." Others, testing Him, sought from Him a sign from heaven. But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls. If Satan also is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand? Because you say I cast out demons by Beelzebub. And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they will be your judges. But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. When a strong man, fully armed, guards his own palace, his goods are in peace. But when a stronger than he comes upon him and overcomes him, he takes from him all his armor in which he trusted, and divides his spoils. He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters.”
If the greatest healing evangelists of my grandmother's generation were false teachers and healed the sick and cast out devils, isn't that a house divided against itself? Or is it more likely that the writers of this commentary are more like those who sought to test Jesus and call him a false teacher? Where is it written anywhere in Scripture that God has stopped giving the Eph 4 and 1 Cor 12 gifts of apostle, prophet, evangelist, teacher, pastor, miracle worker, those with gifts of healings, administrators, helpers, and those who interpret tongues?
None of these writers would say that God has stopped setting the gifts of pastors, teachers, administrators, and helpers in the Church. Their own lack of knowledge, understanding, and faith has caused them to say without any Scriptural evidence that God stopped setting certain gifts in the Church. Writers of the commentary I presented want us to stop pursuing God’s exhortation to “earnestly covet or desire the best gifts”:
“And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.”
1 Cor 12:28-31 (KJV)
“Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
1 Cor 12:1-11
The Bible says in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 that there are spiritual “gifts,” “diversities of gifts,” and differences in “administrations” and “operations” of those gifts. It further says that God, through the Holy Spirit, is “working” through the manifestation of those gifts. In 1 Cor 12:31, the Bible exhorts us to “covet” or desire “earnestly the best gifts.” So, being a miracle worker or someone who operates with gifts of healing is something the Bible says I should covet. The Bible says I could desire these gifts and pray that the Holy Spirit, as He chooses, would work those through me. I can desire and ask God that by the Holy Spirit, I could begin to work miracles and operate with healing gifts. That was an amazing revelation to me!
Paul said he was “called to be an Apostle,” “set apart for the gospel” (Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1). We know that Paul responded in faith to his call and began operating as an apostle. Is it possible that those who sense that they are called to be workers of miracles and operate with gifts of healing become “set” in the body of Christ as they respond in faith according to 1 Cor 12:28?
The Holy Spirit has not stopped operating, so the gifts are still available to those who earnestly covet them. We all have different gifts that operate by faith by the will, grace, and power of the Holy Ghost.
“For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching; Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”
“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills. For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. For in fact the body is not one member but many. If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I am not of the body,’ is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where would be the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where would be the smelling? But now God has set the members, each one of them, in the body just as He pleased. And if they were all one member, where would the body be? But now indeed there are many members, yet one body. And the eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you’; nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it, that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have the same care for one another. And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
1 Cor 12:4-26
I think it is fascinating and significant that God placed the “can the eye say to the hand, I have no need of you” analogy in the middle of His discussion of spiritual gifts; gifts that include working of miracles and healings. No one church has all the revelation. I went to a church that had great revelation on faith, healing, and prosperity but frowned upon psychology and even the use of Christian therapists.
Currently, I go to a church that doesn't really believe in healing or prosperity, but they believe in the love of God and some other areas of emotional healing and emotional health that I've never seen anywhere else. This church also greatly emphasizes the type of compassion Jesus ministered to the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, and the harlot who washed Jesus’ feet. I haven't seen this in very many places in the body of Christ. And so, I go there for that, and I go there for the fellowship. But I would not trust my life on what they say about healing, and I've seen too much in my own life in terms of blessings to listen to anything that they say about prosperity.
I recently found a quote by noted theologian A. W. Tozer that let me know that my situation was not unique or even new, for that matter:
“How many blessed truths have you gotten snowed under. People believe them, but they are just not being taught, that is all. He was a man and his wife, a very fine intelligent couple from another city. They named the church to which they belonged, and I instantly said, ‘That is a fine church!’
‘Oh, yes,’ they said, ‘but they don't teach what we came over here for.’ They came over because they were ill and wanted to be scripturally anointed for healing. So I got together two missionaries, two preachers and an elder, and we anointed them and prayed for them. If you were to go to that church where they attended and say to the preacher, ‘Do you believe that the Lord answers prayer and heals the sick?’ He would reply, ‘Sure I do!’ He believes it, but he doesn't teach it, and what you don't believe strongly enough to teach doesn't do you any good.”
A.W. Tozer “How to Be Filled with the Holy Spirit, pg 12 Moody Publishers 2016
The Holy Spirit still manifests all of His gifts through men and women today. We can’t say that we have no need for this gift or that gift. We certainly can’t choose to say that the Holy Spirit has ceased operating in certain gifts because we don’t think they are needed today or because someone has faked the operation of the gifts.
There is always an imitation or fake where there is a genuine article. When Moses’ staff turned into a snake, Pharoah’s magicians were able to imitate the miracle (Exo 7:11-13). Certainly, there have been men and women who have not been called into any office and or who have tried to imitate genuine moves of the Holy Spirit just as the sons of Sceva tried to imitate the casting out of devils (Act 19:11-20).
I had a Pastor named George Thompson, a millionaire who said, “I don’t take financial advice from broke folks.” Though humorous, I still abide by that today. Similarly, I don’t receive “spiritual advice/counsel” related to healing from those who don’t have a revelation of healing and miracles.
One of my favorite Bible teachers, Keith Moore, said, “we teach healing, and we see healings.” He said this in response to another pastor who asked why he didn’t see healings manifested in his church. That pastor, like in the A. W. Tozer believed healings were possible but didn’t believe it enough to teach it in his church. Rom 10:17 ((NKJV) says, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
If we want to see the Holy Spirit manifest the gifts of healing and working of miracles we must go to a place where the Word of God is being preached about the operation of these gifts versus a place where they say we have no need of these gifts today. We need to hear the Word of God on healing and miracles to add our faith to it, mix our faith with it so that it will prosper (Isa 55:11), and benefit/profit.
“For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.”
I conclude this chapter with some biographical snippets of some of the greatest healing evangelists. You can research the lives of these great men and women and see that they espoused the same Scriptural principles that were modeled for us by Jesus, the twelve apostles, and Paul. For example, Smith Wigglesworth practiced fasting before dealing with the sick. He believed it was necessary for those whose sickness was demonically inspired. Jesus healed the boy the disciples could not heal, who was deaf and dumb and kept being thrown into the fire and water. First, he rebuked them for their lack of faith, then said, "This kind cometh not out but by prayer and fasting." This kind of what? This kind of demonic spirit. Smith Wigglesworth followed the example of Jesus in Scripture and received the same result.
However, Wigglesworth's real calling card was something that's all but lost in the modern Pentacostal faith: healing,
Smith would pray and the blind would see, and the deaf were healed, people came out of wheelchairs, and cancers were destroyed. One remarkable story is when He prayed for a woman in a hospital. While he and a friend were praying she died. He took her out of the bed stood her against the wall and said "in the name of Jesus I rebuke this death". Her whole body began to tremble. The he said "in the name of Jesus walk", and she walked. Everywhere he would go he would teach and then show the power of God. He began to receive requests from all over the world. He taught in Europe, Asia, New Zealand and many other areas. When the crowds became very large he began a "wholesale healing". He would have everyone who needed healing lay hands on themselves and then he would pray. Hundreds would be healed at one time.
Over Smith's ministry it was confirmed that 14 people were raised from the dead. Thousands were saved and healed and he impacted whole continents for Christ.
From Poverty to America's Healing Evangelist
Oral Roberts is one of the best known healing evangelists of the 20th Century… During a sociology class at Phillips University in Enid, he heard God speak: "Son, don't be like other men. Don't be like any denomination. Be like Jesus and heal like he did." From that moment, Roberts determined that he would take God's message of healing to his generation. He moved his family to Tulsa and began to hold crusades across the US.
From 1947-1962, Oral Roberts' large scale tent crusades changed the religious landscape of American evangelicalism. Oral Roberts' name became synonymous with healing. Across the United States, millions of people came to his large tent crusades to hear his dynamic preaching and to witness first hand the power of God as he prayed with people. Millions of people came to Christ and were healed in his ministry…. ORU was founded as a different kind of Christian University… ORU drew students from a variety of theological backgrounds, all unified by a belief in the Holy Spirit and healing. This was demonstrated in 1968 when he joined the Methodist Church in order to expand the ecumenical reach of his ministry. Although the move was ultimately detrimental to Roberts' Pentecostal support base, he believed it fulfilled God's call to bring healing power to his generation.
The American prophet and evangelist William Branham was, to all intents and purposes, another such man. Initiator of the post-war healing revival… Branham claimed that throughout his later life he was guided by an angel who first appeared to him in a secret cave in 1946. Preaching to congregations of thousands (sometimes 20,000 would attend his meetings), his ministry was characterised by amazing manifestations of healing and the word of knowledge. Church historian David Harrell says of him: "The power of a Branham service… remains a legend unparalleled in the history of the charismatic movement."… The American evangelist, TL Osborn, told of his visit to a Branham healing meeting: "I was especially captivated by the deliverance of a little deaf-mute girl over whom he prayed thus: 'Thou deaf and dumb spirit, I adjure thee in Jesus' name, leave the child.' When he snapped his fingers, the girl heard and spoke perfectly."
Very often, as people approached him in the healing line, Branham would describe their illness, other unknown information about them, and sometimes even call them by name. The gift, many people insisted, was 100 per cent accurate. Walter J Hollenweger, who interpreted for Branham in Zurich, said that he was 'not aware of any case in which he was mistaken in the often detailed statements he made'.
The Canadian charismatic leader, Ern Baxter, who knew Branham well and worked extensively with him for seven years, also testified to the tremendous accuracy of his words of knowledge: "Before praying for a person, he would give accurate details concerning the person's ailments, and also details of their lives – their home town, activities, actions – even way back in their childhood. Branham never once made a mistake with the word of knowledge in all the years I was with him. That covers, in my case, thousands of instances."
A. A. Allen
“He left the pastorate and began to hold meetings as a singing healing evangelist. In Missouri a coal miner who had been blind for several years was healed. Allen held meetings and was constantly on the road. This was a strain for Lexie and their four children. Income was not stable and the responsibility was wearing on her. In 1947 Allen accepted a call to pastor a church in Corpus Christi, Texas. He wanted to settle down and have a family life. The church blossomed. Allen had a vision for reaching more people. He wanted to start a radio ministry. The church turned him down and he was devastated. He realized, over time, the enemy had taken advantage of his hurt and attacked him.
In 1949 the healing revival, notably led by William Branham, was making news. He was incredulous at first, but felt stirred to look into what was happening. He went to an Oral Roberts tent revival meeting. He realized as he watched what was happening that this was the ministry God had called him to. He had been unwilling to pay the price to see it, however. He resigned his pastorate, in 1950, and once again began holding evangelistic meetings. People would be healed in their seats as he preached. He also had his first article in the influential ‘Voice of Healing’ magazine put out by Gordon Lindsay.”
T. L. Osborn
“God wasn't finished with the Osborns yet. He had heard their cries to see and hear the reality that Jesus still did miracles. In September 1947 he couple returned to pastor Montaville Tabernacle in Portland, Oregon. William Branhan was traveling with Jack Moore and Gordon Lindsay holding healing meetings. They held meetings in November 1947 at the Portland Civic Auditorium. Daisy attended a meeting first because T. L. was in the midst of a denominational convention. She told T. L. about the meetings and he knew had to attend. The healings and miracles in Branham's meetings were dramatic. He would call people out by name, tell them their sicknesses, and then pray for them and they would be healed. The Osborns were overwhelmed with a new vision of the love of Jesus and the fact that He is the same ‘yesterday, today, and forever.’ What impressed T. L. the most was that Branham exalted Jesus and showed Jesus' ability to love and heal people. He saw Branham as a humble man simply doing what Jesus asked him to do. T. L. began weeping at what he saw Jesus doing. The blind saw, the deaf heard, and the crippled walked. T. L. said it was as if he heard a thousand voices saying ‘you can do that too.’ Once more the couple was shaken to their roots.
The Osborns decided to read the Bible in a new way. They read about the miracles and the fact that Jesus gave His disciples the authority to do what He did. T. L. fasted all food and water for three days as he sought God's presence. The Lord spoke to him and said ‘As I've been with others, so I will be with you. Wherever you go, I will give you the land for your possession. No demon, no disease, or no power can stand before you all the days of your life, IF you get the people to believe my Word.’ They began to hold healing meetings at their church. Immediately they began to see healings and miracles. Their first miracle was a woman who had been badly injured in a car accident and could barely walk with crutches. She came under the power of God and started walking normally around the room with her eyes closed. When she opened her eyes she was completely healed and gave testimony that she had heard an angelic choir singing the praises of God.
The missionary flame in the Osborns rose up once again. Now that they were seeing healings and miracles they felt they had the answer to reach the lost in foreign lands. They didn't have a lot of money but they were invited to go to Jamaica and preach in early 1949. They became affiliated with the Voice of Healing Organization. They returned to the US and held meetings with William Branham, F. F. Bosworth, and Gordon Lindsay. These meetings gave T. L. national attention, but the Osborns hearts were for the lost in foreign lands. Between 1950 and 1964 the couple held large crusades in 40 countries. In 1953 the Osborns formed the Association of Native Evangelism made up of local pastors to plant churches. The meetings were some of the largest ever held before that time. The meetings would often have tens of thousands of people attending, with large numbers of people being saved. Wherever they went their ministry was marked by dramatic miracles and healings.”
“Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman was born on May 9, 1907, in Concordia, Missouri. Her parents were German and she was one of four children. Her mother was a harsh disciplinarian, who showed little love or affection. On the other hand, she had an extremely close and loving relationship with her father. She would describe, as a small child how, her father would come home from work and she would hang on his leg and cling to him. She often said that her relationship with God the Father was extremely real because of her relationship with her own father.
Kuhlman was converted, when she was 14, at an evangelistic meeting held in a small Methodist church. When she was 16 she graduated from high school, which only went to tenth grade in their town. He older sister Myrtle had married an itinerant evangelist, Everett B. Parrott. They spent their time traveling and asked that Kathryn could join them for the summer. Her parents agreed and she went to Oregon to help out. She worked with them, and often gave her testimony. When the summer was over she wanted to stay, and the couple agreed. She ended up working with them for five years.
The evangelistic team was made up of four people, Everette, Myrtle, Kathryn, and pianists named Helen Gulliford. In 1928 Everette missed a meeting in Boise, Idaho. Myrtle and Kathryn preached to cover for Everette. The pastor of the church encouraged Kathryn to step out on her own. Helen agreed to join her. Her first sermon was in a run-down pool hall in Boise, Idaho. The team covered Idaho, Utah, and Colorado for the following five years. In 1933 they moved into Pueblo, Colorado. They set up in an abandoned Montgomery Ward warehouse. They stayed there for six months.
Denver, being a much bigger city, was the next stop. They moved several times but ended up in a paper company's warehouse, which they named the Kuhlman Revival Tabernacle. Then in 1935 they moved once more to an abandoned truck garage they named the Denver Revival Tabernacle. Kathryn was seeing a lot of success in Denver. The church grew to about 2000 members. She began a radio show called ‘Smiling Through’ and invited speakers from all over the country. One of them was Phil Kerr who taught on divine healing. In 1935 another invited evangelist was Burroughs Waltrip.
Waltrip was bad news for Kuhlman. He was a charismatic, handsome man several years older than she was. There was an immediate attraction, and one family claims to have seen the couple embracing in 1935, but he was married and had two children. Waltrip left Denver and went home to Austin, Texas, but the relationship simmered between Kuhlman and Waltrip. In 1937 he was invited back to Denver to take the pulpit for two months. Shortly after he divorced his wife and abandoned his two sons. He then spread the story that his wife had left him. He moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he told everyone he was single, and started a new ministry. Waltrip raised pledges of $70,000 to build a ministry building called Radio Chapel. It was state of the art with a disappearing pulpit and an art deco style. He appeared to be a successful and dynamic preacher.
There was an ongoing relationship between Kuhlman and Waltrip, and they married in September 1938. Kuhlman was naive about the consequences of her choices and the marriage was a disaster. She announced to her church that she and Waltrip were married and they would go between Denver and Mason City preaching at their two churches. Most of the people in her congregation left due to her relationship with Waltrip. She gave up her church in Denver, lost some of her closest associates, and moved to Mason City. Waltrip's success turned out to be a pipe dream as well. The Radio Chapel was completed in June of 1938. By October 1938 Waltrip could not meet his debts. In December Waltrip was demanding a higher salary, even with the shortfall in income. His Board of Directors quit and left him to deal with the finances. His solution was not to pay the mortgage or debts on the Chapel. Radio Chapel went into bankruptcy. Waltrip's last sermon was in May 1939. The Waltrips were on their own. Kathryn's happy vision of she and her husband flying back and forth between Denver and Mason City with a successful preaching careers was utterly demolished.
The next few years were very hard for the couple. They embarked on the road as traveling evangelists, primarily staying in the Midwest. They were not accepted in many places due to their marriage history. Initial advertisements listed Waltrip as the primary evangelist. Then occasionally Mrs. Waltrip was also mentioned. By the early 1940s Kathryn Kuhlman Waltrip was given equal billing. Finally by the mid-1940s Kathryn was using only Kathryn Kuhlman in meetings where she was the primary speaker. In 1944 Kuhlman went on an evangelistic tour on the east coast without Waltrip. It may have been a conscious decision to leave him, or she may also have taken the opportunity to reassess her life. It appears to have been more gradual as Waltrip wrote about them as a couple as late as 1946. Kuhlman never returned to Waltrip and they eventually divorced in 1947. She left her marriage behind and from then on acted as if it never existed in the first place.
In 1946 Kuhlman was asked to speak in Franklin, Pennsylvania. She was well received and decided to stay in the area. Kuhlman began preaching on radio broadcasts in Oil City, Pennsylvania. These became so popular they were picked up in Pittsburgh, and she was preaching throughout the area. She began to preach about the healing power of God. In 1947 a woman was healed of a tumor while listening to Kuhlman preach. Several Sundays later a man was also healed while she was teaching on the Holy Spirit. She was now convinced of God's healing work. One important thing to note is the context and timing of this breakout period in Kuhlman's life. 1947 was the beginning of the Healing Revival (sometimes referred to as the Latter Rain Revival) that would last for the next 10 years. What was happening in Kuhlman's meetings was breaking out across the United States. It was in this time frame that the Voice of Healing Ministry was established and men like William Branham, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen and many others were propelled onto the public stage. Kuhlman was not associated with those groups, but stepped into the flow of what God's Spirit was doing across the nation and the world.
In 1948 Kuhlman held a series of meetings at Carnegie Hall in Pittsburgh. She eventually moved to Pittsburgh in 1950, and continued to hold meetings at Carnegie Hall until 1971. She was used by God to bring the charismatic message to many denominational churches, including the Catholic Church. (She received a lot of criticism over this and was accused of being a closet Catholic.) These were her best known years. Her style was flamboyant. She would hold her famous miracle services and the auditorium was filled to capacity every time. She was on radio and television shows. She was ordained in 1968 by the Evangelical Church Alliance. Hundreds of people were healed in her meetings, and even while listening to her on the radio or television. People she prayed for would often be hit with the power of God and be ‘slain in the Spirit.’ Kuhlman never claimed that she was the healer. She always pointed people to Jesus as their healer.
Kuhlman had been diagnosed with a heart problem in 1955. She kept a very busy schedule and overworked herself, especially in the 1970's. She traveled back and forth from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles frequently, as well as taking trips around the world. Her heart was enlarged and Kuhlman died on February 20, 1976, in Tulsa, following open-heart surgery. Videos of some of her services are still available and continue to be popular today.”
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