555 Difficult Bible Questions Answered

442. Can the Church Heal by Faith Today?

There are several religious bodies which teach faith-healing by prayer and the laying on of hands. It is not general, however, among the denominations. But while the divine power is as great today as in the time of the early Church, and while many remarkable instances of healing through faith and prayer are adduced, the usual teaching in the regular denominations is that, in cases of sickness, we should employ the remedies at hand through medical skill or otherwise, and ask God's blessing on these means to effect a cure. There is no passage in the Scriptures, however, which indicates that Christ intended the gift of faith-healing to cease with the apostles. On the contrary, the inference is quite clear, throughout the whole New Testament, that this gift was to remain in the Chorea. We have so largely lost the gift because of our lack of faith, but there are numerous incidents being reported every day of miraculous healing in answer to prayer in the name of Christ. That there are not more cases is not proof that God's power is shortened, but results are proportioned to our faith. There are many instances in the Church today of wonderful answers to the prayer of faith. It is well to remember, however, that God has placed certain means within our reach and we should employ these means and ask his blessing upon them. Jesus himself never said anything in disparagement of the profession of Luke the "beloved physician." In James 5:15 it should be noted that the writer does not say that the oil will save; it is merely a symbol. The healing here mentioned in the first clause of the verse is of the body; the second clause implies that the prayer of faith for one who has sinned will bring forgiveness. The same connection of sin and sickness is employed in Is. 33:24; Matt. 912-5, and John 5 -.14. See also Ps. 103:3. The application is found in the next verse, which speaks of repentant confession. The oldest versions of this passage read, "Therefore, confess your faults one to another," showing that it must be a precedent condition. This does not justify what is known as the confessional, however, in the sense in which it is employed in the Church of Rome. There, all confessions must be made to the priests. Confession, in the apostolic sense, may be made to any one who is godly and who can pray. It is to be an open confession and not one whispered into the ear of a priest.