Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Judge Not! Misquoted and Misused

Few verses are more quoted than Matthew 7:1, "Judge not, lest ye be judged."  The verse is almost always misquoted and misused.  As far as I can tell, no English translation has the words in this fashion.  The King James Version says "Judge not, that ye be not judged."  While this made-up version says the same as the good English translations, the fact that we so continually misquote it is indicative of our misuse of it as well!  The verse is almost always quoted (or misquoted)  in a judgmental fashion, and with the understanding that the verse gives an absolute injunction against ever expressing a judgment.
It is true, the words "Judge not" mean exactly what they say.  But is it absolute, as we hear others use it, or is there a context?  The answer to that question comes simply by looking to some other scriptures:
·        ""Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15; NASB95)
·         "Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;" (Ephesians 5:11; NASB95)
·        "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep away from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us." (2 Thessalonians 3:6; NASB95)
·        "Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them." (Romans 16:17; NASB95)
How can we fulfill any of the imperatives of these verses without making some kind of judgment?  One would simply have to choose total denial of these Scriptures to hold any kind of teaching that the "judge not" of Matthew 7:1 was an absolute for all times, places, and circumstances.  The teaching, then, must be that there are certain kinds of judgments we are not supposed to make, or judgment in a certain way which we should avoid.  An understanding of the context and other scriptures that warn about wrong judgment provide the only way to properly interpret the verse.

What kind of judgment?

In the context, the Pharisees are in view.  Jesus said in Matthew 5:20 that one's righteousness needs to exceed that of the Pharisees.  One of the perennial pharisaical problems was a nasty judgmentalism that went to the core of their being.  Their attitude seemed to always be, "I thank God I am not like one of them."  In the broader view of Scripture, here are six kinds of judgment we should avoid.
1.     Judgment outside of our sphere of authority.  If it isn't your business, don't make it so!  (1 Thessalonians 4:11, 1 Peter 4:15, Romans 14:4).
2.     Judgment outside of authenticated facts.  We often judge for motive, but we are not very good at accurately discerning the motives of others-or even of ourselves!  In Job 1:8-11 Satan attacked the motive of Job.  Judgment of motive is a satanic activity!
3.     Judgment with hypocrisy.  Sometimes we judge others for that which we have not overcome.  (Romans 2:1, 2 Samuel 12:1-11).
4.     Judgment with haste.  How many times have we jumped to conclusions… and jumped into a swamp!  Proverbs 18:13 says that fools answer before they even know the question, and John 7:24 says that we should not judge "according to appearance."  Sometimes the facts call for a judgment, but sometimes the appearance is deceptive!
5.     Judgment that is beyond God's Word.  The Bible is clear in many areas, and when it is, we should speak clearly, too.  But we like to make the Bible clear about our pet peeves!   It is easy to bring in "don't handle, don't taste, don't touch" commands where the Bible does not do so.  (Colossians 2:20-23).
6.     Judgment that is unmerciful.  When we have to judge-and sometimes we do-we should do so with mercy.  Our goal is a judgment that leads to repentance!

What is at stake?

I think the second part of the verse is much more important than the first.  When we judge, there is another judgment coming! 
Many preachers proclaim that this second judgment is the one that our fellow man will give when we are judgmental.  I  have no qualms with the fact that when we are judgmental, others tend to be the same way toward us.  However, I am not at all convinced that this is the focus of the passage.  Jesus was kind in his demeanor but was severely judged by His fellow man.  Paul said "we try to conciliate, but we have become the scum of the world" (1 Corinthians 4:13).   The response of the world is fickle at best. 
The judgment at stake is not the judgments of men, but the judgment of God!  We too often teach, and believe, that no matter how much we have failed and how poorly we've lived, only glory and bliss await us in Heaven.  The Scripture paints a different picture!
·        "But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God." (Romans 14:10, NASB95)
·        "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad." (2 Corinthians 5:10, NASB95)
Someday all believer will be judged for their works.  This judgment is not for salvation, but for rewards and punishments for the "deeds in the body."   There are at least six things we know we will be judged for in this judgment-
·        Judged for treatment of Israel.  Matthew 25:40
·        Judged for the quality of our teaching.  James 3:1
·        Judged for placing yourself into spiritual prominence.  Mark 12:40
·        Judged for removing yourself from authority.  Romans 13:2
·        Judged for hindering the Gospel of grace.  Galatians 5:10
·        Judged for judgment.  Matthew 7:1, 12:37

With this in mind, I want to make sure that my judgments stand the Biblical test:
·        Is it within my authority?
·        Do I know the facts?
·        Is my judgment hypocritical?
·        Am I judging in haste?
·        Is my judgment beyond the clear teaching of the Bible?
·        Is my judgment given with mercy?
If I don't pass the test, then I will "judge not."  When I do pass the test, I will judge with mercy, seeking to glorify God. 

Dr. Randy White
Dr. Randy White is Pastor of First Baptist Church of Katy, TX and the preacher on the daily radio program Word for the World.

Monday, January 30, 2012


Isaiah 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
14:13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14:14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.
14:15  Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.
The bible speaks of a powerful angelic being that was called, in the beginning, Lucifer. The bible describes him as a most beautiful and powerful being that God had ever created. He was covered with the most precious of stones and his brightness was called “son of the morning.”

Ezekiel 28:12-13 "Son of man, take up a lamentation for the king of Tyre,(Satan) and say to him, 'Thus says the Lord God: "You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; every precious stone was your covering: the sardius, topaz, and diamond, beryl, onyx, and jasper, sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes was prepared for you on the day you were created."
Ezekiel 28:14 "You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; you were on the holy mountain of God; you walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. v. 15, You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you."
v.16  By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

Lucifer was one of the main cherubs and was a powerful member of the Ark Angels, Gabriel and Michel being the other two mentioned in the Bible. He was an angel with great authority and possibly the most powerful of the three that served in the Temple of God.  It was, until Lucifer became consumed with his own beauty and pride entered into his heart. Lucifer was as we are agents of free moral choice. Lucifer was the ruler of this earth, before our creation. His world was the one we now live on. What this earth was like before creation of Genesis 1, is not known, but the fossil records show that there was a world in times before our time, that was much different that what we experience now.
The bible speaks of a war breaking out in heaven as Lucifer convinced 1/3 of the heavenly host under his charge to rebel against God the Father, the Ancient of days with a deception that God wasn’t fair, or we deserve better, or some other lie that we can only theorize, but many angels followed him in war. Revelation speaks of this war:
12:7  And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
12:8  And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
12:9  And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Revelation 12:12-13 "Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time." Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. (Jesus Christ)
Unfortunately, Lucifer now renamed Satan the Devil, has been cast down to earth, his former abode and it is the same home that we reside in. Some people don’t believe he really does exist and it is one of Satan’s master strokes of deception, that he doesn’t exist. Some blame him for everything, or the “devil made me do it” as Flip Wilson used to say as “Geraldine’, or in the other extreme, they totally ignore him as any consequence in their lives. The bible gives ample proof that he is more than an adversary for the typical human being that is outside the protection of God the Father, through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit as protectors. Satan is a destroyer of men’s souls.
It appears that the more carnally educated a person is, the less Satan is regarded as real, and vice versa, the less educated a person is, the more the devil is blamed for everything. In reality, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle of the two extremes. Satan is called our “adversary.” Who is this angel that the masses fail to recognize as their adversary and the corrupter of their souls?

I’m going to lay a foundation from the scriptures so that we will understand more of what we are dealing with.
Revelation 12:3-4, 9 And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars [notice stars] of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. . . So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan [there he is identified], who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Stars are used in this passage and is a word used for angels. This was a major battle in heaven and the rebelling angels lost it and were cast out of heaven.
II Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare the angels who sinned, but cast them down to hell and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved for judgment…..

Here we continue on our explanation of what has occurred on this earth long before us. Another step is clarified in regard to the positions that the angels (or demons, if we want to call them that) are holding at this time. There is some debate over the word used in Greek here that Peter describes as “chains”, but might be interpreted as a pit, or silo which we know is a long cylinder dug in the ground in ancient time, or above the ground to store grain in modern times, but is used here to denote a place of darkness, restraint, or prison. The word "Hell" here in the English versions comes from the Greek 'tataroo' and it means "a place of restraint."
Jude 6 And the angels who did not keep their proper domain, but left their own abode, He has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness for the judgment of the great day.

So, this horde of demon angels who has as their chief commander, Lucifer, Satan the Devil leading them , but many of them were cast into a pit called Tarturos which was a place lower than Hades or the grave, and chained until judgment is brought upon them. How many demonic spirits does Satan have to do his bidding? The Bible speaks of thousands upon thousands administering to Him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing before Him in a vision given to Daniel chapter 7 of the throne room of God. Of the 1/3 of all angelic host that fell to the earth, it would be millions of demonic forces that attack mankind daily to tempt them to do evil, or come against them physically or spiritually. God gave each of these angels led by Lucifer dominion over this earth, and the responsibility to tend to the earth, as their domain, but they left it and rebelled, so God chained them to the earth in utter darkness, meaning no light of the Word of God, or the Father’s presence that brought them life. They were totally and forever separated from the love of God because of their rejection of His authority and His righteousness.
Jesus said Satan was a murderer and the father of lies….John 8:44
….He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
In summary up to this point, it’s clear how all of this fits together now, especially with those verses that we saw in Peter and in Jude; how clear it becomes when putting this together with Revelation 12, that what occurred was that God assigned the angels to the earth, that they were under their commander, Lucifer, who was the sum total of all that God could create by fiat and cram into a created being; that he was perfect in his ways until iniquity was found in him. We see a picture of a being of awesome beauty, of awesome power, of tremendous intelligence, also though a creature of free moral agency.
We are not given a full description of what Satan looked like as Lucifer, if he was human looking, or what his shape was, but he was a created being of incredible beauty and brightness. But what was totally perfect, evolved by his own mind and actions into something totally perverse, totally wicked, and committed to destroying God’s creation of mankind, as they were given the promise of being the Son’s of God and entering into God’s Family.
Can you picture in your mind, what might have been the reaction that Satan took when he realized God’s plan to make man in His own image? I’m only thinking out loud, as I have no idea what went through this angelic beings thought process, but it would explain why and how he felt that God was not fair, that God was putting these frail humans before Lucifer and his host of angelic beings. He was not satisfied with his station in the plan of God. He wanted more, more power, more authority, and rejected being submissive to any other power other than his. He wanted to be God.
What are we up against?
I think that it's necessary for us to deal with the reality of one aspect of the situation. I don't think that God wants us to hide from these things. Once you begin to see what is arrayed against us, you are going to know that it is by grace that we are saved. If we had to fight Satan and his demons without God being on our side, we would lose in the blink of an eye. It would be that one-sided.
We live in a physical realm, but there is a spiritual realm that we cannot see with the human eye. It is a war that is being fought all around us, and it is for the souls of men and the defeat of God’s perfect plan. 
Satan is described as a roaring lion in 1st Peter 5:8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
A lion cares not for the prey, but to destroy the prey for food, to conquer it, to overpower the prey, to kill. So the analogy of Satan as a roaring lion gives you some idea of his intent. He cares not for you, he stalks you, he desires your destruction, and he desires to make God out a liar at your expense.
In the book of Daniel, it gives you an idea of how powerful this force called Satan really is. Daniel had been praying for Israel for weeks, and the Messenger of the Lord came to him:
Daniel 10:10  And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands.
10:11  And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling.
10:12  Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.
10:13  But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia.
This King of Persia in interpreted to mean probably Satan himself fought against this Messenger, which was most likely Gabriel and it required Michael to come to his aid as the Messenger has “wrestled” with the angel for 3 weeks in a spiritual battle to keep him from answering  Daniel’s prayer. Can we get an idea of the power that this being that withstood the Messenger of God?
There is really a great deal of encouragement that comes from this section in Daniel 10. You can understand why the Apostle Paul and also the psalmist said that the angels are ministering spirits. They are ministering to the heirs of salvation. My reader these ministering Spirits are our protectors. This happened without Daniel even knowing what was taking place to prevent an answer to his prayer. These Ministering Spirits stand between us and certain annihilation, as that is Satan’s plan, to destroy every human being that he can convince to reject God and His free offer of grace found in His only begotten Son. He wishes to destroy you physically and ultimately spiritually for all eternity. He wishes you to join him in sure destruction in a fire burning with brimstone and sulfur that was designed not for men, but the devil and his angels.
Mankind is fighting a huge army of demons that have been cast down to earth to do the bidding of their chief captain, Satan. But our army, the army of God, is much stronger than the army we fight for all who believe. When Elisha prayed for his companion to see what was with them was stronger than what was surrounding the camp, as his servant was scared to death:
II Kings 6:15  And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?
6:16  And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.
6:17  And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.
God struck this army with blindness and the army was defeated. So our army of 2/3 of the heavenly host are on guard to protect his chosen people, the elect, the children of God. But it is not enough just to believe that there is a God, you must do more.
James 2:19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe—and tremble!
The demons believe in a most powerful God, who is our Father, our Creator and they tremble at the very thought of Him.
They know God's awesome power and they, unlike man, tremble! Maybe the better English word would be shudder before God! They recognize His power. They are terrified at the thought of God. They are thoroughly convicted that God is!
This verse goes a long way toward helping us to understand that saving faith is not the intellectual acceptance of a theological proposition, that is, that God is, but rather a belief that expresses itself outwardly in a changed life.
Do you understand what I said? The demons believe. They tremble in fear, but they will not obey God. We, too, can believe that God is. We give intellectual assent to a theological proposition. "Yes I believe that God is." But we may not even shudder and most assuredly, most of mankind will not submit.
Satan is most assuredly very real. To deny his existence is to put yourself most vulnerable to his evil ways, his temptations, and the wiles within his power to destroy each and every one of you. His most distinct focus and deception is for you to deny he lives for if he doesn’t exist, then you erroneously believe neither does God. So why would you need the One, when the other doesn’t exist?  But the bible proves that he does exist and is called the prince and power of the air, or god of this world, but God has made a way to defeat him:  Ephesians,
2:1  And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
2:4  But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
2:5  Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
2:6  And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
2:7  That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
2:8  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
2:9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
To fight the good fight with must have the right armor, we MUST believe in the only begotten Son of God, in whom is the only Hope of defeating this most powerful adversary, Satan the devil. Don’t ever under-estimate his power.
Romans  10:9  that if thou mayest confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and mayest believe in thy heart that God did raise him out of the dead, thou shalt be saved,
10:10  for with the heart doth `one' believe to righteousness, and with the mouth is confession made to salvation;
If you realize that Satan is a real power in this earth, then how can we fight such a powerful force that shows its evidence all around our world today, in wars, famine, suffering, and men doing unspeakable things to one another?  I spoke of armor, what armor?
Ephesians 6:11  Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
6:12  For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.
6:14  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
6:15  And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
6:16  Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
6:17  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
6:18  Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;
If  you have not believed in the the Way, the  Truth, and the Life, then you are already defeated. Satan has you exactly where he wants you. You can believe there is a power called Satan, or you can ignore him, because to him, it doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t believe in his ultimate defeat, Jesus the Messiah.
If you have believed, then live a life that testifies to that fact. Embrace the Lord Jesus Christ and let Him be your protector, your shield, you buckler, your high tower, and the only true God in your life. With His grace and mercy along with multiple millions of Ministering Spirits, he can defeat the wiles of the devil that only wish to destroy you, because my friend, Satan is indeed, very real.

By Mike Taylor

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The Charismatic Movement: A Biblical Critique (Signs and Miracles)

Signs and miracles

Charismatics believe that the miraculous sign gifts, including “faith healing,” are normative for today. Therefore, they believe that dramatic miracles are still occurring in the church. Historic Protestantism teaches that the sign gifts served a distinct purpose in the apostolic church—that of authenticating the apostles’ teachings. Once the Spirit-inspired teachings concerning the person and work of Christ were inscripturated, the sign gifts ceased, because they were no longer needed. To determine if the sign gifts are still normative, we must answer three questions: What is the purpose of the sign gifts? Did these gifts cease after the completion of the New Testament canon? Are the miracles that are supposedly occurring today the same as those that occurred in the days of Christ and the apostles?
The Bible teaches that signs are public, visible, miraculous events. Their purpose was not to give believers exciting worship services [39] or a wonderful experience but to authenticate a divine message or messenger, to prove publicly that the person performing miracles was sent from God. “In Exodus 4:5 God told Moses to perform miracles in order ‘That they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers...has appeared to you.’ Thus the miracles attested Moses’ divine mission.”  [40]
Elijah was sent to reside with a widow in Zarephath (1 Kgs. 17). After the widow’s son died, Elijah prayed to God, and God revived her son. What was the widow’s response? “Now by this [miracle] I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth” (v. 24). When Jesus was asked at the Feast of Dedication if He was the Christ, He said, “I told you, and you did not believe. The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me” (Jn. 10:25). Nicodemus told Christ, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him” (Jn. 3:2). The man born blind chided the Pharisees for not knowing that Jesus was sent from God: “You do not know where he is from, and yet he has opened my eyes!... If this man were not from God, he could do nothing” (Jn. 9:30, 33; cf. Mt 9:6; 14:33; Ac. 2:22). The signs that Jesus did authenticated both Him and His message. His greatest sign, of course, was His resurrection from the dead (Mt. 12:38-40).
The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that the miracles he performed proved his apostolic authority. “Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds” (2 Cor. 12:12). If miraculous signs were common in Paul’s day, such a statement would have proved nothing. Miracles were never an end in themselves but authenticated the apostolic message in the first century church. When Paul and Barnabas preached, the Lord, “was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands” (Ac. 14:3; Barnabas is called an apostle in v. 14).
The author of Hebrews asks, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?” (Heb. 2:3-4). The passage refers to those who heard Christ—the apostles. A prerequisite of being an apostle was to have seen the resurrected Christ (Ac. 1:21-22; cf. 1 Cor. 9:1). Paul says that he was the last living person to see the risen Lord (1 Cor. 15:7-8). If the purpose of the sign gifts was to authenticate the apostles as true messengers God, and the apostles are all dead, then the sign gifts are no longer needed; they have served their purpose. If a modern faith healer claims to have seen the resurrected Christ, he is a liar. [41]
B. B. Warfield did an intensive historical study of miracles and concluded that miracles did, in fact, cease after the death of the apostles. [42] He noted that as heresy and superstition increased in the papal church, so did the accounts of “miracles.” These “miracles” were obviously fraudulent, because they were associated with gross heresy, idolatry and superstition (e.g., being sprinkled with Mary’s breast milk, or touching a piece of the cross, or placing the eucharist on a person’s forehead). The Reformation, with its solid biblical theology, discarded all such nonsense and pointed people back to the pure, infallible, sufficient Word of God. Sadly, the Charismatic movement is turning from the purity of Reformation doctrine back toward the subjectivism, mysticism and superstition of Rome.
The fact that...glossolalia were virtually absent during eighteen hundred years and the fact that the gifts of healing which the apostles possessed were no longer in evidence after the apostles had died should certainly give us pause. The testimony of church history would seem to be that the Spirit has not continued to bestow these gifts on God’s people, even though he has continued to guide the [true] church into all the truth. If these miraculous gifts were intended to remain in the church, why did they disappear? If these gifts are essential to the life of the church, why did God withhold them from His people? The conclusion seems inescapable: these gifts were never intended to remain in the church. [43]
If real, dramatic sign miracles are still occurring today, they should be easy to verify objectively. A brief comparison between the New Testament gift of healing and that practiced by Charismatics will prove that Charismatic faith healers are fraudulent. Jesus and the apostles healed many people with a word or touch (e.g., Mt. 8:6-7; Ac. 9:32-35). They healed instantaneously (Mt. 8:13; Mk. 5:29; Ac. 3:2-8). They healed totally not partially (Jn. 9:7; Ac. 9:34). They were able to heal everyone who believed (Lk. 4:40; Ac. 5:12-16; 28:9). They were able to heal serious organic disease, crippled bodies and birth defects (Lk. 6:6, 17; Jn. 9:7; Ac. 3:6-8; 5:16; 8:7). They cast out demons (Lk. 13:32; 10:17; Ac. 10:38) and raised the dead (Lk. 7:11-16; Mk. 5:22-24, 35-43; Jn. 11:43-44; Ac. 9:26-42; 20:9-12).
There are a number of serious discrepancies between the healing miracles in the Bible and what is supposedly occurring today. Most healings performed by Christ and the apostles occurred in public places, in front of unbelievers. They did not hold healing services; they healed people right out in the open, even in front of their enemies (e.g., Lk. 5:22-26; Ac. 3:4-10). Have you ever seen a modern faith healer go into a major hospital and heal the sick? Have you ever seen one heal someone on the steps of city hall, in a shopping mall, or at a public park? If these faith healers have the same ability as the apostles, why do they do their “healings” in church buildings, in front of people who already believe? Signs are given for unbelievers; Christians do not need to be convinced that Jesus is the Christ—they already believe.
Christ and the apostles healed people who were generally known to be suffering from illness. Peter healed a man “lame from his mother’s womb” who begged daily at the temple. Afterward, the people “knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what happened to him” (Ac. 3:10). Christ healed a man who couldn’t walk for thirty eight years, who lay daily by the pool of Bethesda (Jn. 5:2-15). If you go to the typical faith healing crusade what do you see? A room full of total strangers. Virtually anyone could throw away a pair of crutches, and no one would really know if a healing had taken place or not. Why don’t modern faith healers do what Christ and the apostles did and perform a public healing on someone that everyone knows is crippled? The answer is simple: they can’t.
The people who claim to have the gift of healing never seem to get out of their tents, their tabernacles, or their TV studios. They always seem to have to exercise their gift in a controlled environment, staged their way, run according to their schedule. Why don’t we hear more of the gift of healing being used right in the hospital hallways? Why aren’t healers using their gift in places like India and Bangladesh? Why aren’t they right out in the street where masses of people are racked by disease? It isn’t happening. Why? Because those who claim the gift of healing don’t really have it.  [44]
If miraculous healings were still occurring today, it would be very easy to prove. Anyone could take a camcorder to the healing crusade and film the miracle for all to see. But why is this not happening? Because the supposed healings taking place today prove nothing. The typical Charismatic healing deals with back pain, hemorrhoids, leg lengthening (not by two feet but half an inch), headaches etc. Christ restored a man’s hand that was lifeless and withered; the “hand was restored as whole as the other” right in front of Christ’s enemies (Lk. 6:10). They could not deny the miracle. On another occasion, Jesus restored a man’s ear that had been cut off, right in front of His enemies (Lk. 22:51-52). Are modern faith healers restoring amputated limbs? Of course not. Can you go to a healing crusade and observe a withered hand restored right in front of your eyes? No, it’s not happening. If Charismatics were healing crippled legs, withered hands, cut-off ears, blind eyes, deaf ears, palsy, hemorrhages, etc., like Christ and the apostles, they would be on the nightly news, 60 Minutes and 20/20. Sadly, the only Charismatic faith healers who make the news are there because of fraud, adultery, theft, prostitution, and the like.
Christ and the apostles raised the dead. Jesus raised the widow’s son who was dead and already in a casket; afterward, the account of what Christ did “went throughout all Judea and all the surrounding region” (Lk. 7:11-17). He brought to life a synagogue ruler’s daughter (Mk. 5:35-43). Lazarus had been dead for four days and was starting to rot. When Jesus “cried with a loud voice, ‘Lazarus come forth!’” Lazarus rose from the dead in front of many Jews (Jn. 11:43-45). Paul raised the young man Eutychus who had fallen out of a window and died (Ac. 20:9-12). He probably had a cracked skull, broken bones and serious internal injuries, yet he was completely healed in an instant! The Apostle Peter raised the godly widow Dorcas from the dead (Ac. 9:36-42).
Are modern faith healers raising the dead to life? Have they ever stopped at the scene of a fatal car accident and restored shattered bodies to life, as Paul did with Eutychus? Have they ever walked up to a coffin at a funeral and simply spoken the word of life to the dead? “It is interesting to note that those claiming the gift of healing today do not spend much time in funeral parlors, with funeral processions, or in cemeteries. The reason is obvious” (MacArthur, p. 145). While there are stories on Christian television shows of those who supposedly died and then came back to life, these stories cannot be verified. If Charismatic healers could raise the dead, like Christ and the apostles, then they could prove it by doing it in front of a large group of witnesses.


The Bible teaches that miraculous sign gifts served a distinct purpose; once that purpose was accomplished, they ceased. Modern tongues, prophecy and faith healing do not even remotely resemble what took place during the days of Christ and the apostles. The objective testimony of history is that these miraculous gifts ceased after the completion of the New Testament canon. Christ and the apostles did their miracles openly, even in front of their enemies. We challenge our Charismatic brothers to do likewise and prove to the world and non-Charismatic Christians that these gifts are real. Until there is biblical and empirical evidence to support Charismatic claims, we must regard the distinctives of the Charismatic movement to be bogus and fraudulent (2 Cor. 13:1). While we believe that modern faith healers are living in self-deception and (knowingly or unknowingly) committing fraud, we also believe that God heals His people with prayer. If you are presently attending a Charismatic church, you are exhorted to leave and attend a church that focuses on the truth as revealed in Scripture. God is not impressed by large numbers, silly entertainment and the phony miracles of modern Charismatic preachers. He wants you to attend a church that teaches the truth and worships Him as He has appointed in His Word.

By: Brian Schwertley