Cessationism, “The Gifts Of Healings,” And Divine Healing -- By: Richard L. Mayhue

Journal: Masters Seminary Journal
Volume: TMSJ 14:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: Cessationism, “The Gifts Of Healings,” And Divine Healing
Author: Richard L. Mayhue

Cessationism, “The Gifts Of Healings,” And Divine Healing

Richard L. Mayhue

Senior Vice President and Dean
Professor of Theology and Pastoral Ministries

The study of divine healing must include the tragic abundance of false teachers with false teachings and false practices, who claim biblical authority, but upon closer examination are clearly not of God. Do “gifts of healings” mentioned in 1 Cor 12:9, 28, 30 still operate today as in NT times? This sign-gift ceased with the close of the NT canon. Does God still heal as He did in both the OT and the NT? An inductive study of the biblical record (including the OT, Gospels, Acts, and NT Epistles) establishes unmistakable characteristics of genuine divine healing. The biblical standards become the measure by which alleged contemporary divine-healing claims should be judged, whether of God or not. Next, God’s ultimate healing promise of salvation in 1 Peter 2:24 deserves attention. In context, the passage speaks of spiritual healing (salvation), not physical healing. Finally, a series of theological observations lead to the practical conclusion that Christians should focus on the spiritual/eternal rather than the physical/temporal. When God does heal today, it will not be through human agency, and it will be characterized as were His healings recorded in Scripture.

Regarding the idea of cessationism, a recent publication contained this remarkable comment. What is your reaction to it?

If you take a new convert, who prior to his conversion knew nothing about the history of Christianity or the New Testament, and you lock him in a room with a Bible for a week, he will come out believing that he is a member of a body that is passionately in love with the Lord Jesus Christ and a body that consistently experiences miracles and works miracles. It would take a clever theologian with no experience of the miraculous

to convince this young convert differently.1

At first glance and without much thought, we might agree. But look at the statement again. For me, this quickly becomes an agree/disagree situation.

I agree that a new convert who is totally ignorant of history, who has no experience interpreting the Bible, and who has no study tools might conclude that the church today experiences miracles like the first-century church.

But I totally disagree, and I suspect you do, too, that the new convert would be...

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