Pain, Sickness, Spirits & the Bible (Steve’s final reply) [Guest Post]

[Update: a dear friend of mine has added her thoughts, informed by her first-hand experience in this area.]

Over the past two-and-a-half weeks or so, I have been in a conversation with Steve Wolf concerning a comment he made on a post I wrote about how I felt I was encountering God in an extreme illness I was facing several weeks age. He felt that it was an injustice to God to think that his Providence has any place in physical illness. I responded to his comment. He then replied to that post. I then gave my final official response to his perspective, with a promise that I would give him the last word and feature his reply as a full post.

Well, here it is. As you can see (if you’ve been following this), he doesn’t really respond to anything I actually said (in my opinion). But, nevertheless, I said he could have the final official word. Any more replying I do in this conversation will be in the comments. Here’s Steve:

Paul wrote the following:

“My Response: Steve, thanks for your response. First, to answer your questions (and give some clarifications): yes, I have received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (as according to 1 Cor 12:13), I have received the gift of tongues, and I fully believe in the contemporary and ongoing healing ministry and gifting of the Holy Spirit.”

Well Paul, this really helps me understand much of your reasoning. I don’t believe you have received the true baptism of the Holy Spirit according to Acts 1:8. It is a second and separate experience from salvation, and I can easily prove this in scripture.

Now I know why you haven’t found any “scholars” to share what I have always thought of as common beliefs. To prove the second experience: In Acts ch 8, Philip ministered to the people in Samaria with truth and much power. They believed and were water baptized. Then the apostles sent Peter and John (notice the second – separate experience) “who , when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized with the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:15-17).

Want another example? In Acts ch 19, Paul found some disciples in Ephesus, and asked them if they received the Holy Spirit when they believed. They replied that they hadn’t ever heard that there was a Holy Spirit, and had only been baptized into John’s baptism. Acts 19:6 “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied.”

You see Paul, its hard for you to wrap your mind around what I’ve been telling you, because you have no power- having not received the baptism. Furthermore, these “scholars” that you read, are actually disqualified for ministry if they haven’t received either.

Wow, calm down , those aren’t my words, that is what Jesus was telling His disciples when He told them to tarry in Jerusalem untill they received the promise of the Father- the Holy Spirit Baptism. They had just witnessed His resurrected body, and would naturally want to spread this good news, but Jesus commanded them not to depart until they had been endued with power. God does not want us to go out on by our own power to preach the gospel! If you don’t have the power, all you have is words. Jesus would never separate His ministry from the power.

In other words, If Jesus needed to show the power to validate His words, who do you think you are to just say whatever you want, and not have to back any of it up with the power of God? Jesus said, “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe for the sake of the works themselves” (John 14:11). What do you do with this scripture, Paul? “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (Jn 14:12). He said “Because I go to My Father” meaning that the Father would send the Holy Spirit Baptism to empower them to do the works that He did.

Paul, I’m Spirit-filled (I pray in tongues) and you are not, so this debate could go on and on and on since we automatically will interpret many scriptures differently. However, don’t you at least believe in the Great Commission?

You know the whole “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel …” part. Did you notice what’s attached to it? “And these signs shall follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 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” (Mk 16:17-18).

I’m sure you read my last post: From Superficial to Supernatural, but doubt it did any good. You need the Holy Spirit Baptism my brother, and then you wouldn’t doubt that physical healing is our right under this New Covenant. If you’ve got a problem with my doctrine, then you have a problem with Jesus. I am simply advocating doing the works that He did (because I’m a believer, and it’s attached to the Great Commission). Acts 10:38- “how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.”

Why do you resist God? Jesus said that a kingdom divided would not stand. How could God be the Author of sickness when He sent Jesus to heal every sickness and every disease among the people? You won’t find one single instance where Jesus didn’t heal a person who came to Him to be healed. Jesus said He could only say what the Father told Him to say, and do what the Father told Him to do. Jesus was the literal physical manifestation of God’s will. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. If Jesus were standing at the foot of your bed during the height of your sickness a few weeks ago- what would he do? Would He heal you ? Of course He would!!!

Why then do you get mad at me for healing the sick by the same Spirit on the inside of me? Should I apologize to every person that has received healing after I laid my hands on them and say, well, that doctrine doesn’t sit well with some people, so try to get sick again.

I watched Jim Hockaday heal at least 50 people last week by the power of God working through him right here in Bixby, Oklahoma. It was undeniable – which is exactly what Paul was always making reference to when he said the kingdom wasn’t in word only, but power. My heart goes out to your friend Jen due to her condition. If she lived near me, I would gladly prove to both of you that Jesus purchased our healing, and that it is God’s will for her to be healed.

By the way, I was speaking of Isaiah 53 and not 1 Peter 2:24 (which you saw the need to reference for me). Isaiah 53:4-5 prophesies of what Jesus’ atonement would accomplish for us. The word is confirmed in Matt 18:16-17 “And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet saying: He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” He bore our sicknesses- seriously man, quit bearing them!

Paul also wrote:

“The Finished Work of Christ: I think it is very dangerous to think and preach that ‘God wishes above all things that we prosper and be in good health’”

Ok Paul, once again, it’s not my doctrine you fight against. 3 Jn 1:2 “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. (KJV) My doctrine is not my own. I don’t believe in a sovereign devil like you say I do. Instead, I believe in a defeated devil (see my Devil is a Loser post). He can only devour those who are ignorant of the Word. We’ll just have to agree to disagree I suppose. I believe people not recognizing sickness and disease as NOT FROM GOD is what is actually very harmful to the body.

How else are we going to “resist the devil” so he can flee from us?(James 4:7) God wants you healed. you say you believe in the Spiritual gifts – how about the gift of healing? Wouldn’t such a person operating with that gift be actually fighting against God? -if God was the source of the sickness? The next time you get sick, don’t take any medication – no pain relievers at all, so that God can truly bring about whatever redemptive purpose – so that you could more fully learn whatever lesson He is trying to teach you!

But wait, I’m the one with the wrong beliefs =) To the guy that considers his Chrones disease a gift from God: would you give/wish that disease upon your son, or how about your mother? I hope not! But God would give that to you? Are you more compassionate than God? That is messed up.

[image credit: “Christ Healing the Sick” by Rembrandt]


9 thoughts on “Pain, Sickness, Spirits & the Bible (Steve’s final reply) [Guest Post]

  1. Steve, I’ll respond with a few things, and maybe more as the days/comments go on.

    First, I have had hands laid on me to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it was demonstrated by tongues, I still actively pray in tongues, I have cast out demons, and have prayed for healing and seen it done, even though I most frequently move most often in the spiritual gifts of prophecy and words of knowledge. Does my “charismatic resume” meet your approval now?

    As I said, I still believe in the ongoing healing ministry of the Holy Spirit. But we’ve all seen people that were prayed for and did not get better. How do you explain that? They just “didn’t have enough faith”? Or did the person praying for them “not have enough faith”? How can you tell?

    I believe we pray and exercise our gifts and then it is up to the Providence and Plan of God as to how he answers. And then, I believe that if some people stay sick (even after prayer), then it is not because God is not good or has forgotten them; it is because as a good Father he knows how best his children will grow and mature and know Him better (see below). Jesus did not heal every sick person in every town he visited. He had to stop healing/ministering even when there were still crowds waiting for him.

    I find it interesting that after using one translation consistently for every other verse you quote, when you get to 3 John 1:2, you suddenly switch to KJV. It doesn’t say “above all things” in the Greek, and the word “prosper” in King James English does not carry the same connotations today (of physical and monetary “prosperity”). In the ESV (or any other modern translation I could find), the verse reads: “Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.”

    And we can’t forget that these are letters. I can honestly say that verse as my wishes for you and anyone else–but it doesn’t amount to doctrine. This one verse isn’t enough to build some big theological system out of. Why would John the Elder have to “wish” or “pray” this upon them if it has already been guaranteed for them at the cross? In your system, it’d be like saying “Beloved, I pray that you all are Christians”.

    Concerning your statements to the “Crohn’s disease guy”, here’s how I would respond (Andrew, let me know if this isn’t your reasoning as well). I wouldn’t wish Crohn’s disease on my son, but I would wish upon my son the maturity, strength, and intimacy in Christ that Andrew’ Crohn’s disease has brought upon him. And then, I would trust God to know how best to do that with my son, trusting that if he gets Crohn’s disease, cancer, or even just chicken pox, it’s not because his faith is weak, but because his Heavenly Father wants my son to know Him better. And then I would pray that God would meet my son in this sickness and then bring healing to him, meeting him once again by graciously healing him. And then we would rejoice that God had been near, good, and absolutely in control before, during, and after the time my son was sick.

    And if my son does not get better from whatever he has, or if he even dies, I will trust that my Father knows best; that neither my son nor my own life are my own and that He lovingly and tenderly does whatever needs to be done in order to draw me and my son near to Him. And Christ will be praised.

    To me, that’s beautiful. To me, that honors God. To me, that fits in with the picture of a God that would use sin, blood, violence, and injustice, to bring about redemption, wholeness, and healing to our hearts, to our world, and purchase the full physical healing of this world and our bodies in anticipation of the glorious Resurrection to come.

    I love you brother.


  2. Pingback: Pain, Sickness, Spirits & the Bible (Steve's final reply) [Guest … |

  3. Paul! you’re funny my brother. No I didn’t respond to each and every one of your points – the same way you didn’t answer all of my questions. Look how long these replies have been to only answer a few points. I’d have to write another book to explain all of the doctrinal questions presented. As a good stewards, we need to devote our time to the ministry we believe God has called us to. By the way I think you made the right decision to change directions as far as seminary is concerned. Knowledge puffs up, and man-made religion blinds and chokes out the power of the Word. It would be foolish to follow the same old models, but expect different results. (Not slamming any specific school- some are good). It is God that makes us sufficient as ministers of the New Covenant (2 Cor 3:5-6) not the certificates on the wall.

    Now then, I will respond to a couple of your questions:

    Paul wrote: “They just “didn’t have enough faith”? Or did the person praying for them “not have enough faith”? How can you tell?”

    It is not a lack of faith, but too much unbelief. A mustard seed of faith can move a mountain. We don’t have to try to obtain more faith, but rather stamp out unbelief. Often unbelief is the result of accepting wrong teaching and false doctrine( i.e. God’s Providence has any place in physical illness). Or it can come from placing more value in personal experiences or your own “track record” with administering healing, than what the Bible says.God exalts His Word above all else, and we should too!

    In Ephesians 2:8, Paul says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and THAT not of yourselves: it is the gift of God,” It’s God’s grace that saves us, but not His grace alone. If that were so, then everyone would be saved because God’s grace has come to all men (Tit. 2:11).We have to put faith in God’s grace, but the faith that we use isn’t our own human faith. This verse says that faith is the gift of God.

    Once we receive God’s supernatural faith at salvation, it doesn’t leave us. Galatians 5:22-23 says, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, FAITH, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law”. Faith becomes a permanent part of our born-again spirits. We sometimes use the God kind of faith that’s present in our spirits and other times we don’t.The truth is, it is always present. There is no lack of faith within any true Christian. There is just a lack of knowing and using what God has already given us.

    That’s what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:1; “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
    Our Lord did say that He had never seen such great faith as the centurion manifested (Matt. 8:10), and He also spoke of His disciple’s little faith (Matt. 8:26), but He was speaking about how much faith He saw. None of us use all the faith we’ve been given.

    In that sense, some do have more faith than others, but technically, it is more faith that is being exhibited or that is functional. We all have been given THE measure of faith.

    Philemon 1:6 says, “that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus.” Notice that Paul isn’t praying that Philemon will get something more from the Lord. He was praying that his faith would begin to work as he acknowledged what he already had. The word “acknowledge” means, “to admit, recognize, or report the receipt of.” You can only acknowledge something that you already have. We already have the faith of God, and it will begin to work when we acknowledge this.

    The more you know about faith and how it works, the better it will work for you. If all you knew was that you have the same faith Jesus has, then that would remove hopelessness and motivate you. People would eventually see results if they just kept trying, but they give up easily because they believe they don’t have what it takes. That is not true. The Lord has given us everything we need, including all the faith we need. We just need to acknowledge what we have and begin to learn the laws that govern the operation of God’s faith.

    Paul wrote:
    “Why would John the Elder have to “wish” or “pray” this upon them if it has already been guaranteed for them at the cross?”
    The things that have been guaranteed or given to us at the cross don’t automatically show up in our lives. They must be received the same way salvation is received: by grace through faith. For the word of God did not profit them, not being mixed with faith(see Heb 4:2).

    Finally, Paul wrote:
    “Jesus did not heal every sick person in every town he visited. He had to stop healing/ministering even when there were still crowds waiting for him.”

    Jesus DID heal every sick person brought to Him. He refused no one. My point is: Jesus walking the earth was God’s will in action. Like I said earlier, if He were standing next to you, He would heal you bro! And so would I, because I have His Spirit inside of me, and when I lay hands on the sick, it is actually Jesus laying hands on them, and they are healed by His power working through me. Unless, of course you refused to be healed – believing God’s providence was behind your sickness.

    Paul, I don’t agree with you about many things, but I think I’m starting to like you. Ha Ha. You called me zealous – well, so are you! But remember, ” It is good to be zealous in a good thing always” Gal 4:18 Peace


  4. Steve, I would argue say something very similar to what Paul said about my Crohn’s disease.

    Our greatest desire in life should be to know God and to know Him abundantly. When we fast, we don’t fast because it feels good, but because the lack of food produces pain that allows us to recall our reliance on God. Any sickness can have the same effect, and the Crohn’s has had that effect on myself.

    As in history, God steps into our fallen world, meets us where we are, and draws us to Him. With Abram, God took his entire life to reveal that he was sovereign and trustworthy. With Israel, God did not institute a democracy or stop sacrifices, or start a women’s rights movement – it’s even arguable that God did not reveal himself as the *only* god, but as the sovereign god over the other gods out there. Consider how many in the OT say things like the following, “Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods”. I say all that to allow the small point that God meets us where we are, and if we are in a fallen world, then he will use the things of the fallen world to bring Him glory.

    It may be that God uses sickness, or mistaken understandings of the world, or even death to show himself.


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