I recently reported briefly on the Jack Deere meeting on Friday evening, January 1997, at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church in Houston, at the conclusion of which the speaker invited persons with several specific sicknesses or infirmities to come to the altar for prayer that God would heal them. One preacher who read my report responded with a question, to which I replied, prompting another question and another answer. Because this questioning brother speaks for many believers these days, I share his questions and my answers, as follows.
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Q: I’m admittedly skeptical. Did the people who came forward have any real, visible illness?
A: The ailments mentioned on this occasion were not visible, although some were objectively verifiable by diagnostic tests. You must understand that Jack did not say anyone would be healed — and I do not know yet whether God in his mercy healed any who went forward. He simply invited people with those specific problems (or any others, who wished) to come and ask God for healing. This was not a “side-show” and it was not done in a flamboyant or presumptuous manner.
I do know some of the people affected and, if they tell me that God healed them, I will rejoice and give thanks. Why do you suppose we are so upset at the idea that our kind Father might choose in mercy to heal some of his dear children?
Q: I am not upset at God’s action. I am upset that people claim to work miracles and set people up to be disappointed. I would like to know if anyone was healed, what kind of ailments they had, and if they remained healed the next day. Did any maimed have limbs replaced? Were lame able to walk? Could blind see? Could deaf hear? One who claims miraculous power should show some evidence.
A: I do not know what tender mercies of healing, if any, God bestowed in answer to many prayers of faith last Friday night, but I shall praise him for his goodness if I learn of some. Let it be clear that no one claimed miraculous power on that occasion. Brother Jack Deere, on the authority of the Word of God, simply invited persons afflicted with diseases and infirmities to bring them in prayer to Jehovah Rapha and to Jesus the Great Physician, if perchance God would be pleased to heal as is his nature and according to his sovereign will.
Jesus came to save the whole person (1 Thes. 5:23). On the cross, He bore the sins of our soul and the sicknesses of our body (Isa. 53:4-6; Matt. 8:16-17; 1 Pet. 2:24). In the mighty name of Jesus, which represents all that he did before God in our stead and on our behalf, we proclaim healing and salvation (Acts 4:10, 12) according to God’s sovereign purpose (Acts 4:28).
The New Testament is full of people coming to Jesus and his representatives to ask for healing — and of God answering many of those prayers. How can we claim to be “New Testament” churches if we never see anything that even faintly resembles that? Of course we cannot heal. God is the healer. But we can pray, and we can invite others to come ask God for healing in the name of his blessed Son, Jesus Christ.