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Published / updated: 10 August 2009 | Author: Dele Oke

Divine healing and medicine: is there a conflict?

If divine healing is ours due to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, why then is it that some people, despite the apparent exercise of faith, do not get healed.

A current account is that of Madeline Kara Neumann of Wisconsin, USA. Aged 11, Madeline died on March 23, 2008, after her parents prayed for healing rather than getting medical help for a treatable form of diabetes. Both her parents, Pentecostal Christians, were convicted of second-degree reckless homicide and face up to 25 years in prison.

No matter your opinion of these parents' actions, one thing is clear - they did not lack the faith to see their daughter healed. Nor has anyone questioned their commitment and love for their daughter.

Leaving the tragedy of the death of Madeline aside, it would be prudent to address two wider questions.

Firstly, does the bible promise physical healing?

Isaiah 53 is an often quoted passage when it comes to divine healing.
Verses 4 - 5 in particular read:

Isaiah 53:4-5 (NIV)

4 Surely he took up our infirmities
and carried our sorrows, (Matt 8:17)
yet we considered him stricken by God,
smitten by him, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (1 Pet. 2:24)

Some Christians claim that these verses are a reference to our spiritual not physical healing. Such an argument wears thin when we read Matthew 8:17. Here Isaiah is quoted in direct reference to the physical healings that Jesus fulfilled.

16 When evening came, many who were demon-possessed were brought to him, and he drove out the spirits with a word and healed all the sick.

17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: "He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases." (Isa 53:4)

Furthermore, writing about 30 years after the death of Jesus, James reiterated.

14 Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. (James 5:14-15 NIV)

The Bible does teach that God is still in the healing business. Physical healing from sickness and disease is part of what Jesus accomplished for us by his life, death and resurrection.

Secondly, does the taking of medicine contradict my belief in divine healing?

I am fully aware that there are some Christians who understand the taking of medical treatment as a demonstration of disbelief in God's word. After all, Jesus never sent anyone to the doctor they would argue.

This over looks the fact that doctors in those days were very primitive. We know doctors did exist because Luke, the writer of the Gospel of Luke was called a doctor (Colossians 4:14).

Medical treatment has come a long way since the days of Jesus. But even in the early church not all sickness benefited from divine intervention. The great Apostle Paul left someone sick at Miletus (2 Timothy 4:20) and Timothy was advised to take a little wine for medical purposes (1 Timothy 5:23). Epaphroditus, a co-worker with Paul, too fell sick and nearly died (Phil 2:25-28). None of these hindered Paul from believing in divine healing.

Paul had a respectable record of praying for the sick and witnessing many of them receive their healing from the Lord. Just read the following accounts in Acts (14:8-18; 16:16-18; 19:11-12; 20:7-12; 28:1-9). Even today, despite the many false and exaggerated claims to divine healing, many genuine cases still abound*.

The truth of the matter is that Paul had a healthy understanding of the different ways in which God can intervene to restore us to health.

There are many causes of sickness and disease. Eating junk food and engaging in very little exercise is one of them. In the latter case a simple change of lifestyle is what would bring remedy to the aliment.

Indeed, the gift of healing is not the only gift available to the body of Christ. There is also the gift of wisdom (1 Corinthians 12:1-11). Sometimes we need to ask God for wisdom on how to address the problem we face. I believe this is what Paul was doing when he asked Timothy to take a little wine.

The next time you face a problem, whether it be the need for physical healing or whatever, ask God how you should go about getting the solution. Medical treatment might well be the answer. Unless you believe that satan is the inventor of all the wonderful medical advances that have been made, you should not be surprised if God leads you in that direction.

As Christians we can get ourselves into serious problems when we put God in a box and expect him to heal us in only one particular way.

Let's learn to be led by God. If any person lacks wisdom let him or her ask God for direction (James 1:5). Sometimes God might ask you to do something natural to get healed (Exodus 15:22-25, 1 Timothy 5:23). Other times God will lead you to speak to the situation (Genesis 20:17).

Let's remember this - satan is not the inventor of medicine. God gave it to us for a purpose and he might sometimes want you to use it. Don't be disobedient.

Taking advantage of the numerous medical technologies does not contradict our Christian faith.

* Read Surprised by the power of the Spirit by Jack Deere. ISBN 184291270 4 for contemporary accounts of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in action.

Your comments
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Divine Healing & medicine conflict.
I agree with much of what you say but I have two negative comments.
First, the Isiaiah 53 quotation covers both physical and spiritual healing; indeed, much ill health is the result of spiritual sickness and it is wrong to differentiate between them.
Second,To suggest that "The next time you face a problem, whether it be the need for physical healing or whatever, ask God how you should go about getting the solution" is rubbish! We ask should ask God to heal us but we should also seek the help and advice of those who have the skills to use medicine and or surgery.
Posted: 14 Aug 2009
By: David Matthews

I believe in divine healing
I believe in divine healing because the word of God says so. I also believe God gave us doctors to deal with our illnesses so if we pray for someone and do not use all that is at our disposal,we are wrong. The word of God tells us God gave us all good things,satan did not give us doctors, God did. Be wise in all you do .Thank you.
Posted 16 Aug 2009
Bruce Hachey

1 Peter 2:24 - by whose stripes ye were healed
Jesus knew that many would receive healing through the shedding of his (red) blood and that the same red blood would make many white as snow. The weight of sin could only be carried by Jesus just as the wages of sin was death. He, being a sinless, willing sacrifice, gave himself to die and paid the price for our cleansing and eternal life with him. The gift of healing is symptomatic of that one ultimate sacrifice and to deny ourselves that gift would be foolish. However, we would be wise to understand that God uses people to fulfill his will much like he used Adam to till the land he created and Jesus to restore mankind back to himself after sin entered the heart of mankind. As we stay in constant communication with God we are assured that the medicines, physicians and healings all come from him. It is all in the process.
Posted 17 Aug 2009
P. Roundtree

Different Treatments

I have a good testimony about this issue which can not be discussed fully in a short note, yet as a pastor, I don't disapprove the use of medicine, because God allows this in the Scripture.

Ezekiel 47:12 "Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing."

This is the instance where God's gave instruction as to the use of leaves for healin/medicine. Apart from synthetic medicines, most medicines are compounded from trees.

If you believe that the statement was meant only for Old Testament, then its fruit should only be meant for Old Testament, i.e. Christians should not eat fruits of any kind of any tree.

Many Christians are unknowingly or deliberately putting God to test. Our God created everything for our use, with a discerning heart and the help of the Holt Spirit, you will know which medicine are approved by God and those against His will. It takes faith in God and in the medicine for it to work too.

In whatever way you decide to treat an ailment, faith in God plays an important part. As a matter of fact, it takes faith by a Dr & the patient for an operation to be successful.

Different situation will determine how you deal with it. The most important thing is putting the situation into prayer before God and asking God how to deal with it

This is the way I see it, if a sickness is of spiritual nature, this is where our faith comes in and healing relies on God 100% without medicine. This is an instance where only the armour of God can assail the ailment, because no medicine can help in its cure (Ephesians 6:12-18).

This is an instance when we are spiritually attacked; sometimes with physical manifestation of the illness (Numbers 21:8 ).

Here our Lord showed his divine nature and used different method to heal the blind man. This is totally different from the way other blind people like Bartimaeus were healed (John 9:6-7).

In the Book of Kings, Naaman the leper was sent message by Elisha to bath in the river, and he was healed.

We must stop putting God to test. With our faith and knowing that by the stripes of Jesus we are healed, the use of medicine are not against the will of God, expect when you start do dabble into magical cures.

Posted: 19 Aug 2009
Pastor Sylvester Akinsete

Your comments
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