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Is James 5:14 a Past, Present, or Future Reality?

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(With reference to the Dispensationalist view)

In James 5:14 we are told that the sick WILL be healed. It does not say 'maybe'. The words tell us that the sick person will be healed. There is nothing equivocal about that. Yet, as any honest man will admit, people are not always healed after complying with James 5:14. So, what is the problem?

Some say the verse and the entire book of James is not for us today, but was for the church at the time, or, conversely, that it is for a future 'dispensation'. Others say that if the command given in the text is not backed by faith, then healing will not occur. Another group will tell us that only an elder with the gift of healing can make the healing come about. On the other hand, those who oppose charismatics tell us that all gifts ceased when the last Apostle died. And so the list of differing views goes on.

(2015 Note: Anecdotal evidence: I read of the following: a paralysed woman, the cause of which was well attested to medically, went to her church on Sunday. She had an idea to approach the pastor and ask for healing. He duly asked the other elders to join him on the podium. Together they prayed over the woman, who had been in a wheelchair for years. Immediately, the woman got out of her wheelchair and walked. Now, that was not the point that interested me: the real issue was that neither the woman nor the elders were convinced God would do anything; indeed, they were half-hearted. Yet healing occurred! There is no evidence the church was charismatic and zealous – if anything there was no real belief that God would do anything. We should bear this in mind as we read this article and consider its ideas).

 

It is a rule of scripture (but rarely followed) that scripture must interpret itself. If a text has no immediate interpretation, then we must look at it in its context. If that is not sufficient, then we must look at the actual language to see if the wording and structure will give clues... is it literal or figurative? Who is the text referring to? Are alternative interpretations possible? And so on.

 

We must always bear in mind that certain texts were meant only for certain people. For example, most Christians think that the 'beatitudes' of Christ were spoken to the multitude, yet, these words were spoken directly to the Apostles on their own. They were not spoken to the multitude on the hill. They certainly were not aimed at the general, unsaved public. In our study we will concentrate on what scripture actually tells us. We will not rely on particular hypotheses, no matter how famed they are or how many folk subscribe to them. (Many do not realise that their ideas are hypothetical and not from scripture itself).

What Does the Bible Say?

Who is this text referring to?

The first verse in the book of James tells us the book was written to "the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad". That is, to Jews. For this reason, followers of Dispensationalism (and others) tell us the book is not relevant for Christians, let alone for us today. Is this the case? Let us examine the claim in closer detail...

Who is James referring to in his letter? Yes, Jews. That much is clear. But, is it written to all Jews 'scattered abroad'? No, it is not... and this is where we believe Dispensationalists etc., fail in their interpretation. Look at the very next verse (2). It starts with the words "My brethren". What does this mean? It has only one meaning: that James was writing to Jewish Christians. He was certainly not writing to all Jews. Paul also wrote to Jews (and gentiles, of course), but only to those who were Christians.

This is to be expected, for virtually all the Christians in the early years of Christianity were Jews! A brief study of Paul's missionary journeys will verify that fact. Read the famous passage in Acts which describes Pentecost and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. We see thousands of Jews being saved, not thousands of gentiles.

Also, neither James nor Paul would call their readers 'brethren' unless they really were brethren in the terms of the new testament given by Grace through Jesus Christ. Paul was a Jew of Jews. He was a leading doctor of Jewish theology. Thus, he was careful to make an important distinction between saved and unsaved Jews. Even a cursory reading of scripture will tell us that. Whilst he would have gladly referred to fellow Jews as his 'brethren' before his own salvation, there is no way that he could do so after his salvation - especially not without careful definition and distinction.

We must also remember that the word can be used in two main ways: in a racial sense (i.e. referring to one's birth-race) or, in a salvationary sense. Paul would not have made the simple, but vital, error of using the word 'brethren' in the wrong sense or with the wrong people. James was just as careful.

In verse three, for example, we read "the trying of your faith worketh patience". Whose faith? What faith? James could not and would not be speaking of the Jewish faith, because it was crippled by tradition and legalism! He was talking only about the Christian faith, which had now replaced Jewish faith: they were Jews by birth, but they were Christians by election to salvation. They were 'new creatures' and they had a new faith, the faith of Jesus Christ. This is repeated and reinforced in verse 18:"he begat us with the word of truth" and "we should be... firstfruits of his creatures". There is no way that these words can apply to anyone (Jew or gentile) other than the saved. That this faith is of Jesus Christ can be seen in chapter two, verse one.

Finally, on this point, there are many references in scripture to the term 'brethren' and 'brother' meaning Christian brother/s (and sisters). Also, we are told that not all who called themselves Israelites were of Israel (Romans 9:6b). Only a small number of Jews were real Jews: that is, as defined, elected and saved by God.

Whilst this book was written to Jews, it was because the majority of Christians at that time were Jews anyway. Furthermore, the Jews had certain traditional values and they had a deep understanding of Old Testament teaching. These had to be re-explained in New Testament ways, but based on wording and concepts they already knew. That is why James used the examples of Abraham and Rahab.

So, let us not get hooked on the barbed but illusory idea that the book of James was meant only for Jews! It was for Christian Jews, and, as the New Testament tells us (in Romans, etc), there is no difference between Jew or gentile when it comes to salvation. Thus, the book of James - including verse 14 of chapter 5 - is for us today, too. Now let us examine the actual text.

The Broad Context

The broad chapter context of James 5 is that of James encouraging the Jewish Christians to stay firm in their faith: "stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh" (5:8); which still applies. He goes on to say that they were to take the prophets as a good example of endurance. The section on prayer for the sick properly begins and ends with verses 13 to 19.

We should note that the whole book of James is filled with a variety of teachings, exhortations and good Christian counsel. All of it bears the authority of God, because it is His word. As all of scripture is for our use, the whole text of the book of James is no different.

A Dispensationalist will say that the book was written to the Jews but that it refers (and linked to the idea of a literal thousand year reign on earth by Christ) primarily to the 'Tribulation period'... so, the event is still future. But, it does not make sense, for the wording and the structure are in the present tense i.e. "Is any among you afflicted?" etc. It refers to confessing faults to one another - something we are all told to do in other parts of scripture. Therefore, how can we logically and honestly differentiate between present action and future action, when the text itself is present tense?

Verse 19 is even more potent, for it says "if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him" etc. Without doubt, if a fellow Christian is in error, the time for repentance and change is right now, not sometime in the future. Otherwise, the alternatives here are:

(a) that the Jews were being told they must repent, etc., in the future, but that it does not apply yet

(b) that if the teaching is only for the Jewish church (and not for the Christian church, according to Dispensationalists... a distinction which cannot be supported by scripture. There is only one Church) in the future, then it does not apply to us today. What, then, of men today who are in error? Do they just continue in their error?
Of course not. Must they repent immediately? Yes.

It has been said that the book of James is not for Christians today and that it does not contain doctrinal statements or specific interpretations for us, either. It might, however, contain "many applications". The trouble with such a view is that it is based entirely on the validity of human hypotheses. We are told plainly in scripture, that:

"All scripture (is) given by inspiration of God, and (is) profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Timothy 3:16).

Note - not just parts of it, but every jot and tittle. No man can tell another that this or that text is not for doctrine; ALL scripture is 'doctrine'! (See BTM publication on this subject). Furthermore, the same text can be for the reproof of one, the correction of another, the encouragement of another, and so on, at different times. The Bible is not a block of stone, but is the living word of God, dynamic and direct.

It is but a short step from saying some parts are not for us, to saying that some parts are not relevant or even authentic. Dispensationalists say that "Unless you study the Bible DISPENSATIONALLY you are being disobedient to 2 Timothy 2:15 and God's approval will not be yours." (The block capital emphasis provided by a Dispensationalist writer).

This Dispensationalist teaching is not a valid interpretation, but is in error. The words "rightly dividing the word of truth" (2 Timothy 2:15) have nothing at all to do with dispensations as per Dispensational hypothesis! They simply mean that we must carefully examine the word of God and properly teach it. This is an obvious interpretation; the Dispensationalist view actually tortures the text and provides an 'interpretation' which requires a great deal of prejudice gained from prior indoctrination. (For myself, I do not believe Dispensationalist views because they do not make sense, not because my own personal views clash with those of another. More importantly, Dispensationalism is not good theology because it does not tie in with what scripture really says).

Finally, we ought to note that James is giving a broad selection of advices, which have no obvious link except that they are God-given. They are given in a very matter-of-fact way, as if to suggest that it was all quite ordinary and usual for all churches to practice the things spoken of.

A Brief Textual Analysis

In this section we hope to discover a reason why not all are healed after they have complied with James 5:14. We will then briefly discuss anecdotal evidence from this writer's own past experience... but it is the scriptural evidence which must take precedence.

"Is any sick among you?"

This verse applies to anyone in the fellowship (that is, a fellow Believer) who is very ill - possibly close to death or in dire physical straits. The word 'sick' in verse 14 is 'astheneo', meaning weak/sick/impotent/ diseased/made weak/feeble/without strength/powerless. The root word is 'asthenes', meaning infirm, weak, feeble etc. 'Asthenes' is the base of 'sthenoo' (from 'sthenos'), which is the opposite of 'asthenes'. It means bodily vigour or to make strong.

Thus, we have a picture of someone who has no strength or vigour, because of a serious sickness. The person is very weak, so weak that he or she must remain seated or laying down. Indeed, death or some seriously impaired future awaits, so the situation is serious.

How do we know how serious the illness is? After all, even a bad cold can debilitate (some) folk! No, it is not a common self-healing malady; it would be pointless and trite to call the elders when the body will soon recover through natural means. In verse 15, we read "and the prayer of faith shall save the sick". The word for 'sick' here is different - 'kamno' - but it means essentially the same as 'astheneo' in verse 14; to grow weary, to be very sick.

What tells us the illness is serious is the word 'save', coupled with the words 'raise him up'. (It is often the case that main words are defined by supporting or qualifying words). The word 'save' ('sozo') means to make whole, heal, to make safe, to rescue from danger or destruction... to save a suffering one (from perishing) i.e. someone with a disease; to preserve one in danger of destruction. Including the necessity of salvation.

The words 'raise him up' mean to raise up from a seated or laying position. Thus, the combined meaning is, one who is so sick and close to fatal or chronic end, that he or she does not have enough strength to stand.

Why emphasise this? Because some writers (including Matthew Poole) claim that the sickness mentioned here is a minor one. The wording however, suggests otherwise. (Poole also claims that this form of healing passed away with the Apostles and that the elders spoken of had to have the gift of healing - all his assumptions about this text cannot be upheld by the text itself).

"let him call for the elders of the church"

Two conditions are attached to the healing in this phrase:

(a) The sick person himself must call for help and

(b) The help is to be given by the elders of the church.

The 'elders' mentioned are of the person's local church, not 'elders' as per universal church - as the text tells us. (Elders are not thes ame as deacons).

He is to 'call' ('proskaleomai'): that is, he must bid them to come to him. The word is rooted in 'pros' and 'kaleo'; 'pros' means to the advantage of; with regard to, and 'kaleo' means, to invite or to call by name. Thus, we know from the word 'call' that the elders being called are known to the ill person (making them elders of the local church) and that he is calling them so that he may be afforded some advantage, i.e. healing from a serious illness/condition. This is different from private prayer, or prayer by groups of believers.

The word for 'church' is 'ekklesia'. Strictly, it can have several meanings, including that of the universal church. But, as we have shown above, the meaning has been defined by the word 'proskaleomai' (call)... that is, the calling of elders known to the sick person by name – his local church elders.

Note also that the elders are called... not the deacons! Whilst the word 'presbuteros' is used, it is the comparative of 'presbus' meaning elderly. (The elder is also known as a bishop or presbyter or pastor; the words are interchangeable). This says either that:

(a) the older pastors must be called, or

(b) it is a general reference to one of the qualifications of an elder i.e. he must 'not be a novice' (too young).

(Note: This immediately should remind readers that a pastor cannot be a youth, but must be more mature in years and outlook. See BTM publications on the subject of pastors).

This writer has witnessed deacons being called to pray for healing. Any Christian may pray for healing, but only pastors/elders can fulfil the terms of James 5:14; deacons may not act as substitutes, although pastors may ask them to pray 'subsidiary' prayers along with others within the local church.

Dispensationalists say that these words only apply to future Jews. A question needs to be asked: do they mean Jews whose line is fully Jewish by birth, or non-nationalistic Jews? It is a stark fact that of the Jews in the world today, only an extremely small number of them are actual Jews by race. Most of them are of ‘other’ stock (because of multiple dispersions)! This makes a big difference to futuristic claims for Jews.

"let them pray over him"

The meaning of this is very simple: the elders should pray near him or alongside him in the physical sense. Then, they must "anoint him with oil". It is true that, at the time, there were other ways to 'anoint'... with laying on of hands, for example. But, in this text, oil is mentioned. Again, we must remember the place of the Holy Spirit in all this: here He says to use oil. At another time He may prompt a man to lay hands, etc. It is not our place to provide our own options, as though they were stage props.

The oil itself is not the agent of healing. Nor is the prayer, or the elders who pray. The agent is the Holy Spirit. He calls for the use of elders and for the use of oil; one is for the ministration and the other is for a sign. The oil, like the laying on of hands, is a sign that something had been done. In itself it has no power or meaning. Why oil? A number of reasons can be given, but the direct reason is - God said so.

"anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord"

'Anoint' refers more to what the symbol represents than to a physical thing. The oil is also a symbol, but it is a physical thing. 'Anoint' infers union with. The word is at the base of 'liparos', meaning grease... which is a reference to the physicality of the oil and to the mode of union. Union with what or with whom? There is a union of brethren (elders and ill person) and a union between God and the ill person (via the elders, who are merely the 'conduit' carrying God's blessing). The oil is the mode of this union or anointing. God is spirit, so He graciously uses a physical mode as a sign.

'Oil' here is olive oil, a meaning reinforced by a reference to a linked word, 'elaion', meaning olive berries, olive tree, or simply olives. It was standard Jewish practice to use olive oil in prayers over the sick and for dressings applied to wounds, etc. It was also used for anointing the head at feasts. The anointing was done in the name of the Lord. Here we have an important clue as to why some are healed and not others, when the text clearly tells us the person WILL be healed...

"in the name of" is loaded with significance:

(a) It says that the anointing was enacted on the Lord's account, i.e. on His behalf and by His prompting (see later anecdotal evidence).

(b) It refers to God's power and authority.

(c) The 'name' is used to refer to everything known about the person; everything He stands for and everything He represents. The word is a derivative of the base of 'ginosko', meaning to come to know or to have knowledge of. We can know God by His various names/titles. In this case, He is called 'Lord' or 'kurios' (from 'kuros' = supremacy).

Again, this name (kurios) is loaded with significance. The meanings include:

(i) He to whom a person belongs; God has power of decision over him.

(ii) The possessor and disposer of something (as owner)

(iii) One who has control over another.

(iv) The sovereign, prince, chief.

(v) A title of honour, expressing reverence and respect.

(vi) A title for God the Messiah.

In which way is all this a clue to the healing of some but not others? Well, the healing is of the 'Lord' ( as 'kurios'; the 'potter' etc). This tells us that it is God who decides if a man will be healed, for He has the power and He can give or take away whatever He wishes. Even though the text tells us the person WILL be healed, it is only because the Lord (kurios) has decided to do it, not because the text says so and therefore we demand it. For some to suggest that the words "if it is His will" used with prayer are some kind of insurance against failure of the prayer (or to cover their own lack of faith), is to misunderstand, partly, Who God is - at least in this respect. As 'kurios' indicates, He does whatever He does whenever He wishes to do so, according to His will (to which we are not fully privy).

In verse 15 we are told that the prayer of faith (or, trust in God) "shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up". In verse 16 we are told that it is a general duty of all Believers to pray for the healing of their fellow Believers. Whilst all this is important and useful, it still does not answer the query: why is it that some are not healed?

Anecdotal Evidence

I know - as do all Christians inwardly (sadly, many cannot face some truths) - that there are times when the Believer experiences marvellous spiritual 'heights', and there are times when he experiences 'lows'. At times he will think he has been crushed to the earth and will never rise up again. Christians who claim always to be on the 'heights' are deluded by their own pride, by their hiding from the truth, or by Satan.

With this in mind, I remember a number of years when I experienced the most exhilarating of spiritual times, which were not equalled for a long time afterward. At that time, spanning about six years, wave upon wave of God's truths came, along with outward signs. On some occasions, it was as if the waves would swallow me up, such was their vivacity and strength!

At that time, I also experienced several spiritual gifts (not tongues); particularly those of discernment and wisdom. In a small measure I was also used in the healing of one or two - one person being close to death (by prayer, but not using oil). Now, those who say the gifts ceased with the Apostles, will claim that these experiences must have been of Satan or they were delusions. But, that is a matter of opinion, not of theological fact, and it does not explain the holy results.

The matter of whether or not gifts have ceased, is dealt with elsewhere, but the following observation is made: if all the gifts have ceased, then what of salvation? What of faith? These are both called 'gifts of God'! Without these two gifts we are nothing and we are bound for hell. If it is admitted that these two gifts still exist, then what arbitrary human rule has decided that the other gifts are now gone? Can the reader understand? To say the gifts have all gone is clearly a nonsense, when salvation itself is a gift. Such an attitude also places 'God in a box', for it strips Him of bestowing anything upon His creatures in this day. It makes our Almighty Lord powerless in our time. Or, alternatively, that He refuses to intervene since the time of the Apostles.

Even if the above is not accepted by critics, then what of the scriptural evidence? Nowhere in scripture are we told when the gifts would cease; the usual cessation time (i.e. when all the Apostles had died), is merely an assumption, an opinion. (This writer is not a charismatic by the way).

In the same period, the writer was used by God in discerning several cases of demonic oppression. (This not occurred much since). With the help of this writer’s pastor (a staunch Calvinist, it may be added!), these cases were dealt with and the persons were released from great bondage. It was during that time in particular that the writer was firmly taught the following: that discernment of the demonic is given by God and by God alone. These things cannot be discerned by human means. On the rare occasions when demonic presence was detected, two things happened:

Firstly, this writer was given that discernment by God, in the strongest of terms, and was led to the person involved. (It was usually accompanied by an intense shivering in the stomach, by the way; there was often a concurrent lowering of room temperature and an inescapable acknowledgement of the presence of evil).

Secondly, the other person (the one demonically involved) would react strongly to the presence of myself or of any other Believer, usually by acting in a weird or volatile way. For example, cringing on the floor in a corner, making non-human noises; backing away as if fighting off an unseen assailant; making facial grimaces and noises and so on. In one case, the reaction was more direct - the person attempted to strangle me and repeatedly shouted "I will kill you! You have Christ in you!" Despite this horrific situation, the Lord kept me calm and I sat perfectly still. Before his hands tightened around my throat, I said "Take your hands away. You won't harm me. Get away." And that is exactly what he did! His face changed and he simply walked away. The same person, whenever I was nearby, would rock in a chair, head in hands, moaning over and over: "Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ".

Interestingly, some who were possessed or influenced were able to accurately tell the Christian present exactly what his or her prevailing sins were. (Obviously, only a demon can give such information: he does so in order to act as an accuser of the brethren). The closest I got to this (thankfully) was when I met a man for the very first time and, looking at my head, told me "You have God in you. You are a good man." I asked what he meant and he told me I was a Christian. When asked how he knew, he said "By the colour of the aura around your head."

When I was used in prayer for the sick, the same strong prompting of the Lord was featured. It was so strong it could not be mistaken. At the same time, the other person involved was led to seek help or to somehow show that God had also prompted him/her. Thus, both in the demonic and in illness, there were two distinct. unerring factors, in myself and in the other person who needed help. Whenever the two factors met, there was a happy result, for only then did God show His power and Grace in the situation.

Let us apply all this to the problem of those who are not healed, even after relying on James 5:14. The first thing to note is that there are several conditions attached to this text (although some deny it):

1. The sick person must request healing (note how this correlates with the anecdotal evidence above?).

2. The elders must come to his side (wherever he is).

3. They must pray over him...

4. In the name of the Lord... and use olive oil.

5. This faith (trust) WILL save the sick, without question.

Now, why did the person call for the elders? Was it because it was normal amongst the Jews? No, it was because he was a Christian and because God prompted him to do so. This is true in all instances in the Christian life. If God is in a situation, then He will prevail! If He is not - no matter how much we think He is there - then nothing will happen. If we do not comply with His conditions and if we do not listen to His Presence (re David and the stirring of the mulberry trees? See Outline on this subject), then our actions and even our prayers are futile and we will know only bewilderment.

As for the elders: if they did not receive the equally strong calling of God to respond to the man's call, then nothing would happen. (Note the earlier anecdote about ‘reluctant’ prayers). Such a statement is not speculation - if God is in a situation, it is known to those who are ready to do God's bidding. Just as a preacher knows when he is speaking without God's leading, so an elder will know when he is doing something he should not. Or, to be more precise, when God calls him to enact something, he will be left in no doubt that God is doing so. Remember, too, that with every promise of God there is a corresponding warning (implied or stated) and there are conditions.

Maybe the reader can now see why some are healed and some are not. Many questions must be asked: Is the sick person a Believer? Are the elders Believers? Are they older men, or young men (who are usually barred from pastorship)? Has the sick person been prompted by God to call for the elders? Have the elders received a corresponding assurance from the Lord? Do they see the oil as being symbols (of God's anointing) or as the actual means of healing (that is, the oil holding power and not the Holy Spirit)?

The above Article is not written to persuade readers. Nor is it written in order to 'score points' over brethren who hold what we perceive to be wrong theological views (they will hold to their views anyway, no matter how lucid is the evidence!). It is offered in complete honesty and it relies on scripture. Some will possibly be shocked by the personal honesty displayed herein, because the facts have not been shared before (due to the reaction of some!). Just read God's word. In it you will discover all the elements spoken of above.

Finally...

A last piece of anecdotal evidence is now offered. It follows close on the heels of my own mother's death in March 1993. Although my family and I had studied James 5:14 in detail the year before, when it was known that our mother had cancer and was given a month or two to live, we all scanned scripture to try to find an answer. We came to James 5:14... but we 'forgot' the conditions... thus oil and prayer was applied, without the corresponding prompting of God, without our mother asking for healing, without any firm and unquestionable knowledge of God's will in the matter. Strangely, we all believed wholeheartedly that God would heal! (Be warned - we can feel good about things even if God is not with us).

We applied oil, etc., to our mother because we had done so some years previously - when a chronic chest condition which caused her to suffer badly (well recorded by doctors) was immediately healed. However, 'success' on one occasion does not guarantee success on another occasion... the difference is the presence, or not, of God in the situation. Thus, it was that, with the best intentions in the world, we used oil and prayer again. But, to our dismay, healing did not come.

However, an unexpected bonus was given to us. Although our mother was not healed of the cancer, from that day she was happier and confident and was able to remain mobile for much longer. Her general well-being was excellent and doctors were amazed that she did not appear to suffer the worst symptoms of the disease. Right to the end, she had little or no pain from the condition and she died peacefully.

When I was told of her death, I put the telephone down and said "It's over", with a distinct feeling that a load had been lifted off my shoulders, plus a remarkable feeling of peace. I did not mean simply that my mother had died; I meant that the striving within was over: for months I had fought a battle within; my own self pressed me to expect a cure, even at the point of death, but the Holy Spirit was preparing me for the inevitable and was telling me a cure would not be given.

Thus it was that when the time of death came, I was completely calm and accepted it as of the Lord. You see, I knew, inwardly, what was really going on, but my human frailty gave me a false confidence. When the end came, the conflict within was resolved immediately, without fuss or recrimination. God knew our intentions were honourable and that we had simply made a mistake in our assumptions. Thus, He did not accuse or condemn. He simply replaced human error with spiritual strength, for which we thank Him. (We still believe, without any shade of doubt, that God can and does heal today, with or without the application of James 5:14).


Does any of this help the reader? If the Article does nothing but make you think and take you back to God's word, then the personal anecdotal 'confession' will have been worth it! Don't look at my own failure - look at what God says, for His word is everlasting and forever true.

This Article was very hard to write, for I am aware of the reception it will receive from some who know me and who would repudiate what is said here. I used to repudiate it, too, but I have come to see that I did so out of denominational and theoretic prejudice. Scripture says what it says! I cannot and will not alter it, just to remain loyal to past loyalties to men. I request that such folk look again at this topic, without reference to their background or denominational affiliation.

Whilst saying this, I should emphasise that I do not accept the Charismatic Movement, believing it to be a lie of Satan. I am not and have not become, then, a 'charismatic'. I do believe, however, that the gifts of God are still with us today, even if sparse. Today there appear to be many false gifts, which make me very wary. Even so, it should be repeated that scripture says what it says. Let honesty take the place of prejudice. Those who come to see things differently will not be shunned by myself, but if they wish to shun me, or speak ill of me, well, that is a matter for their own conscience.

© September 1993

Published on www.christiandoctrine.com

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