Lightning Bolts from Pentecostal Skies – By Martin Knapp

Chapter 9

Pentecostal Healing

“The prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up” (Jas. v. 15).    Redemption embraces three great and definite works for fallen man. First, Justification, through which he is forgiven and becomes a child of God. Second, the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, which sanctifies him wholly, destroying the “old man” of inbred sin, and enduing with “power from on high.” Third, Final Glorification, which will totally eliminate disease and infirmities and all the effects of sin upon our minds and bodies, making them like that of our glorified Lord. Even now they become the “temples” of the Holy Ghost, and as usefulness here depends largely upon their condition, it is important to know the relation of redemption to them, even in this stage of their being. If they conform to all the laws of nature and of grace, and are temples of God, and are indwelt by Him who has all power in heaven and on earth, this certainly will lead us to expect that such a change will be salutary.

I. It recognizes them. Scripture frequently mentions them, and is explicit in its instructions for their well-being. Pentecostal consecration presents them a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable, and the God of peace who “sanctifies wholly” is able to preserve body, soul and spirit (I Thess. v. 23).

2. It conduces to health by forbidding all overindulgence of their lawful functions. Overeating and sexual excesses are sapping the health and shortening the lives of many. A Pentecostal experience saves from these and all other excesses, and thus dries up a murderous torrent which is sweeping thousands upon its fatal flood.

3. It demands cleanliness. “Filthiness of the flesh” put away and “bodies washed with pure water” are conditions of closest communion with God. The Holy Ghost will not permanently abide in a filthy temple. Dirt must be washed from body as well as soul. It often is an index to the blacker filth within. A frequent bathing of the whole body is essential to the highest type of Christian vigor, and its practice would prevent many diseases. Clean hearts, clean spirits, clean habits, clean bodies, clean clothes, clean food and clean homes are all requisites of a Pentecostal experience, yet people persist in professing it who seldom take a thorough bath, and when dirt begets disease, wonder at the appearance of the dreaded child, and invoke a miracle to kill it. If such persons would more frequently call for “Elders,” Soap, Water and Diet, there would be less need for other “Elders” to pray for Pentecostal healing.

It saves from all injurious habits. Tobacco, opium, candy, pork, tea and coffee are all authoritatively declared to be injurious to the health. Hence Pentecostal people, when convinced of this, drop them, and conserve health where others imperil it. Regeneration retained involves this question, but Pentecost brings intense light.

It makes happy homes. It makes every home where its principles are adopted an Eden. Instead of ghostly skeletons in its closets, its tables are surrounded by glad believers whose very presence banishes care and brings sunshine. He who has a happy Pentecostal home possesses a constant elixir worth more than all medicines besides. It banishes care and anxiety. Worry kills more than work. Anxiety breeds fever and insanity. A Pentecostal experience sepulchers worry and banishes anxiety, crowning contentment and perfect peace instead. It smoothes the wrinkles from the careworn brow and brings roses to checks that were paling for the grave. It lengthens life by giving guidance from danger. Under its blessed reign the Holy Spirit warns, directly and indirectly, of imminent exposures, overeating, injurious foods, accidents, dangerous companion ships and places, or in the midst of these. divinely opens a way of escape. To avail one’s self of these safeguards one must be very still and attentive. (See my book on Impressions.”) In all these ways possession of a Pentecostal experience and conformity to the laws which govern the Pentecostal life, conduce to the maintenance of health and to recovery from disease. This alone is worth more than all the insurance policies and patent medicines ever made. Were more attention paid to these laws of Pentecostal health there would be a smaller field for drugs and for divine healing. The healing promised to God’s people under the Old Covenant was conditioned on observance of the most stringent sanitary regulations. Certainly the New does not lower the standard of the Old. It is presumption to knowingly break God’s laws in nature and then ask Him to perform a miracle of grace to mend them.

But apart from all these beneficial accompaniments of salvation, there is a special healing of the body, as experienced in New Testament times and bequeathed to the Christian Church. That it is not a dangerous superstition to be shunned or a fatal fallacy to be feared, is found from the following facts:

I. It is Scriptural healing. It was practiced by Christ and His apostles, declared to be one of the “signs” which “follow them that believe,” catalogued in the glorious list of “Nine Gifts” of the Spirit to the Pentecostal church (I. Cor. xii. 7-11), and all who are sick are exhorted to call the church to the exercise of it (James iv. 14, 15).

What it is and some of its beneficent results are beautifully pictured in the healing of the lame man at the temple through Peter and John. This instance, with others, proves that it was not confined to Jesus; and its exercise by Philip, its enumeration among the gifts of the Pentecostal Church by Paul, and proclamation by Peter, prove that it is not designed to be confined to the Apostolic Church.

It is actual healing. The lame man did not think, guess or even believe he was healed. “And he, leaping up stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, leaping and praising God.” It not only claims healing by faith, but possesses it in fact; a sad comment on the haggard ranks of professors of faith cure who are constantly fading into skeletons. The writer has personally known persons to drop into their graves declaring they were healed, and seen many others, thus professing, who looked as if a breath might blow them there. This does not disprove Pentecostal healing, but simply the failure of these persons to grasp it, like many people who profess salvation but live destitute of its power. The error that healing of the body is like healing for the soul, available instantly to all, instead of being a special sovereign gift. has doubtless misled many sincere believers at this point. That some are deceived by counterfeit coin will not keep a sensible man from taking the genuine. The subjects of Pentecostal healing are not a line of emaciated shadows limping towards the grave under the delusion that they are well because they try to imagine it or believe it, “but are made every whit whole, so that they see clearly,” though it takes the second touch to do it. Presence of all the disease symptoms is positive proof of the presence of disease. Such symptoms disappear when Jesus heals.

It is divine healing. “But Peter said … In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk ” (Acts iii. 6). This was persistently repeated by Peter in his report both in the presence of the multitude and to the Sanhedrin when he was on trial. It is healing in response to an appeal from one or more of God’s true children to Him in the name of Jesus Christ. Healings have been effected by mind cure and by false teachers, who have, like the magicians who withstood Moses and Paul, “done many wonderful works”; but all of these lack one of the above marks, and are in no sense Pentecostal healings, and none but mistaken men will urge their existence as an argument against this Scriptural gift.

His demonstrated healing. Peter’s patient is but one of a great host who have experienced it and testify to its power. Scripture teems with examples of it, and there are many such remarkable witnesses of it in the world today. The writer has experienced it, and has known a number of such instances where, without any remedies, saved people have been led of the Spirit of God to commit themselves to Him for healing, with the assurance that He would give it, and have not been disappointed. To affirm that all those thus healed were simply deceived or would have recovered anyway, is a simple way for people who oppose Pentecostal healing to seek to subvert facts.

It is instantaneous healing. “Immediately his feet and his ankle-bones received strength” (Acts iii. 7). There is not a single record of apostolic healing where the subject was exhorted to “believe he was healed, whether he felt any better or not,” but all were actually healed, and healed as soon as their faith touched the battery. That God heals with means and without means, gradually, as well as in an instant, is certain, but that is not the kind of healing which Jesus did and the apostles dispensed, and which we here examine under the head of Pentecostal Healing. That kind is like light, this like lightning; that is effectual through known natural laws, but this by a superhuman act.

It is limited healing. So far as the record shows, the lame an of Acts iii. was the only case of healing among the multitudes at Pentecost or on this occasion. This omission strongly indicates the precedence which spiritual healing and saving held in the mind of the Spirit and of His Pentecostal ministers, but the emphasis that is given shows the divine endorsement, and that it is a part of the work of the Pentecostal dispensation. It was limited both in Christ and the apostles. In one place, because of their unbelief, “Jesus did not many works,” healing but “few,” while the apostles failed completely in the case of the unclean spirit which “came out only by prayer and fasting.” So that in the days of its pristine power we see that there were at least two limitations even with divinely-inspired men, i. e., unbelief and lack of prayer. The fact that the temperature of the modern churches has fallen clear below zero on both of these limitations accounts largely for the frozen condition in regard to this Scripture truth. Whoever heard of a person writing a book against it fresh from a Pentecostal fast, or prayer chamber, or revival victory? Only the prayer of faith is promised to prevail, and when the gift of faith for healing is not possessed, this prayer can not be offered, and healing must be sought by other means or give way to submissive acquiescence in providential discipline. That Jesus “bore our infirmities and carried our sicknesses” will be known in its fulness only when clad in resurrection robes at His appearing, though scintillations of it reach us here subject to the limitations mentioned. That “He is just the same today” as when He healed on earth proves that the limitations which bound Him have not yet been broken, and indicate that they may greatly circumscribe the triumphs of this gracious gift. And we know of no guarantee in the Word, or in common sense, that God will heal a man who will use that health to live on in rebellion, or one who will persist in breaking the laws of nature. The candidate for Pentecostal healing is required to so surrender to God as to be converted. “And the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James v. 1). The bodily healing train is on the track and will enter Resurrection depot on schedule time, but stops to take on passengers only at the pleasure of the Conductor, and the meeting of fixed conditions. Faith for this purpose is a special gift, [1] bestowed when these conditions are met, and the healing is in harmony with God’s will, but is withheld in other cases. Blindness to this fact has brought defeat, disappointment, shame and perplexity. Prayer meetings for healing were customary in the early church, and are Scriptural, sensible, and helpful to Pentecostal holiness, a gun which God will not allow the devil or His own children to spike.

It is healing without medicine. Peter did not administer one patent pill. Not that medicine never should be used, or that God never directs to it. Someone has said that “medicine is God’s remedy for those who have not the gift to be healed without it.” Such healing may be in answer to prayer, but is not Pentecostal healing as practiced by the early Church, imparted by the “gift of healing.” That modern Peters should boldly claim that God never heals without the use of drugs, is open advertisement that they need the post-graduate course of some “sheet let down from heaven,” and that the time has come for some Paul to withstand such error. God heals through means, but often does without them.

It is God-glorifying healing. “And they, when they had further threatened them, let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people; for all men glorified God for that which was done” (Acts iv. 21). Whoever makes God’s power known, glorifies Him. Pentecostal healing does this. As of old, it makes men know that Jesus is almighty and divine, and is a striking type of the higher, greater healing of the sin-sick soul. It allows His tender interests in the concerns of His children. He declares that not a hair of their heads can fall without His notice, and invites them, in everything, by prayer and supplication, to make their requests known unto Him. When He comes and heals, it is a token of His continued love and solicitude for His own.

It is a benediction to humanity. “And all the people saw him walking and praising God” (Acts iii. 9). Whatever blesses man, glorifies God. Sickness and pain flee before the command of the Galilean Conqueror, and death himself, startled, turns pale and knows that his crown soon must fall before His power. Doubtless there are priceless boons for suffering humanity stored away in this long-locked treasure-house. Even if it does no more than its enemies are compelled to admit, it is a blessing that should be hailed as a benediction rather derided as a superstition.

It draws people to Christ. If some come for the “loaves and fishes” they may be constrained to remain for the “treasure” and the “pearl.” The people “run hither, greatly wondering” where such power and mercy are displayed.

It exalts Jesus. Any kind of professed superhuman healing which does not exalt Jesus and give Him all the glory is not Pentecostal healing. “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even in him doth this man stand here before yon whole” (Acts iv. 10).

It is a revival power. “But many of them that heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand” (Acts iv. 4). Instead of hindering the revival or detracting from holiness, it added an impetus to both. Though the multitudes marveled, and sanctimonious ecclesiastics shook their heads and threatened Peter, yet thousands of people were saved, the enemies of Christ confounded, God glorified and the apostles recommissioned to press the battle.

It confounds infidelity. “And seeing the man which was healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it” (Acts iv. 14). Wiser than when they arrested the blind man whom Jesus had healed, and than some modern opposers of divine healing, they did not deny the fact, belittle it, or try to attribute it to other sources, but admitted it and kept still. Always and everywhere Pentecost healing confounds opposers, until they have nothing to say or say something more silly than nothing. Scripturally taught and claimed it always proves a power instead of an embarrassment, as some have vainly taught.

It helps develop a trustful Christian character. It cultivates reliance directly upon God for healing, thus opening a new avenue of communion with Him, and of dependence on Him, which is a pleasing contrast to the self-sufficient conceit which scorns such reliance. It thus helps to develop a sturdy faith in God, like that magnified in Hebrews xi., and which will shine with celestial luster when the names of its opposers shall have rotted in oblivion.

It awakens opposition. “And they laid hands on them, and put them in ward Unto the morrow: for it was now eventide” (Acts iv. 3). Satan will not see God thus honored and Jesus magnified and be quiet. It stirs up the high priests and Caiaphases and Alexanders and the “kindred of the high priest,” who, “moved by envy,” and jealous over the exercise of a power beyond their possession, tremble for the prestige of themselves and party. These men always try to kick up such a dust as to hide the truth, and blind the eyes of all who see it, but God defeats them by facts they can not disprove, and which it is folly for then to ascribe to Beelzebub, and He emboldens His true servants to still claim such victory that with all boldness they speak His word so that, by the stretching out of His hand to heal, “signs and wonders may be done through the name of thy holy Servant Jesus” (Acts iv. 29, 30). To all opposition from such voices the Peters and Johns of all ages have the ready answer: “We must obey God rather than men.”

It is divinely indorsed healing. “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness” (Acts iv. 31). God attested its divinity by effecting the cure, defeating its foes, defending His ministers, and baptizing them afresh with the Holy Ghost for new victories.

It is miraculous healing. Pentecostal healing is a miracle, and the age of miracles has not passed. Men claim it has, but none can prove it. The power to work them is well nigh a lost art, but who shall say that it will not be restored? If you have not learned to appropriate this healing lightning, do not reason that therefore all who have are the victims of a sickening “superstition.” If you are too tall to reach down and touch the button that brings it from the skies, do not call the children names that are little enough to reach it. If the fog and darkness of the black centuries have been so dense that but few have found it, and that those finding have not yet learned to manipulate it with the force and freedom of Jesus and the apostles, do not conclude then fools and fanatics, but give them your patience and your prayers. If many have mistaken a nail-hole in the wall for this button, and their own fancies for the healing touch, do not be so foolish as to ransack history and heathendom, Scripture and superstition, to prove that therefore the currents have ceased and lightning falls no more. Remember that some secrets are hidden from the “wise and prudent ” and revealed only to “babes.” “Even so Father, for so it seemeth good in thy sight.”

It is available healing. “Silver and gold have I none but such as I have, that give I thee.” Like salvation, it is a free bestowment. Money can not buy it. “Is any among you sick? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick, and the Lord shall raise him up: and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him” (James v. 14, 1). Scripture infers and facts show that where this course is taken, faith for healing, at least in some instances, will be given and cure effected. A close walk with God, sensitiveness to the teachings of His Word and leadings of the Holy Spirit, will enable each to detect God’s will in the matter. “Beloved, I wish above all things” that you may be filled with all the fulness of God, and also that you may “prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth.”

In His promises confiding,
Let us learn His perfect will;
In His secret place abiding
Let us trust Him and be still.
‘When he granteth “gifts of healing”
Let us praise Him and believe;
Thank him for His precious dealing,
And with joy the gift receive.

When the gifts His love withholdeth
Greater good to thus bestow
Let us kiss the hand that moldeth
Kindly caring for us so.
Saviour, work this very hour,
Whatso’er Thy will may be;
Thine the honor, glory, power,
Now and evermore shall be.