Things I Think…

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151 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    #5 is always true – when has God promised to raise us up? On the last day – and the promise will be kept on that day. MLD 1:1 🙂

  2. Michael says:

    MLD,

    That is not the context of the verse…

  3. Josh the Baptist says:

    1 – Tim Tebow, I hope.

    5 – Yes.

    7 – Good point.

  4. Dave says:

    #10 – well said!

    Dave

  5. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    You may be right, but I’m not sure – why would any faithful saint die?
    Perhaps I should start each day with a bathtub full of Del Monte olive oil.

    What do you think it means? I don’t do the errant / inerrant thing – I just think the Bible is true all over.

  6. Michael says:

    Retweeted Peter Enns (@peteenns):
    PSA: Following Jesus is an internal process so radical and painful that the Bible describes it as the act of being bound and nailed like a criminal to a piece of wood lifted above the ground where you are left hanging in naked humiliation and intense pain until you suffocate.

  7. Josh the Baptist says:

    @6 – Yet infinitely better than the alternative.

  8. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I think it’s another paradox of Scripture…lots of promises of provision and lots of promises of suffering…which is a lack of provision.

  9. Jean says:

    #5,

    Being raised is the promise. Does that inform us about the nature of the sickness?

  10. Michael says:

    Tim Tebow?

    Why?

  11. Michael says:

    Jean,

    The context of the passage is clear…it speaks of physical healing.

    Allegorizing it may be one way to get around the obvious…

  12. Josh the Baptist says:

    Tebow is the nicest guy in the world. He has consistently presented Christ at every opportunity. I vote him as the new evangelical pope.

  13. Jean says:

    “The context of the passage is clear…it speaks of physical healing.
    Allegorizing it may be one way to get around the obvious…”

    The text says: “and the Lord will raise him up.” Can you point to anywhere else in Scripture where that phrase is used in connection with physical healing? Perhaps the allegory is to make it about physical healing.

  14. Michael says:

    All one has to do is read the passage…

    “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.Is anyone 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 will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed.”
    (James 5:13–16 ESV)

    If your interpretation is correct my prayers have salvific power for others…

  15. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Allegorizing it may be one way to get around the obvious…”

    What is the obvious? This is what I was asking earlier about what you thought and you answered “which is a lack of provision.”

    Are you saying the promises of God are like when congress passes unfunded mandates?

  16. Michael says:

    “But you, O Lord, be gracious to me, and raise me up, that I may repay them!”
    (Psalms 41:10 ESV)

    “but he raises up the needy out of affliction and makes their families like flocks.”
    (Psalms 107:41 ESV)

    “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap,”
    (Psalms 113:7 ESV)

    “The Lord upholds all who are falling and raises up all who are bowed down.”
    (Psalms 145:14 ESV)

  17. Michael says:

    I’m saying that the promises of God are not certain in every situation and are evidently balanced by the will of God or some other extenuating factor.

    Allegorizing is a legitimate form of interpretation…

  18. Jean says:

    Not salvific power, but answered prayer. As here:

    “And when they could not get near him because of the crowd, they removed the roof above him, and when they had made an opening, they let down the bed on which the paralytic lay. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.’ “

  19. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I think, and this is just me – but if you have a “if / then” proposition with God, it will come to be.
    IF you go to the elders, if you pray, if you are anointed with oil THEN God will raise you.
    So, if the person still dies, well it probably didn’t mean to heal him from gout – but must be a healing of a different sort.

    I don’t think this is to allegorize as much to say we may not know at this point – and to the words in James say Amen.

  20. Jean says:

    “I’m saying that the promises of God are not certain in every situation and are evidently balanced by the will of God or some other extenuating factor.”

    Michael,

    I am speechless. The last thing I want to do is fire you up. I will bow out of this thread.

  21. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I post things for discussion.
    I posted this knowing full well you would disagree.
    It’s worth discussing.
    I would also note that this passage appears to be in a church context where people should already be “saved”.

  22. Jean says:

    When a person is sick, perhaps fearing the hour of death, the devil or his own flesh may cause him to question his salvation. Especially if he has been taught by his church to inspect his own fruit. Have I done enough? Am I good enough? Did Jesus die for me?

    What he needs is faith either engendered or strengthened. That is precisely why and when the intercessory prayers from a brother(s) is exceedingly consoling. Now the sick one hears of God’s promises from outside himself and faith comes from hearing.

    And what he needs is a word that is certain, not a word that is uncertain. If the word is uncertain for anyone, then it is uncertain for everyone.

  23. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I have anointed and prayed for many, many people who remain in affliction.
    I have been prayed for many times.
    I still am quite sick.

    What failed?

  24. Jean says:

    Michael,

    Nothing failed.

    Faith and hope are in things that are not seen.

    I do not like to discuss suffering in the abstract on the internet, because it can come across extremely insensitive and could hurt a reader.

    I can say that God’s will towards his children is good and he is working everything for our good. However, appearances may say exactly the opposite. Part of the problem is that as sinners, we don’t evaluate our circumstances accurately, and the other part is that God’s providence is hidden and far above our human understanding.

    Jesus didn’t give Peter the answer his was looking for in regards to the destiny of John. John and his brother James had vastly different lifespans. Why? I don’t know. Did they have the right lifespans? Yes. How do I know? Because they believed in Jesus.

  25. Bob Sweat says:

    #4 LOL

    #8 I would need to stop reading Facebook for that to happen. 😉

  26. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I’m asking in direct reference to the passage in question.

    It tells us that if we pray for the sick they will be healed.

    I ask again…what failed?

    “However, appearances may say exactly the opposite. Part of the problem is that as sinners, we don’t evaluate our circumstances accurately, and the other part is that God’s providence is hidden and far above our human understanding.”

    So then, the promises are conditional and there may be divine extenuating circumstances…I think you had a problem when I said something similar…

  27. Ron says:

    I traveled to the Twin Cities on Saturday, and the radio station from Northwestern College, that featured Rev. Graham had a variety of Christian artists and listeners from Minnesota testifying of how they “made a decision”, “walked an aisle” in response to Rev. Graham’s altar calls. While I like others may have disagreements with his ecumenicalism, and some of the evenagelistic ways in which he held his crusades, I did hear those who were influenced by Rev. Graham s state that after they prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, or whatever “they did.’ they certainly were giving honor and glory to Christ for saving them from their sin. They talked about the New Life they had have, the fruit of a transformed life, the children and grandchildren, and others that are walking in faith with Christ.

    I didn’t hear any of them boast, of what they really “did” expect respond. We have to respond don’t we? I din’t hear them reveling in themselves, or they doctrinal distinctives, it was purely those who wanted to share that this man had an impact on the how they came to saving grace. What more can we ask for? Seriously, I have read negative things about him, I don’t and don’t agree with ecumenicalism. I don’t “get it”. As much as I like to fight, I just won’t and can’t justify allowing my own critical spirit, or as us laymen call it..My crappy attitude to find ways to be negatiive towards him.

    When I heard him speak, not just his words, but the character behind those, he’s the kind of grandfather or father I wish I had. Kind, a voice and eyes that I believe demonstrated a deep love for His Savior, for others, and a heart that wanted to see as many come to know Christ and Him crucified, for our sin as the most imperative thing one can know….

  28. Michael says:

    Ron,

    I’m ecumenical, so I’m good with Graham.

    Wasn’t big on his theology or methodology, but God didn’t ask my opinion… 🙂

  29. Duane Arnold says:

    Some here should read the Night Trilogy of Ellie Wiesel… Sometimes, in fact, often, we do not get definitive answers to the questions surrounding suffering. The best that I can come to as an answer is to look to the Cross and hope that in some manner one is being conformed to Christ in his suffering…

  30. Michael says:

    “The best that I can come to as an answer is to look to the Cross and hope that in some manner one is being conformed to Christ in his suffering…”

    You beat me to it…by seconds… 🙂

  31. Jean says:

    “So then, the promises are conditional and there may be divine extenuating circumstances…I think you had a problem when I said something similar…”

    No, not at all. I responded to your question: “what failed.”

    Was Paul’s 3-time petition for the removal of his thorn a failure? No. God answered his prayer, and there was a salutary reason why God didn’t remove the thorn. What Paul learned was that what he saw as a thorn, God used for Paul’s good. That is where the distinction between living by faith and living by sight comes in. Therefore, Paul could rejoice in his sufferings.

    If sufferings come to a Christian from the hand of God, then God will work them for our ultimate good. God is not punitive to His children.

  32. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    to Duane and Michael – this is exactly what I was saying – the James passage was probably not referring to a physical healing but as it says, will be saved and will be raised.

    And to Michael’s earlier concern that these people are already saved, that is not true to the idea that we have been saved – we are saved and we will be saved.(we are continually being saved.) This continues to the we will be saved stage.

    But God’s promises are always true and can always be counted on.

  33. Michael says:

    The passage is about as clear as can be that it refers to physical healing.

    Thats why the church has anointed and prayed over its sick for 2000 years.

    It may mean more than that but it cannot mean less than that.

  34. Ron says:

    Michael…Yes I know that you are ecumenical. Your stance in this area has cost you friends and associates. I will confess, I have felt like staying clear of your site and Facebook because of your position.

    The problem with doing so, is that in my zeal for being right, and said and posted some things I regret, some things I don’t you have been a kind, gracious brother to me. Hard to try and make an enemy of someone who has shown me grace and friendship and forgiveness.

    We have a lot more in common than, not only theologically, but in other areas regarding our common struggles. I am at times difficult, I am certainly have brokeness that daily needs to know that despite my sin, failure, character flaws, I have been set apart by Him, in His sovereign love, to know Him and make Him knows…as you are.

    You need to find a reason to come to Minnesota so we can have coffee and meet!..lOL.

  35. Michael says:

    “You need to find a reason to come to Minnesota so we can have coffee and meet!..lOL.”

    Someday…I have a lot of friends up in Viking country.

  36. filbertz says:

    to engage your musical example for denominationalism a little further, the genre of rap or hip-hop seems to engender the same hostilities that certain denominations have for others. Our tastes and experiences too often flavor our sense of what is right or certain.

    scripture has often been the pet dog that teachers/preachers have coaxed into performing tricks…instead of letting it hunt, bay, dig holes, chew, chase cats, and comfort.

    I saw a sign on a bathroom stall–“The end is near.” Prophetic utterance? 😉

  37. Jean says:

    #33

    There is nothing wrong with physical healing prayer, in fact it is a good thing. However, prayer is not synonymous with wishing for a thing.

  38. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    I think pastoral theology and pastoral practice exacerbates the issue of both healing and suffering. Often as a pastor you are, in fact, “the elder” who anoints with oil and does the laying on of hands. Moreover, you are the one who gets the questions of “Why?” Or “Why not?”. It is clear that not all are healed in this space and time. In fact, few are healed. As pastors we see it from hospital call to nursing home call to talking with the family as funeral arrangements are made. That is simply our reality. We live with that reality and the questions that arise from that reality.

    Outside of suffering bringing us into conformity with Christ it is hard to make sense of it all. For lay people, it is often easier to isolate the experience. Nevertheless, we all carry the question with us through this life. I suspect we will not get an answer until we reach the other side…

  39. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Perhaps this difference we have is why some have hope and some do not.

    But to anoint someone with oil saying “I hope this works” just doesn’t cut it with me – it will work – the word of God does not come back void.

    The RCC extends this to last rites – at the time they know there will be no physical healing.

  40. Michael says:

    Duane,

    Well said…

  41. Michael says:

    “But to anoint someone with oil saying “I hope this works” just doesn’t cut it with me – it will work – the word of God does not come back void.”

    I pray in obedience and in hope…and without having to redefine what it means for prayer to “work”.

  42. Xenia says:

    The verse can’t mean that anointing someone with oil and praying will always heal, 100 percent of the time because if this were the case, even back in NT times, no faithful Christian would ever die because all illnesses would be healed. So whatever this verse means, and I am agreeing with the Lutherans here, it can’t be talking about physical healing all the time, although this may be the case some of the time. St. Paul, as referenced above, is an example of this. The only solution to this conundrum is that we do not properly understand the verse. Those who do take this verse as a 100 percent promise about healing are those who develop aberrant doctrines about healing, such as the Health and Wealth people. I believe it is primarily about salvation: a sick, faithful person is anointed with oil and prayed over by the elders and has the promise he will receive healing and raising, if not right then then on the day of their death. Even if the verse does not seem to say this plainly, it is the only possible explanation that makes sense.

    Also…. miracles were more common in the apostolic age.

  43. Josh the Baptist says:

    “The only solution to this conundrum is that we do not properly understand the verse.”

    That’s my take.

    I’m gonna tweet Tebow and see what he thinks.

  44. Jean says:

    3:16 bro.:-)

  45. Michael says:

    At least some will agree that there is a conundrum here…

  46. Josh the Baptist says:

    Maybe even 4:13.

  47. Josh the Baptist says:

    I agree for sure. We all have different ways of explaining it away, no doubt.

  48. Michael says:

    Thank you, Josh.

  49. Jean says:

    One of the conundrums was asked by Pilate: “So you are a king?”

    We’ve got to get the answer to that foundational question straight or we’re going to have all sorts of conundrums.

  50. Josh the Baptist says:

    I accept Jesus as King and believe in an Inerrant Bible, but that doesn’t give me perfect understanding.

  51. John 20:29 says:

    #42 – last observation Xenia posted regarding Paul’s words on healing makes the most sense to me…

    ( comment #5 – wish i could get the picture of MLD bathing in a tub full of salad oil out of my mind … Mrs. MLD would get very tired of him ruining their bath towels…)

    Interesting that Billy Graham is lying in state for all who wish to pay their respects…. interesting also to hear the variety of comments reporters get from the mourners… some intense and insightful and some are … not

  52. London says:

    1. For me, there’s Dr Rev Barber.

  53. Michael says:

    London…good choice!

  54. Jean says:

    Josh,

    The point of my #49 wasn’t to state the obvious, that Jesus is King, but to clarify the nature of His kingdom on earth at the present time.

  55. Xenia says:

    The verse under scrutiny is not a conundrum for me because I believe it has to be mostly about salvation. If a verse says “rabbits can fly” yet we never see flying rabbits then we have to conclude that there’s more to that verse than meets the eye, something we haven’t understood yet. Personally, rather than suggesting God’s biblical promises can’t be relied upon I would pray for understanding. And if understanding doesn’t come, I would just leave the whole matter alone until a time when understanding came.

  56. Michael says:

    It’s a conundrum for me.
    I pastor people with chronic illness.
    I have chronic illness.
    I have family members with chronic illness.
    Ignoring the issue doesn’t make it go away for me.

  57. John 20:29 says:

    Perhaps we think of God’s omnipresence as meaning that He is always right here just waiting for us to say the right words, to think the right thoughts and voila !
    The more time i spend on the planet, the more it seems to me that, just as The Holy Spirit ebbs and flows, God is not always at our disposal, to coin a phrase…. (Yes, i know about the two kingdoms)
    We are, however, living in a dark and ever increasing fallen workd now… In our humanity we share in its sorrows…
    Some like the term “afterglow”…. well, the earliest Believers were living in the afterglow of God’s physical presence (and victory)… am i right? Dunno. 😯

  58. Jean says:

    Your issue, Michael, appears at distance to be captured in Psalm 6.

    If not, that psalm still might be worth praying and meditating on.

  59. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I have learned to cope with living in the mystery and embracing the tensions of Scripture.
    When a verse obviously promises physical healing and delivers on that promise infrequently, we do what we can to hang on to faith.

  60. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    To take the dreaded Lutheran stand here – this is the importance we place on the proper distinction of law and gospel. As we have said many times – the law, is God’s commands and they are never kept the way God wants us to keep them. The gospel is the promises of God, fulfilled in Jesus and they are not only always kept but they are indeed already kept – This James passage is the preaching of the gospel — so guess what?

  61. Jean says:

    Your repeated use of “obvious” and its cognates in this thread implies dogmatic certainty that your interpretation is correct, despite multiple others here disagreeing with that interpretation, but while certain in this one particular area of Scripture, you’re driven to doubt the certainty of God’s promises.

    Do you see any problems with that diagnosis?

  62. Victor says:

    Michael, thank you for your passion on James 5:14-15. I serve in healing ministry and take the verse literally. Yet I live with a chronic back condition that has never been healed despited repeated applications of the verse. I have also seen the Lord heal several people in supernatural ways when I’ve anointed and prayed over them. Most recently it was a woman suffering from supposedly incurable kidney disease who within 3 months of us praying and anointing her was healed completely and now has perfectly normal kidneys, with numbers even better than most average people. Her nurses and doctor had no explanation other than a miracle. But my back hurt as much today as it has the last 15 years. Who knows? One thing I’ve learned in healing ministry is that those who are called to it often minister in pain and sickness themselves. I don’t know why, but that’s what I’ve seen and experienced. Again, I appreciate your passion for it and encourage you to not let not understanding it fully keep you from believing it and ministering it. He still forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases. But not often with the clarity we seek.

  63. Michael says:

    Jean,
    I never make statements without checking community, including commentaries and other resources.
    This passage gets allegories because it’s the only possible way to explain the lack of actual physical healings.
    If I were to use the same hermeneutic on “this is my body” the howling wouldn’t cease for days…

  64. Jean says:

    I think I have expressed myself all I can. For me, I will chuck any commentary that encourages me to doubt God’s promises.

  65. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    We are not taking it as allegorical – the passage says you will be saved and raised – I take that literally. When I acted in an official capacity as an elder in my church I never anointed with oil and told someone they would be healed – I told them they would be saved, or assured them of their salvation and followed with the promise that on the last day they would be raised. Actually I think it would be cruel to promise healing from this verse.
    As I said, the RCC understood this verse properly to be used at last rites.

  66. Michael says:

    Victor,
    I continue to anoint and pray for healing.
    I also understand that for reasons I don’t understand, many will not be healed.
    There is mystery and tension here that I don’t attempt to assuage.

  67. Duane Arnold says:

    #65

    It is only Extreme Unction if the apostolic blessing is given. Otherwise:

    “The special grace of the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick has as its effects:
    the uniting of the sick person to the passion of Christ, for his own good and that of the whole Church
    the strengthening, peace, and courage to endure in a Christian manner the sufferings of illness or old age
    the forgiveness of sins, if the sick person was not able to obtain it through the sacrament of penance
    the restoration of health, if it is conducive to the salvation of his soul
    the preparation for passing over to eternal life”

    CCC

    It encompasses all the points of view expressed in the thread… not just one point of view.

  68. John 20:29 says:

    Mystery and tension indeed… anyone who thinks living in the devil’s neighborhood as a child of God gives us a free pass doesnt believe that we hold the treasure now in an earthen vessel, i guess… This body is plain old vulnerable clay pottery – these days i pray for strength to match my days… and for the aspirin to do its job when i call it a day…
    Victor, my daughter is a critical care dialysis nurse, i will share your story with her…i expect she’ll say, “thats not possible.” 😊

  69. Victor says:

    #65 Neither did this lady’s husband think it was! But she has the doctor’s reports to prove it. My personal study and experience of healing tells me the best approach to it is, if you believe God is able and willing to heal, apply James 5:14-15 when the opportunity arises and leave the timetable on when healing happens up to God. Our part is to believe and obey. The outcome is entirely His.

  70. Victor says:

    My last reply was meant for #68 John 20:29, not #65 MLD. Sorry for the typo!

  71. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    I agree with Victor

  72. Linda says:

    Being comfortable with mystery and tension is everything!
    I’ve never felt James 5:15 guarantees an accomplishment of faith healing: What’s the context within the Book of James? Running down the chapter headings helps frame the bigger scheme. We’ve got Testing of Your Faith/ Hearing and Doing the Word/ Sin of Partiality/ Faith w/out Works is Dead/ Taming the Tongue/ Wisdom from Above/ Warning about Worldliness/ Boasting about Tomorrow/ Warning to the Rich/ Patience in Suffering/ Prayer of Faith. The subject matter is the rigors of working out the Christian life. Self control, humility, patience, putting your money where your mouth is, being peaceable, social corruption.

    Then if we then look at the section at hand, James 5, we’re presented with three types of believer: Is there anyone suffering? Is there anyone cheerful? Is there anyone “sick”. Sick is astheneo’ [to be weak or feeble]. The prayer is then said to “restore” [sosei=save, heal, *preserve*, rescue from danger] the one who is “sick” [here, kamno’= ill, weary to the point of sickness/collapse]. And raise him up [egeiro’=wake, arouse, raise up ]. Might this be a spiritual state referenced here and being attended to? We could say “The prayer of faith by faithful elders can awaken those who’ve grown weary and preserve them, rescuing them from danger of their languishing.” This leads into confession of sins so that you may be healed and afterward to bringing back a brother who has wandered from the truth. Sorry for the firehose : ) and maybe I’m off-base, but to me this reading seems still faithful to the text and conforms to experience. Nevertheless I VERY much believe in healing prayer Michael and I will be praying for you as will we all!

  73. Everstudy says:

    I’ve only seen James 5:14-15 work once.

    I had thrown my back out at work on a Friday night, could not stand up straight and was in such pain that the pain killers I got at the ER barely made a dent. My left shoulder was a good 3 or 4 inches lower then my right and I couldn’t turn my head to the left at all.

    Sheepishly, after a church service the following Sunday, I went to one of the ‘elders’ (it was a CC, so I’m not sure they were elders in the strict sense), and asked about this. Doug (the elder I talked to) joyously went and grabbed the oil and another elder, dabbed my forehead with the oil, and prayed.

    What freaked me out, was that as Doug prayed, my back loosened up, and by the end of the prayer, I was standing straight with no pain.

    Don’t know why it worked then and not other times.

  74. Jim says:

    I had a CT scan in 1982, that scared the neurosurgeon enough to hospitalize me. The was no oil or “official” elders involved, but some loving people laid hands on me and prayed. My head got really hot, and I thought that I might die right then. Two days later my angiogram was normal. The Dr said, referring to the original CT, “well, tests aren’t always accurate”.
    God heals.

    Four years later, my cervical spine was ruined in a car accident. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve been prayed over for this, to no avail.
    God heals, except when He doesn’t.

    I’m happy to let Him be God, and to just be grateful that I am His.

  75. Steve says:

    Micahel @ 33 “The passage is about as clear as can be that it refers to physical healing.”

    Why can’t this mean emotional healing or spiritual healing? I distinctly remember going to a Presbyterian church asking the elders to anoint me with oil because I was deeply struggling emotionally. They refused because they said exactly what you said that this is only for physical healing. This actually caused more pain to me but God in his wisdom still raised me up and at least respected my faith in the process. Amen.

  76. Steve says:

    “Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’?”
    “Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.

    The sick here is is referring to are clearly sinners.

  77. Billy Graham reportedly said he wanted “Preacher” on his gravestone. I suggest Sower would be better. He sowed a lot of seed over a long period of time. Someone else watered and cared for the sprouts. He was faithful to his call and got thorough his earthly life without bringing shame on the name of Jesus. He was not a theologian.
    Regarding the prayer for the sick..there are a couple of “ifs”. If he has sinned? Would you ask that if it were an unbeliever? Not sure I would ask it of a believer. Also what if the “prayer of faith” that makes the sick well?
    Romans 8:28 in my opinion is grasped as a personnal promise as though God is managing the universe for my personal benefit. I suggest that sometimes the greater good for the accomplishment of His purpose on earth takes precedent. Maybe God’s ways really are “beyond finding out”.

  78. Michael says:

    “Why can’t this mean emotional healing or spiritual healing? ”

    I think it can.

    I’ve seen emotional healing through this rite…

  79. Victor says:

    Jim @74 I had a similar experience. I laid hands on (without oil) and prayed for an associate Pastor who was experiencing severe knee pain. All I knew at the time was he was in severe pain. I didn’t know that a month prior to this a blood clot had been discovered in his knee and he was provided medication and told to limit activity so the blood clot wouldn’t travel to his heart and kill him. 3 days after I prayed for him he called to tell me he’d just returned from the doctor and they could no longer find a clot or any evidence a clot had ever been there. He felt heat in his knee when I prayed but didn’t say anything. He still had pain in his knee but was released by his doctor to resume physical activity as could be tolerated.

    A few years later, after leaving that church, I heard the associate Pastor had to have a knee replacement. He was functioning much better. So God healed him once supernaturally for the clot and a second time chose surgery to deal with it. I don’t know why He chooses one way or the other. I do know that we honor Him and His word by doing what it tells us when it comes to healing and them trusting Him for the outcome.

  80. Victor says:

    Steve @ 76 I’m so sorry you experienced that. It’s really incredible that any person would be turned away for healing prayer of any kind. I know there are better qualified people on this blog to speak to this, but my understanding is that Jews in the time of Jesus did not separate a person in to physical/spiritual/emotional parts. They viewed themselves as a whole being. So when they read a scripture that said about Jesus, “He will save his people from their sins”, they understood “save” to mean complete restoration, including forgiveness and healing. Or like it says in Psalm 103:3 , “who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases”. I think “all your diseases” certainly includes emotional and spiritual. Why a person would be turned away from prayer for that is shameful, IMO.

  81. The New Victor says:

    A few weeks ago I and my lunch buddy, a Lutheran of the Swedish persuasion, were discussing old age. I said, “once you hit your 80s, would it matter if you died at 86 or 84?” He chastised me, “why wouldn’t you want two extra years to see your grandchildren, for example? I don’t get your way of thinking!” Eyes on the prize, not the journey. It could be me, that I expect to suffer here. If not as much as others now, then later. Not sure if this is helpful…

  82. Roland says:

    Re: 5, Is there a clue in the Greek?

    ἀσθενεῖ is translated “weak” and contrasted with “powerful” in 2 Cor.

    Or is this too obvious?

  83. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Weak” would be a legitimate translation, but you would have to figure out what kind of weakness is spoken of. Context may solve that problem. In verse 15, the “save” that is used is the same as Matthew 9:21, which refers to bodily healing.

  84. Roland says:

    Josh it’s not though. It’s the same as the one in Matt 1:21. It’s used 6 times and only James 5 uses it this way.

  85. Jean says:

    It’s also the same as used in Matthew 24:13, which refers to salvation.

  86. Duane Arnold says:

    #85

    Different word form and context…

  87. Josh the Baptist says:

    “Josh it’s not though”

    What is not? Not the same as Matt 9:21? Because it is, and that’s not the only place it used to refer to physical healing.

    I’ve only had a couple years of Greek, so I’m not the best, I’ll admit. If you have a better reference to explain why my cross-reference isn’t valid, I’d be glad to check it out.

  88. Duane Arnold says:

    Josh

    The best way is to diagram each Greek reference for grammar and sentence structure. The mere use of the same or similar word form is entirely dependent upon its immediate context. From just a a quick look, I think your reference is valid…

  89. Josh the Baptist says:

    I got the reference form Jamieson-Faussett-Brown.

  90. Jean says:

    Roland, agree.

  91. Josh the Baptist says:

    Gotcha – yeah, like Duane said, for Greek you really depend upon context.

    I think your catch of “weak” in James is legitimate though. Just happens to be speaking of physical weakness, frailty, or sickness.

  92. Michael says:

    This thread is a classic case of demanding a passage say what it doesn’t in order to fit into a broader theological scheme.

    I will contend that anyone reading or hearing this passage would have thought it referred to physical healing at a bare minimum.

    Because we know that not all are healed it raises a question about how certain we can be about the Bible’s temporal promises.

    The only way to resolve that is to make it about eternal matters for which there is no empirical or experiential evidence available.

    I’d rather wrestle with the text than distort it to fit my preconceived theological notions.

  93. Josh the Baptist says:

    Jean – what is it that you agree with? Trying to follow the argument here.

  94. Jean says:

    Thank you for accusing those who disagree with you of distorting the text.

  95. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Anyone who denies that this verse is about physical healing in some sense is distorting the text to fit the broader theological assumption.

    Calvinists do it wherever the world “world” comes into play in a way that may trouble the doctrine of particular redemption…

  96. Scooter Jones says:

    “Thank you for accusing those who disagree with you of distorting the text.”

    Ouch, man!

  97. Duane Arnold says:

    Context, context, context… A single Greek word can have a variety of meanings depending upon its immediate context and its place within the sentence. This is basic… In the context of James, and the structure of the sentence the meaning is pretty plain… unless you want to allegorize or spiritualize…

  98. Roland says:

    Wow I think I figured out the problem around here. The concordance provides the most logical answer, but you’d rather struggle with a made up contradiction from a weak translation than pull out the razor.

    How many Christians have been stumbled by this sloppy translation? It’s jarring to think about it.

    a) God made a bogus promise vs. b)King James didn’t have the internet. And you guys are going with a).

  99. Josh the Baptist says:

    Huh?

    Roalnd, have you ever actually studied Greek?

  100. Michael says:

    Allegorizing or spiritualizing is fine as long as you admit you are.

    Lutheran theology demands that all the promises of God be literally true…and because we know that not all that are anointed and prayed for are physically healed, they make it “literally” a salvation text.

    I’m good with that as an interpretation,but I don’t personally buy it at all.

  101. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael… agreed

  102. Michael says:

    I wouldn’t say it’s a bogus promise…I say we must wrestle with other ways to deal with the text.

  103. Duane Arnold says:

    Origen thought it was about spiritual sickness, confession and forgiveness!

  104. Scooter Jones says:

    I’ve struggled a little with that verse over the years.

    It appears as though the struggle intensifies when we personally or someone we really love gets sick and experience little to no healing as a result of laying on of hands and anointing with oil.

    Why, God? Seems to be a normal part of the human struggle.

    Some have purported through writing and speaking that there is a lack of true faith by someone in the chain link. Because as we know, Jesus said if you have faith the size of a mustard seed you can…

    Could that be part of the problem? That we really just don’t believe?

  105. Michael says:

    Piper has an interesting take on this verse…

    The “prayer of faith” will heal the sick person. James 5:15, “And the prayer of faith will heal the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up.”

    The Gift of Faith Is in View—the Sphere of Spiritual Gifts

    The text does not teach that everyone the elders pray for will be healed. It teaches that if the elders pray “the prayer of faith,” the sick person will be healed. This is stated so absolutely that it seems to me that a gift of faith is meant here which assures the elders the healing will be done.

    In other words, I think this phrase (“prayer of faith”) puts us right back into the sphere of spiritual gifts rather than taking us out of that sphere. The elders seek God’s gifting for faith so that they might pray “the prayer of faith.” That gift is referred to in 1 Corinthians 12:9, “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one [this] . . . to another faith by the same Spirit.” There is a faith that comes as a special gift to pray for something extraordinary.

    God’s Special Gift of Assurance

    1 Corinthians 13:2 says, “Though I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.” There is a gift of faith that can remove mountains. This goes back to what Jesus said in Mark 11:23–24, “Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”

    It seems to me that what we have in Mark 11:23–24 and 1 Corinthians 12:9 and 13:2 and James 5:15 is an unbroken line of teaching about a gift of faith that enables a person to pray a completely assured prayer because God has given extraordinary assurance. This is why the “prayer of faith” in James 5:15 WILL heal the sick person. It is certain because this faith is God’s special gift of assurance about what he intends to do.

    So the picture I have of the elders at the bedside of the sick person is not of a group of men who think gifts of faith and healing are past, but of a group of men who earnestly desire a spiritual gift of faith so that they might pray the prayer of faith which in this case would amount to the same thing as a gift of healing.”

  106. Josh the Baptist says:

    Scooter, I don’t think that is the issue.

    I think the book of Job is all about a guy who believed, but it didn’t work out like he expected.

    Sometimes bad stuff just happens, and there isn’t really a “why”.

  107. Michael says:

    So…if I had to explain this passage (and others like it) I would point to the theological construction of the kingdom being “already/not yet”…reasonable, if not completely satisfying.

    I’m not sure we’re supposed to be completely satisfied with our theology here…

  108. Steve says:

    “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick”. These are Jesus’ words referring to sinners. Sick and sinners seem to very tightly associated by Jesus. Maybe I can be accused of spiritualizing here but Jesus did just that. So to me this is all about the forgiveness of sins. We get caught up in the physical aspect of healing that we miss the entire point. This is the one problem with reformed folk in that they just look back in the past point in time when they got saved but don’t realized we are still in the process of being saved. It seems I wanted to hear the elders say your sins are forgiven but instead they told me I’m not saved. Go figure. Its one reason I like the Lutheran understanding.

  109. Michael says:

    Steve,

    A portion of our service this week will be for anointing and praying for the sick.
    We’ll be praying for physical healing…just as this passage commands us to do.

    Forgiveness of sins will be pronounced during the Eucharist… as it is every week.

  110. Michael says:

    5:14 In this and the next two verses, James’s teaching on prayer and praise emphasizes the community of Christian faith. The present verse is a classic text for the power of prayer in healing and forgiveness of sins in the history of Christian interpretation.23 By mentioning illness24 (cf. v. 15), James returned to the theme of suffering (vv. 1–10). Like the problem of sin (especially sins of self-deception and envy), sickness greatly challenges faith and unity within the fellowship of believers. Just as happiness is to be shared with other believers in praises to God (v. 13), the practice of prayer for the sick must be shared as well. The temptation to show disdain for the poor (2:3), to ignore their needs for food and clothing (2:16), and to threaten their physical survival (5:4) by withholding their fair wages is the same temptation to neglect fellow believers that would leave the sick alone on their backs. Believers who are sick and infirm are to receive special attention by the whole congregation.

    Richardson, K. A. (1997). James (Vol. 36, pp. 230–231). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

  111. Michael says:

    This verse presents a simple threefold pattern that is to be followed on behalf of the sick: first, the sick one should call the elders; second, they should anoint the sick with oil; third, they should pray over the sick for healing. James exhorted the sick to summon25 the elders26 of the fellowship. These persons of spiritual authority within the congregation (cf. Acts 20:17) should come to the place where the sick person resides, since the matter of sickness would affect the whole fellowship. The movement of the fellowship to the side of the sick would demonstrate that sickness is not a cause for exclusion but an opportunity for concern regarding the “physical needs” (cf. 2:16) of each member. Those who have been recognized by the local church (ekklēsia)27 as its leaders (cf. 1 Tim 3:1; 5:7) represent the assembly in their act of believing prayer before the Lord. By using the term ekklēsia, James showed that through the elders the church maintains its embrace around even the sick who have been quarantined from the gathered community of believers. The elders are to “pray over” the sick one, for this one is afflicted with debilitating trouble (v. 13). The group of elders are to draw very close in faith to the sick one so that the prayer might be uttered directly over her or him. Touching the body of the sick with oil in the name of Jesus and joining their voices in prayer above the body of the sick person is in view here. This prayer could include the act of each elder prostrating himself over the sick person. Elijah in v. 17 is the exemplar of that faith James had in mind. The famous story of Elijah’s healing the son of the widow of Zarephath includes this action:

    Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried to the LORD, “O LORD my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
    The LORD heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. (1 Kgs 17:21–22)

    Is this the kind of “praying over” that James meant? It certainly cannot be ruled out as the way the church should utter “powerful and effective” (cf. 5:16) prayer for the sick. Certainly, physical touch upon the sick person is in view both in this act of praying and in the anointing with oil. Rather than withdrawing from the sick like someone who is in “friendship with the world” (4:4), the elders should pray as those who receive “more grace” from God (4:6), who “gives generously to all without finding fault” (1:5). Praying as a group in such close proximity to the sick person intensifies and makes efficacious their faith for the healing.

    Richardson, K. A. (1997). James (Vol. 36, pp. 231–232). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.

  112. Michael says:

    From the ESV Study Bible…

    James 5:13–18 The Prayer of Faith. Speaking mainly of prayer, James restates some of the letter’s key themes, including trials (cf. 1:2–4) and misuse of the tongue. The ultimate way to “tame” one’s tongue (cf. 3:8) is to “pray for one another” (5:16).

    James 5:13–14 There is another ABA pattern in these verses (cf. note on 3:1–4:12). James begins with those suffering (A), then addresses the cheerful (B), and concludes with those who are sick (A). He alludes back to 1:2, where the one under trial was to “count it all joy.” Though “sick” (Gk. astheneō) can also mean “to be weak” (even spiritually weak, as in Rom. 14:1), when used (as it is here) without any qualifiers, it usually refers to physical sickness. Elders were pastors and overseers (cf. Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5, 7; 1 Pet. 5:1–2), known for wisdom and maturity, who functioned as leaders in the churches. This provides evidence for a plurality of elders in all the churches to which James was writing, for he simply assumes a sick person could call for “the elders of the church.” Some think that anointing … with oil was medicinal or sacramental (as in Roman Catholic extreme unction at death), but it is best seen as a symbol representing the healing power of the Holy Spirit to come upon the sick person (cf. the use of “anointing” for symbolic consecration to God’s use and service, both in the OT [Ex. 28:41] and in the NT [Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; 2 Cor. 1:21; Heb. 1:9]). In the name of the Lord means it is God, not the oil, that heals.

    James 5:15 the prayer of faith. Not the faith of the sick person but the faith of those praying. In this instance, James mentions no requirement for the sick person to exercise faith, only that he call for the elders. Christians who are ill often find personal prayer difficult. Will save perhaps carries a double meaning here: (1) the sick person will be physically healed (one meaning of Gk. sōzō), and/or (2) the sick person may also experience spiritual salvation (another meaning of Gk. sōzō), or growth in the blessings of salvation (sins … forgiven). As seen throughout the Gospels, Jesus healed both physically and spiritually, and the same double connotation may be present here as well. James is not teaching that all illnesses will be healed if people would simply call on the elders, or try to make themselves have enough faith, or pray with enough conviction. Healing, when it does come, is always a gift from God, who is sovereign over all circumstances, including sickness and health. It does not follow, therefore, that lack of faith on the part of the sick person is the reason that the sick person may not be healed. (On the gifts of faith and of healing, see note on 1 Cor. 12:9.) Some interpreters suggest that James is referring to the promise of the resurrection rather than physical healing. If, in the phrase “if he has committed sins,” implies that not all sickness is connected to specific sins, though James seems to expect that some sickness is (cf. 1 Cor. 11:30).

  113. Michael says:

    I’ve found exactly one commentary that believes this passage is about spiritual healing only…and strangely enough, it’s the only dispensational one I own…

  114. Michael says:

    “But in Extreme Unction as practiced in our day, there is no prayer of faith. No one prays in faith over the sick, confidently expecting their restoration. Yet James describes that kind of faith in this passage (in James 5)…. There is no doubt at all that if, at the present day, this kind of prayer were offered over the sick, i.e., by the older and graver men, men saintlike and full of faith, as many as we desired would be healed. Nothing is impossible for faith.” [Martin Luther: Selection from His Writings, John Dillenberger, ed. (New York: Anchor Books, 1962), 354.]

  115. Duane Arnold says:

    “Certainly, physical touch upon the sick person is in view both in this act of praying and in the anointing with oil.”

    St. Francis embracing the leper – none are excluded, because in the Incarnation Christ has become flesh and embraced all humanity, including the frailties of being human…

  116. Michael says:

    Duane,

    I find it fascinating that many of the scholars emphasize the physical touching…but none made the connection you did…which I believe is what ties all this together.

  117. Duane Arnold says:

    Michael

    It almost follows the idea of “when did we see thee” and the “least of these”. Sickness in the ancient world was a point of exclusion (almost a curse). The James passage speaks of inclusion through the laying on of hands and anointing with oil…

  118. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Michael,
    “Because we know that not all are healed it raises a question about how certain we can be about the Bible’s temporal promises.”

    So according to this stance, the word of faith and faith healers must be right – it’s a matter of having enough faith that triggers God to deliver on his promise. If physical healing is the promise of God, the prayer should never be “Lord, heal my wife if it is your will” (we know it’s his will – he promised) no the prayer should be “I claim your promise of healing, thank you Lord.”

    You said “Lutheran theology demands that all the promises of God be literally true…” I will stand by that.as I know of no other truth but literal truth – But I guess the Anglican position is that the promises of God are not literally true but are wishful thinking true – how is that?

  119. Josh the Baptist says:

    I know the anointing with Oil goes back to at least Exodus.

    Was there a practical reason for the oil? Was it thought to have medical qualities? Purely sacramental?

  120. Michael says:

    MLD,

    No.
    According to my stance there is obviously mystery here that we have to wrestle with if we’re going to be true to the text.

    There are a great many texts we have to approach that way.

  121. Xenia says:

    An Orthodox view of the passage in St. James:

    “Healing is realized, regardless of whether the external symptom (the physical malady) is immediately eradicated or not. The important thing is that the underlying cause for sickness has been addressed. The outward, physical sickness may be healed immediately. Or, it may linger. If it lingers, then it does so as a dead plant which has already been severed from its roots. Its leaves may be green for a moment, but its doom has already been decided, and it will wilt, dry up, and blow away. No sickness can remain forever, once the root cause has been cured. In the sacrament of healing, we are reminded that Jesus has defeated death via the cross. Therefore sickness and death have lost their power, have lost their sting, and are able to exert no more than a fleeting hold on God’s people. In Christ, every illness and every death becomes a martyrdom, a testimony to the triumph of the cross. “Christ is risen from the dead, trampling down death by death, and upon those in the tombs, bestowing life!”

    https://theorthodoxlife.wordpress.com/2012/02/08/the-sacrament-of-healing/

  122. Josh the Baptist says:

    ” I know of no other truth but literal truth”

    the tortoise and the hare is truth, though I doubt the race ever “literally” happened.

  123. Jean says:

    Are you replacing faith with wrestling?

    You’re saying “wrestle” over and over again, but what does that mean?

  124. filbertz says:

    Michael, your observation about the dispensational interpretation of the passage is not surprising–the vast majority of Dispensationalists believed the ‘sign gifts’ ceased, therefore, annointing with oil and prayer of faith for healing would contradict their preconceptions about the gifts. Again, our tastes and experiences often trump a more reasonable interpretation or explanation.

  125. Michael says:

    Jean,

    It simply means that being both intellectually honest and faithful to the text means that we often won’t have one explanation to explain the text.

    When we read in this passage that if we do certain things we will have a certain outcome, we get excited about doing those things.

    When the result is not what we hoped for…over and over again…we have to find ways to think about the text that preserve it’s authority and our reason.

  126. Jean says:

    Xenia #122,

    Yes, and beautifully put!

    You ancient faith folks have some great insights. (Not that you personally are ancient. 🙂 ).

  127. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    Thank you…

  128. Josh the Baptist says:

    “annointing with oil and prayer of faith for healing would contradict their preconceptions about the gifts.”

    A cessationist would believe that the sign gifts ceased AFTER the period of the apostles, of which James was one. The passage would not give a cessationist a bit of trouble.

  129. Duane Arnold says:

    “But I guess the Anglican position is that the promises of God are not literally true but are wishful thinking true…”

    Wrong and meant to be insulting.

  130. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Josh,
    “the tortoise and the hare is truth, though I doubt the race ever “literally” happened.”

    Is that how you measure truth? That story is truth or is it folklore? Tell me the truth of this story.

  131. Josh the Baptist says:

    Steady progress is better than stop-and-start work.

  132. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    “Wrong and meant to be insulting.”

    No! but some of you speak in a strange language. The other day someone brought up the Bible is inerrant – what kind of talk is that – I know only that the Bible is true.
    Here in this discussion, you speak of literal truth – I know only of truth.

    So this always leaves the discussion open to my reasoning what is meant – in this case those who do not believe in literal truth must believe in some other kind of truth —- but they never define what that truth is — so I did “wishful thinking truth.”;-)

  133. bob1 says:

    The Reformers overreacted when it comes to literal//symbolic vis-a-vis-Scripture.

    They missed a lot of nuance and wonder.

    “God create earth.”

    “Earth good.”

    “Adam and Eve sin.”

    The Trinity is turned in to “Dick and Jane.” God is infinitely bigger than that.

  134. Josh the Baptist says:

    “the Bible is inerrant – what kind of talk is that ”

    It means the Bible is without error. Something like:

    “We therefore believe, teach and confess that since the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, they contain no errors or contradictions but that they are in all their parts and words the infallible truth.”

  135. Michael says:

    I don’t confess inerrancy.

    I confess this;

    “Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.”

  136. Josh the Baptist says:

    @ 133 –
    Or even better:

    “We reaffirm our acceptance of the Scriptures as the inspired and inerrant Word of God.”

    One guess where that came from?

  137. bob1 says:

    #136

    ^^^^^

  138. Victor says:

    “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” CS Lewis.

    Most of us think we’re Bereans. Most of us in reality define our doctrine by our experience…or lack of it. I like Michael’s use of the word wrestling. I’ve wrestled my whole Christian life with this and other issues. I was once a Cessationist. I’ve been Pentecostal since 2000. I’m still wrestling. I’ve been a vessel of healing to others but haven’t experienced much on myself. I don’t know why and don’t expect to find an answer until I’m in a glorified body. But I’ll keep praying for others and accepting it for myself until then. I’ve seen enough to believe and read enough to get confused. My old Cessationist pastor was fond of saying that you can’t talk a person out of their experience. I agree, but not in a way he’d be fond of.

  139. Josh the Baptist says:

    This is a good conversation. I’ve read more about these few verses today than I ever have before. Very interesting, good stuff.

    Tyndale New Testament Commentary on the passage is very good for those still looking around.

  140. Michael says:

    Victor,

    My practice won’t change.
    We will still anoint with oil and pray for God’s mercy on the sick and afflicted.
    I’m responsible to be faithful, not for outcomes.

  141. Josh the Baptist says:

    Michael, was the Disp. commentary you read the one by Walvoord and Zuck?

  142. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Well done…yes.

  143. Josh the Baptist says:

    I’ve thumbed through about 20 today. Really old to really new, all different denominations. That is the only one that emphasized salvation over physical illness.

  144. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Same here…

  145. Victor says:

    Thank you for doing it, Michael.

  146. Roland says:

    Michael and Josh you seem to think there is no denominational or particular interpretive system behind the argument I’m making. I assure you there is not. It’s not coming from a particular commentary.

    This isn’t spiritualizing or allegorizing something. It’s reading it. Our souls are as real as our bodies.

    ἀσθενεῖ appears 5 times. Sick in the case of Lazarus. Weak as opposed to powerful in the case of 2 Cor. It’s a flexible word. They weren’t modern doctors and they probably couldn’t always tell the difference. Context absolutely matters. Of course I recognize that.

    σώσει appears six times. Five of six times it refers to something other than healing (e.g. save the soul, save someone’s spiritual life, etc.), including 5 verses later in James 5:20 (save the soul).

    I think the argument gets stronger when you look at κάμνοντα (“the one who is sick”) and how it’s used in Hebrews. It comes from “weary.” Not diseased.

    Greek has words for heal. σώσει isn’t used for it (except here) Jesus didn’t σώσει diseases.

    Go back one verse to 5:13. There you find “cheerful.” The word here is euthyméō, to show positive passion as it proceeds from a sound disposition (temper); hence, “be of good cheer, in good spirits.” From 5:13 to 5:14-15 James is contrasting cheerful and energetic (5:13) with tired, weary (5:14-15).

    It’s funny to me to think about this argument in the context of the book of James itself. I love James 2:15-16: Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?

    “Keep warm and well fed. What’s that? You’re still cold and hungry? You thought I was going to give you clothes and food? You misunderstood me.”

    You’re sort of accusing God of basically saying the same thing James admonishes against. He did no such thing of course, but if you don’t get the words right that’s where you’re stuck. Anyway, wrestle on my brothers.

  147. Directambiguity says:

    We know from other scriptures it’s not always God’s will to heal and we also know that sin can sometimes be the cause of physical illness.

    Notice the context in James 5:13-20 is about confession and restoration. The verses imply the sickness was caused by sin “confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed” and the drought mentioned in verses 16 and 17 was a judgement from God for Israel sin, when they acknowledged that God was the true God the drought was lifted by prayer. So here we have an illness that that a person realizes is chastisement from God caused by sin, the sin is confessed to the elders and the person is prayed for and anointed with oil in the name of the Lord and is healed. It seems that if the criteria above is met, spiritual and physical healing for the backslidden will always occur and the saint will be brought back into full communion.

  148. John 20:29 says:

    Tedious thread for this pew sitter even though i do appreciate the wrestling going on – at this point in reading, #148 prompts me to wondef if anyone of the folk who post here would claim that unconfessed sins do not create a barrier between the Believer and God?
    (Sin is, of course, a serious perhaps impenetrable, barrier for the nonbeliever…)

    Healing miracles seem to be both an enigma and a snare… ? the thread hasnt given me a definitive answer anyway… Perhaps i can hang my hat on the 9th chapter of Romans, verses 14-16?

  149. Josh the Baptist says:

    Roland, do you know Greek, or are you just copy and pasting from Strong’s?
    There is a difference, and there is a reason people devote large parts of their lives to learning the biblical languages. Its not as easy as looking at a lexicon and finding similar words. Lexicons have their place, but making a doctrinal argument that relies upon Greek without knowing the language is not wise.
    It is also OK to not know the biblical languages, just don’t try to make an argument from them unless you know them.

    As far as referencing scholarly sources, the vast majority that I find say this is speaking of a physical illness.

  150. Duane Arnold says:

    #150 Josh

    Yes…

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