Do you believe God still physically heals today?
Yes, I do. Possibly one of the biggest misconceptions about my theology is that I do not believe God still grants physical healing. I not only believe that He can but also that He does. The objection that I have to Word-Faith/N.A.R./Dominion and the majority of charismatic theology is the teaching that it is always God’s will for a person to be physically healed. I do, in fact, believe that God does grant physical healing to people today but only when it is His sovereign will to do so. The fact of the matter, though, is that when He does grant physical healing, it is much more the exception than the rule. He does it, but it is not common.
Did Jesus really heal everyone?
Prosperity preachers often make the claim that Jesus healed every sick person with whom He came into contact. They will often cite Matthew 12:15 which says, “Many followed Him, and He healed them all.” It is true that in this instance Jesus did, apparently, grant healing to all of those who followed Him – in this particular instance. There are other occasions, however, in which Jesus apparently did not “heal them all.” In John 5:1-17 we read of the familiar account of Jesus healing the crippled (lame, sick – whichever term you prefer. I’m not particularly politically correct) man at the pool of Bethesda. Note that verse 3 indicates that at the pool there was a “multitude of the sick, lame, blind, and withered.” A multitude. How many did Jesus heal? One.
Do you believe in the Spiritual gifts?
One of the common charges against those who hold to a cessationist position is that we do not “believe in the gifts.” Rubbish. A cessationist is not one who, as many wrongly suppose, rejects the spiritual gifts. Cessationism is, by definition, the theology which holds that only the Apostolic, or, Sign, gifts of tongues, interpretation of tongues (a separate gift by the way), healing, and miracles have ceased and are no longer in operation. All of the other gifts such as teaching, mercy, exhortation, giving, etc. are still very much in operation. So, do I believe in the spiritual gifts? Of course! Do I believe that the Apostolic (Sign) gifts have ceased? Yes. Keep in mind, too, that when God heals someone today, that is not the gift of physical healing. It is simply God acting according to His sovereign will and has nothing to do with any other individual (s) or their gifts or lack thereof.
Do you believe in the power of the Holy Spirit?
This is closely related to the question above. Many assert that cessationists do not believe in miracles or the power of the Holy Spirit. The theological term with which to best answer this assertion is “hogwash.” It is the Holy Spirit Who convicts (John 16:7-11), regenerates (John 3:1-5; Romans 8:11; Titus 3:5-6), indwells (1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Romans 8:9), baptizes into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Colossians 1:13), seals (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30), fills us with the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 5:18; Colossians 3:16), and empowers the preaching of the Gospel (1 Peter 1:12). To say that God no longer does miracles is to say that He no longer saves sinners. The greatest miracle of all is not that of physical healing, but that of salvation.
Doesn’t cessationism portray God as distant and uninterested?
Absolutely not! This is yet another misunderstanding of cessationism. Unfortunately, many believe that if you are a cessationist then you believe that God is cold and distant and is uninterested and/or inactive in human affairs – almost a Deistic view of God. Nothing could be further from the truth. God is intensely interested and very active. I do not even like to say things to the effect of “Oh – God sure stepped in and intervened here, didn’t He?” People usually mean well when they make statements like this but I do not believe that they are biblically accurate. To say that God intervened in a certain situation implies that most of the time God is up in Heaven twiddling His anthropomorphic thumbs and, on occasion, steps in and “intervenes.” No. Scripture teaches that God “upholds all things by the Word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3). In other words every atom in every molecule which makes up every planet, every star, and every living creature is constantly being held together and kept in its proper place by the active and unceasing power of God. We could not take our next breath nor could our hearts take their next beat without God’s constant power.
Do you believe women can be pastors or leaders in the church?
I receive a surprising number of emails (most from charismatics) inquiring as to my position on female pastors. In short, no, I do not believe that a woman can biblically fulfill the role of pastor, elder, or any position of spiritual leadership or authority in the church. That men and women are of equal value before God is beyond dispute. Galatians 3:28 is crystal clear on this. Genesis 1:26-27 makes it equally crystal clear that both men and women are created in and bear the imago dei, the image of God.
This having been said, though men and women are of equal value before God, He has also assigned to men and women differing roles. That the leadership in both the home and the church is to be male is beyond dispute. The primary example of male leadership is in the Person of Jesus Christ. That Jesus is a male and came as the Son of God (rather than the daughter of God) is not a random or arbitrary matter – it is a theological matter. Jesus appointed twelve Apostles (Luke 6:13), all of whom were men. These Apostles then, in turn, appointed seven men as servants to care for the needs of the early church’s widows (Acts 6:1-6). Male leadership in the home (Ephesians 5:22-24; Colossians 3:18) is the divine order which is extended to the leadership in the church. Writing under the inspiration of God’s Holy Spirit, the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 states, “I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.” This was not a cultural consideration, but a theological one as proven by his next words, “For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (vs. 13-14). And for those tempted to argue that this was only a temporary instruction no longer binding today, Paul connects this instruction to women bearing children (vs. 15); a task which is still, of course, exclusively fulfilled by women. In the following chapter, Paul provides the qualifications of elders in the church, qualifications which assume a male subject: An elder is to be the “husband of one wife” and is to “manage his own household well” (1 Timothy 3:2-4).
Men and women are of equal value before God, have equal access to God, and are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. But to argue as all liberal and most charismatic “theologians” do that these verses are limited to the culture of biblical days or somehow do not mean what they appear to mean is to be intentionally dishonest to the holy writ. If a church has a female pastor or has put women in positions of spiritual authority over men you can know that no matter how much fidelity they profess to the Word of God, their professions are mere lip service. Female spiritual leadership in the church is a sure sign that that church is well on its way into full blown apostasy. It is an affront to God and, ironically, it is demeaning to women for it puts them into a role for which they were not designed.