Lake's Reply to Four Questions Concerning Healing
Also known as "Is God Able to Heal? Does God Ever Heal? Does God Always Heal? Does God Use Means in Healing?"
John G. Lake
While there is no date marked on this writing, a reference to five years of ministering in Spokane could put this writing in the 1919 or 1920 range.
The Southern Association of Evangelists, who recently met at Hot Springs, Arkansas, in a convention, wrote as follows:
“Rev. John G. Lake Spokane, Wash.
We are submitting the following questions to about twenty-five leading professors, preachers, and evangelists, for reply, and recognizing your extensive experience in the ministry of healing, trust that you will favor us with an early reply.
The questions are as follows:
FIRST: IS GOD ABLE TO HEAL?
SECOND: DOES GOD EVER HEAL?
THIRD: DOES GOD ALWAYS HEAL?
FOURTH: DOES GOD USE MEANS IN HEALING?”
Question 1. Is God Able to Heal?
Coming as an inquiry from the Church of Christ in her varied branches, as represented by your association, which includes ministers and evangelists of almost every know sect, is a confession of how far the Modern Church has drifted in her faith from that of the Primitive Church of the first four centuries.
That this apostasy is true, may readily be seen by a study of the New Testament, together with the writings of the Christian fathers of the first centuries. That Jesus Himself healed All who came to Him; that the apostles after His resurrection and after the outpouring of the Spirit upon the Church on the day of Pentecost, continued to do the same, is a New Testament fact. It is well known that the Church fathers testified to the vast extent of the miracle-working power of Christ through His followers, until the day of Constantine.
With the establishment of Christianity as the state religion under Constantine, a flood of heathenism poured into the Church, and the vitality of the faith in Christ as Saviour and Healer disappeared. Hordes of unbelievers came into the Church with very slight knowledge of Christ, bringing with them many heathen customs and practices, some of which quickly predominated in the Church.
Among these was trust in MAN rather than Christ, as healer of the body.
That isolated saints of God and groups of Christians have trusted God exclusively, and proved Him the healer, is found in the experience of the Church in every century. Among those in modern times were the Hugenots of France, who excelled in their faith in God. Many of them were consciously baptized in the Holy Ghost, and history records that many of them spoke in tongues by the power of the Holy Spirit. The sick were healed through faith in Jesus Christ and the laying on of hands. Many prophesied in the Spirit.
The Coming of the Reformation
With the coming of Protestantism, and the establishment of the great churches of the present day, little knowledge of Christ as the Healer existed. Protestantism was established on one great principle, the revelation of Martin Luther, his watchword and slogan “The just shall live by faith.” Not by works of penance, but through faith in the living, risen, glorified Son of God.
Isolated cases of healing are recorded by Luther, John Knox, Calvin, and Zewengle, and others of the reformers. With the birth of Methodism, under John Wesley, a fresh impetus was given to the teaching of healing through faith in Jesus. Wesley recorded in his journal, many instances of wonderful healings of the sick, of casting out of demos, and remarkable answers to prayer.
Healing In Modern Times
The modern teaching of healing received a new impetus through Doroth Trudell, a factory worker in one of the German provinces. Under her ministry many were healed, so that eventually the German Government was compelled to recognize her healing institution at Mennendorf and license it. During the present century a great number of men definitely taught and practiced the ministry of Divine Healing.
Among the writer on the subject of healing who are well known to the Christian Church, are A. J. Gordon. Dr. A. B. Simpson, and Rev. Andrew Murray of South Africa.
Andrew Murrays Experience
The Rev. Andrew Murray’s Experience in healing was as follows: He was pronounced incurable of a throat disease, known as “Preacher’s Throat,” by many London specialists. In despair he visited the Bethsan Divine Healing Mission in London, conducted by Dr. Bagster. He knelt at the altar, was prayed for by the elders, and was healed. He returned to South Africa, wrote and published a book on Divine Healing, which was extensively circulated in the Dutch Reform Church of South Africa, of which he was the recognized leading pastor. The effect of the book was to call the people’s attention to the fact that Jesus in the Healer still. Great celebrations took place in the various churches of South Africa when Andrew Murray returned a living example of Christ’s power and willingness to heal.
In a short time persons who read of his ministry of healing made request of their pastors to be prayed for, that they might be healed. In some instances the pastors confessed that they had no faith, and could not honestly pray with them for healing. Others made one excuse after another. Eventually the people began to inquire what was the trouble with their pastors. Andrew Murray, the chief pastor had been healed. He had written a book on healing. Members of the Church throughout the land were praying through to God, and finding Him their Healer still. But the preachers in general were confessing lack of faith. So the circulation of the book became an embarrassment to them. Instead of humbly confessing their need to God, and calling upon Him for that measure of the Spirit’s presence and power that would make prayer for the sick answerable, they decided to demand the withdrawal of Andrew Murray’s book from circulation in the Church, and this was done. Although the truth of the teaching of Divine Healing, and the personal experience in the healing of Andrew Murray, and hundreds of others through his ministry and the ministry of believers in the Church remained unchallenged, Rev. Andrew Murray was requested not to practice the teaching of Divine Healing in the Dutch Reform Church of South Africa.
This experience illustrates with clearness, the difficulties surrounding the introduction of a more vital faith in the living God in the Modern Church. Every Church has had, in a greater or lesser degree, a somewhat similar experience. The usual custom in the Modern Church is that when a preacher breaks out in a living faith and begins to get extraordinary answers to prayer, he is cautioned by the worldly wise, and if persistent, is eventually made to feel that he is regarded as strange. If he still persists, he is ostracized and actually dismissed by some churches and conferences.
Experiences like the above are entirely due to the failure of the Modern Church to recognize the varied ministries of the Spirit set forth in the New Testament. The Word in the 12th of Corinthians says concerning the order of ministers in the Church that: “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, government, diversities of tongues.” Thus a ministry for every man called of God is provided. No one conflicting with the other. All recognized as equally necessary to the well-rounded body of Christ.
The Modern Church must come to a realization of other ministries in the Church besides preaching. In the Modern Church the preacher is the soul and center and circumference of his church. The Primitive Church was a structure of faith composed of men and women, each qualifying in his or her particular ministry. One ministered in the healing of the sick, another a worker of miracles, another a teacher of the ways and the will of God, another an evangelist, another a pastor, another an overseer.
It should be an easy matter for any modern Church to adopt itself to adapt itself to the gifts of the Spirit and so remove forever the difficulty that befell the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa, and has befallen our own churches. Instead of discouraging a ministry of the Spirit through the practice of varied gifts in the Church, these ministries and powers may be conserve and utilized for the building of the kingdom.
The Church at Spokane
A little over five years ago, we established in Spokane, Divine Healing Rooms with a competent staff of ministers. They believed in the Lord as the present, perfect Healer, and ministered the Spirit of God to the sick through prayer and the laying on of hands. The records show that we ministered up to 200 persons a day: that of these, 176 were non-church members. The knowledge of and faith in Jesus Christ as the Healer, has griped the world outside of the present Church society, and the numbers of those who believe are increasing with such rapidity that in a short time they may become a majority in many communities.
Question II. Does God Ever Heal?
The New Testament records forty-one cases of healing by Jesus, Himself. In nine of these instances not only were the individuals healed, but multitudes, and in three instances it especially say “great multitudes.”
With the growth of His life’s work, the demand for extension was imperative, and in Luke 9, we read: “Jesus called his twelve disciples together, and gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases, and he sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.”
When they in turn were overwhelmed with work we read in Luke 10, that Jesus appointed Seventy others also, and sent them into the cities round about, saying, “Heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, The kingdom of god is come night unto you.
If there were any foundation whatever for the foolish belief that only Jesus and the apostles healed, the appointment of these Seventy should settle it. When the Seventy returned from their evangelistic tour, they rejoiced saying, “Master, even the demons were subject to thy name.”
In addition to the Seventy we read that the disciples complained to Jesus, saying: W saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us.” And Jesus replied, “Forbid him not: for no man shall do a miracle in my name that can lightly speak evil of me. He that is not against us is for us.”
This then makes a New Testament record of eighty-for persons who healed during the life-time of Jesus. Jesus, the twelve apostles, seventy others, and the man who “followeth not with us.”
Paul and Barnabas were not apostles during the lifetime of Jesus, but we read in the Acts, of their healing many. Paul himself was healed through the ministry of Ananias, an aged disciple, who was sent to him through a vision from the Lord.
Philip was one of the evangelists who preached at Samaria, and under his ministry there were remarkable signs and wonders.
Under the ministry of the Apostle Paul, the sick were not only healed, and the dead raised, but handkerchiefs were brought to the apostle, that they might contact his person. When laid upon the sick, the disease disappeared and the “demon’ departed from them.
The Book of James gives final and positive instructions of what to do in case of sickness.
Commanding that if sick, one shall send for the elders of the Church. Concerning their prayer of faith the Word says: “The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him.”
The great number of medieval miracles, deserve respectful treatment and the cumulative evidence of so much concurrent testimony by distinguished and upright men makes it impossible to think that they were all deluded and mistaken.
Ministry of Dr. John Alexander Dowie
During the life of John Alexander Dowie, and before his mentality was affected through overwork, he established a city in the state of Illinois, forty miles north of Chicago, on the lake shore, known as Zion City. The city was established in 1901. In twelve months it had a population of 4000. In three years the population was estimated at ten thousand. The city Council passed by-laws banishing drugs, medicine, and the use of swine’s flesh. None of these are used by his followers if they wish to remain in good standing. Their vital statistics reveal their death rate is lower than that of other cities of the same population. Insurance companies were afraid to insure the Zion people because of the well-known fact that they would not employ physicians or medicine. But at present, insurance companies are seeking their business. They are recognized to be among the healthiest people in the United States.
On an occasion at the Chicago Auditorium, persons from all parts of the world who had been healed through his ministry, were invited to send testimonies on a card 2&1/2 by 4&1/2 inches. It required five bushel baskets to hold these cards. They numbered sixty thousand. Ten thousand in the audience rose to their feet testifying to their own personal healing by the power of God, making grand total of Seventy thousand testimonies.
In South Africa, Divine Healing holds such sway among both black and white, that army officers estimated that in the recent war, twenty out of every hundred refused medical aid, and trusted God only. This necessitated in the army the establishment of a Diving Healing Corps, which ministered healing by the Spirit of God.
Among prominent physicians who have not only been healed of god, but have adopted the ministry of healing through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ are: Phneas D. Yoakum of Los Angeles, head of the Pisgah Institution, whose blessed ministry of healing is recognized by Christians everywhere. Dr. William To, Gentry of Chicago, who was not only prominent in his profession as physician, but as the author of Materia Medica in twenty volumes, to be found in every first-class medical library. His publisher sold over 100,000 copies of this work.
To this I add my personal testimony, after twenty-five years in the ministry of healing, that hundreds of thousands of sick have been healed of the Lord, during this period, through churches and missionary societies founded on the pattern of the Primitive Church, finding God’s equipment of power from on high.
With this weight of testimony before us, it seems childish to continue debating the ability or willingness of God to heal the sick. Let us rather with open minds and heart receive the Lord Jesus Christ, as Saviour and Healer, and trust Him with our bodies as we trust Him with our souls.
Question III. Does God Always Heal?
In considering the subject of Divine Healing and its applicability to present day needs, the question, “Does God Always Heal?” is uppermost. The Church at large has taught that healing is dependent on the exercise of the Will of God, and that the proper attitude of the Christian to assume is, “If it be thy will.” Continuously we hear men say, “No doubt God can heal; He has the power, and He can heal if He will.”
We believe that this attitude of mind and this character of reasoning is due to the ignorance of the plain Word and Will of God, as revealed through Jesus Christ. We contend that God is always the Healer. We contend further that it is not necessary for God to will the healing or non-healing of any individual. In His desire to bless mankind, He willed once and for all and forever that man should be blessed and healed. He gave Jesus Christ as a Gift to the world, that this blessing might be demonstrated and His willingness and desire to heal forever made clear.
Christians readily admit that Jesus is the entire expression of the Law and the Life and the Will of God. As such, He demonstrated forever by His words and acts, what the mind of God toward the world is. He healed all who came to Him, never refusing a single individual, but ever bestowed the desired blessing. In healing all and never refusing one, He demonstrated forever the willingness of God to heal all. He healed because it was the nature of God to heal, not because it was a caprice of the mind of God, or because the mind of god was changed toward the individual through some special supplication.
Whosoever was ready and willing to receive healing received it from the Lord. His grief in one instance is expressed in the Gospel narrative in that, “He could do there (in Nazareth) no mighty works because of their unbelief, save that he healed a few sick folk.”
Men have assumed that it is necessary to persuade God to heal them. This we deny with all emphasis. God has manifested through Christ, His desire to bless mankind. His method of saving the world, and what constitutes His salvation, is shown in Matthew 4:23: “Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, (revealing the Will of God) and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.”
The Parallel of the Dynamo
The method by which men receive the healing power is parallel to the method by which we light our homes through the use of electricity. A dynamo is set up. Through its motion, it attracts to itself the quality know as electricity. Having attracted electricity, it is then distributed through the wires wherever man will and our homes are lighted thereby. The dynamo did not make the electricity. It existed from time immemorial. It was the discovery of the ability to control electricity that made lighting of our homes a possibility. Without it, we would still be living by the light of a tallow candle or a kerosene lamp.
In the spiritual world, the spirit of man is the dynamo. It is set in motion by prayer, the desire of the heart. Prayer is a veritable Holy Spirit controlling dynamo, attracting to itself the Spirit of God. The spirit of God being received into the spirit of man through prayer, is distributed by the action of the will wherever desire. The Spirit of God flowed through the hands of Jesus to the ones who were sick, and healed them. It flowed from His soul, wirelessly, to the suffering ones and healed them also.
The Holy Spirit is this shown to be the universal presence of god, God omnipresent. The Spirit of God is given to man for his blessing, and is to be utilized by him to fulfill the Will of God.
The Will of god to save a man is undisputed by intelligent Christians. The Will of God to heal every man is equally God’s purpose. God has not only made provisions that through the Spirit of God received into our lives, our souls may be blessed and our bodies healed, but further, we in turn are expected and commanded by Jesus to distribute the Spirit’s power to others, that they likewise may be healed and blessed.
The Spirit of god is ours to embrace. It is ours to apply to the need of either soul or body. Through Christ’s crucifixion and through His victory over the grave, Jesus secured from the Father the privilege of shedding the Holy Spirit abroad over the world. This was the crowning climax of the redemptive power of God ministered through Jesus Christ to the world. And from this day to this, every soul is entitled to embrace to himself this blessed Spirit of God, which Jesus regarded so valuable to mankind, so necessary to their health and salvation, that He gave His life to obtain it.
Consequently it is not a question, “Does God always heal?” That is childish. It is rather a question, “Are we willing to embrace His healing?” If so, it is for us to receive. More than this it is for all the world to receive, for every man to receive, who will put his nature in contact with God through opening his heart to the Lord. Jesus knowing the world’s need of healing, provided definitely for physicians (disciples, ministers, elders, those with the Gifts of Healing) who would minister, not pills and potions, but the power of God. The Gifts of Healing is one of the nine Gifts of the Spirit provided for and perpetuated forever in the Church. I Corinthians 12:8-11. The Word says: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” Consequently there is healing from every disease, for every man who will in faith embrace the Spirit of God, promised by the Father, and ministered through Jesus Christ, to the souls and bodies of all who desire the blessing.
Peter in his exposition of this fact, says, “By whose stripes ye were healed.” The use of “were” in this text indicates that the healing was accomplished in the mind of God when Jesus Christ gave Himself as the eternal Sacrifice, and has never had to be done over again for the healing of any individual. He willed it once; it is done forever. It is yours to have, yours to enjoy, and yours to impart to others.
Question IV. Does God Use Means in Healing?
By the term “means” is understood the varied remedies, medicines and potions commonly used by the world at large and prescribe for the sick—in short, Materia Medica. This should be an extremely easy question for anyone to decide. The world has always had her systems of healing. There were one thousand and one systems of healing evolved in all the centuries. They were mankind’s endeavor to alleviate suffering. They existed in the days of Jesus, just as they exist today. The ancient Egyptians used them and were as proficient in the practice as our modern physicians. Indeed their knowledge of chemistry in some respects seem to have superseded ours, as they were able to produce an embalming substance that preserved the human body and kept it from dissolution.
The public commonly believes that medicine is a great science, and that its practice is entirely scientific. Whereas, so great a man as Professor Douglas McGlaggen, who occupied the chair of Medical Jurisprudence in the University of Edinborough, Scotland, declared: “There is no such thing as the science of medicine. From the days of Hippocrates and Galen until now we have been stumbling in the dark, from diagnosis to diagnosis, from treatment to treatment.”
Dr. John B. Murphy, the greatest surgeon our country has ever produced, has spoken his mind concerning surgery as follows: “Surgery is a confession of helplessness. Being unable to assist the diseased organ, we remove it. If I had my life to live over again, I would endeavor to discover preventative medicine, in hope of saving the organ instead of destroying it.”
Just prior to his death he wrote an article entitled “The Slaughter of the Innocents,” condemning cutting out of tonsils and adenoids, demonstrating that the presence of inflammation and pus and the consequent enlargement was due to a secretion in the system that found lodgment in the tonsils and that the removal of the tonsils in no way remedied the difficulty, the poison being generated in the system. He purposed to give his knowledge to the public for its protection from useless operations that he regarded criminal.
God’s Contrast to Man’s Way
What then, did Jesus have in mind as better than the world’s system of healing, which He never used or countenanced? God’s remedy is a Person and not a thing. The remedy that Jesus ministered to the sick was a spiritual one. It was the Holy Spirit of God. The tangible, living quality and nature of the living God, ministered through the Soul and Hands of Jesus Christ to the sick one.
So conscious was the woman who was healed of the issue of blood, that she had received the remedy, and of its effect and power in her, upon only touching the hem of His garment, that she “felt in her body that she was made whole of that plague.” Jesus likewise was aware of the transmission of the healing power, for He said, “Someone hath touched me, for I perceive virtue has gone out of me.”
That same virtue was ministered through the hands of the apostles and of the Seventy. It was also ministered by the early Christians, when they received from God, through the Holy Ghost, the ability to minister the Spirit of God to others. Of the twelve apostles it is said: “He gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. And He sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Luke 9:1-2.
Of the Seventy it is written, “He sent them two and two, before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come, and said unto them... “HEAL THE SICK THAT ARE THEREIN, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.’”
So vital was this living Spirit of God and its healing virtue in the lives of the early Christians, that it is recorded of Paul that they brought handkerchiefs and aprons to him, that they might touch his body, and when these were laid upon the sick they were healed and the demons went out of them. Acts 19. In this instance even inanimate objects, handkerchiefs and aprons, were receptacles for the Spirit of God, imparted to them from the person of the Apostle Paul.
This was not an experience for the early Christian alone, but is the common experience of men and women everywhere who have dared to disbelieve the devil’s lie, so carefully fostered and proclaimed by the church at large, that the days of miracles are past.
Every advanced Christian, who has gone out into God, who has felt the thrill of His Spirit, who has dared to believe that the Son of God lives by the Spirit in his life today, just as He lived in the lives of the early Christians, has found the same pregnant power of God in himself. Upon laying his hands in faith upon others who are sick, take place, and realized the transmission of Divine Virtue. Today millions of men and women trust God only, for the healing of their body from every character and forms of disease.
What, then, is this means of healing that Jesus gave as a divine gift to Christianity, forever? It is the living Holy Spirit, ministered by Jesus Christ to the Christian soul, transmitted by the Christian because of this faith in the Word of Jesus, through his soul and his hands to the one who is sick. This reveals the law of contract in the mind of Jesus when He gave the commandment: “They shall lay hands on the sick, and they, SHALL recover.” Mark 16:18.
With praise to God we record to His glory, that through twenty-five years in this ministry we have seen hundreds of thousands of persons in many parts of the world, healed by the power of God.
Throughout these twenty-five years, in different lands, we have establish4ed churches and societies composed of Christian men and women who know no remedy but the one Divine Remedy, the Lord Jesus
Christ. They have faith in is redemption and in the presence and power of the Spirit of Christ to destroy sin and sickness in the lives of men forever.
In our own city, for five years, no day has passed in which we have not seen the healing of many.
For five years we have ministered, with our associate pastors, in The Church at Spokane alone, to an average of from one hundred and fifty to two hundred sick per day, who come from all quarters of the land, and even from foreign countries, to receive the healing [power of God. These healings have included almost every known form of disease.
The majority of these healings have been of persons pronounced hopeless by their physicians.
Many of them had spent their all, some tens of thousands of dollars, for doctors, medicine, and operations. They found the Lord Jesus Christ, and the ministry of healing by the power of God, just as efficacious today as it ever was, thereby demonstrating the truth of the Word of God.