Join C. Michael Patton, Tim Kimberley, Sam Storms and J.J. Seid as they discuss issues surrounding spiritual gifts.

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C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo House Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Find him everywhere: Find him everywhere

    15 replies to "Theology Unplugged: Why I Am/Not Charismatic, Part 11"

    • Chris Echols

      I keep talking to my computer, like you guys can hear me, so I figured I’d give my comments…

      1. God’s will is Healing.
      2. God didn’t tell Paul “no”. He said, “my Grace is sufficient”, meaning you already have what you need, not “no” I’m not going to heal you. (of course, I don’t believe the “thorn in the flesh” is sickness at all. Other uses of “thorn in the flesh” throughout the bible suggest that Paul was talking about a person or a group of people. Today, we’d say, “Pain in the Neck”.
      3. Faith is trust.
      4. Faith is not hope. Hope is not faith.
      5. I pray for healing only once. After that, I’m not continually praying-meaning “asking” or “begging”, but I DO continually pray – meaning, communicating to our Sovereign God, my Father by thanking Him for granting me Healing out of His sovereign will. I have confidence that He hears me when I pray, even though I don’t “feel” any different immediately. But my thanksgiving inspite of what I feel, my getting up out of the bed as if I really believed what I just prayed aka my faith is what heals me. Not my faith in myself, but my faith in that free “GRACE” of our Sovereign Lord.

      6. People can’t heal. Faith can.
      7. Faith is a combination of things not just belief. Belief is a part of faith, but only a part. Faith is the substance of things “hoped for” thus faith is all that I do based on my faith towards God. Asking, believing, saying/agreeing with God’s will, doing something concurrent with what I believe, EXPECTING what I already prayed about based on God’s Word, having the fortitude of mind to stick with what I believe, say and do all while continuing to give thanks to our Soverign God who healed me with His mighty hand.

      8. Last but not least, there will be sometimes when God tells us to do something (or stop doing something) specific to effect our healing, because Technically, we were healed 2000 years ago and that’s why my bible has a verse in it that says “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been [already] healed [already].” —1 Pet 2:24 ESV

      We just gotta reject all doubt and fear and cynicism to believe enough to act on what we believe.

    • Richard Klaus

      I really appreciated the TUP–thanks again. A couple of points stood out. J.J. spoke of avoiding both resignation and presumption. This was great. Of course, there is a big area between the two that Michael continues to probe with earnest questions. I also liked the phraseology from Sam when he spoke about having “confidence in the heart of God.” I have come to use a phrase called “pleading the character of God” in prayer. We appeal to his revealed character as a loving heavenly Father. I picked this up from Charles Spurgeon. He had battles with painful gout. During one particularly bad episode he prayed. This is how he describes it:
      “When…I was racked with pain to an extreme degree, so that I could no longer bear it without crying out, I asked all to go from the room and leave me alone; and then I had nothing I could say to God but this, “Thou art my Father, and I am Thy child; and Thou, as a Father, art tender and full of mercy. I could not bear to see my child suffer as thou makest me suffer; and if I saw him tormented as I am now, I would do what I could to help him….Wilt Thou hide Thy face from me, my Father? Wilt Thou still lay on me Thy heavy hand, and not give me a smile from Thy countenance?” I … pleaded His Fatherhood in real earnest. “Like as father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.” If He be a Father, let Him show Himself a Father–so I pleaded; and I ventured to say, when they came back who watched me, “I shall never have such agony again…for God has heard my prayer.” I bless God that ease came, and the racking pain never returned. Faith mastered it by laying hold upon God in His own revealed character–that character in which in our darkest hour, we are best able to appreciate Him….We can still say, “Our Father,” and when it is very dark, and we are very weak, our childlike appeal can go up, “Father, help me! Father, rescue me!” Quoted in Arnold Dallimore’s Spurgeon: A New Biography (Banner of Truth, 1985) pp. 138-139.

      I am encouraged that Spurgeon is a good Calvinist and he can pray like this. I think he is a good example for us.

    • Tyler C

      Chris Echols:

      1) What is sometimes God’s will again? 2 Cor 7:9; 1 Pet 4:19

      2) Where else in the Bible, pray tell, can one find another instance of the Greek “skolops tē sarki” from 2 Cor 12:7, in order to justify your unlikely interpretation?

      3) Fair synonym in most contexts, ok…

      4) Hope is does not constitute the entirety of biblical “faith” but it is certainly a part of it. It is an expression of faith that looks forward with confidence to things God has promised to certainly do (Romans 8, Hebrews 11), but can it not also–in its regular usage–also refer to looking forward with eagerness and trust that in God’s Fatherly kindness He may very well do a certain thing even though He has not specifically promised to do so in that case?

      5) Hmm, what kind of illness would have kept you from getting out of bed had God not intervened to heal you? If it’s something serious, then–in the spirit of Christian charity accepting your testimony as very possibly true–that’s a great move of God and He has often granted you great faith! Praise Him!

      6) Of course no human can heal miraculously by his own power. Nevertheless when God grants this faith and power, the Bible uses the language of attributing the healing to the person through whom God did the healing. This is a common “metonymy.” For example, see Acts 28:8.

      7) Expecting God to fulfill every promise of His Word is great. You have yet to demonstrate God promises full healing for believers in this life.

      8) Given that Paul says in Romans 8:30 that those whom God has foreknown and predestined to be conformed to Christ are *already* glorified (aorist tense: “adoxasen”), and yet in reality Christians are *not* yet glorified (according to the rest of the NT as well as our clear experience), couldn’t we understand the Isaiah 53 verse quoted in 1st Peter similarly–that is, in the sense of it is done in principle, and yet to be fully applied until the eschaton? The NT command that believers in Christ must carry their crosses and suffer with Christ, as well as the NT teaching that this is indeed according to the will of God (note the theme of martyrdom throughout Revelation as well), disprove your alternate interpretation.

      Brother, I urge you to reconsider what the Scriptures teach on this matter. I believe in God’s healing power, Fatherly mercy and tenderness, and will to heal people physically in many cases today. However, to teach people to believe God for and expect that which He has not promised to do (in fact He has promised the opposite for many of the faithful in this life), is to make potential shipwreck of the faith of many.

      In Christ,
      Tyler

    • Tyler C

      so…that last smiley is supposed to be a # 8 hahaha.

      anyway…also read the whole first part of 2 cor 7. some translations aren’t good enough in verse 9 to make the point alone, but the chapter is clear on God’s will and suffering and Paul’s ministry.

    • Chris Echols

      Thanks Tyler for the interaction… First of all, this 1000 limit is NOT God’s will! Lol! So at the rate I’m going, I would have to post each bullet point as a separate comment. But fell free to email me at chrisechols at gmail dot com.
      1) What is sometimes God’s will again? 2 Cor 7:9; 1 Pet 4:19

      Regarding 2 Cor 7:9

      In context, it doesn’t say anything about sickness being the will of God… To me, and keep in mind, I’m no scholar, Paul is saying that he wrote this letter to them that made them sad, and if it made them sad, then good. It should have made them sad that they couldn’t just live the way they used to live. Do you agree?

      “We were encouraged not only by his arrival, but also by the encouragement you gave him, as he reported to us your longing, your mourning, your deep concern for me, so that I rejoiced more than ever. For even if I made you sad by my letter, I do not regret having written it (even though I did regret it, for I see that my letter made you sad, though only for a short time). Now I rejoice, not because you were made sad, but because you were made sad to the point of repentance. For you were made sad as God intended, so that you were not harmed in any way by us.” —2 Cor 7:7–9 NET

      Regarding 1 Pet 4:19,

      I don’t know why we always seem to put debilitating disease right up there with Christ’s Cross. I’ve never seen Jesus sick. Jesus was a healer and he said that he always did his father’s will, so I would say in general, God’s will is for His children to be well, just like we as fathers do all we can to “heal” our children. Surely no one thinks we’re better fathers than the Almighty sovereign God of the Universe… When I read 1Pet 4:19 in context I don’t see sickness as being the sufferings as much suffering for doing what’s right in spite of what we want to do in the flesh. For instance, sin used to feel good to me, and I used to ever eat a lot. But now, I live for Christ and don’t let my flesh do what it wants to do. I “keep under my flesh” as Paul puts it (KJV version)

      Sometimes it really does hurt your flesh and ego to do what’s right just because it’s right…
      “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator. The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:” —1 Pet 4:17–5:1 KJV

      Again, in Christ’s sufferings, I don’t remember the verse where he had the Jesus Gout. 🙂

    • Chris Echols

      2) Tyler asks, “Where else in the Bible, pray tell, can one find another instance of the Greek “skolops tē sarki” from 2 Cor 12:7, in order to justify your unlikely interpretation?”

      The sound guy says:
      I agree with your assessment that it the phrase is found nowhere else in the New Testament. I first found this out when I finally took the time to read the Old Testament.

      A lot of people say that no one knows what Paul’s Thorn was, but when I read the verse, I see pretty plainly what it is. Paul’s Thorn = A Messenger of Satan = A person or group of people–not sickness and disease. I have no idea what makes everyone think that it was some type of sickness or disease, when we, in most cultures anyway, have the same kind of idiom. We all have people in our lives who are “pains in the neck” or know someone who is a “pain in the @##”. So, I can see someone in Paul’s life who’s always coming up against him when he’s talking about these high and mighty revelations. We all have people in our lives who tend to keep us from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought to, and some are better (or worse) at it than others – I know my ex wife was one ☺

      The phrase “Thorn in the flesh” is not unique to this passage of scripture. Because Paul read books commonly known as part of the Old Testament. If you did a quick search you would find other phrases like “thorns in your sides,” —Numbers 33:55 KJV; “thorns in your eyes” —Joshua 23:13 KJV; “thorns in your sides” —Judges 2:3 KJV the word σκολοπες is used in Numbers 33:55 in the LXX

      It seems that this was a common phrasing in the OT to describe troublesome people as in…“And for the house of Israel there shall be no more a brier to prick or a thorn to hurt them among all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. Then they will know that I am the Lord GOD.” —Ezek 28:24 ESV Here the word σκολοψ is used.

      Two other things to notice about 2Cor 12:7 is that Paul is writing in his letter to the Corinthians that HE believes that this thorn was 1.) given to him by “a messenger of satan” and 2.) for a certain purpose. To sum up point number 1, this “thorn in the flesh” wasn’t given to him by God. A “thorn in the flesh” is not a good gift. Every perfect give comes from the “father of lights” James 1:17. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:” —James 1:13 KJV

      As for what the purpose was, that is simply Paul’s opinion of why he has a thorn in the flesh. Whenever something happens to us, we try to assign some cause to it. I don’t generally connect sickness, illness, disease, calamity, etc to God unless, it is indeed a good or perfect gift. But that’s just how I see things. Your mileage may vary. 🙂

    • Chris Echols

      4) Tyler says “Hope is does not constitute the entirety of biblical “faith” but it is certainly a part of it. It is an expression of faith that looks forward with confidence to things God has promised to certainly do (Romans 8, Hebrews 11)” and I certainly agree with my brother whole heartedly.

      Then Tyler asks, “but can it not also–in its regular usage–also refer to looking forward with eagerness and trust that in God’s Fatherly kindness He may very well do a certain thing even though He has not specifically promised to do so in that case?” And that’s a good question. I honestly believe that God can do anything he wants to do whether he promised it or not. However, we way more confidence in God’s promises and wait eagerly with expectation of the things that He said He would do.

      5) I think you may have missed what I was saying on point number five. What I was getting at there is that whenever I DO pray for healing for myself or for someone else, I only petition God only one time. After that, I’m not praying about it again. My only interaction with that petition would to be to 1.) sit down and get quiet to see if God is telling me something that I need to do or stop doing and 2) continue to thank him that I am already healed, even if I don’t “feel” like I’m healed or “see” that I’m healed. The reason I can boldly say that I’ve already been healed is because of the scripture that says… “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” —1 Pet 2:24 ESV

      I really have never had a debilitating sickness. I used to get the flu every year, but I decided I like it better when I don’t have to deal with sickness so much, so nowadays I hardly ever get sick. Not because of some miracle, but because I’m trying to do what’s right by eating right and drinking water. Notice the absence of the word “exercise” in that previous statement. I should be exercising more, but I’ll confess – I’m lazy when it comes to exercise. 🙂

      6) Tyler says: “Of course no human can heal miraculously by his own power. Nevertheless when God grants this faith and power, the Bible uses the language of attributing the healing to the person through whom God did the healing. This is a common “metonymy.” For example, see Acts 28:8.”

      The sound guy says, That’s a good point. So from that I can see that from man’s (or the author/narrator’s) point of view, metonymy is used, but from Jesus’ point of view, he describes in most cases, the person’s faith as being the vehicle to effect the healing. Maybe I’ll go back and see if there is any place in the bible where he attributed healing to himself directly.

    • Jonathan

      Am I the only one to see that 1 Pet 2:24 refers to spiritual healing (i.e. forgiveness of sins, etc) and NOT mere physical healing (at least in that particular context).

      In that passage, the disease is “sin”… not flu, migraine or cancer…
      All of the commentators agree on that…

      If Christ died to heal all of our physical sickness, then well… something went wrong cause christians get sick and die, including those in the charismatic circles.

    • Chris Echols

      Jonathan,

      I can even agree with you there. The thing is, the people whom Christ died for and healed their “spiritual sickness” still “get sick” spiritually by sinning, so that’s why I don’t mind just taking it at faith value, because the only one who will hold me to that interpretation is the one who did the dying anyway.

      I just personally don’t like to be sick, nor do I tend to serve God 100% when I sick in the bed with a fever. I don’t know about anyone else, but I tend to get really introverted when I’m not feeling well. But once I’m healed of the fever, I find myself getting up and serving the master like Peter’s mother in law…

      So I say that to say I won’t be dogmatic about 2Pet 2:24 being physical illness, I’m just saying that’s what I believe and this belief has allowed me the opportunity to serve the kingdom well.

    • Jonathan

      The fact that you “served the master” once you were healed is totally irrelevant to the question. The final authority is the Bible, not feelings or personnal experiences.

      If the Bible doesn’t state clearly what you want it to teach about physical sickness, then that’s a huge problem.

      Also, since God is sovereign, you have to admit that at least he has “permitted” these sickness to come upon us… it’s never outside of the perimeter of His plan anyway, even when He does heal.

      By the way, I believe that God still heals today, but saying that “faith can heal” or “God’s will is healing” (i.e always) is quite a leap.

      (moreover, how do you know that Jesus never got sick? Isn’t it pure speculation? Since He lived the life of a man and was tempted in everything, I doubt that He never got sick)

    • Chris Echols

      Ok. Thanks Jonathan. You da man. 🙂

      God bless.

    • Jim Zeirke

      Did someone forget to post this podcast to iTunes? I can’t find it there.

    • Ken Moorer

      Even if 1 Peter 2:24 is about spiritual healing only. Matthew 8:17 in context dealt with physical healing. At least Matthew equated Jesus’ physically healing people with the quote from Isaiah 53:4. That’s my 2 cents.

    • Jonathan

      Yes, that’s why I said “at least in that particular context” in my post.

    • Chris Echols

      Do you guys think that maybe this is how the jewish mind would have understood Isaiah 53:4 in general as being physical sickness, disease, illness? Or did they possibly not separate physical illness from spiritual illness? I don’t know, I’m just wondering how Jewish readers would have understood that passage…

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