Rethink : When healing in the New Testament diminshed

4444

It seems that in the early days of the Church, in its infancy and newness, miracles and other signs and wonders were plentiful. There was a need for authenticating signs to accompany the Apostles’ ministry, and we see a fair number of examples. Peter walked by people and his shadow healed them.  Stephen healed. Barnabas healed. Phillip healed. The other apostles healed.

And Paul healed as well. As one example.

“And God was doing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that even handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched his skin were carried away to the sick, and their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.” Acts 19:12-13. 50-52 AD

But then there is a shift. Near the end of Paul’s ministry, some 15 years after the events of Acts 19 and over 30 years after Jesus had died- near the time when the Apostles had all but perished and the fledgling movement had become firmly established,  we see something else.

“Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. Erastus remained at Corinth, and I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus”. 2 Timothy 4:19-20. 65-66 AD

 “Do not be hasty in the laying on of hands, nor take part in the sins of others; keep yourself pure. (No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.”) 1 Timothy 5:22-23. 62-64 AD

“I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.” Phillipians 2:26-27. 61-63 AD

We see that Paul, who possessed apostolic power to do signs and wonders and mighty deeds,  could not, or did not, in the course of that time, heal Timothy or Trophimus or Epaphroditus. Whereas in the first half of the scriptural timeline we see that everyone is getting healed, whether they were believers or unbelievers- faithful or faithless, in the later half we see several people who are not getting healed and this gift seemingly being withdrawn. We see illness, disease, and sickness becoming a permanent reality in the life of the Church and congregations as the Church had become established and the need to have authenticating messages subsided and eventually ceased. This fits in well with other bible verses and other arcs of the narrative.

I do believe in healings as a rare, uncommon occurrence, but I also believe that the early overflow of Apostles in the Bible were unique in the history of the church. Once their ministry was accomplished, the need for authenticating signs ceased to exist, and this wholesale, common and frequent signs and wonders has ended.

One thought on “Rethink : When healing in the New Testament diminshed

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s