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Free Books » Morgan, G. Campbell

Morgan on Faith Healing. The Westminster Record, 1906 Morgan, G. Campbell by Free Books

Index

BIBLE QUERIES.*

ANSWERS TO CORRESPONDENTS.

By DR. G. CAMPBELL MORGAN

Faith Healing.

I am asked what is my opinion as to "Faith-healing."  Before replying to the evident intention of this question my correspondent will allow me to say two things on the way in which it is asked.  First, my opinion is only of value as it is based on the teaching of the Word.  I am sure my friend agrees with me at this point.  I only make the statement for the sake of the showing what this Column stands for.  Again, I should have liked a definition of the term "Faith-healing" before attempting to answer.  I find it means different things to different person.  I presume, however, it is asked in that general sense which suggests the possibility of the healing of all disease by the exercise of faith without the use of ordinary means. 

If that be the intention, then I reply that faith-healing is not taught in Scripture.

There are two fundamentals facts of Godly life which apply here and everywhere.

They are: -

  • i. The supreme matter is that the Will of God should be done.
  • ii. That every rational method is the outcome of a Divine intention and provision.

The former makes us more anxious that the Will of God should be done in us and though us than that we should escape from suffering and limitation.  The latter reconises the fact that God expects us to exercise faith in Him by using the gifts He has bestowed upon us in the world He created for the home of our probation.  I live by faith physically when I take means to procure and eat the food He has provided. 

A recognition of these principles will go far towards helping us in the matter of faith-healing.  That the Lord cured men of bodily disease is perfectly certain.  That He did not cure many is equally certain.  To say that the difference was created by the presence or absence of faith in those suffering is to affirm what is incapable of proof.  The certain thing is that in this He acted as in everything else in accordance with the Will of God. Where it was the Divine Will and for the purpose of God's glory He healed.  Faith was a condition, but not the only one, nor an unfailing one.  All this is true in Apostolic times.  The Apostles healed some in the Name, but others were not healed.  The supreme thing in each case was the accomplishment of the Divine Will to the glory of God.  Faith is often as finely exercised in enduring suffering as in escaping therefrom.  The purposes of suffering in the whole economy of God are much larger than personal. 

There are those who teach that freedom from bodily ailments was included in the purpose of atonement.  This is certainly true; but the abolition of Death was also included therein.  In neither case are they necessarily capable of immediate appropriation.  The redemption of the body is the final work of the Spirit, and will only be carried out in that resurrection wherein our bodies of humiliation will be conformed to the body of His glory.  In the very suffering of the flesh many saints to-day are having fellowship with the sufferings of Christ. 

One of my profoundest objections to the doctrine of faith-healing as it is often taught is that it involves a doctrine of God which is utterly at variance with Scripture teaching.  To make freedom from suffering contingent wholly upon the exercise of faith, and to thing of God as withholding health for no other reason than the frailty of the suffers' faith is, in my mind, to come seriously near to blasphemy.  The problem of pain, which had its most mysterious manifestation in the Sufferings of Christ, is hard enough to understand, but we add elements which make for shipwreck of confidence in God if we teach that He could end it all at once, and would if we only believed. 

Another objection is that this teaching exiles God from so much beneficent human activity.  The physician and surgeon who know most of their powers, know most keenly their limitations.  That they have still much to learn, they will be the first to acknowledge, but that they have been the ministers of helpfulness and relief no sane person will deny.  I cannot admit that this is not of God.  His methods are many, and the skill of the surgeon and that of the physician are among them.  Just as I ask His blessing with my food to the nourishment of my body, and with the study of His Word to the nurture of my spirit, so do I seek it on the means employed to the healing of my bodily ailments, if healing be within His purpose for me. 

One other word.  In Apostolic times there were gifts of healing.  These were conferred by the Spirit.  If He confers them to-day, and I am perfectly sure He can and will if it be for the Glory of God, then we shall rejoice in them.  Their presence will be capable of simple proof.  Such as possess them will exercise them directly, without laying the responsibility of healing upon the faith of the sick. 

Of course, every reputable physician perfectly understands the influence of mind on matter, or rather knows that such an influence exists, but that has no connection with the subject under discussion.

Questions to be answered in these columns should be addressed to Dr. Morgan, Westminster Chapel, not later than the 5th of each month, marked "Correspondence."

*originally published in the 1906 edition of the Westminster Record.