LUKE 17:19: For Miracles to Work, Is Faith Required?

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Luke 17:19 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has saved you.”[119]

[119] Or has made you well

Luke 17:19 English Standard Version (ESV)
19 And he said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

Why Is Faith Healing Not Scriptural?

Really, there are three different thoughts when it comes to faith healing: (1) the scandalous evangelist standing on stage healing some cripple, and (2) some person living through or recovering from some tragic illness or accident. (3) For others, they picture Jesus and Paul healing the sick, Jesus raising the dead. Most see or imagine the little girl in the wheelchair in an audience that can move nothing but her eyes as the preacher walks back and forth on the stage, ranting to the point of spit flying everywhere. Soon some attendant wheels the little girl onto the stage, where the priest shakes her, screaming to God, speaking in some unknown language (gibberish). Ultimately, the girl starts to move, and within minutes, she can get up from the chair and walk to the joy and tears of thousands in the audience.

Then, thousands of miles away, another little girl is critically ill at home under hospice care. She has an inoperable brain tumor. She is in the last days of her life. Her church prays one night through the entire night, only to find the girl is taken back to the hospital the next morning because she appeared to have made a turnaround. When they do a brain scan, the doctors find no traces of a tumor; it is as though she never had one in the first place. We can hear this hypothetical little girl’s words as her lips tremble through the tears, “The doctors were so stunned and could not believe it,” she said through the tears. “I was supposed to be dead within the 48 hours, and I was literally on death’s door. Then it happened. I started to feel myself actually come back to life, as it were. I should not even be alive, but God has chosen to save me.” Imagine the joy of those church members, the families of both children. Both are being hailed as a miracle from God.

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What is Faith Healing?

Faith healing is healing that is supposedly achieved by religious belief and prayer rather than by medical treatment. This is why these fraudulent hucksters cause so much harm because people forgo medical care and place their trust in miraculous healing. The faith healers take place by evangelists or ministers of different denominations, but more so with those of the charismatic movement (e.g., Pentecostals). The faith healers claim that they are carrying out a similar work as Jesus Christ and his apostles, having the power of God move through them.

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This blog aims to protect the modern-day Christian from being contaminated by demonic spirit forces under Satan’s leadership, seeking to stumble any in their walk with God. When we think of the modern-day faith healers and their practices that very much resemble spiritistic practices, they are in no way similar to those carried out by Jesus Christ. The common sense of seeing through these fraudulent ones is further appreciated when we realize the purpose of Jesus’ healing was completed in the first century and will not be seen again until his second coming.

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When one points out all the fraudulent cases of faith healing and that it is not Scriptural, the scammers will claim, ‘for miracles to work, faith is required.’ So, they claim that certain healing does not occur because the one supposedly being healed lacks faith. Then, you show these charlatans that Jesus healed many who had no faith at all.

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The Sufferer is Told, ‘You Lack Faith!’

Tragically, many severely ill people go to ‘healing crusades’ only to find themselves back home even sicker than before. Faith healers have their ready excuses for their failures, claiming, ‘They lack faith!’ This, however, is nothing more than fraud. These so-called faith healers are not held accountable by the charismatics when they fail to heal someone. It is simply the victim’s fault for lacking faith. Actual healers, that is, doctors, have to carry medical insurance because they are held accountable for any inappropriate actions they may commit.

The Old Testament prophets, Jesus Christ and his apostles, never offered any excuses that the sick person was not healed because they lacked faith. The only thing a lack of faith might cause the sick is that they may fail to go see Jesus or the apostles when they were passing through or may have failed to come forward when Jesus was healing others. Nevertheless, those that came forward, even if they did not believe, they were always cured.​ – Mark 6:5-6.

Indeed, in some cases, people clearly lacked faith and were cured. For example, we have Naaman, the chief of the Syrian army, who did not fully believe that he could be cured of his leprosy as the prophet Elisha had suggested. It was only after his cure that he admitted: “Behold, I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel; so accept now a present from your servant.” (2 Kings 5:11-13, 15) The weak excuses of faith healers, thus, are just lies to avoid accountability.

At this point, those charismatic “Christians” who support faith healing and faith healers as Scriptural will quote Luke 17:19, which says, And he [Jesus] said to him, “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.”

This verse citation does not disprove the Biblical evidence cited above. These charismatics claim that a person cannot be healed without faith, and it is shown to them Scripturally that persons with no faith were healed. So, their showing an instance in which a person did have faith does not negate those being healed that did not have faith.

Proof of real confidence was also involved when we look at those who came to or who were brought to Jesus so that he could heal them. Even if they had never met Jesus before this moment, they would have likely heard about Jesus’ miraculous abilities. Then, what they saw and heard would have brought them to Jesus, where they would have been among those who were healed, and they would know for a certainty that Jesus could heal them as they watched others being healed. Once they were healed, they now had the faith they might have formerly lacked. Moreover, there were those who were familiar with God’s Word and thus were acquainted with the miracles carried out by the prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures. When these came to hear Jesus speak, some believed that he was “the Prophet,” while others believed he was the long-awaited Messiah, “the Christ.” Given this, it makes sense that Jesus occasionally said to those healed, “Your faith has made you well.” Had these no faith in Jesus, they would not even have come to him and would not have been healed. – John 7:40-41; Matthew 9:22; Luke 17:19.

Similarly, the great faith of the army officer who implored Jesus on behalf of his servant was based on proof, so much so that he knew that if Jesus merely ‘said the word,’ his servant would have been cured. (Matt 8:5-10, 13) However, as noted above, Jesus healed all who came to him, whether they came with faith or hope that what they had heard or read was true. In no case, faith or no faith did Jesus fail to heal them. There was never offered the excuse that they lacked faith. By this healing, many actually acquired faith that they had not formerly had. Jesus did not do many mighty works in his home region because of their unbelief. They had refused to listen to him and were not worthy. – Matthew 13:58.

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1 John 4:1 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
Beloved ones, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Beloved ones, do not believe every spirit. Do not confide implicitly in everyone who professes to be under the influences of the Holy Spirit. Comp. Matt. 24:4-5. The true and false teachers of religion claimed to be under the influence of the Spirit of God, and it was important that all such pretenses should be examined. It was not to be admitted because anyone claimed to have been sent from God, so he was sent. Every such claim should be subjected to the proper proof before it is conceded. The proper tests examined all pretenses (possible shams) to divine inspiration or to being authorized teachers of God because many false and delusive teachers set up such claims worldwide.

But test the spirits to see whether they are from God. There were those in the early Christian church who had the gift of ‘discerning spirits’ (see Notes, 1 Cor. 12:10,) but it is not certain that the apostle refers here to any such supernatural power. It is more probable, as he addresses this command to Christians in general that he refers to the ability to do this by a comparison of the doctrines which they professed to hold with what was revealed and by the fruits of their doctrines in their lives. If they taught what God had taught in his word, and if their lives corresponded with his requirements, and if their doctrines agreed with what had been inculcated by those who were admitted to be true apostles, (1 John 4:6) they were to receive them as what they professed to be. If not, they would reject them and hold them as impostors. It may be remarked that it is just as proper and important now to examine the claims of all who profess to be teachers of God as it was then. In a matter so momentous as the sovereignty of God and his great name, and where there is so much at stake, it is critical that all claims of this kind should be subjected to a rigid examination. No man should be received as a teacher of God without the clearest evidence that he has come by the will of God, nor unless he inculcates the very truth which God has revealed. See Isa. 8:20 and Acts 17:11.

For many false prophets have gone out into the world. The word prophet is often used in the New Testament to denote instructors, proclaimers (heralds), or preachers of God’s will and purposes (his Word). Such false teachers evidently abounded in the times here referred to. See 1 John 2:18. The meaning is that many had gone out into the world pretending to be true teachers of God but who inculcated the most dangerous doctrines. It was their duty to be on their guard against them, for they had the very spirit of the antichrist. (1 John 4:3) There were false prophets also among the people – (2 Pet 2:1, 19-21) All who claimed to be prophets were not true messengers of God. Many pretended to be such, who only led the people astray. It is unnecessary to say that such men have abounded in all ages where there have been true prophets. There shall be false teachers in the church. The fact that false teachers would arise in the church is often made known in the New Testament. (compare Matt. 24:5, 24; Acts 20:29-30). Prophets that are simply messengers of God’s Word continued after the death of the apostle John in 100 A.D. But prophets that miraculously foretell the future were no longer needed and existed, as the canon of Scripture was closed. The sixty-six books of the Bible were enough to get God’s people through until into the thousand-year reign of Christ when other books would be opened.

NOTE: Let’s be clear that God still steps into humanity to do something miraculously that is according to his will and purposes. However, after the apostle John, he no longer used humans to perform miracles, nor does he any longer use humans to foretell the future. The Bible of sixty-six books takes his people to the thousand reign of Christ, where more books will be opened. One could make the argument that God was miraculously helping William Tyndale as he carried out the monumental task of giving us the first printed English translation. All the while, he was on the run from the Catholic Church, which sought to kill him for giving the common churchgoer a Bible. The Catholic Church kept God’s Word locked up in the dead language of Latin, where only a few prominent Catholics could read it. Even the priest said most things in Latin from memory, as they, too, could not read Latin. Tyndale was hiding in caves and barns, people’s homes. Even when he was caught and thrown in a dungeon, he sought books to finish the Old Testament. He worked on it in the dungeon for two years. Then, he was executed. Did God give him protection? We cannot say for sure, but it is a monumental task that would have been according to His will and purpose. The 1611 King James Version is 90% of William Tyndale’s translation. The 1881 English Revised Version, the 1901 American Standard Version, the 1952 Revised Standard Version, the 1960s to 2020 NASB, the 2001 English Standard Version, and the 2022 Updated American Standard Version all come from William Tyndale’s work. We can say that the claim of God curing your ingrained toenail or helping you find your lost puppy is not monumental and God’s will and purpose. We can also say that these so-called faith healers are hucksters. They are false teachers, and if any power flows through them, it is demonic.

For an in-depth article on why any faith healing after the death of the apostle John is unscriptural, see the article below.

Why Is Faith Healing Not Scriptural?

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