Friday, January 18, 2013

Darren Russell: Why I Choose Not to Use Physicians, Part Two

Last April, Darren Russell shared an article explaining his reasons for faith healing. This is a follow up on the same subject.

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Last year I endeavored to give reasons for why I do not use physicians. I fairly strictly confined that article upon scriptural grounds, avoiding the historical, political, and scientific arguments. I had hoped even then for an opportunity to demonstrate that the beliefs some of us hold, of medicine and faith healing, was in fact the overwhelming practice of the early believers. If faith healing was only for the Apostles to perform, then once they vanished from the scene the Church would not have made use of these gifts, and returned to medical intervention.

            The importance of the historical argument has not gone unnoticed by those opposing, supposing that history sides on their part. In 2009, in anticipation of the Worthington trial, a writer for the Oregonian interviewed a professor concerning the history of medical usage in the first centuries after Christ. He claimed, “Christians were no different from the Greeks and the Romans. They used the methods of healing that their neighbors used. They accepted a naturalistic cause of disease. They employed medicine because of its cultural authority. “ He explained    “cultural authority” as  “something that an educated person should know about.” He did admit  that the 2d  century Origen recommended “that those who wanted to rely on God alone should seek healing by prayer and spiritual means. “ And that “there have always been some Christians who did that.” He also unfortunately used the same Origen to claim that most Christians at that time used physicians and  medicine.   (http://www.oregonlive.com/living/index.ssf/2009/06/osu_professor_early_christians.html)

            I say unfortunately because in Origen's works I find he examples the use of physicians  but never claims they were used by the church. In fact he was arguing against the heathen philosopher Celsus on his own terms. For example in one place was written, “IF recovery from disease is to be accomplished by means of the healing art, of necessity the physician is summoned, and it is therefore false to say that "in vain do you call in a physician." We have brought forward all these illustrations on account of the assertion of this learned Celsus.” (Origen, Against Celsus, Book II Chapter 20) In the same work Origen maintained that signs and wonders were still being seen among those that lived by the gospel. (Book I, Ch. 2)

            Origen's life ended near the middle of the 3d century and so I thought I would produce some testimony from those before him, who lived immediately after the age of the Apostles.

Justin Martyr , writing about 140 AD a defense of the Christian way,  explained what drew him to the Christians:

For I myself, too, when I was delighting in the doctrines of Plato, and heard the Christians slandered, and saw them fearless of death, and of all other-things which are counted fearful, perceived that it was impossible that they could be living in wickedness and pleasure. For what sensual or intemperate man, or who that counts it good to feast on human flesh, could welcome death that he might be deprived of his enjoyments, and would not rather continue always the present life, and attempt to escape the observation of the rulers; and much less would he denounce himself when the consequence would be death?” (1st Apology) He also confirmed  that the signs still followed the believers at that time. “Many of our Christian men exorcising them[demons] in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, have healed and do heal, rendering helpless and driving the possessing devils out of the men, though they could not be cured by all the other exorcists, and those who used incantations and drugs.”
2nd Apology, Ch. 6

            His disciple Tatian, in Address to the Greeks c.155 AD gave even clearer depictions of the faith delivered to the saints. He ridicules the philosopher Heraclitus who died of his own cure, despite being a supposed top notch medical doctor (Chap. 3) , and makes pronouncements against medicines. “ How is it becoming to ascribe to matter the relief of the insane, and not to God? For by their art they turn men aside from the pious acknowledgment of God, leading them to place confidence in herbs and roots. But God, if He had prepared these things to effect just what men wish, would be a Producer of evil things; whereas He Himself produced everything which has good qualities, but the profligacy of the demons has made use of the productions of nature for evil purposes, and the appearance of evil which these wear is from them, and not from the perfect God.” (Chap. 17) “But medicine and everything included in it is an invention of the same kind. If any one is healed by matter, through trusting to it, much more will he be healed by having recourse to the power of God. As noxious preparations arc material compounds, so are curatives of the same nature. If, however, we reject the baser matter, some persons often endeavour to heal by a union of one of these bad things with some other, and will make use of the bad to attain the good. But, just as he who dines with a robber, though he may not be a robber himself, partakes of the punishment on account of his intimacy with him, so he who is not bad but associates with the bad, having dealings with them for some supposed good, will be punished by God the Judge for partnership in the same object. Why is he who trusts in the system of matter not willing to trust in God? For what reason do you not approach the more powerful Lord, but rather seek to cure yourself, like the dog with grass, or the stag with a viper, or the hog with river-crabs, or the lion with apes? Why you deify the objects of nature? And why, when you cure your neighbor  are you called a benefactor? Yield to the power of the Logos! “ (Chap. 18)

            Tatian assuringly exhorts his readers “with us there is no desire of vainglory, nor do we indulge in a variety of opinions. For having renounced the popular and earthly, and obeying the commands of God, and following the law of the Father of immortality, we reject everything which rests upon human opinion. Not only do the rich among us pursue our philosophy, but the poor enjoy instruction gratuitously; for the things which come from God surpass the requital of worldly gifts. Thus we admit all who desire to hear, even old women and striplings; and, in short, persons of every age are treated by us with respect, but every kind of licentiousness is kept at a distance. And in speaking we do not utter falsehood. It would be an excellent thing if your continuance in unbelief should receive a check; but, however that may be, let our cause remain confirmed by the judgment pronounced by God.” (Chap. 23)

            Eusebius, who wrote a history of the Church in the early 4th century,  quoted one Irenaeus who was a bishop in the late second century. “ True disciples, receiving grace from him, perform such works in his Name for the benefit of other men, as each has received the gift from him.  For some of them drive out demons effectually and truly, so that those who have been cleansed from evil spirits frequently believe and unite with the Church. Others have a foreknowledge of future events, and visions, and prophetic revelations. Still others heal the sick by the laying on of hands, and restore them to health. And, as we have said, even dead persons have been raised, and remained with us many years.  But why should we say more? It is not possible to recount the number of gifts which the Church, throughout all the world, has received from God in the name of Jesus Christ, who was crucified under Pontius Pilate, and exercises every day for the benefit of the heathen, never deceiving any nor doing it for money. For as she has received freely from God, freely also does she minister. “ This Irenaeus was taught by Polycarp who learned the faith at the feet of Apostle John.

Tertullian who lived in the generation after Irenaeus and  of the one preceding Origen gave us some nice examples of healings, and how they were brought about. “All this might be officially brought under your notice, and by the very advocates, who are themselves also under obligations to us, although in court they give their voice as it suits them. The clerk of one of them who was liable to be thrown upon the ground by an evil spirit, was set free from his affliction; and was also the relative of another, and the little boy of a third. How many men of rank (to say nothing of common people) have been delivered from devils, and healed of diseases! Even Severus himself [he was the Roman Emporer who died in 211AD-DR] , the father of Antonine, was graciously mindful of the Christians; for he sought out the Christian Proculus, surnamed Torpacion, the steward of Euodias, and in gratitude for his having once cured him by anointing, he kept him in his palace till the day of his death’(To Scapula, Chap. 5).

There are many other quotes that could be added to these, but I feel the point has been made. History shows that for the first few centuries the Church did not use doctors, but waited faithfully for their healing. They practised it upon unbelievers as well, as a testimony to the goodness of Christ. The professor interviewed by the Oregonian, seems to have been clearly wrong in many of his statements.

43 comments:

  1. A really well thought out informative article, my own view is that there is a place for all types of healing, there have been to many instances of recoveries without medical interventions for it to be ignored,but there will always be a case for medical interventions by qualified medical practitioners

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  2. You have brought out some interesting information in your article about the history of faith healing. I believe that God can heal any way He wants to whether it be through a doctor, by natural remedies, or by faith alone. Nice article. It shows diligent research and preparation.

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    1. Thank you both, CTA and Jo for reading and the compliment.

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  3. Darren,
    I am curious what you think of the apostle Luke, the beloved physician.

    The new testament references physicians more than once and never in a negative light. Lawyers on the other hand are not spoken highly of. If foc where more open to seeing doctors they wouldn't need lawyers.

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    1. Rather than repeating a longer explanation than needs be, I would ask that you read the first article of last April. There should be a link in the introduction and I explore the various references to physicians.

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  4. Most people would have been better off not using doctors during the first century simply because medical science was often wrong and often dangerous because they did not understand things like bacteria and viruses cause disease. Science has come a very long way just in the last century and to ignore that fact is ignorant. For that reason your argument about comparing the first century to current state of things is faulty logic and is irrelevant for today.

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    1. Yes science has come a long way from then. No, it is not faulty logic upon my part. No matter how far advanced medicine becomes, it will never come close to the Power of God. As Tatian remarked, “But medicine and everything included in it is an invention of the same kind. If any one is healed by matter, through trusting to it, MUCH MORE will he be healed by having recourse to the power of God. "

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    2. Yes but does not your theology COMPLETELY disregard anything medical science has to offer? The logic is faulty in that although medical science had almost nothing to offer during the first centuries it does have much to offer today and you discount it entirely. You are comparing apples and oranges.

      Nothing in this life will come close to the power of God but we do not simply write off everything because it does not compare to the power of God.

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  5. Darren if you are going to following the teachings of the early church fathers and early church writers you should become Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox because the COFTB did not exist at that time.

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    1. COTFB didn't exist at that time?
      Read Hebrews 12 23.

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    2. The COTFB that Darren belongs to is not the same as the church mentioned in Hebrews 12:23. That is obvious.

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    3. I would just add that Darren's COFTB has hijacked the name of the people who the letter from Hebrews 12:23 is written to and Followers of Christ church in Oregon City is also a disgrace in that they are not following Christ. Hijack a name to look better and cover up corruption.

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    4. How can you be so sure, I am not a member but I believe they could be. I suppose you could say that about any church to discredit them.

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    5. Interesting, so If I go and start a church today and call it general assembly and church of the firstborn, you are going to say oh my gosh I finally found the right church because that church is mentioned in Hebrews 12:23! Really?

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    6. Darren didnt just start that church. I didn't say they where for sure anything. I am just saying don't be so quick to say they aren't who they say they are. Its easy to just call any church that does fit your life style wrong. There's a good chance they are wrong but I wouldnt judge them by what you have seen on the news or by what people here say about them.

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    7. Why would people assume that the churches appostal Paul wrote to don't exist today. I hope they have survived. The thing thats obvious is that the catholic church doesn't fit scripture.

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    9. Anon 4:09pm. You seem to be contending with some historical inaccuracy. For starters the Roman Catholic Church (or for that matter Eastern Orthodox) did not exist in the first 3 centuries, and none of the persons I quoted belonged to it. The hijacking was done by that church at a later date, when they co-opted the "Church Fathers" as their own. The COFB and FOC churches did in fact exist then, these were descriptions, not names.

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    10. There is no evidence whatsoever that the COFB or the FOC existed during the third century. At least not insomuch anything that resembles what these churches are today.

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    11. I disagree. There is abounding evidence in the scriptures and early writings to determine how the Church looked then, and it's not difficult to examine us, or any other group today, to see the similarities and differences. What are some differences you see? give me some examples and cites to back up your statement.

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    12. Modern Jews make the same claim of being" original ", but the blood lines don't match up. They're descendant in name only. Just like any other light skinned group claiming lineage from an ancient culture. A question for Darren, do your churches have pictures of Jeaus in church or in their homes? Is he white? If so, that's not what he looked like. I love all of your posts, they're informative, and educational for me personally. The claim of originality from a biblical group is a little far fetched for me. But I still think you're a nice guy.

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    13. Darren you should consider writing an article and perhaps Suzanne would let you publish it here. It could be about why you believe the COFB is the true church.

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    14. @ anon 12:07 No pics in our home, of Jesus.Yes, popular pics do represent him that way, but those are just unreliable representations.

      @ 2:53, I have been in the process of writing our church history for some time now. It is essentially finished, although I occasionally add to it. I somewhat dropped the ball in finalizing it this last year. A post along some similar lines as you suggested could be done. I would have to pray about it.

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    15. Darren, the early church was also filled with heresies and you only need to read St. Paul to know how he worried over the individual church communities going off track.

      Once the Roman persecution ended, the Catholic Church arose (directly from St. Peter and every successor to him) in part to protect the body of faith and liturgical practice - the Tradition passed on by the Apostles. Jesus didn't leave us a Bible, He left us a Church with Peter at it's head - hence the Tradition of the Catholic Church came before the Bible and the liturgical practice of the early Church was firmly established long before the Bible and has been preserved virtually unchanged since.

      The early Christian community thought the second coming was imminent and so didn't concern themselves with putting together a bible. They simply wrote letters and accounts of Christ's teachings to use for evangelization by disciples who had not been with Christ.

      Without the Church Councils and the Bible which it compiled - BASED on the body of faith it had preserved - you wouldn't have a bible today. The Church rejected more manuscripts than they included. They didn't co-opt the Church Fathers, they incorporated them along with all the other theologically sound writings.

      If you deny the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as the authoritative early Church, then as the compilers of the Bible you now use you should throw it out. After all, how could it be the Holy Spirit inspired word of God if it reflects the body of faith of the Catholic Church unless the Catholic Church embodies the one true faith.

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    16. Your view of church history is a little skewed and lacks historical support.

      No doubt heresies started from the beginning. That is why the scriptures were shared in the beginning, from the very beginning, had nothing to do with Christ's imminent return.

      The bible was not compiled by the Roman Catholic/Orthodox churches after the persecutions. The Muratorian canon is dated by many historians at about 140AD and the persecutions did not stop until Constantine's edict in 314AD. The RCC developed when Constantine in 325AD called for the Christians to have a council to decide certain dividing issues. Most of the Bishops refused to attend, but around 300 did. Out of a later council the canon of the bible was affirmed to themselves, not compiled. The earliest bibles and fragments known far predated the RCC church. Also the Syrian Peshitta, the Diatessaron, as well as many other translations existed, and are still being used that were not associated with the RCC. The RCC does base their bible off of the Vulgate, the KJV translators consulted it, but did not translate from it.

      Anyway, we have multiple sects today which share the same bible, so it is no strange thing that the RCC, Orthodox, or others shared the same bible then.

      Where do you get the idea that the RCC "rejected more manuscripts than they included." ? Dan Brown?

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  6. If you are sick and doctors have a cure and you instead pray for a better cure you might be tempting god. This is just a thought I am not condemning or condoning I don't claim to have all the answers. It does seem that the knowledge of man and faith in god don't have to be exclusive.

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    1. It is a thought, one that many hold to, EVEN in the church. Not my way of thinking though.

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  7. I can be sure because the COTFB does not preach grace. Think about it. Grace is how we are saved Ephesian 2:8, not works. COTFB and FOC preach works from what I have heard. That is how I can be sure.

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    1. "from what I have heard. That is how I can be sure."

      Grace most definitely is preached, and so is works, and many other doctrines such as faith, justification, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead, etc. Have YOU ever heard anyone yourself preach in our assemblies? Or are you jumping to conclusions from what others have said?

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  8. Darren this family does not believe in taking their children to doctors and I assume you support them based on your posts here and on Topix. If I am wrong please come out and say this child needed a doctor's help.

    http://images.bimedia.net/images/110523_AlaynaFront.jpg

    Look at this poor child! Darren believes it is OK and a parent should have the right to deny a child medical care and should deny a child medical care! Darren if what I say is not correct please correct me.

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    1. Interesting, no genuine argument here, just an emotional attempt to steer away from the real issues.

      This child needs God's care and compassion, and so do her parents. She also needs her parents.

      What caused the malady? How is it fixed? By God or man? How has man done so far? When it comes to children I think it becomes a less objective issue, and for some a more complex one.

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    2. This child needs God's care and compassion, and so do her parents. She also needs her parents.

      you forgot to add a doctor to the list.

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    3. Darren that link points to the most important issue and that is your belief when put into action and applied to children that link shows the result. You are indirectly supporting and defending criminal behavior and child suffering and if I am wrong then say that child needed a doctor.

      Nothing helped that poor child until the courts forced medical intervention.

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    4. I did not forget to add "doctor" to my list. I do not believe she NEEDED a doctor. The courts did. I do not know anything of her current condition, whether her life was improved or not. What I do see is the cost of this "forced medical intervention" which is measured in what she, her family, and everyone lost in familial, spiritual, constitutional, and economic ways that I believe far outweighed the benefit.

      Again I have a distaste for these emotional arguments and I prefer to shy away from them. Since scientific, economic, and even politics takes a backstage to spiritual matters, I have purposely, at least for now, not argued these things.

      You seem to have made several logical leaps to make me the instigator of crimes, but I guess that is the other way to "win" a debate. Smear the opponent!

      Why not tackle the subject head on? Show me where I am biblically and historically wrong.

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    5. I do not consider you my "opponent" but consider your belief non biblical. That belief being that children should NEVER see a doctor. That girl is doing a lot better because of medical treatment. No doubt there is lost familial, spiritual and economic costs when courts intervene. If they had went to a doctor in the first place there would not have been that cost from the court intervention.

      But that is what the courts are for. They step in when parents fail to care for their children.

      What logical leap are you talking about? They have the same belief as you and this was the result. There is nothing inherently personal about that and it is not a smear. This is the logical result of people that apply your belief to their children.

      I believe for certain that you will never change your mind about this so what is the point of using bible verses? Besides this most recent post does not even quote bible to support your belief.

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  9. Typical Darren post and run to avoid the difficult questions.

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    1. Difficult for who? If the questions are kept within the parameters of the post and I feel the person is wanting clarification then I respond. Not always timely, I do have a life away from this computer. Besides, anyone can email me for a more extensive discussion.

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    2. Darren,
      I appreciate your trying very hard to explain the FOC faith healing doctrine. I asked for answers about that belief as a young man but never heard an answer as detailed as yours.

      What’s clear is there is no such biblical command or teaching to support that doctrine. Your statement “how diametrically opposed physicians and God are” can only be true where the so-called believer is putting faith in the physician or medicine itself rather than relying on the Lord, or where the physician/patient are engaging in an evil like abortion.

      I wish you could see what you are missing and focus on the truth of the gospel. God is diametrically opposed to all (physician or not) because of sin, and abstaining from physicians/medications cannot change that. Jesus said “the healthy do not need a physician” because they can’t see how sick they are and have no need of healing. Jesus was referring to himself as the Physician; he suffered and died so disease and sickness would someday be utterly destroyed. His healing of the sick was a demonstration of power and mercy (signs which still happens today) but more importantly it signaled his redeeming purpose for the people who would believe in his name, the same people who would be healed by his stripes.

      Isaiah 53:5
      5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

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    3. Garth,
      I do think there are weightier considerations, more basic understandings, and much more in general to the gospel than this issue. As far as salvation I do not want people to become stuck on this issue, it is not my intent. Nevertheless as society has deemed this tenet as untenable, I am ready to show that it is in fact scripturally and historically based as the ONLY position universally acceptable to the early Christians, so to not allow the liberty of conscience to those of us who hold this faith to practice it, is tantamount to casting us into the eternal furnace.

      I see clearly that this doctrine is supported by the scriptures, though I will readily admit that there is no clear command "Thou shalt not use the doctors". Of course there are many other "doctrines" which do not have explicit commands, such as "Thou shalt believe in the Trinity", and yet many make those that do not believe in that order over to be heretics. Let's spin this around. Find a command in the bible that says I MUST go to a doctor, and the debate will be put to rest. If we cannot find either the direct yes or no here then we have two results in interpreting the scriptures we do have on the subject. Either it is irrelevant to God, and of no consequence to the church; or it is in fact relevant towards God, and how the earliest Christians understood those scriptures is very important. All the evidence points to the last case.

      By the way, I really love your scriptural reference. Appropriately it places all of Christ's actions on the cross in our past (though it was still yet future when Isaiah predicted it), but it shows that the consequence of his action is ever present. "With his stripes we ARE healed."

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    4. Okay my friend let’s see if we can work this out. Please forgive me if any of this sound’s brash or disrespectful, that is not my intent, but I am definitely on the offensive when it comes to the truth of scripture and the unhindered proclamation of the gospel.

      Do you really need a command to believe what the bible says? The word ‘trinity’ is not in the bible, it is a theological word used to summarize the teachings of scripture, and it means that God is three persons yet one God. The definition is based wholly on the teachings of the Old and New Testament. To deny the trinity would be to deny who God has revealed himself to be in the bible.

      Do you really need a command to stay alive? The entire bible is written for people who are physically alive, who are taught to live for the glory of God in everything they do. There is nothing to spin here, neither is there anything to debate. The only one looking for permission to get help from someone who has knowledge and skill enough to keep you from dying is you. And as for any biblical teaching that would prohibit such a gracious and good gift, there is none. Surely you know that every good gift is from above (James 1:17).

      Yes the issue is relevant to God:
      10 In ihis hand is the life of every living thing
      and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10

      If you want to make the point that trusting in man is a sin (the case with King Asa) I would completely agree, whatever is not of faith is sin. But I think I hear you saying “going to a doctor is sin” Is that right? If so… then this is where the debate begins. Believers must do everything in faith believing God will meet their every need (consider the lilies). I believe God will provide for me and my family. I get out of bed in the morning and go to work in faith, not trusting in myself but in God. By your logic I should just stay in bed because I’m not actually in control of the outcome. But I clearly see in scripture that God’s sovereignty over our lives does not negate our responsibility.

      It may help to examine the words of Jesus when He was tempted by Satan, “It is said, ‘you shall not put the Lord your God to the test.’” Forcing a test is demanding that God perform a miracle exactly in the time of need. The temptation was for Jesus to throw himself from the top of the temple knowing that the Father had to rescue him before impact, rather than walk down the steps. Refusing to receive any help for your physical health to the point of death is similar to jumping from a building when there is the option of walking down the steps, and is “putting God to the test”.

      Look Darren, I know these things can take years to work through; especially when you have been taught your whole life that there is something mysteriously wrong with physicians/medications. I certainly don’t want you to go against your conscience and at the same time I don't want you to put unnecessary burdens upon the conscience of others and cause them to stumble because they equate salvation with not going to doctors. What separates Christians from the world is not the FOC faith healing doctrine, rather its trusting in what Jesus has done to make them right with God - that is what must be proclaimed. Perhaps the conscience of yourself and others can be relieved from feeling defiled and condemned if you could take to heart the words of Jesus when he said “it is what comes out of a person that defiles them, not what goes in” (Mark 7:15-23). We are defiled by sinful actions (dead works) which originate from sinful thoughts (pride, fear, lust, self-pity, covetousness, etc.), the only place to turn when the conscience is condemned is the blood of Jesus. This is the only cleansing agent in the entire universe that can give peace in life.

      Hebrews 9:14
      14 How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

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    5. Garth, absolutely I would expect no less of you than to vigorously defend your gospel view. I am never offended with such things, as I am of the same inclination. I find no disrespect in your analysis, nor do I intend to offer anything for any purpose other than to educate. Educate upon what I believe, what my fellows believe and practice, how the early church believed and practiced, and what the apostles taught and practiced, which was the example of Christ.

      "Do you really need a command to believe what the bible says? " No. And that is the summary of our position. I am glad we finally agree on this point, since before you had stated, "What’s clear is there is no such biblical COMMAND" and now my task is easier. I only need to demonstrate scriptural "teaching to support that doctrine." Which I have substantially accomplished, but have a few points to answer that you have brought forward.

      "Do you really need a command to stay alive? The entire bible is written for people who are physically alive, who are taught to live for the glory of God in everything they do. There is nothing to spin here, neither is there anything to debate. The only one looking for permission to get help from someone who has knowledge and skill enough to keep you from dying is you. And as for any biblical teaching that would prohibit such a gracious and good gift, there is none. Surely you know that every good gift is from above (James 1:17)."

      Which is more important? Staying alive, or living righteously? If we can do both simultaneously then the question is moot. But what do we do when our physical instinct to live is opposed to our spirit to worship God? Which would be better for my ilk? To meet our God prepared, or to remain alive with a violated conscience? "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? For whosoever shall be ashamed of me and of my words, of him shall the Son of man be ashamed." (Luke 9:24-26) And of what word would we become ashamed? Of the very word concerning "Jesus Christ, and him crucified." Of the very one who "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses" , whose whose stripes were for our healing. And that gospel was preached "not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power. that our "faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. "


      "Yes the issue is relevant to God:
      10 In his hand is the life of every living thing
      and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:10"

      Amen to that!


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    6. I agree we are responsible to God for our actions. He provides us many methods to obtain our living, that does not conflict with his word. But your argument contains a fallacy in thinking that all methods are equal. Would you consider it providence from God for a thief to steal for a living? How about dealing with thieves in exchanges for profit? After all if you are not the actual thief....So then on what basis do you consider healing belonging to any other than God? If it does not belong to any other, then why do you have faith in them? You say your faith is not in them, then why use them? After all our faith is shown by what we do, not what we say.

      If we look into your example of Jesus' temptation a little further we can see a difference in application. The "tempting God" in this case was not stepping out on faith, or reliance upon God's promises. It was listening to Satan! He would have us commit ourselves to a wrong action, such as suicide, in order for God to "prove" his word. In fact Jesus quoted a passage from Deuteronomy 6 of Moses, which referred to a specific act of the Israelites in the wilderness. They were not proving God with their faith, but from their murmurings against him caused by their lack of faith. In another place concerning this very thing, "Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I did in Egypt and in the wilderness, and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkened to my voice;" (Numbers 14) we see that the sin was in the continual asking of signs with no intention of listening to God. The Lord actually asked Ahaz to prove him (Isaiah 7:12) and Ahaz misapplied this very scripture as a cop out, and received quite the invective from the Lord for it. Let us take care not to misuse this scripture today.

      There seems to be a misunderstanding as to why I believe what I do. I can see from yours and others remarks that the belief is widely held that I must be entirely under the influence of my early training. Perhaps it is easier to deal with how I am presenting the scriptures if one is to think that my understanding emanates from ignorance rather than knowledge. That isn't so, though I was raised in the Church of the First Born known as the Followers of Christ my immediate family gave us a more liberal raising, where doctoring was not a predominate issue.

      You said, "We are defiled by sinful actions (dead works) which originate from sinful thoughts (pride, fear, lust, self-pity, covetousness, etc.), the only place to turn when the conscience is condemned is the blood of Jesus." You are entirely correct about how our conscience is restored, but if we fail again our conscience is again unclean. Perhaps you may consider that what motivates persons to visit physicians is indeed fear. Fear, one of the sinful thoughts you mentioned.

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  10. I consiststantly find myself agreeing with your observations Garth. I agree that the only sin is puting away your faith when you see a doctor. If your faith in The Lord is strong outside of a hospital, then it should be just as strong inside of one.

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