Among the writer on the subject of healing who are well known to the Christian Church, are A. J. Gordon. Dr. A. B. Simpson, and Rev. Andrew Murray of South Africa.
Andrew Murrays Experience
The Rev. Andrew Murray’s Experience in healing was as follows: He was pronounced incurable of a throat disease, known as “Preacher’s Throat,” by many London specialists. In despair he visited the Bethsan Divine Healing Mission in London, conducted by Dr. Bagster. He knelt at the altar, was prayed for by the elders, and was healed. He returned to South Africa, wrote and published a book on Divine Healing, which was extensively circulated in the Dutch Reform Church of South Africa, of which he was the recognized leading pastor. The effect of the book was to call the people’s attention to the fact that Jesus in the Healer still. Great celebrations took place in the various churches of South Africa when Andrew Murray returned a living example of Christ’s power and willingness to heal.
In a short time persons who read of his ministry of healing made request of their pastors to be prayed for, that they might be healed. In some instances the pastors confessed that they had no faith, and could not honestly pray with them for healing. Others made one excuse after another. Eventually the people began to inquire what was the trouble with their pastors. Andrew Murray, the chief pastor had been healed. He had written a book on healing. Members of the Church throughout the land were praying through to God, and finding Him their Healer still. But the preachers in general were confessing lack of faith. So the circulation of the book became an embarrassment to them. Instead of humbly confessing their need to God, and calling upon Him for that measure of the Spirit’s presence and power that would make prayer for the sick answerable, they decided to demand the withdrawal of Andrew Murray’s book from circulation in the Church, and this was done. Although the truth of the teaching of Divine Healing, and the personal experience in the healing of Andrew Murray, and hundreds of others through his ministry and the ministry of believers in the Church remained unchallenged, Rev. Andrew Murray was requested not to practice the teaching of Divine Healing in the Dutch Reform Church of South Africa.
This experience illustrates with clearness, the difficulties surrounding the introduction of a more vital faith in the living God in the Modern Church. Every Church has had, in a greater or lesser degree, a somewhat similar experience. The usual custom in the Modern Church is that when a preacher breaks out in a living faith and begins to get extraordinary answers to prayer, he is cautioned by the worldly wise, and if persistent, is eventually made to feel that he is regarded as strange. If he still persists, he is ostracized and actually dismissed by some churches and conferences.
Experiences like the above are entirely due to the failure of the Modern Church to recognize the varied ministries of the Spirit set forth in the New Testament. The Word in the 12th of Corinthians says concerning the order of ministers in the Church that: “God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, and after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, government, diversities of tongues.” Thus a ministry for every man called of God is provided. No one conflicting with the other. All recognized as equally necessary to the well-rounded body of Christ.
The Modern Church must come to a realization of other ministries in the Church besides preaching. In the Modern Church the preacher is the soul and center and circumference of his church. The Primitive Church was a structure of faith composed of men and women, each qualifying in his or her particular ministry. One ministered in the healing of the sick, another a worker of miracles, another a teacher of the ways and the will of God, another an evangelist, another a pastor, another an overseer.
It should be an easy matter for any modern Church to adopt itself to adapt itself to the gifts of the Spirit and so remove forever the difficulty that befell the Dutch Reform Church in South Africa, and has befallen our own churches. Instead of discouraging a ministry of the Spirit through the practice of varied gifts in the Church, these ministries and powers may be conserve and utilized for the building of the kingdom.