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Rodman Williams: The Gift of the Holy Spirit Today: Purpose, Part 2

However, as we have observed, not all are healed in every situation: “many” but not everyone. Why this was the case in Samaria is not specified; however, it may have been due to the lack of receptivity on the part of those who were not healed. The people “with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip” and of these, many are healed. “Giving heed” or “paying attention,”38 however, does not necessarily lead to that openness, reception, faith wherein a healing may occur. Healing, while for everyone, may not be received by all.

We may reflect for a moment on the ministry of Jesus and observe that in most situations He healed all who were present. It is frequently recorded that Jesus healed everyone; for exam­ple, “He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick” (Matt. 8:16); “Many followed him, and he healed them all” (Matt. 12:15). Scriptures like these may be multiplied.39 However, there are other occasions when the biblical record speaks not of all but of many: “And he healed many who were sick with various diseases, and cast out many demons . . .” (Mark 1:34); and again there is reference not to many but to a few: “He laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them” (Mark 6:5). In the latter event, occurring at Nazareth, it is clear that healing was restricted by the lack of receptivity, the un­belief, of His own townsfolk: “They took offense at him. … And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:3, 5-6). On still another occa­sion, out of a large crowd at the sheep gate pool where “lay a multitude of invalids, blind, lame, paralyzed” (John 5:3), He healed only one, a man who had been ill for some twenty-eight years. Here the cause for the healing of only one does not seem to be due to an atmosphere of unbelief (although there is little suggestion that the sick multitude were expecting very much), but to Jesus’ own decision to help the one upon whom He took special pity.

So we may repeat our earlier statement, based on the record in Acts and now also shown in the Gospels, that healing while for everyone may not be received by all. Such factors as a lack of receptivity, unbelief on the human side, or the sovereign decision to heal only one or a few on the divine side, may be operative. Thus it is quite erroneous and misleading to claim that all will be healed in every situation.

However, to conclude this discussion of healing affirmatively, it is highly important to recognize that the gift of God’s Spirit does make possible the healing of every kind of disease. Thus, wherever people become channels of the divine power, extraor­dinary healings may be expected to occur.

In the spiritual renewal of our time, healing stands out as one of the most significant features. The power of God to heal, resident within the gift of the Holy Spirit, is being manifested on every hand. It is understood that the Good News includes healing for the body as well as salvation for the soul. For example, evangelists in the renewal do not hesitate to proclaim and act upon this “full gospel.”40 Since Jesus performed many healings and promised that His disciples would do even “greater works” than He, and since He has sent the Spirit to carry for­ward His ministry, then works of healing are to be expected. If they do not occur, therefore, it may be a negative sign, namely, that the gift of the Holy Spirit has not been received, or possibly that the gift has come, but people are failing to move out in faith and expectancy. But that healings of every kind41 are occurring in the renewal of today is one of the clearest evidences of the presence and power of the Lord in the Holy Spirit.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2003

About the Author: J. Rodman Williams (1918-2008), Ph.D., is considered to be the father of renewal theology. He served as a chaplain in the Second World War, he was a church pastor, college professor, and key figure in the charismatic movement of the 1960s. Beginning in 1982, he taught theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, Virginia, and became Professor of Renewal Theology Emeritus there in 2002. Author of numerous books, he is perhaps best known for his three volume Renewal Theology (Zondervan, 1996).

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