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Following Christ’s Example: A Biblical View of Discipleship

20 J. Jeremias, Theology of the New Testament (New York: Scribner’s, 1971), p. 85 (for similar comments, see references in previous note).

21 William Barclay, The Mind of Jesus (New York: Harper and Row, 1960), p. 71; cf. T. H. Gaster, “Demon,” in IDB, vol. 1, pp. 822-823.

22 G. Guignebert, The Jewish World in the Time of Jesus (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1939), p. 104.

23 Ibid., p. 105.

24 Mac Arthur, op. cit., pp. 200-201.

25 Ibid., p. 201.

26 J. Jeremias, op. cit., p. 94.

27 E. Stauffer, New Testament Theology (NewYork: MacMillian, 1955), p. 124.

28 Jeremias, op. cit., p. 94.

29 Ibid., p. 95.

30A. Oepke, TDNT, vol. 3, p. 201.

31 Hengel, op. cit., p. 60.

32 Ibid., p. 66.

33 See D.A. Carson, “The Purpose of Signs and Wonders in the New Testament,” in Michael Scott Horton, ed., Power Religion (Chicago: Moody Press, 1992). It is significant that Carson never relates Jesus’ signs and wonders to the presence of the kingdom or to his battle with Satan. By avoiding this major theme of New Testament theology, he makes a linguistic analysis of signs and wonders which is remarkably cut out of its proper context (to say nothing of the other proper context, teaching and learning in antiquity).

34 R.H. Fuller, op. cit., p. 39.

35 A.M. Hunter, op. cit., p. 55.

36 Harald Riesenfeld, The Gospel Tradition and its Beginnings (London: Mowbray, 1957), p. 24.

37 Rudolph Bultmann, Jesus and the Word (New York: Scribner’s, 1958), p. 124.

38 Hengel, op. cit., concludes, “Thus, basically, Jesus stood outside any discoverable uniform teaching tradition of Judaism,” p. 49.

39 Compare Mk. 1:25; 5:8; 9:25; Lk. 4:35 (“come out” exerchomai) and Acts 16:18 (“come out” exerchomai);

Compare Mk. 2:11; 5:41; Lk. 5:24; 7:14; 8:54; Jn. 5:8 (“get up” egeirō) and Acts 3:6-7 (“get up” egeirō majority of texts); 9:34, 40; 14:10 (“stand up” anastēthi);

Compare Jn. 5:8 (“walk” peripatei) and Acts 3:6 (“walk” peripatei);

Compare Mat. 8:3, 15; 9:25, 29; Mk. 1:31, 41; 5:41; 6:5; 8:23, 25; Lk. 4:40; 5:13; 8:54; 13:13; 14:4 (laying on of hands) and Acts 8:12; 9:17; 28:8 (laying on of hands);

Compare Lk. 18:42 (“see again” anablepson) and Acts 22:13 (“see again” anablepson);

Compare Mat. 9:25; Mk. 5:40 (removing a weeping crowd) and Acts 9:40 (removing a weeping crowd).

40 Jeremias, op. cit., p. 95.

41 Ibid., p. 237.

42 Ibid., p. 238.

43 Hengel, op. cit., p. 53.

44 Ibid., p. 66.

45 Powell, The Biblical Concept of Power, p. 138 and n. 36.

46 Although the form was not Rabbinic—Jesus called his disciples, they did not seek him out. He did not teach with a chain of authoritative tradition, but by his naked word of authority. His methods were not scribal or bookish, etc. Other major differences in form were also the way Jesus preached the urgency of the kingdom and the “form” of deliverance from demons and healing the sick, for example, by touching them and releasing the power of the Spirit in this way (Mk. 1:31, compare Lk. 8:46).

47 Hengel, op. cit., p. 73.

48 Ibid., p. 78.

49 MacArthur, op. cit., p. 121.

50 Besides bestowing the Spirit and spiritual gifts, the “laying on of hands,” mentioned in the list of elementary teachings, is one of the principle means of prayer for healing in the New Testament (Mat. 9:29; Mk. 1:41; 5:23; 6:5; 7:32; 16:18; Lk. 4:40; 13:13; Acts 9:17; 28:8; Jas. 5:14 “let them pray over [epi] him”). It follows that prayer for healing and prayer to convey the power and gifts of the Spirit was included in the “elementary teachings” of the Early Church.

51 Oscar Cullmann, The Early Church (London: SCM, 1956), pp. 64-65.

52 W.D. Davies, Christian Origins and Judaism (London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1962), p. 234.

53 Ibid., p. 235.

54 MacArthur, op. cit., p. 199.

55 Ibid., p. 75.

56 Eberhard Arnold, The Early Christians (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), p. 95.

57 Dialogue with Trypho, 85.1-2, in Ibid., p. 96.

58 Second Apology, 6 in Ibid., p. 138.

59 Irenaeus Against Heresies, XXXII.4, in The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), Vol. I, p. 409.

60 Robin Lane Fox, Pagans and Christians (New York: Harper and Row, 1986), p. 137.

61 Ibid., p. 268.

62 Ibid., p. 328.

63 Ibid., p. 20.

64 Ibid., p. 19.

65 Lewis Smedes (ed.), Ministry and the Miraculous (Pasadena, CA.: Fuller Theological Seminary, 1987), p. 13.

66 Ibid., pp. 28-29.

67 Ibid., p. 25.

68 I would certainly concur with the Fuller position theologically. There is no triumph of God’s kingdom apart from the atoning work of Christ. If Jesus had healed everybody and not died for their sins, they would have all been healthy and gone to Hell. We are speaking here of the historical evidence of the Gospels which gives first place to Jesus’ kingdom message and ministry.

69 A. Richardson, The Miracle-Stories of the Gospels (London: Epworth, 1942), p. 61-62.

70 Smedes, op. cit., p. 26.

71 Ibid., p. 28.

72 Ibid., p. 29.

73 See appendix 3 (“Mat. 28:18-20–The Great Commission and Jesus’ Commands to Preach and Heal”); Konrad Weiss (TDNT, vol. 6, p. 629 and nn. 47-48) has no trouble relating Paul and Barnabas’s obeying the command to shake the dust from their feet in Acts 13:51 to the authority of Christ conveyed to His disciples in the pre-crucifixion commissions. Dr. van der Loos (The Miracles of Jesus, pp. 217-218) also points out that the evidence from the Gospels and Acts suggests a clear relationship between the pre-crucifixion commissions and the post-resurrection ministry of the apostles: “Acts make mention of many signs [italics his] performed by the apostles. … This miraculous power of the apostles was inseparably bound up with the instructions and authority [italics his] which Jesus had given them. The discourse to the disciples before they are sent forth, Mat. 10 and parallel passages, begins with the statement that Jesus called His twelve disciples to Him and gave them power ‘against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease.’ ‘Preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give,’ are the direct instructions that Jesus gives His disciples.”

74 For the “laying on of hands,” mentioned in the list of elementary teachings, as one of the principle means of prayer for healing in the New Testament, see E. Lohse, “cheir,” TDNT, vol. 9, pp. 431-432; cf. Mat. 9:29; Mk. 1:41; 5:23; 6:5; 7:32; 16:18; Lk. 4:40; 13:13; Acts 9:17; 28:8; Jas. 5:14 “let them pray over [epi] him.”

75 MacArthur, op. cit., p. 110.

76 See, for example, the tabulated statistics and in-depth analysis of 100 randomly selected cases out of a total of 1,890 cases of healing and other phenomena presented by Dr. David Lewis, a British social anthropologist and Cambridge Research Associate (Mongolia and Inner Asian Studies unit) in his book, Healing: Fiction, Fantasy or Fact? A Comprehensive Analysis of the Healings and Associated Phenomena at John Wimber’s Harrogate Conference, London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1989. Dr. Lewis also summarizes his research in his chapter in this book. See also the carefully documented cases of otherwise inexplicable healings associated with prayer in Christ’s name which are investigated by obstetrician and gynecologist, Dr. Rex Gardner, Healing Miracles: A Doctor Investigates (London: Darton, Longman and Todd, 1986) and Dr. Ann England, ed., We Believe in Healing (London: Marshall, Morgan & Scott, 1982). Gardner remarks in a 1983 article which presents detailed accounts of seven contemporary cases-histories in the British Medical Journal that “no attempt has been made to prove that miracles have occurred, such proof being probably impossible. The adjective ‘miraculous’ is, however, permissible as a convenient shorthand for an otherwise almost inexplicable healing which occurs after prayer to God and brings honor to the Lord Jesus Christ” (Gardner, “Miracles of Healing in Anglo-Celtic Northumbria as Recorded by the Venerable Bede and His Contemporaries: A Reappraisal in the Light of Twentieth-Century Experience,” British Medical Journal 287 [1983], p. 1932).

77 Ibid., p. 135 MacArthur writes, “Today we deal with evil spirits not by finding someone with the gift of powers to cast them out, but by following the instructions of 2 Corinthians 2:10-11; Ephesians 6:11-18; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; James 4:7; and I Peter 5:7-9. All these verses teach us how we can triumph over Satan.” Ibid., p. 201 While this is true, MacArthur does not deal with demon possession or demonization. This becomes completely clear if we ask, how do you deal with a demon in a non-Christian? The teaching texts MacArthur cites are for Christians. None of these texts apply to an unbeliever or to one who needs actual deliverance from a demon.


Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NIV®.

This chapter is from Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer, eds., The Kingdom and the Power: Are Healing and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for the Church Today? A Biblical Look at How to Bring the Gospel to the World with Power (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1993). Used with permission.

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Category: Living the Faith, Summer 2007

About the Author: Donald M. Williams, Ph.D. (Columbia University), M.Div. (Princeton Seminary), retired in 2002 from the pastorate of Coast Vineyard in La Jolla, California that he planted in 1988. Previous pastoral experience included serving as College Pastor at the Hollywood Presbyterian Church for ten years and Mt. Soledad Presbyterian Church in La Jolla, CA. He has held teaching posts at Claremont MacKenna College and at Fuller Seminary. He is the author of thirteen books, including 12 Steps with Jesus (Regal/Chosen, 2004), Start Here: Kingdom Essentials for Christians (Regal/Chosen, 2006), and The Communicator's Commentary for Psalms 1-72 (Word, 1986) and Psalms 73-150 (Word, 1989).

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