Skip to content

It is my opinion that many non-Calvinists in the area of salvation from sin are often unaware of their Calvinistic beliefs concerning divine healing. Consider the famous, soteriological acronym “TULIP” with an application to physical healing (If you are unfamiliar with the traditional meaning of Calvinism’s TULIP, you may not recognize the significance of my points of comparison). It seems as though many believe in:

T: Total depravity (inability)- Given our over-exaltation of fallen, natural conditions and magnification of sickness and disease, we cannot and should not expect anything other than physical problems.

U: Unconditional election (realistically choosing some but not most)- Our choice to believe has nothing to do with it and affects nothing unless God has sovereignly chosen to heal. 

L: Limited atonement- We only give lip service to the verses of Christ’s physical suffering on behalf of our healing, but really He didn’t intend it to be for everyone. 

I: Irresistible grace (healing virtue in this case)- If God wants me healed, He’ll do it Himself. Only until after I’m healed or not can I know if it was or wasn’t God’s will to heal me. Healing precedes faith. 

P: Perseverance of the saints (health maintained)- If the healing is lost eventually then it was never God’s will in the first place. Perhaps they were never really healed. 

  Our major problem if the Bible doesn’t reveal it’s always God’s will to heal is this: We are left to depend on EXTRA-BIBLICAL REVELATION (i.e. “God spoke to me in prayer…”). Just like the Calvinists say, “We don’t know who the elect are. It’s a mystery, so we preach to everyone…”; In like manner, some say they don’t know who God wills to heal, and that it’s a mystery, but of course we’ll pray for anyone and everyone. Both of these conclusions are misguided for the SAME REASON: They both miss what the WORD reveals about God’s WILL.

  In my estimation, Calvinistic interpretations of the Bible are one of the greatest threats to the Church. Many recognize the harm it causes in the area of salvation from sin, yet propagate the same harm in the area of salvation from sickness and disease. Why would God not unilaterally control your spirit which determines where you spend eternity, but indeed control every detail of what happens in your body which does not determine your eternal destination? If that were the case, and God was simply interested in single-handedly controlling outcomes, it seems that His priority would be more upon the eternal than the temporal. The infinite more than the finite, in terms of duration. The spiritual more than the physical. Yet, many readily affirm that man’s choice to believe ultimately decides his eternal destiny, while claiming that God’s choice is the only deciding factor of their temporal, physical condition. So man’s faith bears full responsibility for his eternal state, but bears no responsibility for his temporal state? No, this is not what Scripture teaches.

  Calvinists claim that for God alone to receive the glory from our salvation, then our choice can play no role. It must be God’s choice alone who to save and when to save. They call this Monergism. However, many non-Calvinists seem to think it’s the height of presumption and arrogance for someone to believe that they can receive physical healing right now because God chose to heal all when Jesus bore the sicknesses of all, just as God chose to forgive all when Jesus bore the sins of all. The truth is that God made His sovereign choice when He made the payment for all. We believe “today” is the day of salvation and “now” is the accepted time! (Designated by who? God, of course!) Forgiveness, healing, deliverance, and all that pertains to being reconciled to the will of God, has been available ever since to whosoever believes!   

  I’ve heard it said by dear non-Calvinists that we should “Let God be God” in the sense of His picking and choosing who He heals. What then do we tell the Calvinist who uses that same philosophy for eternal salvation against us? When asked, “How is God holy and just by unchangeably determining all things, including sin, while punishing in the lake of fire a large percentage of humanity for not receiving a salvation that was never intended or provided for them in the first place?”, they have been known to say, “For reasons perfectly sufficient to Him.” Or, “For His good pleasure.” Non-Calvinists rightly find those responses Scripturally dissatisfying. Strangely, many non-Calvinists will use with great ease the same answers as to why God “chooses” not to heal. (Apparently, by forgiving and healing all who came to receive such from Him, Jesus sure didn’t represent the Calvinistic view of God’s “good pleasure.”)

  Along those same lines, when Calvinists are pressed on their contradiction of Scripture, they conveniently appeal to mystery of which only eternity will reveal. In other words, the eternally-enduring Biblical revelation that God gave us is inadequate to know that God’s character and actions are in perfect keeping with His Word, therefore God must resort to our post-glorification minds to make sense of why He willed and acted contrary to His Word. That doesn’t eradicate the present question of “Why does God (in Calvinism) mysteriously determine (i.e. most of humanity’s damnation) opposite to what His Word unmistakably declares (i.e. His will  and provision for all to be saved). So Biblically speaking, if it is a unresolvable contradiction right now in history and violation of the law of logic (Logic being how God Himself reasons within the Biblical record), how does entering eternity make all of that go away? How could it change those realities when Jesus that very Word of God shall never pass away and will also be the means by which we all are judged in the afterlife? Somehow non-Calvinists have been content with just as glaring of contradictions regarding healing, and settled for the same convenient “solution” of, “We’ll understand it better by and by.” (as to why God chose differently than He promised) In actuality, the reality that we will understand better by and by is that God always kept His Word and that His Word never failed.

  It is often a sly tactic of Calvinists to communicate the Gospel to a sinner in such a way so as to imply that the sinner can seek the Lord and be saved, without honestly being forthright about the real and statistically likely possibility that he/she may not be one of the “elect/chosen” for whom God willed and Christ died. I have more respect for the Calvinist who at least is not deceptive with a sinner, and thereby leaves God an “out” if in fact, He chooses not to save him/her. (Though I vehemently disagree with that particular “out” so to speak) Yet, many non-Calvinists will speak of Christ as our Healer, reference healing promises, and share healing testimonies, only to feel the need/pressure to leave God an “out” so as to explain for many times past He chose not to heal, and very possibly could choose not to heal in any present case. I believe this “out” is “outside” of His Word. We do not leave God an “out” as to why He doesn’t set free from sin, perversion, worldliness, addiction, etc those whose believe and act on His promises, do we? (i.e. “Praise God, Jesus sets us free indeed! We’ve known drunkards, liars, sexual perverts, addicts, etc whom Jesus has changed! But, you know, we don’t understand why sometimes people repent, believe, and obey the Word of God but God doesn’t set them free. You know, His ways are higher than our ways. Amen?”)

  Is it always God’s will to pray for the sick? (Most of the prayers I have heard go something like, “God heal this person, in Jesus’ name.” Or oft times, “Lord, touch so and so.” Or many times, “If it be thy will, heal them. But if not, we trust you.” Without making a thorough case here for how to Biblically minister to the sick, and for the sake of argument, let’s assume that the above mentioned prayer examples are correct. Does Scripture instruct us to pray for the sick? Yes. (Obviously, I believe that the terms “pray over” and “prayer of faith” in James 5:14-15 should be understood in light of every account of healing ministry by the Lord Jesus, apostles, and early Christians. None of which resemble the above mentioned prayers which ultimately petition God to heal.) Again, assuming those prayer approaches to be correct, and affirming that Scripture does indeed instruct us to pray for the sick, where then in the teachings of the New Testament, specifically those of Jesus, are we taught to pray in faith believing without receiving the desired result? In fact, Jesus had a close friend and trainee who said that the world could not contain the books, were Jesus’ other works to be written. This man’s name was John, the recognized apostle. To say that John saw some stuff, namely successful prayer and ministry, is a massive understatement. Helpfully for memorization, in 1 John 5:14-15, he taught that we don’t even have confidence in a prayer being heard and answered if we do not know the will of God in the matter. (*Christ’s prayer in Gethsemane is another discussion much too large to include here.) So let’s put it all together in a syllogism:

According to many,

1. God expects us to always pray for any and all sick.

2. We cannot know the will of God to heal or not until after the fact.

3. Therefore, God expects us to pray without confidence most, if not all, of the time concerning the healing of the sick.

Thus, the burden of Biblical proof lies on the shoulders of those whose belief system would imply the following: It’s always God’s will for us to ask Him to heal the sick, yet it’s rarely God’s will to heal the sick in response.

To be continued in Part 10…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *