LCN Article
More of Us Need To Be Healed

May / June 2005

Roderick C. Meredith (1930-2017)

Dear Brethren and Friends, As I write, we are approaching the Passover season. Though you will notread this until after Passover, I want you to know that God seems to be impressing on my mind the vital importance of the healing aspect of God's ministry. I have given a couple of sermons on this recently, but want to put some of this into writing since many of you are not able to hear all of these sermons. The matter of divine healing is a vital part of our Christian lives and of doing the Work of God!

Back in the late 1940s and 1950s—when I first came to Ambassador College—Mr. Armstrong was more personally involved as a local pastor and one who did virtually all of the anointing. I noticed that many in the Pasadena congregation were regularly being healed—and many more were being healed at our Festival site.

Once we moved the Feast of Tabernacles to Big Sandy, Texas, we had long lines of people waiting for counseling and anointing. I remember vividly how we had chairs lined up out in the hallway in the old "tabernacle" in which we met at Big Sandy—long before the college there was established. People would move down the line as they came closer to the doors of the little counseling rooms. Perhaps Burk McNair and I would be in one room counseling and anointing; next door would be Herman Hoeh and Raymond McNair, next door would be Raymond Cole with Norman Smith. People were inspired and encouraged. For after we anointed them with olive oil as a symbol of God's Holy Spirit, many were supernaturally healed within hours or days. These were not "imaginary" healings; they were divine interventions that were obvious.

This attitude of looking to God continued to some extent even into the 1960s—though the approach of deep faith in God seemed to recede somewhat as we became more and more involved in the "administrative" aspects of the Work, and as we became more prosperous and involved in "other things." In my memory, a major turning point in the Church—and in the aspect of healings—occurred after the death of Mrs. Herbert Armstrong. She was 75 years old at her death, so it was not some shocking event. But she normally would have lived longer—at least we all hoped. After his wife's death, Mr. Armstrong began to go on trips around the world. He was distracted from his local pastoral responsibilities, and the emphasis seemed to be more on the growth of the Work in general. A number of times, Mr. Armstrong himself mentioned that we ministers must not allow ourselves to become so involved in the administrative aspects of things that we neglect our personal Bible study and prayer and faith in God. Nevertheless, this did happen to some extent as each year wore on.

Then, in the 1970s, some of the younger men were allowed to run the Work. Mr. Armstrong was absent from Pasadena even more— and more and more liberal ideas began to creep into every aspect of our doctrines and practices. Then, after his massive heart failure and recovery, Mr. Armstrong began to devote more time personally to getting the Church "back on the track." God did bless his efforts wonderfully, the Church grew and a certain degree of faith was restored. But after his death in 1986, the spiritual malaise set in once again.

Brethren, we still have not recovered the childlike faith that used to exist during the early years of Ambassador College! Even now, in the Living Church of God—and certainly in the other Church of God fellowships—there is no record of regular, powerful divine interventions and healings! Many of our brethren acknowledge that they often think first of grabbing something out of the medicine chest or "going to the doctor" when they begin to come down with some sickness or ailment. They usually do this before it occurs to them to ask for anointing by Christ's ministry.


Because this spiritual malaise is still continuing among God's people. Often, I have noticed, the leading ministers and evangelists are rarely called on for anointing! We have very fine local elders who serve faithfully, yet it still seems a shame that the leading ministers are, in a sense, neglected in the matter of anointing. Yet, Jesus Christ personally and His twelve apostles personally did most of the anointing during their ministry! This is an extremely important point to consider.

But before continuing, let us remind ourselves that although we often should consult a physician or medical professional when we come down with something, we must not look to doctors as though they are some kind of infallible "god." For they are very human—as their own literature acknowledges—and literally thousands of mistakes are made every month in hospitals and doctors' offices all across the world. As I noted in my booklet, Does God Heal Today?, the New York Times for March 16, 2003 reported the statements of Dr. Lisa Sanders, a young physician who had recently graduated from medical school: "A decade ago, I stood alongside my 99 fellow freshmen as we were welcomed into the ranks of medicine in a 'white coat ceremony.' Here, on our first day of med school, we were presented with the short white coats that proclaimed us part of the mystery and the discipline of medicine. During that ceremony, the dean said something that was repeated throughout my education: half of what we teach you here is wrong—unfortunately, we don't know which half. At the time it was hard to believe. Within those walls, in the anatomy lab, in the lecture hall, you feel that you are being shown the secrets of how the body is put together, how it lives, how it works, how it dies. It has the feel of authority and certainty. Like math, it has a feeling of inevitability. But now, as a practicing doctor and teacher of residents, I relive that dean's aphorism daily. Medicine is, and always has been, an evolving discipline. And this necessarily means that what we know about medicine is constantly changing; that medicine is forever putting forth, and simultaneously upending, assumptions. This is particularly true at this moment. Virtually all of our medical therapeutic options are being questioned, evaluated and re-evaluated by researchers across the globe."

In reference to Dr. Sanders' comment, since some of the top professors in medical school acknowledge that "half" of what they teach may be wrong, in which "half" will you put your faith?


Additionally, note carefully the following facts cited in the Public Citizen Newsletter of July, 2002:

"70 percent of doctors treating Medicare patients flunked an exam on their knowledge of prescribing the older adults.

The majority of physicians who were asked to take the exam refused, often giving as their reason that they had a 'lack of interest in the subject.'

48 percent of patients taking three or more drugs were given drugs with one or more harmful interactions with other drugs.

Every minute, two people are hospitalized for adverse drug reactions (1,500,000 a year) and there's a death every five minutes and 15 seconds (100,000 a year). Every three and one quarter minutes, someone suffers drug-induced or drug-worsened memory loss (163,000 a year). It is fortunately reversible if you know which drug was the cause."

With the above facts in mind, it is important that we strive to get our balance in the matter of God's healing versus going to doctors! Certainly, as we have taught for years, God does not condemn being checked by a physician or even being treated by a physician when necessary! Jesus Christ Himself stated: "Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick" (Mark 2:17). In this and other statements, Jesus and the apostles certainly did not condemn going to physicians. Yet we read about the woman who "spent all that she had" on physicians and grew worse rather than better. And we know that God certainly can heal—and in most cases will heal—if we come to Him and look to Him in genuine faith. And we are aware that the closer we come to God individually, and as a Church, the more healings will undoubtedly occur. For again, brethren, divine healing is a vital part of the gospel of Jesus Christ—and of the Work God has always done through His Church. Let me quote again from our booklet on healing:

"Looking carefully at the ministry of Jesus Christ and the Apostles, it is clear that divine healing was a vital part of the preaching of the Gospel. The Gospel of Matthew tells us how Jesus began His ministry: 'And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people' (Matthew 4:23).

"You will notice that Jesus constantly did three things in His ministry. He:

(1) Preached the Gospel

(2) Healed the sick

(3) Cast out demons

"An incident in Peter's home shows us more about the background of divine healing: 'When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses"' (Matthew 8:16–17). Here, Matthew explains that Jesus' healings were to fulfill the scripture, in Isaiah, which shows that Jesus—the Messiah—'bore our sicknesses.' Matthew was quoting the famous passage in Isaiah 53 that clearly describes the role of the coming Messiah. The Messiah was to be 'despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief' (v. 3). The inspired Isaiah also tells us: 'Surely our diseases He did bear, and our pains he carried; whereas we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded because of our transgressions, He was crushed because of our iniquities: the chastisement of our welfare was upon him, and with his stripes we were healed' (Isaiah 53:4–5; The Holy Scriptures).

"The Jewish scholars who performed the above translation do know how to translate the Hebrew Bible! They correctly indicate that Jesus bore 'our diseases.' The vast majority of scholars also acknowledge this, as can be seen in footnotes in the New King James Version, the Revised Standard Version and other translations of the Bible. The New International Version renders as 'infirmities' the word that the KJV renders as 'griefs.' Scholars know that the word translated as 'griefs' literally means 'sicknesses' in Isaiah's original Hebrew.

"In Matthew 10, we find that Jesus gave His twelve leading disciples authority to heal and to cast out demons: 'And when He had called His twelve disciples to Him, He gave them power over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease' (v. 1). But, many will say: 'Wasn't this just for the twelve original Apostles and not for us today?'

"No! In Luke 10:1–9, we read that Jesus gave 'seventy others' this same authority to heal! Notice: 'Whatever city you enter, and they receive you, eat such things as are set before you. And heal the sick there, and say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you."' (vv. 8–9). And at the very end of His human life, Jesus gave a basic instruction for all of His faithful servants down through time. He commanded: 'Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.… And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover' (Mark 16:15, 17–18).…

"One of the 'signs' of the true Church of God is divine healing! This was manifested throughout the ministry of Jesus and the original Apostles and the 'seventy others.' Later, we find that the Apostle Paul, called to take the gospel to the gentiles, frequently healed people. Acts 14 recounts an incident in which Paul, seeing that a crippled man 'had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked' (vv. 9–10).

"In Acts 8:1–7, we read that God's Church was scattered from Jerusalem, and that the disciples traveled throughout Palestine preaching and teaching Christ's message. One of them, Philip, had only recently been ordained as a deacon (Acts 6:5). No doubt because he had a great deal of faith—as did his fellow deacon, Stephen (v. 8)—Philip was used to heal the sick, cast out demons and perform miracles. Notice: 'And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed' (Acts 8:6–7).

"The above is very clear biblical proof that others— not just the Apostles—were used to heal the sick and cast out demons. Of course, it was through the power of Jesus Christ and in His 'name'—His authority— that these miracles were performed. God's Word tells us: 'Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever' (Hebrews 13:8). That power to heal is available to God's faithful ministers today just as it was to all of the Apostles, the 'seventy others' and the other faithful servants of God all during the Apostolic Age and ever since, for those who have faith in the Word of God!"

Brethren, many have been healed through my personal prayers, and through the prayers of many of the Church's ministers. We know, and know that we know, that God is our Healer. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of you have experienced this! Nevertheless, we also know that the percentage of people being healed after prayer is much less than it should be. We know that as the entire society turns further away from God, this does have an effect upon us, upon our children and upon our new members who themselves never had the experience of seeing people healed to the degree some of us older members have. So I ask all of you to "gird up your loins," begin to pray fervently about the matter of healing and ask God to grant us the "gifts of healings" (1 Corinthians 12:9) to a much greater degree. If we, as a Church, begin to beseech God and literally cry out to Him about this matter, I am sure that He will answer!

How wonderful it would be for us, and for potential new brethren whom God is calling, to begin to see the power of God at work in this way! I encourage all of you to go back and reread and study my booklet on healing, Does God Heal Today? I think you will find it very informative, inspiring and encouraging. As we see the end of this age approach, we know that there will be more and more false prophets and false ministers appearing—some of them even working miracles! Jesus said, regarding the end-time: "Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or 'There!' do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Matthew 24:23–24).

We all know that whenever God allowed Satan and his servants to perform miracles, God's true servants would perform even greater miracles, as did Moses and Aaron! Several examples like this are in the Bible. However, much depends on how close we are to God. So let us emphasize this matter of healing more in our study, our thoughts and our prayers. I am sure that all of you will want to join me in doing this, and in praying fervently that our Father in heaven will pour out this gift of healing upon His ministry and upon His Church to a much greater degree!

How encouraging and inspiring this will be—and how important this will be for those outside the Church not only to hear the Truth of God spoken, but to "see" the "signs" that God granted the early apostles as they went out to preach the Truth all over the Roman Empire. Let us always remember how this is described in the last verse of the book of Mark: "And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs. Amen" (Mark 16:20).

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