“One evening we went home with Brother and Sister Frost. Sister Owen lives a close neighbor to them. Her daughter had been two days before taken sick. That night she was taken very bad, and she suffered extremely. Mr Owen wished to go for the doctor, but Lula begged her pa to send for us. Though he had been extremely prejudiced against us by some ungodly sectarian neighbor, he could not refuse the wish of his suffering child. He gave his consent, and at 2 o’clock we were called up, and went to the house in the name of the Lord. Lula had been praying the Lord to forgive her sins, and seemed to have found pardon, but she was in great suffering. Brother Fisher and I laid hands upon her, and in less than a minute her intense suffering ceased, and she rested until morning. Her body gradually recovered strength, and two days later she was out to the (camp) meeting. Praise the Lord, O my soul! The power of God since then so softened the heart of Brother Owen that he had turned to serve the Lord. His heart is so changed that he not only loves God but us also. May God bless the dear brother.”
The above is an excerpt from the book: “Birth of a Reformation: The Life and Labors of D. S. Warner. Warner was a Christian preacher during the 1800’s. Nowhere in the book does he claim to have the gift of healing, but he believed that a man of God not only preaches, but casts out demons and lays on hands when someone is sick.
Today, it is said that the gift of healing has ceased since it was meant for the Jews (who always required a sign) in order to show them that Jesus was the Messiah. After Jesus’ death and resurrection, His apostles and Paul healed people. Sometimes all one had to do was have Peter’s shadow walk past them and they were healed. Handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched were taken to the sick and they were made well and evil spirits left them. (Acts 19:12) But soon they all lost that gift. Why?
In Acts 15 at the Jerusalem Council, Peter came to Paul’s defense and declared that from that point forward Jews had to be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus in the same way as the Gentiles. Soon, the kingdom gospel that the apostles had preached to the nation of Israel (that they needed to repent from the sin of killing the Messiah and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins), came to an end. From that point on, everyone had to believe in Paul’s gospel to be saved. That Christ died for our sins, was buried and on the 3rd day He rose again. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)
God sometimes still heals today, but often it is done without the agency of man. It’s all God. But what about the laying on of hands? Should a pastor/preacher do that? Some do, who do not claim to have the gift of healing and there have been wonderful testimonies of people being made well and whole. But it seems that preachers in the 19th century believed in it far more than those of today and they saw many miracles of God.
Some years ago I traveled with a busload of folks to attend Ernest Angley’s faith healing meeting. He’s an evangelist who claims to have the gift of healing. Being young and curious, I decided to take this trip to Ohio. On the stage, Angley stood before a very long line of people. As soon as he pressed his hand on their foreheads, they would drop like flies. Two men in suits had the job of catching them before they hit the floor and gently eased them down. Some of them lay motionless for several minutes. Sadly, not one person on the bus thought they were healed. I remember a blind man who had such faith that he would receive his sight. He was giddy and restless and full of hope. That night he returned to the bus completely deflated. I have since learned that Angley is a false teacher. He teaches that one must speak in tongues in order to be saved.
I remember reading a story about Elvis Presley. He said that he once laid hands on a sick person and they were immediately made well. The experience so terrified him that he never did it again.