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J.I Packer on Healing & Lloyd-Jones on Dead Orthodoxy


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Don Dunkerly (a Presbyterian Evangelist) in his book on “Healing Evangelism”  quotes J. I Packer where Packer describes his interesting experience.  He writes:

“During the past thirty years openness to the supernatural in the physical realm has been recovered by many who had lost it.  Expectations of divine healing and other startling providences in answer to prayer have risen throughout the Christian world.  For this we should be thankful. Twentieth century hostility to the idea that God might heal or shape events today in a way that would call attention to his presence in power has always been unjustified and unbalanced. Its motives do not bear examination.  We should be glad that it is melting away.”

He goes on to say:

“There are times, not many, but they do occur– when God gives great assurance as to what to pray for, and great confidence before the event that the prayer will be answered (as He did in Elijah’s case). The memory of such occasions (one does not forget them!) remains as a strong incentive to pray confidently and expectantly about the next need that appears. I cannot claim to know much about this. But I recall a day of prayer for a Christian institution, for which I had some responsibility, that out of the blue had been told to close. Two hours into our praying I knew that I was being shown exactly what to ask for– a pattern of survival involving seven items. All of them at the moment seemed impossible to achieve, but all of them between eight months became a reality. I recall, too, a morning when I walked home praying for a person facing a CANCER operation the next day. As I neared home, the load of care lifted. I had a strange sense of being told I had been heard, and need not pray anymore. Many others were praying for this person, and I do not know whether any of them had such experience. All I know is that the next day, the surgeon could find no trace of Cancer. Such precise intimations from God in advance as to how he plans to use his power are ( I believe) very rare. But others have told similar stories of how God took them into his confidence, so to speak, while they were praying to Him to use his power and show forth His glory in particular situations. As I said above, these things happen, and we should recognize and rejoice that they do.”

From an excerpt taken from a personal letter, dated 25th November 1974,  the famous doctor Martyn Lloyd-Jones also wrote that cessationism is “a kind of dispensationalism which renders much of the epistles useless” while warning that “towards the end of this age such gifts are likely to reappear in great power, and at the same time many counterfeits.”   He writes:

“My attitude to the question of Tongues and other gifts is this: I have never been able to accept the traditional teaching as stated particularly, perhaps, by Warfield, that all gifts came to an end at the Apostolic era. I cannot see any scriptural warrant for this teaching; indeed it seems to me to be a kind of dispensationalism which renders much of the epistles useless.  For instance it implies that the teaching of 1 Thessalonians 5, verses 19 – 21 has no application today. All I say is, that while it is clear from the history of the Church that certain gifts seem to have been in abeyance over the centuries the Holy Spirit in His Lordship may give them at any time.  Indeed there is clear teaching that towards the end of this age such gifts are likely to reappear in great power, and at the same time many counterfeits.

The result of all this is that while I am very unhappy about this Charismatic Movement, and regard it as a real danger to the true Church and the Gospel, because it implies constantly that doctrine does not matter at all, I am equally concerned that we should not become guilty of “quenching the Spirit” and tying ourselves up in a dead orthodoxy.

Also, you might find these interesting:

Who’s Afraid of the Holy Spirit? An Investigation into the Ministry of the Spirit of God Today.

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