For the sake of love, give up a little in your practices to gain a lot in unity in the body of Christ

Our purpose is to train believers how to minister healing in the context of proclaiming the Kingdom of God; that is, winning souls. Thus our teaching on healing need not focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit which are primarily for ministry to the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12). Rather it can focus on the principles found in Scripture underlying the healing ministry of Jesus Christ Himself and His early disciples of which the primary purpose was to draw the lost to the Kingdom of God. Such Scriptural references to their healing miracles abound in the New Testament and provide powerful support for the teaching. In brief, Jesus and his disciples healed the sick primarily through the exercise of authority and not through spiritual gifts which were available only after the Day of Pentecost. Even in Acts, most of the healings recorded were through the exercise of authority. These references in the New Testament in fact outnumber the references to the “gifts of healings” and provide much detail about the exercise of authority.

Manifestations commonly present during charismatic healing services such as speaking in tongues and people being “slain in the Spirit” are in fact not necessary in an evangelistic setting. They were not present in the healing ministry of Jesus and His early disciples. The sick are simply healed of physical infirmities without having to fall down, and people come to Christ. In such an atmosphere both evangelical and charismatic believers feel comfortable. Strictly speaking, scriptural support for the manifestation of being “slain in the Spirit” is scant, and this is the primary reason for the controversy surrounding it within the body of Christ. Such peripheral manifestations should be minimized in public meetings for the sake of unity in the body of Christ. Moreover, there is a scriptural injunction against speaking in tongues outloud in public unless accompanied by an interpretation.

The Apostle Paul taught in Romans 14:21 that “It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.” It is better to limit our public freedom in non-essential areas that can cause division between brothers and within the body of Christ. The charismatic manifestation of being “slain in the Spirit” falls into this category. For the sake of love toward one’s non-charismatic brethren and for unity in Christ’s body, its practice in public meetings should be limited. (Of course, in meetings where everyone present understands the manifestation, believers are free to enjoy this blessing.)

This is one important key in bringing evangelical and charismatic churches together to minister in power.