Unlike charismatic believers who believe that the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit continue to be in operation, many evangelicals believe that the supernatural gifts have ceased. Thus in evangelical circles today, the miracles as seen in the gospels and Acts are rarely witnessed, if ever.
But there is a very important factor which non-charismatic evangelicals may have overlooked, a factor which if understood biblically can open the way for such evangelicals to minister healing supernaturally—but not “charismatically”.
The supernatural charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit were given at Pentecost after the Holy Spirit descended. Therefore, before Pentecost no supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit were available. However, in the gospels before Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended, the disciples were already ministering in the miraculous.
Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. …6 So they set out and went from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere.
Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. … 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’
…17 The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
Here, to both the Twelve disciples as well as the seventy-two disciples, Jesus gave supernatural “power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases” as they proclaimed the kingdom of God to the unbelieving. According to Luke 9:6 and 10:17 above they were able to use this power and authority effectively to heal the sick and cast out demons. At that time the Holy Spirit had not yet descended and the disciples had not yet received any supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit—like the “gift of healing”.
At this point it is critical to understand that the supernatural power and authority were given in the gospels specifically for the proclamation of the kingdom of God. The forthcoming miracles would be performed as evidence to the unbelieving that the kingdom of God had come through the Messiah Jesus Christ. The supernatural power and authority given to the disciples in the gospels were clearly not gifts of the Holy Spirit—since the gifts would be available only after the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost in Acts.
Moreover, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, unlike the power and authority given to the disciples in the gospels, are specifically for building up the body of believers—the Church (1 Corinthians 12, 1 Corinthians 14:12). By contrast, the supernatural power and authority were specifically to be used when proclaiming the kingdom of God to the unbelieving.
This clear distinction between power and authority in the gospels and the charismatic gifts of the Holy Spirit in Acts after Pentecost provide a biblical basis for non-charismatic evangelicals to minister in the supernatural effectively. They can minister exactly as did the early disciples did in the gospels when the Lord sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God. Like the early disciples, trained evangelical missionaries and workers in the Third World can go “from village to village, proclaiming the good news and healing people everywhere”. An analysis of exactly how Jesus healed the sick in the gospels as evidence that He is the Messiah provides the key by which evangelical workers today can be trained to minister to the sick effectively on the as-yet unreached Third World mission field—in a way similar to how the early disciples reached their totally pagan world of the First Century. Ministering to the sick, however, can be very different in regions of the world where the gospel has been planted for centuries—as it has been in the West.
This is what The Elijah Challenge has taught in 50 countries around the world. In India, our trained workers in the Fundamentalist Hindu state of Orissa (Odisha)—where baptism is illegal—have planted 1,500 house churches in less than five years consisting of approximately 56,000 new believers. This harvest is primarily the result of thousands of unmatched miraculous healings and deliverances providing irrefutable evidence to gospel-resistant Hindus that Jesus Christ is the Messiah and the only way to the One True God.