The LogosWord Website
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth  
Home page Bible software Online shopping Webstore Archive Booklists
LogosWord | LogosLite | Amazon Webstore | LogosComment | Resources | Software | Links | About | Donate | Contact

About the author

Joe Mcintyre

This paper was written by Joe Mcintyre.


Joe McIntyre is the President of the International Fellowship of Ministries.

Originally published in Refleks 1-1 (2002). Included by permission.

Other papers

These archives are open to the public for free. If you would like to contribute something for the editor's efforts, however, there are several ways you can donate online, helping him conquer some more of his reading list!
Articles > Charismatic Theology > Healing In Redemption

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Footnotes

The Influence of Cessationism


Until the late nineteenth century, most scholars were, for the most part, cessationist. While defending the miracles of the Bible, they did not believe that these things were for the Church today. Jack Deere notes, “The Reformers argued that the primary purpose of New Testament miracles was to authenticate the apostles as trustworthy authors of Holy Scripture. How would this argument prove that miracles were temporary? Because after the apostles had written the New Testament, miracles would have fulfilled their purpose and would no longer be necessary, for now the church would possess forever the miraculously attested written Word of God.[iv] (Deere’s italics)  When seeking to understand the prejudice against healing in the atonement, we have to consider the weight of the influence of the great cessationist scholars of the past on today’s expositors. It is not a pleasant task to go against opinions that have been esteemed for hundreds of years.




Another hindrance to the idea of healing in the atonement is the influence of Platonic Dualism on the Church. An increasing number of scholars are challenging our Western presuppositions and noting that we are viewing reality through a Greek influenced lens, rather than a Hebrew perspective. Marvin Wilson says that we “have often found ourselves in the confusing situation of trying to understand a Jewish Book through the eyes of Greek culture.” [v] One of the ways in which we are guilty of this mistake, according to Wilson, is viewing our world dualistically, instead of as a “dynamic unity.” 


            Unlike the ancient Greek, the Hebrew viewed the world as good. Though fallen and unredeemed, it was created by a God who designed it with humanity’s best interests at heart. So instead of fleeing from the world, human beings experienced God’s fellowship, love and saving activity in the historical order within the world. According to Hebrew thought there was neither cosmological dualism (the belief that the created world was evil, set apart and opposed to the spiritual world) nor anthropological dualism (soul versus body). To the Hebrew mind a human being was a dynamic body-soul unity, called to serve God his Creator passionately, with his whole being, within the physical world.[vi]


Timothy Smith notes, “The Hebrew sensibility, as contrasted with that of Hellenic Platonism, stressed the wholeness of human beings, the unity of their psychic and physical existence, and the bonds that link social experience to inward spirituality.” [vii]


I am suggesting that the reason many scholars want to limit the work of the atonement to our spiritual needs (forgiveness of sin) is rooted in the dualism pointed to in the above quotes. The most natural way for the Hebrew mind to read Isaiah 53 would be holistically, applied to the total man, not just the soul.


Semitic scholar Michael Brown observes, “In our contemporary occidental mentality, we tend to separate the concept of ‘healing’ and ‘forgiveness.’ Yet. When the psalmist prayed, ‘LORD, have mercy on me; heal me, for I have sinned against you’(Ps.41:4/5), he recognized that his sin was the source of his sickness, and that God’s ‘healing’ would make him whole again in body and spirit. The ‘either physical or spiritual’ dichotomy often seen in comments on OT verses with rapha [the Hebrew word for healer/healing] is extremely faulty. In fact, regardless of one’s understanding of the etymological origin of Semitic rapha, OT usage insists that references to the Lord as Israel’s rope [healer] be taken in the broadest possible sense.”[viii]


As Brown points out, we tend to separate the physical from the spiritual because of our often unrecognized presuppositions, but this is not the Hebrew view of life and reality. Our Greek-influenced thinking downplays the importance of the physical in a way that the Hebrew mind would never embrace.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | Footnotes

Display full article

User Contributed Comments

Julius k.Campbell
Saturday 06th of August 2005

Yourmessage on Divine healing is abousolutetly 100%right keep on the good of God the father and ourLORD JESUS CHRIST.Ithank God for giving you HIS Spirit of wisdom and revealation knowledge of Him. Keep on the good work for the LORD JESUSCHRST he reward in heaven . God bless you. AMEN! Your fellow worker in the LORD. Healing evangelist.

Enter your comment
Your comments
Bold text Italic text Underlined text Large text Small text

Powered by Your Comments.