What’s Your Eschatology?

The Function of Miracles—Part 8

For those who, like Bill Johnson [The Supernatural Power of a Transformed Mind], urge us to seek miraculous healing, a favorite verse comes from Psalm 103:3: the Lord “forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases.” Add that to Isaiah 53:5: “he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Those who believe in healing miracles draw the implication that in Jesus’ victory on the cross not only are we saved from sin, we are saved from every destructive force of mind and body. It’s total. All your diseases are healed.

I have two comments. First, the statement “he heals all your diseases” is empirically true in my life. All my diseases have been healed—innumerable colds, flus, measles, chicken pox, mumps, running sores, skinned knees. Right now I am recovering from a broken clavicle, and God is healing it. God has made a universe that heals itself, by natural processes, and he deserves full credit for it. Why focus on the (relatively few) diseases that will ultimately kill or cripple me? This is a healing universe and God is a healing God.

Second, I agree that salvation is total. I’m not sure that Isaiah 53:5 means to say this, but the New Testament certainly claims that Jesus defeated death on the cross. (1 Corinthians 15:55) Death is total, both physical and spiritual. Jesus’ redemption ushers each one of us into a new reality where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4) God will heal all my diseases, even the ones that here and now manage to cripple or kill me.

The question is, when? I don’t think you can miss the tension throughout the New Testament between the coming Kingdom, where all is healed, and the present age where we sometimes suffer and die. Jesus has won the war, but the battles are still being fought.

Bill Johnson helps us lean into that coming Kingdom through his triumphal emphasis on God’s healing power. But I wish he were more forthright about the parallel reality of a sin-sick, disease-stricken world. That, too, is Bible truth, and Christians should always be realists.

Tomorrow I’ll close this series with a report on what Bill Johnson says about those times when he prays unsuccessfully.


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One Response to “What’s Your Eschatology?”

  1. Dane Gressett Says:

    Don’t you think there is confusion and tension between:

    an over-realized eschatology (among Johnsonites). Which is expecting fully now what is only fully promised in the next age.


    an under-realized soteriology (among most evangelicals). Which is NOT appropriating the fullness of everything that the gospels promises for us in this life.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Tim. They are helpful.

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