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Sermon #5070

The Supernatural in Religion and Medicine



Sermon Description

In this engaging address given to the Christian Medical Fellowship, Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones opens up about his experiences and wrestlings with the subject of miraculous healings and modern medicine. Having been confronted by a revived general interest in the phenomenon of miraculous healing, and a new wave of the Charismatic Movement, he presents the facts and his evaluation of them. He warns Christians not to make two grave errors: we should neither capitulate toward the phenomenon, adjusting our doctrine to fit with the current mood or to validate certain ministries, nor should we dogmatically reject the facts related to this phenomenon simply because they don’t fit into our own theories. We must face these facts, evaluate them scientifically and scripturally, and ultimately leave it up to God’s will to do as He pleases. Dr. Lloyd-Jones puts forward various apologetic thoughts related to the plausibility and validity of modern medical miracles, but the foundational thought he presents is this: as Christians we must believe in miracles today because we believe the God of the Bible. He does as He pleases, giving faith and working in ordinary and extraordinary ways for His glory.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. There are two main positions on faith healing and the supernatural - those who capitulate to phenomena and those who reject it entirely.
  2. Those who reject it do so for three main reasons: they dismiss it entirely, they reject it on supposed "scientific" grounds that miracles are impossible, or they reject it based on a supposed biblical teaching that the supernatural ended with the apostles.
  3. We must reconsider some of our established attitudes, especially our tendency to dismiss facts that don't fit with our preconceptions. We must have an open and humble attitude.
  4. There are facts that point to the possibility of faith healing, like medically documented cases of spontaneous cancer remission and other "miraculous" healings.
  5. The scientific view of the 19th century that nature is governed by fixed laws and everything has a natural cause and effect explanation has been abandoned. Modern science recognizes our limited knowledge and allows for possibilities outside the laws we know.
  6. The Bible does not teach that the supernatural ended with the apostles. That is an incorrect interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13. There are records of miracles after the apostles, and the Bible speaks of future supernatural events.
  7. There is a periodicity of supernatural events in the Bible, and they happen at God's will, not according to our determinations. We should be open to God acting supernaturally at any time.
  8. Our doctrine should not be determined by phenomena but by Scripture. We must test all claims and not capitulate to any phenomena.
  9. There are many possible explanations for faith healings, including natural psychological and physiological factors. Faith of any kind, including non-Christian faiths, may play a role. This does not validate any particular doctrine or ministry.
  10. We must warn those apparently healed by questionable means that they may open themselves to demonic influence by submitting to unknown powers. We should point them to God as the true healer.
  11. God's normal way of healing is through natural means, but we must remain open to God acting miraculously at any time according to His will. We should not dogmatically dismiss or exclude the possibility of miracles.

Itinerant Preaching

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.