In our article titled Lordship Church vs. 501 (C)3 I…
Miracles were never spoken of in the Baptist church I grew up in, and as I have mentioned in other venues (facetiously) the only time Holy Spirit was mentioned was in the doxology that was sung at 11:58 AM every sunday morning right before dismissal at 11:59:59.
There were a lot of great people in that body of Believers but the kinds of things mentioned above is part of what caused me to leave there when I was in my late teens. I thought all Baptists were that way. But history reveals that the stoic reputation that Baptists have earned over the years is not always historically accurate.
Baptists vary in their Biblical interpretations
Just as groups of all kinds in all places share differing views on various subjects, Baptists also vary in Biblical interpretations and spiritual manifestations. Does God work miracles today? Is Divine healing a reality? Does the Holy Spirit move today like He did in the book of Acts?
Baptists have always agreed that Jesus is our foundation
Here are some things Jesus / Yeshua said on the subject of healings and miracles:
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father
And then in Matthew 28:18-20 Yeshua told all of His disciples to teach others EVERYTHING He had taught them:
18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power (authority) is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19 Go you therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit:
20 Teaching them to observe ALL things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Just before He ascended to be with His Father Yehsua told ALL of His disciples “You shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit has come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. Acts 1:8;
And so it is upon the foundation laid by the Messiah Himself that Baptists have gone forth proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom of God with the power and authority of Yeshua.
Baptists have always believed in Miracles, Divine Healing and Holy Spirit
Following are some historical references which confirm that Baptists have always been in line with the Bible when it comes to the moving of Holy Spirit, Miracles and Divine Healing. (Some references are from like minded Believers before the term “Bapstist” was utilized)
Tertullian (160-215 A.D.) gives us some insight into early Christian history directly after the age of the apostles. He writes:
“…Severus himself…sought out the Christian Proculus…and in gratitude for his having once CURED HIM BY ANOINTING, he kept him in his palace till the day of his death….When, indeed, have not droughts been put away by our kneelings and our fastings? (“To Scapula,” Ch. 4)
The anointing with oil (as an outward, symbolic ordinance), and fervent, prevailing prayer with fasting, were practiced in these early days – with obviously, great results. These wonderful, powerful answers to prayer served as extra evidence to unbelievers of the truth of Christianity (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
The Waldenses have been considered early Baptists and stated in their 1431 Confession of Faith that they practiced anointing with oil which is associated with the ministry of the Holy Spirit:
“Therefore, concerning this anointing of the sick, we hold it as an article of faith, and profess sincerely from the heart, that sick persons, when they ask it, may lawfully be ANOINTED WITH THE ANOINTING OIL, by one who joins with them in praying that it may be effective to the healing of the body, according to the pattern and end and effect mention by the Apostles: and we profess that such an anointing, performed according to the Apostolic pattern and practice, will be healing and profitable.”
(Recorded by Johnnias Lukawitz)
A few centuries later we find the Welch Baptists also obeying the commands in James 5:
“Besides the uncommon blessing which attended his [Vavasor Powell, b.1617-1670] preaching it is recorded that ‘many persons were recovered from dangerous sickness through the prayer of faith which he offered.’ He took the promise in James…literally…as declared in the following article of his creed – ‘Visiting the sick and for the elders to anoint them in the name of the Lord is a gospel ordinance and not repealed.’ That his creed was to some extent adopted by the English Baptists appears from…the ceremony of anointing and prayer as performed for a blind woman at Aldgate in London.”
(Quoted in A. J. Gordon’s, “The Ministry of Healing”)
The Particular (Calvinist) Baptists also obeyed James 5. Note their commitment to pray fervently and persistently “day and night” as they petition God while coming “boldly to the thrown of grace”.
“I resolved to take no more physic, but would apply to that holy ordinance of God, appointed by Jesus Christ, the great Physician of value, in James 5:14…and I sent for Mr. Kiffin and Mr. Vavasor Powell, who prayed over me, and ANOINTED ME WITH OIL in the name of the Lord. The Lord did hear prayer, and heal me; for there were many godly ministers and gracious saints that prayed day and night for me (WITH SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF GOD), that the Lord would spare my life, and make me more serviceable to His Church, and to His saints, whose prayers God heard; and as an answer to their prayers I was perfectly healed, but remained weak long after.”
(Hansard Knollys, d. 1691; “Baptist History,” J.M. Cramp)
Moving forward we see that the early General Baptists also obeyed James 5:
“This rite [anointing with oil] was very generally practiced and long retained by the General Baptists. They grounded their observance of it on the words of James….It was regarded as the peculiar privilege of God’s children in all ages.” (Goadby, “Bye-paths in Baptist History,” 1871)
“An example of divine healing among ancient Baptists is found in the ministry of Owen Thomas, who pastored the first Baptist church in Delaware. Thomas was born in Wales in 1676 and came to America in 1707…”
( David Benedict, “A General History Of Baptists in America,” 1813)
The Baptist historian, Morgan Edwards (1792), records some fascinating events among the persecuted Baptists in the early American colonies. They also obeyed James 5 and believed that God can heal miraculously in answer to prayer:
“About the 25th year of her age she got a fall from her horse, which so hurt her back she was bowed down and could in no wise lift up herself…..she was a perfect cripple, not able to walk….One day the young woman who had the care of her…seated her in an elbow chair, and went to the garden. She had not been long in the garden before she heard a rumbling noise in the house. She hastened in…but how was she surprised and frightened to see the cripple in the far end of the room praising God who had made her whole every whit….[by reading Acts 9:34 and praying for healing]…the cripple was all the while in an ecstasy, taking no notice of the company, but running about the house, moving chairs and tables from place to place…and every now and then falling on her knees to praise God, who had made whole a daughter of Abraham, who had been bowed down for ten or a dozen years….I doubt not but some witlings will find pleasantry in this story….But whoever believes in the power of ejaculatory prayer will be benefited by it.”
(Morgan Edwards, “Materials for History of the Baptists in New Jersey,”
“Mr. Thomas left behind him the following remarkable note: ‘I have been called upon three times to anoint the sick with oil for recovery. The effect was surprising in every case; but in none more so than in that of our brother, Rynallt Howell. He was so sore with the bruises of the wagon when he was anointed that he could not bear to be turned in bed otherwise than with the sheet; the next day he was so well that he went to meeting. I have often wondered that this rite is so much neglected, as the precept in so plain and the effects have been so salutary.” (M. Edwards, “Materials Towards a History of American Baptists”)
“Some years before his death he [pastor Hugh Davis] had a severe pain in his arm, which gradually wasted the limb and made life a burden. After trying many remedies he sent for the elders of the church to anoint him with oil, according to James v:14-17. The effect was a perfect cure, so far that the pain never returned….The present generation of Baptists in Pennsylvania and the several other colonies (German Baptists excepted) have somehow reasoned themselves out of this practice of anointing the sick for recovery, not believing that the same kind of reasoning would lead them to discontinue every positive rite….Our pious [Baptist] forefathers in this province practiced the rite frequently and successfully, as might be shown….The same may be said of the Baptists of Great Britain and Ireland.” (M. Edwards, “Materials Towards a History of American Baptists”)
In the 19th century, “the Baptist of American Baptists,” J. R. Graves (1820-1893) maintained a holy balance concerning prayer. In a “revival sermon,” Graves preached:
“Is there a richer promise within the lids of the Bible? [Matthew 18:19] And can we have ‘any thing,’ concerning which we may agree to ask? What a boundless grant! Have we had no desires? Have we never seized upon this promise, and been agreed to ask? And our prayers not answered? Why? We either have not complied with the conditions of PREVAILING PRAYER, or God is not true….Our motive in desiring a revival should be because God’s name would be honoured and glorified in the conversion of sinners….When we begin to love souls, rather than persons, then we may hope that our motives please God….We must agree to ask in faith….Unbelief is a sin….The term ‘re-vival’ implies excitement. There never was a revival without more or less excitement….Many of our good brethren like revivals, but will seriously object to any excitement….’Take it calm,’ say they…so much noise and crying and praising aloud do no good. God is not deaf, or a great way off, that He cannot hear….’ These are like those persons who were near blind Bartimeus when he heard that Jesus was passing by, and began to cry out…’Don’t cry so loud!….be calm and quiet about it.’ ‘And many charged him that he should hold his peace [keep peaceable], but he cried out the more the great deal.’ Those tender-eared brethren will be greatly troubled in heaven, unless they void their present notions, for there will be a great noise, though ‘it don’t do any good,’…We do not advocate more sound than sense, i.e. more excitement than religion, but many of our brethren have more fastidiousness than religion….We must agree in regard to the importance of a revival. We must feel it so as to desire and seek it with unutterable agony – more THAN OUR MEAT OR DRINK….Would you not pronounce that man a hypocrite who professed to desire a crop, yet did nothing to secure one?….We learn when GLORIOUS THINGS may be expected…whenever churches are agreed to accomplish the work, when the people have ‘a mind to work.’” (J.R. Graves, “Agreement in Prayer”)
Also, in the 19th century, A. J. Gordon (1836-1895), the great Baptist preacher of Boston, wrote “The Ministry of Healing.” Gordon writes:
“Heresy, as a thoughtful Christian writer has pointed out, means a dividing or a choosing; it is the accepting and advocacy of one hemisphere of truth to the rejection of the other….In the matter before us [healing], as in the whole doctrine of prayer, human freedom and the divine sovereignty are inseparably joined. Here are the two sides: ‘Ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.’ – John xv.7. ‘If ye ask anything according to his will he heareth us.’ – 1 John v.14….we must be sure that beneath every prayer the strong, clear undertone of ‘thy will be done’ is distinctly heard….because we find both sides of this truth distinctly expressed in scripture, we must be sure to emphasize both….If we are told that a brother in the Church is sick, let us not make undue haste to declare that he will CERTAINLY be restored if we carry his case to God. We must keep in mind both Melita and Miletum: remembering that at one place Paul healed the father of Publius by his prayers, and that at the other place he left Trophimus sick….” (“The Ministry of Healing”)
As we move into the 20th century, we find John R. Rice and many other Baptists applying James 5, and anointing the sick with oil, in faith. Jack Hyles writes:
“A lady in Garland, Texas, called me. Bill Harvey was then on the staff…’Pastor, the doctor now says the other kidney is eaten up with cancer, and that my baby girl has only a few days to live…’…Bill Harvey and I went over to the house. We formed a circle around that little girl’s body. We confessed our sins and asked God to meet with us. I took a little touch of olive oil, put it on that little girl’s head, told God I knew the oil had no power and I in my own strength had no power but claimed the healing mercies of our God in the body of that little girl.
I was in Texas a year ago this last summer. A lovely young lady, twenty-two years of age, walked up to me. ‘Do you know who I am? I am getting married in a few days. Guess who I am.’ I did not know. I’ll give you a hint. I only have one kidney.’ Of course I knew then who she was!…” (Jack Hyles, “Where Be All the Miracles?” 1976)
Another modern Baptist, David W. Cloud, writes:
“Let me say up front that I do believe in divine healing. I believe in James 5:14-15….This passage gives clear instruction for the sick in this church age. We believe in this, and we practice this, and we have seen God heal in answer to prayer. I have experienced healing in this way….” (David W. Cloud, “Is Healing in the Atonement?”)
Are Miracles, Divine Healing and the moving of the Holy Spirit for Today?
Yes; Today we join with many Baptists that believe in the moving of the Holy Spirit, miracles and Divine healing. Why wouldn’t they? …”What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” Matthew 7:9
Click here for information about our healing ministry
Excerpts from: Baptists Don’t Believe in Miracles? by Pastor Joey Faust