OPEN LETTER TO JOE NEALY
I) JOE MAINTAINS THAT ONE IS NOT SAVED BY CHOOSING TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST BUT BY THE FAITH OF CHRIST BEING IMPOSED UPON ONE
A) Mr. Nealy's point of view
Mr. Nealy maintains that one is not justified by believing in Jesus Christ, but by the faith of Christ being imposed by God on one. Apparently to be justified, he maintains, is all of God and not by an individual's choice to believe. He stipulates that God superintends over the individual's volition and saves him with the faith of Christ overriding the individual's free will.
B) Response from Scripture:
There are dozens of passages beginning with Jn 3:16 which stipulate a moment of faith alone in Christ alone of ones own volition alone unto eternal life which cannot be ignored. All it takes is one of these passages to establish that this is indeed how one is justified given that the Bible is inerrant and non-contradictory . None of these passages can be denied.
Furthermore, the issue can easily be resolved by observation of Gal 2:16 which Mr. Nealy uses as a prooftext of his point of view on justification:
1) [Compare Gal 2:15-16 KJV]:
(v. 15) "We who are Jews by nature, and not sinners of the Gentiles,
(v. 16) knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the Law; for by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.
This verse declares that a man is justified "by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus". Notice the word 'even' = 'kai', in the koine Greek = 'that is to say'. So being justified by the faith of Jesus Christ is as a result of believing in Jesus. Hence it is by choosing to believe in Christ that we have the faith of Christ unto justification.
Just as an individual can have the faith of swim coach Doc Councilman in his training techniques by believing in him,
and just as an individual can have the joy of God's salvation by believing in His salvation,
so one can have the faith of Christ by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior unto eternal life.
II) MR. NEALY TEACHES THAT THE BELIEVER HAS THE POWER OF GOD IN HIM AND CAN MAKE THE DEVIL FLEE FROM HIM
A) Mr. Nealy's Point of View
Mr. Nealy declares per James 4:7 that "The devil doesn't flee from God - he flees from you!!! Pursuant to the authority given to you by the word of God."
B) A VIEW FROM SCRIPTURE
1) [Jas 4:7]:
"Submit yourselves therefore to God and resist the devil, and he will flee from you."
[Greek interlinear text]:
"hupotagEte oun ..........tO .......theO ...antistEte de ..tO .diabolO kai
"submit ........therefore .............to God resist ......and the devil ......and
pheuxetai ..aph .humOn"
he will flee from you."
The two verbs which command the believer into action are as follows:
"hupotagEte" = "submit" [to God], V_APD2P = Verb, aorist, passive, imperative = a command, 2 person, plural.
"antistEte" = "resist" [the devil], V_AAD2P = Verb, aorist, active, imperative = a command, 2 person, plural.
The verb "antistEte" = "resist" is paralleled and works concurrently with "hupotagEte" = "submit" and commands that an individual believer is to submit to God concurrently with obedience to the command to submit to God resulting in the devil fleeing from one. Hence it is the submission to God working concurrently with the resisting of the devil that God Himself works it such that the devil flees from the obedient believer. Hence there is no power intrinsic within the individual himself that causes the devil to flee, but it is God Himself that produces this fleeing through the believer's obedience. This corroborates the doctrine of the grace of God working at all times in the life of His children, the believers, in all things. It is not by the power of the believer that the devil flees but by the grace of God through the power and sovereignty of God within the believer.
C) Mr. Nealy's Point of View
Mr. Nealy cites Ephesians 3:20 that the power of God works in the believer more than he can think or ask implying that the believer himself can operate out of this power as if it were his own to exercise at will to accomplish tasks beyond his thinking or asking.
B) A VIEW FROM SCRIPTURE
1) [Eph 3:16-21]:
(v. 16) "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
[Notice that the power comes through, i.e., is wielded by the Spirit of God Who dwells in the inner being of the believer and not by the believer himself]
(v. 17) so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love,
(v. 18) may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,
(v. 19) and to know this love that surpasses knowledge--that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
(v. 20) Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,
[Notice that is God "Who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us" Hence it is God Who exercises His power within us and not the believer himself who exercises the power of God or his own power provided by God]
(v. 21) to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen."
[Notice that it is all to the glory of God, hence it cannot be that the believer has the opportunity to glorify himself or participate in the glory of God by exercising his own power]
III) JOE MAINTAINS THAT PHYSICAL HEALING IS IN THE ATONEMENT
A) MR. NEALY'S POINT OF VIEW
In his conversations with me, Joe proclaimed that physical healing was made available to individuals, when they became Christians in this mortal life as a result of what our Lord did on the cross at Calvary. Joe vehemently contested the fact that only spiritual healing was in view during this mortal life as a result of the atonement, i.e., salvation unto eternal life. He maintained that believers should never be ill. Being raised from the dead was presented as available to all believers. He cited several examples of this from distant parts of the world and pointed to his own recovery from a heart attack as a personal miracle relative to being raised from the dead. When I asked for detailed proof and why the incidents were in remote parts of the world, he became agitated.
1) THE SPIRITUAL GIFT OF HEALING
a) As with all spiritual gifts the person with the gift of healing is able to exercise his gift anytime under the condition of being filled with the Spirit (i.e. having confessed all known sins)....anytime, with anybody, anywhere with 100% success.
b) The gift of healing is not dependent on the faith of the patient (Acts 3:1-8)
c) Paul had the gift of healing (Acts 19:11-12).
d) Paul was able to use the gift at will....until he lost it:
At the end of Paul's ministry Apaphroditis became sick near unto death and Paul did not heal him. All Paul could do was pray just as you and I can only do (Phil 2:27).
Paul left Trophimus at the city of Miletus because Trophimus was sick rather than heal him ..unless Paul did not have the gift of healing anymore. (2Tim 4:20).
e) The gift of healing is a miracle gift.
Miracle gifts ALWAYS have phased in and phased out in human history. Miracle gifts have never consistently persisted year after year.
f) God, when He works supernaturally through miracles, has a purpose of authenticating the miracle worker for a specific purpose & when He does that then the miracles historically have ceased.
2) IS THERE PHYSICAL HEALING AVAILABLE AS A RESULT OF THE ATONEMENT?
a) Isa 53:5
"But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities,
the chatisement for our peace was upon Him,
and by His wounds we are healed."
The words "we are healed" do not mean physical healing. The context which is established in verses 4 & 5 is NOT physical healing but spiritual healing from our sin. Christ, by His work on the cross, healed us from our spiritual illness brought upon us by the old sin nature which we possess:
"Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we considered Him stricken by God and afflicted,
But He was pierced for our transgressions [our SIN],
He was crushed for our iniquities [our SIN]."
It is sin which is the issue in this context.
It is sin from which we are healed.
The word "healed" applies not only to physical healing depending upon context but it applies also to -Giving comfort to a broken heart (Lk 4:18)
Correcting our conduct (Heb 4:13)
Being brought to salvation (Mt 13:15)
b) Many claim that Mt 8:17 proves that physical healing is in the Atonement. (Mt 8:17 quotes Isa 53:4)
"That it might be fulfilled what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah:
'He took up our infirmities and carried our diseases'"
The context of this verse as quoted in Mt 8:16 describes how Jesus healed people possessed of demons, cast the spirits out, healed all those who were sick, which then leads to verse 17 which describes how Jesus took up our infirmities and bore our sicknesses. Jesus bore the physical illnesses before the atonement!!!
All the time that Jesus healed people was before the cross. Before there ever was any Atonement, before there was any provision for salvation. That's when verse 53:4a in Isaiah was fulfilled. So physical healing cannot be a result of the Atonement.
When you get to Isa 53:5 it is speaking of our transgressions, our iniquities, our sins which are borne by Christ on the cross.
Christ's Atonement is the basis for our spiritual healing from sin and which is ultimately the basis for all believers' perfect resurrection bodies which will have no infirmities or diseases because the cause - sin - has been removed!
c) If physical healing is in the Atonement then:
A believer would not die physically because his physical healing would be eternal just like his spiritual healing.
But believers do die!!!
d) If healing is in the Atonement then one must conclude that it is not the will of God that Christians be sick. Scripture indicates that it IS God's will that some Christians should not be healed.
Consider when Paul prayed three times to be healed of his infirmity and God said no.
God uses illness to teach, as He did to Paul, to depend upon Him.
There is no Scripture passage that declares that it is God's will for Christians never to be sick. The consequences of sin are physical suffering and those consequences will only be removed in the resurrection. (Rev 21:4).
e) God is sovereign and for some people it is in His plan that they should bear illness; for others it is in His plan that they should be healed.
f) Some claim today that they possess the gift of healing
[D.A. Carson, 'WHEN JESUS CONFRONTS THE WORLD', Baker Book House, Grand Rapids Michigan, 1987, p. 35]:
"There is also a resurrection body in the atonement; but no one uses that point to argue that all believers should today be sporting resurrection bodies, and failure to do so betrays a formidable lack of faith. The question is not whether or not the atonement stands as the basis for all blessings that come to God's children, but which of those benefits are applied now, and which of them can be counted on only later. Healing, judging by some of the passages already briefly adduced, is one of those benefits that has been secured by the cross, occasionally applied now, and promised for the new heaven and the new earth. If in God's mercy he grants healing now, whether by 'normal' or 'miraculous' means, we must be grateful; but we have no right to claim the benefit now simply because it has been secured by the work of Jesus on the cross."
IV) JOE NEALY HAS A LIMITED VIEW OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD
A) Mr. Nealy's Point of View
Joe Nealy stipulates the following:
"THE OVER EXTENSION OF THE PRINCIPLE OF THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD' CAUSES YOU TO BE PASSIVE IN REFERENCE TO YOUR AUTHORITY OVER YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES. IT MAKES YOU PASSIVE ABOUT RECEIVING GOD'S PROVISION FOR YOU IN THIS WORLD. YOU LIMIT GOD IN YOUR LIFE , BECAUSE 'GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY TELLS YOU NOTHING HAPPENS, EXCEPT THAT GOD WILLS IT TO HAPPEN. MAKE NO MISTKE GOD IS SOVERNEIGNTY; BUT DOES EVERYTING HE WILLS HAPPEN !! [FOR AUTHORITY READ GENESIS - THROUGH MALACHI ] DID GOD EVER REPENT? IS HIS WILL ALWAYS DONE ? THE NEW TESTAMENT EXISTS BECAUSE THE OLD COVENANT WASN'T WORKING .
GOD'S PEOPLE WEREN'T DOING GOD'S WILL ALL THE TIME ! [SEE ISAIAH 54-12 NEW COVENANT]
B) RESPONSE FROM SCRIPTURE
GOD'S SOVEREIGNTY IS NOT LIMITED, IT IS ABSOLUTE: