This document reflects commonly held beliefs based on scripture which have been endorsed by the church's Commission on Doctrinal Purity and the Executive Presbytery.
Why does the Assemblies of God allow for modern medicine when one of its cardinal doctrines is divine healing for the sick?
There are some adherents of the doctrine of divine healing who do not believe the use of medicine and physicians is compatible with belief in divine healing. This has never been the position of the Assemblies of God, nor can it be said to be the position of the Bible.
There are Christians who cite the story of King Asa’s illness as a biblical injunction against the use of medicine. In doing so they misinterpret Scripture. King Asa’s sin as recorded in 2 Chronicles 16:12 was not that he consulted physicians, but that he did so instead of trusting the Lord. The Bible clearly indicates the nature of Asa’s problem "even in his illness he did not seek help from the Lord, but only from physicians." This is not the position of the Assemblies of God; we believe it is God who ultimately provides healing (2 Kings 20:4,5; Psa 103:2,3).
There are many positive references to the practice of medicine in Scripture. In addition it is used figuratively of spiritual restoration without any negative connotations (Isaiah 1:6; Hosea 6:1; Jeremiah 8:22; Ezekiel 30:21; 34:4; 2 Kings 20:7). Among the Jewish people of the first century physicians were held in high esteem as reflected in one ancient writing called Sirach which says, "Honor physicians for their services for the Lord created them."
Jesus himself directed lepers to go to the priests to confirm healing (Luke 17:11-19). Most Assemblies of God ministers teach that medical records and physical examinations can be a testimony to build faith when God chooses to heal miraculously.
Those who will not seek medical attention are inconsistent in their application of faith. In times of spiritual trouble they are not hesitant to seek help from pastors. They often seek legal help from lawyers, and financial help from investment consultants. In doing so they view these people as God’s provision to assist them. Why not view doctors in the same way while continuing to seek God for healing?
Naturally Christians ought not put their hope and confidence in humanity but God, yet God frequently chooses to utilize humans for His purposes. God may use a variety of means, but all healing is dependent upon Him, whether natural or supernatural.
The gospel writers warn us medicine may not be the answer (Mark 5:26). Yet in Jesus' teaching He portrayed the use of medicine on a specific occasion in a favorable light (Luke 10:34). Paul admonished Timothy to make use of medicinal treatments (1 Timothy 5:23). The use of modern medicine by Christians is legitimate but must never be a substitute for trusting God. Whether we are healed through the aid of medicine or supernaturally, the good gift of healing is from the Father (James 1:17).
The above statement is based upon our common understanding of scriptural teaching. The official delineation of this position is found in the Statement of Fundamental Truths, Section 12.
All Scripture quotations are from the New International Version (NIV) unless otherwise specified.