A matter of wellness

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by agedman, Sep 1, 2015.

  1. agedman

    agedman
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    James states: "Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;..."

    When is it appropriate to call for the elders?

    Is this sickness, that James is referring, only that which could be considered one that is incurable; or, is it for any ache and pain.

    Some of the members are stiff-necked and the staff are themselves a pain, would this qualify?

    What if the elders are sick, too? Whom do they call?

    More to the point, in the last year, I have noticed a remarkable decline in mental and physical strength. Do I wait for a total collapse before calling the elders?

    Frankly, I would greet the opening of eternity's door with joy, why then would I even desire to call the elders?

    Given that there are on the BB those who have experience in the work that James declares, I thought this thread might be a good start for some ground work done on when, how, what parameters, ... go along with the theme "call for the elders."

    Of course, for the Baptists who are preacher lead (because they contend that the pastor/elder is a single office) and have only one pastor, what do the members do when James says call for the elders (plural)?

    If you are an elder, have you ever been called by the sick to anoint and pray in the name of the Lord as James states?
     
  2. righteousdude2

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    Brother - I completely agree with your post, views and I thought I'd respond to the above sectioned off point!

    Like you, I have experienced severe physical declines over the last year; actually ever since I fell in a hotel bathtub in 1987. It seems that innocent slip and fall have led to major back surgery, diabetes due to years of cortisone/steroid injections and all the pain pills!

    Still, I never once placed my physical or at times emotional weaknesses and needs above those who came to me with needs and requested prayer. In fact, I found that with myself, and those who prayed alongside me, the ability to avail ourselves in a spirit of prayer for others was a form of uplifting in itself!

    I think we never get too old or too sick that we can't find it within us the desire and ability to pray for the sick among us, so I offer this view to you with hopes that it helps to encourage you in your efforts to serve Him and the congregation, as well as to seek the prayers of your elders! :godisgood:

    And to finish my thoughts, like you, and like Paul, I too look forward to going home and being set free of this 24/7 suffering, but while I am here, I have to agree with Paul that to die is gain, to live is Christ! As God told Paul, "in your weakness, my strength is more than sufficient!" And I find that to be the strength that carries me each day!
     
  3. agedman

    agedman
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    Thank you for your kindness, and well thought post.

    Upon reflection, I think the "modern church" may be missing a great benefit of the Lord when they do not have the elders gather, anoint, and pray for the sick. Perhaps, it is that the members don't feel comfortable with having that done and would rather trust in physician expertise.

    Perhaps the James passage is an uncomfortable exercise of the emotions and spirit in the staff of the "modern" church - particularly those who have staff appointed to oversee to the ministry of the elderly and sick.
     
  4. annsni

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    We do practice this and usually it is asked for by the person although we've offered it at times. Our most recent time was for a dear friend in our church who was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he was going in for surgery. My own daughter was prayed for and was healed after the prayer and annointing (which was a great testimony to the doctors and I really think the purpose of her continuing to be ill was just for this reason).

    We've prayed over and anointed many people. Some are healed. Some are not. Some have passed into glory. But that doesn't negate the obedience of doing this. I don't know that I would call to be anointed for a head cold but when something is serious or chronic, I would.
     
  5. Van

    Van
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    Yes, years ago when I was serving as an Elder, we were called to the home of a young woman, who was terminal with cancer. Our prayer (more than one Elder spoke) covered (1) our desire for God to heal, but (2) acknowledged we are content with the will of God in this matter, and (3) to keep her and her family in His arms, now and forever.

    In this case, God allowed her to die and await His second coming, when the family will be reunited.

    I think there is a range of beliefs, with some believing God is quite active in intervening based on responding to prayer, both individual and group, while others are more content to turn the outcome over to God, His grace being sufficient for us. As for Elders, it is never wrong to pray long and hard from the heart for the well-being of those in our spiritual care.

    While we disagree on doctrine, we are siblings with Christ and and our concerns for those we know, even superficially, is real and heart-felt. Take care and God bless.
     
  6. Revmitchell

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    I believe it is always appropriate to call the church together to pray over the sick. In the context of the verse in James church leaders often administered medicine as doctors were few and far between. The use of oil was medicinal in nature. Today we have no need to call the church leaders together as we have doctors readily available day and night.
     
  7. Thousand Hills

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    Was thinking it was you who shared a funny story a few years back about a time when oil wasn't readily available?
     
  8. Thousand Hills

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    I believe miracles of healing still happen everyday when godly men and women humbly seek the Lord's will in prayer for certain situations.

    At the same time though, when it comes to ill church members, etc. it is not uncommon for church prayer meetings to borderline on gossip and focus on the drama of what's going on in that individual's life, and at other times its as if folks are praying to keep saints out of heaven, as if that's the worst thing that could happen.
     
  9. annsni

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    Yep! We had our beach baptism and one of our deacons revealed to my husband that he was just diagnosed with cancer and was going in for surgery the next day. Hubby asked him if he wanted to be prayed over and anointed and he said "yes". Nobody had any oil but we've often gone to a food place and asked for a little cup of cooking oil and so hubby went to the concession stand to get some - but they were already closed and had nothing available for him. He saw mayo packets and realized mayo was oil and eggs mostly so he grabbed a packet and went back. We laughed because this man, while an absolute gentle giant, had a great sense of humor. :) He willingly was anointed with mayo and prayed over by the pastors/deacons of our church with many other church congregants praying as well. It was a blessed time and I am happy to say that this man is fully in remission and is still on our deacon board and is a great friend. :) So when people ask "What kind of oil?", we tell them we usually use EVOO but sometimes you need to find whatever kind you can get. :)
     
  10. annsni

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    My daughter was seriously ill and the doctors (top pancreatic surgeon and his team at New York Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center) told us that they were out of ideas as to why she was so ill and how to help her get better. She was so ill that we were concerned that she was not going to make it. She was just 21. We were so wrapped up in her care that we didn't even think about James 5 but our dear friend did and he asked hubby if he could come in and they pray over her and anoint her (he is one of our deacons). He came in and he, hubby and I prayed over my critically ill child. The next morning when hubby came in, the doctor ran to him and said "Something changed last night! She's better!" What a testimony to the doctors, nurses and staff who all knew my daughter was critically ill the night before, not being able to even swallow spit without vomiting (she had uncontrollable vomiting for over a week) and now she was sitting up eating an Italian ice and drinking apple juice!

    While we may be ready to go home, just maybe God is seeking to show others in our lives just how glorious He is. :)
     
  11. Scarlett O.

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    That's the definitive answer! :thumbs:
     
  12. Martin Marprelate

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    Dear brother,
    I'm so sorry to hear that you are unwell.
    With regard to your question in the O.P., if your source of illness is some sort of disease, then I think you will do well to ask the elders to visit you and pray with and for you.
    If it is purely the effects of age, then these you will have to bear with as much grace as you can muster. Very few of us are like Caleb who was as strong at 84 as he was at 45 (Josh. 14:10-11).
    To live is Christ; to die is gain. If the Lord does not call you home for a while it is because He still has some work for you to do. I think that the gift of encouragement is one of the most important gifts. When I first started to preach, I know that I was more than a little bit rubbish, and I shall always be grateful that my church persevered with me. There was one elderly lady who always had some encouraging word and an interested question for me. She was the one who kept me studying and (I hope!) improving.

    So brother, I don't know how 'aged' you are, or how unwell, but the Lord still has some work for you to do.
     
  13. righteousdude2

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    Great, heartfelt response. An even bigger AMEN!
     
  14. Aaron

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    Call for the elders, friend. Who cares whether or not it seems decorous? Did that stop the lepers, the blind men, or the Syrophoenician woman?
     
  15. wpe3bql

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    An incident somewhat (but not entirely the same) similar to what some of you posted happened to one my nephews back in the early 1990's.

    He had been diagnosed with a type of melanomic cancer that would appear in one part of his body, then seemingly go into remission in that body area only to re-surface some where else in his body.

    He could only take so much chemotheraphy on his body, so eventually he just gave up seeing his doctor(s) and the team that had worked together on him because ultimately his cancer just wasn't being totally cured.

    About that same time, my sister (my nephew's mother) began attending an Evangelical Free church nearby that occasionally performed the practice of having her elders assemble and then anoint the sick person with what they called "healing oil."

    She had her son (my nephew) go to one of these types of services just to see if they could help him be cured of his cancer.

    In the process, he knelt down and had them pray over him. They apparently thought my nephew had actually been completely healed of cancer, but, alas, the cancer had returned.

    The good part of this story was that my nephew did make a profession if faith in Christ during the time he was undergoing treatment, and with that, he seemed to be really genuinely interested in hearing good Bible preaching and teaching--something he'd never done before.

    With the return of his cancer, he pretty much left his physical condition in the hands of the Lord. In December, 1999, my nephew went home to be with the Lord.

    Did calling for the elders of the church he joined after being baptized do any good? Medically, of course, it didn't appear to be so.

    I talked to one of the elders about my nephew's situation one time when I visited my sister & BIL. That elder expressed to me to me one thing--that he wished my nephew had lived longer because he was making such good progress in his young life as a Christian.

    My nephew had even once considered going into some kind of medical missionary work until the cancer took its final term for the worst.

    Even though this elder seemed to believe that the "healing service" in which the elders had prayed and anointed him with oil did my nephew little good in the physical sense, I told him that once he left this life here on earth to be received into the loving arms of our Savior, my nephew was, in fact, healed.

    Those words I spoke to this elder seemed to be a real encouragement to him since he apparently never thought of my nephew's dying as a means to bring about his healing.

    All this goes to show me that sometimes God answers our prayers in behalf of a loved one to be healed by calling that person home to be with Him in heaven.

    Maybe this is one reason that Psalm 116:15 tells us that "Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."
     

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