An old friend of ours is studying the bible and he really wants to become a disciple. The only thing stopping him is that we don't speak in tounges, allow women to lead, but most of all "heal". I think I have explained and myself understand what the biblical situation is with the women issue and with the tongue issue. But the healing issue really has us stumped. I understand that the church teaches it ended with the apostles and those they laid hands on. That makes a lot of sense to me. And I thought I did a good job of showing him scripturally how we don't have to heal anymore and IT"S NOT A REQUIERMENT FOR SALVATION. But, yesterday he showed me Mark 16:15-18. This looks like it's the same as the commission in Mathew 28:18-20. What I believe so far is that yes Mark 16:15-18 is true, and it did already come true in the book of acts (even the snake part), but since we have the entire bible now and the gospel has gone all over the world for the most part, we don't need to heal. And we can't teach that it is a MUST to go and heal in order to be a disciple, because the people in Mark that Jesus was talking to were already saved. But his argument is, "okay, then just like you don't have to heal to be a disciple you don't have to disallow women to lead in order to be a disciple either." it's very confusing. So anyway what I'm basically asking you is what biblical insight or explanation do you have for the fact that the type of healing in Mark 16:15-18 is not done anymore, and the fact that we don't teach it needs to be done. I'm very confused and stumped by this issue, please help me and my friend David who is studying the bible.
Actually, I think that the kind of healing mentioned in Mark 16:15-18 IS being done, just perhaps not as frequently. If so, the problem is likely with us. The disciples back then were told by Jesus personally that they could heal, while we're reading it in texts written long ago, which (perhaps not surprisingly) gives us room for excuses not to try so hard. After all, Jesus didn't tell us PERSONALLY, so we too frequently think He wasn't addressing us in particular. I can't say that I've ever personally healed anyone or witnessed a miraculous healing, but I know that faith is a powerful thing and it can lead to miracles. Even back in New Testament times, not all attempts at healing were successful, and not all disciples showed the ability to heal. But I think there are individuals who can heal, as well as those who can speak in tongues or handle snakes. These are clearly not things that ALL believers can do, and especially in regards to poison and snakes, we shouldn't be testing God with these gifts.
As for the issue of women being leaders, the Bible actually has no problem with it. Paul wrote that women could prophecy (1 Corinthians 11:4), take active roles in church (Romans 16:1, 16:12, Philippians 4:3, Philemon 1:2), do good works (1 Timothy 2:10, 5:10) and were, in God's eyes, equal to men (Galatians 3:28). In fact, in Romans 16, the writer appears to be a woman taking dictation from Paul (see verse 22). And, of course, women were the most loyal followers of Jesus, being the ones to arrive at the tomb on Easter morning while the men had pretty much given up on Him. The main passage people bring up in contrast to this is 1 Corinthians 14:34, "Let your women keep silence in the churches,,,", but Paul here is not ADVOCATING this position, but REFUTING it. In verses 34 & 35 he is quoting his opponents who refuse to allow women to take part in church services, and then Paul himself criticizes this position in verse 36, "What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?", and goes on to call them 'ignorant' in verse 38. We also have 1 Timothy 2:12 which is a little more problematical, "But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence." But it's unlikely Paul meant that women should never teach and always be silent, since this is so out of character for Paul. More likely it's meant within a certain context. Since 1 Timothy largely has to do with blasphemy and counter-biblical teachings, it's most likely a warning against allowing women to fall into blasphemy and then wrestle control of the church away from the men. There's an excellent article about Paul's attitudes towards women at http://www.christian-thinktank.com/fem09.html
I hope this helps, and let me know if I can be of further assistance.