We believe and teach that the sign gifts, such as prophecy, healing and tongues are no longer in use in the church in the way that they were during the Apostolic Age although the supernatural presence and power of the Spirit continues to be a present reality and is regularly manifested in the regeneration of lost men and women through the proclamation of the gospel; is seen at times for healing in answer to believing prayer; and that miracles sometimes take place according to the will of God by the power of the Holy Spirit.
With the completion of the Canon of Scripture the need for the gift of prophecy (in the sense that the O.T. prophets and the Apostles spoke and wrote divinely inspired messages and texts) came to an end. As a result, the Canon of Scripture is complete and closed, containing all things necessary for life and godliness. Thus, the expository preaching and the teaching of God’s written Word is central to the ministries of West Hills.
According to the New Testament, the gift of tongues in the Early Church (from the Greek word for languages) was the ability to speak in a known human language which the speaker had never learned before (Acts 2:1-12, esp. vs. 6-11) as a result of the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Further, tongues was a sign for unbelievers in the spreading of the gospel (see Acts 2:6-8; 1 Cor. 14:20-23) and was to be of limited use in the church (1 Cor. 14:6-9; 23-25). Although there may be need for such a gift today in certain missional contexts, the use of this gift is extraordinary and not normative for today’s churches. The idea of a ‘secret’ or ‘heavenly’ prayer language is foreign to the Scripture and to the experience of the Early Church and has no textual basis.
According to the testimony of Scripture, Jesus and His Apostles could heal on command (Luke 7:6-10, esp. vs. 7), healed organic, hereditary and demonically induced illnesses (Mt. 8:1-4; 14-15; 16-17; 9:18-26; 27-31; 32-34; 12:9-13; 13:10-16; Jn. 5:1-11; 9:1-7) and at times banished disease from whole regions by healing everyone who was brought to them without exception (Lk. 6:17-19). This is clearly not the case today even among those who claim to have gifts of healing. Further the Scriptures state that healings by Jesus did not always depend on the faith of those being healed (as many so called faith healers claim). The paralytic at the pool at Bethsaida is a case in point (Jn. 5:1-11). The Scriptures also state clearly that the signs and wonders Jesus performed were for the twofold purpose of showing His glory to His disciples (Jn. 2:11) and verifying His Messianic identity so that people would believe He is the Christ (Jn. 10: 37-38; 20:30-31). Healings and miracles do happen on occasion but are extraordinary and not normative for the church today.
Believers should pray for healing for themselves and for their fellow Christians (Jms. 5:13, 16; 1 Jn. 5:14-16); should call for the Elders of the church for healing prayer (Jms. 5:14-15) and should trust the Lord to answer believing prayer (Jn. 14:13-14; 16:24; Jms. 5:16b-17). Above all, love must prevail as the more excellent way (1 Cor. 13:1-13).