R. W. Schambach: Miracle Worker??
Recently several of us from Florida College went to hear R. W. Schambach at a "Holy Ghost Miracle Revival" speak in Tampa. Mr. Schambach is the editor of Power magazine and speaker for "The Hour of Deliverance" radio program. Mr. Schambach makes the claim that he is able to perform miracles, just as Jesus and His disciples performed in the first century. In this article I would like to "try" (1 Jno. 4:1) Mr. Schambach's workings with those of Jesus and the early Christians.
The first big difference that is noticable between Mr. Schambach and Jesus and His followers is that he is limited in the signs and wonders which he can do. Jesus said to His apostles in Mark 16:17, 18, "And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." Mr. Schambach says he can do most of these, but he cannot drink poison or take up serpents. I wonder why Paul shook off a viper from himself and received no harm (Acts 28:5) and Mr. Schambach cannot. Jesus had control over great storms (Mt. 8:23-27). Jesus could walk on the sea during storms (Mt. 14:22-33). Jesus was able to take five barley loaves and two small fishes and feed about 5000 men (Lk. 9:12-17). Jesus, Peter, and Paul raised people from the dead (Jno. 11:39-44; Acts 9:40, 41; 20:9-12). Why do we not see Mr. Schambach doing these things?
The next dissimilarity is Mr. Schambach's not being able to heal all those who come to him. He says in a newspaper article of the New York Times (8-25-72) that his failure is due to a lack of faith on the part of those to be healed. From John 5:1-16 we may observe that Jesus healed an impotent who did not even know who Jesus was. Then in Luke 22:4951 we have the story of Jesus healing the ear of a man who had come out to take Him captive. Jesus healed His enemies; why can't R. W. Schambach?
The third difference between the "miracles" of Mr. Schambach and Jesus Christ and His disciples is that for Mr. Schambach there seems to have to exist a high emotional atmosphere before he can do anything. In the service that we visited, two and one-half hours were spent arousing the emotions of both the audience and the ones to be healed. The Son of Man was able to just walk up to a funeral procession, and without any preliminaries, raise a man from the state of death (Lk. 7:11-16). Peter healed a man who was not expecting anything but to receive alms (Ac. 3:1-11). If you talk long enough to some people, you can just about make them believe anything or do anything.
Also we found that Mr. Schambach, like most of the other faith-healers of today, begged for money. This act is contrary to the very nature of Jesus and His saints. If Mr. Schambach needs money so bad, why does he not make it like Jesus did (Mt. 17:24-27)? I wonder if R. W. Schambach could make the same statement as Simon Peter did in Acts 3:6, that is, "Silver and gold have I none." The trouble with Mr. Schambach is his wanting the 5000 men to feed him instead of him feeding the 5000.
Then Mr. Schambach and Jesus differ on wanting the praise of men. Mr. Schambach wants others to spread his name and works and he loves personal testimonies. There are some cases where Jesus, after healing someone, told the people not to mention what he had done (Mk. 1:44; 8:26). Does R. W. Schambach glory in the praise of men?
I noticed one other difference between Mr. Schambach's "miracles" and those of Jesus, which is that Mr. Schambach's works are not of the same quality as Christ's and that some even doubt them. Mr. Schambach says when one is not healed immediately that God is going to perform a gradual miracle. I just cannot find any case of this kind of miracle in the word of God, but rather all of Jesus' healings were immediate. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not have to pussyfoot around when he healed someone. When the Master cured someone, they were cured, no ands, ors, ifs, or buts about it. Eleanor Blau, who wrote the article in the Times said, 'Concluding the revival was a healing session in which a teenage boy described as unable to hear or speak was said to have been cured." (Emphasis mine, R.M.) This lady doubted if this one was really healed. After watching Mr. Schambach in action, I do not believe his healings either. The reaction of the people witnessed for Jesus the greatness and trueness of the miracles which He performed. Why can people not say this statement about Mr. Schambach?
In 1 Cor. 13:8-12 Paul wrote that miracles would cease when we received the complete revelation of God's word. Mr. Schambach does not acknowledge the word of the Lord (1 Cor. 14:37). He said at the beginning of his sermon that he was alright as long as he had the Bible behind him. My friends, a true servant of Christ is going to have the Bible in front of him.
Truth Magazine; XVIII:9, pp. 11-12