From several different sources, lately, I have been told of ministers(?) who are so anointed of the Spirit(?) that they have actually raised people from the dead. On one occasion, I saw a drama on a religious T.V. channel. The hero was the spirit-filled sheriff of a wild-west town. On more than one occasion, during the show, the bad guys killed someone that jist ort not to have been kilt. The sheriff would come and lay hands on the dead person, rebuking both death and the devil, and in the name of Jesus, raise that person from the dead.
Two other occasions where this claim was made was in conversation with acquaintances who are deeply involved in charismatic churches. One is more than an acquaintance; I consider him a friend. Neither of these people actually saw it happen, but were totally convinced that ministers that they had heard of, were literally raising people from the dead.
I want to be careful in how I approach this subject because I have no doubt whatsoever, that God is able to raise the dead. However, I want to be perfectly clear in stating that I do not believe that these people are actually raising the dead. In light of my skepticism, I think the best way to proceed would be to ask some questions of those who claim life-giving power.
Perhaps the most important question that needs to be considered is this: Do you consider death to be a tragedy for the saved? It seems to me as if the emphasis placed on physical health in many religious groups has blinded them to the possibility that God could actually get glory for Himself and at the same time, grant blessing to His people through their suffering. To people thus blinded, surely death must seem as though Satan has won a victory every time a Christian dies. My contention is, that what Paul said of himself in Philippians 1:21 "For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." could and should be said of all saints. If "...to die is gain..." how could we treat the passing of a child of God as anything other than gain? There is much more that could be said on this point, but I want to hurry on to some other questions.
Other questions I would ask those who claim the power over death are these: Of all the dead, which ones are candidates for being raised? Do you have the power to raise people whose bodies have already been embalmed? Are there verifiable cases in which the putrefaction process has been reversed? Or what is the longest period of time that one was certifiably dead before he/she was raised? I suspect in most cases, that if the whole story were told, it would not appear quite as miraculous as they would have us believe.
One last question: Don't you believe that it is better to be with Jesus than apart from Him?
As for me, if my Lord should call me home, even now at the tender age of 53 years old, please don't call the paramedics! I don't intend to be morbid nor am I trying to be super spiritual, but I want to see Jesus. Just one moment with Him face-to-face would be worth more than ten thousand life-times here.