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October 17, 2005

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Hi Chris, I think we've tucked it away in the church archives, beside spiritual warfare...it's all pretty much history now...the good ole' days.
I think of Jesus when he talked about the centurion whoes daughter was at home on deaths doorstep...who had enough faith that Jesus didn't even need to come to his house...just tell me she's healed, thats good enough for me. Jesus was blown away by such faith. He told us...we would do greater things than He. It's time we grabbed the mustard seed again...and claimed the truth.
But on sad note, we had a woman show up at our Alt Cafe last year, her brother had a stroke. She had gone to the local cathedral for healing prayer for her brother. She was told we don't pray for healing anymore...we pray for the medical staff. So she left, the cathedral and the church for months...and just happen to wander into our place and shared the story. We prayed, and prayed not for the medical staff...but for the same spirit that blew through the gospels healing people, the same spirit that raised Jesus from death...we prayed for that spirit to blow into the life of her brother. I'll just say her brother has made a 100% recovery. So I guess I'm prepared to hang on to healing mimistry.

Ron, I was deeply moved by what you shared:

"She had gone to the local cathedral for healing prayer for her brother. She was told we don't pray for healing anymore...we pray for the medical staff. So she left, the cathedral and the church for months..."

I believe there are many, many people out there who have given up on the Church for reasons just like this one. Lord, help us.

But when you told us:

"We prayed, and prayed not for the medical staff...but for the same spirit that blew through the gospels healing people, the same spirit that raised Jesus from death...we prayed for that spirit to blow into the life of her brother. I'll just say her brother has made a 100% recovery. "

Man, it totally made my morning! Thanks for sharing.

Chris,

You say: the Church must repent of its past and embrace anew the early church's passion for the healing ministry of the Kingdom.

I have this book and read it, and found it way too preachey I didn't like it. But then I never like trying to fix the blame rather than trying to fix the problem.

I did however love his books "Healing" and "Deliverance from Evil Spirits: A Practical Manual" (I'd also recommend Ken Blue's "Authority to Heal")

You may be interested in This Conversation that was had on the ooze, quite awhile back. The 11 reasons healing doesn't occur come from his first book 'Healing'.

I recently finished Colossians Remixed by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat. A central theme in the book is the captivating of imagination by the empire... and the liberation of that imagination by the Christ. (An excellent book!)

Perhaps our disbelief in the miraculous is just further evidence of how our imaginations have been made captive by the empire of rationalism and "progress." From more extreme positions - e.g. the miraculous events recorded in Scripture are only legends and myths - to more moderate, sensable stances - e.g. the miraculous was necessary to establish the testimony of Jesus and his Apostles, but it is no longer necessary - these denials and diminishments of the miraculous are merely ways that the empire has domesticated the church and employed her in its own service.

I wonder what Luke, the Physician-cum-missionary, thought about the miraculous healings that occurred throughout the churches he visited?

I think we have to differentiate between "healing" and "Curing". One can be healed without being cured, or cured without being healed. By making one word equal the other, it creates something that can't honestly or effectively be dealt with either on the spiritual or physical plane.

The danger with "healing" when a person means "curing" is that people assume that they have no need of medical treatment if their faith is strong enough. Christian Scientists have been sued in court to force medical treatment on seriously ill minors in the family when the parents insisted on only using a Christian Science healer. Prayer is a valuable component in treatment, but if someone prays to be cured of cancer and nothing happens, even though they have supreme faith that God will take the cancer away, what does that do to them and to their family if the cancer not only remains but grows? Lack of faith? No.

Healing is a powerful thing, but it does not always accompany a cure. Prayer can assist in healing by bringing the person to a sense of peace and trust that all will come out as it should. It doesn't absolve people from the need for professional medical treatment, however. Why shouldn't the two be used hand in hand? I don't think God would object a bit. After all, God created doctors and medicine as well as priests and prayer.

I think this is a timely discussion to be having. The reasons for our abandonment of the healing ministry are many, but let me touch on my experiences.

First, the shift to evange-tainment, where crowds gather to watch healings seems to move in contrast to Jesus very personal (and often hush-hush) approach to healing.

Second, there is so much fear in our praying- fear that WE will look stupid or lack credibility if people don't get healed. So we say things like: "If it is your will, Lord, heal so and so", thus allowing us to shrug our shoulders when nothing happens, point to heaven and walk away. It takes faith and humility to speak to the body with the authority we have been given and command: "Be healed". I lack this confidence.

Third, I think it goes (in part) to the worldview we have adopted that has severed the integrative relationship between the physical and the spiritual. This false dichotomy insults both God and His Creation, standing as a barrier to healing.

Again, these are just a few of many reasons I think we have lost this essential ministry. That being said, as I travel around the world, I find that it is quite active among the poorest peoples. Something to be said about that...

Peace,
Jamie

One can be healed without being cured, or cured without being healed.
Excellent point! I was trying to make a similar point in that Ooze thread Seraphim linked to.

Chris, at risk of being tedious, an alarm bell goes off for me when I hear mention of "the church before 325." I'm not familiar with this book or author, but I weary of evangelical and post-evangelical books that claim to be unearthing things lost to conspiracy or neglect. The sacrament of unction never left us, even if the Reformation chose amnesia towards such things. The writings of the saints are so full of healings and miracles, you'd think the Pentecostals wrote them. LOL This was an early indication to me, as a student of medieval history, that there was something foul in the version of church history that I'd been taught as an evangelical. Is it a foulness the author is perpetuating?

We all benefit from being reminded of such things in our modernist, materialistic age- reminded that they are not fiction, sentimental or sensationalist. No argument there! And how we apply it day to day- I wonder that myself.

"(T)he ministry of healing has nearly disappeared from much of the Church today, replaced by our growing confidence in the "miracles" of modern medicine, as well as a growing embarrassment over those claiming to be "faith healers."

Why the quotation marks around miracles of modern medicine? Healing is healing is healing - or isn't it?1) I don't get the reason why one should pray for somebodies healing and not the staff who treats him or her. Is it sinful or inappropriate to do both? In adopting both, I concur with mumcat who differentiates between healing and curing.

"Whether or not we verbally acknowledge it, we've adopted a "pick-and-choose" approach in relation to Jesus -- embracing his teachings but distancing ourselves from his practice of healing and deliverance."

When has the church not picked and chosen in relation to Jesus? Didn't women leaders and prophet's and teachers not all but dissapear in the first few centuries A.D.? I wonder whether the ministry of healing is so difficult because it calls for the person to follow Jesus for the rest of his or her life (go, sin no more).
Maybe that's why faith-healers do not thrive in the same place for more than a limited time (or do they?)... the church-community may or may not be up to the follow up.

Interresting point, Jamie, that the poor have the most active healing ministry. As I read the gospels, healing is the key to enter the community again after sickness (=sin) estranged a person from it. Could it be that modern, socialist medicin (available to all through a common health care system that works!) is a miracle of God after all?

---
1) Please note that I tried to formulate my thoughts in questions, so as to score EC points. ;-)

I think we should look with wonder at what science has achieved, but I think miracles speak to moving outside the laws the govern our reality and transcend them. I say this to differentiate between the two, not to say the medical science is less wonderful (or wonder full).

The argument that medical science is an equal miracle to the Biblically recorded miracles doesn't cut it for me. Some might argue that God demonstrated His power by performing miracles where the medicine of the time was unable to serve, thus they are largely unneeded due to the "miracle" of modern medicine.

How, then, does this apply to the raising of Lazarus? If this logic holds, then we should see an increasing in the raising of the dead or the curing of AIDS, etc. in our society. This has not been the case, however.

I do want to restate that we need to be careful with statements like:

"But the ministry of healing has nearly disappeared from much of the Church today",

when in fact this would probably better read:

"But the ministry of healing has nearly disappeared from much of the Western Church today"

I fear that so much theology is explored and explained through a very Euro-Western (even North American) wordlview while being presented as though it is a universal understanding. Just a caution.

Peace,
Jamie

A few have affirmed a distinction between "healing" and "curing." Right now it adds up to semantics in my mind, so can someone elaborate?

Didn't women leaders and prophet's and teachers not all but dissapear in the first few centuries A.D.?
Carlos: No, they didn't. See my comments above.
A few have affirmed a distinction between "healing" and "curing." Right now it adds up to semantics in my mind, so can someone elaborate?
Bald Man: If I understood the original comment correctly, I was taking it to mean that healing is more than just absence of disease. It's a holistic thing, including one's spirit. You can be cured of a disease and not made a whole person.

"Are We Too Sophisticated for Healing?"


Well much of this is socio economic. The only people I can think of who are too sophisticated for healing, are those people who are rich enough to afford regular trips to the doctor, health insurance and the like.

But for those of us struggling in that area.... we have no choice but to rely on God to meet our needs in this area.


And I have to admit being one of those 1 in maybe 12 or million people in this country without any health insurance.... I can say that he does come through.


My need for medical services is next to nothing. Even inspite of lackidasical effort on my part most of the time to maintain my health.

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