Theology Corner

Addressing commonly asked questions about Christianity from the perspective of a non-theologian

15. WHAT IS A PROPER CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE ON HEALING?

A wide spectrum of opinion exists within the Christian community on the subject of healing. One popular opinion is that shortly after the death of the apostolic fathers, God stopped healing; Christians today are sent forth to preach the Gospel (the Great Commission) but not to heal the sick. Another view is that God gives you sickness, injury, disability and brokenness of spirit so that you, like Jesus, will have a cross to bear. But the most Biblically defensible perspective is expressed in these three excerpts:

All humanity is the creation of a loving God who wills for everyone wholeness, health of the total person, body, soul and spirit. When we pray for healing, we are to pray, "Thy will be done," not "If it be thy will." All sickness and all brokenness is contrary to the will of God. At no time is sickness a part of His purpose or plan for any part of His creation. Our primary purpose in the Healing Ministry is to see God's will fulfilled in the restoration of wholeness. (Order of St. Luke Handbook, page 10)

Are there times when it is not God's will to heal and when we should pray, "Let what you want be done?" This is one of the most misunderstood prayers in the Bible. Our Lord's Prayer in Gethsemane has nothing whatsoever to do with the healing of the sick. That prayer had to do with the sin burden of the whole world. Jesus was taking on himself the sins of the whole world… It is almost blasphemy for a person with a disease today to think that the bearing of a pathological condition is part of Gethsemane…You are not passing through Gethsemane because you are dying of cancer. You are suffering because the law of God has been broken somewhere. Maybe you had nothing to do with it…Disease is the enemy. Jesus regarded disease as the work of the devil…You may say that you have learned some valuable lessons through pain…but don't say that loathsome disease is God's will for mankind. Yet, out of our foggy thinking and our ambiguous theology, we have sometimes gone to the sick room and tried to comfort a sick person by saying, "Well, no doubt, this is God's will. Just be patient under the hand of God! (John Gayner Banks, "Healing Everywhere" p. 204 – 207)

In the early days of my ministry I found myself saying to a bereaved family, "I don't know why God took your husband but someday we will know." Later the spirit of God broke through into my life and I became shocked and embarrassed at the words of comfort that I had used…What I was saying was really this, "I don't know why God was so unfair, so cruel and so unloving." The force of this erroneous theology struck me with a desire never to use it again or to agree with those who did…It is outrageous that God is condemned for every misfortune, disappointment, accident, tragedy or untimely death…Satan comes to inflict people with disease and misery. God comes to bring healing and joy. (Rufus J. Womble, "Wilt Thou be made Whole?" chapter 16)

What is the theological justification for such a perspective? After all, not all persons will be healed of sickness and brokenness this side of Heaven. Healing prayer does not usually receive an instantaneous, dramatic and obvious response from God. Could it be that decay, disease, terror and suffering are part of God's plan? To this suggestion, say a resounding no! The justification for our position on this issue can be found in the particular view of God and his creation that was commonplace in the early Christian church. It may not be absolutely correct because we see these things dimly through dark gauze. Think of it as directionally correct. Here is a short summary of this justification which can be used as a Homily or Sunday School lesson.

Homily on Christian Healing

Generations of books, magazines and TV documentaries have portrayed nature as a magnificent and beautiful system almost deserving of worship. The Gaia Philosophy even views the entire biosphere as a living entity. But when we look through the veil of hype, what do we really see in nature? G. J. Romanes provides a good description of the animal kingdom: "teeth and talons whetted for slaughter, hooks and suckers molded for torment – everywhere a reign of terror, hunger, sickness, with oozing blood and quivering limbs, with gasping breath and eyes of innocence that dimly close in depths of cruel torture." W. E. Stuermann gives an equally sobering description of nature's web of interacting events: "The web unravels as often as it is woven in order. Frequently and brutally its threads are ripped in sudden and disconcerting manners, and the orderly tapestry of life unravels, leaving men broken by disaster and despair. Chaos looms before them and stretches to the horizons of their lives."

Look around. Did our good, omnipotent God create the inherently violent and terrifying system we see in nature, a system rife with sickness, suffering and death – a system red in tooth and claw? Does nature itself appear to operate contrary to the character of God? Does the world at every level appear to be at war? Does the world appear to be permeated and corrupted at all levels by an evil influence? Did Jesus believe that someone else had been given authority over this world and Jesus Himself must repair, reconstruct, restore and repossess? Jesus' earthly ministry appears to reflect the belief that the world had been seized by a hostile, sinister lord. According to Scripture the whole universe was originally good and the glory of God is still evident in it (Rom 1:20). But something else – something frightfully wicked – is evident in it as well. Jesus came to begin the process of restoration and repossession. But why are we living in a world that needs healing? If God exercises absolute sovereign control over every aspect of creation, why doesn't He stop all this corruption, violence, disease, suffering and death? Let me give you a scenario embraced by Christian leaders in the early church.

With no implied chronology, God created both angels and humans as first-cause agents of choice with the free will to accept or reject God.  God created our universe as a home for us. God placed certain angels in charge of his creation and commanded them to be good stewards. Some began to oppose God under the leadership of Satan, the most powerful and intelligent of all rebellious angels. Satan, who holds the power of death (Heb 2:14) and is the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30-31; 16:8-11), exercises a pervasive, structural and diabolical influence so that all creation descended into the bondage of evil. That which God created as good began to exhibit a pain-ridden, bloodthirsty, sinister and hostile demeanor. "Mother Nature," became an inherently violent and terrifying system dominated by disease, suffering and death – a system red in tooth and claw. Not wanting free will to be an illusion, God is permitting, for a time and within limits, certain consequences of rebellion and corruption caused by both fallen angels and the humans who join them. Rebellious angels and humans, under the leadership of Satan, are the first-cause of all evil.

The world, at every level, is at war. We are on the front lines of this Great War whether we like it or not. The substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ began a new phase of warfare. God the Son began the process of taking back his creation. He not only redeemed you and I from the bondage of sin but He redeemed all of creation from the bondage of evil. The outcome of the war was decided completely by the substitutionary atonement but the process of repossession and reconstruction of creation only began. Jesus expects his people to engage the enemy and be soldiers in His army.

According to G. A. Boyd, "A theme that underlies Jesus' entire ministry is the apocalyptic assumption that creation has been seized by a cosmic force and that God is now battling this force to rescue it. Jesus understood Himself to be the one in whom this battle was to be played out in a decisive way… His whole ministry was about overpowering the 'fully armed' strong man who guarded 'his property' (Luke 11:21) – the earth and its inhabitants who rightfully belong to God… He came to 'destroy the works of the devil' (1 John 3:8; Heb 2:14) and to establish God's domain on earth. Every exorcism and healing – the two activities that most characterize Jesus' ministry – marked an advance toward establishing the kingdom of God over and against the kingdom of Satan. Consequently, in contrast with any view that would suggest that disease and demonization somehow serve a divine purpose, Jesus never treated such phenomenon as anything other than the work of the enemy. He consistently treated diseased and demonized people as casualties of war. Furthermore, rather than accepting their circumstances as mysteriously fitting into God's sovereign plan, Jesus revolted against them as something that God did not will and something that ought to be vanquished by God's power... All sickness and disease was considered a form of satanic oppression, and so in freeing people from it Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom of God."

Since God did not exercise his omnipotence to end the war in an instant, He expects us to engage the enemy. The primary allowed weapon for God's human soldiers is prayer because, alone, we don't stand a chance against the dark powers. Will the paralyzed walk? Will the blind see? Maybe, maybe not; but something will transpire! God always responds. Prayer always makes a difference. But the difference is not always dramatic and obvious because prayer does not cancel or suspend the particular network of constraints which are bringing some outcome into being. Prayer is the means through which the specific action of God works in and through that network, bringing some succession of events to what will always be a different outcome from what it would otherwise have been. Every miraculous healing is an incredible succession of events which would not occur without the intervention of God. However, when you are healed by the power of God in this life, you do not receive a Resurrection Body. The hundreds of New Testament characters healed by Jesus, the twelve, the seventy two and others had two major things in common: they were all miraculously healed and they all eventually died!

By the substitutionary atonement, God redeemed or bought-back all creation from Satan who now no longer owns it (Luke 4:5-7). But Satan was not a willing seller and will never acknowledge the legitimacy of the sale. He believes his property was stolen from him by a phony purchase. He is battling God to retain possession. Consequently, creation may be legally free from the bondage of evil but it is not free from the influence of evil itself through Satan and his minions who will never relinquish possession without a fight. The influence of Satan's evil on your body may cause suffering, sickness, injury and disability from which you cannot recover without the miraculous intervention of God. Such healing marks an advance toward establishing the kingdom of God over and against the kingdom of Satan. But you will eventually succumb to some other infirmity or simply old age. Until Jesus comes to completely restore and repossess His corrupted creation, Satan still holds the power of physical death (Heb 2:14) and is the prince of this world (John 12:31; 14:30-31; 16:8-11; Luke 4:5-7). But God will intervene in response to prayer.

Our objective is not to just "go through the motions" of a healing service and faithfully reiterate prayers for which no one really expects an answer. Our objective is to see God's will fulfilled in the restoration of wholeness. All sickness and brokenness is contrary to the will of God. God wants to heal! But where free agents are involved, God's will can be thwarted. Things happen which God does not will (e.g. 60 million abortions for convenience in the USA) and things fail to happen which God does will (e.g. the salvation of all persons). All evil proceeds from wills other than God's. Satan and his army come to inflict people with disease and misery. God comes to bring healing and joy.The mystery of evil stems from the complexity of creation and the warfare that engulfs it, not from some distorted definition of God's will.

Our spiritual opponents in this Great War are powerful beyond comprehension; they would destroy us in an instant were it not for God's restraint. Even God's angels appear to be reluctant to enter the fray (Dan 10:21). Why didn't God give us "superhero" personal power against these adversaries to make an even fight? Perhaps because the struggle is ultimately about ideas rather than brute power. Satan wants to convince all the angels in Heaven that God's plan of salvation for mankind is flawed. He wants to expose God's entire enterprise of creation and redemption as the product of radically flawed wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness and truth. The accusation, once raised, could not be removed, not even by destroying the accuser. The divine purpose hung in the balance. The bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ was a fatal blow to him who holds the power of death (Heb 2:14) and sealed the ultimate outcome of the war. But Jesus wants his army to stand beside him as He reclaims and restores His creation.

HEALING PRAYER

God always responds to prayer for healing and that prayer always makes a difference. All humanity is the creation of a loving God Who wills everyone to have wholeness and health. When you petition God for healing, don't say, "Heal only if it be Your will." Instead say, "Please heal because I know it is Your will to repair and restore Your corrupted creation." Sickness and brokenness are contrary to the will of God. At no time is sickness a part of His purpose or plan for any part of His creation. The primary purpose of prayer for healing is to see God's will fulfilled in the restoration of wholeness. But remember, healing is not a "one-time" thing. Healing is, in reality, a continual meeting of a continual need. One healing usually leads to the recognition of a need for further healing, either a physical healing or a healing of the heart. God calls each of us to see healing as a continuing pilgrimage toward wholeness.

Whenever we see hate, ill-will, division, separation, alienation, disease, decay, misery, tragedy, corruption, fear, suffering, iniquity, immorality, wickedness, depravity or unmitigated evil, we know it is the fruit of Satan and those who have joined him. Whenever we see love, mercy, grace, forgiveness, reconciliation, restoration, joy, health, healing and well being, we know it is the fruit of God and His children. Satan comes to destroy and kill; God comes to give life. When a tragedy occurs, many well meaning Christians will say, "I don't know why God did this; we don't understand now but someday we will." They are really saying, "I don't know why God was so unfair, so cruel and so unloving but someday we will understand." Similarly, many Christians having lifelong afflictions such as blindness or paralysis will not accept prayer for healing; they believe God wants them to be afflicted so he can use them in a more powerful way. But remember, all humanity is the creation of a loving God Who wills everyone to have wholeness and health. To think otherwise is to insult God.

The fact that God's response to healing prayer is not always dramatic and obvious opens the door to familiar Calvinist and pseudo-Christian claptrap: (1) God orchestrates the tragic death of babies because he needs more little angels in heaven; (2) God causes us to become crippled and maimed to strengthen our spirit, bring us closer to Him, teach us a lesson, give us a new perspective on life and make us stronger witnesses; (3) if God has not answered your prayer for healing, it is because you or those around you are harboring un-confessed sin; (4) if God has not healed you, it is because your faith is weak and (5) God is giving us the disease, suffering and death we deserve; He is self glorified as He watches fear, suffering and hopelessness swallow mankind.

HEALING IN THE CHURCH

In the Great Commandment (Mat 22:36-40), Jesus said to love God and love your neighbor; this universal instruction for His church was revealed to opponents and followers alike. The church has developed various activities in response to this instruction. For example, we worship God to demonstrate our love for Him and we minister to our neighbors to demonstrate our love for them. In the Great Commission (Mat 28:18-20), Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, baptize them and teach them to obey everything He commanded; this instruction was given only to the eleven but, like the Great Commandment, we view it as a universal instruction directed to each Christian and to the church as a whole. Once again, the church has developed various activities in response to this instruction. We evangelize the unsaved to make new disciples (e.g. community outreach, mission trips), we bring these new disciples into the church by baptism (church growth programs) and we educate them in the ways of Jesus by discipleship (e.g. Sunday School). But what other universal instructions might be found in the New Testament?

In Luke 9:2, Jesus said: "preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick." This instruction was given to the twelve. In Luke 10:9, Jesus said: "Heal the sick who are there and tell them the kingdom of God is near you." This instruction was given to the seventy two. He did not even tell the seventy two to preach the kingdom of God; presumably He would do that later. Furthermore, according to G. A. Boyd, "Every exorcism and healing – the two activities that most characterize Jesus' ministry – marked an advance toward establishing the kingdom of God over and against the kingdom of Satan. Consequently, in contrast with any view that would suggest that disease and demonization somehow serve a divine purpose, Jesus never treated such phenomenon as anything other than the work of the enemy. He consistently treated diseased and demonized people as casualties of war. Furthermore, rather than accepting their circumstances as mysteriously fitting into God's sovereign plan, Jesus revolted against them as something that God did not will and something that ought to be vanquished by God's power... All sickness and disease was considered a form of satanic oppression, and so in freeing people from it Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom of God." The text in chapters 9 and 10 of Luke and the unique roll of healing in the great war between good and evil suggest that the instruction to heal the sick is just as universal, for each Christian and the church as a whole, as the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

Furthermore, the church doesn't need to develop a new activity in response to this instruction. The healing activity is defined in Scripture. Three elements of healing are mentioned in the New Testament [prayer (James 5:14; Acts 28:8), anointing with oil (James 5:14; Mark 6:13) and laying on of hands (Mark 16:18; Acts 28:8)]. The early church combined these three elements into a single activity with the objective of healing.

For a variety of reasons, many in the church today reject the belief that healing the sick is a universal instruction directed to each Christian and to the church as a whole.

  • One popular opinion is that shortly after the death of the apostolic fathers, God stopped healing; Christians today are sent forth to preach the Gospel but not to heal the sick.
  • Another view is that God gives you sickness, injury, disability and brokenness of spirit so that you, like Jesus, will have a cross to bear.
  • A Calvinist compatible view is that God causes us to become sick, crippled and maimed to strengthen our spirit, bring us closer to Him, teach us a lesson, give us a new perspective on life and make us stronger witnesses.
  • Some conservative denominations believe the Pentecostals and Charismatics hijacked Biblical healing many decades ago and inserted elements not defined in Scripture (e.g. speaking in tongues and being Slain in the Spirit); these insertions rendered all subsequent healing activities suspect. Not only was healing rejected by many but the work of the Holy Spirit Himself became suspect.
  • Finally, Agnes Sanford and her progeny invented mystical healing elements, not found in Scripture, comprising a syncretism of psychology and occult spirituality (e.g. inner healing and healing by visualization); these elements have, in some denominations, corrupted the basic healing ministry of the Church.

But all these objections can be neutralized by simply acknowledging the timeless legitimacy of the three basic elements of healing defined in Scripture -- anointing with oil, laying on of hands and prayer – and controlling our human desires to add additional elements.

Will the paralyzed walk? Will the blind see? Maybe, maybe not; but something will transpire! God always responds. The healing activity always makes a difference. But the difference is not always dramatic and obvious because prayer does not cancel or suspend the particular network of constraints which are bringing some outcome into being. Prayer is the means through which the specific action of God works in and through that network, bringing some succession of events to what will always be a different outcome from what it would otherwise have been. Healing is a universal instruction given by Jesus to each Christian individually and to the church as a whole.

A HEALING MINISTRY IN YOUR CHURCH

The healing activity -- anointing with oil, laying on of hands and prayer – can be administered in many settings: hospital visitation, home visitation, nursing home visitation, church chapel, church sanctuary and, of course, a formal healing service involving the entire church.  If your church currently has no healing ministry, stepwise incremental progress is recommended.

First, get the approval and support of the pastor and other church leadership.  Without such approval, the healing ministry will always be a fringe activity outside the mainstream and viewed with suspicion.  The pastor, in particular, must offer support from the pulpit even if he is not an active participant in the various healing activities.  Second, create a chapel (if one does not exist), where people can come at specified times and receive the healing activity from designated individuals who are called to this ministry.  Third, at the conclusion of each church service at the time of invitation to come forward and make a confession of faith, the pastor can issue an invitation to come forward for the healing activity, once again administered by designated individuals who are called to this ministry.  The chapel healing ministry and the healing ministry at the conclusion of each service should be offered to the entire community of potential church family and not just to the existing church congregation.  A message of invitation on your church sign would be appropriate.

Once the church has progressed through the chapel healing ministry and the healing ministry at the conclusion of each service, the church can conduct a formal healing service.  A formal healing service involves the entire church and is usually held in the Sanctuary.  The order of events for a formal healing service is flexible.  Here is a sample order.

Healing Service Order
  • Introduction

    We gather here responding to the instructions of Jesus to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick. All sickness, disease and disability were considered forms of satanic oppression; therefore, in freeing people from them Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom of God. Three elements of healing are mentioned in the New Testament [prayer (James 5:14; Acts 28:8), anointing with oil (James 5:14; Mark 6:13) and laying on of hands (Mark 16:18; Acts 28:8)]. The early church combined these three elements into a single activity with the objective of healing. We will do the same.

  • Prayer

    Almighty God, who inspired Your servant Luke the Physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of Your Son: Graciously continue in Your Church the love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of Your Name, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

  • Hymn

Optional

  • Devotional

    In Luke 9:1-2; Mark 6:7,12-13 and Mat 10:1,7-8, Jesus said to preach the kingdom of God and heal the sick. This instruction was given to the twelve. In Luke 10:1, 8-9, 17, Jesus said to heal the sick who are there and tell them the kingdom of God is near you. This instruction was given to the seventy two. There is also a common theme about healing found throughout the ministry of Jesus. It begins with the apocalyptic assumption that creation has been seized by a personal, cosmic force and God is now battling this force to rescue His creation. Jesus understood Himself to be the one in whom this battle was to be played out in a decisive way. He came to 'destroy the works of the devil' (1 John 3:8; Heb 2:14) and establish God's domain on earth. Every healing by Jesus marked an advance toward establishing the kingdom of God over and against the kingdom of Satan. Consequently, in contrast with any view suggesting that disease somehow serves a divine purpose, Jesus always viewed disease as the work of the enemy. He consistently treated diseased people as casualties of war. Furthermore, rather than accepting their circumstances as mysteriously fitting into God's sovereign plan, Jesus revolted against them as something that God did not will and something that ought to be vanquished by God's power. All sickness, disease and disability were considered forms of satanic oppression, and so in freeing people from them Jesus demonstrated the presence of the kingdom of God. The text in chapters 9 and 10 of Luke and the unique roll of healing in the great war between good and evil seem to suggest that the instruction to heal the sick is just as universal, for each Christian and the church as a whole, as the Great Commandment and the Great Commission.

  • Scripture Reading

Luke 9:1-2; 10:8-9

  • Communion

Optional

  • Healing Activity for Those Not Present

    Attendees write healing needs on pew cards for those not present: person's name together with one or two word description of sickness, disability or injury.

    Pass cards to front.

    Healing prayer for needs written on pew cards

  • Healing Activity for Those Present

    Prayer of repentance, faith and obedience inviting and welcoming the Holy Spirit into the Sanctuary while disinviting Satan and his agents.

    Attendees accept their responsibility to become an integral part of this activity.

    • Attendees are expected to lift up each person who asks for healing in silent prayer; God knows your thoughts; your silent prayers are just as powerful as audible prayers.
    • Where there is real agreement, where the Holy Spirit brings believers into perfect harmony concerning that which they ask of God, where the Holy Spirit lays the same burden on all hearts, in such prayer there is great power.
    • The key is "Holy Spirit and Holy Silence;" we seek a service with order and peace where no one is made to feel uncomfortable and the Holy Spirit is allowed to work.

    Healing Activity Begins

    • Every other pew is left empty so those who lay-on hands can stand behind persons desiring healing prayer; persons desiring prayer need only raise their hand or otherwise make a sign.
    • The person's specific request for healing is told to one of the ministers and summarized for attendees by the minister; for privacy reasons, the request may be for unspoken prayer.
    • Friends and family, 2-3 lay persons and the ministers prepare to lay hands on each person.
    • The person's forehead is anointed with oil accompanied by a request that God grant the inward anointing of the Holy Spirit.
    • Hands are laid on accompanied by a request that the Healing Hands of God the Father completely enclose every fiber of the person's being.
    • As we prepare for silent prayer, may the love and healing power of God the Son begin the process of healing; may every bodily change from this point onward be in the direction of health, healing, well-being and wholeness.
    • Silent Healing Prayer commences and continues for approximately 2 minutes. Attendees are expected to lift up each person who asks for healing in silent prayer during this time.
    • The session ends with a short audible closing prayer by a minister.
    • The process is repeated for the next person.
  • Benediction

Always be aware that the healing activity puts participants on the front lines of spiritual warfare.  It is not meant to be church entertainment. 

Now let’s examine the healing activity itself.  Start each healing activity by placing anointing oil on the tip of your finger and drawing a small cross on the recipient’s forehead. Then begin to pray.  Here is a sample prayer which can be prayed out loud during the healing activity, but, by all means, make up your own!  Be sure to insert the correct pronoun or preferably the person’s name.

Almighty God, as we have learned to do in all things, we come to you now in this moment of healing; we know that only You can change the shadow of affliction into the daybreak of wellbeing.

Help us to wait before You with reverent and submissive hearts.

As you (name) are outwardly anointed with this oil, may you be inwardly anointed by the peace, mercy and grace, by the love and healing power of the Holy Spirit.

Almighty God, fill him with Your Spirit; uphold him by Your Spirit that he may experience newness of life and serve You in newness of life. 

As I lay my hands upon you, may the healing hands of God the Father embrace every fiber of your being.

Almighty God, grant Your healing grace that he may be made whole; free him from this affliction and thereby reveal the presence of the kingdom of God.

As I pray this prayer, may the love and healing power of God the Son begin the process of healing.

Almighty God, may this prayer cause a specific action of God to work in and through the particular network of constraints bringing some outcome into being and bring some succession of events to a different outcome than would otherwise have been; break the shackles of constraint on the potential power of this prayer and heal this child of God.

Almighty God who inspired Your servant Luke the Physician to set forth in the Gospel the love and healing power of your Son: Graciously continue in Your Church the love and power to heal, to the praise and glory of Your Name, through Jesus Christ, our Lord.

WHY HAVE A HEALING MINISTRY IN YOUR CHURCH?

G. A. Boyd masterfully portrays the great war of the forces of God against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness: “Jesus’ entire ministry, as we have seen, reflects the belief that the world had been seized by a hostile, sinister lord. Jesus had come to take it back. Contrary to any view suggesting that everything has a divine purpose behind it, Jesus’ ministry indicated that God’s purposes for the world had to be fought for and won.  Jesus taught his disciples to pray that God’s will would be done on earth as it is in heaven.  This presupposes that, to a significant extent at least, God’s will is not now being done on earth.”

The world, at every level, is at war.  We are on the front lines of this Great War whether we like it or not.  The substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ began a new phase of warfare.  God the Son began the process of taking back his creation.  The outcome of the war was decided completely by the substitutionary atonement but the process of repair, reconstruction, restoration and repossession of creation only began.  Jesus expects his people to engage the enemy and be soldiers in His army.

We are commanded in Chapters 9 and 10 of Luke to not only preach the kingdom of God but also to heal the sick.  This limited and localized form of restoration serves as a process to thwart the prince of darkness and the forces of evil.

HEALING ACTIVITY "BUMPS IN THE ROAD"

All new church ministries hit bumps in the road and leaders are required to deal with unanticipated issues.  Here are some common constraints and criticisms together with a response.

 

The healing activity should never be administered to a proxy on behalf of the person who needs healing.  But careful examination, of the 26 well documented healings performed by Jesus Christ, reveals that at least three healings were requested by proxies acting on behalf of the persons needing to be healed [Nobleman’s Son, John 4:46-54; Centurion’s Servant, Mat 8:5-13; Canaanite Woman’s Daughter, Mat 15:21-28].  Jesus not only honored the request of each proxy but, concerning the centurion and the Canaanite woman, Jesus commended their “great faith.”  In addition to “great faith,” the Canaanite woman demonstrated incredible persistence in the face of withering admonitions from Jesus.  Similarly, in addition to “great faith,” the centurion demonstrated great humility.  Jesus also honored the faith and persistence of the nobleman.  Jesus made note of the unshakeable faith, resolute desire for healing and overall character of each proxy.  Jesus showed no interest in the faith, desire for healing and character of the three persons who actually needed healing.  Jesus healed, by the power of the Holy Spirit, based on His assessment of the proxies and not on His assessment of those represented by the proxies.

Perhaps in the Christian Church today, a proxy might also play a central role in healing.  The minister of healing would say: As you (proxy) are outwardly anointed with this oil, may your loved one be inwardly anointed by the peace, mercy and grace, by the love and healing power of the Holy Spirit… As I lay my hands upon you, may the healing hands of God the Father embrace every fiber of your loved ones being….  Multitudes of sick, injured and disabled will never come to a church for healing.  A proxy may be the only way they will ever receive the power of a healing activity.

The various proxies, in New Testament times, were not merely sterile conduits connecting Jesus to the sick; but rather each proxy played a central role in healing.  Neither the son, the servant nor the daughter would have been healed without the intervention of proxies who met the standards of Jesus.  Since we understand the role of a proxy in the healing ministry of Jesus, how can we, in this age, condemn that role as unscriptural?

 

The healing activity should never be administered to anyone who lacks the faith to be healed.  However, careful examination, of the 26 well documented healings performed by Jesus Christ, reveals that, in at least six cases, neither the person healed nor those associated with him/her demonstrated any faith whatsoever [Pool of Bethesda, John 5:1-17; Shriveled Hand, Mat 12:9-14; Deceased Son, Luke 7:11-17; Born Blind, John 9:1-38; Bent Double, Luke 13:10-17; Dropsy, Luke 14:1-6].  According to Scripture, the only person needing faith is the person providing the healing activity, not the person receiving the healing activity!

 

Other methods of healing (i.e. Reiki) are far more effective than the Biblical healing activity.  Scripture never says occult practices are powerless; it simply tells us not to engage in them.