Healing the Whole Person

As a Christian who grew up with a dualistic, Western mindset I needed training in the Biblical Worldview. I have found (and continue to find) Alexander Venter’s book Doing Healing to be an excellent resource in equipping Christians with an accurate theology and practice of healing. I’m rereading Venter’s book and wanted to share a portion of it, but first…

You are one piece
I lift weights and read a lot about weightlifting. Even so, I’ve never been able to buy into the bodybuilding notion of training different body parts. Why? Because you are one piece.

Imagine bench pressing a heavy weight to “work your chest and arms”. Now I come along and jab a fork into your thigh. What is going to happen to the weight? It’s going to crack your ribs unless you had a spotter. Why? Because you are one piece, not a collection of body parts. Even though your leg was hurt, it affected how your chest and arms functioned. There is no such thing as an “isolation” excercise.

This is true of your whole self – spirit, soul, body and relationships. Wounding any one of those areas will naturally affect the other parts. This is why sin (spiritual wounding) often manifests in bodily disease. It is also why broken relationships with people affect our health and/or our relationship with God. You are one piece.

Venter’s Diagram


You are the sum total of your spirit, soul (mind, will and emotions), body, relationships and more. The Judeo-Christian mindset seeks to integrate these different realities into a unified whole, what the Hebrews call shalom. The Western mindset seeks to dis-integrate these various capacities and talk about them individually. Thus, as healing is concerned, the West has come up with specialist doctors – one kind for each of the different parts of your body, several other kinds for your mind, etc. These compartmentalized specialists only seek to fix the problem, not heal the person. While this has allowed us to make remarkable breakthroughs in physical science, it hasn’t made us a healthy or integrated society.

A Wholistic Perspective on Healing
As Christians, we should focus on healing the whole person. This is often a lengthy process because we don’t just address the manifesting symptoms, we try to treat the root cause and disease. It requires patience and compassion. Often our best and truest work is done in places people can’t see.

I believe in a wholistic approach to health and healing that addresses every aspect of our humanity. Nutrition, rest, right relationships with God and others, meaningful work, mental health, chemical/hormonal balance, soundness in the body – all of these and more are part of health and healing. Messing with any of them can make us sick or dis-eased. I think long standing, chronic issues often require addressing many different fronts before complete healing takes place.

I’ll probably post more of Venter’s work in the future, I just found this idea of integration and being one piece particularly helpful. Thanks for reading friends.

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