I’m excited to share with you a little more information about the project I’ll be working on this June. I’ll be doing a series of posts on what I believe to be a foundational practice of Christianity – healing the sick through the power of the Holy Spirit. I see healing the sick in the same category as I see prayer, evangelism, hospitality and works of justice (charity, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, etc) – practices Jesus commanded everyone to do, not “the religious elite”. We may not be “gifted” or “talented” in these areas, we may not even feel “called”, and I don’t think that matters. These are the stepping stones of Christian discipleship and maturity, meaning that they benefit and mature US far more than they do the person on the receiving end. Just as everyone needs to go through the school of prayer in order to grow in the knowledge of God and deepen their relationship with him, so too do we need to go through the school of healing. We need to learn how to partner with God to release his Kingdom to those around us in a tangible way. We learn much from these lessons, far more than we expect or imagine.
I am not an expert healer. I don’t see more than a third of the people I minister to healed, far less than that among Chistians. It has been my experience that Christians are the hardest people to minister to and see healed, mostly because they think God wants them to be sick. I think that is a severly twisted view of God’s character and almost totally at odds with what the Bible says about him. For that reason, this series will be divided into three main sections: (1) demolishing demonic strongholds in our theology, (2) articulating the truth about the Goodness of God and (3) offering you some practical ways to partner with God to bring about the healing of the whole person.
I am indebted to John Wimber, Alexander Venter and Ken Blue for their masterful treatment of this subject in their books (listed below). This series is my attempt to synthesize and integrate their insights and best practices into a readily digestible and actionable whole. It is my desire to see the healing ministry of Jesus once again restored to its proper place as an “elementary teaching” in the Church (see Hebrews 6:1-2). Holy Spirit is the Gift who makes every other gift possible. Since every Believer has the Spirit, every Believer has the potential to be used by God to heal and so advance his Kingdom. Learning to heal is desirable for growing in maturity and faith and it is also a biblical command. Large sections of the Church have ignored the ministry of healing for understandable and justifiable reasons, it has historically been divisive, difficult to pastor and prone to abuse, but humanity didn’t give up using fire because a few people got burned and a few forests were destroyed. There are ways to cooperate with God and not fall prone to those errors, we see those examples modeled in Scripture.
Before I close, I’d like to mention that healing is not the most important or central issue in the Christian life. I want to state that up front because I will be making some bold statements and strong assertions in this series with the expressed intent of provoking an emotional reaction and making you think things through. How you live out the ministry of healing is not the most important thing in your life, but what you think about God is. We are all called to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength” and that is impossible to do if we have wrong beliefs about who he really is and harbor emotional resentment towards him because of those beliefs. For me, learning to heal is about learning who God really is as well as learning to present the Gospel in its purest and most unadulterated form – letting God speak for himself directly to an individual through an experience of his love.
These posts will be long, so be forewarned, but my hope is that you will find them helpful. It is also my hope that you will be inspired to join me on this journey and that we can encourage each other in our pursuit of God. Tomorrow we will look at what I believe to be the most insidious lie most Christians believe – “God made me sick to teach me a lesson.” See you back here tomorrow.
P.S. Here are some books I have found most helpful:
“Power Healing” by John Wimber
“Power Evangelism” by John Wimber
“MC150: Signs, Wonder and Church Growth” by John Wimber (A course John taught at Fuller Seminary)
“Doing Healing: How to minister the Kingdom in the power of the Spirit” by Alexander Venter
“Authority to Heal” by Ken Blue
“When Heaven Invades Earth” by Bill Johnson