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“Today there is renewed interest in the healing ministry and a growing concern for it to be taken seriously, and restored to the life of the church, rather than being a fringe interest. There is also a general acceptance of healing as wholeness, although there are some differences as to what this actually means.

However, when it comes to the content and practice of any healing ministry, there are wide differences in approach and understanding. These differences often cause confusion and misunderstanding among those who are involved or interested in the healing ministry. Many Christians feel comfortable with one particular emphasis and become confused by different approaches, each which usually claims to be based on particular interpretation of the Bible. One of the aims of the Order of St. Luke is to help people to understand some of these different approaches to the healing ministry, and to encourage discussion among those who are actively involved in health and healing, so that they will appreciate the work of others who may approach the work of healing quite differently from themselves.”

Taylor,H. (2007) p. 76, Sent to heal. A handbook on Christian healing. Roseville, MN: Speedwell Press

All people need healing.  The Christian understanding of all humanity is that their relationship with God has been fractured and broken by sin and disobedience and this relationship needs to be restored.  All people need restoration to wellbeing, in body, mind and spirit because all have sinned and turned away from God (Romans 3:23).


All healing is from God.  We are not able to heal ourselves, and healing occurs because of the activity of God in His Creation and in our lives and situations.  The insights and skills of medicine make use of what God has provided in His Creation and in His providential care.  The Church gives thanks to God for this provision and seeks to work with the medical profession in using the good gifts which God has given, but the Church also believes that God has provided special resources in His act of salvation through Jesus Christ, and these resources are essential for a true understanding of the healing which God offers.


Healing is God’s purpose for all people, so that they may experience fellowship with Him, in which all brokenness and alienation is overcome.


Healing relates to the whole person.  Sickness or ill health may be physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual, and all may need healing.  One aspect may be predominant in some situations… but healing refers to the wellbeing of the whole person; so a healing ministry should address matters which cause dis-ease in all areas of life.  This may include such issues as poverty, injustice and war, as these are some of the basic causes for physical, emotional and spiritual sickness.


Healing is more than physical cure.  Often the words ‘healing’ and ‘cure’ appear to have the same meaning; however a distinction can and should be made between them.  Cure refers to the removal of some disease, or the restoring of something lacking in the body; whereas healing has a much wider meaning, referring to the wholeness of body, mind and spirit.It is possible for people to be cured without being truly healed and also to be substantially healed without necessarily being cured.


In the New Testament the story of the ten lepers illustrates this difference (Luke 17: 11-19).  All were cured of their leprosy, but only one returned to give thanks and this indicated to Jesus a lack which called into question the quality and extent of the healing.  In the same way, it is possible for a person to receive surgery and excellent medical care and to be cured from a physical problem, but they have not grown in any other way in their lives.  They have not experienced any healing in their deeper relationships.


It is true that in the New Testament, many instances of healing do refer to the cure or healing of a person’s physical ailment and so physical healing is an essential part of the total ministry given by Jesus to the Church; but physical healing is only one part of the wholeness which is God’s purpose for us.


Healing is not complete in this life.  We remain part of a Creation marked by decay and frustration and our minds and bodies witness to this fact (Romans 8: 18-25).  Our bodies, minds and spirits need constant nutrition and renewal to prevent decay.  We are all subject to death and complete healing and health is not possible in this life, but only in the future life will we find complete wellbeing of body, mind and spirit.


Healing is the concern of the Church.  If health and healing are God’s purpose for men and women, then it is the task of the Church to be involved in helping to achieve this purpose.  The message of the Gospel is that healing and salvation are available in Jesus Christ, and the Church is commissioned to share this Good News.


[The above commentary on Healing is an extract from the book ‘Sent To Heal: A Handbook on Christian Healing’.  Author: Harold Taylor.  Development and Education Officer –The Order of St. Luke the Physician in Australia]

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