“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
With the above aim in mind, the following reflection is provided for your consideration…
"Faith begins where the will of God is known"...
So says F.F. Bosworth.  So what then is the will of God in respect of divine healing?
You would think that being involved in the healing ministry a person would be fairly clear in their mind about it being God’s will to heal the sick, but over time I have found that this is not always the case.
It would be fair to say that most people involved in the healing ministries do indeed express a belief in a healing God, but sometimes we can all be a little like the father who brought his son to be healed by the Disciples of Jesus (who failed in their attempts to do so) who in response to Jesus saying “Everything is possible for him who believes” said in Mark 9:24, … “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
In Bosworth’s book ‘Christ the Healer’ (Whitaker House; 2000: pp 43-44), the author, a healing evangelist from the 1920’s, writes on this topic with great conviction, and I want to share something of what he wrote. He asks…
Is it still the will of God, as in the past, to heal all who have need of healing (Luke 9:11), and to fulfil the number of their days (Exod. 23:26)? The greatest barrier to the faith of many seeking bodily healing in our day is the uncertainty in their minds as to its being the will of God to heal all. Nearly everyone knows that God does heal some, but there is much in modern theology that keeps people from knowing what the Bible clearly teaches – that healing is provided for all. It is impossible to boldly claim by faith a blessing that we are not sure God offers, because the power of God can be claimed only where the will of God is known.
It would be next to impossible to get a sinner to ‘believe unto righteousness’ (Rom. 10:10) before you had fully convinced him that it was God’s will to save him.
Faith begins where the will of God is known. If it is God’s will to heal only some of those who need healing, then none have any basis for faith, unless they have a special revelation that they are among the favored ones. Faith must rest on the will of God alone, not on our desires or wishes. Appropriating faith is not believing that God can but that God will. Because of not knowing it to be a redemptive privilege for all, most people in our day, when seeking healing, add to their petition, “If it is Your will.”
Among all those who sought healing from Christ during His earthly ministry, we read of only one who had this kind of theology. This was the leper, who said, “Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean” (Matt. 8:2). The first thing Christ did was to correct his theology by saying, “I will: be thou clean” (v.3). Christ’s “I will” cancelled his “if”, adding to the man’s faith that Christ could heal him, the faith that He would.
The theology of this leper, before Christ enlightened him, is almost universal today, because this part of the Gospel is so seldom and so fragmentarily preached.
We see, from almost every conceivable angle throughout the Scriptures, that there is no doctrine more clearly taught than that it is God’s will to heal all who have need of healing, and that they may fulfil the number of their days, according to His promise (Exod. 23:26). Of course, we mean all who are properly taught and who meet the conditions prescribed in the Word. Now, I hear some say, “If healing is for all, then we will never die.” Why not? Divine healing goes no further than the promise of God. He does not promise that we will never physically die, but He says, “I will take sickness away from the midst of thee….The number of thy days I will fulfil” (vv.25-26). Consider the following texts:
The days of our years are threescore years and ten [seventy]; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years [eighty]. (Ps. 90:10)
Take me not away in the midst of my days. (Ps. 102:24)
Why shouldest thou die before thy time? (Eccl. 7:17)
Then some may ask, Well, how is a man going to die?
Thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. (Ps. 104:29)
Whilst many of these references are related to the Old Testament, it can also be seen from the New Testament that God has not changed and that he is still a healing God. Bosworth explores this further, arguing that “Christ is the Expression of God’s Will (pp. 50-51)” and that
There is no better way of ascertaining the proper answer to the question before us than by reading the Gospels, which record the teachings and the works of Christ. He was the expression of the Father’s will. His life was both a revelation and a manifestation of the unchanging love and will of God. He literally acted out the will of God for Adam’s race. He said, “I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me” (John 6:38), and “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). He also said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (v.9); therefore; when He healed the multitudes who thronged Him day after day, we see the Father revealing His will. When He “laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them” (Luke 4:40, emphasis added), He was doing and revealing the will of God for our bodies.
Bosworth goes on to say,
Perhaps no one would be more conservative than the scholars of the Episcopal Church, and yet [a] commission appointed to study the subject of spiritual healing and report back to the Church, after three years of study and research in both the Bible and history, said in its report, “The healing of the sick by Jesus was done as a revelation of God’s will for man.” Because the members of the commission discovered that His will is fully revealed, the report further says, “No longer can the Church pray for the sick with the faith-destroying, qualifying phrase ‘If it be Thy will.’”
The message everwhere taught in the Gospels is one of complete healing for soul and body for all who come to Him. Many today say, “I believe in healing, but I do not believe it is for everyone.” If it is not, how can we pray the prayer of faith for any, or even for one whom it is God’s will to heal, until we have a revelation by the Spirit that we are praying for the right one? If it is not God’s will to heal all, then no one can ascertain the will of God for himself from the Bible. Are we to understand from these teachers that we must close our Bibles and get our revelation directly from the Spirit before we can pray for the sick, because the will of God cannot be ascertained from the Scriptures?
This would be virtually teaching that all divine activity along the lines of healing would have to be governed by the direct revelation of the Spirit, instead of by the Scriptures. How are the sick to be healed if there is not Gospel (“good news”) of healing to proclaim to them as a basis for their faith? Or, since faith is expecting God to keep His promise, how can there be faith for healing if there is no promise in the Bible that the sick person can apply to himself? The Scriptures tell us how God heals the sick: “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions [graves]” (Ps. 107:20). “The word of God… effectually worketh also in [those] that believe” (1 Thess. 2:13, emphasis added), and is “health to all their flesh” (Prov. 4:22).
For anyone involved in the healing ministry, Bosworth certainly provides a challenge, arguing that healing is for all, not just a select few, and that as Disciples of Christ, each one of us ought minister in such a way that our own expectations reflect a belief that our God is indeed a healing God and that it is His desire that all should be healed, and that it is only when we minister in this way that those to whom we are called to minister may also begin to share our faith in a healing God.
And where does this faith begin? By knowing the will of God – His will to heal.
A personal reflection offered by
Mr. Allen Moore
a past member of the National Board
OSL Healing Ministires
[Fred Francis Bosworth (1877-1958) was an evangelist, an early religious broadcaster, and a 1920s and Depression-era Pentecostal faith healer who was later a bridge to the mid-20th century healing revival. He was born on a farm near Utica, Nebraska and was raised in a Methodist home. His Methodist experiences also included salvation at the age of 16 or 17, and a spontaneous healing from major lung problems a couple years later. – From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia]
inspiational message by Canon Jim Holbeck.