Book and DVD Reviews
Francis MacNutt. 1988. Healing. (Revised Edition) Lake Mary: Creation House, 333 pages. (Originally 1975, Ave Maria Press, and Bantam).
Here is a classic, still being reprinted and read widely. Francis MacNutt writes from the background of a Ph.D. in Theology and many years in a powerful healing ministry among Catholics and others in the whole church, specially working in teams and in loving communities of praying people.
This book avoids the ‘faith healing’ jargon, is written with sensitivity, honesty, humility and compassion. Your faith grows as you read.
The 21 chapters are arranged in four parts.
Part 1 deals with the underlying meaning and importance of the healing ministry. Chapters cover our prejudices against healing, salvation and wholeness, miracles and God’s love. It notes some of our resistances to God’s healing grace.
Part 2 covers faith, hope and love as they touch upon the healing ministry. It acknowledges the mystery involved and emphasises the importance of love. This section recognises the importance of faith and also acknowledges that healing does not always occur, even when there is faith for healing.
Part 3 explores four basic kinds of healing and how to pray for each. These include spiritual conditions including forgiveness of sin, emotional conditions including inner healing, physical conditions including the importance of soaking prayer (not just a quick fix), and demonic conditions needing deliverance.
Part 4 looks at special considerations including discernment of root causes, eleven reasons why people are not healed, medicine and healing, the sacraments, and answers to questions most often asked.
The book is now available in a revised version more acceptable to people who may have had difficulty with some of the Catholic expressions in the first edition. Both versions build faith and compassion. It is excellent (G.W.).
Wimber, John with Springer, Kevin. 1986. Power Healing. London: Hodder and Stoughton.
This best seller is filled with faith building accounts of healing through the power of God. Thousands of people have learned to pray with compassion and sensitivity to the leading of God’s Spirit from the teaching and examples in this book and in John Wimber’s ministry.
Part 1: Why does Jesus heal? is autobiographical, dealing with John Wimber’s long struggle to accept the healing ministry as valid and his conviction of God’s compassion and mercy and its expression in healing, even through the prayers of an unlikely healer.
Part 2: What does Jesus heal? deals with the healing of the whole person, overcoming effects of past hurts, healing the demonised, physical healing, and why everyone is not healed. Like MacNutt, Wimber’s refreshing honesty acknowledges the mystery and sovereignty of God in healing but also stresses that healing happens through prayer and faith.
Part 3: How does Jesus heal through us? gives practical guidance on how to learn to pray for the sick including an integrated model of healing involving 5 steps: Step 1 the interview, answers ‘Where does it hurt?’ Step 2 the diagnostic decision, answers ‘Why does this person have this condition?’ Step 3 the prayer selection, answers ‘What kind of prayer is needed to help this person?’ Step 4 the prayer engagement, answers ‘How effective are our prayers?’ Step 5 postprayer direction, answers ‘What should they do to keep their healing, and what should they do if they were not healed?
Horrobin, Peter. 1991. Healing through Deliverance. Sovereign World, 314 pages.
Deliverance from demonic influence or oppression is a controversial subject, but clearly described and demonstrated in Scripture. Peter Horrobin, writing from his team’s extensive healing ministry in the north of England, has produced a well written and balanced approach to deliverance.
The book gives a comprehensive biblical assessment of the place of deliverance in the ministry of Jesus, in the early church, and applies this biblical basis to ministry in the church today. It discusses the supernatural realms of angels and demons and shows how these can affect our lives.
This book tackles the difficult questions raised by deliverance ministry including whether Christians can be affected by demons, and why. It gives many helpful examples, directly applying biblical accounts to ministry with people today.
Written with delightful English reserve and understatement by an Oxford graduate, the book argues for obedience to Jesus’ teaching by ministering as he did: ‘Jesus’ ministry was totally balanced, which in practice meant that he taught with radical authority on the whole range of life’s issues. For Jesus, balance did not mean middle of the road compromise, but decisive teaching and action which was sufficient to meet the needs of all who came to him’ (p. 21).
Here is a biblically based description of healing through deliverance which can help you believe and obey Jesus more fully. (G.W.).
Hunter, Harold and Hocken, Peter. 1993. All Together in One Place. Sheffiled: Sheffield Academic Press, 280 pages.
This book is solid theological and academic reading from the papers and discussion at the Brighton Conference on World Evangelization in 1991. The Conference addressed Pentecostal and charismatic issues in a symposium of scholars drawn from six continents.
The editors note that ‘ Brighton ’91 should lay to rest a number of misconceptions that still cloud academic and ecclesiastical circles, chief among them the notion that serious scholarly work is absent from the movement. This conference also illustrates why Pentecostalism is not correctly classified as a subcategory of Evangelicalism, and why not all charismatics are rightly described as Protestants. Another prejudice that dies hard is the assumption of endemic indifference on the part of Pentecostal and charismatic Christians towards social injustice. The contributions from South Africa with the presentation of The Relevant Pentecostal Witness, as well as the papers on liberation theology, tell a different and encouraging story.’
The Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, gives the Introduction on ‘The Importance of Theology for the Charismatic Movement’ noting that theology is the task of understanding the Christian faith with the tools of faith, experience, history and critical reason; that the task of theology is to mediate between a faith and a culture; and that experience needs to infuse the academic process as academic study informs and underpins experience.
Jurgen Moltmann, well known theologian, gives the leading paper in Part I on ‘The Spirit gives Life: Spirituality and Vitality’. He comments on the charismatic vitality of the new life, speaking in tongues (‘a strong inner grasp of the Spirit that its expression leaves the realm of understandable speech and expresses itself in an extraordinary manner’), the awakening of the charismatic experience (‘Those who believe will become persons of possibilities. They will not limit themselves to prescribed social roles nor allow themselves to be defined by them. They believe themselves capable of more. And they do not tie other people down with prejudices. They do not define other people by their reality, but rather see them together with their future and hold their possibilities open for them’), healing of the sick (‘occurs in the interaction between Jesus and the expectation, the faith and the will of the people. This means that these healings are contingent. They are not ‘made’, they occur where and when God want it. There is no method for such healings because they are not repeatable and replicability is the presupposition for all methods. The healing of all ill is prayed for. Hands are laid on ill ones for healing which is to be obtained by prayer’), the gift of the disabled life (‘Communities without disabled persons are disabled communities. In the Christian sense, a charismatic community is always the serving community since gift implies service.’), each according to ability each according to need, and the Holy Spirit as the power of life and Space of Life. Two papers respond helpfully to Moltmann. Other major papers, with responses, cover ‘Pentecostalism and Liberation Theology: Two Manifestations of the Work of the Holy Spirit for the Renewal of the Church’, ‘Charismatic Churches and Apartheid in South Africa’, and ‘African independent Church Pneumatology and the Salvation of all Creation.’
Part II deals with Pentecostal/charismatic issues including the work of the Holy Spirit in urban and multicultural society, poverty and persecution, women and Pentecostal spirituality, Pentecostal origins in global perspective, and progress in the light of the Eschatological Kingdom.
Part III covers evangelical topics including an evangelical charismatic perspective on other living faiths, evangelism and charismatic signs, miracles and martyrdom, evangelism and eschatology, and ecumenical issues in evangelising together.
This is a significant book of theological reflection which should be included in theological college libraries as well as in church libraries (G.W.).
Kathryn Kuhlman was well known for her healing ministry in America. Videos of a few of her meetings are now available from Christian Video Ministry, 2 Crowie Road, Paradise, SA 5075. Ph. (08) 336 3333, Fax. (08) 365 1744.
Two black and white videos capture a Miracle Service at Melodyland Christian Centre in Los Angeles with brief preaching and many healings.
Two colour videos cover a full miracle service at Oral Roberts University including preaching and many significant healings.
Another set of two colour videos shows her speaking at Oral Roberts University where she tells how she began in this ministry and the cost involved. Kathryn Kuhlman’s southern American drawl and unique style will not appeal to everyone, but she demonstrates powerfully an anointed healing ministry. People are dramatically touched by the healing power of God. Look past the style to her humility and compassion and see the reality of lives profoundly touched by God with salvation and healing. These videos can help to strengthen your own faith. They provide excellent viewing for home cell groups or meetings, especially where you are willing to pray in compassion and faith for one another (G.W.)
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