Divine Healing and the Church of the Nazarene A SEMINAR OFFERED BY AFRICA NAZARENE CLERGY DEVELOPMENT (G. CROFFORD) Ministry as holistic God cares about our whole being, and so we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, dig wells, come to the rescue of women who are the victims of gender-based violence, and so much more. It is this concern for the whole person that undergirds our view of divine healing. Isaiah 61:1-3, in the Good News Translation “The Sovereign LORD has filled me with his Spirit. He has chosen me and sent me To bring good news to the poor, To heal the broken-hearted, To announce release to captives And freedom to those in prison. He has sent me to proclaim That the time has come When the LORD will save his people And defeat their enemies. He has sent me to comfort all who mourn, To give to those who mourn in Zion Joy and gladness instead of grief, A song of praise instead of sorrow. They will be like trees That the LORD himself has planted. They will all do what is right, And God will be praised for what he has done.” Insight from FREDERICK GAISER From his book, Healing in the Bible: Theological Insight for Christian Ministry (Baker, 2010): “Healing is not a commodity to be dispensed by the church or achieved or purchased by the individual (2 Kings 5:15-16); healing comes not apart from us, but along with, forgiveness and salvation (Mark 2:9-12). Like forgiveness and salvation, God’s healing is free, given without condition (Acts 3:6). Thus, both biblically and in the practice of the church, healing will be found in the context of the gospel, as part of the ministry of word and sacraments. Prayers for and services of healing should be a normal part of that ministry, complementing the proclamation of the gospel and the administration of the sacraments.” JOHN WESLEY on Divine Healing From “Notes on the New Testament” for James 5:14. “This single conspicuous gift, which Christ committed to his apostles, Mark vi. 13, remained in the church long after the other miraculous gifts were withdrawn. Indeed, it seems to have been designed to remain always; and St James directs the elders, who were the most, if not the only gifted men, to administer it. This was the whole process of physic in the Christian church, till it was lost through unbelief….” Article XIV, “Divine Healing” “We believe in the Bible doctrine of divine healing and urge our people to offer the prayer of faith for the healing of the sick. We also believe that God heals through the means of medical science.” Two observations from Dr Timothy Crutcher 1. Article XIV guards against the Gnostic notion that our bodies are evil. Rather, they are the objects of God’s loving concern. 2. Article XIV is not a guarantee that God will heal, but an “exhortation to prayer.” 4 abuses surrounding healing 1. Realize that God can heal directly or indirectly. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, A.B. Simpson was among those who wrongly taught that to trust God for healing means forsaking all human provided medical care. Yet the Church of the Nazarene has never had a problem believing that God can heal directly (without doctors and nurses) or indirectly, or instrumentally (through doctors and nurses). Our earliest missionaries in Africa established medical work in places like Swaziland. 4 abuses surrounding healing 2. Do not blame the victim if healing does not occur. Some so-called “faith healers” will blame the sick person if healing does not happen, saying that they didn’t have enough faith. Yet Jesus said that only faith the size of a grain of mustard seed is necessary to move mountains (Matt 17:20). So obviously something besides the faith of the sick person is involved. Read Matthew 8:1-3. When our faith meets God’s willingness, there is a healing every time. 4 abuses surrounding healing 3. Sometimes, God withholds healing. Three times Paul asked God to take away his thorn in the flesh, yet God only responded: “My grace is enough for you, because power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor. 12:9). 4 abuses surrounding healing 4. Divine healing is a practice of the local church, and not a big show for a stadium. There are many abuses that have grown up around healing. In a large stadium, how do we know each other? How do we know that the person who comes in on crutches or in a wheel chair is truly an invalid? Maybe they are just an actor. But in the local church, we know each other. “Three questions, three answers” (James 5:13-16) James 5:13-16 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. “Three questions, three answers” (James 5:13-16) Question 1: Is any of you in trouble? Prayer is a soothing medicine that releases our stress. It calms and helps us focus our eyes back on Almighty God. “Three questions, three answers” (James 5:13-16) Question 2: Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise… This praise is not so much for yourself; it’s medicine for others. “Three questions, three answers” (James 5:13-16) Question 3: Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray… 3 observations Sin can stand in the way of healing. 2. A prayer is offered in faith. 3. We anoint with oil in the name of the Lord Jesus. 1. A symbol of the Holy Spirit (1 Samuel 16:13) A symbol of joy (Psalm 45:7) A symbol of healing (Mark:12-13) Healing service James 5:13-16 13 Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. 14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven. 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.