Saturday, 23 May 2009

Healing Ministry

If God does heal, why are so many famous Christian "healers" a bit weird? A bit off centre?

This helpful post from TC Robinson caught my eye, as did the squabble that followed it in the comments.

I started to write a comment and thought I would turn it into a seperate post here. I have made this point before, but I think it needs to be taken hold of more and expanded.

God heals. Driscoll’s definitions are workable & helpful:

"The gift of healing is the ability to call on God to heal the sick through supernatural means for the purpose of revealing God"

"Those with the gift of healing trust that God can heal the sick and pray in faith for the physical restoration of those in need. These people see healing as a sign that God uses to reveal his power to people so that many will come to believe in Jesus. People with this gift do not see someone healed every time they ask God, since healing is something that God alone decides to do"

I think a major issue is that some Christian media needs to make a return to pay for itself.

Ministries often have to pay for slots on the TV channels themselves.

That means certain media channels get filled up with prosperity gospel / word of faith kind of stuff because frankly, that is where the money is.

Someone just teaching on and praying for healing does not pay the bills.

Those who teach on healing and ask for $20 a month from their “prayer warriors” make the business model work. You have to send $50 to the prayer room in Jerusalem to pay for the half hour slot you are watching. The only way people are going to be gullible enough to do that is if they are offered hope of a healing or a financial blessing in their life.

The whole “Sow into the revival” model is essentially “Please help keep us on TV” and does not appear to bring much revival beyond what is on the stage that night.

Then, in order to validate the ministry, and in turn keep the business model flowing, it is inconvenient to wait and see if healings are medically verified. People want to get that many people through the meetings per night that they don’t want to stop and ask for a name. Just wave your crutches if you think God has healed you.

Then thanks to the web suddenly every christian mystic from all corners of the earth can email in and claim their puppy has just been raised from the dead, those get read out live on air, and the weirdness bar is raised and accountability dies in a ditch of self promotion.

So that is my issue with “healing” ministry. The business model of some Christian media actually promotes false teaching, lack of accountability, poor medical evidence and a requirement / desire for money.

In our Church there is a lady who is in remission from an untreatable and terminal condition. She is now almost totally free from a condition she should have died from, having received prayer for healing. I believe that is by God’s sovereign hand. We are waiting for several months before making anything public to honour her, her doctors, and God, and to fully test the healing.

There is another young woman in hospital as we speak. She is not well at all, and there have been set backs in her medical treatment. We are praying for her, caring for her and the whole family.

That is a major reason I want to see prayer for healing practiced within a safe environment such as a local Church with local accountability rather than the travelling roadshows which sweep into town and only several months later does it become clear it was more of a circus than a revival.

None of this is aimed at particular ministries or Christian media channels. It is a general suggestion. What a tragedy it is that Christians are put off the area healing, a sovereign work of God, because they think they are going to be bombarded with requests for money, off beam theology, strange manifestations and that there is so little follow up for those who are not healed.


Peter Kirk said...

Good post, David.

As I said elsewhere, it is wrong to suggest or assume that people who ask for money (whether on TV or in local churches, which can be just as bad) are necessarily doing it because they love money or are taking some for themselves. Mostly they just want to keep their expensive ministries going.

But I agree with you that the best place for Christian healing ministry is very often the local church, not just in its services but in its outreach. For every famous or infamous speaker on the international circuit claiming a healing gift there are probably hundreds mostly in the pews, some released for some limited healing prayer and others unused and frustrated, who could be released to bring God's healing power to a needy world - and would not need to appeal for money to do so.

Ian Matthews said...

I can remember asking one of the more prominent US speakers (when they were at the GOD TV studios) why, if God is guaranteed to provide finance when we give, they weren't giving money away on their TV show to get what they needed for their ministry.

He never gave me an answer (!!)