It is a sad fact that discussions in recent decades about the place of miraculous gifts have generated much more heat than light. Writers on both sides have complained that critics neglect to understand their position. Each side has, at times, wilfully misrepresented the other. The most extreme and bizarre practices have been used to dismiss more moderate positions, and comment has often been made in a harsh, acrimonious spirit.
Into this atmosphere, Healing and healers today comes as a refreshing change. It is gracious in tone and the writer has read widely, thoroughly acquainting himself with the views of key proponents across the Charismatic spectrum.
It is both biblical and practical, charting the occurrence and function of ‘signs and wonders’ from the Old Testament, through to the early church, before carefully outlining the scriptural argument for a cessationist position.
It examines the credibility of cases from modern ‘healing ministries’ and looks into whether the lifestyle and spiritual character of prominent ‘healers’ support claims made about them.
The author also takes the long view of modern Pentecostal and Charismatic movements in the context of church history. He looks at the great spiritual awakenings, from the Reformation through to twentieth century revivals; and whether, historically, revival has been characterised by occurrence of miraculous healings.
Finally, the author brings us back to what is the most important and impressive aspect of the Spirit’s work among his people: ‘the power of God unto salvation’ (Romans 1:16).
This produces something far more valuable than mere physical health or material prosperity. Using many inspiring examples from Scripture and church history, he demonstrates the naivety of drawing a straight line between being a child of God and being free from suffering. He shows how God uses trials to bless and mature his children. These stories cause you to pray more earnestly for that power to be changing lives in these dark spiritual times.
My only wish is that this book had been around in my student days, when the big names in the healing movement were at the height of their popularity and the student world was thrown into confusion by the Toronto movement.
It will enable readers to think through the issue in a structured, biblical way. I warmly recommend this thorough and thoughtful response to an issue that still divides and troubles Christians today.
Dr Katherine Glover