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Festus Akinnifesi: Divine Healing

 

Akinnifesi begins his work with a look at divine healing as a Christian doctrine. He believes that while the average believer today knows much about repentance, baptisms, faith and resurrection, the believer knows very little about divine healing and health (p. 15). Challenging the views of cessationists, he calls on the church to understand its authority and the dominion it has over the power of darkness.

Although some writers deliberately avoid political and social topics when discussing divine healing, Akinnifesi takes them head-on. For instance, he talks about the short-comings of various welfare programs and the lack of healthcare and medical insurance for many who are ill. Of course, Akinnifesi carefully notes that he has medical insurance for himself and his family. The point, however, is to put all trust in Christ and not the insurance, he writes.

What is the will of God in relation to sickness and affliction?

After explaining the role of divine healing as a Christian doctrine, Akinnifesi discusses the will of God in relation to sickness and affliction. He argues that the will of God can be seen in the ministry of Christ. The reason, he says, is because Christ is the embodiment and expression of God’s overall will for His people (p. 33).

Akinnifesi moves on to discuss the nature of sickness. He notes that while sickness came as a result of sin in the Garden of Eden, it may originate in a person’s life because of a number of factors, including personal sin and demonic oppression. He explains that sickness may also be self-inflicted.

In Chapter 4, where he writes about “Sin, Righteousness and the Healing Power of God,” Akinnifesi uses Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” to explain why some Christians are sick. “There are afflictions and sicknesses that will come to everyone during their lifetime for the purpose of keeping him humble and closer to God,” he writes. “Most of the time it may not be a sickness, but a ‘storm of life’” (p. 73).

One of the most interesting aspects of the book is Akinnifesi’s discussion of the HIV/AIDS virus. For some authors, this incurable disease is rarely mentioned with any detail, however Akinnifesi devotes an entire chapter to the issue. He explains the nature of the disease and notes its impact on a global scale. He also cautions the church about relying on the world’s method to effectively deal with the disease. He goes a step further to describe how one woman was healed of the disease in answer to prayer.

In an attempt to cover all the doctrinal bases, Akinnifesi outlines the many ways in which a person can be healed. He points to the cross and the need to keep Christ as the focal point; he talks about the importance of faith, fasting and confession; he also discusses the use of the name of Jesus and the power released through praise. The use and misuse of anointing oil is also featured.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2007

About the Author: Roscoe Barnes III, Ph.D. in Church History (University of Pretoria, S. Africa), is a writer, historian, ghostwriter, and prison chaplain. He is the author of numerous books including F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind ‘Christ the Healer’ (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009), The Guide to Effective Gospel Tract Ministry (Church Growth Institute, 2004) and Off to War: Franklin Countians in World War II (White Mane Publishing, 1996). His articles have appeared in Refleks Journal, The Journal of the European Pentecostal Theological Association, The Africa Journal of Pentecostal Studies, and in numerous newspapers and popular magazines. He blogs at Roscoe Reporting and shares his F. F. Bosworth research at FFBosworth.strikingly.com. Professional: Roscoe Barnes III. Twitter: @Roscoebarnes3

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