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Julia Loren: Healers of the Wounded Soul

 

Julia C. Loren, “Healers of the Wounded Soul” Charisma (Sept. 2005), pages 55-62.

Julia Loren presents to the reader of Charisma an insightful and charming article about one of the most important couples of the Pentecostal/charismatic persuasion, John and Paula Sandford. Their works on healing, deliverance, inner healing and the prophetic office are destined to be classics until the Lord returns. Mrs. Loren wisely chooses to highlight two aspects of the Sanford’s many faceted ministry, their development of inner healing prayer, and John’s understanding of the work of the prophet.

Inner healing was originally discovered by Mrs. Agnes Sanford through her ministry to heal and disciple Jewish refugees who had experienced the trauma of Nazi persecution. This ministry became popular with the publication of Ruth Carter Stapleton’s best selling book, The Gift of Inner Healing (1976). Unfortunately, this work reduced inner healing prayer to merely “directed visualization.” John Sandford, who had spent several years as Mrs. Sanford’s assistant at Christian teaching missions, immediately saw that this book was dangerous to the inner healing movement. He set about writing a work that would explain this type of prayer in biblical terms and bring it further to become a ministry of transformation. Two books came out of this correction of the Stapleton book, The Transformation of Inner Man (1982) and Healing the Wounded Spirit (1985).

Unfortunately, these books did not head off a great evangelical assault on the inner healing ministry led by Dave Hunt’s infamous work The Seduction of Christianity (1985). Hunts arguments, based on cessationist theology, dealt a severe blow to the inner healing movement, and it mostly stopped as healing prayer within evangelical and charismatic churches.

Julia Loren in 2007.

Loren’s article points out that it was largely the work of the Sandfords to reintroduce inner healing as an orthodox ministry— extending the ministry of forgiveness of sins to enable true transformation in the life of the believer. That battle took two decades, and it is now mostly won, with the ministry of inner healing regaining wide acceptance. This was gained not only through the consistently good teaching courses, books and videos that the Sandfords have produced, but by the undeniably good fruit evident in hundreds of thousands of people ministered to and healed through inner healing.

The other part of the Sandfords’ ministry outlined in Mrs. Loren’s article is John’s expansion of our understanding of the office and function of the prophet in the contemporary church. Prophetic ministry is now considered a staple of many charismatic churches, yet this was not so at the start of the charismatic renewal. John Sandford’s book The Elijah Task (1977) first gave the Church a clear biblical theology on the present and continued need for prophetic ministry. Loren points out that many of today’s more established prophets such as James Goll and John Paul Jackson were deeply influenced and motivated by the Sandford’s work.

Loren mentions throughout her article how the Sandfords suffered various waves of persecution for their pioneering work. Unfortunately she is overly polite and omits specific names and controversies. This is common to many Christian writers, and it is, I believe, a misunderstanding of the biblical pattern of historical writing modeled in both testaments, where we see frank descriptions of sin (as in David’s adultery) and controversies such as Paul’s dispute with Peter in Antioch (Galatians 2:11-14). Loren’s article gives the reader no information as to precisely who opposed the Sandfords, and very little on the specific issues that stirred controversies against them. No mention is made, for instance, of The Seduction of Christianity.

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Category: Church History, Winter 2006

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook AnglicalPentecostal.blogspot.com

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