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Keith Warrington: Healing & Suffering

 

Keith Warrington, Healing & Suffering: Biblical and Pastoral Reflections (Carlisle, UK/Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2005), 219 pages, ISBN 9781842273418.

Keith Warrington, Director of Postgraduate Studies and Senior Lecturer in New Testament at Regents Theological College, Nantwich, has written on healing before, notably in Jesus the Healer: Paradigm or Unique Phenomenon (Carlisle, UK: Paternoster, 2000). Some of the same concerns resurface in Healing & Suffering. For example, do the Gospels and the Acts provide definitive models for healing ministries today, or are they only testimonies to the centrality of Jesus’ messianic identity and ministry for Christianity of all eras? However, its most emphatic focus seems to be on exploring a balanced perspective on the apparently oppositional realities of divine healing and human suffering. As such, this text has a decidedly pastoral emphasis, although assuredly based in and shaped by substantive theological, and especially biblical, inquiry. It is also refreshingly rich in personal testimonies, not only, as has been common in Pentecostalism, of extraordinary healings, although these are included as well, but also in incidents with other outcome occurrences—such as, for instance, how God can and does bring joyous and victorious peace even when dramatic physical healing doesn’t happen as has perhaps been expected. In Healing & Suffering Warrington addresses one of the most pressing issues for contemporary Pentecostals and Charismatics as well as possibly for many other Christians. Pastors and scholars alike will doubtless benefit from reading it. Further, anyone struggling with understanding physical suffering in light of their belief in divine healing may discover coveted direction herein.

Healing & Suffering is well laid out. It has an extensive Table of Contents, effectively functioning as an outline for the entire work, and also an extensive Scripture index. Although, it has no Author or Subject indexes, the unusually full TOC helps make up for it. The Selected Reading section is rather short too, but probably enough to point interested readers in the right direction. Warrington writes in an interesting and accessible style, so this makes for pleasant reading. Footnotes are sparse but probably indicative of the more pastoral orientation overall than one of academic research. The “Reflections” in the subtitle should be taken seriously, for that appears to be primarily the intent and object of this work. Indeed, much of the general direction of this work seems to arise out of Warrington’s reflections during his own pastoral experiences in the context of biblical exposition.

Should believers ever be ill? Is it biblical to “claim” one’s healing? Why do so many remain ill after prayer for healing? What are the gifts of healing? Did Jesus provide physical healing for believers when he died on the cross?

Warrington begins by explaining up front that he wishes mostly to facilitate thinking and point in the direction of answers regarding healing and suffering. As readers will observe, this statement does not mean he is shy about expressing his opinion; but, he does usually do so without dogmatic assertions. He attempts to address most of the major questions people may have about divine healing and human suffering. For examples: Should believers ever be ill? Is there a method for praying for healing? What is the relationship between sin and sickness? Is it biblical to “claim” one’s healing? Why do so many remain ill after prayer for healing? What is the role of faith? What are the gifts of healing? Did Jesus provide physical healing for believers when he died on the cross? And many other similar questions are asked and addressed.

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Category: Biblical Studies, Spring 2010

About the Author: Tony Richie, D.Min, Ph.D., is missionary teacher at SEMISUD (Quito, Ecuador) and adjunct professor at the Pentecostal Theological Seminary (Cleveland, TN). Dr. Richie is an Ordained Bishop in the Church of God, and Senior Pastor at New Harvest in Knoxville, TN. He has served the Society for Pentecostal Studies as Ecumenical Studies Interest Group Leader and is currently Liaison to the Interfaith Relations Commission of the National Council of Churches (USA), and represents Pentecostals with Interreligious Dialogue and Cooperation of the World Council of Churches and the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs. He is the author of Speaking by the Spirit: A Pentecostal Model for Interreligious Dialogue (Emeth Press, 2011) and Toward a Pentecostal Theology of Religions: Encountering Cornelius Today (CPT Press, 2013) as well as several journal articles and books chapters on Pentecostal theology and experience.

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