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Pavel Hejzlar: Two Paradigms for Divine Healing

Pavel Hejzlar, Two Paradigms for Divine Healing: Fred F. Bosworth, Kenneth E. Hagin, Agnes Sanford, and Francis Macnutt In Dialogue (Brill, 2010), 289 pages, ISBN 9789004178328.

This work provides an analysis of the healing theologies by four major players in the 20th century. F. F. Bosworth and Kenneth Hagin are put forward as leading influences of a type of Pentecostal healing evangelism. Agnes Sanford and Francis MacNutt are examples of pastoral healing in more traditional settings.

There can also be no doubt that today the modern landscape of healing theology has been influenced to a large degree by at least one of these four schools of thought. Multiple familiar ministries today have been birthed as a result of the input from each of these four healing protagonists. Just as these heroes of faith built on foundations that existed in their time, we (perhaps unknowingly) also build on foundations they have laid. Therefore, after much time has passed, it is a good exercise to examine these foundations afresh. Biblical scholarship has increased. Does that allow us to examine their teachings with new light?

Are there two different theologies of healing?

There can be little doubt that the subject of divine healing has proven to be both a blessing and a source of controversy. It quickly worked its way into the young Pentecostal revival of the 20th century and helped spearhead its phenomenal growth. Yet it also has been a source of disenchantment.

The author sets out to see if there are two approaches driven by two different theologies of healing: evangelistic and pastoral. What are some of the tensions produced by these different approaches, and can these tensions be resolved?

To pursue the answer, the author systematically lays out his work in a well organized and methodical approach. In the introduction, the author first sets up the Christian worldview that the four protagonists inherited in their times. A thorough, yet brief, biographical sketch of each of them follows with reasons why he has chosen these four people in particular out of many others that he could have chosen.

It is obvious that the author has taken much time and effort to become thoroughly acquainted with each of the four profiles, drawing from the vast material written by them and of them by some of their contemporaries. Then, with thorough documentation, the author sets forth the respective positions on each of the following questions:

1) How do each of them respond to the doctrine of cessationism, the declaration that events such as healings and miracles have passed away and are no longer relevant or available today?

2) Is healing guaranteed in the atonement? Is it available to everyone?

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2015

About the Author: Eugene Smith currently pastors a church in Northern Ireland. He spent over thirteen years in global ministry, constantly travelling from country to country as a missionary teacher, participating in pastors’ seminars, conferences, Bible schools and church services. Eugene has a strong burden that Spirit and Word be brought together to speak with one voice.

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