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Pavel Hejzlar: Two Paradigms for Divine Healing

3) If healing is guaranteed, is a human response required? If so, what response(s)? What is faith, and what role does it play in securing the desired result of healing? Also, does repentance play a role? What about sacraments?

4) The author widens his investigation into the assumed biblical worldview that each of his protagonists teach. What roles are attributed to God? Has God unambiguously stated his position concerning healing? Are human beings created in a class like God? Is man a tripartite being, created with a spirit distinct from the soul in addition to the physical body? Does such a view of man contribute to his understanding of healing? Is there a relationship between sickness and Satan with his demons?

5) The author will explore the role of sacraments through the teachings of the two pastoral approaches. Neither F. F. Bosworth, nor Kenneth Hagin really address this issue from their perspectives.

6) Is there a role for doctors in the life of the believer? Is the use of the medical profession an indication of a lack of faith, or at least a substandard way of life for one whose fullness is to be found in Christ?

7) Finally, there is an investigation of the role healing in the larger scheme of things. Is healing of the sick intended to be a sign of the advancement of the kingdom of heaven? Is it an evangelistic tool? Is it intended to be part of the salvation message that includes the whole of man, including his body? Is healing an evangelistic concern or a pastoral concern? Or is it both?

Is healing guaranteed in the atonement?

Perhaps one of the major contributions of this book is the examination of resources that each of these healers used to form their own doctrines and convictions. To whom did each of these four look to as mentors and understudies? The author continually makes reference to those who taught them.

After allowing each of his four protagonists to state their position on each of the above questions, there is a summary where the author compares and contrasts their answers with each other, but also adds the opinions and responses of other authors and denominations. In all their writings, is each protagonist true to their position without contradicting their former writings? How do they each cope with crisis when experience fails to live up to its promises? Is healing to happen instantly, or over a period of time? Is one approach to healing word-centred and the other Spirit-centred? The author will also contrast what each has said against a wider variety of scriptures he himself brings to the discussion. In this, the author shows great brilliance and charity to each of the four.

The healing evangelists hold to healing as being guaranteed in the atonement. As far as they are concerned, God has done his part accomplished once for all, so the need is for the believer to take hold of the benefits by faith. The alternative held by the pastoral approach to healing de-emphasizes faith, speaks more in terms of healing prayer and points to a wider complexity of factors, holds a more positive view of the medical profession, and understands healing in terms of being made well over a period of time as opposed to something instant.

F. F. Bosworth’s ministry is linked to old-time Pentecostalism, also to the pre-Pentecostal healing ministry connected with Holiness Methodism, as well as John Dowie of Zion, Illinois. He greatly articulated his doctrine of divine healing, writing books that others used as texts. He radically stood for guaranteed healing, that the new covenant if superior to the old must have better promises, that healing is available for all, that faith is required, and miracle healings as a sign to the lost would pave the way for the return of Christ. Bosworth’s influence on many preachers in the healing revival cannot be calculated.

Kenneth Hagin’s theology begins with his own experience of being healed as a youth. Cessationism is a word he never knew! As far as Hagin is concerned, God’s will has been stated and it will never change. Faith is the all important key, so much so that the gift of healing is unnecessary, if not superfluous, because learning to generate faith can be taught to the believer. As in previous studies on his life, this book also demonstrates the vast influence of E. W. Kenyon.

Agnes Sanford’s theology of healing was birthed by witnessing prayer for her ailing son. The daughter of Presbyterian missionaries to China, she was initially steeped in cessationism, suffered from depression, but was dissatisfied with her upbringing. She became heavily influenced by the writings of Emmet Fox, a leader in the New Thought movement. Thus her reading of the scripture and pursuit of healing were largely shaped by that movement.

Her teachings contain much in the way of psychology and espouses that God created everything out of himself (not out of nothing) to work according to laws. Learning these laws gives the individual the power to control their Frances MacNutt, as a Catholic, would never have been closed to the miraculous, but nevertheless had to overcome bias common within Catholic thinking, such as miracles being an indication of sainthood, a focus on the value of the soul over the body, and an appreciation of the suffering saint. MacNutt is well known for his use of ‘soaking prayer.’ Of the four under review, MacNutt would have the most pastoral sensitivity in dealing with the suffering.

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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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