The Healing Reawakening (Francis MacNutt)

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Thesis: Jesus’s ministry illustrated deliverance on every level of our being.

Jesus’s basic mission is mapped out in Luke 4:18ff:
(1) Preach good news for the poor.
(2) give liberty to captives (exorcism)
(3) Give the blind new sight (spiritual and physical healing)
(4) Proclaim Jubilee

Jesus’s healings were not side issues but part of the teaching itself.

Baptism with the Holy Spirit

While I probably agree with MacNutt that baptism with the Holy Spirit often happens subsequent to regeneration, I don’t think the example of Jesus is the best one to use. In Mark 1 John the Baptist says the Baptism with the Holy Spirit is something Jesus does. So–is Jesus baptizing himself with the Holy Spirit?  

MacNutt has a fascinating section on the historical development of the sacrament of unction.  Since sacraments are always effective in the Roman Church, then we have a problem: people aren’t always physically healed when we anoint with oil.  That’s okay. They are spiritually healed. In any case, this takes place on the deathbed.

Here is another issue with “spiritual healing.”  Both Protestants and Catholics say this takes place (instead of physical healing, which is what the text actually says).  How many people in your church today are spiritually healed?  How many abused people undergo spiritual healing that restores their fractured psyches.  Spiritual healing is great, but a) that isn’t what you are doing and b) that isn’t what the text says.

One factual mistake.  He said David Hume was a leading proponent of “Scottish Realism.”  This is wrong. The Scottish Realist school led by Thomas Reid opposed Hume.  Hume, by contrast, was an empiricist. The larger point stands, though. With a few exceptions today, no one in Protestantism, liberal or conservative, questions the undisputed dominance of David Hume.

The book ends with a neat history of the “Pentecostal Century” and how the 3rd Wave was formed.  The takeaway from the book is that the church let go of the healing ministry in various ways. Protestants simply said (without evidence or argument) that all this stuff stopped with the apostles.  Catholics accepted that healings take place today, only you probably have to go to a shrine to get it done. In both cases, though, the individual wasn’t encouraged to offer healing prayers for others.  


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