Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Dotted Line

Today one of my tasks is to sign an agreement with a local ministry. As part of the agreement, I'm to agree with this ministry's 'statement of faith' of which there are 10 items. While I'd like to re-word a couple of them, there is one that I'm not sure I can sign-off on.

8. We believe healing is provided for in the atonement and that it is a privilege for all believers (Isaiah 53:4, Matt. 8:16, John 5:14, 1 Peter 2:24)

I'd have to have clarification on this. Are they saying all believers can be healed of PHYSICAL diseases upon request b/c the work of physical healing is already accomplished in the cross? Or are they talking about SPIRITUAL healing? Or are they saying that physical healing will ULTIMATELY be accomplished in the resurrection? My guess is they mean PHYSICAL and they mean NOW, but if that's the case I can't sign the agreement.


Lindy said...

Good for you. There are a lot of horror stories that people with chronic illnesses can tell you about dealing with this theology. It's fundemantly prosperity gospel, and it hurts just as many people has it heals.

TMNK said...

I definitely disagree with the theology that's almost certainly behind the statement. But I am not sure if that's the final word on whether or not I should sign it.

What I mean is, when I read the statement, am I allowed to pour the definitions that I think are proper into the words that they are using otherwise? I can certainly support the statement with my own definitions.

Tammy Craig said...

No matter what they mean, they shouldn't leave it open to interpretation like that. I think you should call them on it and get clarification. And I'm totally with you; if that's what they trying to say, then I would think you totally right in your decision to not sign. That's a pretty bold statement.

The AJ Thomas said...

Tough call. I would be fine with taking a flexible view of doctrinal statements (It's why I can be Wesleyan at some points). The larger problem you have here is what the presence of this statement implies about the organization. I'll admit that not having seen the other points this is a blind judgement but I'm guessing if healing made their top ten it's a big deal to them and they likely do come from a prosperity gospel point of view. For me the hard part would be aligning myself with a prosperity gospel organization more so than needing to take an elastic view on a particular point. I guess you could just tell them what you think and ask if that's cool.

Interestingly enough I took a course on healing with Doc Taylor at BBC and his theology was pretty close to that statement. He believed healing should be the norm. I believe his statement was something along the lines of "Divine healing should be expected in the life of the believer unless their continued suffering is necessary for God's redemptive purposes"

TMNK said...

While I wouldn't agree with Doc's statement, I'd respect the word 'unless' as enough to pacify any major concerns.

I interact with people who don't think there is any 'unless' or any exceptions to the rule of healing upon request of faith. So I'm very cautious about such things b/c i think it's a devastating doctrine

The AJ Thomas said...

Yea, I think Doc's "unless" was pretty huge and his key point was that we should default to asking for and hoping (maybe even humbly expecting) healing but realize that God may choose not to and that's about Him not our lack of faith.

I'm not sure I can think of a branch of the body I would find it harder to minister with than the Health & Wealth-ers. They do violence to scripture, are materialistic, and bring reproach upon the gospel among the heathens.

regan said...

It's pretty hard to argue against the whole book of Job.

I believe God can heal, but He often doesn't, for His own reasons. After all, our lives are about bringing glory to Him, not making ourselves comfortable.

I might ask for clarification if I were you.


Adam said...

Many debate whether healing can occur today. I think that they mean that healing can happen for us today based on what Jesus did for us.

But, they need to specify.

hdurkee said...

woops! That was heather.