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ss triple helix - summer 2001,  Unleashing the Lion -The Power of God in Health and Healing (Book Review)

Unleashing the Lion -The Power of God in Health and Healing (Book Review)

Unleashing the Lion -The Power of God in Health and Healing - Eric Petrie - SPCK 2000 - £14.99 Pb 217pp - ISBN 0 281 05324 3

This is a perplexing book. It provides analysis of some of Christ's healings and challenging anecdotes. It gives a humbling review of the history of medicine and a useful history of Christian healing. It contains a passionate discussion on the problem of suffering. It also warns against abuses by the church, such as raising expectations falsely, applying rituals without consent, and accusing those unable to be healed of having insufficient faith. Sentence by sentence, the writing is a pleasure to read.

Overall, though, the book has no sense of direction and could leave a novice confused. My biggest concern is the approach to Scripture. The book states, for example: 'We do not have any direct, unbiased, first-hand accounts of anything that Jesus said or did', and, 'The Gospel writers were concerned with the meaning of Jesus' life, not the facts'. Furthermore, it says, 'They were ... propagandists, publishing underground radical pamphlets', and even, 'Luke may possibly have put a speech into the mouth of Paul in Athens'.

The most disturbing theological error occurs when the author claims that we, in the face of our own suffering, see God as guilty and need to forgive him for what he has done. I can accept that we may feel this way and may have a subjective, emotional need to forgive God. But the author does not make it clear that it is our limited understanding which is at fault, and that there cannot possibly be any objective need to forgive God. In not making this clear, I think the author is very seriously wrong.

This is not a book for those wondering about receiving Christian healing as it will probably put them off. It is not a book for beginners in the field. It is a book for the experienced who want a challenge. It will not 'comfort the afflicted' but I guarantee it will rather 'afflict the comfortable'!

Reviewed by
Andrew Fergusson

Chairman of Acorn Christian Foundation

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