This book arose from a conference held in conjunction with the College of Preachers at St Marylebone Parish Church where the author is Rector, and is based on his MTh dissertation. It reviews the contemporary health and healing scene succinctly and sensibly, meeting medical concerns for truthfulness and for realism.
The book's main purpose is to advise preachers how to preach about healing. Four models of biblical interpretation are presented. These are not mutually exclusive and there is overlap, but the book highlights how the preacher's model inevitably colours what is preached:
- Literal - 'based on a firm belief in the historical truth of the miracles recorded in the Gospel healing narratives'
- Liberal - 'likely to be suspicious of any kind of supernatural miraculous healing, expecting God to work through normal means'
- Metaphorical/spiritual - 'texts on blindness or deafness may be used to talk about being deaf to the word of God or blind to spiritual realities or sin'
- Social/community - 'this focuses on the reintegration back into society of the sick and disabled who had previously been marginalised'
These four models are then applied to the thorny issues of 'sickness as a punishment for sin' and 'healing and the demonic' with lengthy quotes from a range of Christians such as John Wimber, the founder of the Vineyard movement, and Rico Tice, curate at All Souls', Langham Place. Finally, the author illustrates what he believes to be the essential synthesis of all four models with his own example 'preaching the Gadarene demoniac'.
I cannot be as enthusiastically ecumenical as the author Christopher Gower, but this is a very stimulating book that anyone with an interest in Christian healing should read.Reviewed by
Andrew Fergusson has a portfolio career which includes being
Chairman of the Acorn Christian Foundation