Separating biblical truth from mythScott Blackwell
Matthias Media, 2014, £8.99 Pb 199pp, ISBN 9781922206565
Reviewed by Peter May, retired GP
This thoughtful, theological reflection on healing is written in the light of personal illness and pastoral experience. Christcentred, caring and well written, his motivation to write came from being told he should seek healing for his short leg, by a man who was visually impaired but could not see the irony!
The book gets better as it progresses but I have two misgivings. Firstly, he rather scolds miracle healers, which will make it difficult for them to read - which is a shame.
Secondly, and more importantly, he gives too much credence to Jack Deere's evidence (1993) supporting contemporary miracles. Healing presents great difficulties for lay people, who cannot distinguish between incurable, remitting, psychosomatic and hysterical illnesses. Everything seems to be miraculously cured at healing crusades, but that is not so. Sir John Houghton's consultation, involving over 30 charismatic healers, theologians and doctors, met four times between 1991-94. Not a single case of Christ-like miraculous healing could be verified (See Lucas E, ed. Christian healing - What can we believe?).Yet such miracles would make headlines. If a fixed curvature of the spine like mine was immediately healed (Luke 13:13), I would be four inches taller! Prayers may be mercifully answered, but Christ-like miracles must be very rare if we cannot properly document one.