This classic book on healing, described by Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones as the best he had ever read on the subject, was first published in 1931 and has recently been reprinted for a new generation of readers. The author, Henry Frost, worked for the China Inland Mission (now OMF International). He had a wide experience of Christian ministry and was friends with many Christian leaders of his day. The book springs from his personal experiences but always seeks to measure that experience against scripture.
The strength of the book lies in its balance. The main text starts with two chapters describing five notable healings known to the author, followed by five notable 'failures'. The author demonstrates that issues such as the faith of the patient and the energy or godliness of those praying do not determine whether healing occurs.
I was deeply attracted to the humility and transparent godliness of the author. He believes in healing but his trust is in God. The high point of the book is his chapter on Christ's sovereignty. This preaches no easy evangelical triumphalism but rather explores the mystery of those multitudes alive in Palestine at the time of Christ, and yet whom Christ did not heal.
There are many things one could criticise if one wished. The style and form are, naturally, old fashioned and occasionally tedious to the post-modern brain. Medical terminology is often used to establish the credibility of the anecdotes. Much of this terminology and the disease models that go with it now seem archaic. (This should of course alert us to the transience of medical truths.) As ever, the problem arises as to whether a miraculous recovery from 'illness' actually denotes a miraculous recovery from 'disease'.
What can a book published in 1931 say to us, the children of the new millennium? Firstly, if the language were updated, the book would immediately contribute to our contemporary debates. Frost is a voice calling from the centre, urging us to look to Jesus, to trust in him alone and to support and pray for our fellow believers. Secondly, I could not help being struck by the way Frost chose to structure the book. It starts and finishes with Frost's testimony of sickness and of healing within his own family. There is no hint of superior triumphalism as Frost wrestles, like we all do, with his failure to see prayers for healing answered. Within the book there is both a reverence for the mystery of God's will and a persistent call to look to Jesus, whatever happens. As long as we can match Frost's attitude of trust, we will not be found far from Jesus, whatever our stand in the debate on healing.
I'm glad I read this book. In the midst of controversy it led me to consider Jesus. I think you might be glad to read it too.
General Practitioner in London
Course Organiser of the Lewisham Vocational Training Scheme