Besides Sunday school teachings and bible studies, faith and spiritual healing ministries are also major parts of church ministries. Speaking of these miraculous healings, most people would correlate to the miracles that Jesus performed, for example, restoring the sight of the blind, healing the crippled so that he can walk again…or just like how the apostles were in Acts. Now if there is a church that practices spiritual healing fellowship, then it will be classified as Charismatic. On the discussion of this issue, let us look at two very different pictures.
In a rural region in Boston, there is a church that practices similar doctrines of the Anglican faith. During the Sunday service, Pastor Canon Mark Pearson led and spoke while dressed in a traditional pastor’s outfit. Following the traditional format of services taken from The Book of Common Prayer, Pearson directed the Holy Communion ritual. Even though Pearson appears to be very conservative and reserved, he is actually a person spiritually gifted with healing abilities.
When it is time to pray, Pearson pressed his hand and oil upon those that wishes to be healed. A congregant approached Pearson and said that he has Cancer, so Pearson prayed for him, his doctor, and the medications consumed.
While Pearson was praying for an old woman, he feels that something is wrong with her pancreas, so he told her that next time when you get a check-up ask the doctor to check especially the pancreas.
After the service, some people told Pearson, this spiritual gathering is a brand new experience for them. In the past, they have the preconception that a gathering for healing purposes must be a scene with high-energy and great passion, and uplifted spirits, but that morning they experienced a healing that did not bring about negative feelings.
Subsequently, the condition of the cancer patient has greatly improved. The doctor said that it is something very abrupt and unexplainable; for the woman, after getting an examination from hospital, she found out that the problem of her pancreas is in its early stages. The doctor felt very thankful that he was able to examine she requested for her pancreas to be examined specifically.
“You don’t look like a charismatic healer, and you did not speak about the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians,”A congregant told Pearson. “If I have came here with the form of a charismatic spiritual healer, then the congregants would have all turned away and left. The form is not important, but the meaning and content is most important. Thus, I’ve tried working within their cultural packaging.” Pearson will be directing a healing ministry at the World Church Council Event in Athens on May, 2005.
From a region in Boston, United States, let us switch to a very different region – The Republic of Congo in central Africa. During the last decade, it has been a war-torn country, where 3 million people die from starvation, malnourishment and diseases. In Brazzaville, the capital of Congo, charismatic healing churches has become the only source of hope provided.
Within the city, there are several thousand small-scale healing church organizations. Every organization has around 100 members. Most of them are women or mothers. The total population exceeds 5 million. Every night they would have fellowship to pray together, to receive healing and cleansing. The fellowship is filled with laughter and humor, which provides a spiritual high atmosphere.
Their Sunday worship service would last for the entire day. The congregants would gather in a small temple, under the shades of a tree, or in an open field, share food together, listen to elders preach and explain bible verses, the elders especially loves to speak about spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12.
After the healing fellowship ends, the crowd would sing together. The form and ambience is very different from the church using the Anglican’s format taken from The Book of Common Prayer. The women dance fervidly and pray in tongue, all are filled with overflowing passion.
Above illustrates the two different types of healing ministries. On May 9 to May 16, 2005, discussions about topics in this aspect will be held at the World Council of Churches World Missions Conference in Athens. There are many different types of healing and reconciling ministries. The discussions will have their focus placed upon the forms and aspects of healing ministries. The ultimate goal is to bring about whole human healing, including using different scientific, spiritual and mental methods.
The World Council of Churches is coordinating this year’s international conference in Athens. Around 500 major churches and denominations’ representatives from around the world will attend. The theme is “Holy Spirit Come, Healing and Reconciling.” Besides those from WCC, Roman Catholics and Pentecostal churches will also participate. Teenagers, brothers and sisters, those working in the front line witnessing for the Lord, leaders from churches and mission organizations, and theologians and many more will all be present.