Healing Line

Healing Line

Easter and Healing

by Francis MacNutt
May/Jun 2002

I was just listening to a cassette made during a discussion period following a talk I had given way back in 1976 (at the inaugural conference of the Association of Christian Therapists in Tampa). What struck me was a question a cautious theologian from Europe was asking. In my talk I had mentioned five different levels of healing, the last levels being seemingly "supernatural"- beyond what we might expect to happen through the normal healing power we find in the natural order.

The kind of healing that this theologian could accept was that the ordinary, natural powers of healing are sped up when we pray. He could accept that level. To take one example, a woman is burned in a fire and is expected to stay in recovery for many weeks, leaving some visible scar tissue to mark the burn site on her body forever. Instead, after we pray, she is released from the hospital in one - third of the expected time and, surprisingly, there is no scar tissue left.

The theologian could accept that, because human understanding may be able to explain the speed and completeness of the cure. We all know the power of the mind, the "placebo effect" and the power of suggestion. We also recognize the therapeutic power of a loving touch ("therapeutic touch"). Then, too, the love of a caring person or support group also has a curative effect. All that he could accept: any cure that could be explained on the human, natural level.

What the theologian cautioned about was for us to claim that God worked at a higher or "supernatural" level, beyond the laws of nature. My favorite example of healing at this level is the story about the three Indians at Blue Cloud Abbey in South Dakota in 1972, who testified to Jesus filling teeth (I had recently written up their story in my book Healing). The theologian told us that such an attitude towards healing was highly questionable and was not likely to be accepted in his circles. (In fact, the word "supernatural" was no longer in use in many theological circles.)

Listening to that discussion, dating back more than 25 years, I realized that this question is still very much with us, a major question facing the leaders in mainline denominations.

Nor is it only in the healing ministry that we face this kind of question, but it touches the basic teachings of Christianity: the ways these teachings have traditionally been understood are now being questioned and reinterpreted. If you do not accept a supernatural dimension to reality you will find it hard to believe that Jesus was really raised from the dead on that first Easter. Increasingly, there are scholars who teach that the Resurrection of Jesus simply means that his memory continued to live on in the memory of his disciples -so vividly that it seemed he was still alive and with them. He was spiritually, but not physically, resurrected. If this is all that we mean by his Resurrection — if it can all be explained by human reason and by the ordinary creative processes of nature, then perhaps Jesus was just a great teacher- like Buddha.

Since we cannot prove the supernatural, because it is invisible, we always need the gift of faith to believe the great mysteries of Christianity. Our experience in the healing ministry, is a tremendous help, seeing people dramatically healed, being there when someone has a vision of Jesus, all this is a testimony to his resurrection and to his being truly alive today — not just in our memories. I do believe that I have seen truly supernatural healings even though I may have difficulty in scientifically proving that only God could cause them. When we pray for healing and see a broken leg straighten, or watch a tumor shrink down and disappear, that makes it so much easier for us to accept the great mysteries of faith.

We recognize that God, in creating the world we see around us, has given it marvelous curative properties that cause most of the healings we see. Medical treatment, pharmaceutical drugs, together with the healing power of love, the influence of a positive attitude and joyous laughter, the uplifting support life-giving force of a loving community - they all go to produce healing.

But there is another level beyond that. When we see a sick person somehow transformed before our very eyes, we find it easy to believe that Jesus worked that transformation. Through him, with him, and in him we live and move and have our being.

When we pray and see a sick person rise up in joy, it makes it so much easier for us to realize that...

Jesus is truly risen from the grave.


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. May/Jun 2002 Issue


Healing News

by Francis MacNutt
May/Jun 2002

In Toronto, Canada, Ted and Carol Ward are using CHM's training videos and the course has become a wonderful means for a larger healing: the coming together of all Christians.

In the first place Ted and Carol are Anglicans and they are holding the course in a Baptist Church in the center of Toronto, with the full support of the pastor. The chaplain of the course is an Anglican priest, and the 78 participants in Levels I and II comprise 14 Baptists, 26 Catholics, 16 Anglicans, 2 Eastern Orthodox Catholics, 8 Presbyterians and the rest include Pentecostals, Evangelicals, United Church, Lutherans and one Seventh Day Adventist. What a wonderful cross section of the body of Christ!


The Power to Heal

The Power to Heal has just been translated into, yet, another language-Dutch. It is published by Ekklesia.


Correction

In our last issue we listed Dr. Morris Vaagenes, as pastor of North Heights Lutheran Church. He is now the Pastor Emeritus. The new Senior Pastor is Robert Cottingham. North Heights Lutheran Church,2701 North Rice St., St. Paul, MN 55113.


A Personal Word

So much has been happening: travel (as usual), growing developments at CHM, and increasing numbers of letters and phone calls. In addition, I have four books in mind to write. (I have already started on one, The Nearly Perfect Crime: How Christians Almost Destroyed their own Healing Ministry.) Because of all this I just haven't managed to keep up with all my correspondence.

Our friends on CHM's National Advisory Board have advised me that I need to prioritize and cut down on correspondence and phone calls-and try to tum them, when possible, over to others to answer.

So, if you have written and not gotten an immediate answer, this shear impossibility of keeping up is the reason. But be assured, if you write asking for prayer I will try to pray for you, and then turn the request, when appropriate, over to our intercessors.

I'm sure you understand the wisdom of trying to concentrate my time and energies.


Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. May/Jun 2002 Issue


A Prayer for Peace

by The Rev. Nigel Mumford
May/Jun 2002

Lord, you said to your apostles, "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give as the world gives, do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. " Help me heed those words and fully hear them as I seek peace in my life and pray for peace in t he world. / look for a state of calm and quiet in my mind, in my soul and in my body. I pray for an absence of war and strife in this world. May your perfect peace fall on me and on this wonderful earth that you gave us. Lord, I humbly ask for the gift of peace that passes all understanding. Help me not to try to reason the mystery of peace but to accept the gift. you have given us. Help me to adopt an attitude of gratitude and receive, with thanks, peace perfect peace.

Let your perfect peace rest on me and my house, let peace return to me, put me on the path of peace. Thank you, Lord God.

Thank you, Jesus, for your words: "Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."

"Be at peace with each other." Amen.

Taken with permission from Heartfelt Prayers for Healing, by Nigel W.D. Mumford. To order a copy of this book ($15.00) write to: Oratory Press, The Oratory of the Little Way, P.O. Box 221, Gayslordsville, CT 06755 or call (860) 354-8294.
Additional information may found on the website: www.cysol.com/oratory.


Nigel Mumford The Rev. Nigel Mumford is a member of CHM’s National Advisory Board and serves as director of The Oratory of Christ the Healer, Christ the King Spiritual Life Center in Greenwich, New York. May/Jun 2002 Issue


The Physician's View

by Dr. Grant Mullen
May/Jun 2002

Part 3 of a Series on Emotional Disorders

Has Depression Become an Epidemic?

"I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul (Job 10: 1). He wanted to die, and said, "It would be better for me to die than to live" (Jonah 4:8).

Of all the different kinds of chemical imbalance mood disorders that we will discuss, Depression is by far the most common.

Depression is one of the most undiagnosed and disabling medical conditions in society today. According to many studies, it costs the U.S. economy approximately $27 billion annually in medical costs, lost productivity, unemployment, increased susceptibility to illness, suicide, family disruption, relationship failure, alcohol abuse and personal suffering.

Mental disorders cause a much broader degree of disability than most other medical conditions like back pain, diabetes and heart disease. A psychiatric condition affects all levels of functioning as compared to other diseases which only affect one organ system. Insurance companies are now very concerned at the staggering number of disability claims that are being submitted due to emotional disability. There are several corporations who realize that mental disability has become for them the most common cause of days off work due to illness. They have started prevention and early detection programs for their employees.

Depression is more disabling than most chronic illnesses. Even though there are now very effective treatments available, most people with depression remain undiagnosed and untreated due to lack of awareness and not accepting depression as a legitimate illness. The unnecessary suffering often continues for a lifetime, causing intense mental, emotional and physical anguish, disrupting all relationships both at home and work.

If a person acknowledges this condition and goes for help, they then must endure the unfair stigma of an uninformed public that presumes that depression is a character defect, lack of will power or a personal weakness. Not only does a depressed person have to cope with the illness but also with the scorn of society. No other chronic illness is treated so unfairly by the public.

Six to ten percent of the population is depressed at any given time. This very common condition is undiagnosed and untreated in eighty percent of its victims. We are a long way from getting treatment to those who need it and yes, it is found in Christians too.

Next issue we will see how men and women differ in how they respond to depression.


Dr. Grant Mullen is a mental health physician in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of Why do I feel so down when my faith should lift me up? May/Jun 2002 Issue