Making Sense of Modern Christian Healing

Excerpts from and comments on The Great Physician by Vinton Dearing

If you are unfamiliar with the practice of modern spiritual healing, you may be asking “Is spiritual or Christian healing still possible?”, or “Was it ever possible? Did the healing events and miraculous occurrences in the Gospels really occur as written, or is it metaphor?”

Explaining Christian healing in everyday terms is difficult. But, with the aid of some brilliantly written non-partisan and non-denominational writing from an important reference work, this article will serve as a guide to the reader to think his/her own way to logical conclusions on this subject, while at the same time presenting a summary of what a practitioner of Christian Science really does; and in every day non-partisan terms. The reference book quoted here, “The Great Physician”, by Vinton A. Dearing, is subtitled “A Life of Jesus Christ in the Light of Modern Spiritual Healing”.

“The Great Physician” is a chronological biography of Jesus’ life, assembled from a scholarly study of the four Gospels, including enlightening commentary base on information found in the Talmud ( the central text of mainstream Judaism, including all the details of Jewish law, ethics, philosophy, customs and history at the time of Jesus’ life), and other important related historical texts documenting the practices and history of the ancient Judaism of Jesus’ time.

An excellent non-partisan analysis of spiritual healing as Jesus taught and practiced it can be found in the Third Chapter, entitled Sturdy Growth. I highly recommend The Great Physician to any sincere truth-seeking Christian. You will find a link to the publishers website under the Useful Links tab of this site.
Should you find the wording too deep or intellectual, but find your interest peaked, please do not hesitate to investigate further via the Contact tab of this site. With that introduction, here is an important set of excerpts from “The Great Physician”:

“The Gospels never explain fully how Jesus healed, but for something more than a century Christianity has included within its wider boundaries a fully articulated method of healing whose principles conform to what Jesus said, and whose many thousands of verified successes duplicate much of what he did, thus explaining and confirming the Bible texts. Even in circles which reject it, it has stimulated the practice of faith healing, and in both Christian and non-Christian circles it has encouraged more mental methods in or as alternatives to conventional medicine. I refer to it, and shall refer to it often, simply because it has provided a body of genuine experience that confirms the accuracy of the Gospels better than any other body of experience we have.

The therapeutic method of which I speak differs from faith healing and other forms of mental medicine in its fundamental principle that evil and matter are unreal, because, as Jesus taught, God is One, the only God and Creator. He is Spirit, He is good, and we are His children. As such, we are spiritual and good and can experience only good provided we understand Him and ourselves. negatively put, again in Jesus’ words, Satan is a liar, even in his claim to exist. In simplest terms, healings by this method do not result from asserting the power of God to modify His normal activities (as in faith healing) nor from developing the power of the human mind over the body (as in psychotherapy); instead, the healings result from a kind of prayer that affirms the unreality of sin, lack, sorrow, depression, disease and death and that demonstrates by its effects the allness of the God who Jesus said is our Father. Like all prayer, it is not confined to the body, but extends to every kind of human problem, producing healthy relationships, far-sighted decisions, vigorous policies, sound morals, and other emanations of sensitivity, intelligence and power. The proofs it offers, then, are different from that offered by those who say that faith puts one in a state of grace, an experience of liberation, and that the reality of the experience confirms the truth.

Its application to spiritual health is really the most important difference between this kind of healing by prayer on the one hand, and mental medicine (and at least some forms of faith healing) on the other. Its fundamental principle, that we are the good and perfect creation of a good and perfect God, requires for its practice seeing ourselves and others as such. Therefore it heals sin as well as lack of health but it always results in some moral improvement or strengthening in the person whose health is restored. Thus, like all prayer, it has as its constant implication man’s salvation.

This spiritual healing is not spiritualism or New Age spirituality or belief in the supernatural, it is not psychic or paranormal, it has nothing to do with shamanism, cosmic consciousness, meditation techniques, trances, biofeedback or thought control. Self-healing groups benefit from the compassion and love expressed in them, but spiritual healing is more than self healing and preceded it. Thus, although spiritual healing may at first seem to fit within the anthropologists’s definition of spirituality as the activity of the human mind, its understanding of that mind is entirely different from the anthropological. it seeks instead to bring the human mind into conformity with the divine, to remove itself from the scene as much as may be and let God’s will be done, in full confidence that His will and all-power are for good. Because this method of spiritual healing bases itself on Jesus’ words and works I sometimes, as I said in the Preface, call it Christian healing or practical and demonstrable Christianity. Conventional medicine may call itself Christian healing when it is practiced by professing Christians, faith healing may call itself Christian healing or spiritual healing, but these alternates are not what I mean by the use of these terms. To repeat, spiritual or Christian healing as i use the terms maintains that God is Spirit and that there is no other Spirit, as Jesus said, and that therefore the true individuality of each one as a son or daughter of God has no admixture of anything unlike God, Spirit, and no other self-sustaining existence, no separation from God, who is All-in-all, that is, all things in all respects. The reader will get a better sense of these generalizations as we continue to see and hear Jesus in the Gospel pages, but they are best understood by putting them into practice.” …..

…..”Many who heard Jesus, however, found his teachings puzzling and inconsistent, even those who enlisted as his students. Faith may tell us there are no inconsistencies. Proof is another matter. I cannot be sure that I have given the correct solution to every puzzle, but difficulty after difficulty disappears when the teachings are approached in the expectation that they must be consistent with absolute trust in an unwaveringly consistent deity who is Spirit, who is Love (as John said in one of his letters), who is all-knowing , all-powerful, and, in the deepest sense, All.”

 

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