January 04, 2010

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Toward a Better Theology of Healing, Pt. 1 Labels can be useful, but they can often be misleading. So telling you that I am a Charismatic may not be helpful—to you or to me!—because the term can denote views that I don’t hold. When we talk about healing, labels can sound more like accusations than theological dispositions. So, in talking about healing, I’ll try to describe points of view rather than labels or denominations. Let me say up front that I believe in the work of the Holy Spirit through the Church today. In certain streams of the Charismatic movement, the view of healing is as follows: Because (a) God is a good God and, (b) healing is always His will, and (c) healing has been paid for in the cross, therefore, (d) our faith or sin is the only remaining barrier to having healing here and now. We have enough decades behind us now to sensibly say that such teaching is problematic at best. What are we to make of the multitude of Christians—including popular faith preachers and pastors—who have died from illness and disease? Should we suggest they didn’t have enough faith? And if that is our conclusion, how much faith is enough? Didn’t Jesus say faith the size of a mustard seed is enough? But how do you measure faith anyway? To be fair, when this teaching arose, there was a broad view of God as a cold, indifferent Being who sometimes sent sickness and suffering according to “His good pleasure”. The Christian was left no choice but to quietly acquiesce, and to view their condition as their divinely appointed lot in life. Such a view has more to do with the fatalism present in Buddhism than the teachings of Christ. Passive acceptance of suffering as the will of the supreme Force of the universe...
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New Song: "All Things" THE SCRIPTURE: Rom. 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose." (NIV) Though one earlier manuscript has this verse read simply that "all things work together for our good", we can be assured that the reason they do is because God Himself is working in the midst of all things, making them turn out for His glory and our good. The things-- the events, situations, circumstances of our lives-- on their own have no ability or determination on their own to work for us. But because God is present in history, we can trust that for His children, God is always working in ALL things. THE STORY: In November of 2008, my wife and I experienced a prolonged and painful miscarriage. The signs came early in the pregnancy but the worst occurred while we were in Malaysia for a conference I was speaking and leading worship at. We cut the trip short and returned to the States to attend to the situation. With heavy hearts, the loss lingered through the holiday season. When we found out in February of 2009 that we were pregnant again, we were thrilled. Yet the joy was tempered by the realization of how precarious the early weeks of a pregnancy are. We marked the date on the calendar for the "heartbeat appointment", the point at which miscarriages become increasingly unlikely. It was during our sabbatical and we decided it would best if I stayed home with the girls while Holly went. That morning, we sat in our living room and sang a few worship songs and prayed. Through tears we acknowledged that God holds us and our children in His hands...and that we would trust His goodness...

Glenn Packiam

Lead Pastor, new life DOWNTOWN, New Life Church, Colorado Springs, CO. Author and songwriter.

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