|Type of paper:||Book review|
Dr. Ken Blue is a renowned author of many books comprising of "Parables of Mathew 13", "The Book of Acts," "A Dispensational Bible Study" and many others. His education took him through Cal State Hayward in California, Regent College in Vancouver and Fuller Seminary in California where he acquired his BA, Masters and Doctoral degrees respectively. He is married to his wife, for 31 years, Pitt, with whom he has eight children.
According to Blue, it is the will of God for all kinds of illness, comprising of physical, spiritual and psychological forms, should be ultimately healed. That God wills for his people not to suffer pain and sickness, and this was evidenced in the life and ministry of Jesus who traversed the many regions together with his disciples not only to preach but also to heal. Blue opines that most of the people who were turned to God in the New Testament were not only catalyzed by the message but also the miraculous acts of Jesus and the early Christians.
Blue explosively starts "Authority to heal" by pulling off the weeds which he terms "clearing the ground for theological hindrance." He goes on to tackle the misconceptions that are being floated around about God's healing power among Christian theologians. Within this first chapter that issues to do with sanctification through sickness, determinism, faith formula, and the secular worldview.
One of the most significant cognitive hindrance to a biblical-based healing ministry is the misleading ideal termed "sanctification through healing." The term's roots can be traced as far back as the time of Roman persecution of the Patristic church which results to the assumption of purification and thus leads to the growth of the church. At the time, martyrdom brought not only fame to the victim but also increased the person's status in the church. As result persecution of the early church became so popular that individuals yearned for it. The persecution, however, came to a stop when Constantine allied with the church. As there was no longer persecution by the authorities as before, some believers embarked started persecuting themselves by asceticism where they degraded their bodies. This sanctification method survived the patristic church and the Reformation era and was preferred mostly by the Greeks. Modern concepts of sickness as a form of sanctification is highlighted by alleged value of sickness as educational and remedial. Many believe that sickness is God-sent to help us modify our actions and behaviors for the better. Therefore, it is believed by the individuals that once they stop sinning, then they will regain their health as a result. However, the author believes there is a need to separate passive involuntary sickness from active voluntary cross-bearing. Ken Blue, therefore, reckons that sickness should not be accepted readily and should be fought by the church using every possible means and weapon more so, the healing ministry as introduced by Christ himself.
Calvinist-leaning churches have a belief that God decrees either comfort or pain. This divine determinism that anything befalling man is the will of God is in a bid to explain misfortunes befalling good people. Although the premise that God is sovereign and all powerful is right, the believers of this theology assume that human choice does not affect our lives. The theology also puts aside the fact that there exists spiritual warfare. Blue advanced that God is not mean in a way to allow misfortunes to always follow individuals for his plan to fall into place. This theory can only bring despair, hate, and hostility towards God.
The third hindrance to healing ministry is the faith formula. This theory is found prominently in the Arminian-leaning churches where it is believed that by having utmost believe good health and prosperousness will follow one at a command. This faith formula for miracles to happen is self-centered and likely to result to self-blame and guilt when things don't happen as one prays and expects. The gospel accounts, according to Blue have no strict restriction of miracles and healings to the faith of the victim.
The mindset of the secular worldview where everything is only under the rule of cause and effect. This theory emanates from an understanding that the world is an independent system that is self-governing and has no outside interference from any being, but the laws of nature. This is advanced by atheists and scientists who believe in what they see and can reproduce, as the truth. Most of the modern day Christians, as a result, have been accustomed to this that they do not expect miracles hence they are not able to receive any healing.
The latter part of the book is practical and tackles the application of Jesus' commands by Christians to heal those with illness while casting out evil spirits and even raising the dead. Here, Blue talks about the various methods of healing in the modern church. Even though he does not go into details on the work of healing in these churches, he concurs with the belief that God is still working miracles in the modern church and many are being healed as a result. Blue also ends the book by laying out a model of player, simple enough for any church to use in playing for the individual. Firstly, an interview should be conducted to determine why the person wants player; before choosing a player strategy based on whether the problem is physical, emotional or spiritual. One should also be specific on the player and avoid being vague about what they want God to do. Fourthly, after the player, the individual should enquire the status of the sick and whether healing has occurred. While some players are answered instantaneously, some take time and thus there is a need to counsel the person and advice for more player on their part. The explanation should be offered to individuals if they are healed so they should know what they have experienced and what is expected of them henceforth.
Evaluation of the Book
The nexus of the author's thoughts emanates from his conviction that Christ announced the Kingdom of God healing acts are meant to deliver people and assault Satan's pseudo-kingdoms. Blue paints a picture of kingdoms at war with a God willing to heal and desires healing faith, on one side against Satan's pseudo-kingdoms. He wants the reader to realize that the kingdom is "now and in the future" and sufferings will still be there until the return of Christ.
Blue sees the death of Christ at the cross as the catalyst that started the war yet the war was never ended. He opines that for one to have chances of victory, they need to be committed and to take risks. To have a faith that cannot make one be bravado but ensure one acts in a manner that is pleasing to Christ and his work.
The manner in which Blue presents his ideas shows some bias towards denominations of the Christian religion. He writes essentially by use of a conversational style likely due to being used to sermons in evangelical circles where the application of issues is the most talked about theme. He becomes fixated in this theme of application in life that it would be argued he values personal opinion to biblical references.
However, the practical aspect the author brings forth offers an admirable concept that ensures engagement of other people. More Christians are likely to this aspect of the author's position as compared to his extensive healing view. His development of the theme is nicely choreographed without neglect of corporate healing aspects and instead casts them as "sacramental events" for all Christians. His assertions for such ministries can help foster cohesion and bring more love and healing into many churches. His message on healing and miracles is a reprieve to many whose faith is solely based on such aspects. To deny the existence of miracles like healing would be negating the ministry of Christ and his death and would go against divine santisima muerte. Many believers base their faith on the fact that Christ still intervenes in matters of the world and confronts evil on their behalf.
The author's text made an impression of being a little underdeveloped. His attempt at rebuttal of popular Calvinist believes, may have been rather misguided. His dislike for the fact that God controls things thus can allow illness is baffling. In as much as it may be improper to tell a bereaved person that it was God's plan, there are many instances in the holy book that refer to the same. The alternative offered by the author is also not fathomable and can confuse some readers. However, the author redeems himself by concluding that God is desirous of healing, but Christians need to fight for his kingdom highlighting the conflict facing them.
Blue, Ken. "Authority to heal: Answers for everyone who has prayed for a sick friend." (1987).
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