Thursday, January 05, 2012

Book Review of The Essential Guide to Healing by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark

The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick
by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark
ISBN 978-0-8007-9519-1
Chosen Books
Reviewed by Clint Walker

I believe in healing. I also have a hard time with the charismatic movement, and its overemphasis on the sensational works of power in people's lives instead of the everyday workings of God's grace. So, I got a copy of The Essential Guide to Healing to stretch my thinking and expand my horizons.

I thought this book started out well. The emphasis on sharing testimonies was an especially appropriate entry point to begin a conversation about healing ministry.

I appreciated the authors' considerable effort to communicate a theology of healing. Many books on healing selectively pick a few Scriptures, and then load the rest of their book with anecdotes that make themselves and their friends superstars. This book has a little more depth than that.

To be sure, Johnson and Clark do share lots of stories.They also take on some difficult objections to the kind of healing ministry they do. I disagree with some of their assumptions and practices, but I also believe that their ministry comes from an honest, faithful, and good place.

While I appreciate the author's lack of exclusion by eagerly attempting to say that everyone can practice healing prayer, I believe that this attitude does have some dangers. Specifically, I think when one says that healing can be done by anyone, it is small step to say it is normative for everyone. When this happens, it can become easy to beat people up for not being healers, or create a caste system in the church. This is not what the authors intend, but it could be a logical outgrowth of their teaching if students of this book are not discerning and careful.

This is a worthwhile book to own, and one that I will pass on to friends.

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