Divine healing refers to a miraculous act in which a person’s health is restored through supernatural intervention, often associated with prayer or faith. It is a significant belief within Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, although it is not exclusive to these groups and can be found in varying forms across different Christian traditions.
Here are some key points to understand about divine healing in the context of Pentecostalism:
- Biblical Basis: Pentecostals often point to passages in the Gospels and the book of Acts where Jesus and his followers heal the sick. They also refer to passages in the epistles, such as James 5:14-15, which recommends anointing the sick with oil and praying for their healing.
- The Atonement: Many Pentecostals believe that divine healing is provided for in the atonement—the sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross. They often cite passages like Isaiah 53:5 (“by his wounds we are healed”) to support this belief.
- Faith and Prayer: Divine healing is often associated with faith and prayer. Some believe that sufficient faith can guarantee healing, while others emphasize that the outcome ultimately depends on God’s will.
- Healing Services and Evangelists: Many Pentecostal churches regularly conduct healing services, where individuals can be prayed for to receive healing. Additionally, there are many well-known healing evangelists in the Pentecostal tradition who hold large-scale healing crusades.
- Controversies: The belief in divine healing has been controversial both within and outside of Pentecostalism. Some have criticized certain healing ministries for exploiting vulnerable people, promoting false hope, or discouraging the use of medical treatment. In response, many Pentecostals affirm the value of medical science and deny that faith in healing requires refusing medical treatment.
- A Broader Movement: While divine healing is prominent in Pentecostalism, it is not exclusive to it. Many other Christian traditions also believe in the possibility of divine healing, even if they do not emphasize it as much. There are also movements like the Christian Science Church that have a different understanding of healing, viewing it as primarily a matter of correcting false beliefs.
The practice and belief in divine healing continue to be significant aspects of Pentecostal identity and spirituality. They exemplify the movement’s emphasis on the immediacy of God’s presence and power, and its continuationist theology, which affirms that the spiritual gifts described in the New Testament are still active in the church today.