Scripture strongly affirms ministries of spiritual healing, which in recent years have received renewed emphasis throughout Christ’s holy Church. The root of the world healing in the New Testament Greek, sozo, is the same as that of salvation and wholeness. Spiritual healing is God’s work of offering persons balance, harmony, and wholeness of body, mind, spirit, and relationships through confession, forgiveness, and reconciliation. Through such healing, God works to bring about reconciliation between God and humanity, among individuals and communities, within each person, and between humanity and the rest of creation. The New Testament records that Jesus himself healed the estranged and sick and sent out his disciples on ministries of healing. James (5:14-16a) calls us also to pray for and anoint the sick, that they may be healed.
All healing is of God. The Church’s healing ministry in no way detracts from the gifts God gives through medicine and psychotherapy. It is no substitute for either medicine or the proper care of one’s health. Rather, it adds to our total resources for wholeness.
Healing is not magic, but underlying it is the great mystery of God’s love. Those who minister spiritual healing are channels of God’s love. Although no one can predict what will happen in a given instance, many marvelous healings have taken place.
God does not promise that we shall be spared suffering but does promise to be with us in our suffering. Trusting that promise, we are enabled to recognize God’s sustaining presence in pain, sickness, injury, and estrangement.
Likewise, God does not promise that we will be cured of all illnesses; and we all must face the inevitability of death. A Service of Healing (Anointing) is not necessarily a service of curing, but it provides an atmosphere in which healing can happen. The greatest healing of all is the reunion or reconciliation of a human being with God. When this happens, physical healing sometimes occurs, mental and emotional balance is often restored, spiritual health is enhanced, and relationships are healed. For the Christian the basic purpose of spiritual healing is to renew and strengthen one’s relationship with the living Christ.