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Why Churches Die: Denying The Gift Of Healing The Sick
Recently a question was posted on a Christian forum asking why so few churches practice anointing with oil to heal the sick (See James 5:14). That's a good question.
An even better question is why do so many Christians struggle with the reasons given for why their Church does not practice anointing with oil? Christians struggle because, like it to not, James 5:14 is part of the Book our faith is based upon.
Agree or disagree, the lack of Church sanctioned healing ministries is the number one reason why most Christian Churches are either stagnant or dying. That is a bold statement coming from a Christian minister with a very structured, strict, fundamentalist background.
Allow me to put on my marketing hat for a moment to illustrate my claim. People involved in marketing have long known the best way to market goods and services is to do so through the customer's eye. Customers could care less about features (i.e. church doctrine), what customers want are benefits (what's in it for me).
If what a Church offers is no different from what the world (people) currently buys into (i.e. secular medicine, social services, community groups), why should a Church expect the world to rush inside?
Sure, there is need for saving of souls, but the world looking in compares the church to the world, and does not see anything different or strong enough to attract them.
Biblically speaking, Jesus understood this marketing principle well. No, Jesus did not heal to attract people to his message. He healed, because He is a healer and His mission is to heal the sick: To restore people back to wholeness, free of Satan's effects.
For years, I had this truth backward. I was taught that Jesus healed to prove He is the Son of God. For sure Jesus is the Son of God, but proving Himself so was not the primary reason He healed the sick. Jesus healed the sick because healing is what Jesus does. God is our Healer through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen! (See Exodus 15:26; Isaiah 53:4-5)
When Jesus first appeared on the scene with His ministry, He was what Broadway show producers today would call a smash hit! As news spread about His teaching and healing, people literally swarmed Him. And why not?
The message Jesus brought to the world was something no one had ever heard. He proclaimed the kingdom of God drawing near and then did something most amazing. He healed people-as many as could get close to Him. The lesson was clear. God is breaking through to the physical world (into the affairs of man) to heal. Jesus never wavered in this teaching. He preached the kingdom of God and healed the sick.
The more one studies the ministry of Jesus, the more one realizes the importance Jesus placed on healing the sick. For nearly one-fifth of the four Gospel accounts is devoted to Jesus' healing and the discussions raised by it. In fact, the emphasis on healing is greater than any other experience in the narrative.
Out of 3,779 verses in the four Gospels, 727 relate specifically to the healing of physical and mental illness and the resurrection of the dead. And those healings that are recorded represent only a small fraction of the total (John 20:30). Compare this to the 165 verses that deal in general with eternal life.
What people searched for 2,000 years ago is what people search for today...healing! Never mind that Church doctrine prevents many churches from anointing the sick with oil. Until churches understand the true nature of Jesus and the #1 need in the world today, they will continue to alienate themselves from the very people they seek.
Jim Lynn is a Minister in the church of Christ, and Author of The Miracle of Healing in Your Church Today. Subscribe to free newsletter: http://godshealingword.org. Visit God's Healing Word Blog: http://miracle-of-healing.blogspot.com
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