WCC Consultation on Faith, Healing and Mission-Achimota, Ghana, 4-8 December 2002: Group Reports

Article excerpt

Report from group I

1. Case studies and experiences (1)

2. Points of convictions

God heals through prayer today.

A multi-disciplinary approach is necessary.

An approach which takes the whole person (body, soul and mind) into account, is essential, including e.g. pastoral counselling.

Faith in Jesus Christ's healing power is an essential component in the healing process (faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour).

Confession of sins is often necessary in the healing process.

Churches should be encouraged to rediscover the whole person approach of the Christian ministry of healing.

The presence and influence of evil spirits is recognised, but an undue emphasis and exasperation is unhealthy.

Healing is within God's sovereign will.

3. Points for further work, dialogue or study

Correlation between sin and sickness.

Healing of communities, nations and land.

Questions of ancestry (generational curse as factor of illness).

Possibility of Christians being demonised.

Create an awareness of scientific research, which has been done on this topic, is going on and still needs to be done, and to communicate its results.

4. Proposals for follow-up

Taking note of the restrictions to the WCC staff, the group nevertheless recommends that

Consultations similar to this one in Accra be held in Asia and Latin America.

A meeting be convened for communicators to enable them to produce material for the contexts they want to serve.

The group assumes that the material for this consultation and its results be published.

It recommends that the questionnaire which Chris Gnanakan has prepared be considered as material for further work.

It expects that in preparation also for the next CWME world mission conference a booklet/pamphlets/manuals be produced by the WCC and appreciates Mark Pearson's offer to help in writing such material (2).

Report from group 2

1. Case studies and experiences

2. Convictions

We all believe in the reality of divine healing and that it is part of the proclamation of the gospel and the mission of the church.

We all believe that there are in scripture certain guidelines and/or rites in how to minister to those who suffer physical infirmities.

We all believe to pray for healing is part of the mission of the church.

We all believe sickness includes more than physical illness and healing is greater than curing.

We all believe James 5 is an appropriate starting point to engage in healing the sick.

We all believe in the majority world people are in desperate need of healing and powerful intervention; however, in some of the practices of healing in the churches, individuals with genuine needs have been exploited financially, emotionally and spiritually.

We all believe the most appropriate context for the practice of healing ministry is the community of faith.

We appreciate the testimonies and spirit of the healing practitioners who met with the consultation, and encourage additional dialogue with such practitioners.

We all believe the healing ministry of the church encompasses both prayer for individuals for healing as well as its prophetic ministry in confronting unjust social and political structures which are often causes of individual suffering.

3. Further work needed

There needs to be more explorations of the ways in which a theology of the cross and a theology of power compliment, converge or enrich one another.

Encourage additional dialogue with healing practitioners. …