Healing in Evangelism

For many years most of the Christian church considered that divine healing was not something people should expect in the context of preaching the gospel. This was due in large measure to general unbelief concerning many biblical promises, along with Augustinian cessationist ideas which took root around the beginning of the Dark Ages and influenced many prominent theologians both Catholic and Protestant since that time.

Since approximately the beginning of the 20th century, as men begun to re-examine the Word of God, divine healing has been practiced as part of evangelism by many. First of all there was Dr. John Alexander Dowie, founder of Zion, Illinois. Soon after came the pioneering pentecostal evangelists like John G. Lake, Maria Woodworth Etter, Fred Bosworth, Aimee Semple MacPherson, Smith Wigglesworth and their associates. Later evangelists such as Oral Roberts and T.L. Osborn brought divine healing to the attention of the world through the medium of television and mass evangelistic crusades in which many – but by no means all – sick people were healed.

In more recent times the proclamation and demonstration of divine healing as part of gospel work has spread through very many preachers and teachers so that it has come to be widely practiced by thousands today, with great results. The evangelist Carlos Annacondia has shaken South America with his large rallies in which the healing of the sick as well as the casting out of demons feature prominently. Many pastors have also begun to practice divine healing with varying measures of success. People like John Wimber, Charles and Frances Hunter and others have sought to empower lay Christians with the knowledge of how to heal the sick in Jesus’ name, often with great success. Reinhard Bonnke has won millions to the Lord around Africa in large meetings in which many miracles are reported.

Divine healing is only one tool in the hand of evangelists and soulwinners today. It is NOT the whole gospel, it is a small part of the salvation God provides. The proclamation of the law and of course the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ will always be needed by true evangelists until Jesus returns. The basic message is that on the cross Jesus took our rebellion and the consequences thereof, that through faith we might partake of His righteousness and life, with all that means.

Below are some writings which I hope will equip you in reaching others with the gospel. If you are not a Christian, I recommend that you first read Do you know the God of Miracles? and perhaps The Big Issues, as well as some testimonies of what Christ has done for others.