Mennonites generally have not identified with the faith healing movement of the 20th century. During the last half of the century, however, there was an observable shift on the subject. A few prominent leaders embraced and promoted the healing theology. In the late 1980s Mennonites participate in or even conduct healing services, sometimes in an ecumenical setting. More and more people are concluding that the gospel is for the whole person, including the body. Wide difference of opinion persisted, however, on whether healing is for all or not, whether healing is in the atonement or not, and whether there should public healing services or not.
Articles have appeared from time to time in the Mennonite media reporting healing services of a moderate nature unlike those of the so-called professional divine healers whose beliefs and practices are unacceptable to many, if not most, Mennonites. This indicates a significant change of attitude and belief beyond the traditional view that the ordinance of the anointing with oil according to the Epistle of James should be done in private. Even this was so little taught and practiced in some quarters that some Mennonites felt driven to seek healing at the hands of a public divine healer. On this issue, Mennonites reflect the same changes which are visible in the larger Christian community where traditional views and practices no longer stand. Among Mennonites, the change of mood with regard to faith healing is more likely related to the growing charismatic influence across the denominations which recognizes and emphasizes the person and work of the Holy Spirit, including the gifts of the Spirit. Mennonite Renewal Services is a parachurch organization which promotes charismatic teaching, including glossalalia (speaking in tongues).
The official position of the Mennonite Church (MC) in the 1963 Confession of Faith was as follows: "We believe that the church should exercise a ministry of prayer for those who are in need. Prayer for the sick may be accompanied by a symbolic anointing with oil by the elders of the church. In response to the prayer of faith, and in accordance with His will, God heals in various ways, through the use of the healing arts, or by direct intervention. When healing does not occur, we believe that God's grace is sufficient. The full redemption of the body will come only at the return of Christ". The Confession of faith in a Mennonite perspective (1995) has a briefer statement that says, "The church is called to be a channel of God's healing, which may include anointing with oil." (article 10)
Empowered (published quarterly by Mennonite Renewal Services), esp. 5, no. 2 (1987).
"Miracles, Signs and Wonders." Christian Ministry (October- December 1958).
Studer, Gerald. "The Revival of the Christian Ministry of Healing." Canadian Mennonite (24 September 1963).
Kauffman, Nelson E. "An Impressive Healing Service," Gospel Herald (5 July 1962).
|Author(s)||George R. III Brunk|
Cite This Article
Brunk, George R. III. "Faith Healing." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1989. Web. 22 Oct 2017. http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Faith_Healing&oldid=100268.
Brunk, George R. III. (1989). Faith Healing. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 22 October 2017, from http://gameo.org/index.php?title=Faith_Healing&oldid=100268.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 288. All rights reserved.
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