David Collinson, Autumn House, 2006, 192pp., £6.95, ISBN 1903921376
When I was asked to review a new book about healing, I confess that I thought ‘not another book about healing’! But this is a different approach to the sometimes difficult subject of the healing ministry and how we develop this ministry in our churches.
The author takes you on a journey, beginning in the Old Testament and moving through scripture. There are stops on the way where healing occurs and we are given a careful guide to the background of the situation and the people involved.
As we move into the New Testament, the healing miracles of Jesus are carefully studied. In the passage looking at the dumb demoniac (Luke 11), some people concluded that, if Jesus did exorcisms, then he was under the power of the prince of demons. Collinson wisely observes that sometimes today, if ‘people witness wonders they can become fearful and angry that their world has been disturbingly invaded and therefore react badly’. There are several comments like these that enable us to understand why some in the church are against some of the workings of the Holy Spirit. These comments can help us to work lovingly with such people, rather than criticise or condemn them.
Each passage from scripture that is studied is numbered, which is very helpful as this is a book that must not be read and laid aside, but used as a resource. You will need your Bible handy when reading it.
There is a helpful guide on ‘Maintenance of Inner Health’, based on Philippians 4:4-7 showing how Paul, even though he was chained and in jail, could still praise the Lord. We may not have the faith and strength that Paul had, but Collinson shows how it helps to stay positive and thankful in difficult times.
I am particularly pleased that the author gives some clear teaching on the fruit and gifts of the Holy Spirit and the Spirit’s central roll in the healing ministry. The ‘Byway’ on the Holy Spirit (p.153) is very helpful, as are other ‘Byway’ passages on Demons and Deliverance, Objects, Substances, Shrines, Sacraments and many others.
If you are part of a Church or housegroup that is praying and seeking guidance about the healing ministry, then this book gives sound guidance and teaching in language that is easy to understand on subjects that need to be studied before this ministry is undertaken.
One quote that Collinson uses is of Thomas Aquinas speaking with Pope Innocent 11. Thomas visits and finds the Pope counting a large sum of money. The Pope says ‘You see Thomas the Church can no longer say “Silver and gold have I none”’. ‘“True, Holy Father” replied Thomas ‘and neither can she now say “Arise and walk”’. Sadly that is as pertinent today as it was then, therefore we must use the teaching of scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and, with the help of this book, hope and pray that one day the whole Church will say ‘Yes, miracles happen!’
Reviewed by Rev Ann Baldock, member of the Headway Executive, a supernmumerary Methodist Minister and former District Healing Adviser.
Headline Winter 2006/7 pp28-9