The Conditionalist Faith of Our Fathers, vol. 2


IV. “Spirit Healings” Flaunt Explicit Biblical Provisos

We must now revert to the question of spirit, or psychic, healing. There is a fundamental difference between Biblical “divine healing” and spirit-induced parapsychological “spirit healing,” though ofttimes they are unwittingly confused. Actually, a vast separating gulf exists between genuine faith healing, divinely wrought in answer to prayer in Christ’s name, and emotional or functional improvement, or alleviation of symptoms, resulting from psychic healing, hypnotherapy, or the “spirit doctor” healings in civilized and heathen lands, respectively. Divine healing rests upon submission to the transcendent power and beneficent will of God. Psychic healing, on the contrary, is an avowed exercise of interrelated, inherent, finite powers, and the interposition of “spirit powers.” CFF2 1143.2


As noted, “Spirit healing” has experienced phenomenal growth in various countries in recent times. And “spirit therapy” has resulted in a resurgence of occult healings. There are now Spiritualist “hospitals,” staffed with Spiritualist “doctors and nurses.” And this development is attracting attention in medical science. Their appeal, however, is not to Christ or to the operation of the Holy Spirit, but to the “discarnate spirits of the spirit world.” The difference is basic. CFF2 1143.3

In England, Harry Edwards and other Spiritualist healers claim thousands of cures. Edwards boldly asserts that man can “invoke the aid of the spirit healing agencies through mediumship,” and asserts that, for these results, “wiser intelligences than man are responsible.” 33 But these modern paranormal cures, effected by invoking the powers of the “spirit world” and commanding the will of the patient, are but a modern counterpart of the recorded practices of occult healers through the centuries, extending back to ancient paganism. CFF2 1143.4

This, incidentally, is as old as civilization. The priests of ancient Egypt brought the afflicted to the temples, and using a form of hypnosis, told them the gods would cure them while they slept. Even in heathen lands today there is constant recourse to similar “spirit healing,” only in cruder form-cures by wonder workers, invoking magical formulas and constituting the open operation of “spirit entities.” CFF2 1144.1


Edwards frankly states, “We couldn’t work without the spirit friends.” And he adds that sometimes his “hands absolutely vibrate” because of “a power beyond me.” 34 And again, “It is all by the power of spirits that these changes take place.” 35 Such, then, constitutes the source, and the channel of conveyance. CFF2 1144.2

Another English “trance healer,” J. J. Thomas, claims to be controlled by the “spirit” of a dead German physician (Dr. Robert), who allegedly returns during his healing séances Reporting to a “panel,” Thomas claims to have the cooperation not only of “spirit doctors” but of “hundreds of thousands of spirits helping.” 36 Spirit possession is also admitted. That too is highly significant. CFF2 1145.1


It is to be particularly noted that here again there is complete absence of any claim or acknowledgment that these alleged miracles of spirit therapy are wrought in the name or by the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, as were true divine healings in apostolic times, but expressed recognition goes instead to the “spirit agencies” of the “Unseen World.” Edwards frankly says that this power comes from “discarnate sources,” and that they have learned how to “invoke the aid of the spirit healing agencies through mediumship.” The “operating mind must be a spirit one.” “These spirit operators we call the ‘healing guides.’” 37 Again, “It is all by the power of spirits that these changes take place.” 38 That is the declared technique and source. CFF2 1145.2


It is to be remembered that the ancient world likewise had its spiritistic healing. The Egyptian goddess Isis was alleged to have made apparition appearances when performing cures. Joseph Ennemoser describes the sorcery and demonology prevailing when in Egyptian priestcraft the procedures of healing received greater emphasis than that of religion. The temples were really hospitals, with their mysteries tied in with their healing art. Ennemoser writes, “That wonderful cures wereoften p erformed in the temples, is an undisputed fact.” 39 Again, in speaking of “soothsaying,” he says, “Priests were consecrated who practised religion associated with the healing art.” 40 Modern psychic healing is consequently but a reversion to much of the phenomena of former ages. CFF2 1145.3

All through recorded history there have been occult healers employing magic words and formulas. But these have ever been marked by ritualistic incantation for the fulfillment of human desires-thus completely ignoring the true attitude of prayerful submission to the infinite will of God and the true purpose of divine healing. CFF2 1146.1


Concerning healing, this can truly be said: The faith healer who ignores the “reality of death,” and who looks for healing powers to “disembodied spirits,” is not practicing scriptural, Christ-centered, genuine faith healing, but “spirit-centered” healing instead, with faith not in Christ but in the human healer and his “spirit helpers.” The truth is inescapable and sobering, that when one turns from Christcentered divine healing to the parapsychological phenomenon of “spirit healing,” he places his trust in Spiritualism, not in God. CFF2 1146.2

It is equally true that the genuine healing power of God is never channeled through Bible-forbidden, spirit-controlled mediums. The mystic occult power of mediumistic, spiritistic healings and the varied forms of mass hypnotic healings are “as far from true healing as darkness is from light,” as someone has well phrased it. CFF2 1146.3


This additional point needs to be noted. Spiritualists sometimes cite the text concerning “ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation” (Hebrews 1:14), declaring that these are the spirits of the departed dead. But the preceding verse 13 limits this expression to the heavenly “angels.” They are here called “spirits”—“Who [God] maketh his angels spirits” (Psalm 104:4). Moreover, the angels were an order of beings brought into existence by the Creator before the death of a single human being (Job 38:4, 7; Genesis 3:24). They are created beings. Therefore, angels cannot be the discarnate spirits of the dead. CFF2 1146.4