The Local Healing Rooms
In Clitheroe, the largest town near our chapel, are some Healing Rooms. I’m not familiar with this concept, so I looked it up. The associated website says that you can call on a certain day where ‘trained volunteers’ will pray for you for healing, be it ‘physical, mental, emotional or spiritual’.
I’m not a big fan of healing ministries, but then I’m not often unwell. I might change my tune if this changes. I much prefer old fashioned evangelism- this offers healing to all, for all are spiritually sick. One might argue that these Healing Rooms are a form of evangelism. It’s a public statement to the good folk of Clitheroe that the secular materialism with which they surround themselves can neither satisfy nor explain life’s meaning. The webpage wisely goes onto explain that they are neither trained counsellors nor do they charge for their prayers.
A couple of things did puzzle me, however. In their statement of faith, which is generally quite sound, is the line ‘We believe this is a body ministry whereby the whole church (body of Christ) can come together to get the whole church, city and nation healed’. I am not a theologian, so I do not really know what this means. The whole church prays that the whole church might be healed? Healed from what? Charismatic groups have for some time talked about the healing of cities. What does this mean? When someone asks me to pray for some odd thing, I will ask them what would happen if God answered their prayer in the way they expected. What would it look like? How would it be different? If God ‘healed’ Clitheroe, how would it be different? Perhaps everyone would be converted, or happy, or healthy?
The second thing to cause my eyebrows to rise is the Rooms’ association with John Lake. It website says:
The Healing Rooms ministry started nearly 100 years ago, when American missionary John G Lake helped establish over 100 churches in Africa. On returning home he opened a Healing Room in the city of Spokane in Washington State, USA and from 1915-1920, over 100,000 healings were recorded.
In 1999 Cal Pierce felt called by God to re-open the Healing Rooms in Spokane. Since then, Healing Rooms have been set up all over the world, representing over 40 nations, under the umbrella organisation of the International Association of Healing Rooms.
In John G. Lake: His Life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith (Kenneth Copeland Publications,1995), he is quoted as saying “The power of God, the Holy Ghost, is the Spirit of Dominion. It makes one a god…It is not honouring to Jesus Christ that sickness should possess us. We do not want disease. We want to be gods" (p13).
“For God's purpose through Jesus Christ is to deify the nature of men and thus forever make them like unto... Thus he becomes the Son of god, a Savior (sic) and redeemer forever" (p304).
The website for Halifax’s Healing Rooms states that Mr Pierce, the man who felt inspired to breathe new life into the Healing Rooms movement ‘visited Lake's grave site once each month for over one year to pray.’
So we have an original founder who believed we can become gods and a re-founder who holds prayer meetings in graveyards. I have no doubt that the Clitheroe healers do not engage in this nonsense, but it’s always worth looking at a movement's origins: poison in the root may spread to leaf and fruit.