Divine Healing In The Health And Wealth Gospel -- By: Douglas Moo

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 09:2 (Fall 1988)
Article: Divine Healing In The Health And Wealth Gospel
Author: Douglas Moo

Divine Healing
In The Health And Wealth Gospel

Douglas J. Moo

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
Deerfield, Illinois

The health and wealth gospel differs from evangelical Christianity generally in its emphasis on the physical blessings that believers can — and should — experience in this life. Salvation is for the whole person. Yet traditional Christianity has short-changed this truth by focusing almost exclusively on the soul and on spiritual blessings. So argue prominent health and wealth gospellers such as Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth and Gloria Copeland. And they are determined to right this imbalance by making Christians aware that God has provided in Christ for their material and physical well-being — if only they will reach out and claim these blessings in faith. Most of the proponents of this movement do not seek to downplay the significance of spiritual salvation. What they believe about the basic doctrines of the faith is well within the parameters of orthodoxy. If, indeed, theirs is “another gospel,” it is so not because any basic doctrines have been subtracted, but because certain questionable doctrines have been added.

As the popular name for this growing but amorphous movement suggests, the promises of financial prosperity and physical health are the two pillars of this “gospel.” And, whatever Hagin, the Copelands, and others in the movement may say about their ministries in their more guarded statements, these promises of material well-being loom large in their literature and broadcasts. Other essays in this fascicle are taking a critical look at the “wealth” side of the movement; in this article, we will examine the “health” component.

The focus on physical well-being and healing in the health and wealth gospel — hereafter HWG — has its roots in a century and a half-old tradition. Key figures in this tradition were the “Irvingites” in early nineteenth century Scotland, the Blumhardts in Germany and A.J. Gordon and A.B. Simpson (founder of what came to be the Christian and Missionary Alliance) at the end of the

century in America. Divine healing was prominent in Pentecostal circles and in those step-children of the Pentecostals, the charismatics. Oral Roberts is perhaps the best known representative of the charismatic healing movement.1 More recently, the Vineyard movement, associated with John Wimber, has highlighted divine healing as one of those “signs” that should accompany and witness to the present-day manifestation of the kingdom of God in the church.2

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