Monday, November 28, 2011

"When God Doesn't Heal Now" (Larry Keefauver)

TITLE: When God Doesn't Heal Now
AUTHOR: Larry Keefauver
PUBLISHER: Nashville, TN: Thomas-Nelson, 2000.

I got this book several years ago. It was not read until recently as the catchy title keeps coming back to me. This is a book that attempts to correct misunderstanding of healing, and to debunk myths surrounding faith healing, and faith healers. It is evident that the author has encountered disappointments among people whose loved ones were not healed. They then enter into the guilt-zone of not praying hard enough, not enough faith, upset about unconfessed sin, and the confusion when certain faith healers did not heal as promised. The title of the book is important. Keefauver is not so much interested in the 'why' but in the WHEN. This is similar to Harold Kushner's world famous book, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." Keefauver argues that the why-question tends to drown a person in perpetual mystery and frustration. The 'when' extends the hope and allows the practice of faith.

The author is careful to distance himself from the kind of myth perpetuated by Kenneth Copeland, where physical healing has 2 dimensions: in time and in space (41). Instead, Keefauver suggests:

MYTH: "If you stand fast in faith, trusting Jesus, you will be healed in time and in space."

FACT: "If you stand fast in faith, trusting Jesus, you will be healed eternally even when you do not see your physical healing manifested now. "(41)

Other myths include:

  • "Believe and you will be healed now" (Truth: It is not faith but God who heals.)
  • "Great faith heals." (Truth: we cannot quantify units of faith.)
  • "God must heal with we believe." (Truth: God is not servant to our faith demands)
  • "God only heals those who believe." (Truth: God can heal anyone, not just believers)
  • "The key to our healing is our faith."  (Truth: Key to healing is in Christ, not in our faith)
  • "When I confess my healing, I will be healed now."  (Truth: Confession of sins is chiefly about salvation, not physical healing)
  • "Persistent faith will cause healing to manifest." (Truth: persistent faith is not about persistent unto physical healing, but the race to complete the life of faith.)

The way to understand faith is this:

"It is more than believing in your heart that God heals. The truth is that God is the God who Heals. Faith is trusting the God who heals. Faith is a radical, absolute surrender to the God who Heals. Faith is not holding on for your healing but holding on to the God who Heals." (40)

Right on. Faith is on the God who heals, not on the healing.  Keefauver debunks the myth of faith healing which puts one's own faith (or lack of it) as a reason for lack of healing. He debunks the myth of some kinds of prayer that hinders true prayer. He deals with the myths of disease as a punishment from God, and the myths of faith healers.

Then he introduces his understanding of God's timing, sovereignty and true faith. What is not clear is physical healing. What is very clear is the eternal salvation and full healing in eternity. He then poses some truth statements:

  • Truth #1 - "Visible Facts are Not Total Reality" (132)
  • Truth #2 - "Faith Walking is Prayer Walking" (134)
  • Truth #3 - "God and His Word can be Trusted" (137)
  • Truth #4 - "Faith Focuses on the Healer, not the Healing" (138)

He then presents 40 steps to finding true health and healing.

My Comments

Keefauver has participated in many of the healing events by prosperity and health preachers such as Kenneth Copeland and Peter Youngren. While he does not agree with all of their teachings, he still admits God's sovereignty and timing, even quoting one healing event in Youngren's rally (118-9). While he acknowledges some healing, Keefauver's main point is that the Christian ought to give God the glory regardless of whether there is physical healing or not. This I believe is the most important point in this book. There is a tendency for people picking up this book thinking that it is a book that teaches one the formula for true healing. No. This book deals with the aftermath of 'failed' expectations of healing. It deals with what to do next. It corrects erroneous thinking surrounding faith and healing. It deals with the re-orientation of man's focus on healing, to God.

The author tries hard to give some practical applications, like the 40 steps to God's Healing through the Word. Unfortunately, it presents some problems. Not only is it too cumbersome and long, it is guilty of introducing another formula for healing. It may give the beginner a kickstart. It may give the new Christian hope in following through the steps. Its key strength is in debunking myths.

The fact is that everyone's faith journey is different. It is important for readers to discern what is best. Perhaps, there are no 40-steps. Perhaps, there is only a part or a combination of them. What is most important is that at each step, there is a renewed focus on God. God alone.


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