Faith Healing Research Proposal

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¶ … Apostle James Mean by

"…LET HIM CALL for the ELDERS of the CHURCH;

AND LET THEM PRAY OVER HIM, ANOINTING HIM WITH OIL

IN the NAME of the LORD…"

(JAMES 5:14), and WHAT ARE

THE IMPLICATIONS of THIS for OUR LIFE in the

CHURCH and in the

WORLD?

A DISSERATION SUBMITTED to the FACULTY of

RELIGION and

PHILOSOPHY in FULFILLMENT of the

REQUIREMENTS for the DEGREE of

BACHEHELOR of ARTS

WHAT DOES the APOSTLE JAMES MEAN by "…LET HIM CALL for the ELDERS of the CHURCH; and LET THEM PRAY OVER HIM, ANOINTING HIM WITH OIL

IN the NAME of the LORD…" (JAMES 5:14), and WHAT ARE the IMPLICATIONS of THIS for OUR LIFE in the CHURCH and in the WORLD?

Aim of the Dissertation

The aim of this study was to answer what is meant by "faith healing" via the will of God and how to apply this to the present context.

Background

In the Jewish and Christian traditions prayers for cures and miracles are usual; thus the apostles developed a ritual of healing. -- James 5.14 -- 16Buy full Download Microsoft Word File paper
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Research Proposal on Faith Healing Assignment

When the topic of faith was originally selected, it remained unclear what path would be followed to achieve the above-stated research aim. In an exploratory fashion, the Columbia Encyclopedia was consulted and this author was immediately captivated by two words, "Faith Healing" and its implication according to Scripture. In this regard, James 5:14 -- 16 clearly states that "the prayer of faith shall save the sick." There is no equivocation in this passage and it is little wonder that so many adherents have seized upon these words in support of their faith healing preferences. Upon reading Margaret Polomas' Journal Article, "A Comparison of Christian Science and Mainline Christian Healing Ideology and Practices," this author became interested in the dissimilarities between the mainline Christian philosophy of faith healing, and Christian Scientist perception of faith healing, according to the will of God. While reading Rita Swan's essay, "When Faith Fails Children," my eyes were opened to the reality of Christian Science conviction and their lack of knowledge, wisdom and understanding of the Word of God as it applies to the use of faith healing practices in general and for young children in particular. Their apparent ignorance, relevant to the will of God, when committing manslaughter in the name of Jesus Christ, defies the very nature of God. After reading Larry Mays' journal article, "Challenging Medical Authority: The Refusal of Treatment by Christian Scientists," it was corroborated in my mind the theory that Christian Science is not a form of Christianity because they have taken the Word of God, His Will and redesigned Scripture to their own will. The Christian Science perspective on spiritual healing has left them facing a whirlwind of tension and controversy not only within the secular world, but also within the world of Christianity. This is, after all, the 21st century.

Statement of the Problem

The general problem to be considered by the proposed study concerns the dogma of Christian Science as it relates to faith healing. Christian Scientists have alleged that all aspects of their theology is distinctively Christian, established upon the Scriptures and is continuous with Biblical revelation. Part of the purpose of this dissertation is to nullify their position as Believers. According to Scripture, faith is people acting in accordance with God's known purpose. Their misunderstanding of Biblical revelation has led the Christian Scientist to misconstrue the true meaning of "Faith Healing" as instructed in James 5: 14 -- 16. Should Christian Scientists be allowed to martyr their children for their religious beliefs? Do mainstream Christians have a responsibility to intervene against senseless suffering and death of Christian Science children in instances when it could have been avoided? Can the world look the other way and not place boundaries and limitations on 'religious freedom' when it endangers the lives of children who are not free to make life altering choices of their own? Therefore, the specific problem that the study addressed is the heresy of Christian Science that has caused death, suffering and possibly marred the faith of some believers by revealing the Truth of "Faith Healing" according to Scripture, the Word and Will of God and what is expected of mainstream Christians and the world to protect His children.

Method

Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. -- James 5-14

In understand the meaning of "Faith Healing" in James 14 -- 15, this study relied primarily on a theological-critical approach, and as needed, also made use of certain rhetorical critical tools. To this end, a review of the relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning the effectiveness of prayer in promoting improved healthcare outcomes, the dogma of the Christian Science religion and what legal authorities have to say concerning these practices was conducted.

Introduction

What is meant by, "Let him call for the elders of the Church and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil, in the Name of Jesus"?

In spite of a growing secularism in the United States in recent years, it would appear that a majority of Americans still believe in the power of prayer and how it can be used to good effect in their own personal lives. For example, a survey of 325 adult American Christians conducted by Trier and Shupe (1989) found that almost a third (30%) of the respondents had used prayer as a means of treating themselves for illnesses, injuries, and other health issues; moreover, another survey of 560 adult American Christians by Poloma (1991a) found an even higher incidence of the use of prayer for healing purposes, with almost three-quarters (72%) of the respondents reporting that they believed that people could be healed through prayer.

The results of these surveys suggest that many modern mainstream Christians have a strong faith in the power of prayer to facilitate healing. In this regard, Poloma (1991b) emphasizes that, "These studies demonstrate that faith healing is not concentrated among deprived populations as commonly assumed. Rather, the belief in and practice of spiritual healing is widely diffused through a broad range of the general population."

Because the belief in the power of prayer to facilitate healing is widespread among many Christian denominations, is it really fair to single out one religion because of their adherence to faith healing practices to the exclusion of allopathic medicine? Indeed, in spite of a number of highly publicized failures of faith healing by Christian Scientists and others to effect a cure, it can be reasonably suggested that there are countless other instances in which such faith healing approaches have been successful that have not received the same level of attention from the media. Likewise, in those instances in which faith healing has failed to achieve a cure, there is a corresponding assumption that allopathic medicine would have been successful.

Despite these constraints to a meaningful analysis, the research shows that time and again, Christian Scientists have resorted to faith healing to the serious detriment of their followers in general and young children in particular who were denied the opportunity to benefit from modern medical interventions with established efficacy by virtue of a strict reliance on biblical scriptures that require prayer to the exclusion of all other interventions. Indeed, as May emphasizes, "From the medical perspective, the Christian Science community simply cannot be respected. What Christian Scientists understand as doing what is best for their children, physicians perceive as serious threats to the fundamental rights of those children."

Chapter 1 Faith Healing: Biblically Defined

This chapter discusses James 5:14 -- 16 as the theological foundation upon which to answer these questions. James 5:14 -- 16 deserves a thorough theological analysis as certain religious sects seem to rewrite various textual aspects of these verses. Additionally, the term "Faith Healing" requires a more exact definition because the usage of the relevant words can be ambiguous to those not in an intimate relationship with God and can result in a radically confused application of the text. According to Masters, "Since the foundation of the Christian church, believers have prayed for the healing of the sick. Indeed the Bible documents many instances of divine healing and indicates that the prayers of the righteous may accomplish much (James 5:16)."

For the faithful Christian Scientist, then, faith healing represents a viable and effective approach to healthcare to the strict exclusion of other interventions and these issues are discussed further below.

Chapter 2 Faith Healing: A Christian Science Perspective

This chapter provides a definition of "Faith Healing" from a Christian Science perspective which is considered in terms of how it fits in with the biblically instructed word of James. The aim of this section was not be to establish a detailed or complete biblical theological of "Faith Healing" but rather to make the reader aware of the larger biblical, theological and social issues involved. Finally, Chapter 2… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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