Loss of healing faith in the Christian church

Originally published in the February 15, 1890 issue of the Christian Science Series (Vol. 1, No. 20)

To most believers in Jesus, the history of healing in the Christian Church ends very abruptly with the apostolic age. Paul writes to the Corinthians that the then-still-alive body of Christ, with feeble and strong members, all needing each other, included, so his metonomy runs, "apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." Christians now affirm that a part of these members are withered or dead, and that it is no shame to the crippled body of Christ that they are so; that, because of its occurrence it is doubtless right, and the intention of the Master. We are told by them that unbelievers then needed these evidences, to cause men to flock to hear Jesus, but they are not now necessary in heathen China to crowd a missionary's house; nor in heathen New York, to induce them to fill the half empty churches, nor to throng the McAuley Mission. We must now be content to bridge with a guess, the broad chasm existing between Paul's "miracles"— shaking off, unharmed, the "deadly viper," the healing of Publius' father, and others on Melita, — and the position of the church to-day praying God to heal men of diseases first sent by Him in punishment of broken material and moral laws; such healing only to be accomplished by a visionary divine force super-added to the "real" power of a physician's experimental drugs. The healing, when brought about, to be passed to the credit of God — or the doctor — in considerable uncertainty!

Greek and Roman priests may recount wonders — mostly of tears and blood-spots; portray visions of Mary and Christ; may present the much magnified "preserved true cross" all of which is perhaps attended by a mere modicum of healing. Catholic and Protestant masses alike hold all this in light esteem — finding in what little they concede to be real nothing to convey to themselves the full power and liberty which Jesus predicted should "follow them that believe."

Some though honestly recoiling from this picture, claim that the New Testament gives us no right to expect to realize miraculous healing at the present date — yet confusedly admit their failure to understand the loss of that power, save by virtue of the pleased assent or decree of the Founder of Christianity, Himself. Their difficulty lays in their ignorance of what the healing power really was and is; and how closely its exercise is confined to the essential principles of that "Kingdom of God" which Jesus sought to establish.

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