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Evangelism - Myers Mott Maggay Linthicum        

 Excerpts from "Our Biblical Call to Healing"

by Stephen Charles Mott

presented to the Free Methodist Medical Fellowship, September 26, 2003


     The separation away of the sick, as well as the poor in general, has a social function. Separation socially hides the economic injustices which would lead to questioning the system itself. The separation is justified by labeling the disease as sin or impurity. The poor and sickly themselves feel inferior, perhaps as cursed by God or consigned by fate so they do not question.

     Two spheres are involved in disease: 1) the sphere of the social situation and 2) the sphere of the disease.6 A person healed by Jesus was fully restored on both of these levels. 1) Jesus in first forgiving the sin of the paralytic before healing him put in question the rationalization of the system (Mark 2:9 par.). Jesus liberated him from his negative social situation, reversing the categories which had justified it. 2) In then healing the body of this man, Jesus liberated him from alienation to the created physical world, in terms of the body. The healing had the result of restoration to community, as the condition and the rationalization for oppression were removed.

     In this context we can understand the opposition by public authorities to Jesus' exorcism. This is seen in the opposition to Jesus in the Beelzebul accusation (Matt. 12:22-30 par.). In another situation, Jesus' immediate reference to his exorcism when warned about Herod indicates that exorcism was Herod's concern. "Tell that Fox that I continue to cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow . . ." (Luke 13:32). Studies of possession and mental illness in situations of social strain in the developing world show that they provide socially accepted forms of oblique protest and escape from oppression. They contain the aggressiveness, turning it more on the victim that the community. Exorcists are feared not only for their power. They also are feared because they create instability by removing these escapes and inhibitions. Jesus was an exorcist committed to the value of social healing over the dominant value of social stability.7 In his time the Jewish people had little control over their destiny. Jesus' miracles provided sense of power for the oppressed masses. Your healing today contributes beyond the confines of the bodies you are restoring and links up with other ministries of the church which also do that.

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