Approach to a Theology of Healing in China
Normalizing healing is an aim here at Remnant. By this, we mean normalizing the practice of praying for healing, believing that God will meet His people if we seek, knock, and ask. It means believing God continues to bring His “kingdom in power.” We believe Jesus commissioned His church to proclaim the gospel. If we ask that proclamation can be accompanied with signs following (Mark 16:19-20; Heb 2:3-4; Acts 4:29-30).
Where do we begin? What model do we hold out as faithful to the mission? I believe all would agree, the need of every community of faith, no matter the context, is a growing trust in God’s Word and a deepening life of prayer. The testimony of the Chinese church is a good example to hold out to us all. Oblau describes the Chinese church’s commitment to living out the Word (He also delivers a funny quips):
“Chinese Christians tend to read the Bible literally and prescriptively. For them, there is no historical-critical or theological gap between the text and their present-day reality. They are definitely not cessationists. Biblical healing stories go hand-in-hand with reports circulated in villages today.”
He quotes a church elder in eastern China, explaining why they believe in praying for healing:
In Christ, our Lord, we can see God’s love. His love is the same yesterday, today and certainly in the future, too. Because His love does not change, we who believe and follow Him can do what the Lord has allowed us to do: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. When the Lord Jesus Christ lived on earth almost 2000 years ago, He helped a lot of sick and wretched people. Our church today is in no other situation at all! There are still many suffering and miserable people in our midst. 
The elder outlines a problem and a solution that has not changed in 2000 years.. The problem is the world is full of hurting people. The solution is Jesus. It is a s simple as it is profound. Let’s look a little deeper at these ideas.
First, the Chinese church sees the world as a mass of hurting humanity because of the fall. In the fall, the world became a collection of dehumanizing powers. Sin brought death and the consequences of death brought corruption, and sickness. The West gets this backwards, the Chinese church does not. We, in the West, define what is normal by what is natural. Our experience of the world shapes what we think is normal. We often see miracles and healing as the disruption of the natural order. As if we live in the natural order of things. When God does something supernatural — we often interpret it as unnatural. Yet miracles, and especially healing, are not interruptions of the natural order; they are the restoration of the Creator’s natural order. We think sickness, disease, and death are natural. They are not. They are unnatural. Those unnatural things broke into God’s good world that he made and corrupted it, bringing a dehumanizing influence into a good world.
Second, The gospel message that Jesus has done it all and is doing all to save humanity, and this includes restoration of health that can be experienced in this life. Physical healing is understood as a foretaste of the bodily resurrection to come. Believers have no need to postpone all hope to a heavenly existence but expects resurrection power to become effective at any place and moment, in the here and now. On a grassroots level, Chinese Christians take initiative and mobilize people to pray for healing and wholeness of anyone willing to receive it. For they believe, as C.S. Lewis described, that the effects of the cross and resurrection meant, “Death itself would start working backwards.”
Seeing Restoration in a Dehumanizing World.
The Chinese approach to healing is simple and direct. It is rooted in a commitment to the Bible; its story as their story and its God as their God. It also centers on the needs of hurting people and the God that can meet that need in practical ways. In light of their understanding of sickness, testimonies of divine healing are stories of protest. They tell of people who do not resign themselves to the vicious circle of illness, pain, and sickness. The message for those hurting is one of hope. It is a message, where sickness is not absolute and help is only a prayer away. Yet such prayers are not seen as instantaneous escapism through mystical means but a progressive restoration one prayer at a time. Knowing, just as Lewis, that God never wastes our pain but from conversion to consumption is in a process of making us whole. And even if the healing is slow, we confess with Lewis, “Heaven, once attained, will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory.” 
These stories are underdog stories. Stories of death running in reverse. Stories of Heaven working backwards to bring an outpost of restoration in this mass of human suffering. So, our brothers and sisters in the East, pray against the status quo of sickness and suffering, knowing God is moving against the flow of sin and sickness in this world. So many in the West get it backwards. We consider the simple to be foolish. Yet, with God all things are possible and God uses the foolish things to confound the wise, as Währisch-Oblau observes:
“Simple, poor, uneducated people gain access to the power of God through their prayers. In so doing, these people show themselves to be more powerful than those who are usually invested with power: more powerful than doctors with their university degrees, and more powerful than party officials who have not succeeded in providing a functional health care system.” 
In the next few blogs, we will look at some testimonies of healing in China and what we can learn from them. Also see our playlist on healing found on Remnant’s Youtube page
 Gotthard Oblau, “Divine Healing and the Growth of Practical Christianity in China,” in Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing, Edt. Candy Gunther Brown (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2011) 324.
 Währisch-Oblau, field notes (May 1995).
 C.S. Lewis, “The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe,” (New York: HarpersCollins, reprint, 2002) 171.
 C.S. Lewis, “The Great Divorce,” (New York: HarpersCollins, 1946), 69.
 Währisch-Oblau, “God Can Make Us Healthy,” 98.
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