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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Does the church offer physical healing?

Those who watch Light House Television (LTV) are perhaps familiar with the miraculous healings performed by pastor Benny Hinn, while on Pulse Television, prophet Samuel Kakande has won cult status because of his healing powers.

On his website is a testimony of Robert Sembatya, who came to Kakande's church with an acute urinary retention, a result of a motor accident causing abdominal pain. For six weeks, Sembatya couldn't walk or stand properly. He was also urinating through a catheter. Kakande healed him.

Such healings, it is said, come from God. Psalms 103: 3 says "God forgiveth all thine iniquities" and "healeth all thy diseases." Then if Jesus and his apostles did healing wonders, the brethren will tell you, why not today's men of God.”

In today's church, especially among Pentecostals, healing ministries have popped up claiming to cure all kinds of diseases through prayer. That a person who is not a medical doctor can lay hands on a sick patient and heal him is something that continues to confound medical doctors. They believe that someone with malaria only needs to take tablets to kill the malaria parasites in the body to be better.

But Pastor Ssempa of Makerere Community Church says he understands why doctors have problems with healing miracles because miracles are not subject to bunsen burners and laboratory tests.

"Miracles are supra-laboratory -they go beyond man's usual abilities. The ability of medical scientists is only limited to ontological researches and using epistemological means. Science cannot grapple and understand the world of the supernatural. How do you measure the strength of demons? They can't. So there is a limitation of science in undertaking realities that are supra-science," Pastor Sempa says. "Somebody is barren and they say they can never have children because of complications but they have a child. Someone is expected to die and the doctors have lost hope but he heals. Then there are miracles when someone is mad and psychologically classified as psychotic and then through the power of prayer, they are healed -these do happen in the modern church."

He related this to a story of a school in Nakasongola built in the highway of some invisible forces called Mayembe (spirits). Accordingly, students went to class as usual and demons began to beat them up, the teachers were beaten and they couldn't see what was caning them. They had to call in sorcerers.

"Science is unable to help in that field," said Ssempa. "Most people whose sickness doctors don't understand are usually demon possessed -this can be dealt with through repentance and prayer."

Sempa says divine healing is real and through the Holy Spirit that dwells in every believer, God does mighty wonders. However, Matthew 24, warns that "there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders…"

In the book of Job, Satan smote Job with sickness while in Revelations, he healed the 'deadly wound' of the beast. These are the kind that perform physical healings in church using satanic power.

So then should you watch out when anyone in a cassock claims to cure all kinds of sickness because not everyone has the gift of healing? The Bible says that God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, that those who touched him had their illness cured and the evil spirits left them.

Again, no one should not cure illnes for money. Indeed in Acts 8:20 when Simon, who had just been converted asks to buy the Holy Spirit's power to work miracles, Peter shouts, "Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money...."

Published in Sunday Monitor, November 26, 2006