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Is Spiritual Healing Biblical?

Years ago, when I was first led into the realm of spiritual healing I followed reluctantly. I knew healing could be flaky. Many Christians don’t even believe it’s relevant today. Besides, dealing with emotional issues is messy. I knew my reputation would be on the line if it were known I was into healing ministry. However, when the Spirit leads I always try to follow. I’m very glad I did.

 My first knowledge of healing emotional pain came from Cecil Osborne, a Baptist preacher turned psychologist who wrote about the breakthroughs he was achieving. They were far more effective than cognitive or even biblical counseling. His mentor in this was atheist Arthur Janov’s work on Primal Therapy. I read Janov’s book. It is harsh, profane and offensive, but as I tried to reject it, scriptures kept coming to mind. I knew he had stumbled onto some essential truths.

 Naturally, the most important scripture on this subject was Jesus’ statement that God anointed Him to heal the broken hearted, liberate the bruised and set the captives free (Luke 4:18-20). The very name Christ means Anointed One, and Jesus said His anointing was for this healing. Biblical names are important so when Jesus’ very name is connected to healing the broken hearted in order to set us free I knew this was extremely significant to God.

 But other passages surfaced as well. Jeremiah was most helpful. He said backslidings into sin required healing (Jer. 3:22). Apparently, repentance alone was not enough. He also said that religious leaders healed the wounds of God’s people superficially promising them healing, well-being, and prosperity (part of the deeper meaning of biblical peace) but not delivering on the promise (Jer. 8:11). 

 What really got me was Jeremiah’s specific mention of the very things Janov talked about: healing our core pain. In chapter 30, Jeremiah said many fascinating things. First, he said our wounds are incurable. Next, in a message that psychiatrists -- the medicine men of our day -- simply do not understand, he said that no medicines can heal us. Next, he told us that God wounded us because of our sins. I tell people that there is no such thing as a sin that doesn’t hurt anyone. Where sin abounds PAIN abounds. Sin at least hurts us sinners! Finally, Jeremiah promised that God would heal our pain. He said in the latter days we would understand this. (Cf. Jer. 30:12-15, 17, 24).

 This became more than theory for me when a young divorcee who attended my church wanted help. She often fell for the wrong kind of men and got involved sexually even though she didn’t want to. She said, “Ken, I’ve attended church faithfully, memorized scriptures, been in a home group, gotten counseling and read everything you asked me to read but I am still out of control. What else can you do for me?” I told her I had some untested theories of doing healing in small groups using healing gifts (I Cor. 12:9). If she were willing to be a guinea pig, we’d try them out on her.  

 The next week she joined my home group and I gave them unique instructions on how we were going to minister to her. She told us she remembered nothing in her life before the age of 13. We prayed that she would begin to connect with any painful events she couldn’t recall.

 As I’ve said before, we only recall 10% of what’s happened to us, the rest lies buried deep in our subconscious, what the Bible refers to as the heart. This is why cognitive therapy is so limited in its ability to help us. In spiritual healing, we seek to access these repressed memories viscerally, through the emotions. God knows everything about all of us. As we prayed for her, certain images and impressions appeared to members of the group that they shared with her. “I see a gray house,” one person said. “I lived in a gray house when I was younger. I’d forgotten all about it,” she replied, excitedly. Her memories were gradually returning.

 By the second week, she herself began to see images from her forgotten past, frightening images, the kind none of us would want to revisit. She saw herself at age three, sitting on the bathroom floor with a naked man standing over her. As she said that, I saw the same image. I knew who the man was but I dared not risk contaminating her vision with mine. She was not ready to face it.

 By the third week, she got up the nerve to ask the Lord to show her who that man was. As she closed her eyes tightly and squinted up into his face she screamed, “No, no”. She burst into tears. “It can’t be.” As I already knew, the face she saw was her father’s. A decade of painful memories overwhelmed her as she realized he had molested her from the age of ten until she was 13.

 Some people talk as if God’s medicine cabinet has only two pills in it – pills that will somehow magically cure all that is wrong with us. One ‘pill’ is repentance, the other forgiveness. While both are important, they certainly aren’t panaceas for our every problem. How do you forgive someone when you don’t remember what they did to you? How do you repent when you have tried to stop doing something a hundred times and can’t?

 This is why healing is so important. If we learn to use the healing gifts God has given us (I Corinthians 12:9) we can do the works Jesus did and greater (John 14:12). We can cooperate in His great mission to heal the brokenhearted, liberate the bruised and set the captives free. We can become His hands and arms today to extend the healing that His wounds purchased for us (Isaiah 53:4-6). This is what spiritual healing is all about. It is a dynamic, powerful, rewarding work that He has called His Church to perform. In these latter days, when almost everyone lives with some kind of deep pain, it’s one of the most vital works we can do. People flock to new age gurus because we the Church have neglected to share this part of God’s good news with a broken and hurting world.

 By the way, that young woman was powerfully healed over 20 years ago and it changed the entire course of her life. I still see her from time to time. Whenever I do, she never fails to thank me for the personal miracle that turned her life around.

 November 12-14, I’m offering a Quantum LEAP Healing Retreat here in Los Angeles. If you need healing and/or want to learn how to help others heal, this inexpensive, efficient event is for you. Please pray about coming. It could just change your life. Details are listed below.  



Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "
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