The Essential Guide to Healing: Equipping All Christians to Pray for the Sick by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark is a specialized book targeted to those Christians who believe in the existence of the literal gift of physical healing. In fact, for those who believe that physical healing is a gift, this is an extensive how to guide to prayer and healing. Literal modern day spiritual gifts is one of those internal issues that have the potential to cause such controversy as to cause divisions within the church as well as subdivisions, sects and cults. After all, it is often fights over secondary issues such as this which cause splinter groups and numerous different denominations in the first place.
Basically those who believe in physical lietral healing are generally those same individuals who believe that talking in tongues, a.k.a "angel language" is an actual gift of the Holy Spirit that is common place today. Nevertheless, this book is not a defense of spiritual gifts in general and it focuses specifically on the alleged gift of physical healing.
The intense focus on physical healing as a gift of the Holy Spirit comes at a great cost. basically it dismisses the purpose of pain and the possibility that God uses pain and suffering for the greater glory. Pain and suffering are a fact of life, and it does has its purpose. While it is true that Jesus physically healed the sick, it was not the focus of his ministry. Rather the purpose of the healing was in order to give glory to God's name while he was present. In the ancient church this gift served the apostles well in fascilitating the growth of faith at a time when physical signs and proofs were most needed. But as as Paul stated in the book of Corinthians we have the word of God as a testament and that certain gifts will eventually pass away.
This book promotes important concepts such as helping others and focusing others- something that all Christians are called to do. Prayer is important, but sometimes we just simply don't get physical healing but rather and more importantly, spiritual healing and peace. For those readers who wish to learn more about the point of view of the concept of literal physical healing, this book is very thorough. The authors include a very good and detailed history of the issue of the healing debate and its origins.This book covers the growth of the controversy concerning spiritual gifts and its stem from the protestant and Roman Catholic churches. For any student or reader interested in the history of thology and the history of denominations, from the point of the spiritual gift controversy, this book is very informative. As a blogger I receieved this book from Chosen publishers, a division of Baker publishing group for the purpose of writing this review. The opinions expressed are my own.