Healing in the Early Church: The Church's Ministry of Healing and Exorcism from the First to the Fifth Century

Overview

This monograph presents the most comprehensive investigation yet made into the healing activity of the Early Church. In contrast to early skeptics like B. B. Warfield, the author is convinced there was a vigorous healing ministry in the centuries that followed the apostles, though it fluctuated somewhat and changed its mode. Exorcism is prominently attested throughout the period. The pre-Nicene Fathers recognized its great apologetic value as a dramatic demonstration of the superiority of Jesus Christ over pagan ...

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Overview

This monograph presents the most comprehensive investigation yet made into the healing activity of the Early Church. In contrast to early skeptics like B. B. Warfield, the author is convinced there was a vigorous healing ministry in the centuries that followed the apostles, though it fluctuated somewhat and changed its mode. Exorcism is prominently attested throughout the period. The pre-Nicene Fathers recognized its great apologetic value as a dramatic demonstration of the superiority of Jesus Christ over pagan gods. Interest in healing miracles per se appears to have been particularly characteristic of the less educated members of the Church and those who were chaste in their devotion to the cause of Christ. Amongst these groups gifts of healing were found, becoming rare it seems by the mid-third century, but well attested again later in monastic circles.In the pre-Nicene period anointing with oil (in the name of Christ) was clearly an avenue of healing and, though mentioned comparatively rarely, may have been widespread as part of the regular ministry of local clergy to the sick. Baptismal healing, physical as well as spiritual, also took place. In the post-Nicene Church the shrines of the martyrs became a prominent locus of healing. Devotion to this cult may have been encouraged by Church Fathers as an acceptable alternative to magical practices. But evidence suggests syncretism did occur and martyr's relics could be invested with quasi-magical awe. Most Fathers were positive about the medical profession, seeing it as an avenue of God's work, and in the late fourth century one pioneered the hospital which then spread throughout the eastern Mediterranean. In an appendix to his work, the author sets down nine "pointers" from the healing activity of the Early Church, and his own experience, to assist those engaged in the healing ministry today.

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Meet the Author

Andrew Daunton-Fear lectures in church history and pastoral subjects at St. Andrew's Theological Seminary, Manila, Philippines.

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Table of Contents

Foreword David F. Wright xiii

Acknowledgements xv

Abbreviations xvii

Introduction xix

Chapter 1 Jesus and His Contemporaries 1

The Healing Ministry of Jesus 1

The Contemporary Scene 5

Miracle 5

Magic 10

Medicine 13

General Conclusion 15

Chapter 2 The Era of the Apostles 17

The Acts of the Apostles 17

Exorcism 19

Healings 19

Raising the Dead 21

Summaries of Healings 22

Miracles of Punishment 24

The Pauline Letters 24

The Epistle to the Hebrews 27

The Epistle of James 28

The Apocalypse 31

Indirect Evidence from the Gospels 31

Mark 32

Luke 33

Matthew 35

John 37

The Evidence of Papias 38

General Conclusion 38

Chapter 3 Encounter with the Hellenistic World: The Second Century 40

The Apostolic Fathers 40

The Odes of Solomon 41

Rabbinic Material 44

Other Pointers 46

The Greek Apologists 47

Justin Martyr 48

Tatian 51

Theophilus 54

Other Theologians 55

Irenaeus 55

Clement of Alexandria 61

Early Apocryphal Acts 64

General Conclusion 67

Chapter 4 Consolidation and Complacency: Early to Mid-Third Century 68

North Africa 68

Tertullian 68

Minucius Felix 77

Cyprian 79

Rome 83

Hippolytus 83

Cornelius 89

Novatian 90

Syria 91

Didascalia Apostolorum 91

The First Epistle to the Virgins 92

The Apocryphal Acts of John and Thomas 93

Bardaisan 96

Asia Minor 97

The Montanists 97

Gregory Thaumaturgus 98

Egypt/Palestine 99

Origen 99

Dionysius 109

General Conclusion 110

Chapter 5 In an Era of Persecution and Toleration: Late Third - Early Fourth Centuries 111

North Africa 111

Arnobius 111

Lactantius 114

Syria 119

The Pseudo-Clementine Literature 119

Palestine123

Rabbinic Material 123

Eusebius of Caesarea 125

General Conclusion 131

Chapter 6 With the Empire at Our Feet: The Post-Nicene Church 132

Theologians and the Miraculous 133

Ministry and Sacraments 134

Exorcist 134

Bishop, Presbyter and Deacon 135

Healing Elements 137

Gifts of Healing 140

The Relics of the Martyrs 143

Magical Practices 144

Medicine and Suffering 148

General Conclusion 151

Conclusion 152

The Paths of Healing 152

Exorcism - A Venture into Reality? 158

Appendix Some Pointers for Today's Church 165

Bibliography 167

General Index 179

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2010

    Much Needed, Invaluable, Reading For Today

    This book combines Invaluable Truth from various Early Church Writing, many of which the average reader can Not access today.

    By reading this book anyone can obtain Invaluable Truth about Divine Healing and Deliverance that was everyday practice in the Early Church, All of which Should Be, and Can Be, In Practice and Avaliable To Christians, Today.
    Unfortunately and Sadly much of this Invaluable Truth has been disregarded by, and ommtted from, today's chuch.

    Dr. TH.D.

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