Question: An elderly man in my congregation is suffering from some physical ailments. He has been drawn to the Be in Health healing ministry headed by Henry Wright, whose book A More Excellent Way has influenced many Christians. I'm very suspicious about such ministries and wonder if Wright is at all biblical.
Response: Wright's premise is that if one only has enough faith--or is able to appropriate specific promises--one will never be sick, though he issues a disclaimer that nothing is guaranteed and that neither he nor his staff are professionals or healers (p. xv). Nevertheless, he claims that "God has honored this teaching" (p. 18) and says, "When you apply the principles that I have given you and you go before God and the Word, you will walk away from certain diseases just like you never had them" (pp. 61-62).
Wright says, "If someone is not healed, there is a spiritual root..." (p. 34). This parallels "word faith," positive-confession teachings and shows the influence of psychology, although Wright sometimes denounces the same (p. 70). Nevertheless, he says that many ailments are caused by a "lack of self esteem" (p. 67).
Mind science teaching is evident in the book: "If you were to create something...the first part of the concept would come from where? Your mind....The final stages should be what? Do it, create it, make it....That is God's very essence: He thought it, He spoke what He thought and He did it....If you are in fellowship with the Godhead and if you are in fellowship with God by His Word, you should be an extension of the will, the Word and the power as a way of life" (p. 57).
Beyond teaching "positive confession," Wright lists generational curses as one cause of disease: "If you do not deal with what has happened in your family tree...your children will inherit your curses...(p. 68). [W]e can break the power of sin and so genetically inherited diseases no longer exist" (p. 69). According to Scripture, however, "...the Lord commanded, saying, The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor the children be put to death for the fathers; but every man shall be put to death for his own sin" (2 Kgs 14:6).
Wright claims that he has "documented evidence of genetic code changes" (Ibid.) after the "healing" of someone's "cursed DNA" has taken place. The book provides no such documentation.
He confidently asserts that he has identified the cause of many diseases. For example, his editor notes, "Henry Wright has identified a specific fear issue as a root for asthma. That root is fear of abandonment coupled with insecurity" (p. 209). Colon cancer is said to be "deeply rooted in bitterness and slander with the tongue....When you speak evil against someone, it is a curse and what you speak against another returns" (p. 231). Wright selects John:20:23 as a proof text: "Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are retained" (p. 231-32). He apparently believes this verse is applicable to someone "slandering" another.
Is it God's explicit will to heal all of our diseases every time? Wright says, "Yes. It says so in Psalm:103:3; 3 John 2; and 1 Thessalonians:5:23" (p. 131). Rather than looking at each verse, however, Wright engages in some freewheeling interpretation that places a person's healing primarily upon themselves. "You actually can choose your health and He will work with you" (Ibid.). So much for "if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us" (1 Jn:5:14). Wright handles "God's will" by insisting that healing is always His will.
On the other hand, Wright says that all healing is "conditional," the condition being the removal of sin. Thus, since Fanny Crosby never regained her sight, Joni Eareckson Tada has not had her spinal cord healed, or [see 5/10 TBC Extra] Paul Davis was never healed of rheumatoid arthritis, they (according to Wright) were hindered by unconfessed sin--their own, or perhaps from a generational curse. Scripture does not support these ideas.
Many were healed through the ministry of the Apostle Paul, but he told Timothy how to relieve the symptoms of his physical problem (1 Tm 5:23). Paul also said, "and Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick" (2 Tm 4:20). God still heals, but Scripture disagrees with the unbiblical theories of Wright, including the idea that all sickness is the result of personal sin. When the disciples of Jesus asked Him, "Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?" the reply from the Lord was, "Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him" (Jn:9:2-3).