Minister in Word and Healing – together’

The Most Rev Archbishop William Goh preparing for the service.

“It’s clear that in the ministry of Jesus, words and deeds must go together. The proclamation of the Gospel must be accompanied by the ministry of Healing.”

The Most Rev Archbishop William Goh of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore made this point in his homily at the Ecumenical Charismatic Healing Service, held on 6 Oct 2014 at Aldersgate Methodist Church.

The yearly service was organised by an Ad Hoc Catholic Committee, an Ad Hoc Protestant Team and Alpha Singapore, for Christians from various church denominations to worship God together, to commit to love one another, to walk together and serve, and to pray and minister the Lord’s healing, together as one Body in Christ.

Archbishop Goh noted in his homily that many people today no longer believe in miracles of healing, and that some liberal scholars have even questioned the veracity of Jesus’ miracles as recounted in the gospels. Some of this scepticism was triggered by abuses and excesses by certain pastors and evangelists in the ministry of healing.

However, the Archbishop made the case that miracles, especially miracles of healing, were an indispensable part of Jesus’ ministry and of His Gospel message. “If you take the miracles out, we don’t have a complete Jesus!” He noted, “Social works are good, but miracles are also necessary for the  proclamation of the Gospel.”

He made the point that the proclamation of the Gospel must be two-fold: the proclamation of the Word accompanied by the demonstration of God’s power, especially for those who have not yet encountered Jesus.  Overemphasis on either teaching or miracles would lead the Church astray. We must not hide behind the words, rituals and institution of the Church, but neither should we chase after miracles of physical healing all the time.

Archbishop Goh also emphasised, “Healing is healing first of the mind and the heart before healing of the body.” He highlighted the healing of the paralytic in Mark 2, noting that “Jesus healed his soul and He healed his body. But many people want to be healed of the body without being healed of the soul.”

“Real healing is the healing of the soul really, and it flows through the other parts of the human person.”

In the spirit of the homily, the preaching of the Word was followed by an altar call for prayer ministry, issued by Bishop Terry Kee of the Lutheran  Church in Singapore. A team of 35 pairs of prayer counsellors, each pair consisting of one Roman Catholic and one Protestant, and including the bishops present, prayed for the sick. Roman Catholic Rose Boon later shared, “I was moved to tears to see Archbishop Goh, Bishop Dr Wee Boon Hup and Bishop Kee ministering to the people of God together.”

The congregation numbered more than 700, packing the 500-seater sanctuary and the three ‘spill-over’rooms downstairs.

A prayer counsellor described the scene, “Words of knowledge helped in praying – confirmed by the people prayed for. Almost all I prayed for fell and rested in the Spirit. There were no dry eyes.” Another shared that even in the overflow rooms, “the people who came forward to be prayed for were touched by God; in repentance, weeping, asking for forgiveness and for healing. Many fell under the power of the Holy Spirit.”

At the conclusion of the service, Bishop Dr Wee of The Methodist Church in Singapore pronounced the benediction.

The Rev Anthony Lee (Methodist) noted that the high point for him that night was “seeing God heal regardless of our denominations”.

While many Protestants were humbled by the hunger and zeal of the Roman Catholics who came an hour before the service, Roman Catholics like Mr Steven Koh were very moved at seeing, for the first time, “so much love and bonding between the Catholics and Protestants”.

Father Samuel Lim, a Roman Catholic, agreed. “The combined worship and praying really allowed us to appreciate each other. It also made me just focus on and treasure the essentials instead of being distracted by the differences between denominations.”

“Real healing is the healing of the soul really, and it flows through the other parts of the human person.”

Photos courtesy of Alpha Singapore

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Grace Toh is the Assistant Editor of Methodist Message. She put this article together with valuable input from the Rev Dr Lorna Khoo, Pastor-in-Charge of Aldersgate Methodist Church.