Was bad theology at play here?

A thorny legal and societal issue to say the least.  But theologically, it would seem that scripture is clear on this matter.  In James 5: 14, we are told that if someone is sick, the elders should pray for that person.  So far, so good as this story from Wisconsin is concerned.  HOWEVER, that same passage of scripture also provides instruction with respect to prayer combined with medical treatment!

The NIV rendering of James 5: 14 says:  “Is any one of you sick?  He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”  The elders were instructed to care for the sick, and that care was to include both prayer and medicine.  Oil was a common medicinal substance in ancient times, as was balm, and salve and wine.  But there was also a specific sequence to the administration of that care that is not so clear in our English translations of scripture.  The Greek text is far clearer, particularly as it relates to the word “anoint.”  The verb tense of the word translated into English as “anoint” is the aorist active participle, so a better reading would be “the elders should pray over him, having anointed him with oil.”  Prayer follows the administration of medicine.

It is God who ultimately heals, with or without the use of medicine.  But it would seem that so-called faith that disregards all the gifts that God has sovereignly and graciously provided to us (in this case in the form of knowledge within the medical community combined with substances that can cure or treat illnesses), starts a descent down the slippery slope of foolishness and mockery.  


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: