This morning I mused weather or not Job found a disconnect between his thoughts on wealth and the wicked before and after his calamity. Today Pentecostal theologian Robin Parry explains how experience is the starting place in theology when he says that Job had to rewrite his theology in the aftermath of the devastating events that happened to him.
Parry’s main point discusses how our experience challenges his own tradition’s theology of healing, and is well worth a read (here is just a part):
When one considers experience, the claim that “God will heal all who ask him in faith for healing” can be (a) tested, and (b) demonstrated to be false. You see, no amount of positive testimonies of people who prayed for healing (in faith) and were healed would demonstrate the truth of the claim. Such experiences are perfectly compatible with more modest claims, such as “God will heal some of those who ask him in faith.” But it only takes one instance of a person who asked in faith for healing and was not healed to demonstrate the falsity of the claim. And we do not have just one example—we have thousands of examples. And I mean examples of those who prayed for healing for themselves (or others) and who did not waver in their confidence that there would be (or was already) healing . . . and there was no healing. Such experiences demonstrate conclusively the falsity of the claim that “God will heal all who ask him in faith for healing.” I do believe that God’s endgame is to heal all and in the new creation all will be healed. But in the interim God allows and uses things that are less than the ideal to bring about his purposes. Healing in the present is a sign of the coming kingdom to be sought. But please let’s stop promising things that are not true.
I think I would add to this that there is a difference between ‘healing’ and ‘cure’. Even when God heals, all that happens does not simply vanish. Grief and illness may still take their toll. But, God is still working something deeper. But, certainly, if there is no ‘healing’ (i.e., complete and total cure), let’s stop not only telling things that aren’t true, but also saying that faith is lacking. Listen, rather than invalidate someone’s experience.