PDF Gift or a Given?: A Theology of Healing for the 21st Century

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Although all these are termed as taboos, they have some moral and ethical connotations. The amazing part of many of these taboos is that, when one violates any of them secretly, the person does not go scot-free. The consequences always manifest either on the person s concerned or the entire community in the form of diseases, and possibly death. This is what Magesa termed the effect of life force. Magesa argues that moral behaviour maintains and enhances one's life force, but disobedience and disloyal behaviour towards tradition passed on by the ancestors will weaken the life force.

This can, therefore, lead to punishment from the ancestors or spirits in the form of disease and misfortune. Diagnosing diseases in African traditional religion. Dime argues that the diagnosis of diseases in an African traditional healing system is a twofold event. Firstly, the organic or physical cause of the sickness has to be established by careful examination and questioning by the medicine man. Secondly, this is complementary to a divination of the spiritual or mystical cause for the illness. The following are some of the methodologies many traditional healers in Ghana have been using.

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Consulting the spirit world divination : They consult the 'spirit world' to identify the cause of the disease or to discover whether there was a violation of an established order from the side of the sick person. This is established through the use of cowry shells, throwing of bones on strips of leather or flat pieces of wood. The divining bones are not strictly all bones but comprise shells, money, seeds, dice, domino-like objects or even dominos themselves, and other objects that have been appointed by the sangoma and the spirit to represent certain polarities.

Animal bones from lions, hyenas, ant-eaters, baboons, crocodiles, wild pigs, goats, antelopes and others form the large majority of the objects. There are bones for all psycho-socio-spiritual polarities.

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The bones represent all of the forces that affect any human being anywhere, whatever their culture Cumes In some African cultures, it is performed using sacred divination plates made of wood or performed on the ground, within a circle Lindsay ; Thorpe , or the use of divination pots and slaughtering of animals Sarpong Croucamp argues:. It is therefore a transpersonal field of information to gain healing knowledge. It is also viewed as a way to access information that is normally beyond the reach of the rational mind.

Diviners base their knowledge on communication with the spiritual forces, such as the ancestors, spirits and deities Olupona In view of this understanding, divination is, therefore, an integral part of an African traditional way of diagnosing diseases. Because of the revealing powers of divination, it is usually the first step in African traditional treatment and medicine Omonzejele Interviews and medical reports: Some of the traditional healers in Kumasi, Ghana, confirmed that they do sometimes interview their patients in order to find out the history behind the sickness, where they have been for treatment, and how long the person has been in that situation.

This approach informs them on how to handle the matter at hand. If the client is unable to speak, other family members speak on behalf of the sick person. Furthermore, some clients and practitioners of African tradition health care in Kumasi reported that some traditional healers do consider medical reports. Sometimes, after the healing process, they also advise their clients or patients to go for medical diagnoses to confirm that they are healed. These medical reports sometimes serve as a form of pride for the traditional healers and are a way of assuring other clients of their ability and credibility.

Healing process in the African traditional religion. In the traditional African healers' understanding, their healing process is holistic Thorpe This implies that the healer deals with the complete person and provides treatment for physical, psychological, spiritual and social symptoms. Traditional healers do not separate the natural from the spiritual, or the physical from the supernatural.

This will cause them to address health issues from two major perspectives - spiritual and physical. Spiritual-based cases are handled in the following manner:. Spiritual protection: If the diviner or the traditional healer perceives the cause of the disease to be an attack from evil spirits, the person would be protected by the use of a talisman, charm, moto [spiritually prepared black powder] for body marks, amulets, and a spiritual bath to drive the evil spirits away. These are rites aimed at driving off evil and dangerous powers, spirits or elements. Their function is to eliminate the evils or dangers that may have already taken root in a family or community Westerlund Sacrifices: Among the Ewes and some of the northern tribes in Ghana, sacrifices are sometimes offered at the request of the spirits, gods, and ancestors.

Sometimes animals are slaughtered or buried alive Olupona When it comes to the issue of death among the Ewes and some tribes in the northern region of Ghana, dogs or cats are sometimes buried alive at midnight to save the soul of the one at the point of death. Dogs and cats are used to replace the life of people, because they believe that the spirit of such animals is strong for that purpose. There is also the view that, because they are domestic animals and are very close to people, sometimes when they see that someone very close to them is about to die, they offer their lives for that person to live.

In such cases the animal would die mysteriously. This is therefore interpreted, '[ I ]t could be that someone was about to die and the animal took his or her place'. This is a common believe among the Ewes in Ghana. Sometimes rituals are performed in order to consecrate some herbs. Rituals constitute the way of consecrating African traditional medicine; medicine without consecration for Africans is meaningless.

Divine and ancestral sanctions are considered necessary before and during the preparation and application of medicine Idowu Spiritual cleansing: In some cases herbs are prepared for the person to bathe with at specific times for a number of days. Sometimes an animal can be slaughtered and the blood would be poured on the head and foot of the sick person; the blood poured on the sick person serves as a way of cleansing. This practice is common among the Ewes communities inGhana Westerlund Appeasing the gods: Interviews with some traditional priests diviners in Kumasi show that, in the case of diseases that are caused by an invocation of a curse or violation of taboos, the diviner appeases the ancestors, spirits or the gods.

This is done according to the severity of the case, by either sacrificing an animal or by pouring of libation. In many cases, the person would be told to buy the ritual articles for the process as mentioned by the gods or the spirits. Some of the ritual articles usually used for this purpose are spotless animals dove, cat, dog, goat, and fowl , schnapps, akpeteshie [traditional liquor], calico red, white or black and sometimes eggs and cola nuts. After the rituals, these articles are sometimes left at the required place to rot, or they are sometimes thrown into a river as required by the god or spirits.

They are at times placed on a four way junction or the outskirts of the community, depending on the purpose of the ritual Insoll Exorcism is usually performed by a person with special religious authority, such as a priest or shaman. The practice was common in ancient societies and was based on the practice of magic. Ancient Babylonian [civilisation], in what is now Iraq, had special priests who would destroy a clay or wax image of a demon in a ritual meant to destroy the actual demon. The ancient Egyptians and Greeks had similar rites.

Many religions in various parts of the world continue the practice of exorcism'. Encarta When it is perceived among the Ewes and some Akan tribes in Ghana that a sick person is possessed by an evil spirit, exorcism is practiced to deliver the person. It is mostly done with singing, drumming, dancing, the spraying of powder to the sky and on the possessed, and the use of abodua [animal tail] to drive away the evil spirit by touching the body of the possessed person several times with the abodua until the person is totally free.

In the process of the practice, you would see the possessed person rolling on the floor like someone under bondage looking for freedom. Once the spirit has been released, the person would become stable, mostly with a deep sense of relief. This practice is also performed for those who are mentally challenged. Many of the traditional communities in Ghana are of the view that mental illness is mostly caused by evil spirits. In their view, until the possessed person is delivered from the power of that evil spirit, the person will not have his or her freedom. Hence, the practice of exorcism is necessary.

This approach mentioned in this section is a common practice in the Tigari shrines in Ghana Avorgbedor Pouring of libation: Libation is a rite by which some liquid is poured on the ground or sometimes on objects followed by the chanting or reciting of words. According to the practitioners, it is a form of prayer. The liquid could be water, wine, whisky, schnapps or gin. Some cultures also use palm wine, palm oil, and coconut water Adjaye ; Van Dijk , 46, The Ga and Ewes of Ghana sometimes use corn flour mixed with water.

Libation pouring amongst the Akan communities in Ghana has three main parts, namely invocation, supplication and conclusion Kilson ; Sarpong ; Yanka :. In this process, the person pouring the libation would be pouring the drink or liquid on the ground as he is reciting the prayers. And those present would keep responding wio [amen] at the end of each sentence by the pourer. The following are some of the healing processes, when the case or sickness is deemed to have physical causes:. Prescription of herbs: Depending on the kind of disease the person has brought to the diviner or the traditional healer, he would prescribe herbs to the sick person.

These prescriptions come with some specific instructions on how to prepare the herb, the dose and timeframe Ayim-Aboagye ; Lartey Clay and herbs application: In some of the healing processes, the traditional healer would prepare white clay with some herbs for the sick person to apply on his or her body for a number of days.

This is mostly what is done for those with skin diseases. The theory behind this concept is taken from Genesis Their view is that the human body is made out of the dust or ground, therefore, if the body has any problem, you would have to go to where it came from to fix it. This could also be traced to John , and Mark , when Jesus Christ mixed his spit and clay for healing. The use of clay and herbs is also sometimes used for preventive rituals. There are special herbs for preventive rituals. When the sick person applies the herb and the clay on his or her body, it prevents the spirits behind the illness from attacking the patient.

Counselling: Sometimes, the sick person is advised on how to live his or her life, especially the kind of food the person should or should not eat.

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This is mostly done when it is an issue of a violation of a taboo. They are also advised to be of good behaviour should it be that it was discovered that the disease occurred as a result of impolite behaviour Sundermeier Good behaviour, according to African traditional belief, includes.

Failure to follow these behavioural guidelines often results in the good spirits withdrawing their blessing and protection [and, therefore, opening doors for illness, death, drought and other misfortunes 1 ]. According to Wiredu , among the Akan people of Ghana, African morality is based on human welfare, whereas Downess indicates that the African idea of morality is doing good to others and not evil. African notion and application of moral precepts have far-reaching implication on how African traditional medicine is practiced.

Adherence to moral precepts is an important and integral part of traditional health care in Africa and is subsumed in general African ethics. African traditional view about God in their healing process. African traditionalists believe that there is only one Supreme God Mbiti In spite of their view about God, they also believe in ancestral spirits, with the belief that they are all intertwined and are in constant relationship with living beings.

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These spirits demand worship and are said to possess supernatural powers with which they punish or reward their worshippers Sarpong According to Mbiti, the African traditional view about God is influenced by factors such as geographical location, culture, language, social and political factors. He further states that the indigenous names of God are always present in the worldviews of African people and have been passed down through generations by oral tradition. In his conclusion, he emphasised that there is therefore, no place for atheism or denial of God's existence in traditional African communities and that Africans are ontologically attached to God.

In African traditional practitioners' understanding, God is for everyone everywhere Mbiti However, God does his work through ancestral spirits and diviners Chavunduka This implies that God is the healer but works through mediums such as spirits, herbs and deities with the assistance of diviners or traditional healers Obinna The role of the diviner.

Diviners treat illnesses primarily through facilitating the direct intervention of the spiritual world Obinna If an illness is believed to be caused by inappropriate behaviour on the part of the patient, a remedy or cure for the illness can only come through spiritual intervention. They also play an intermediary role between the spirit and the physical world. In the light of this understanding, in some cultures they are called 'the eyes of the spirits'. Depending on the one using the term, they are also known as traditional healers, African traditional priests, and herbalists Sarpong They are believed to be the custodian of the theories of healing, and the hope of society.

They learn the cause, cure, and prevention of disease, misfortune, barenness, poor crop yield, magic, witchcraft, sorcery, and how to combat or even use them to treat his people. They also find the cause of illnesses as well as the perpetrator who sent it, diagnose the nature of the illness, apply the proper treatment, and prevent misfortune from happening again Sundermeier In summary, the role of a traditional healer is broader in some respects than that of a contemporary medical doctor.

The traditional healer advises their clients in all aspects of life, including physical, psychological, spiritual, moral, and sometimes legal matters. They also understand the significance of ancestral spirits and the concept of witches. As some medicine men attach the practice of their medicine to a tutelary spirit and magic, they are sometimes shunned by Christians.

The fact is that many of the types of medicine prescribed by African traditional healers, especially the herbal practitioners, have nothing to do with mystical powers. Advantages and disadvantages of African traditional medicine for healing process. Whatever choice you make in life comes with its own merits and demerits. The same applies to health care.

Whether one is using Western or traditional medicine to cure his or her disease, it comes with its own challenges. Currently, there are many Western drugs on the market which have several side effects, in spite of their scientific claims. This informs us that African traditional medicine or healing processes also has its own challenges.


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Discussions with some clients and practitioners of African traditional health care in Kumasi, Ghana, led to the following conclusion:. African traditional healing in the context of contemporary health care system. In the WHO gave formal recognition to the importance of the African traditional health care system and has encouraged African countries to make the practice more formalised to ensure quality and better service delivery Truter ; WHO According to the WHO :.

Because of the important role African traditional medicine has played and is playing in Africa and beyond, some countries and institutions of higher learning have put research into Plant Medicine and the training of traditional medical practitioners as part of their degree programmes. In order to ensure quality traditional herbal medicine in the market, the Akropong Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine was established.

Currently, in Ghana, some of the public hospitals have also opened centres for herbal medicine where people can access health care with the backing of the Ministry of Health of Ghana Ministry of Health Efforts are furthermore ongoing to develop a pharmacopoeia of traditional medicines Truter Some of the African herbs have been analysed in modern laboratories and certified to cure certain ailments.

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African herbs are also being dispensed in liquid, tablet or powder form in well packaged containers. Some traditional medicine-men are doing extensive research and coming up with new medicines Mumo Although not all African traditional healers are making use of the current scientific approach of preparing their medicines and healing processes, there is, however, the need for governments, ministries of health, Western medical practitioners, and traditional healers to come together for dialogue.

This will help to build trust, to educate one another through workshops, and to come to a consensus in addressing the health issues from a holistic and broader perspective. This would also encourage Western medical practitioners to refer patients that require spiritual attention to some of these traditional healers and vice versa. This dialogue will also help to ensure safety, quality and efficacy of traditional medicinal products, practices and to regulate practitioners. Long before the advent of Western medicine, Africans had their own way of dealing with diseases and it worked for them.

African traditional healers or diviners were intelligent enough to prescribe traditional solutions to diseases whether it had spiritual or physical causes with little or no side effect. When it is psychological, the person is sometimes counselled and is given the necessary attention.

Documented Miracles: Lie #8: “Miracles ceased with the apostles.”

In the light of this,. African traditional healing is intertwined with cultural and religious beliefs, and is holistic in nature. It does not focus only on the physical condition, but also on the psychological, spiritual and social aspects of individuals, families and communities. Truter Moreover, the reason why African traditional medicine is popular in Africa is because they are both available and cheap. Having said this, I wish to end with the statement: 'Don't be quick to judge, be ready to learn new things and make the right choices as it pleases your faith and conscience'.


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  7. Piper believes in justification by faith alone apart from works of man, [38] and his teachings emphasize the need for the active and inevitable perseverance of the believer in faith , sanctification , and enduring sufferings, which he believes is evidence of God's saving grace. According to Piper, a once-professing Christian who does not faithfully persevere until the end demonstrates that he was mistaken about his election and was never a true believer in the first place. Piper espouses a brand of creationism known as "historical creationism", and credits John Sailhamer 's book Genesis Unbound to explaining the view.

    And then you go day by day and he's preparing the land. He's not bringing new things into existence; he's preparing the land and causing things to grow and separating out water and earth. And then, when it's all set and prepared, he creates and puts man there. I'm inclined to not draw that too narrowly. Regarding spiritual gifts , Piper is a continuationist , however not in the classical Pentecostal sense.

    He does believe, however, that the office of apostle has ceased [46] and that the gift of prophecy in the church is not the same as the inspiration of scripture. Piper describes himself as an "optimistic premillennialist " [50] and holds a post-tribulation view of the second coming of Jesus and of the Rapture, which teaches that the Church will go through the Great Tribulation. Piper does not deny of the typical hermeneutical frameworks, but is furthest from dispensationalism , and closest to Covenant Theology , or a New Covenant theology in matters of the Law and covenants , but agrees with the dispensationalist belief that there will be a millennium.

    Piper teaches that God has only one covenant people, mostly believing Jews in the Old Testament , and now that people consists of all the followers of Christ , or the Church , whether Jew or Gentile. Piper also believes that all Christians, Jew or Gentile, will inherit the earth, including the land of Israel, when Christ sets up the millennial kingdom in the Second Coming. The complete text of most of Piper's books can be accessed free of charge at Desiring God.

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. John Piper. Chattanooga , Tennessee , US. Evangelicalism Reformed Baptism New Calvinism. Main article: Christian hedonism. Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist Multnomah, ; 2nd ed, ; 3rd ed, ; 4th ed [25th Anniversary], The Supremacy of God in Preaching Baker, , 2nd ed, The Pleasures of God Multnomah, ; Expanded edition, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Innkeeper Crossway, Seeing and Savoring Jesus Christ Crossway, , 2nd edition, What's the Difference?

    Crossway, Several chapters are available online for free. Beyond the Bounds co-editor Crossway, Don't Waste Your Life Crossway, The Prodigal's Sister Crossway, The Passion of Jesus Christ Crossway, Life As a Vapor Multnomah, Gresham Machen Crossway, Suffering and the Sovereignty of God Crossway, What Jesus Demands from the World Crossway, Wright Crossway Finally Alive - Christian Focus, March 20, Baker, Christian Post.

    Archived from the original on January 19, Retrieved March 31, Retrieved April 2, Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. Archived from the original on March 20, Retrieved February 21, Desiring God. August 26, Retrieved September 9, Christian Resource Library. Don't Waste Your Life. Retrieved November 2, Archived from the original on January 10,