Blue, Ken. Authority to Heal. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1987.
Dr. Ken Blue is the founder of Good News to the Poor, an organization that seeks to take the grace message and charismatic ministry to “the poor” in social-economic and spiritually poor places worldwide. He served as a missionary to Communist East Europe, where he was imprisoned, presumably for preaching the Gospel. He and his wife have started churches in Canada and the U.S. He does consulting work for businesses using Biblical principles of leadership. He also was a five-time All-American swimmer and selected to be part of the 1968 U.S. Olympic Training Team.
Blue earned a Doctorate of Ministry in Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary, a Masters degree in Christian Studies at Regent College, and a B.A. in Communications from Cal State Hayward. He has authored and co-authored others books, including Healing the Wounded and Healing Spiritual Abuse. Additionally, he developed training courses for businesses.
Authority to Heal seeks to provide answers to questions concerning divine healing and establish a Biblical model for ministering to the sick. The book is divided into three sections (1) Clearing the Ground of Theological Hindrances, (2) The Kingdom of God and the Fight to Heal, and (3) Beginning a Healing Ministry. Each of the three sections has distinct purposes.
The first section, “Clearing the Ground of Theological Hindrances,” seeks to remove the “weeds before planting the seeds.” By this, Blue addresses errors that hinder the divine healing ministry. There are four particular “weeds” Blue addresses. The first is “sanctification through sickness,” which believes that sickness increases sanctification in a person. The second is “Divine Determinism,” the belief that God causes all things, including sickness. The third is the “Faith Formula,” which says that faith is a strict causality of all healing and can be used as a technique to manipulate the power of God. The fourth is “The Secular World View,” which deals with the secular worldview that denies the supernatural, miraculous healing.
The second section, “The Kingdom of God and the Fight to Heal,” presents the theological foundation for divine healing. Blue establishes five significant issues surrounding the doctrine of divine healing. The first issue examined that supports divine healing is that God loves people and desires to heal their sickness in all areas, spiritual, psychological, and physical. The second issue for divine healing is that healing is a manifestation of the Kingdom of God overcoming the kingdom of Satan. The third issue concerning divine healing is that it is a fight and must be viewed as such. The fourth issue of divine healing is the importance of faith, not as the only cause-and-effect of divine healing. Still, that faith is significant and even determinative in some of the Gospel narratives. The fifth issue of divine healing is that Christians can expect to receive manifestations in the present and the future. He uses the “now and not yet” terminology.
The third section of the book, “Beginning a Healing Ministry,” establishes a Biblical model for ministering to the sick. Blue gives four considerations when beginning a healing ministry. The first consideration is understanding many models are effective when ministering to the sick. He next presents five steps in his ministry model. These steps are (1) interviewing, (2) choosing a prayer strategy, (3) praying for specific results, (4) assessing the results, and (5) giving post prayer direction. The next consideration in developing a healing ministry is to address the whole person: spirit, soul, and body (I Thess. 5:23). Finally, he presents the notion that Christians must obey the command to heal the sick and walk in authority.
The uniqueness of this book is its presupposition that God intervenes on behalf of sick people with healing. Yet, this presumption is not in the vein of many contemporary “word of faith” preachers. Blue even allows for mystery and a “now and not yet” version of attainment of healing.
Blue tackles the issue of the sovereignty of God with an outstanding balance in his use of the Bible and logic. He brings out some crucial points of the pastoral problems with the teaching that everything that happens, including sickness and death, is de facto God’s direct activity. He reveals that many situations are not a result of God’s Will but man’s choices. He even points to scriptures from Apostles Paul and Peter that indicate God’s Will for all to be saved, yet most will not (1 Tim. 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 respectively). Yet, he does not in any way take away from the fact that God is sovereign. The book does not glibly approach the subject with simple answers to difficult situations. Blue even points out that God’s sovereignty does not cause sickness, but He does work within sickness.
Blue bravely tackles the sticky issue of faith when it comes to being healed of sickness. He cleverly calls out particular faith preachers within his discussions of faith without actually mentioning their names but does give titles of their messages. This reviewer laughed when one particular title was mentioned associated with a particular hero of the faith. Yet in Blue’s correction, he does give the most “faith preachers” the designation of being closer to the truth than others. While he says that a “faith formula” is not appropriate, he emphatically teaches that faith is vital when receiving healing. As stated before, Blue says that the Gospel narratives even point out that faith is often determinative.
Blue effectively points out that although healing is God’s Will, it is also part of a fight. He says that this fight results from God sovereignly giving freedom of choice and therefore allowing for its consequences. Man’s freedom resulted in sin, which allowed for sickness. So God works within the framework He set up to undo the results of sin. As it relates to healing, Jesus’ death and resurrection defeated Satan. The book makes a point that the crucifixion determined the result, but the war still continues. This is compared to human wars where the fighting continued after the result had been resolved, as in D-day. Although Satan is stripped of his authority, temporarily, he still has an ability that will be stripped from him at the end of this age.
This book lays out the theological issue of obedience concerning the healing ministry. Very few Christians would look at the healing ministry as a point of obeying God. Blue poignantly presents the reality that many churches believe in healing yet do not practice a healing ministry. He tells a moving story of a young single mother who prays for the sick as a response to what Jesus Christ has done in her life.
A strength of the book is its commitment to giving more weight to Scriptural truths than to personal experiences. “When we want to understand God’s will, we should not try to deduce it from the circumstances of a fallen world. Neither should we form an abstract concept of God’s will from a non-biblical notion of divine sovereignty. Rather, we should look at Jesus, who is the explicit declaration of God’s will.” (Ken Blue. Authority to Heal (Kindle Locations 308-310). Another strength is Blue’s ability to point out the mystery surrounding healing. No one has all the answers, and no guilt should be put upon a person who deals with sickness. Arguably the greatest strength of the book is the five-step model of a healing ministry. Blue gives a willing participant the framework to begin a healing ministry.
The only weakness this reviewer sees is that there could be a more emphatic presentation of the alternative positions of his presuppositions. Calvinists are sure to have emphatic rebuttals. Blue’s bias is unashamedly presented. It does also seem that some of the points are underdeveloped.
Authority to Heal should be required reading for all who want to participate in the healing ministry. This book teaches a proper and balanced doctrine on the theology and practice of divine healing. More books need to approach the subject of divine healing like this one. Dr. Blue’s book presents divine healing as an effective evangelism tool that can be used to reach a spiritually hurting world.