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Graham Hill


exhortation.” Yet it cautions “against the misuse of the gift of speaking in ecstatic utterance. It is not a forbidden gift, but must be interpreted and done decently and in order.” Ishola regarded the affi rmations as indicative of a change in attitude. “The statement was a departure from the silence of the denomination since the emergence of the Pentecostal and Charismatic move- ments in Nigeria. The doctrinal expression was an admission of the presence of Pentecostal practices, but which must be handled biblically.” The statement was followed by books


written by Nigerian Baptist scholars and leaders examining the role and ministry of the Holy Spirit which, Ishola claimed, helped to change “the negative reactions of some older pastors to Charismatic or Pentecostal


tendencies its and practices.”


Younger people, he said, have been allowed to participate in the life of the church. In 1999 the NBC adopted the theme, “Come, Holy Spirit,” at meetings.


annual convention


Ishola claimed that “the subject of the Holy Spirit has ceased to be a source of controversy among Nigerian Baptists and particularly in regard to manifestation. In cases where there is excess, the


individuals or churches


involved have been biblically- counseled.”


Brian Talbot of Scotland poses a question


Conference on Theological Education in Jamaica. Hill explored the relationship between


healing and the atoning work of Christ. “The church needs to develop a broader understanding of healing and its relationship to our theology of the atonement,” said Hill. “While the atonement is primarily about cancellation of guilt, about God’s work in liberating individuals, the church, and the created order from guilt and sin,” it is also true that “our theology of the atonement can expand our understanding of the nature and scope of healing and its connections with the atonement, the incarnation, and the resurrection.”


. . . t he restoration of “peace,


freedom, and joy in the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of our lives”


of healing associated with the atonement in


sin, restoration of relationships, freedom from addictions,


[and]


There is the need “to explore the nature sense – liberation slavery


its broadest from rejection


of idolatries” as well as t he restoration of “peace, freedom, and joy in the emotional, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of our lives.” Healing in the present age is contingent


Healing and the H


Atoning Work of Christ ealing


has various physical, emotional, relational


dimensions, and


spiritual. But healing is also related to the atonement, said Graham Hill, senior lecturer in applied theology at Morling Baptist Theological College in Sydney, Australia, during the Baptist International


20 BAPTIST WORLD MAGAZINE


because “ultimate healing is in the Parousia, the second coming of Christ. For instance, while physical healing “is available to all through the atonement . . . it is not available to all in this present life. It is only guaranteed in the age to come,” Hill asserted. This realization should lead to caution on the level of emphasis placed on physical healing as proof of genuine faith. Hill related the crisis of faith he endured in his younger years as a member within a Pentecostal church when, despite earnest prayers and expressions of faith in physical healing, persons for whom prayers were offered ended up dying. “Some Pentecostal, neo- Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have attempted to explicitly link physical healing with the atonement,” Hill observed. “This theology has been felt in Evangelical, Free Church, and mainline Protestant circles also, especially in the majority world and among churches with charismatic leanings.” Greater emphasis, Hill concluded, should be placed on healing in the corporate and ethical life of the church, including in its public witness, service and its faithfulness in “pursuit of the healing mission of God.” Otniel Bunaciu of the Faculty of Baptist Theology at the University of Bucharest in


Romania, respondent to Hill’s presentation, acknowledged that “theological refl ection on the work of the Holy Spirit has lagged behind the interest in the work of the Father and the Son. Therefore the Spirit’s role in atone- ment has not been generally explored as much.” However, he noted that “healing is seen by some as a pointer to God’s in- breaking Kingdom,” a demonstration that “Jesus has overthrown evil and believers are healed from sin or their alienation from God.”


God, Bunaciu asserted, acts in freedom. “God who is free is able to break free from the context that oppresses and determines us.” Whatever God does is a “free event.” Because God is free and acts in freedom, there is the need for persons to move away from a “static understanding of God that has dominated theology, infl uenced by Greek philosophy.” Bunaciu conceded that this approach to theology “is appealing because it is an understanding of a God who provides stability in an unstable world.” He said “we need to start our thinking from God’s perspective rather than our own.


The Prosperity Gospel PROBLEM


Nigerian Baptist Convention, the prosperity gospel has infl uenced a large number of Christians across a broad section of the Christian faith. “It is obvious that prosperity teaching is a phenomenon that cuts across denominational barriers,” Ayegboyin said in his presentation at the 8th on


A Baptist International Conference


Theological Education. “Prosperity teaching can be found in varying degrees in mainstream Protestant, Pentecostal as well as Charismatic Churches.” Ayegboyin said “prosperity teaching had its roots in the United States [and] is now very popular in the South Atlantic, particularly in Africa.” He said many leaders within the prosperity gospel movement have their roots in evangelical churches and traditions, or were brought up under


ccording to Deji Ayegboyin, president and chief executiv e offi cer of the

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