African Images of Christ: “Jesus as Healer”: Narratives and Treatable but as Yet Incurable Illness

T. Soko de Jong

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter Academicpeer-review


    One important African image of Christ is “Jesus as Healer.” There have been many studies on suffering and the prosperity gospel as they relate to faith and healing. Very little research, however, has been done concerning treatable but as yet incurable diseases. This paper focuses on narratives of “Jesus as Healer” from the perspective of faith communities responding to the question: “How do you understand ‘Jesus as Healer’ in situations of living with treatable but not yet curable illness?” I highlight some Pentecostal and Baptist insights that have so far emerged from my ongoing field research in Blantyre, Malawi. The empirical data reveals that images of Jesus as Healer in this liminal space (in which people whose conditions do not yet have a cure rely on biomedical treatment to sustain their health) are diverse even within communities of the same denomination. In this paper, I focus on three respondents whose experiences overlapped. They described God’s sovereign will, how the Bible records stories of both healing and nonhealing, and how the healing goes beyond the physical to encompass the whole being. Their responses reflect their personal spiritual experiences, medical knowledge, exposure to chronic illness, and theologies that may not always necessarily fit (nor contradict) a denominational narrative, but add nuance and fresh perspectives. I will discuss the data using the tcheni pa kalanka (orthodoxy in context) ethos, which I am using in my ongoing research. Finally, the paper concludes with some ways the knowledge gained through this study contributes to ongoing theological conversations about “Jesus as Healer.”
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWho do you say I am
    Subtitle of host publicationChristology in Africa
    EditorsRodney L. Reed, David K. Ngaruiya
    Place of PublicationCarlisle
    Publisher Langham Global Library
    Number of pages13
    ISBN (Print)9781839735325
    Publication statusPublished - 2021
    EventAfrican Images of Christ: “Jesus as Healer” Narratives and Treatable but as Yet Incurable Illness
    : African Society of Evangelical Theology Conference "Who do You say that I am?", Christology in Africa
    - Africa International University, Karen Campus, Nairobi, Kenya
    Duration: 6 Mar 20207 Mar 2020


    ConferenceAfrican Images of Christ: “Jesus as Healer” Narratives and Treatable but as Yet Incurable Illness
    Abbreviated title"Jesus as Healer" Narratives


    • African images of Christ, Jesus as Healer, narratives of health, Malawi, liminality

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