From the July/August issue of The Pentecostal Testimony magazine. Dr. Randall Holm is associate professor of biblical studies and associate dean of student affairs at Providence College and Theological Seminary in Otterburne, Manitoba.
For some time now, medicine has made a distinction between disease and illness. Disease is an abnormality in bodily function caused by a specific agent, such as a bacterium or virus, while illness refers to the accompanying social, cultural, spiritual and emotional effects of the disease on the suffering individual.
Some theologians, such as Pentecostal scholar Amos Yong, have picked up on this distinction and submit that we should also distinguish between curing and healing. Curing, they say, addresses disease, and healing addresses illness. Writes Yong, “In relational perspective, healing takes place in community, sometimes including cures, but more often reconciling lives who were formerly strangers to one another.”