The Spiritual Factor in Healing


Daniel E. Fountain, M.D.

WaterBrook Press, 1999, 265 pp.   ISBN 0-87788-321-1

Dr. Fountain served as a medical missionary in the Congo for 35 years.  He is the founder and former director of several health programs and a recognized authority on AIDS treatment.  While not included in these notes, his case histories provide the heart and soul for the contents.


This book is about diverse caregivers working as a team, including faith in Christ, to care for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.  (41)


“The medical profession has a major problem—I can say this because I am a physician.  We focus too much on the disease and ... we pay too little attention to the person....” (19)  “Healing has to do with the soul and spirit as well as with the body.”  “But seldom do we inquire about how you live or what your deep worries, fears, and stresses are.”  “So you—as a whole person—go away underevaluated and inadequately helped.” (20)


“The full meaning of salvation is to be made whole, to be saved from sin, sorrow, and sickness.  Jesus is our Healer as well as our Savior.” (21)


“We also have available to us another potent therapeutic resources: faith, specifically faith in Jesus Christ.”  “Spiritual resources can have physiological benefits, and faith is a major factor in health and in healing.” (22)


Key questions addressed in the book:

“1.  How do our emotions feelings, and beliefs—our inner self—affect our health?  2.  When illness comes, how can we mobilize mental, emotional, and spiritual resources to help our bodies cope?

3.  What can faith in Jesus Christ, together with the healing sciences, do to help us when we re ill?” (22-23)


“Modern medicine has become mechanical, technical, and compartmentalized.” (26)  “We health professionals are trained to consider the person as a biological and physical being.” (27)


“What did Jesus mean when he said to a sick person, ‘Your faith has made you whole’?” (30)


In Africa, “It took years for me to learn that behind almost every case of ‘gastritis’ was chronic anger, worry, fear, a broken relationship, or serious grief.” (32)


“I was supposed to be a physician, to be a healer, but I felt more like Mr. Fix-it.” (33)


“A disease is a particular condition that upsets the well-functioning equilibrium of a person.”  Illness on the other hand has to do with the person.  Illness is all the uncomfortable, disturbing things that happen to and within a person when a disease is present.” “Curing has to do with disease.  Healing has to do with illness.  While curing means getting rid of the disease, healing restores the person to health.” (38)


“When the healing of heart, mind, and spirit occur, even so-called incurable diseases may diminish and sometimes even disappear.” (39)


“We want to bring together the curing of disease and the healing of persons.  We want to care for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.” (39)


Neglect of spiritual resources is a great block to comprehensive healing.  Faith, an intangible ingredient of the heart, is an essential healing ingredient.  “The power of Jesus to heal is a real power, and it is outside the human psyche.”  (40-41)


“We diverse caregivers need to come together and work as a team.  If we then bring faith in Christ into our practices, we will be bringing together what is necessary to care for the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.  That is what this book is about.” (41)


“Social healing is as important as any other aspect of our restoration....”  “Human life is relationships.  The Christian life is right relationships.  True healing restores hurting or broken relationships....” (49)


“Words have power.  They can heal, build up, and strengthen us.  Or they can inflict pain, provoke illness, and even destroy life.” (52)


“...our lifestyle affects our health. Lifestyle problems can even produce physical disease of the body....  Furthermore, dealing with lifestyle problems openly, realistically, and with the help of God can be a crucial part of healing, even the physical healing of diseases.”  (58)


“The healing of the heart, mind, and spirit creates a favorable environment in which the body can respond to the challenges of the disease process.” (58)


Terminology.  The body is the physical area of life. Soul embraces both mind and the affect.  The spirit is the center of personality that seeks meaning and purpose.  “The Bible often combines the concepts of soul and spirit in one term, the heart.”  Heart refers to our nonmaterial inner self.  “The Bible says, ‘Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life’ (Proverbs 4:23, NIV).” (65-6)


“Each of us needs healing because the image of God within us has been marred.” (67)


“The two most exciting adventures of life are these:

·        to permit God to work in our life toward the restoration of his image in us

·        to permit God to work through us to help restore his image in other people”


“To be healed means much more than to be cured of a disease.  When we are healed, we are restored as people in whom God’s image is being renewed.” (70)


“Our bodies are well-equipped to handle sudden episodes of stress such as fear and anger.  However, we are not well equipped to handle long-term, smoldering stress, physical or psychological.” Chronic stress of all sorts can be harmful to our health whether they are external or internal, clear down in the subconscious. (74)


Positive, constructive, and pleasant emotions have beneficial effects and tend to promote health and disease resistance. (75)


We can play an active role in how we respond to what happens to us, exercising a certain measure of control over what goes on in the chemistry of our bodies. (75)


“It appears that the heart actually rules over the body.  How we think, how we feel, and how we look at life strongly influence our bodies.” (76)  “Positive emotions tend to strengthen the immune system....  On the other hand, fear, anger, hatred, and other negative emotions tend to depress the immune system.” (77)


“Antibiotics help us fight infections, but they do not cure us.  We are cured by our own immune system....”  (82)


“The heart ... is the center of our life and determines who we are, what we do, and how we live in this world.  It has an immense influence on our health.” (83)


“Every event that has ever occurred in our lives, from the day we were born until this present moment, is recorded in the memory and stored in the subconscious mind.”  “The vast bulk of our memories is lost to recall...”  “Memories from infancy and early childhood and a multitude of memories during our growing-up years are among those lost to recall.”  Every memory, retrievable or not, continues to influence what goes on in our minds..., possible even perceptions ‘in utero.’ (92-3)


The door to our spiritual environment opens from the inside.  Prayer to God is communication through this door. “We must guard this door closely, for our relation with the spiritual world strongly influences our spiritual, psychological, and even physical health.” (95)


“Guarding the heart is essential for our health.  What we allow to enter our mind and heart will be a part of our personality for the remainder of our lives and can affect us for good or for ill.”  (96)


“We sinned (and continue to sin) out of our choice to live independently of the God who made us.”  We reject our relationship with God.  “We are free to make choices, but we are not free to choose the consequences of those choices.” (101)


“In a very general sense...sin introduced disorder, disease, and death into human life.”  “Sin is vastly more than just a psychological problem.  It is a potent spiritual power in the world.  Hatred is real and destructive.” “Hatred takes hold of a person’s psyche, and that hold is immensely powerful and real.  It requires a greater power to overcome it, and that power has come from Jesus Christ.” (104-5)


“Retained anger, envy, jealousy, and hatred for another person are sinful emotions.”  “The sin of an unforgiving spirit is extremely dangerous for our physical health.”  “Greed and covetousness are sinful and can be very deleterious to health.” (112-13)


“Of the Ten Commandments, the first commandment—‘Worship no god but me’ (Exodus 20:30)—is the most important one for our psychological and physical health.” (114)


“For adequate healing to take place, the many factors involved in a particular illness-physical, social, emotional, and spiritual—need to be addressed effectively and in concert.” (116)


“The Old Testament says that by the wounds of Christ we are healed.” (117) “Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to bind up their wounds (Psalm 147:3).” (118) 


“Obedience to him and to his laws leads to life and peace.  Disobedience, however, leads to the multitude of problems from which the people of the word suffer.”  “When we disobey God’s laws, we suffer, because that is the way God has made the world.” (120)


“Salvation is the beginning of a new life and journey.  But in the course of this journey there must be ongoing cleansing of our lives, because bitterness in its many forms creeps into us every day.  Only the blood of Christ can purify our hearts.” (125)


“‘Christ himself carried our sins in his body to the cross.’ (I Peter 2:24).”  “The intensity of Jesus’ suffering on the cross is beyond our comprehension. The physical suffering itself is frightful, but Jesus suffered in his spirit far more than in his body.”  “When he died, our sin died with him.” (128-29)  “His blood can heal our hearts of the pain that sin has caused.  This healing brings the inner peace that strengthens our bodies.” (130)


“Jesus heals in a second way.  He heals by his own presence in our hearts.” (131)


A relationship with Jesus gives new meaning to life, provides a reason to live, and brings freedom from fear.  “When Jesus comes into the heart of a person, he is really there.  Jesus is a powerful presence and a protective shield.” (132-35)


“The root of sinful deceit goes so deep into our thoughts and imaginations that we are blind to our own condition.  Self-deception makes true self-knowledge impossible.”  “The heart can never be completely healed in this life.  Sin and disorder are too deeply imbedded in the psyche of all of us.  The good news is that much can be healed.” (138)


“David Belgum believes that up to 75 percent of people in hospitals with physical illnesses have sicknesses rooted in emotional causes.  These patients are punishing themselves with their illness....” (142)


“Forgiveness simply means releasing the offending person or persons to Jesus and refusing to condemn them any longer.”  “But if I do not forgive, I am the one who suffers.” (146)


“Divorce is one of the most illness-producing events in human life.” (146)


“The battle to protect the sexual health of people requires more than physical technology, social activities, and educational campaigns.  It must involve combat against the pervasive spirit of immorality that has influenced all parts of the world and every aspect of society.” (167)


“There is no more powerful therapy for depression than the presence of the living Jesus in the depths of a broken heart.  When a depressed person can say in his heart, ‘Jesus, I love you,’ healing can begin.” (171)


“I cannot forgive another person’s sin or sins.” “What we can do, however, is to help a person identify the sin or sins that need to be confessed to Jesus.  This requires much gentleness, tact, and compassion.  It is best done by careful questioning and by using Scripture, remembering that it is only the sick person who can make this confession and only Jesus who can forgive.” (179)


“Illness, whatever its nature, can be a marvelous school, an opportunity to learn new things about life, about self, and about the world.” (181)


“A compassionate caring community has great therapeutic power.”  (182)


“Praise is good for our health!” (183)


“When the heart accepts victim status, it will send doleful messages to the body’s defense systems, which will then, at best, engage only in a holding operation.  But if the heart can say, ‘I wish this hadn’t happened to me, but it has.  Now what can I do to make something good out of it?’ this sends a different message to the body’s systems: ‘Mobilize!’” (191)


“The best medicine in the world...is water.”  Six to 10 glasses of water a day is minimal for healthy inner equilibrium. (193)


“Healing has three sides: it involves us, a whole spectrum of caregivers, and God.” (197)


“When I am ill, I must be involved in my own healing.  This requires

·        the will to live

·        a decision to do what needs to be done

·        the courage to act and to be persistent” (197)

God is the Healer.  “Failure to bring the spiritual factor into the healing process renders the recovery incomplete, for the spirit is not restored.  Soul and body try to cope alone with the illness without the benefit either of one’s own spirit or the healing resources of God.” (198)


“‘A merry heart doeth good like a medicine’ (Proverbs 17:22, KJV).  In modern terms, laughter and joy strengthen the immune system.” (201)


“The prayer of release is a powerful prayer.  I say to God: ‘You are in charge.  Tell me what, if anything, you want me to do.  But I am giving this situation into your hands to accomplish what I believe is a good plan, even though at the moment I do not understand it.” (204)


“When we are ill, we must ask ourselves some tough but very important questions: Is it possible that, in one way or another I am responsible, at least in part, for my illness?  What’s more, am I putting obstacles in the way of my recovery?” (205)


“The fervent prayer of those who live in a close relationship with God can act as a pathway for God to work in effective ways.” (208)


“In times of great difficulty what we seek most is hope.” (215)  “An essential part of hope is the ability to see a meaning or purpose in life.” (218)


“A disease, disaster, or accident may indeed seem senseless.  Nevertheless, can we give it a meaning?  Can we find a purpose in it and make it do something good for us?” (219)


“So when an illness or a disaster does come, I would encourage you to go to God, to ply him with questions, and to wrestle with him about the answers.  This is how our faith grows, and it is how we gain wisdom.” (220)


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