Although charismatic and Pentecostal revivals have simmered down in the last few years, the recent establishment of “healing rooms” may have more staying power in this movement, according to sociologist Margaret Poloma.
Writing in the current issue of Pneuma (Vol. 28, No. 1), a journal of Pentecostal studies, Poloma notes that the idea of “healing rooms,“ existing often separately from churches, was originally a brainchild of Pentecostal pioneer John G. Lake and later revived by those associated with the Vineyard churches in the late 1990s. Since then, hundreds of healing rooms have been established throughout North America and overseas, usually under the oversight of the International Association of Healing Rooms (IAHR).
Healing rooms are often situated in medical/professional office buildings, as well as in churches and in independent “houses“ where the sick can come for healing on a regular basis. The rooms operate under the premise that healing is part of the message of Christian salvation, resonating with the “Word of Faith” movement among some charismatics.
But while the theology of the healing rooms does not disparage modern medicine (“pray-ers” are instructed not to give “pray-ees” medical advice), it does “express greater regard for divine power to heal than for the efficacy of medicine,” Poloma writes. She concludes that while charismatic and Pentecostal revivals often die down, “moving the practice of healing out of isolated churches and into the marketplace” may have given the healing rooms a structure less susceptible to the forces of routinization that have domesticated earlier healing movements.”
(Pneuma, P.O. Box 3002, Cleveland, TN 37320-3802)