Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Systematic Theology

First Advisor

Leopoldo A. Sánchez M.

Scripture References in this Resource

John 10:10; Exodus 3:5; John 4:14; Isaiah 38:21; Mark 2:5; Luke 4:18-19; Mark 3:10; Luke 17:14; Matthew 8:2-4; John 9:6-7; Mark 6:13; James 5:14-16; Luke 8:48; Luke 5:31; Colossians 4:14; Luke 13:4; Ephesians 1:14; 1 Corinthians 11:28; Matthew 12:39; Matthew 1:1-11; Genesis 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:26; Genesis 3:16-19; Luke 13:1-5; John 9:2; Numbers 12:1–6; 2 Samuel 12:18; 2 Kings 5:27; John 5:7; Psalm )4:12; 1 Timothy 5:23; Galatians 4:13-14; Job b.1:12; Romans 8:28; Mark 5:5; Mark 8:26; Matthew 17:15; Acts 19:16


A conversation with a parishioner, who left the church when her son was suffering from epilepsy and claims he could not be healed even after a series of prayers from her Lutheran pastor, revealed the extent of the influence of African Independent Churches (AICs) among members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Kenya (ELCK). Many people in Kenya who are suffering from chronic illnesses find it difficult to maintain their faith in such moments of crises and are tempted to seek quick remedies from AICs’ healers. These healers claim that salvation and the healing of the body are not separate realities. Indeed, in AICs bodily healing is a sure sign of salvation, and it is guaranteed in this life for those who truly believe. This thesis seeks to articulate clearly for congregants in the ELCK and others a holistic Lutheran approach to healing in relation to factors such as medical treatment and prayer for healing from demonic oppression, and how bodily healing is distinct from and linked to the forgiveness of sins as the effective spiritual antidote that heals persons from their sins and reconciles them to God. The thesis shows that healing encompasses the whole person, body and soul. Yet at the core of healing is the restoration between man and God through forgiveness of sins, which in this life may or may not be accompanied by bodily healing. However, care must be taken not to interpret lack of bodily healing or sickness as a sign of judgment for a specific sin. Moreover, prayers for healing and medical treatment must not be seen as antithetical in a holistic approach to healing. Finally, the thesis acknowledges the existence of the devil and demons, but also their limited power against the baptized when confronted in Christ. The thesis is the first Lutheran holistic approach to healing in response to the role of healing and the healer in AICs.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.