Book Review: A More Excellent Way To Be In Health

A More Excellent Way To Be In Health, by Henry W. Wright

I must admit that I was not very enthusiastic to read this book, at least in part from its giant size and the fact that it was given to me by someone with a strong interest and dogmatic thoughts on alternative health, which are always matters that tend to encourage my native wariness and skepticism. In many ways, this book more than justified my wariness—the author believes himself to be anointed of God, and that those with negative feelings about him, or other political and religious leaders, will not be healed, and his frequent use of the trademark for biblical phrases like “A More Excellent Way” and “Be In Health” signifies that he operates to make merchandise out of the gift of healing in the Holy Spirit. In addition, he focuses most of his attention on the supposed spiritual roots of illness, usually (but not always) disregarding environmental causes to illnesses by looking at spiritual causes, including the sins of one’s parents, especially the fathers. It might be uncharitable to suspect that the author had some sort of difficulty with his father, possibly an abusive one, but suffice it to say that after one reads the twentieth or so case where the author tries to diagnose the etiology of some sort of disease by connecting it to bitterness and anger over an abusive father, it is a bit tiresome to read, even if the author does have some promising lines of thought to reflect on. Nor is it surprising that the author chose to anticipate on a disease de jour, in this case Environmental Sensitivity, as a way of bankrolling his faith healing ministry.

What is surprising is that this book has anything to offer a reader at all. There are at least two areas where this book manages to provide its readers, or more hopefully, skimmers, with useful and thought-provoking material. One of them is the fact that the book makes a strong point that God can still heal today, even if many people no longer seem to expect Him to. Those readers who share the author’s intense skepticism about doctors and allopathic medicine will find much to appreciate here, even if the author is scarcely less kind on practitioners of alternative medicine, which he often equates with occult practices of Eastern religion. The other noteworthy point, and one I have seen in my own life and witnessed in others, is that many health problems, particularly of the low-grade or chronic kind, often result from relationship problems and the aftermath of traumas and difficulties. By pointing to the hypothalamus as being key in creating physical symptoms as a result of emotional and mental torment, the author appears to be onto something—that forgiveness and learning how to trust is key for physical health, and that the consequences of evil in our lives can be massive and profound, written in our very ailments. While this is not the most cheerful of thoughts, it is something worth pondering and bringing before God, at any rate, especially considering the fact that this author is the sort of person whose book appears likely to have brought him into substantial legal trouble, as the small disclaimer at the beginning and at other times is far outweighed by the mass of testimonials at the end of the book, taking up over 100 pages of material, that claim that the author and his ministry healed them of serious illnesses.

In terms of its contents, aside from the testimonials that take up about slightly more than a quarter of the book, there are some massively unbalanced chapters. The book opens with the author’s claim to have insight by contrasting God’s word with medicine and psychology, then looks at the spiritual root of disease in separation from God, from others, and from oneself. A short chapter on bitterness follows, and then the author has a somewhat lengthy chapter providing supposed insights into healing and prevention that range from theta brainwaves to fear and trauma and supposed open doors to spiritual influence. A short chapter discussing the 8 R’s to freedom (recognition, responsibility, repentance, renunciation, removal, resistance, rejoicing, and restoration, if one corrects them all to the same part of speech) follows, another short chapter on the fivefold ministry of the Holy Spirit, followed by a lengthy chapter on the physiology of stress and fear, an even longer chapter that looks at the etiology of disease in a few select roots, mostly the same ones over and over again, a lengthy chapter featuring 33 somewhat arbitrarily organized and repetitive blocks to healing, followed by some short closing remarks that amount to an altar call, and then a very short bibliography, a glossary of medical terms, and the book’s appendices. This is a book that could have used the strong hand of an editor to pare down its repetition, for though there is an editor, all he seems to do is add occasional notes without lopping and cropping to make this book more readable.

One of the more serious problems of this book is worthy of at least a little bit of explanation, as it is a problem that this author shares with many others. Despite having some insight, the author suffers from a strong rigidity in his mindset, and furthermore has an inability to separate his interpretation of a given scripture, which is uneven in terms of its validity and approach, from the reader or critic’s belief in the scriptures themselves. In many cases the author appropriates an individual blessing, like John’s blessing to Gaius in 3 John, as a universal blessing for all believers. Likewise, there are many cases where some may believe in a passage, and may even believe in part the author’s interpretation of a passage, or an overall feeling that God’s power to heal is not any shorter now than it has been in history, without following the author all the way. The author reads like someone who has a few worthwhile insights, mixed up with a lot of other wrong ideas, an overly inflated view of their own wisdom and discernment, and a tendency to extrapolate their insights far too broadly and exaggerate their degree far too much. This is a common error, however, so it behooves us to think and act differently ourselves so that we provide some room in discourse for our own humility, our own growth, and our own recognition that others who disagree with us in part may also agree with us in part, and that worthwhile discourse depends on the existence of common authority and interpretation, and that usually a joint recognition in our own personal authority is not what is held in common by ourselves and others whom we discuss. Sometimes in books, speaking less can be of much greater benefit than speaking more; certainly that is the case here.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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15 Responses to Book Review: A More Excellent Way To Be In Health

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  6. David Cohen says:

    Hi Nathan, (if you are still there)

    Thanks for your comments on the Henry Wright book – at least you read the book unlike some other skeptics who seemed to have an immediate aversion to the book/topic or the author. I think that is because the book is in basic disagreement with their theology, and then they essentially just want to promote or espouse or describe only their perspective on theology including what being healthy actually means. Well, I have read the book and I too found it some what disjointed and at times a bit of a shoe horn with the interpretation of the scriptures, and a little repetitive. Given however the number of positive outcomes and testimonies of individuals, it is difficult to reject the principles of what is being promoted. Jesus healed people and the Pharisees claimed He could only did so because He was the prince of the devils – dangerous ground. By their fruits you shall know them. I am also concerned when preachers/teachers suggest that certain passages of scripture were only for certain individuals or groups or periods of time. If we follow that line of thinking then there is probably 90% plus of the bible that does not apply to us in the 21st century but rather to some-one else. I suggest that the principles that are revealed in the Bible in God’s interaction and dealings with man can be applied and relied on today. For example, God instructed the Israelites to choose life, be obedient to His commandments, and in so doing they would be blessed. Does this principle apply to 21st century believers? Is there an expectation that we are obedient to God? Yes. Should we expect that God will reward us as a result, including good health – Yes. The opposite to obedience is dis-obedience which is sin – and this produces all manner of problems, I am sure you will agree. So – you may be able to disqualify my thoughts by counter principles, but a couple of questions to you. How many people have you seen healed and restored in their bodies in accordance with your theology on healing? I suspect we agree that God is a God of method and purpose and order (just look at creation – though that discourse was written by Moses for the Jews) and He reveals His will to us. If healing is a common event in your circle of influence, are you able to elaborate with us just how the Gift of healing operates? What are the circumstances? Are there any pre-requisites? Is there a process or protocol or methodology that could be considered where we would see the healings as often as were seen in the early church? Or is healing random – which is more an evolutionary perspective on events that happen in our lives. Would love to hear back from you. Regards David

    • David, thanks for your comments. Yes, I am still here and I’m glad you thought it a good thing that I read a book rather than being hostile to it from the start. I’m a bit puzzled as to why you ask me about the healing that results from my theology. I look at what the Bible says about health and do my best to live according to that. I have witnessed a few cases of dramatic healing as a result of living God’s ways, but my own personal theology of healing is complex. You seem to want a far simpler and more straightforward view. Certainly my view is far more complicated than can be stated profitably in the comment section of a blog entry.

  7. David Cohen says:

    Hi Nathan
    I am so glad you got back to me and we can continue this discussion.

    The reason I ask about your theology is because I often find that preachers/teachers/watchmen will often refute or reject a certain teaching based on their understanding of scripture (or the world we live in) but then do not provide what they believe is the correct scriptural approach. In addition they do not provide examples, especially in the case of Healing, as to how their theology holds true in practice. For example, Israel is often rejected as God’s chosen people and are considered to have been replaced by the western church. Yet here they are two thousand years later, a thriving democracy in a hostile region. Just luck/chance/coincidental or part of God’s plan? If you support replacement theology, I don’t believe the facts bear it out, where-as if you consider them as integral in God’s plan for the world, their very existence supports this notion.

    I work in an organisation that requires consultation with employee Unions. From time to time decisions are made that the Unions are in disagreement with, however when asked what they would like to see as an alternative, or what would be a fair compromise, there is no substitute provided by them. Their only response is “We disagree with your proposal.” Very difficult to come to a common understanding with anyone when their rationale is simply “I don’t like it” or “I disagree”.

    Hence, your theology in relation to healing and good health might be complex, but if it produces fruit then there must be some merit/truth in your approach. If your approach is bearing fruit, then I for one would love to know about it as I think we see far too little healing in the 21st century church, which I am sure you would agree. I would even go as far as to suggest that healing will become a differentiator when it comes to religions ie if we don’t see healing in Christianity then what makes our beliefs any more credible or significant to the population than any other religion? (cp Christ’s life with Pharisees) Regards David

    • I see what you’re getting at. I do not believe in replacement theology, and I do agree that we do not see as much healing in our present age as I think we ought to, even if the reasons for that are complicated. It is definitely a subject I want to write about at length on.

  8. David Cohen says:

    Thanks again Nathan for your response and your open-ness. I would be happy to liaise with you if you are going to write more on this subject. I have some experience in my own personal healing and have done a lot of reading, pondering and praying about this matter. If any easier you can contact me direct – Shalom David

  9. Sergey says:

    I personally has been twice through their program and read the book A More Excellent Way. I personally and my wife received physical healing by applying the principles they teach. I’ve seen people come to their program with dust masks on and wearing anti static clothing because of Environmental Illness they had (incurable according to medical community) and left wearing normal clothing without masks. I’ve been part of church all my life that believed in healing for today and had their main doctrines straight but I did not see much healing there.
    Not only I saw healing in others like never before but Be in Health ministry provided me with tools and knowledge for me and my family to walk out of the snare of the enemy spirit, soul, and body.

    BTW a More Excellent Way was written from a teaching that Dr. Henry Wright did before a book publishing representatives by request. This is why it’s not organized like other books that we used to.

  10. Sally says:

    I feel as though he is altering peoples minds and they are not getting the medical help that they might require.

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