25/08/2007

Fear No Evil (by David Watson)

I had a lot of respect for David Watson, the British evangelist (and Anglican minister) who lost his fight with cancer in 1984. Hundreds of thousands of people were praying for him all over the world, and it was quite a shock when he suddenly went downhill rapidly in his last couple of months, as many expected him to be healed.

His book 'Fear no evil' was written in the last year of his life. It's an autobiographical account beginning with the day he learned of his illness. It began in a rather dramatic way, having to cancel speaking a major event in the USA (although he was able to find others to deputise for him) so that he could have an operation to remove a possibly malignant ulcer from his colon. The ulcer was removed, but in the process the doctors discovered an inoperable tumour on his liver, and gave him about a year to live.

Then began quite a battle, including some high-profile charismatic Christian leaders, including John Wimber, flying over to spend time with David and pray with him. They were all certain that he would be healed; his eventual death had quite an impact on their theology and later teaching about Christian healing.

I knew the story. It was top news in British Christian circles in the 1980s, so I knew what was going to happen in the book. But it was interesting to read from David Watson's own pen, as it were. He wrote very well, peppering his account with anecdotes, and also some relevant thoughts and principles. In his final year he felt challenged in many ways to re-think his priorities, and despite the illness he learned to be able to say, truly, that he was happy to 'go home' if that was what God wanted.

Worth reading for anyone wanting to know more about David Watson's last illness, or to read a positive and encouraging account of a fight with cancer, even though it didn't end in the way his family and friends hoped.

'Fear No Evil' is out of print in the USA as well as in the UK, but can easily be found second-hand.

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