Threat to society
Healing: faith or fake?
Excerpted from The Why Files: Are There Really Ghosts?.
Jeeeee-sus doesn't want you sick!" The TV evangelist
nearly pokes his index finger through the camera lens.
"When the devil comes to your door with disease, you
just reeeee-buke him in the name of Jeeeee-sus and the foul
spirits will fa-leeeee!"
The theme music begins to play as the camera moves in
for a close-up. "So, fa-riends, if you want to be free from
each and every illness, write today. And for a donation of
just twenty dollars, I'll send you my latest book . . ."
I quickly change the channel and reach for another glass
of orange juice and a handful of tissues. I wish getting
over a cold was as simple as commanding, "Come out, foul
spirits of post-nasal drip!"
As I study God's Word, I am compelled to believe in
"[The Lord] forgives all your sins and heals
all your diseases" (Psalm 103:3).
Christ "bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that
we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his
wounds you have been healed" (1 Peter 2:24).
But as I study God's Word, I also become more and more
suspicious of some faith healers' messages and methods.
1. I'm suspicious of those who are constantly casting out
demons of asthma, blindness, cancer, diabetes, and the rest
of the anatomical alphabet.
Romans 8:20-21 clearly points out that illness
in general is a result of the fall and the human sin
condition. But Matthew 4:24, 10:1, and 10:8 reveal that
individual illnesses are not satanically inspired. The
disciple makes a clear distinction between diseases and demon
2. I'm suspicious of those who promise healing for every disease.
The Apostle Paul definitely had the gift of healing.
Acts 19 records that "God did extraordinary miracles through
Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched
him were taken to the sick, and their illness were cured and
the evil spirits left them." Acts 20 tell us he even raised
But even with this impressive record, God did not always
answer Paul's prayers for physical healing. The apostle
advised Timothy, "Stop drinking only water, and use a little
wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses" (1
Timothy 5:23, italics mine).
In 2 Timothy 4:20 we read that Paul "left Trophimus sick
in Miletus." And his three prayers for his "thorn in the
flesh" were not answered with physical healing (2 Corinthians
3. I'm suspicious of those who make healing the focus of
their public ministry.
Thirty-seven accounts of healing are detailed in the
Gospels and Acts. Only ten occurred with a crowd present.
Twelve occurred in small groups and fifteen in private settings.
Rarely today do we hear Christ's admonition to the
healed, "Don't tell anyone!" Instead, we have weekly
television programs featuring healing services, and monthly
mailings with a plague of pictures of the "healer."
Genuine healers will be more concerned about God's kingdom being built up than their own.
Moses' leprous hand was healed, not to impress the
Egyptians, but ". . . so that they may believe that the Lord
. . . has appeared to you" (Exodus 4:5).
Jesus says, "Even though you don't believe me, believe
the miracles, that you may learn and understand that the
Father is me, and I in the Father" (John 10:38).
The Apostle John writes that the purpose of miracles is
"that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of
God, and that by believing you may have life in his name"
If my healing will draw attention to God and advance His
kingdom, then He will heal me. But if, like Paul, God can be
glorified in me through emotional and spiritual--but not
bodily--healing, He may choose not to heal me physically.
Regardless, it is His kingdom's advancement that must be the
4. I'm suspicious of those who use healing as a fund raiser.
There is not one account in the Gospels or the book of
Acts of any money being exchanged or donated during a
Instead, when Simon, a recent convert and ex-sorcerer,
asked to "buy" the Holy Spirit's power to work miracles,
Peter shouts, "May you money perish with you, because you
thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have
no part or share in this ministry, because your heart is not
right before God" (Acts 8:20-21).
Yet, recently, a famous faith healer boasted of making
five million dollars annually from his healing "ministry."
Very different from Peter and John, who had no "silver or
gold," when they healed the man crippled from birth (Acts
5. Finally, I'm suspicious of those who belittle medical
God has given us wisdom to understand these "fearfully
and wonderfully made" bodies. And it behooves us to treat
our bodies well with the medical knowledge our world
possess and to take advantage of the medical treatments
available to us.
And if we have been supernaturally healed, it can be
humanly verified. Often, when Jesus healed leprosy and other
diseases, he ordered them to go the priests--which served as
the public health officers of the day--to have the healing
And, so if you believe you have been healed, do not make
any changes in your activities or medications until a doctor
can verify the healing. Unfortunately, there are tales of
diabetics who felt they were delivered, ate a chocolate cake
to celebrate their "miracle," and immediately went into a
near-fatal insulin coma.
In conclusion, there are faith healers and there are fake healers.
Some "heal" actors from the audience. Some have mastered psychological
techniques to make people believe they have been healed.
Others use the victim's normal remission of disease as
"proof" of their healing powers. Some may even perform real
miracles using Satanic power. Matthew 24:24 warns that
"false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform
great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that
But the Holy Spirit will help us discern those who are
using human or Satanic powers to accomplish "healings" with two simple questions.
(1) Who's getting the blame for the illness? If
"demons" are the only cause the "healer" accepts, he or she
is probably not legitimate.
(2) Who's getting the credit for the healing? From the
infertile, ninety-year-old Sarah giving birth to Issac to the
dead who are raised in the book of Revelation, God and His
power is the focus. Not the "healer" or the "healed."
We do serve a God who continues to perform miracles.
And my cold? It's much better, thank you.
(c) James N. Watkins
I read your article re faith healers & I agree some are not the real deal but I have to
disagree with your statement that Jesus does not heal all who come to him. You
cannot have salvation for the sole & salvation of the body seperate. You cannot have
one & not the other.
Show me one section in the bible where Jesus refused to heal anyone. The only time
he did not heal anyone wwere some people from his home town. Jesus wanted to heal
them but they did not believe.
You quote certain sections of scripture the most obvious is the Thorn in Pauls flesh. I
will shoot your theory down very quickly. The term thorn in the flesh is not a disease
but the messenger of Satan Ie people persicuting him. Now to prove this you must
read the old testament where the term in the flesh is used at least three times. Read
the folloing ie Numbers 33:55, Judges 2:3, & Joshue 12:12-13.
Please do not undermine Jesus's ministry & do not weaken his power.
Also another tip. Read the Abrahamic covenant & you will see that most of the
promises relates to us Gentiles as well & Jesus refers to it in the New testament.
It is this lukewarm approach to Jesus's miracles that result in fewer miracles
Believe in the word of god & please before you write such articles do your research
One of Jesus's strongest believers email@example.com
Thanks for writing. While I firmly disagree with your interpretation of Scripture (see What does the Bible really say?), I don't want to argue. Rather, I'd like to let my friend Chris Maxwell respond. He is a godly pastor who had a severe brain seizure. While he is filled with faith and the Spirit, and has had the elders anoint him for healing, he is still not physically healed. But Jesus has certainly healed his spirit. He writes:
I can read notes from my friend, teacher and therapist, the Apostle Paul, who confessed an illness in a way that appears to be a positive confession, an announcement of victory through an illness not just once the disability disappears. I also notice stories about a midnight blessing causing a lifetime limp, Billy Graham's attitude while battling Parkinson, Joni's voice while singing her way to victory amid her ongoing battle, and many others who know it is okay to admit weakness while believing God's strength is made perfect in our weaknesses.
When I write about my seizures and my brain damage, I feel like David confessing releases of poetic prayers. It also helps me defeat the fear of any Goliath, any disability's side-effect, any view of a famous leader who might blame my illness on a lack of faith. I blame it on living life in a fallen world where the second law of thermodynamics fits Christians and non-Christians both. My confession is very positive, holding on to the belief that God's strength is made perfect in my weakness. And, because I struggle to spell since my left temporal lobe was damaged, I'll spell "faith" this way: "I'm not alone."
These days I love knowing my Father is with me in my ongoing storm.
Read his powerful testimony in Christianity Today
Though I agree with some of your observations, I cannot agree with your emphatic statement that demons are never the cause of disease.
In contradistinction to your observations I find that at times there is a direct link to disease and demonic activity:
Then was brought unto him one possessed with a devil, blind, and dumb: and he healed him, insomuch that the
blind and dumb both spake and saw.
And all the people were amazed, and said, Is not this the son of David?
But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow doth not cast out devils, but by
Beelzebub the prince of the devils
(Matt 12:22-24 KJV).
Casting out devils in verse 24 is equated with the healing in vs 23
As they went out, behold, they brought to him a dumb man possessed with a devil.
And when the devil was cast out, the dumb spake: and the multitudes marvelled, saying, It was never so seen
in Israel (Matt 9:32-33 KJV).
Seems to be a direct linkage here to the devil being cast out and the healing of the mute.
. . . how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with him
(Acts 10:38 NIV).
Healing and exorcism are again linked here in Acts 10. firstname.lastname@example.org (May 2010)
Thanks so much for your email. I'm not sure, however, there is a "direct linkage" between disease and demonic
activity. I certainly believe in demonic activitiy (click here for book excerpt).
In the specific cases you mention, I believe the physical manifestations were the result of demonic
possession, but I would not say that allor even a fractionof the blind, mute or mentally ill are
afflicted by demons. That's my issue with so-called "faith healers" who attribute all physical and mental
illness to demons. I have too many Godly friends (see above) who are suffering with cancer,
depression, etc., to believe their maladies are the result of demons. (Although
Satan certainly will attack believers at their points of weakness.)
I think there's a delicate balance between believing in demons and attributing too much power and influence to them.
Thanks for helping me clarify that!
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