snake oil vs. faith healing

When, if ever are christians responsible for the false hopes they bestow upon people? Is it not wrong to manipulate ones faith?

I grew up in a charismatic church that believed in the power of God’s healing. Many people have forgone medical attention to have hands laid on them and to be anointed with oil in hopes of devine healing. Growing up I never once doubted God’s ability to heal someone, and to be honest I still don’t.

I could get into the argument of common sense vesus faith, but I don’t feel I need to state that in too much detail here. So briefly I’ll break down what I mean. Let’s say you get your hand lopped off by a chain saw. Common sense would say, put that thing on ice and get to the ER. Do not on the other hand just ask people to pray for it and hope for the best. I am aware that the bible instructs us to pray for those in need of healing, and I in no way am trying to negate God’s will to do what he see’s fit.

As I watched these videos below my heart went out to  these people, especially the man whose young daughter was born with some organs on the outside of her little body. You can just see the pain in his eyes and the love he has for his daughter. And you just know he’d stop at nothing to make her whole again.

So this brings me to my point. Let’s say years later, this young girl is now an adult. No healing ever took place and she still struggles on a constant basis. Her father has long lost faith in the healing God he once believed in. Who knows, maybe he has chosen to not believe in God at all. Because how could a loving God let his little girl suffer for all these years. You could argue that his faith was not strong enough or that this was something God wanted his daughter to go through as a testimony to her strength and faith in God. But would that change the betrayal he feels?

As Christians are we selling a bill of goods? If we can’t guarantee something will happen should we be telling others that it will? I believe that is what’s happening in the below videos. The boy with Spina Bifida in tears wanting to believe he is healed so badly. Is it not our own selfishness to want to tell him he is healed? Because that’d make us look and feel good. It seems wrong to toy with someones life in such a way.

Yes, it is good to have faith and encourage and pray for those in need of healing, but to give them a false hope just seems cruel to me. To tell others of God’s promises is one thing, but to proclaim you know the works he is doing someone else’s life is a whole different situation.

It seems to me like these faith healers just want to make a name for themselves and use the promise of God’s healing for  their own personal and monetary benefit. Please feel free to share your own thoughts on this? Am I way off base?

Comments

  1. jeff says:

    Eric,

    It wasn’t until just a few months ago that I really started to think about this. When my dad had cancer I never understood his response to those who wanted to pray for him or wanted him to go be prayed for. I remember a few times even I encouraged him to “get in while the waters were troubled”. His answer to everyone was this, “if it makes you feel better to pray for me then go ahead. I believe that the good lord is and has done a work in me and if he chooses to take me home or take away this cancer I trust his judgement.” For a long time I thought he was giving up. Why would someone who has preached the gospel for most of his life and saw people healed not want to take the advice of those around him to be prayed for? Just a few months ago it hit me. Who has the greater faith. Someone who keeps asking God over and over for the same healing or someone who says “God it’s in your hands and I trust you”? Think about it the next time you pray for something you need. How long ago was it that you asked for the same thing and it wasn’t answered in the way or time that you wanted. Are you saying God you got it wrong or are you saying “he’s so busy he must not of heard me.”

    Jeff