[The following is an adaption to a rebuttal (what we call, “I Object”) that we issued on Facebook in response to the image shown above.]
Whoever made this message would have to be omniscient, or, have some kind of special revelation from God, not only to know who all the “faith healers” are, but also to know what is going on in the daily life of every “single” one of them. So that’s an easy spot insofar as speculation being made by the claim.
Now, maybe someone will say that the message refers only to the people in the image.
Alright, so let’s work from that angle for a moment:
While it is easier to know what is going on in the lives of eight individuals, than an unknown quantity like with the initial claim, it would still require intimate knowledge to know what these people are doing 24/7. You would either need persons who are with them on a constant basis reporting their activities (back to meme makers?), or possibly cameras everywhere, like some kind of live streaming.
Either way, how the person who made the image came into possession of such information isn’t revealed. So they are either guessing, or the claim is unsubstantiated as it sets.
Still, someone might say that since we haven’t heard about any of these people going to hospitals and laying hands on the sick and dying, this means it never happened. But this would be an argument from silence. To demonstrate the error in such an idea, for the first time in my life I’m going to make a public confession: I listen to dubstep on almost a daily basis. This has been going on even though I never told you guys. If you had assumed that I didn’t, simply because I never said that I did, you would have been wrong.
See? In other words . . .
Something can be true, and you simply be unaware of it. These two concepts are not mutually exclusive. I feel silly pointing this out, but it obviously needed to be said, based on how common these types of messages are.
So, the claim in the image easily falls apart under the slightest amount of scrutiny.
But let’s push a little further because I want to demonstrate a few other ideas that I think deserve to be mentioned.
Let’s assume the message is true. None of these folks went to hospitals to lay hands on the sick and dying. What should be the conclusion to that? The first thing that comes to my mind is . . . Are people even being allowed to be around those who have tested positive for the virus in hospitals?
Seems bizarre and unlikely.
Finally, as mentioned in multiple other rebuttals I’ve issued—-hypocrisy and failure to live up to one’s preaching is by no means exclusive to the people in the image. So even if we assumed (again) they had the opportunity to lay hands on the sick or dying in hospitals and didn’t do it—-this would simply demonstrate that the same type of shortcomings which exist in every other area of Christianity, exist in this one as well.
Ask any Charismatic if they’ve ever seen or experienced the power of God to heal, and the responses are likely to be nearly 100% affirmative. But ask them to provide some kind of documentation for any of these instances, and you’re just as likely to be met with an overwhelming silence.
Is it possible for such a phenomenon to be happening in abundance and yet go undocumented?
By exploring the following variables, we will demonstrate just how easily this could be the case. We’ll also show that as much as some critics would like to claim they’re taking the side of science or logic, the mysterious nature of these factors will demonstrate that both sides of the debate are, in all actuality, predicated on faith.
In order to best understand the format of what you’re about to see below, I’ll use an allegory. Imagine a race track, obstacles, a runner, and a finish line. In this allegory, an authentic divine healing is represented by the runner, the questions we explore are represented by the obstacles that can potentially derail the runner from reaching the finish line, which represents public knowledge and a thorough documentation. In other words, a real healing would have to make it through all of these variables before it can be known, and considered legitimate by the average skeptic.
Let’s start here . . .
Obstacle 1: No Prediagnosis
How many, among those who experienced a divine healing, were never pre-diagnosed? This may be an especially high number in countries where people are too poor to ever see a qualified doctor. Obviously, without a pre-diagnosis, the prospects of a properly documented healing would be low in most cases.
Obstacle 2: A Misdiagnosis
In cases of healings where there has been a diagnosis, how many could be disputed as a misdiagnosis after the fact? Once again, under these circumstances, a legitimate healing would likely not pass a critic’s evaluation.
Obstacle 3: Other Potential Causes for the Healing
How many, among those whose diagnosis is not disputed, were being treated in some way? Obviously, if they were, and recovered, the healing could be attributed to the treatment, or placebo—thus lowering the number of verifiable healings even more.
Obstacle 4: Possibility of Spontaneous Remission
Spontaneous remission is a medically documented phenomenon that has been known to happen for no observable reason. How many doctors have witnessed a genuine healing miracle and instead of calling their local news or shouting it from the rooftops, simply chalked it up to one of these cases? Under these circumstances, we likely would not hear about it.
Obstacle 5: Medical Silence
In his book*, Dr. Scott J. KolbabaI discusses what it is like to be an MD, and the struggle to keep a scientific mind in the face of the miraculous. For this reason, he argues, oftentimes doctors will not talk about the things they’ve seen. How many are sitting on information for fear of ridicule? Under these circumstances, again, we likely would never hear about the healing.
Obstacle 6: The Romans 1:18 Factor
Of those doctors whohave witnessed a divine healing, how many simply are suppressing the truth due to their spiritual enmity with God? We certainly shouldn’t assume it’s zero. Under these circumstances, even more legitimate healings would go undocumented.
Public Access Issues
Obstacle 7: Media Silence
Even if legitimate divine healing cases somehow made it past 1-6, how many would never make it to the public eye because the news media decided not to cover it due to bias, disinterest, or Romans 1:18?
Obstacle 8: Lost Records
Of the cases the media did report, how many can we be aware of today? There’s Google, and YouTube (but even if we assume search engines are not suppressing or manipulating search results)— not everything stays preserved. For example, one of our videos (see above) mentioned a CNN IMPACT story reported back in the 90’s that admitted to documented healings taking place in Benny Hinn meetings. Yet we were unable to find a video of the segment. Only the transcript. In these cases, knowledge of such documentation would be reduced even further.
Obstacle 9: Unwillingness to Publish
Of those who are healed, how many would give permission for their video, and or personal medical information to be shared with the public? In the past, people may have been more willing to do this. Nowadays, with the internet, “Twitter mobs” are making everyone think twice about what they are willing to go public with. Not only are there plenty of secular groups that will jump at the opportunity to attack every single facet of such a story, but there are also believers who literally do this sort of thing full time (onward, Christian soldier).
Lack of Interest Issues
Obstacle 10: Documentation not Prioritized
The majority of people who claim to heal the sick will tell you they have little interest in trying to prove anything to skeptics. Attacks on those who have attempted to provide documentation that meets all the demands of critics in the past may have convinced them that it’s more hassle than it’s worth. Or worse, that it does more harm than good (accusations of fake videos, paid actors, slandering of persons involved etc).
And can anyone really blame them? Consider the instances in Scripture where people mockingly demanded to see a sign, and either did not see any, or ended up unconvinced by one if they did (Matt 12:38-39, 16:1, 27:42, Mk 8:11-12, Luke 23:8, 4:23-27).
This being the case, it comes as little surprise that quite a few ministers simply don’t make documentation a priority.
1. I think it’s worth mentioning that there isn’t a single recorded incident in the Gospels or Acts where the person who performed a healing, sought to have a medical authority to authenticate the miracle, for the purpose of using as a witness later. In other words, it doesn’t seem like Jesus or the apostles were that interested in trying to prove their miracles beyond the initial people who were present.
It’s only recently occurred to me that this attitude may not be entirely separate from what’s required in an environment to cultivate a healing in the first place. Is the faith that, “produces” a miracle, conducive to a mindset that seeks to gather evidence for one? If the answer is no, then that would go a long way in explaining the lack of documentation. People who are trying to convince themselves, or their critics, may become side-tracked from operating in faith and the Spirit. It’s difficult to quantify what effect this mentality could have on the atmosphere required for a supernatural manifestation. The end result possibly being more miracles when there is less focus on documenting them.
2. Both Matthew and Mark record an incident where the unbelief of the people in the city had an effect on Jesus (Mt 13, Mk 6). The Bible says He did not do many mighty works because of their unbelief. But it doesn’t stop there. It goes so far as to say He couldn’t do them. There is a consistent theme throughout Scripture that connects unbelief to a failure to experience the miraculous—which makes one wonder: is there more unbelief in the world today than back then? Jesus Himself asked, “when the Son of Man returns, how many will He find on earth who have faith?” (Lk 18:8 NLT)
What kind of impact does the active unbelief of the world and of Christians today have on this phenomenon?
All these unknown variables taken into consideration, some might say it’s a miracle in itself that we have as much documentation* as we do.
When all is said and done, it would seem that the same pattern we see in Scripture we also see today: those who believe either saw and experienced it firsthand, or they believed the testimony of someone else. A second category consisting of former critics whose demands for evidence were fully met, doesn’t really seem to exist.
And who knows . . . Maybe that’s the way God intended it.
*Physicians’ Untold Stories: Miraculous Experiences Doctors Are Hesitant to Share with Their Patients, or Anyone
While political talking heads struggle and scramble to explain the Trump phenomena, there is something all of them (and all of us, for that matter) seemed to have missed. And that is the fact that the universe is governed not only by physical laws, it’s also governed by spiritual laws. One of which Jesus tells us about in Mark 11:23
Whoever should say to this mountain, “be removed and be cast into the sea” and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.
I’ve been watching Trump (who hasn’t, right?). But not for the same reasons most have. After a while of listening to what he was saying, I noticed the level of confidence he has is almost unprecedented in any other human being I’ve come across. So I told my wife six or seven months ago that I suspected there was more at work here than just a guy running for president.
As many of you may or may not know, as a child, Trump’s pastor was Norman Vincent Peale, author of the famous book, “The Power of Positive Thinking.” Mr. Trump has accredited his worldview, and accomplishments heavily to what he learned from this man.
While watching Donald this campaign season, time after time you have seen confessions of victory in the face of contradicting circumstances.
MEDIA: “Your numbers among hispanics are down, what are you going to do to get them up?”
TRUMP: “Hispanics love me.”
MEDIA:”Your numbers among women have never been lower.”
TRUMP: “No one respects women like I do. And I’m doing great with them. They love me.”
MEDIA: “You have the highest unfavorable ratings of any candidate.”
TRUMP: “I’m gonna win, and I’m gonna win big. And we’re going to make America Great Again.”
No matter the stat, or poll, The Donald has remained unmoved and has stood steadfast in confidence about what he will do. While it’s not uncommon for presidential candidates to say delusional things, there seems to be a difference, here. Trump really believes it, and circumstances over time seem to somehow align with what he has said.
New Age, and Christians Who Don’t Read the Bible
We unfortunately have a lot of Christians who don’t understand this, and never will because they have decided the Bible needs layers of theological commentaries in order to clarify it’s meaning. So when they come across Mark 11:23, they just can’t accept what it actually says. There’s gotta be some hat trick to it that will essentially convert it’s meaning to, “It’s not as incredible as it sounds. Relax, and go back to being normal.”
People can explain it any way they want, but in a nutshell, that is the outcome of both our interpretations of Mark 11:23, and the majority of other spectacular claims made in the Bible.
And when you don’t understand something, human nature is, and always has been, to fear it, and label it as evil. So people say it’s of the devil. It’s New Age. It’s demonic, etc. But regardless of what you think it is, God created the principle, and it still works.
For Those Who Want to Understand It
The context of Jesus’ words about speaking, and having, was the cursing of a fig tree. As many of us are aware, Jesus walked up to a fig tree one day, found that it had no figs, and responded by saying to it, “let no man ever eat from you again.” When the disciples saw that the tree had withered, they were shocked. This is when Jesus said, “If you have faith, not only will you be able to do what was done to the fig tree, but . . . Whosoever shall say unto this mountain, be removed and be cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe that the things he says will come to pass he will have whatever he says.”
Many argue that this would never work for Donald Trump because he isn’t a Christian. Firstly, I don’t know if he is a Christian or not. Eric Metaxas, author of the book, Martin Luther said, “Martin Luther makes Trump look like Mike Pence.”—He was alluding to how brash, bold, and rude Martin Luther was. Yet Christians regard him as a great man of God.
I’ve pointed out many times how fluid our standards for, “fruit inspecting” are, so I won’t get into that here. But even if we assume Trump isn’t a believer, this principle is not just for Christians. Jesus did not say “Whichever Christian should say . . .” He said, “whoever.” —-That’s anybody.
It works for saved and unsaved, alike. Short, tall, skinny, fat. Arrogant. Bad hair. It’s whosoever.
Now, ready to be shocked?
Jesus never said faith in God was required for this to work.
He actually tells you what you have to believe in in order for it to work. And what he said was, “believe that those things which he says shall come to pass.” Belief that it will actually work. That what you say will really happen. This is the requirement Jesus put on this principle, and it is unfortunately why so many Christians can’t understand it. Because they want to turn everything into a generic faith in God. “Just trust God.” But Jesus corrected this type of thinking and told us we need a specific belief for a specific outcome. People don’t like that because it puts responsibility on them, but that’s what it says.
It can also work for good, or it can work for bad. See, we have over-spiritualized many of these things. We understand, for instance, that God created and gave us our hands. And that our hands can be used for working, for loving, for helping, or for hurting. We live in a world of God-given gifts and principles that we operate in every day. Sometimes we use them for good, sometimes for bad, but they’re all gifts from God. In Mark 11:23 Jesus tells us another gift God has given to us, and He tells us how to use it. Christians get confused and think because it’s abstract that it must be some weird isolated concept from the rest of the physical world we live in. But why?
I’ve used this principle all my life and I know hundreds of people who have as well. I’m not perfect, of course, so there have been times I tried to use it and failed. But I could tell you story after story of miraculous outcomes from operating in Mark 11:23.
Will Trump Be President?
My guess is that he will.
He has spent his life practicing and developing the concepts of Mark 11:23 much like a musician does on an instrument. The end result is an uncommon level of success–and yeah, probably of pride too.
Even with all the odds against him, he has consistently risen above them.
Many are concerned that if he gets elected, he will ruin the country.
He has said all along that he will make America Great Again, and I think that he truly believes it.
You often hear people ask, “Why aren’t the extraordinary things we read about in the Bible— the miracles, healings, etc, not happening today?”
Firstly, I believe the question is fallacious because these things are indeed happening (you probably just need to get out more).
But really, what we should be asking is, “Where are the type of people we read about in the Bible, who believed God in unrelenting faith for the miraculous and impossible?”
See, we’ve been trying to put the blame off on God for why these things don’t happen as much but the truth is, God doesn’t change. People, on the other hand, are a whole other story.
The Lies We’ve Embraced
I’ve found that for the most part, the Church has allowed herself to be robbed of the miraculous and answered prayers as a result of buying into two big lies.
We have substituted devotion for faith. Over time, we have equated these things as the same. You get people all the time saying things like, “Uncle so and so was a minister for 50 years and he loved the Lord more than anyone. Yet he died of cancer, and never saw his prayers answered. If anyone had faith, it was him!”
Think about that statement. Notice how the assumption was made that if you have devotion, you have faith.
Devotion and faith are not the same—hence the reason one is called faith, and the other devotion. As a result of accepting this falsehood, we have made God out to be a liar and impugned His character. How? Because He promised (it’s amazing how lightly we take that word now a days) that all things would be possible for the person who believes. Yet, we have people all over who are not seeing the impossible in their lives, though they are ministers. Though they are committed. Though they love the Lord.
No, faith for answered prayers is not the same as love or devotion for the Lord.
We took all the verses where Jesus spoke about the necessity of having faith in order to get answers to prayer, and we said He was referring to faith in God. So folks go around saying, “I have faith! I believe in God, I believe in Jesus.”
But . . .
When Jesus spoke about the object of faith which gets prayers answered, He did not say it was faith in God.
Shocked? I was too. Let’s take a look at a few instances in the Bible.
Mark 11:23, for instance, He does not say, “If you pray and tell God how much you believe in Him, the mountain will get up and fall into the sea.” What did He say? “Whosoever shall say unto this mountain be removed and be cast into the sea and shall not doubt in his heart but shall believe (believe what? In God? No. Then believe what? What should he believe?) that those things which he says will come to pass, he will have whatever he says.”
Again, Mark 11:24, “Therefore, whatever things you desire when you pray, believe (in God? Nope) that you receive them and you shall have them.”
What did the woman with the issue of blood believe? Just in God? No. The Bible tells us what she believed. “If I may but touch the hem of his garment, I shall be made whole.” She did not say, “If I just believe in God, and trust that He is sovereign, I shall be made whole.”
Right before Jesus healed the blind men, what did He ask them?
“Do you believe in God?”
Nope. He never asked that.
“Do you believe I am the Christ?”
Wasn’t ever brought up.
“Do you believe that I’m sovereign and that one day, after you die, I will take you to heaven and open your eyes?”
He didn’t ask them any of those.
What did He ask? “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matt 9:28).
Again and again we see that the object of the faith was connected to the desired outcome of the prayer. Not to some generic belief in God’s sovereignty, His existence, or Jesus as the Christ.
Lies Don’t Comfort
Don’t get me wrong, I understand there are things that we all wish were not the way they were. I wish that all God required of us in the area of prayer was to just believe in Him. To just believe that Jesus is the Son of God who died for us and rose again. But the fact is, He requires more than that. And I get that we feel compelled to comfort the afflicted in times of tragedy and crisis by any means possible. But lying to them isn’t the way to do it. Telling them the truth is. Giving them hope by sharing with them God’s Word is.
Of all people, Christians should be the ones to understand this the most. Lies do not comfort. It’s the truth that sets us free.
Instead of hiding the truth about prayer, we should be heralding it. This is Good News! It means we serve a real God who can and is still doing what we read about in the Bible.