Answering the Critics: Covid-19 and Faith Healers

 

[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.

Things Paul Said About Himself That You’ve Probably Never Heard

 

[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.]

 

It’s true Paul did say that. But the apostle actually had many more positive things to say about himself and believers, than negative. I once took the time to add them up and found it to be about a 5 to 1 ratio in favor of the positive. Here’s a few examples:

1. He said he was not conscious of ANY wrong in himself (1Cor 4:4 BBE).

2. He said he was holy, righteous, and blameless among other believers (1Thess 2:10).

3. He said he was made free from the law of sin and death (Rom 8:2).

4. He said he was not in debt to the flesh to fulfill its desires (Rom 8:12).

5. He said he had died to sin (Rom 6:2).

6. He said he had been made righteous by faith and had peace with God (Rom 5:1).

But here’s something important that I don’t think gets mentioned often enough: Paul also warned against allowing ourselves to be cheated through taking delight in having a lowly opinion of ourselves (Col 2:18, GK). So there’s a danger to be avoided, here, and I’m not sure too many Christians are aware of it.

As far as the quotes from Osteen (assuming he actually said them,) here are some Scriptures which may help shed light on the angle he was coming from:

1. I AM PROSPEROUS:
“Whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalm 1:1-3

2. I AM SUCCESSFUL:
“I can do all things through Christ.” Philippians 4:13.

“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world–our faith.” 1John 5:4

3. I AM TALENTED:
“Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, [let us use them:] . . .” Romans 12:6.

4. I AM HEALTHY:
“By His stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24

“Who (God) forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,” Psalm 103:3

5. I AM POSITIVE:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things [are] noble, whatever things [are] just, whatever things [are] pure, whatever things [are] lovely, whatever things [are] of good report, if [there is] any virtue and if [there is] anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8

6. I AM BEAUTIFUL:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 2:10 NLT

7. I AM ATTRACTIVE:
Same as 6. 

Out of Context? The Rise of Pseudo Exegesis in the Church

[The following is an adaption to a rebuttal (what we call, “I Object”) that we issued on Facebook in response to Dustin Benge’s tweet as shown above.]

 

 

 

First, if you saw our video on falsifiability, (see below) this is a great example of that. There is no observation that can be made in Philippians 4 that could prove Mr. Benge’s claim as being true or false. It’s simply an authoritative statement without a means of testing.

That’s the long and short of it.

Now, obviously many are going to cite context as support for Dustin’s claim.

So let’s unpack this a little bit because I keep seeing people invoke this concept, and frankly, there are some seriously questionable practices being associated with it.

Let me be crystal clear, here: context is invaluable.

That being said, oftentimes Christians use the term as sort of this all-purpose trump card to justify any conclusion needed in the moment. I’ve found it’s usually just a fancy way of saying, “I make certain assumptions about the text.”

I’ll demonstrate using Benge’s comment:

In Philippians 4, many will point out that Paul had been discussing multiple challenges he was facing. Therefore, by the time he reached verse 13, he had endurance in the midst of suffering on his mind and thus, this was the sum total of what is being referred to.

The first assumption, here, is believing that whatever Paul had in mind during the inception of his letter, is the same thing the Spirit had in mind for all who would read it afterward. While it may be likely the apostle was thinking about his own circumstances, God knew that countless generations to come would be reading these words and finding comfort and inspiration for all kinds of situations they would find themselves in.

The other assumption appears to be a somewhat bizarre notion that a person who is talking about a present situation, cannot, or will not make any statements that reach beyond that present situation.

This seems to be a, “rule” created in an ad hoc fashion. Meaning, it’s thrown together on the spot just to make a point, with little thought given to its ramifications. The reason I say this is because I don’t know anyone who actually abides by such an idea.

Do you?

If your child was struggling in school and you said something like, “you can achieve anything you put your mind to” would you mean that getting good grades was the only thing they could do?

 

 

 

. . . That’s it?

 

 

 

It may be true that when we say things like this we don’t literally mean anything. But it’s also very often true that there are a whole host of other things beyond the present topic that can be included.

If we, (normal human beings) use such terminology without limiting its implications to our immediate circumstances, then on what basis can we claim Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writing to the Church, to be read by countless future generations in countless situations, would have had such a limited scope?

Look, I understand the concern.

Things like sports, personal dreams, overcoming obstacles etc, may seem frivolous. And they can be. But they can also arguably be things that are in line with God’s will and calling for certain individuals. Things that give them a platform to preach the Gospel, reach the lost or finance great undertakings for the cause of Christ. So rather than having a knee-jerk reaction to anything that sounds like the evils of, “American Christianity” and coming to weird blanket conclusions in the name of context—it would be better to take a step back, and evaluate each case individually.

 

Our video on falsifiability and the Bible:

 

More on the topic of context: