Friday, March 28, 2008

Child died..... is it really from lack of faith?

In Oregon City, faith-healing believers parents of the Followers of Christ Church lost their child to illness. Dr. Christopher Young, a deputy state medical examiner, said that the child died from bacterial bronchial pneumonia and sepsis, both easily treatable with antibiotics. Her parents are members of a church that practices spiritual healing rather than seeking medical treatment, even when children become gravely ill.

Nine years ago, on January 6, 1999 Diane Sawyer, and Sam Donaldson of 20/20 did a report on the Followers of Christ, where over a thousand people attend a small church outside Portland, Oregon. An alarming number of children in the Followers have died while their parents prayed instead of getting a doctor.

Followers of Christ Church is part of Word of Faith Movement that teaches divine healing and that it was always God's will to heal. Word of Faith is not denominational however they do have main doctrines that are not accepted by other Christians. Many Christians like me are believe that Word of Faith teaches contrary to the teachings of the Bible. Word of Faith is a teaching movement kindred to many Pentecostal churches and individuals around the world. You see many of the Word of Faith preachers on TV. About 85% of the TV preachers are Word of Faith teachers. The most recognized can be found among the following: Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Oral Roberts, Rod Parsley, Kathryn Kuhlman, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin and many others. I have an issue with Word of Faith because they often help people use pride in their lives. Why? Because pride can lead a Christian to think, “Look what I’ve accomplished.”

What is not what God is about. My concept of Word of Faith is that they focuses on works in terms of “faith” towards health, wealth and prosperity. I don’t view these as the essentials of Christian life and practice.

When Christian believers become ill, the Bible encourages us to pray for healing. God still divinely heals today and healings have occurred everyday and ever minute around the world. I also encourage people not to fall into bad theology of “healing” is a sign of blessing or an indication of purer faith or spiritual growth. I take the Bible seriously and I agree that God hates suffering. Jesus spent much of His time relieving it during His three year ministry. Regarding doctrines of healing and suffering, Reformation theology provides a clear understanding of God's relationship to suffering. The real definition of “suffering” is called “sin”. God's purpose in redemption was not to make people’s lives happy, healthy and free of trouble; His purpose was to rescue them from sin then conform them from the inside out to the image of His Son by the power of His Spirit.

Like Joni Tada did in Washington DC arena, she went to see a Word of Faith preacher named Kathryn Kuhlman and you can read more about it in here. Obviously, she was not healed but she is listed as one of my Hall of Faith.

I also went to see Kathryn Kuhlman at a Rhode Island arena back in the 1970s'. Obviously, I am not healed. I explained my issues with Word of Faith Doctrine in this blog.

In my position: Divine healing will happen but God's time is not the same as our time.

I believe that God can sovereignly choose to heal whomever and whenever according to His will:
1. The gospel is good news about our sin problem, not our sicknesses (Rom. 3:23; 6:23).
2. Christ’s atonement focuses primarily upon our sins (iniquities), not our sicknesses (Lev. 16:1-34; Is. 53:5-6, 11-12; 1 Pet. 2:24).
3. Christ died for our sins, not our sicknesses (1 Cor. 15:3).
4. Christ was made sin, not sickness (2 Cor. 5:21).
5. Christ forgave our sins, not our sicknesses (1 John 2:12).
6. Christ gave Himself for our sins, not our sickness (Gal. 1:4).
7. Our bodies are corruptible and thus subject to sickness (1 Cor. 15:42-44).
8. We will all die physically (Heb. 9:27).


Lisa C. said...

Which Bible do you use?

Jim said...

I have many Bibles, used to have about 30 but now down to about 10. The one I use the most is the NKJV Open Bible. This is a non-commentary Bible study that explains the Scriptures to illuminate and clarify the text.