Previously, we started our study of faith healing in relation to Christian faith by finding out that faith healing is all around us. Furthermore, we learned that the larger Christian denominations are now investigating faith healing to find out just what it is. In addition, the medical profession has indicated a growing interest in religion as related to medical healing. We also looked at a procession of faith healers pass by and listened to their claims of miraculous healing of paralysis, blindness, deafness and most every disease.
After this introduction to faith healing, let us begin the study by asking a number of questions concerning it. In fact, our method of study will be to ask questions concerning faith healing and then attempt to find a Biblical answer. The first question that we would naturally ask is, “May we believe their claims?” Most of us naturally have an inclination to disbelieve their claims.
The first point we can make is that there is sometimes strong reason to suspect fraud in connection with faith healing. A few deceptions have been discovered even at the shrine of Lourdes where careful examinations and records are kept. One of these was of a hospital orderly named Pierre Delannoy. A Mr. Phineas P. Quimby, who treated his patients by hypnotism, came to find out that for many of his patients, one medicine was as good as another, and therefore, the condition of the patient’s pocket book determined the treatment instead of the illness. Mary Baker Eddy, who founded The Christian Science Sect, was at one time a patient of Mr. Quimby. We mentioned before Mrs. Aimee Semple McPherson. Before the sick were entitled to meet her, it was necessary to secure a card from her mother. Her mother allowed only those who were good healing risks to meet Mrs. McPherson. In fact, Mr. Stegall, a Presbyterian pastor in Atlanta who has made some first-hand investigations, said that this kind of screening is standard procedure for faith healers. This screening is certainly hypocritical if we listen to the healer that claims all can be healed.
The next point to consider is that not a few of these healers have reaped rich financial rewards from their healing. Oral Roberts operated on a budget of $3 million per year. When asked about it, he said, “I make no apology for buying the best we can afford. The old idea that religious people should be poor is nonsense. I think the millionaires of the world should be the people who are living right.” We would hardly disagree with this feeling, but a man of the cloth is suspect when he voices such a feeling.