We have found so far that there are a large number of people, literally in the thousands, who believe in faith healing. We have also found that there is room for suspecting fraud in a large number of cases of claimed faith healing. But even so, there may be reason to believe that there is some success in the faith healing movement, particularly in the field of psychosomatics, that is, the relation of mental to physical health.
In line with our method of studying by asking questions, let us ask, “Should mature Christians seek medical help?” First, let us say that the attitude of faith healers has been antagonistic toward the medical profession. A.B. Simpson, a faith healer decades ago, said, “If you can’t trust the Lord, then call the doctor.” Another man, Mr. Dowie, wrote an article, “Doctors, drugs and devils” and he ranked all three in the same category. Christian Science teaches that the practitioners are to regard themselves in open antagonism to the medical profession, to believe that one disease is no worse than any other, because all alike are due to errors of mortal mind.
This extreme antagonism to the medical profession seems to have declined in recent years when the medical profession has made such progress. However, it has not disappeared, and in fact, may have only taken a different form. Any outright opposition to the medical profession today would gain little for the faith healers. Sometimes the healers advise the sick to take what help the doctors can give them. Agnes Sanford, whom we have mentioned before, said that she saw no reason to refuse to cooperate with God by not availing herself of physical aids toward health, and if necessary, medicine. But, she adds, that if she were sufficiently full of the life of God, she would not need the stimulation of medicine.
What does Scripture say about the use of doctors and medicine? There are two passages which might be cited as evidence of opposition to doctors and medicine. There is the case of Asa, who was diseased in the feet and instead of seeking God’s help, he sought the aid of physicians and he died. The other seeming disparagement of the medical profession is related, regarding the woman who had the flow of blood, and who, Mark relates, had spent all she had and had not received any cure, but Jesus cured her. Luke, being a doctor, related the same cure, but he worded it to say that she was a woman who could not be cured by anyone.
Other passages in Scripture show the use of doctors and medicines. Jesus said, “Those who are well have no need of the physician, but those who are sick.” Of course, Jesus wasn’t talking of physical sickness when he said this, but he wouldn’t have used this statement if there had not been some value in the work of physicians of that day. Sometimes the scripture credits God equally with medicine in effecting cures. King Hezekiah was healed from a sickness unto death by his prayers. The fact that a poultice of figs was used did not weaken the conviction that the healing came from God. In the New Testament, Paul, who wrought many amazing cures through his prayers, saw no harm in advising Timothy to use a little wine for the sake of his stomach and his frequent ailments. The Bible often refers to the use of oil in the treatment of wounds. In Mark, we are told that the disciples anointed many with oil and cured them. At least one of Jesus’s cures resembled a cure of today, in that it was gradual and not instantly. You will recall that the Roman official whose child was healed by Jesus asked his servants, “At what time did the boy begin to get well?”