This post is by Jesse Galef, who works for the American Humanist Association
These stories always make me sad. Via Daniel Florien at Unreasonable Faith I found an article on fake faith-healer Todd Bentley. WORLD Magazine (Today’s News | Christian Views) asked him for a list of the people he had healed and – after six weeks and a dozen requests – were given a list of 13 names. The problem? Two of the people Bentley listed as ‘healed’ had died recently.
Daniel covers why these scam artists are outrageous and upsetting. I decided to address a different part of the article:
Does it mean anything that less than a year after the conclusion of the Outpouring two people on a list of 13 “healings”—a list provided by the ministry itself—are dead, and most of the rest don’t stand up to questions?
Michael Brown says it does matter. Brown is the author of Israel’s Divine Healer (Zondervan, 1995), considered one of the definitive examinations of how healing takes place in Scripture. He personally believes in supernatural healing, but he also says a healthy skepticism about most healing stories is a sign of wisdom and discernment.
So let me get this straight. Brown says skepticism is a sign of wisdom. No faith healer has ever stood up to scrutiny and skepticism. Brown says he believes in faith healing. Does anyone else see a disconnect here?
He seems to be saying that it’s good to have skepticism about faith healing, but that we can go ahead and believe in it even if there’s no evidence. He can’t possibly be saying that, can he?
Actually, yes, he can. Look at what he says later: “[God] can and does heal. But our experiences should not shape our theology. Instead, our theology should be the lens through which we evaluate our experiences. And our theology should be based on Scripture.”
Believe whatever you want! Just pick a scripture (Brown never makes it clear how you pick a scripture among the many) and base your theology on it. It doesn’t have to be tied to experience or, you know, reality!
No wonder the article quoted this guy. Look what I found in the magazine’s ‘about us’ section:
We stand for factual accuracy and biblical objectivity, trying to see the world as best we can the way the Bible depicts it.
Um… WORLD Magazine? You’re doing it wrong.
For that matter, I stand for absolute honesty in comments, as long as everyone is telling me they agree with me.