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By this all people will know that you are my disciples,
if you have love for one another. John 13:35
This next story is sad. It reminded me of the many deaths attributed to “faith healing” at the Followers of Christ church near my former town in Oregon. Churches who practice faith healing avoid all medical interventions and treatment when sick or injured and instead rely solely on God and their faith for healing. Using medical care is viewed as sinful and signifies a lack of faith. There are many articles at this link covering the many cases involving the members of the Followers of Christ church over the years.
Jesus told her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well.
Go in peace! Be cured from your illness.”
The verse above is one of several that faith healers use to justify using only faith and prayer for healing of illnesses. How can you argue with Jesus’ words? Here is a brief summary of the most recent case I read today:
A couple serving probation for the 2009 death of their toddler after they turned to prayer instead of a doctor could face new charges now that another son has died.
Herbert and Catherine Schaible belong to a fundamentalist Christian church that believes in faith healing. They lost their 8-month-old son, Brandon, last week after he suffered from diarrhea and breathing problems for at least a week, and stopped eating. Four years ago, another son died from bacterial pneumonia.
Why does this hit me hard now? Because I made very poor parenting and life decisions based on teachings of my church. Would I have seven children if I hadn’t had quiver-full teachings? (Would I send any back? NO!! LOL) I’ve already discussed issues of modesty/purity teachings, spanking teachings, etc. But this is troublesome. These folks health made decisions based on their religious convictions, attempting to be obedient to God at all costs, forsaking the world’s views around them (isn’t that what Christians are supposed to do?). It seems that the practices of faith healings aren’t that far beyond some of the practices in which we got ourselves involved. That is a frightening thought.
Herbert Schaible, 44, and his 43-year-old wife grew up in the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia and have served as teachers there. The church’s website has a sermon titled “Healing — From God or Medicine?” that quotes Bible verses purportedly forbidding Christians from visiting doctors or taking medicine.
I’m sure these parents adored their children, wanted the best for them. The article mentioned the parents were grieving. I can’t fathom that kind of pain. They already lost one child. After their first child died, did they question, “did we do the right thing?” Or did they feel confident that they were obedient to God?
“It is a definite sin to trust in medical help and pills; and it is real faith to trust on the Name of Jesus for healing,” says the message, from last May.
When I hear of these kinds of things, I want to know if they wear eye glasses. I’ve seen faith healers who wear glasses and that seems hypocritical to me, because didn’t they have to go to a medical professional to get a prescription? And why did they not trust God to heal their visual impairment?
But in light of the recent discussion (How do Churches Handle Difficult Mental Health Cases, Biblical Counseling, and the Law?) on mental health issues, is it me, or does anyone else see the parallels between this case and the suicide case in which a young man was taught at church that seeking mental health care is sinful? What do you think?
“Nobody argues that these aren’t very loving, nurturing parents,” she said Tuesday. “Whether their religion had anything to do with the death of their baby, we don’t know.”
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