With over 250 million cases and more than five million deaths worldwide, it’s safe to say that Covid-19 is one of the worst health crises in world history.
But while the death toll continues to climb, one group has the unique advantage of stepping forward into the spotlight and proving their validity once and for all.
Claiming that they have the ability to perform miracles and gifts of healing, these charlatans have raked in hundreds of millions of dollars through the years through their live events. In packed arenas around the world, they hit people over the head and “blow away illnesses” to demonstrate their miraculous cures.
And yet, now, when the world could really use some of their healing power, they’re silent. Hospital wings are filled with nurses — not faith healers — working overtime in sub-optimal conditions to bring about an end to the pandemic.
All while modern faith healers hide behind hotlines and chat rooms, hoping to help a sick person from afar.
If they really believed what they taught, they would move from ICU room to ICU room, laying hands on people.
Where are they?
A History of Spiritual Healing
You don’t have to go too far back in our nation’s history to see where faith healing began.
Starting with the Azusa Street meetings that took place in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th century — which unofficially marks the beginning of Pentecostalism — faith healers have exploded onto the scene, many of them turning what is supposed to be a simple act of divine healing into a full-on spectacle. It’s not too uncommon to see people that are “healed” fall dramatically into a nearby crowd, body-surfing their way to the “recovery area.”
But claims of miraculous healing aren’t anything new. After the Civil War, thousands of grieving families looked to Spiritualists to help them reconnect with their lost loved ones. Like the faith healers of today, these con artists scammed families out of entire fortunes, basing their entire act on a series of elaborate tricks to make the customer believe they were really talking to the dead.
The ruse became so widespread — and so elaborate — that Harry Houdini himself spent the last several years of his life revealing their fraud. He even lobbied for an anti-spiritualism law in Congress, declaring any situation where a medium claims to communicate with the dead is “a fraud from start to finish.”
It’s no surprise then, that with Houdini’s death in 1926, spiritualism would shift to take hold in Christian circles. By the 1930’s, when America was deep in the throes of the Great Depression, faith healers were able to fill entire stadiums nationwide with eager miracle-seekers.
The list of faith healers since grows longer by the minute. Men such as Jim Jones, Kenneth Copeland, Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, and Peter Popoff have all made their livelihood by claiming to heal people of various ailments.
Faith for Healing in Jesus’ Name
As a brief aside, I want to go on the record here as saying that I believe in divine healing.
I believe that God can heal anyone at any time for any reason. It’s His prerogative to do so, and it usually looks like us afterwards as an answered prayer or divine providence.
What I don’t believe is that we can force God’s hand on the matter.
Consider this quote from the Andrew Wommack Ministries, a popular faith-healing agency in California:
“God has already placed His healing power within us, and it is now under our authority. It isn’t up to God to determine who receives healing; it’s up to us!”
I don’t care who you are, that’s a blasphemous statement.
To assume that we have the ability to heal people — or even worse, to state that anything “isn’t up to God” — is heresy in its purest form. God always has the final say in any spiritual or divine action; any suggestion to the contrary needs to be refuted at the highest level.
Case in point. In Matthew 17:19, when the Apostles were performing various miracles in the name of Jesus, they hit a snag: One of the demons they tried to cast out stubbornly refused.
The same thing happened in Acts 19:15, when one of the seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out a demon. The evil spirits responded with, “I recognize Jesus, and I know of Paul, but who are you?”
In short, just because a guy claims to have divine healing powers doesn’t mean he actually has it. The spirit can simply say no, as seen in the two passages above.
And if the person making the request doesn’t have the proper authority, he’s just blowing hot air.
Where Did All the Faith Healers Go?
Theological arguments aside, if faith healers were still around today, it would be painfully obvious. The scenes in Scripture where people are miraculously healed are deliberately given as a sign to unbelievers, which means that they are designed to be noticeable and without argument.
- Acts 4:16 – “ That a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.”
- John 3:2 – “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him.”
- Acts 2:22 – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know…”
Notice the fact that there is no confusion as to these moments. People who were very obviously sick were very obviously healed of their sickness, and that testimony was proof to everyone else.
No trickery, no deceit, no spiritual “sleight of hand.” Just straight-from-the-hand-of-God power.
See anything like that in today’s world?
As mentioned earlier, if faith healers were still around, they wouldn’t confine themselves to packed stadiums with highly orchestrated demonstrations. They would visit hospital wings with critically sick patients and raise them up out of their hospital beds.
Or, if they really wanted to make a splash, they would walk through a graveyard with a camera crew and bring people up from the graves. What a miracle that would be.
Jesus did that (Luke 7:11-17).
The Apostle Peter did that (Acts 9:36-43).
The Apostle Paul did that (Acts 20:7-12).
Can Benny Hinn?
If he did, I would believe him on the spot. Without hesitation, and with no questions asked.
He can’t, so I won’t.
And neither should you.
If Faith Healers Were Still Around…
Let’s say, for just a second, that faith healers were still walking around and legitimately performing miracles. Outside of rendering cemeteries obsolete, what would they look like?
They Would Look Like Faith Healers in the Bible
Mark 1:29-34 paints a simple day in the life of Jesus. He goes into a city, heals someone of a fever, then proceeds to heal the entire rest of the city. No matter who, no matter what, he heals them.
There are a few points to make here.
First, the healings were all super obvious.
And two, all the healings were diverse.
Modern faith healers today operate by deception. They heal illnesses and ailments that are not especially obvious. Diabetes or a brain tumor? They’ll claim to take care of it. Broken leg where the shin is sticking through the skin? Out of luck.
The more distance they can put between themselves and the actual healing, the more the ruse works.
Peter Popoff’s scandal is a textbook example of how it works.
Faith Healers Would Focus on Unbelievers
The reason for miracles is clearly stated in Scripture. 1 Corinthians 14:22 states that “[The ability to speak in] tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers.”
Miracles are designed to give credence the unbelievable. When someone claims to be speaking for God (outside of what is revealed in Scripture), signs given by God affirm the message to come from God.
If faith healers cared more about the Gospel than they do about buying their next vacation home, they would focus their efforts on the unbelievers. Get in their face and show it to them, beyond dispute, that what they are doing is legitimate.
Why Make Such a Big Deal of This?
Surprisingly, a quarter of Americans believe that they have experienced some form of divine healing. That doesn’t mean they have been healed by a supposed faith healer — just that there is some kind of healing in their life that can only be explained by some kind of act of God.
I imagine a lot of Christians would fall into that category as well. As stated above, I believe that God can heal whoever He wants for any reason He wants, so that religious belief, by itself, is not wrong.
The reason that faith healers need to be exposed for the scammers that they are is simple: They’re destroying people’s souls.
For many people, an interaction with a faith healer may be the only exposure they have to Christianity. If that person turns out to be a fraud (which they will, eventually), that person’s faith in God suffers as a result.
Moreover, some of these faith healers demand millions of dollars from their followers on a regular basis. So much so, that people have lost everything they own in support of these people.
Jesus’ condemnation of the Scribes in Luke 20:47 match up perfectly with modern-day faith healers. There, Jesus tells His disciples to beware of the Scribes because, in addition to other faults, they “devour widows’ houses.”
In short, they force religious-minded people to give everything they have to support a “religious-minded venture,” with little regard to how much it ruins their victims.
It’s heretical. It’s dangerous. But just as importantly, it’s downright evil.
And they need to be exposed.
Why Do People Believe in Faith Healers?
Because we want to. It’s that simple.
A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showed that nearly 55% of Americans have prayed for an end to Covid-19.
That’s not the most fascinating part. Surprisingly, 6% of self-avowed atheists and agnostics have done the same.
(Whether or not they pray to Jehovah is irrelevant, in this case. The fact is, they’re looking for something higher than themselves to heal the world.)
We want to believe in them. In times of just about every major natural disaster, health crisis, war, or some other period of unrest, interest in faith healers skyrocket. As humans, we’re desperately looking for something — anything — to help.
The Healing Power of Faith
Who doesn’t want an end to all this, though? Everyone on earth wishes Covid-19 would go the way of the Dodo, but even more than that, it would be nice if every ailment would disappear as well.
Unfortunately, as long as we’re still walking around in human bodies, sickness and death will always follow with us. The only One who can truly take all that away is God.
Perhaps that’s why His promise in Revelation 21:4 is so powerful:
“…and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
The only way to experience the eternal healing power of faith is by putting obedient faith into God. Every. Single. Day.
As John says at the end of Revelation, “Amen, come Lord Jesus.Last modified: December 6, 2021