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What about Faith Healers?

Aimee Semple McPherson

This is a very hot topic right now. As a sample of the "heat," consider this "x" feed on the subject:

Person 1 - "People get up out of wheelchairs all the time at Benny Hinn crusades. I've been to 18 of them and have seen it hundreds of times. I've also followed up with many of them later. Do you know how many were truly healed? Zero. None. Costi Hinn has seen the same thing - firsthand working for his uncle. He has seen many more than have I. Would you like to know how many he said were real, organic healings? Zero. None. They were all either faked (and, trust me, this happens) or psychosomatic, temporary "healings." Either Benny Hinn is lying or Costi is. Who do you suppose it is? Costi, who repented of the heresy of the Word-Faith movement and is now a pastor raising a family, or Benny Hinn who has never repented, no home church, no pastor, and is constantly telling people to give him money in exchange for financial blessings, protection from disasters, and healing from sickness and disease? This event [a Greg Locke/Global Vision event] is no different than a Benny Hinn crusade.

Person 2 - "How do you know none were healed ? Did you interview each and everyone who you saw walking ?

Person 1 - "I talked to many and the rest I saw after the show (and that is exactly what it is) either in the same wheelchair or walking with limps, distorted gates, and/or with assistance. I've been to dozens upon dozens of these kinds of meetings. I know my stuff.

Person 3 - "you are providing a very biased and prejudiced point of view here. You claim you know your stuff, yet you haven't/didn't speak to each person to validate their healing or lack, therefore. "I know my stuff" doesn't authenticate you.

Person 1 - "I've studied this stuff for nearly 30 years. I've been to 18 Benny Hinn crusades. I wrote my master's thesis on Benny Hinn. I've been to Lakewood church, Duplantis meetings, Southwest Believers Conventions, Joyce Meyer meetings, Bethel Church, Creflo Dollar, RW Shambach, Nora Lam, TBN studios, and on and on and on. I've talked with literally thousands of people at these meetings. I've been in the trenches. I've taught against this heretical movement in almost every state and in 31 countries.

Person 4 - "I talked to two people at a WV Grant healing crusade years ago. Both of their healings were clearly bogus sleight of hand by Grant. I think it’s fair to conclude from that that the man is a fraud, and that all his healings are bogus."

Yes, the Cessationist and Coninutationist camps battle on!

I have had several people ask me recently about faith healers and what the Biblical position is concerning this matter. These questions have come as a result of a “Miracle Crusade” in a nearby Church. The following information is a condensed version of some of the things I have studied. Let me state at the outset, that I am not disregarding the Lord’s ability to heal someone. Nor am I casting doubt on the Bible in its description of miraculous healings. The potter certainly has power over the clay and God can heal people. The emphasis of this article is squarely on fraudulent, disingenuous, dishonest hucksters parading around as specially gifted by God to heal people while fleecing the flock.

Beginning early in the last century, there have been many who have claimed to have the biblical gift of healing, as found in the Book of Acts. A short list of these (and those who support them) would include Aimee Semple McPherson, Katherine Kuhlman, A.A. Allen, R.W. Schambach, Robert Tilton, Peter Popoff, Oral Roberts, Ernest Angley, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, W.V. Grant (Sr. and Jr.) Rod Parsley, Greg Locke, Paul Crouch, and a host of other lesser-known preachers. These people are all involved in what has come to be known as “The Word-Faith movement” (or Word of Faith) which has been sweeping our country. They are otherwise known as the “Name It and Claim It” group, or the “Health and Wealth Gospel” crowd. Their station is the Trinity Broadcasting Network.

"The Word of Faith movement grew out of the Pentecostal movement in the late 20th century. Its founder was E. W. Kenyon, who studied the metaphysical New Thought teachings of Phineas Quimby. Mind science (where "name it and claim it" originated) was combined with Pentecostalism, resulting in a peculiar mix of orthodox Christianity and mysticism. Kenneth Hagin, in turn, studied under E. W. Kenyon and made the Word of Faith movement what it is today" (1).

If a person approaches this subject from a biblical, historical, and scientific perspective, there is only one conclusion that can be reached….that faith healers have become not only famous but also infamous; and that the faith healing movement of our day can be a platform for deception. Consider the following: In 1971 a book was published entitled Faith Healing (2). In this book, British Psychiatrist Louis Rose describes how after nearly 20 years of investigating faith healers, he could not establish even one case of a genuine documented miracle cure. As a result, he concluded that “I cannot be convinced of the efficacy of what is commonly termed faith healing.”

Doctor William Nolan in the 1970’s attended a healing service of Katherine Kuhlman who was one of the most popular faith healers of that day. He noted the names of 25 people who had been miraculously healed. He then performed follow-up examinations and interviews. Among other things, he discovered that “one woman who had been announced as cured of lung cancer actually had Hodgkin's disease which was unaffected by the experience. Another woman with cancer of the spine had discarded her brace and followed Ms. Kuhlman's enthusiastic command to run across the stage. The following day her backbone collapsed, and four months later she died.” After this medical doctor’s examinations, he found that “not one person with organic disease had been helped.”

C. Eugene Emery, Jr., a science writer for the Providence Journal, did a 6-month investigation of Reverend Ralph DiOrio, a Roman Catholic priest whose healing services attract people by the thousands. After studying 28 people (10 of whom had been provided by DiOrio’s organization itself), Emery found no evidence that any of these 28 individuals had been miraculously healed of any organic documented verifiable diseases.

James Randi did some firsthand observation and research on faith healers. In a book entitled The Faith Healers, he documented his findings (3). Of the many things he observed, a few are most interesting. He found that Peter Popoff was being fed information about people in the audience through a tiny receiver in his ear. This information had been previously gathered by his associates before the service. People were astounded by Popoff’s supposed miraculous insights into people and their problems. He also exposed W.V. Grant Jr. as a person who uses similar techniques. Grant Jr., according to Randi, gets his miraculous “word of knowledge” information about people and their ailments in a variety of ways; for example, from letters he receives from those people, and by having his associates mingle through the crowds before services collecting information.

To help his memory, Randi states Grant Jr. has used crib sheets and gets hand signals from his assistants in the audience. Randi was able to find and retrieve a set of these crib sheets from a trash can after a service one night.

The ABC News program Prime Time, caught Grant Jr. and his people, on hidden camera, mingling throughout a revival crowd before services informally collecting information to be used later (as a supposed miraculous word of knowledge insight). According to other online documents, Grant Jr. has also spent time in prison recently after a conviction for tax fraud (1996).

This information alone would be enough to turn me against the Faith Healers as a group. I think that they should be challenged at every turn, and forced to prove the validity of their claims. Those who enrich themselves by deceiving poor, sick, gullible, trusting people in this manner ought to be convicted of grand larceny, or at least theft by deception.

Stay tuned!

1. “Is the Word of Faith Movement Biblical?” n.d.

2. Rose, Louis, and Bryan Morgan. 1971. Faith Healing. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

3. Randi, James. 1989. The Faith Healers. Buffalo, N.Y.: Prometheus Books.

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