Faith healing refers to healing that occurs supernaturally, as the result of prayer rather than the use of medicines or the involvement of physicians or other conventional medical care. Such healings are often referred to as miracles.
This entry addresses faith healing within Christianity.
Legitimate vs. Illegitimate
The belief in, and practice of, faith healing is found among:
- sincere Christians with a good understanding of the Bible’s teachings on the subject
- sincere believers whose misinterpretation of Scripture (and/or use of private ”revelation”) implicitly or explicitly, contradicts Scripture
- abusive churches and cults of Christianity
- people involved in the occult
- con artists, including many so-called charismatic preachers (e.g. Benny Hinn, Peter Popoff)
Based on the teachings of the Bible, there is a legitimate belief in – and practice of – faith healing.
There also is an illegitimate approach to this issue; one that usually puts people at risk to the point of injury and even death.
While faith healings do take place today just as they did in the early Christian church, the teachings of some churches, movements and individuals on this subject amount to spiritual abuse.
Unbiblical teachings on this subject range from aberrant to heretical. Many cults of Christianity preach and practice an unbiblical approach to faith healing. (Examples: Followers of Christ Church, General Assembly Church of the First Born).
Others place unreasonable demands on their followers, expecting strict obedience to extra-Biblical teachings rejected by legitimate churches and movements. (Example: the teachings of Jehovah’s Witnesses – theologically a cult of Christianity – regarding blood transfusions).
Legitimate churches, movements, and individuals do not equate using prescription drugs or receiving proper medical attention with unbelief, insufficient faith, or otherwise sinning against God.
Faith Healing in the News
At our sister website Religion News Blog, we keep track of faith healing stories in the news.
The most recent case is: Gregory and Garnet JaLea Swezey, parents in Carlton, Washington state who police say unsuccessfully tried to faith-heal their son back to health have been charged with second-degree murder.