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Faith Healing

Pages In This Entry:

  1. Faith Healing
  2. Faith Healing - What the Bible Teaches
  3. Faith Healing - False Teachings and Claims
  4. Divine Healing
  5. Faith Healing - Research Resources

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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.

The term is best known in connection with Christianity, but is also used in other religions. It is further used in relation to such occult, New Age healing techniques as Reiki.

This entry addresses faith healing within Christianity.

Legitimate vs. Illegitimate

The belief in, and practice of, faith healing is found among:

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.


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6 Responses to “Faith Healing”

  1. chris says:

    i agree with you. also noted that who is to say God did not give us the wisdom to make medicine. i cant find were God tells us to never use medicine at all. i do believe we should go in prayer first when we are sick though. and then seek doctors or other means after. we should give God a chance first.

  2. Thank you for your balanced statements about faith healing, so many apologetics sites deny God's supernatural working in the church today, and that stance has caused me to ignore them for the most part.

    I'll definitely bookmark your site and read some more....

    There is definitely a lot of dirty bath water out there, but this is an important baby to throw out! I'm glad you have not done so.

  3. Darren says:

    I see nowhere else to address this, so this seems as good a place as any.

    This site has labeled the COFB as a cult based primarily on the faith healing aspects.

    Your definition of a cult is "a group of people, which claiming to be Christian, embraces a particular doctrinal system taught by an individual leader, group of leaders, or organization, which (system) denies (either explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the central doctrines of the Christian faith as taught in the sixty-six books of the Bible."

    This begs the question: Where is using a physician one "of the central doctrines of the Christian faith" to be found "in the sixty-six books of the Bible"?

    If you can not demonstrate that then your placing the COFB as a cult of Christianity is based more on cultural and emotional appeal than grounded in truth, and comments to that effect should be removed.

  4. Darren, we consider the COFB to be theologically a cult of Christianity on the basis of its doctrines, specifically the 'four ordinances of the gospel.'

    We believe in faith healing, but when it leads to compulsion -- real, implied or perceived -- it becomes abusive at best, and cult-like (sociologically) at worst:

    Adults are free to put their believes into practice, to a certain extent. For instance, those practices should not lead to the harm of others (e.g. the death of minors).

    You may want to take a closer look at our entry describing cults of Christianity, particularly under the heading, 'Practice.'

  5. Dan says:

    You are so wrong about Benny Hinn and others. I was watching him on tv and God spoke to in an audible voice to take my wife to his healing crusade that was coming within a couple hour drive and she would be healed. I took her and she was miraculously healed. She has MS and I took her in a wheelchair. She felt the fire of God move through her body and suddenly got all feeling back and could walk unassisted. She no longer needed the 21 pills a day or shots to deal with the illness that supposedly had no cure. The healing was verified during her next doctors visit. That was in 1994 and today she is still healthy.

  6. Yes, there are occasional reports of healings -- even miraculous healings. But they have nothing to do with an unbiblical approach to faith healing -- nor with individuals like Benny Hinn.

    God can heal someone in spite of wrong doctrine or false teachers. Such healings do not in any way confirm the veracity of said doctrines and teachers.

    Mind you, any faith healing claim must be properly documented. Far too many such claims turn out, upon examination of the records, to be false reports. I'm not saying yours is one of those.

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This post was last updated: Apr. 17, 2015