The Truth About Faith Healers

Bill J. Humble
Kansas City, Mo.

"The Truth About Faith Healers" is the title of a f eature story by John Kobler in the February issue of McCall's magazine. After pointing out that the faith healing sects are flourishing in other countries as well as the United States, the article states that "t h e great seed bed" of faith healing is the Pentecostal Assemblies, a group of sects characterized by intense emotionalism. There are now nine major groups of Pentecostals with more than 350,000 members, but the number of groups is multiplying rapidly as prominent Pentecostal preachers acquire large personal followings and establish their own sects.

All Protestant groups believe that God's providence may guide the ill to iecovery, but there is a difference between the providential and the miraculous. A miracle is "an immediate action of God suspending all natural laws-the raising of the dead, the restoration of missing limbs." The article points out that Protestants believe: "God confined these miracles to ancient times when man, to be converted, required visible evidence of His power. The New Testament miracles were intended to authenticate the credentials of the Apostles as God's agents in the founding of Christianity. With the passing ol the last Apostle, when the Christian Church had been securely established, the need for miracles no longer existed and they ceased."

MUCH ATTENTION is given in the McCall's story to the methods employed by the faith healers. The healing services are intensely emotional: there are incessant appeals for money. Applicants for healing must fill out a card, and among other things, the card grants the preacher permission to use the invalid's name, photograph or testimony in radio, TV or other advertising media.

JACK COE was one of the most famcus and successful of the faith healers, and the article describes his visits to the Coe meetings conducted in a tent seating 25,000. Last winter in, Miami, Fla., Coe "healed" a three-year old boy, George Clark, of polio and ordered his braces removed. The boy fell. Yet, the parents allowed the boy to hobble around for three days until they were warned by a doctor that irreparable damage would result. Coe was arrested and then released.

The McCall's story adds: "Three ministers of the Churches of Christ, a Protestant sect which maintains a standing offer of $1,000 to Oral Roberts for proof of a single cure acceptable to a committee of three doctors, issued the same challenge to Coe, raising the purse to $2,500. Like Roberts, he ignored it." While it is not true that we are a "Protestant sect," it is true that in many cities our brethren have given such men as Jack Coe and Oral Roberts challenges which have been ignored.

Last December Jack Coe died of bulbar polio.

COLLECTIONS and appeals for money are a prominent part of all healing revivals, and apparently "faith healing" is a lucrative business. "Three Jack Coe corporations of which he was president and various relatives are officers, have accumulated holdings since 1950 of more than $500,000." Healing Waters Inc., operated by Oral Roberts, took in three million dollars last year. One preacher, Orval Jaggers of Los Angeles, was flying home from a revival in Texas when a stewardess glimpsed sheaves of greenbacks in his briefcase. Suspecting a bank robber, she alerted police who were waiting for Jaggers when the plane landed. It took two hours before the preacher established his legal title to the money. It came to $70,000.

CONCLUSION. The McCall's articles concludes, "Modern medicine recegnizes the neurotic basis of countless ailments. Anxiety, guilt, feelings of inadequacy, social pressures can, produce very real physical symptoms. .. not to mention imaginary ills. Mass faith healing, with its almost hypnotic power of suggestion and opportunity for emotional release, has undoubtedly helped many of these symptoms temporarily, if not permanently."

"As for the instantaneous organic changes reported to occur under the big tents-goiters visibly diminishing, clubfeet restored to normal dimensions, cancer-eroted lungs regenerated-no scientific appraisals are possible in this country. Without exception American faith healers have so far refused to submit a single case, to medical examination."

After the British Medical Association conducted an eighteen-month survey on, faith healing, it declared, "We have seen no evidence that there is any special type of illness cured by 'spiritual healing' alone which could have not been cured by medical treatment."

This is precisely what gospel preachers have insisted f or a long time! We are not questioning the power of God, but rather, we are simply accepting his revealed will when we say that miracles of healing are not a part of his plan for us today. Thus, the "faith healers" might be more accurately described as "fake healers."

Truth Magazine I:8, pp. 6-7
May 1957