Modern "Divine" Healing - A Pseudo -Science?? (1)

Donald P. Ames

One of the most interesting, and puzzling questions in the minds of people today is that of modern "divine" healing. Men such as Oral Roberts, A. A. Allen, and the former Jack Coe have obtained national recognition. Many people are flocking after these "healers" after seeing the "miracles" they are doing. Yet, others are standing just as firmly against them. Why? One side believes they are true, the other side says they are fake. Who is right? This and many other questions are in the minds of many people caught in the middle of the discussion without much knowledge of either side.

Since we are wondering whether or not modern "divine" healing is a pseudo-science, perhaps the first step would be to find out just what we mean by "pseudo-science." The American Family and School Dictionary defines the word "pseudo" as: "a word element meaning 'false,' 'pretended'; in scientific use, denoting close or deceptive resemblance to the following element." So we thus see that it is a false resemblance of the real thing. As for science, Webster defines it as: "knowledge obtained and shown to be true by accurate observation and thinking." Now that we have the terms defined, let us take a look at modern "divine" healing (as practiced by Oral Roberts, etc.) and see if it is a science, or a pseudoscience.

For the benefit of those who may not be too well acquainted with the methods of modern "divine" healing, let us briefly take a look at it. The services resemble that of many protestant services except they lay stress on being healed if your faith is strong enough. Those desiring to be healed, or prayer for, must get their prayer cards in the afternoon service, but cannot be prayed for till the evening services. During the testimonies, the healer slips through the line (which is usually strung out for about a block to a block and a half) putting the worse cases to the rear, and letting the internal and minor cases go first. These are prayed for till the TV film has been run, then he hurriedly moves through the rest of the line, praying for a few seconds for those still in line. While all of this is going on, the healer must have full audience cooperation, or the healing cannot take place. This means arms up-raised, and calls of "Praise the Lord," "Hallelujah" etc. Recently I attended a meeting to see Oral Roberts in action in Lincoln, Nebraska. The look on the people's faces was enough to make you want to stand up and tell them the full story. Some realized the error, but many wouldn't let themselves see it even when they weren't healed.

The first step we shall take in our examination of this "healing" is to how it compares to Biblical healings, since that is what they claim as their pattern. In the N. T., all healings were to confirm the gospel (Mark 16:17-20). Can this be said of those "healings" today? All of the apostles preached the same thing; but are all of the healers today preaching the same thing? Nay, but many different doctrines. M.Emile Cone performed "miracles" as great as those of any healer claiming divine aid, yet he professed no religion at all. If God still performs miracles to confirm His word, we see that He not only contradicts Himself, but also has decided that the religion He gave His son for is no longer needed. He is now working against Himself. Is God the God of confusion? 1 Cor. 14:33.

As long as we are noting the miracles, are they real, or a false resemblance? Will any healer today perform the miracles mentioned in Mark 16:17-20 without exception? These questions are of much interest to many, and before we are done, we hope to have a full explanation of both, as well as how the miracles are done.

Before we really get into that, however, let us pause to note their claim that faith is absolutely essential. Is it? During the recent meeting of Roberts in Lincoln, he stated that not only must the person being healed believe, but that full audience cooperation was necessary for the "Power of God" to be demonstrated. In in article about him (Look, June 29, 1954, p. 91 ), Oral Roberts says, "If they have faith, they can be healed." (Note: IF.) In his tract, Expect A Miracle, he says that if we plan to be healed, one must "expect a miracle" or it couldn't take place. In order to have this kind of faith, he goes on, you must believe it is possible to be healed above anything else in the world. As we go to the N.T., in the first five books we find 34 healings, of which only "five cases professed faith . . . at least nine cases were healed without any faith on the part of anybody." (Modern "Divine" Healing Fully Exposed, by E. C. Fuqua, p. 8.) The rest of the cases were healed either on the faith of others, or there was no faith indicated. DON'T BE DECEIVED, the claim of needed faith is only a cover for failure. They still cannot meet with our Lord's words in Matt. 17:20.

Truth Magazine III:2, p. 15, 47
November 1958