Thursday 29 May 2014


Re-examining five well-meaning presuppositions on health and disease:

  • God grants us health so we need not take personal responsibility for it.

  • God heals solely through supernatural means.

  • Seeking medical treatment signifies a lack of faith.

  • Medical treatment should be rejected as it represents man’s ingenuity––trust in man rather than God.

  • Patients do not experience supernatural healing because they lack faith.

Let’s consider each premise in turn.

God grants us health so we need not take personal responsibility for it.

A blog reader commented: “Without faith it is impossible to please God. If you’re not walking by faith, you are going to be fearful and unbelieving. Health and divine healing are a result of walking by faith.

Some people think that health and faith comes in one neat package. But the fact that pastors and missionaries do fall sick—just like anyone—debunks this premise.

While it is true that we cannot add a single hour to our life by worrying (Luke 12:25), we still have to take personal responsibility for our bodies as it is the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19).

God heals solely through supernatural means.

Having faith does not necessarily mean we have to shun medical treatment. Isaiah ordered a poultice to be applied to King Hezekiah’s boil (Isaiah 38:21). The apostle Paul told Timothy to drink some wine for his stomach ailments (1 Timothy 5:23). 

If “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Proverbs 17:22), then the latter has a definite place in the life of believers. Certain plants (herbs) have healing properties (Ezekiel 47:12). A notable example is foxglove (digitalis) which has long been used to improve the pumping ability of a weak heart.

Seeking medical treatment signifies a lack of faith.

Jesus certainly does not discount the role of doctors in treating diseases. Otherwise He would not have said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician but those who are sick” (Luke 5:31).

The apostle Luke was a doctor who followed Jesus in His healing ministry. Jesus seems to imply that doctors and practitioners of supernatural healing should happily coexist. Why can’t both camps work together and learn to respect each other?

How can we be deemed as lacking in faith––considered as “second-class” believers––when we seek medical treatment? Scripture expressly says that medicine, herbs and physicians all have a role to play in healing.

Medical treatment should be rejected as it represents man’s ingenuity––trust in man rather than God.

The view that any product of man’s creativity is evil is indeed seriously flawed. Having created the world, God gave man the injunction to multiply, subdue and rule the earth (Genesis 1:28). This ‘cultural mandate’ drives all of man’s productive endeavours––from scientific to economic; from sustainable development to environmental conservation. Our creative potential bears the marks of our Creator, who created each snowflake distinct from the rest.

Countless lives have been saved since the advent of antibiotics and vaccination. It’s baffling why some hyper-spiritual ‘faith healers’ wholeheartedly embrace the benefits of modern inventions but reject modern medicine. Logically, they should stop travelling in cars and airplanes, and stop enjoying the benefits of mobile technology.

Some ‘faith healers’ view modern medicine as evil as the serpent has long been a symbol of the medical fraternity. Clearly they have forgotten the account when God told Moses to make a bronze serpent. Those bitten by snakes would not die if they looked at the serpent set on a pole (Numbers 21:8-9).

Patients do not experience supernatural healing because they lack faith.

Have faith and then healing will inevitably ensue? Not necessarily so. There are certainly more factors to be considered than just harping on the fact that God heals in every instance where there is faith.

The other factors to be considered include: God’s sovereignty, the fall of man (sin) and consequent disease and degeneration, inevitable death that confronts each of us.

 I am not for a moment doubting that God can heal. Or that the prayer of faith can heal:
“Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven” (James 5:14-15).

But when reality confronts us in the real world––that some are still not healed despite being prayed for––what are we to do? There are so many cases of non-healing which does not gel with theology that says “God will heal always”. For example, have you seen a Down’s syndrome child being healed completely back to normal?

If God heals always when people get prayed for sicknesses, then we will not have to die and will hypothetically live forever. Then how are we going to expire? We have to die, in most cases, of some illness (eg. heart attack, stroke, or cancer) if we don’t die of accidents. Are there any modern-day Enochs you know of who get translated to heaven without dying?

Those who seek miraculous healing do so because they trust God, however little or great their faith may be (Mark 9:24). They also respect the ‘faith healer’ for his or her successful track record. Why load them with the additional burden of false guilt––especially when they’re already in emotional turmoil over serious or terminal illnesses?

However, in cases where sin hinders healing, the foregoing does not apply. The sick must confess their sins and repent as a prerequisite for healing to occur.



God does not answer all our whys this side of eternity when we’re confronted with non-healing––even when all the prerequisites have been fulfilled for spiritual healing.




A biblical view of sickness and healing

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