Why Don't Christians...??

I recently heard on the radio an expose of Faith Healer Benny Hin. The blatant methods of chicanery this guy uses, and the way he fleeces those in their most desperate times left me almost shaking with anger. Among other methods of deceit, he used the old standby of placing people who could walk in wheelchairs near the front stage so that when he called them up it appeared they were hobbled people suddenly able to walk. The descriptions of the sea of hopeful people attending out of good faith, such a large percentage of them in desperate, last stages of illness, on their last dollar, was heart breaking. And yet, Hin demanded over and over that they put their money in the donation boxes repeatedly handed around the crowd.
Apparently the scene in the parking lots afterward is one of disappointment and dejection for many who attended and who were not healed of their illnesses.
(Note that when some ill old woman fainted of heat stroke in the isles during the "performance" Hin's staff immediately called an ambulance, rather than rely on Hin's miraculous ability to call upon God's healing power...funny Hin wouldn't risk demonstrating God's power on an un-rehearsed case of heat stroke, when God is apparently curing cancer, diabetes and crippled folk left right and center).

It reminded me of good old popular Christian Faith Healer Peter Popoff, whose ever hopeful following continued to flock to him despite that his Faith Healing Claims were exposed as fraud in a very public story. (Popoff claimed to hear from God who was sick with what in the audience, and then call them up by name and illness. Yet it was exposed that all the time his wife was backstage, telling him all that information to a small receiver in his ear). There have been similar exposes of quite a few Faith Healers (although it really doesn't take an expose, just some rational observation to spot those types).

Now, the interesting thing is that it seems it's skeptics, non-Christians, who are the people routing these frauds out.

The question that arises is this:

Some Christians get sucked in by this stuff. But many Christians KNOW, or at least suspect, that these Faith Healing Frauds are out there fleecing the poorest of the flock of their limited funds.

Why then don't CHRISTIANS do anything about it? Why is it up to the skeptics? You would think that it is Christians who have the most at stake in this; that Christians would hate more than anyone to see God used as a device to defraud people of their funds. Shouldn't Christians more than anyone recognize when God is being profaned in such a way, and when other desperately ill Christians are being used and defrauded of their last dollars, not to mention the terrible PR these guys are for Christianity?

Where are the Christians? Why aren't they cleaning their own house and going after these guys?

I'm looking forward to Christian opinions on this. But for now I can only think of one answer. That is that Christians realize on some level that it's dangerous to put those guys under the microscope. Why? Because, in the end the Faith Healers are doing what? Making some extravagant claims for the presence of God's holy spirit. And how many Churches do that anyway? Many Christians make certain claims for God's direct intervention in their life. In essence, it's all an extension of the same sort of improvable claims. Therefore, there is a sort of unspoken "live and let live" attitude. "I won't question your experiences of God, even though I think they are baloney, because if we start doing that all our experiences go under the same microscope and I can't say mine would hold up any better." And the charlatans work just this sort of mutual tolerance to line their pockets.

I'd like to hear Christian views on why Christians aren't the ones routing out the fakes in their midst.

Thanks,

Prof.

check out a book called counterfeit revival. The man who wrote it is a christian apologist who does in fact route out and expose people like this who are taking advantage of vulnerable people while giving a bad name to christianity and doing nothing more than mass hypnosis. Its actually kinda funny though, my aunt got real upset with me when I said something bad about Benny Hinn, because he is good friends with my cousin, who is a penetcostal minister, that also happens to be a penetcostal minister. Its funny that he also happens to have a show on TBN, called God's news behind the news. If you want you can look at the website. But the author of this book also called my cousin a fraud, which I know to be false, because I certainly know him better than the author of this book. So who can say for certain? I dunno...but it seems highly unlikely to me that Hinn is doing anything more than promoting himself and leaving people high and dry after he leaves town, waiting them to wander around for thier next spiritual fix from wherever they can find it.

Prof, I suspect there may be a couple of reasons.
1) I myself have seen the move of God and miraculous healings. I have witnessed 2 incidents in which the Dr.'s prognosis was "it's a miracle". This was a little girl with a malignant tumour on her spine give months to live (it's now completely gone) and my bro in law who was hit by a semi and blew a piece of his aorta valve off. I think that Christians are afraid to criticize because if they are not there, they are not sure what's going on. If they criticize something that may be legit, then they worry they are criticizing God. 2) Some of these guys are so obvious you kind of feel like "let the buyer beware". I knew from the moment I saw Robert Tilton that he was a charlatan. 3) The knowledge that God will bring their house of cards down (re: Baker, Swagart, Tilton etc.) 4) a lack of time to follow these guys.

By the way, the 2 healings at my church were never on TV, were never used to drive monetary requests, were never announced as anything more then God and are nothing more then solid, quiet testimonies. In fact, I have attended there for 15 years, and these people are all "normal people". That is, there is no extravagent, heavily made up, mullet, jewelery encased zombies pitching for money to heal.

I find the above you referenced disgusting, and evil.

prof, there have been many oraganizations that have went after Benny Hinn, and others including Popoff.

The things that disuade people are:

People have a real desire to see God do miracles

There is a bible verse that says not to attack God's annointed

There are other verses that say to keep our internal disagreements out of the public eye

people really want to hear they can be disgustingly rich and still be a good Christian

but let me repeat, these guys have been gone after by many different Christian organizations. And have been kicked out of their denominations etc

the rev

There are numerous "Christian" cult hunters/heresy hunter organizations/and watch organizations that search out these types of things. Most of them aren't powerful/rich or have any real media pull. So they stick to publishing books (like Josh mentioned) creating websites devoted to such, or just going around speaking at different churches and assemblies.

Prof, if you're looking for skeptics, critics, or watch groups, look no further than your local "Christian" bookstore or website.



Puzzled

Prof I think there is a special place in Hell for such people. I saw a terrible special where an Indian family took their son with a brain tumor to one of those guys for months and gave thousands. The kid died and the couple was so far gone they said they didnt blame the faith healer and wish they had given more money. Anyone with basic Biblical experience knows wealth has nothing to do with blessings.

James says not many should presume to be teachers, because those who teach will be judged more strictly.

Jesus in mark said

"If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea"

Popoff was exposed by James Randi as I remember it.

Benny Hin isn't even a good con man IMO. You might remember my comparison of Hin to George Dillman on the UG. There are really alot of similarities in the set ups and cons of these two. Which along with such names as Yuri Geller and L. Ron Hubbard quickly leads one to understand that there are con-men of all sorts and persuasions and that sadly P. T. Barnum was most correct.

Thanks guys.

It's interesting to hear that some Christian organizations are going after these guys. That's good. I'd never heard of them. Are there any links someone can post to any such websites? Thanks.

From my perspective the whole concept of Christianity makes ferreting out imposters a particulalry tricky, difficult task.

BTW, as far as miracle healings go: My Father-In-Law went in for a check up due to stomach problems. He'd been for a general check up only a couple months before. A HUGE tumor was felt in his stomach, one not there before. It was the size of an orange and quickly progressed to the size of a grapefruit shortly after. It was malignant, and as he awaited exact diagnosis in Canada's sometimes too-damned-slow health care system it grew at a frightening rate. You could see his stomach bulging grotesquely with the thing (and they discovered more surrounding tumors). It was inoperable apparently. He had little time to live. Couldn't eat. Could barely sleep etc.

He underwent traditional treatment: chemo/radiation. It zapped the tumor to oblivion. He has been cancer free for almost two years and seems virtually identical in health and happiness to before the tumor (walking 5 miles a day, taking University physics courses at the age of 70 etc.). It is truly incredible.

My Father-In-Law and his surrounding family are completely non-religious. Modern science cured him.
Does anyone here doubt that, had we been religious we would have prayed for him and attributed his incredible turnaround to God? I'm certain we would have. (My mother also was treated for breast cancer; she's cancer free now).

I would wonder if, in cases like Rooster's little girl with the tumour: did she receive any _medical_ treatment along with the prayer?
(It's hard to imagine that a family would let her go with no medical treatment for such a condition).

Prof.

(BTW, is anyone else having a problem with this site logging them out really fast, so you have to keep logging in as you post?)

Hi Prof. Yes, the little girl received medical treatment as did my brother in law. The little girl had a tumour wrapped wround her spine and I believe in her brain. Her mom wrote a little one pager that appeared as part of a written testimony, I'll find it (it was for fund raising purposes). She was losing her balance and the dr's. said that their treatment might slow it down but she was basically going to be dead in a few months. After much prayer and fasting, we reached a point as a church were there wasn't anymore fear and anxiety about the case. We knew she was going to be healed. You certainly don't get that with everyone you pray for. Anyway, her last check up the tumour was completely gone. The dr's had no other way to catagorize it then say, it was a miracle.

In my brother in law's case, he was bleeding to death on the way to the hospital. One of the top heart specialist happened to be at Springfield hospital (I believe he was in lay clothes) and saw them wheel in my brother in law. His check was purple and the Dr. said he was bleeding to death and they had to operate. His aorta vale was blown off from the impact of the wrest (about the size of a thumbnail) and they started operated to replace it. The dr. said 95% of people do not survive that type of injury and the other 95% do not survive the operation. I had just walked in from my honeymoon and we started a prayer chain. Anyway, the when we got to the hospital, the Dr. kept telling my mother in law that "a piece of your son's aorta is gone, he should be dead." "do you understand this?" "we don't know why he is alive". He said this about 5 times. Anyway, they then were not sure if he would come out of his come (he did), then they were not sure if he would be brain damaged (he's not, except for his normal goofiness), then they were not sure he'd ever walk again-he went from being bed ridden, to a wheel chair, to crutches to a cane, to nothing. (He had other injuries, smashed pelvis, broken shoulder etc. etc.). In fact, the only evidence of the wreck is this huge scar around the front and back of his ribs where they got in for surgery and black spots in his vision where he had some minor optical nerve damage from brain swelling. In both cases, both dr's did not feel to comfortable accepting any credit for modern medicine as they both felt their efforts were going to be useless.

im sick and tired of people automatically assuming that ALL of these "faith healers" are fake. im not entirely dismissing the possibility of there being fakes out there, but not all are fake.


NOTHING has changed since the book of acts. these gifts were given to the church to aid in showing jesus to the nonbelievers who had never heard the name. whether your church believes this or not is irrelavant. its still just as real as in the book of acts. these gifts have not "passed away".


i know a person who has the gift of prophecy. not some psychic dogmatic sugarcoating heretic, a PROPHET. this guy can look into your life and tell you things you havent even told your wife. he has seen more miracles than he can even remember. i have witnessed his gift first hand, and stood dumbfounded. i am a very skeptical person, and until having a real EXPERIENCE with god, i didnt even believe in god, and im telling you, this stuff is real.


just know that not everyone like this are fakes, so please try not to point a finger until undeniable EVIDENCE is presented on exactly how these "fakes" do their "magic".

thank you

Rooster, et all:

Those are really impressive recoveries and it makes me very happy to hear the outcomes. (I can't imagine how thankful I'd feel to have my child return from the brink of death to health).

Naturally (pun intended) I wouldn't attribute the recoveries to something supernatural. However, I can understand how the recoveries would fit into the believer's world view. No problem.

My wife and quite a few of our friends are doctors (as well as from other medical fields). They all have stories of patient's surprising recoveries from acute problems that normally kill most people. The list of survivors, I'm sure, would include the non-religious with the religious.

I know some Christian groups promote studies that show prayer aids recovery of certain medical conditions (less need for antibiotics, that kind of stuff).
Those studies that do seem to promote a link between prayer and health get the press (even from the non-religious press). It makes for better stories; studies with negative outcomes aren't seen as terribly interesting stories by publishers. However, it's not always easy to get information on the quality of positive result prayer studies that make the news. When they are examined they often are less conclusive than purported, or leave something to be desired methodologically. For instance, one Duke University study seemed to promote the idea of small benefits seemingly related to prayer. However, the sample size appeared to be rather small. When the same Duke team repeated the study with a much larger sample size, the health results for prayer became neutral. In the same way the large, well-organized prayer/health study performed by the Mayo clinic showed no statistical benefit whatsoever for intercessory prayer. But it only got the occasional two inches of column space in *some* newspapers, as opposed to the major stories devoted to the trials with positive correlations. Because, again, negative results aren't a big story.

Many studies that show positive correlation between prayer and improved health are generally showing mild but interesting statistical rises. For instance, that prayer is correlated with lower blood pressure. Such links, if eventually confirmed, would suggest to me more of a psychological link to the body's ability to fight disease, vs some supernatural explanation. The Theological implications of such studies seems to me exceedingly peculiar, and nothing Christians would really want to hang their hat on. Antihypertensive medicines have a much more profound, dependable effect on lowering blood pressure than any prayer study has shown. Apparently God is less powerful than blood pressure medicine, or is at least exceedingly lackadaisical in his attention to high blood pressure.

Some studies have purported to "show" prayer correlates with slightly slowing the growth rate of microorganisms (such as ones that might cause disease). If confirmed, what again are the Theological implications? That God listens to a prayer and says: "Ok, you got some bacteria growing there? I, the All Powerful Creator Of The Universe, will now slow that growth...but I'm warning you I can only slow it a teeny bit. Behold!" What exactly can a Christian derive from such experiments?

Further, many prayer/health studies comprise people of many different faiths. I don't know why Christians would promote the positive results of such studies (as some do), given that those studies would put the link between prayer and health beyond the purview of any one religion (suggesting to me any *possible* effect is more likely a generally experienced brain/body interaction vs that everyone's religion happens to be true).


I've babbled on. Time to go play soccer with the kid...

Peace.

Prof.

Dying breed, there has been undeniable evidence shown for many of these guys being fakes. And evidence that their theology is not only wack, but very hurtful. My father in law went through hell after his wife died of cancer, that she didn't get treated because she had faith God would heal her. Not only did he lose his wife, but then thanks to these geniuses he blamed himself for her dying because he didn't have enough faith.

I have seen miracles, have been the recipient of them, and the conduit for them. I believe in all the gifts. However, it doesn't seem Gods chosen method to do them in stadiums in my opinion.

the rev

If faith healing is true, I think we would see people stretching fourth withered hands and blind people completely healed, like Jesus did. The only "healings" I've ever seen are superficial B.S. like someone getting out of a wheel chair, or someone claiming to see or hear better. There is no proof in it. Let's see a real miracle. I want to see someone with severe cerebral palsy healed, a retarded person made hole or someone who's never seen before see. Black Bart

BlackBart brings up a very good point. When I am flipping the channels and see Benny Hinn, I notice all the people who are "healed" seem to have a lot of "soft tissue damage" types of ailments. Deafness, backache, stomach problems, etc.

I want to see a bona fide para or quadroplegice "pick up his mat and walk." God has the power to do more than what Benny Hinn.

Also Prof, don't think that these guys are considered "untouchable" amongst the Christian community. Along with the other instances noted above, people who are Christians, whose names you and I have bounced around, refer to such as "kooks".

Bobby

Prof,

In our family, the same thing happend. My Grandfather(whom died before i was born) had been diagnosed with a brain tumor in the early 70s. They sent him to the U of M hospital, where they told him they were going to have to operate. He went home, and told his family that he was sure God would heal him. The next set of tests the doctors gave him came back with intresting results, the tumor that had been diagnosed by medical professionals at one of the most modern medical facilities possibly in the world, had vanished, there was no trace of it, and the effects of the tumor which had caused him to go to his Dr initially, had also vanished.

Miracles happen....to show Godsp ower I believe...he died about 10 years later making a sandwhich at lunch

I believe in miracles and have heard claims about withering hands and people even rising from the dead. However, even though our church believes in the power of healing (from God) we do not dismiss modern medicine but look at the knowledge and the power of modern medicine as a gift from God. We encourage all sick people to try to get as much benefit from modern medicine and would never discourage anyone from going.

BobbyD wrote:
-- "Also Prof, don't think that these guys are considered "untouchable" amongst the Christian community. Along with the other instances noted above, people who are Christians, whose names you and I have bounced around, refer to such as "kooks".- -

Yes, which is laudable. But my point was that, even though many Christians believe these fraudsters are in their ranks, most turn a blind eye to them, which is peculiar given Christianity has the most to loose from their presence and the greatest interest in rooting out false claims and fraudulence in the name of God.

I had seen quite a few investigations of those hucksters but always from scientists/skeptics or journalists; never from Christians themselves. I understand from some posts here that there are Christians investigating these guys and I'd like to see their reports.

Prof.

check out www.equip.org

There is a guy here who does a lot of stuff trying to promote "bibical christianity" and expose frauds.

prof,

You don't see the Christian stuff cause you don't go to Christian book stores or listen to Christian radio, but they are all over.

the rev