Posts filed under ‘miracles’
I am thankful for many things this Thanksgiving, but would like to take a moment here to thank every single person who has posted a comment on this blog. I am grateful for the support, challenges, care, and friendships I have experienced through your contributions. Also to those who read and do not comment, I am thankful you find something worth visiting for and that you take the time to do so. You are AMAZING, the godless, the God full, and everyone in between.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind. For that man ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. James 1:6
I was looking at a map for a project at work yesterday and the name of a small town caught my eye. I had once had a business appointment there at the office of a woman running her own business. I got to chat with her a bit during several visits; she was under a lot of stress, her little boy was dying of cancer. As I recall, he had been in remission after undergoing chemotherapy and then the cancer came back. So infinitely sad, my heart still aches to remember.
She was a Christian and held out hope for God’s healing. But it was more than that, she was confident God was going to heal her child. She had been sold on a certain theology in which it is necessary to have full confidence in prayer for the requests to be answered. In fact, she had staked a lot in taking her boy to a healing service by a visiting evangelist who preached that message. Some of you may recognize that theology. The evangelist was the one and only Benny Hinn. I had not heard of him or the theology at the time. It was something that didn’t sound right, but what can you say to a mother whose boy is dying of cancer?
I recently read about the problems perpetrated by men like Hinn in William Lobdell’s book, Losing My Religion. An article he wrote on Hinn made it into the book (a lot of the book is from previously published articles). He writes about how despite investigations of people of like Hinn, despite revelations of misdeeds, corruption, and fraud, people still flock to hear them and give them money, holding out hope for miracles. Truly sickening.
“Sitting cross-legged in front of a big-screen TV, the 11-year-old squints through Coke-bottle glasses at a Miracle Crusade video made more than two years ago in which he starred as a boy who miraculously recovered from blindness. “I liked it at first because I thought I was being healed,” says William in the living room of his aunt and uncle’s home. On the screen, Hinn bends down to William, his hands on the child’s face. “Look at these tears,” says Hinn, peering into the child’s eyes. “William, baby, can you see me?”
Before more than 15,000 people in a Las Vegas arena, William nods. In a small voice, the boy says: “As soon as God healed me, I could see better.” Hinn, an arm wrapped around William, tells the audience that God has told him to pay the child’s medical expenses and education. People weep. Today William is still legally blind and says his sight never improved, and that his onstage comments were wishful thinking.
The woman’s little boy passed away not much later. I still think of them from time to time. I hope her difficult life was not made harsher through the experience of that “healing” ministry. I hope that it did not rob her of any comfort she and her husband and their boy had in his last days. I hope they have made peace with their God, and somehow found comfort in the midst of their tragedy.
Sitting back in his chair, Hinn shakes his head over how tough his job has become. He says being a pastor in the healing ministry is a profession he would never choose for himself, but he is called to it by God. “It’s not been a pleasant life,” Hinn says. “[People] think we’re in it for the money. They think that God doesn’t really heal, so these guys are just fooling the world. I’d be a fool to be in this for the money. If I did not believe God healed, I’d quit tomorrow and go get a job.”
Had a conversation with an old friend today who is very concerned for my soul. He believes in a lot of miracles which are for today, so we can see God at work. A lot of people get healed, prophesies are fulfilled, the power of God is known in amazing ways, often in Africa, but other places too. You really only deny them as miracles if you do not want to believe them in the first place, which is Satan’s plan, if you understand the spiritual realm it’s pretty undeniable. Think Todd Bentley kind of stuff. I would have listened with a lot more credulity and interest when I was in college, which may have been the last time I listened to this kind of talk at any great length. I quickly remembered why it had been so long, and why I had been happier with a more concrete kind of conservative theology.
I’m not new to this stuff, didn’t need to create new filters to process it through. But it still wore me out. And there is no satisfaction to be had in trying to poke holes in the stories. All that would accomplish is confirming in the other person’s eyes that you are hardened to the truth and deceived. I thanked him for his concern for my soul. I would have enjoyed catching up on things instead of talking about the benefits of supernatural beliefs and eternal separation from God, but that’s just me.