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Miracles for Sale

August 9, 2011

What this documentary is: An expose on the wickedness of faith healers who prey on the gullibility, desperation, and greed of their targets.

What this documentary isn’t: “We’ve spent the last six months ensuring what we have not done is an attack on sincerely held beliefs or decent church-goers. This isn’t a comment on faith. It’s not a comment on the church. It is an attempt to expose what I believe to be a systematic and manipulative exploitation of the vulnerable where greed can ruin people’s lives. And all in the name of God.” ~ Darren Brown

Sent to me by an old school chum, David Hamblin, via Facebook

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2011 3:57 pm

    that was amazing. I’ve said before here that I come from traditions that do all of these things. I do believe in healing – but I also share all the same concerns about people being manipulated, not taking medications, and giving their money to frauds. I liked his point early on that some of these folks sincerely believe what they are doing is of God. We always tell people not to stop medication until they’ve had a doctor tell them it is no longer necessary, we never use music to hype up an environment – in fact that is why we have a coffee break between the music and the teaching, and we never tell a person that they didn’t get healed because of their sin or lack of faith. The other thing that makes me very nervous is when it is all about one person – the faith healer. One of the things I loved about Wimber was that he always got people to pray for each other. Despite all those things I’ve been around healings that I know personally. Some might be simple spontaneous remissions, but others really don’t fit that description.

    • Chris E permalink
      August 11, 2011 7:59 am

      The thing is Frank, one would have to conclude from what you just said that true miracles are actually fairly rare.

      However, that’s rarely (if ever) the message you get from the pulpit when the preacher gets into stride.

      • August 12, 2011 7:35 am

        I don’t like the term miracle Chris. But you are right there is a peddling of “miracles” that even I, as a charismatic, find deeply offensive.

        For me the tension of the now and not yet of God’s Kingdom really helps me understand why we have expectation that God can and will heal, but also why we do not always see it. And to be honest it is rarely as dramatic as is portrayed in these settings. One of my favourite stories is from when I was in my first pastoral role. A gentleman named Paul was sitting in the congregation while someone was sharing their testimony of meeting God in a penitentiary. Paul felt a hole close up that had been drilled in his skull when he was a kid (street hockey accident). With little fan-fare we prayed for him and encouraged him to see his doctor. He had been on meds for something related to this since he had the accident. The doctor confirmed that there had been a change and told Paul he could stop the medications. In all the time I knew him after that he was fine. Now there could be a number of explanations for this healing – but the thing that struck me was that it didn’t need the hype and it didn’t need to be marketed as what everyone needed or should experience. But boy did it bolster our faith.

        The term miracle, to me, makes me think of an interventionist God. That is God acting outside of what should be normal. I think that is too simplistic. Theologically I have more of a participatory view of God, where God enters into the reality of the world and calls us to work together in God’s redemptive purposes in the world. In unraveling and undoing the ravages of evil we should fully expect to see liberations, healings, justice, and even deliverances. But these are not miracles, as if to say exceptions to the natural order of things, but what is normal when we participate with God in God’s redemptive purposes.

      • Chris E permalink
        August 13, 2011 6:49 am

        That’s fine Frank, I have no problem defining things in terms of the providential hand of God upholding all of creation, and his redemptive work breaking through into the present – sometimes visibly.

        In which case charismatics/pentecostals still have a problem – it’s just called an over realised eschatology instead.

    • 4xi0m permalink
      August 11, 2011 10:46 am

      It also seems suspicious that only diseases with the potential to heal spontaneously ever get ‘miraculously’ healed. Cancer is touted as an example most often, and it can go into spontaneous remission; also infectious diseases, which can be eventually resolved by the immune system. However, I’ve never heard of a genetic disease–like fragile X syndrome or a cleft palate or Hirschsprung’s disease or Down syndrome or severe combined immunodeficiency or X-linked lissencephaly or xeroderma pigmentosum, to name a few–being miraculously healed. Why is that? Some of the worst diseases out there are genetic. Also, people with hereditary cancer predisposition syndromes never seem to benefit from miracles: if one tumor goes into remission, there’s another on the way or already there. Seems like God would fix the underlying problem, which is often just a single mutation.

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