Do Faith Healers Help People?
by Pastor Ricky Kurth
“If God has withdrawn the gift of healing, how come some people seem to improve after going to see a healer?”
When I was in high school, I took an introductory course in psychology. In that class, the teacher claimed that 75 percent of all illnesses are psychosomatic. That is, they are real physical illnesses that are brought on by an entirely mental process. While there is no way to know if the percentage she cited is accurate, it is hard to argue with her assessment. We know that stress is an entirely mental reaction to the challenges of life, but it can cause a very real, physical, heart attack. So it shouldn’t be surprising that other illnesses are psychosomatic as well.
But if a real, valid, physical illness can be brought on by a purely mental process, then it stands to reason that it can likewise be remedied by a purely mental process, such as believing in a healer’s power to heal. We see evidence of this in what doctors call “the placebo effect.” When testing a drug, researchers give some of the people in the test group the drug being tested, but they give others a placebo, a sugar pill. They do this because they know that people sometimes feel better because they believe they are taking a drug that will help them.
It is easy to then transfer this thinking to what happens when someone with a real illness goes to see a healer. If a person really believes that a healer can help with real, physical illnesses, often he can!
We see the same kind of thing when Solomon declared that “a merry heart doeth good like a medicine” (Prov. 17:22). Doctors have known for years that a positive mental attitude aids in healing. Similarly, the positive mental attitude brought on by believing in a healer’s powers often enable people suffering from physical afflictions to know some short-term relief. But frequently those who are “healed” in this way must return again and again to the healer for more healing, while this is never said to be so of the people who were miraculously healed by men with the gift of healing in the Bible
To the Reader: