Why There's a Market for Faith Healers
Russell Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. He formerly served as Dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009).
- 2008 Dec 18
There’s much in the news these days about yet another travelling evangelist promising healing to the sick. Every few years here comes another fraudulent, scandal-riddled “faith healer.” That’s, sadly, no surprise.
Having said that, let me make clear, I am not dubious about healing. I believe that God heals today, often miraculously. And I believe that there are sometimes certain people whose prayers for the healing of others avail much. We all know, however, that there are those who will use the power of God to peddle a product. What’s most tragic about this is the fact that there’s always a constituency for guys like this.
I fear that it’s more than just P.T. Barnum’s famous old maxim about the gullibility of the American public. I fear that there’s something missing in our churches that drives even some of our people to charlatans. Might there be less of a demand for these travelling health-and-wealth revivalists if our churches spent more time on our knees in prayer for sick and hurting people?
Of course, all our churches have prayer lists of the sick, and many of them go over these lists line-by-line at Wednesday night prayer meeting. But when’s the last time you saw a church follow the command of the Holy Spirit as to what to do for the sick in James 5:13-15? When’s the last time you saw a suffering Christian call the pastors of his church to anoint him with oil and to pray for healing?
Perhaps if we gave more attention to prayer in our own churches, the most desperate among us–in our neighborhoods and in our pews–would have less reason to search out a self-appointed carnival-tent apostle.