I was talking to a friend earlier tonight and I mentioned how I hate unbalanced teaching on divine healing, i.e., the kind that says God will always heal as long as we have “enough” faith. I used to believe that with all my heart; to the point where I was insensitive when preaching it.
I recalled an incident when I was in my friend’s barber shop checking up on things while he was on vacation and I struck up a conversation with a widow whose son was getting a haircut. She told me that her husband had been a man of faith and that he had seen many faith healers and yet he still died of his disease. My response was something like, “I don’t know everything, but I know that if he had enough faith he would have been healed.”
Needless to say she was offended. And she should have been. To start, I lacked tact, but in addition to that, it’s bad theology. The fact of the matter is that God doesn’t heal everybody at all times and we can’t always chalk it up to a lack of faith. Paul tells Timothy to no longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of his stomach and frequent ailments (1 Tim. 5:23) rather than telling him that if he had enough faith then he’d have no ailments.
But let me close by saying that I absolutely believe in divine healing—how could I not?—I’ve been healed on more than one occasion! But I don’t think healing is as cut and dry as some would like it to be. There’s so many moving parts (e.g., the roles that faith and sin play or the cause of the sickness, etc.) and every circumstance is different. We shouldn’t try to systematize something that God hasn’t systematized.
The problem with so much prosperity preaching is not just that it lacks tact, but it lacks imagination and creativity, by which I mean that it treats healing as some kind of uniform act of God that can be figured out and then rinsed and repeated. It doesn’t allow that God can have a purpose in someone being ill (and God forbid anyone suggest that God actually caused the illness!). It just says, “Believe and be healed!—Not healed?—You didn’t believe!”