Christians suffering from diseases


#1

I just had an altercation with a Pentecostal Christian… he claimed ‘real’ Christians don’t suffer from disease as they would simply call out to Jesus Christ and be instantaneously cured, he was referring to cancer, AIDS etc. Immunization from violence and persecution is apparently something quite different. He quoted me the times Christ cured people in the Gospels and claimed that the Bible never mentions a Christian suffering from serious illness.

I’m not very shaken by his belief as I know full well that the Saints have suffered from horrendous physical hardships induced by medical complaint (St Therese of Lisieux/tuberculosis). This is of little use when arguing with a non-Catholic

Please tell me where the Bible succinctly refutes my mate’s argument.


#2

“It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Acts 14:22


#3

Chris - the quote you used isn’t specific enough. It could simply be referring to violence, persecution, martyrdom etc.

Sorry to be a bore, but my mate really needs something unmistakable that refers to Biblical Christians suffering from medical complaints (e.g. diseases) not induced by other people.

This is a common point of conflict between Pentecostal Christians and Catholics. Surely there are some websites that explore the dispute in great depth??


#4

[quote=Leao]I just had an altercation with a Pentecostal Christian… he claimed ‘real’ Christians don’t suffer from disease as they would simply call out to Jesus Christ and be instantaneously cured, he was referring to cancer, AIDS etc. Immunization from violence and persecution is apparently something quite different. He quoted me the times Christ cured people in the Gospels and claimed that the Bible never mentions a Christian suffering from serious illness.

I’m not very shaken by his belief as I know full well that the Saints have suffered from horrendous physical hardships induced by medical complaint (St Therese of Lisieux/tuberculosis). This is of little use when arguing with a non-Catholic

Please tell me where the Bible succinctly refutes my mate’s argument.
[/quote]

Your friend sounds like she is buying into Christian Science, which is more of a denial of the body and illness than anything else.

“Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.” James 5:14-15

It’s no secret that James was addressing Christians in his epistle. So James (under diving inspiration) knew that it was possible for Christians to be sick.

Hope that helps!


#5

Leao,

OK, how about this one…

"As he passed by he saw a man blind from birth.
His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?"
Jesus answered, "Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him."
John 9:1

Jesus said physical disease can be because God wants to show his works.


#6

James 5:14-15 has already been quoted so I’ll add this one.

1 Corinthians 11:27-30 “Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.”

Clearly, these were written to believers. Likewise, it is clear that simply calling on the name of Jesus is not the biblical way to be cured (although it certainly could happen that way). If your illness is due to a spiritual cause, you come to the Church in repentance to receive anointing to be forgiven and to be cured. If it is from a physical cause, the sacraments and sacramentals will help to provide the Grace from Christ which will help you to endure your suffering and to offer it up for the good of His Church.

Someone suggested that this claim was reminiscent of Christian Science but I disagree. Christian Science declares that there is no such thing as illness except in our own flawed perceptions. This other person seems to be declaring immunity from illness rather for “true” Christians but acknowleging that illness does, in fact, exist.


#7

My friend is not denying that Christians can get illnesses such as cancer and AIDS but he is saying that as soon as the Christian prays faithfully to Jesus to be healed from them they should always be restored to full health. This is a ridiculous and very dangerous understanding of Christianity. With respect, that’s why I’m dissatisfied with the quotes you’ve given me - they all have ambiguities

"…and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up…"
This quote could reemphasize the point that faithful prayer always raises sick people to full health

With regards to the story of Christ and the blind man, my friend will say that the blind man went on to be cured. The blind man was used to glorify God through the miracle of Christ spitting into the ground and restoring his sight, it wasn’t as if the man stayed blind, believed and died blind in order to glorify God through his faith in adversity like St Therese and her constant illnesses.

As for the quote from Corinthians, St Paul is clearly writing about illness as something that happens because of bad acts. Aren’t there any quotes from the New Testament that unambiguously treat sickness (not martydom) as something virtuous? Partaking in the suffering of Christ like St Therese and other Saints appear to of regarded sickness.

My friend is a sincere man, he believes he has seen countless people cured of blindness, fatal illnesses etc. and this has all enforced the belief that Christians are always physically healed once they pray to be. These quotes won’t do much to change this dangerous perspective (he preaches to many people).

Interestingly I presume the belief that Christians are effectively immune from sickness means that no one blind or sick has ever entered Heaven, only those who have died from old age or have been killed!?!


#8

[quote=Leao]"…and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up…"
This quote could reemphasize the point that faithful prayer always raises sick people to full health
[/quote]

It could also point out that anyone, through faithful prayer, will be saved and enter the kingdom. It does not necessarily say we are healed physically, but we are healed spiritually.

Unfortunately, when we need to use only the bible to prove things, we run into trouble. As many threads point out, the idea of the bible alone leaves much to false interpretation.

There are some great scripture references here so the only thing I could add is John 21:25 “But there are so many other things Jesus did; if every one of them were written down, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.”

Now this scripture could go either way. You could say that it simply proves He healed more than was written which supports nothing against your friend’s ideas. Or you could say there is so much more to what Jesus did and taught, more than scripture even shows us today. That’s why it is not scipture alone.

I don’t know that I helped much but appreciate your dilemma.
Good luck.


#9

Ever heard of Joni Eareckson (sp?) Tada? She has written several books. Her first tells about the diving accident that paralized her from the neck down. She was prayed over every which way. And firmly believed that she would be healed. But she wasn’t. It wasn’t because of her disbelief. It was because God had call for her. God used her IN HER WHEELCHAIR to reach others in wheelchairs. No one who isn’t in a wheelchair can properly preach to those in wheelchair. It takes someone IN a chair to understand what it’s like to be in a chair.

Same thing with diseases. If you don’t have the disease, how can you understand that disease? I, too, have prayed for healing. I’ve begged for it, bargained for it, and just about everything else. But God has decided that I am to “carry this cross” for His greater good. My “illness”? I’m mentally ill. I denied this for many years because, like your friend, I had been taught that if one was really a christian, then one would be healed of all things.

But God has a greater plan. Jesus told His disciples that they would have “troubles.” “WHEN you have trouble…” Not “IF,” but WHEN. Jesus also said we are to take up our crosses and follow HIm. Our crosses are more than broken fingernails. They are more than rude people. They are the outright sufferings of this world.

Yes, Jesus healed many. But at the pool where there were healings. I forget the name right off. Jesus was there with His disciples. How many of the countless horde did He heal? ONE!!! Can you count the number He DIDN’T heal? There will be those who have healing while in this life. Many more won’t.


#10

"…and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up…"
This quote could reemphasize the point that faithful prayer always raises sick people to full health

This can only be viewed that way if you separate the part you quote above from the rest of the verse; the requirement of anointing and the laying on of hands by the elders (priests) of the Church.

I will look for the verses you have asked regarding suffering being a virtue. I know that the Saints have typically viewed this as part of the meaning of “taking up our own cross and following Christ.”

The person seems to feel that anyone can heal themselves by simply declaring it. However St. Paul says something that suggests otherwise.

1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31: For as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, many as they are, form one body, so also it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, whether slaves or free; and we were all given to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. Now you are the body of Christ, member for member. And God indeed has placed some in the Church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers; after that miracles, then gifts of healing, services of help, power of administration, and the speaking of various tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles? Do all have the gift of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? Yet strive after the greater gifts.

Not all have the gift of healing. Now, one might suggest that he is referring to healing others, but it doesn’t actually say that. It is referring to the gift of healing itself; and not everyone has it.


#11

I found the following references to suffering in “A Textual Concordance of the Holy Scriptures” by Thomas David Williams (Published by TAN)

Suffering, love of
2 Cor 11:30
2 Cor 12:9-10
Gal 2:19
Gal 6:14
Philipp 1:29
Philipp 3:8-11
Col 1:24
Heb 13:13

Suffering, the value of
Wis 3:4-5
Luke 24:26
Rom 8:16-18
2 Cor 4:10, 17
2 Cor 12:7-9
2 Tim 2:11-12
1 Pet 2:19-21
1 Pet 3:17
1 Pet 4:1-2
1 Pet 4:12-13
1 Pet 4:19
1 Pet 5:10

I hope that at least some of these will help


#12

I’m sorry I can’t locate the exact verse - but maybe if I mention it someone here will know what I’m talking about.

Didn’t St. Paul mention in one of his letters that he bore in his own body the suffering of Christ? (or a sentiment similar to that)

I have read that this verse has led some to wonder if he might not have had the stigmata.

Anyways- if Paul suffered and had wounds - doesn’t that count for something?

I personally think my christian faith is supposed to help me deal with whatever trials come my way.
To suggest that we have some magical power over God to force Him to heal us is silly.
It is also insulting to the disabled and the sick to suggest they must not be doing something correctly.
This line of thinking makes no sense to me.


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