How do I respond to a church that promotes healing versus suffering?

Someone close to me is attending a pentacostal church that teaches that Jesus’s death on the cross not only took away our sins but also took away sickness, that sickness is a part of the curse that was brought upon us by Adam. Therefore we have the capacity to be healed completely even of cancer and that if we do not believe we are healed that it is our own fault. The pastor at this church will “lay hands upon people” telling them that God or Jesus has healed them and for them to receive it. Then I find out this person eventually died and the reason they did was that they did not “receive” their healing.

I have tried to explain that Jesus suffered and that he also called upon us to carry our cross which might mean we might have to suffer also. But it is explained away by saying that he did all the suffering so we wouldn’t have to.

How can I more effectively respond to this?

Thank you!

I would say that even the apostles still became sick and they clearly had the holy spirit…
Paul for example most people belive he had epilepsy, the road to Damascus could easily be described as Paul being talked to during a seizure also the following is interesting… "But to keep me from being puffed up with pride… I was given a painful physical ailment, which acts as Satan’s messenger to beat me and keep me from being proud.’ (2 Corinthians, 12,7). In his letter to the Galatians, Paul again describes his physical weakness: ‘You remember why I preached the gospel to you the first time; it was because I was ill. But even though my physical condition was a great trial to you, you did not despise or reject me.’ (Galatians 4, 13-14)

This is a case for James 5:15-18

Ask the Church to pray for healing but surrender to God’s will ie: “thy will be done”.

Show yourself a real friend and pray for his/her healing also. The effective fervant prayer of a rightous man accomplishes much.

Exactly. Just because someone does not get healed though you prayed for them, you must submit to God in such a case. And of course those prayers never went to waste since God looks at the heart at the time of prayer and if your intentions were pure, it can only add to your soul.

At one of the Fatima apparitions, Lucy asks the Woman for healings. But the Woman (the Virgin Mary not yet revealed) says God is not sure if He can yet trust those persons were He to heal them.
Make of that what you will.

As a side note, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (whose private revelations have been approved by the Church but the faithful are not obligated to believe them) relates that the Virgin Mary while still on earth never went through a bodily illness.

i find bodily illnesses as a great chance to offer up your sufferings for a specific intention. And also it helps to appreciate those times when you are not sick.

When an illness befalls one, how often do they groan in dissatisfaction at their current condition?

When in good health, how often do they sing praise and rejoice at their current condition?

As a Pentecostal, I think I can respond to this. These people have a theory on healing, so naturally they look for scriptures to back up their beliefs. Sadly, they don’t realize that scripture has to be interpreted against the entire Canon because the Bible does not contradict itself. Let me explain:

There are many verses that taken by themselves suggest that Christians are not supposed to suffer. After all, the Bible says in Isaiah 53 that “By His stripes (scourging) we are healed.” Case closed! But is it? I tell people that if lack of suffering, pain and death were true indicators of godliness, then the Apostle Paul, Steven and other martyrs, and John the Apostle were the worst Christians that ever walked the face of the earth. After all, Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:

Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers. I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked.

This man wrote 2/3 of the New Testament, but he was even beheaded in Rome! Did he not have enough faith to be delivered? Of course not! After all, he was let out of prison by angels, but boy did he suffer in life. But he suffered for Christ. No, in light of the entire Bible, this theory falls flat on its face. Sadly, such theology destroys the faith of people because they eventually feel like God lied to them. After all, didn’t the pastor say that if I had enough faith I’d be healed? It’s sad.

Pray for your friend. Be Christ’s hands and feet by showing love and compassion for him/her. God bless you.

You are talking about physical suffering here but the question was about sickness. I agree with what you wrote but it doesn’t address the question of illness and healing.

The bold puzzles me. Did not Jesus say, “If you wish to follow me, you must bear your own cross?” Second, how do you explained that to the Apostles themselves especially those who died for their faith like St. Stephen, St. Paul, St. Peter, and all the other Apostles who suffered martyrdom, or those thousands of Christians persecuted by pagan Rome and being eaten by lions and some burn at the stake? Saints like St. Ignatius who became food for beasts, and St. Polycarp burned at the steak the fire did not consumed him so the Soldier stabbbed him.

Jesus suffering, death and resurrection was for our sake because we are all dead in sin. He redeemed us. Even though, he redeem us, he expect us to bear our burden. Indeed, his burden is light, but just as Christ suffered, we, Christians must also suffer.

Notice my bold above. This is a true statement but needs some expanding. Not only was mankind banished from the Garden but mankind had to suffer certain things. Sickness and death was part of the “curse”. God will intervene in rare cases to cure sickness but not as often as this pastor thinks. Since death is also one of the “curses” visited upon us by the Fall it would be interesting as to why he hasn’t raised anyone from the dead.

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