Faith Healers

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Puritan Board Senior
Let me start by being very clear - this is not a christian book. It is a serious investigation of miracle workers, mainly in the USA. James Randi is a well known illusionist and atheist who investigates the paranormal.

This book documents the strategiies used by "ministries" that focus on the miraculous and money. It documents the following

  • deliberately seating those with walking sticks in wheelchairs
  • using prayercards to collect money
  • the trade in mailing lists of rich/generous donors
  • use of in ear microphones to convey "words of knowledge"

Following up the claimed miracles James Randi tracks down those "healed" to find that they were sometimes actors and sometimes they were walking with a stick and escorted down to the front to be seated in a wheelchair. They were then singled out and asked to walk. The audience totally oblivious, assume that they are seeing a cripple walk - after all why else would thay be in a wheelchair?

When I read the book I was interested to see exactly how these high profile miracle workers operated. As a cessationist I am VERY sceptical of modern day miracles. What the book showed me was the level of exploitation and the harm done. Not just moral and spiritual but physical. People die when thay believe they are cured and abandon orthodox medicine!

I would be tempted to give five stars for this masterly expose but I would really want a distinction drawn between Biblical miracles and the modern imitations. Jesus healed paralytics on their pallet, restoring their strength to the point that they can carry their pallet away. This would be the equivalent of healing an individual paralysed by polio to the point that they can fold the wheelchair tuck it under one arm and walk away. The biblical bar for miracles is much higher than the examples given here. You also need to remember that in Jesus time cripples and the blind lived among the community. They were known to the community! In modern "healing crusades" how many people really know each other? It is much easier to fool people where they only briefly meet others without knowing their background.
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