Again this week I had no questions submitted, so I’m re-posting this from June of 2009:
A CLCer recently asked, “Where in the Bible do people get the notion that disease and illness is due to lack of faith?”
Great question, even though it’s so sad that it needs to be asked. It’s perhaps the most hurtful extreme that has come out of the ‘faith’ movement among Spirit-filled churches, and that is the ‘pronounced judgement’ that if a believer has an illness, it must be because of their lack of faith. There is NO Scripture in the Bible that pronounces that judgment upon a believer – it’s simply faulty theology.
Having said that, I will say that I don’t believe the Bible agrees with some of the statements in the original question; namely, I do not believe that God ever places sickness on us. From my understanding of Scripture, all sickness and disease is a result of the Fall, and is further complicated by afflictions from the evil one – but NEVER from God.
Furthermore, the idea that sickness is a ‘burden’ for us to bear (as was implied in the statement about Paul’s thorn in the flesh) is also NOT Biblical. (We can’t be certain what Paul’s ‘thorn’ was, but he indicated it was a “messenger of Satan, to torment me and keep me from becoming proud”) Again, there is NO Scripture that would ever teach that God puts sickness on us as a burden for us to bear, or to teach us some lesson.
I believe the correct and safest Scriptural position for us to take as believers is to always assume that it is God’s will to heal – every sickness and disease – and to ask Him to do so, in faith. That does not preclude us from seeking medical treatment in the meantime, even as we continue trusting God for complete healing. But if that healing does not manifest, there are a myriad of possible reasons, and the last thing any of us as believers should do is point a finger of judgment against someone who is not healed and tell them that it’s because of their lack of faith.
Hope this helps – it’s a subject that needs fuller treatment than this forum allows.
Now, what would YOU like to Ask the Pastor?