Egg On My Face: The Problem of Theological Claims Based On Experience

 

 

About a week ago, I posted the following on Facebook: “So, it turns out healing is a thing. I went to a healing service last night at Christian Life Church. I have had a hip injury for the past year or so, which I feel as low-back pain. As of last night, it is gone. Praise God!” How had I come to this conclusion? During the service, the speaker asked for those who needed healing to raise their hands, which I did. He then said, “Some of you need to let go of bitterness.” I felt a strong conviction that this applied to me, as well as a strong emotional reaction to the realization. When I acknowledge this, I felt a sensation in the area of my back where I have felt the symptoms of my injury. When I tested it, I felt no more symptoms. (I admit that the symptoms come and go, and are not continuously felt.) From these circumstances, I inferred that I had been healed. Based on my conviction that any healing I experience is not just for me, I shared this with the congregation and social media. Thursday morning, I realized I had made a humiliating error. My symptoms were back in full. It was clear that no such healing had occurred. Needless to say, my “quiet time” on Thursday was anything but. I would have been content to not have been healed (and I still am) but I felt really embarrassed. I was angry with God for “allowing” this to happen. In addition to the egg on my face, I was concerned about the reactions this would invoke by skeptics of divine healing. Two people in particular come to mind. One is a classmate from Biola who is skeptical of “faith healing” and the other is my wife. For them, I would point out that my experience of non-healing is no more proof that God does not heal than my (false) experience proved that He does. All this proves is that I was not healed. For those who are unconvinced of miracles in general and healings in particular, I would recommend Miracles by Craig Keener, and Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life by Eric Metaxas. In these works, you will find more than ample evidence of the continuation of God’s miraculous work.

So why the buzz kill? Why not leave it alone? I need to set the record straight. I care about the truth. Even the Apostle Paul said that proclaiming the resurrection, if it did not happen, would be bearing false witness about God. Likewise, to leave the record uncorrected would be me bearing false witness about God.

I am content with or without my injury. It is annoying, not debilitating. My faith is in God, not in any particular favor he might do for me. He took the initiative to reconcile me to him by the person and work of Jesus Christ. He has already blessed me beyond measure.

Author: apologeticsminion

Daniel has an MA in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. He is married and has four grown children. Professionally, Daniel is a sign language interpreter.

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