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This morning, in the midst of the current “social distancing guidelines,” and our coronavirus-driven, stay-at-home culture, I was shocked by what I saw on a megachurch’s televised-live Sunday service.
Hundreds (maybe thousands?) of happy, face-mask-less people sat, packed, shoulder-to-shoulder, in the palatial sanctuary. As the “pastor used sardonic humor to deliver a prosperity theology message to his vigorously agreeing believers, I recognized him. He’s one of the rich, famous pastors that a former friend of mine admired, as a great teacher, theological hero, and role model for other clergy members to emulate.
That’s when I suddenly realized that I had to write the post that appears below:
Because I want to make it very clear, the very first sentences on the home page of my ministry web site say this:
“My name is Robinson. First off, I’m not an ordained minister. I’m just a regular guy — a follower of Christ — whose goal is to live in constant fellowship with God, so to joyfully love and serve Him in every situation that life presents.”
I used to spend lots of time at the home of a woman who — without any formal education, licensing, or ordination — called herself a minister, started and ran her own church, and even enjoyed the tax-free legal status that is usually reserved for real ministers and real churches.
She drove an expensive new, fully loaded, luxury SUV, and lived in an impressive, expensive, 2-story home that also had a finished basement (rare in Florida, due to the ground being sand), a boat, and a private boat ramp, right on the coast.
She wore only the finest clothes, and ate only the finest foods.
For the 3 years that I was close to her, I heard her tell people, over and over — both in her sermons, and in person — that she hadn’t been sick a day in the past twenty years.
In my opinion, that was a lie.
What I witnessed was that, every time she had a bad cold, a sore throat, stomach trouble, pounding headache, etc., she would stay home from all church events until she was well again.
Very few of us were ever allowed to see her at home, in her bathrobe, with her red, runny nose, puffy eyes, and other “sick” symptoms.
She did that same “invisible routine” once every several weeks.
But, if anyone would call to ask her, “How are you?”, she’d reply, “Great! By His stripes, I am healed.”
So her congregation was filled with people who believed her claim that she hadn’t been sick a day in the past twenty years.
People who occasionally got sick.
People who believed that they had gotten sick because — as she had taught them — it was their own fault.
They must be harboring some secret sin.
Or they somehow weren’t “Christian enough” to be immune from diseases and illnesses.
Or they simply didn’t have enough faith to be healed.
Unlike the tremendous faith that they knew that their leader had.
Anyone who has perused this web site, knows that I believe that, over the past several decades, God has chosen to miraculously heal me, totally undeservedly, many times, from many serious accidents, illnesses, and conditions.
God, for whatever reason that I may or may never understand, chose to heal me.
Yes, the Bible cites that it is possible to somehow be healed because of one’s faith.
But I’ve never been healed by “having enough faith,” or by saying the right incantations to make God act like a genie and do what I wanted.
To me, that would make ME God, and make God MY servant.
But, what do you think?
Do you think that the “not being sick for 20 years” claim that I described above, had anything to do with faith?
What does “faith” mean to you?
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