Death By Faith Healing

“I believe that God really has dived down into the bottom of creation, and has come up bringing the whole redeemed nature on His shoulder.” (CS Lewis, God in the Dock, p.87). LINK






I plan to look at the complex issue of faith healing. I apologize for beginning with my personal experience. However, I believe that my situation offers some insight into the matter and also shows my empathy for those struggling with medical issues.

Nineteen years ago, at the age of three, my daughter was diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor. (For those who interested in this stuff, it was a juvenile pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma- the pleo part makes a normally benign astrocytoma malignant). At the time, there were only about 12 cases of this tumor documented in the literature and the prognosis was really, really poor.  I was also 7 months pregnant at the time and newly arrived in Dallas where we had no family.


She proceeded to require two very long neurosurgeries within 5 months because the tumor reoccurred after the first surgery. She was also bleeding very badly during the first surgery, which was an ominous sign. Brains don’t bleed which mean the tumor had developed an extensive blood flow to keep it alive. Also, after her second surgery, the margins taken during surgery, which read clear, were found to have malignant cells several days later. (This is not uncommon). However, while waiting for the results, the neurosurgeon kept removing small amounts of tissue. Unfortunately, the postoperative MRI appeared to show residual tumor.

Now, comes the hard part (yep- it can always get worse). The radiologists and oncologists wanted to radiate her brain. Being medical people, my husband and I knew that such radiation would guarantee that she would become profoundly mentally retarded. She was so young that her nerves were not myelinated. Children's nerves are damaged by radiation. We asked a lot of questions, and with the support of a neurologist friend and our daughter’s lead pediatric neurosurgeon, we decided to refuse the proffered radiation. The burden of this decision would weigh on us for a number of years as we waited to see what would happen. It was the most agonizing, painful times of our lives.

Two factors influenced our decision. The tumor was in an area relatively accessible and we felt one more attempt could be made to resect the tumor if it began to grow again. (You know life is really going downhill when a 10 hour neurosurgery looks like a good option). Secondly, we accepted that her chances of survival were not good, even with radiation. We did not want to make her last days with us complicated by severe nausea and confusion.

This decision proved to be controversial. Most of the brain tumor board (all children with tumors are overseen by a multispecialty group of experts from all fields) felt we should proceed immediately with radiation. We received calls at home from doctors who disagreed with our decision. One doctor, bless her heart, said, “I want your daughter to lived a long life.” What pray tell, did she think that I wanted?


There were those who questioned whether we made the decision based on a religious belief that “God would heal her.” They wondered whether or not we believed in faith healing and if that was our reason for refusing surgery.

As I told her pediatrician, who asked to see me right away, “I have profound doubts that she will survive but I am trying to give her the best life possible.” Thankfully, she decided to support our decision as well and the three doctors together told the rest of the team to lay off.

Being weak and scared, I did something I had never done before. In fact, I had always believed that we should not “test God.” But, frankly, I was in no condition to be theologically rational and I think God met me where I was. I asked God for a sign that we had made the right decision. However, I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get an answer. He surprised me as He often does.

Shortly after, we happened to have an appointment at the neuro-oncolgy clinic when there were visiting pediatric neurosurgeons from around the country observing the first class care offered by Dallas Children’s Medical Center. Being somewhat proactive, I joined them while they were discussing my daughter. As the lead resident explained that the “parents had refused radiation,” a tall doctor leaned over and whispered in my ear, “Under no circumstances radiate your daughter. You are doing the right thing.” An answer was received and from that point on we stayed the course.

To make a long story short, her residual tumor never grew and she was declared a cure after 10 years. I still remember the radiation oncologist visiting us at her last visit before we moved. She said she believed that my daughter had been saved for a purpose. All of the team commented that our decision was not only correct but provided some valuable information in the treatment of such tumors. Ah, the benefit of hindsight…

She went on to school, and except for some minor difficulty with quick memorization and higher foreign language abilities, she graduated last week with her BS in Nursing. Had we radiated her, she still would have survived but her quality of life would have been sadly different.

So why am I telling this story? I want to look at the issue of faith healing and the church. The cases I am focusing on are the children who have died because of parents who have refused health care. Instead they have chosen faith healing. I want the readers to understand that I, too, have experienced God’s mercy in my life when. I have a profound empathy for those who have sick children. However, I believe that there are way too many mistaken beliefs in the area of miraculous healings and hope to focus on some of them while at the same time showing compassion for those who suffer.

In the May, 2011, edition of Christianity Today,(P. 22), a new Oregon law was posed for discussion.


“Prompted by the deaths of two children in the last two years whose parents relied on faith healing measures rather than medical intervention, the Oregon House unanimously approved a bill that removes legal protection from homicide charges for parents who choose faith healing rather than medical care for their children.”

Their online discussion, LINK, added

“Previously, Oregon parents choosing faith healing were protected from some homicide charges.”


Here is a brief history of this issue.

At Rick Ross. com LINK , there is a broad overview of relevant cases in the United States. I have listed only a few and urge the reader to explore the well thought out progression of history as presented at that site. The Ross Institute Internet Archives for the Study of Destructive Cults, Controversial Groups and Movements has a lot of information on various subjects. Be careful when you visit this site. You may lose track of time.

There is an article posted on the site called, “Healing or Homicide? The use of prayer to treat sick children” which was written by Shawn Doherty and appeared in the Capital Times, Wisconsin on August 13, 2008.

“1901: The clash of religion, law and child welfare begins in America when two children of J. Luther Pierson die after the New York railroad clerk treats their illnesses with prayer. A benchmark ruling finds Pierson guilty of withholding medical care and creates the legal doctrine that parents, whatever their religious beliefs, have a legal duty to provide adequate medical treatment to their children.


1944: In Prince v. Massachusetts, a case involving the Jehovah's Witnesses, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the First Amendment's guarantee of religious liberty does not give parents blanket authority: "Parents may be free to become martyrs themselves. But it does not follow that they are free, in identical circumstances, to make martyrs of their children …"


1967: A Massachusetts court convicts Dorothy Sheriden of involuntary manslaughter after she treats her daughter Lisa's pneumonia with prayer. Sheriden's Christian Scientist Church lobbies successfully to change guidelines for federally funded child protection programs to require states to add religious exemptions to statutes concerning child abuse and neglect. Over the next decades, confusion reigns as more than 40 states — including Wisconsin — add religious exemptions to laws while other states repeal them.


1980: Natali Joy Mudd, 4, dies in Indiana from a malignant tumor near her eye. Investigators discover smears of blood along the walls of her home where the little girl, blinded by a tumor as big as a second head, leaned and groped her way around. Outrage over this case and nearly three dozen other preventable deaths among children of Faith Assembly church lead to successful criminal prosecutions of parents and ministers, and reform of Indiana's confusing spiritual healing law.


1998: A study of religion-based medical neglect in the journal Pediatrics documents 172 child fatalities over 20 years among 23 religious denominations in 34 states. Faith Assembly in the Midwest leads, with 64 deaths. The Christian Science Church is second, with 28. The study calls the cases the "tip of the iceberg," since many are never reported. The vast majority of these deaths were avoidable.


1998: Bo Philips, 11, dies in Oregon state from diabetes. A detective finds members of the Followers of Christ praying over the dead child, who is underweight and clad in an adult diaper. A local newspaper investigates his case and the deaths of more than 60 other children buried in the Follower's Cemetery since 1955. More than half died before age 1, at least a third died from treatable illnesses, and none of the deaths resulted in charges being filed against parents. Authorities cite exemptions for spiritual healing as one reason why. Oregon reforms the statutes.


2003: Terrance "Junior" Cotrell, 4, suffocates in Milwaukee's Faith Assembly church during an exorcism. Minister Ray Hemphill attempts to "release the demons" and lays on top of the boy while Junior's mother prevents the boy from moving. When Hemphill gets off Junior two hours later, the minister is drenched with sweat, and the child is dead. Milwaukee County District Attorney E. Michael McCann charges Hemphill with felony child abuse, fearing the more serious charge of murder won't stick because of spiritual healing protections in Wisconsin state law.”


Frankly, reading about these children was almost more than I could bear. It is difficult to comprehend that there are many, many more of these suffering and dead children out there. Having gone through the pain of having a terribly sick child, I understand the wish that God will swoop down and cure things immediately. But, that is not the usual case.


I remember one family whose teenaged son was diagnosed with a terrible form of lymphoma. I was asked by some family members to go visit with the mom and dad in the hospital because they felt I could be of help. Apparently, the family had rejected many supportive services from the medical staff. I still remember the dad telling me that God was going to heal their son so quickly that the staff at the medical center would be shocked and come to Christ. He said all of the family’s friends and family would need to pray, believing that he would be healed.

I tried to comfort him and explained how I was not sure that God would heal my own child and yet it happened. He then said I was unfaithful and someone else must have believed in her healing and that is why God healed her. He then said he didn’t want to hear any negativity. He proceeded to hang up signs around the room, saying everyone had to believe his son was going to be healed and anyone who was unsure should not visit. They lost their son to lymphoma within the year even after accepting chemotherapy.

Can you imagine the pain and guilt the parents feel? They were taught that they had to believe without any doubts and their child would live. How do they cope with this now that he has died? Do they blame themselves or blame others for not believing hard enough?


I believe that many faith healers are faith charlatans who have used this lie to put burdens on those who are suffering. If the person who goes to a faith healer is not healed, it is the praying person’s fault, not the lying, thieving faith healer. (Whoa-I am a bit strong, aren’t I?)


Here is a lesson that I learned through my ordeal. I wanted my daughter to live with my whole heart and soul. However, I also know that God usually allows children and adults with serious illnesses, such as malignant brain tumors, to die. So I prayed for her healing, prepared myself for her dying, and asked God to let me walk the path well. And in the midst of it, I experienced the embrace of God, as did my daughter. But that story is for another day.

I still remember the day my daughter’s neurosurgeon said to me that it was time to start hoping. He told me that he usually had to tell evangelical types to prepare themselves for the possibility of their child’s death. He said that I was different and that, surprisingly, after about 3 years, he could tell me to start hoping. Although she was not out of the woods, he told me that she was “doing things differently.” I think that means “not too bad” in neurosurgeonese.


I am here to encourage you that you don’t have to pray and believe perfectly, do the name and claim game, or whatever. Just go to God, tell Him what you want and ask Him to walk you through it. In the end, it is in His capable hands. He understands better than you can imagine.

I will continue the discussion tomorrow as Christian leaders respond to this question at Christianity Today's blog and article on faith healing.


Lydia's Corner: Judges 13:1-14:20 John 1:29-51 Psalm 102:1-28 Proverbs 14:15-16



Death By Faith Healing — 31 Comments

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    Hi, Dee.

    Wow — 1st off, just want to say that empathy & feelings on-all-cylinders are chuggin away in 5th gear here. I can only imagine, with how I nightly anguish over things concerning my own small kids, what it was like for you. What an experience. And what a wonderfully happy outcome. I imagine that although you’re probably still prone to nighttime worries, perhaps you lay in bed at night and relish the comfort of the wonderously good tidings (in stark contrast to the excruciating anguish of those times past).

    Am I reading between the lines that you don’t consider it out of the question that the tall doctor who whispered in your ear may have been an angel in a lab coat?

    I have more thoughts on this intense subject, but I just don’t think i can manage getting them out at the moment. Chicken’s in the oven, too, so I can’t linger.

    But glad i could get 1st things 1st out in my comment.

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    I wanted, as sort of a kickoff to the discussion, share some additional information. I did a quick search on your daughters condition, using just the name of the tumor…and found a few statements at Boston’s Children’s Hospital, Wikipedia and other locations. I share this, not to contradict what you said…I have no doubt that you are passing along accurate information. I am sharing this so that others can see how easy it is to find conflicting medical opinion, this is what makes non-believers, in general, very skeptical about miraculous healings. It is very rare to have someone of Dee’s caliber telling the story. In any case…here’s what I found.

    Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma is a neoplasm of the brain that occurs often in children and teenagers. Very rarely, these tumors undergo transformation to a more malignant tumor.

    Pleomorphic Xanthoastrocytoma is, in general, considered a benign tumor. It will show up as a contrast-enhancing tumor by current imaging investigations (e.g., CT scan, MRI). It is classified as Grade 1 Astrocytoma.

    After total resection people undergoing the surgery have a long term survival rate of 90% also after incomplete resection, the long term survival rate is higher than 50%. Morbidity is determined by type and evolution of the tumor highgraded anaplastic tumors causing more fatalities.

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    I rejoice with you in your daughter’s healing. In case I am not clear in the end, I’d like to start by saying that I share your belief’s about praying for healing (at least as much as I understand them.) I am sorry you endured this illness with your child but I rejoice with you that God has redeemed the circumstance in so many ways to bring Glory to HIM.

    I am concerned about one thing — the decision you made for your daughter was a “rock and hard place” type of decision. I believe the medical community was wrong to pressure a treatment that was virtually guaranteed to CAUSE highly diminished quality of life. That seems unethical to me. “Save the body by any means, regardless of negative outcomes to the person in the body.” There are times when the “cure” can be worse than the problem’s natural course.

    If the instances where parents made poor decisions based on their misguided belief’s about faith healing are used to develop law, it might very well be poor law. Will it be possible to protect children while not giving total control to the medical community?

    For all the wonderful doctor’s out there, there are many specialist who seem to miss the person because they are looking so hard at the condition. It is an entirely different thing to refuse to radiate a child’s brain and refuse treatment for a condition that is successfully treatable in most instances (tumors that can be removed, diabetes, cancers with well established treatment protocols and optimistic prognosis).

    We refused to give drugs to our child for a type of neurological disorder that caused involuntary motor movements because I read the drug insert that described how this drug was not fully tested on children and had been shown to cause permanent psychotic changes and other dire cognitive problems in young adults and elderly patients. The doctor was flaming mad that I dared to question his judgement on this issue (because I was just the mother). He felt we were doing a grave disservice to allow our son’s physical symptoms to continue when he thought they could be treated. He was basically insisting that we follow an untested treatment that had a high incidence of causing an organic brain malfunction for a problem that could be considered mostly cosmetic and social. What if laws prevented me from making that informed medical decision?

    I realize that this is slightly tangential to your topic, but I think we have to look at the issue from both sides of the proverbial coin.

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    @ Karlton: I wonder if the things you cite were known when Dee’s daughter was going through all of this? It was a while ago, and I wouldn’t doubt that opinions – and research – might have changed drastically. (As sometimes happens when scientific discoveries are made.)

    either way, I cannot but believe that Dee’s story is all true… and that their daughter’s prognosis was… well.

    As for the doctor saying what he said, I am sure it’s perfectly feasible that a very human MD had that opinion.


    The other cases you cite: Dee, i couldn’t read all of that; it is just too hard, and those are clearly abusive situations. It is one thing for an adult to choose not to undergo a procedure, another altogether for a child to be horribly neglected and otherwise abused.

    I also have to wonder about the psychological state of the parents and/or guardians who were supposed to have been responsible enough to make reasonable choices… and as to the story about the young man in the hospital, I hear you. Many years ago, I knew someone whose family put off a funeral because they were in total denial and believed that God was going to raise their relative from the dead. (Really, truly, they did say that they believed it.)

    It was a heartbreaking thing, but I think some family members (and clergy) with some sense were able to prevail. i vividly recall going to the funeral (something I might otherwise have bowed out on) in order to be there as support for the family member that I knew. (I think a lot of people turned out for much the same reason.)

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    I want you to remember when my daughter had this brain tumor-19 years ago. At that time there were only 12 reported in the case literature. Her slides were sent around to other centers to even get a working diagnosis. No survivals at that time. That is why the decision not to radiate was difficult.

    She was the youngest child to get this tumor and the first to have the tumor documented from the get go on an MRI. If what you say is true, then perhaps she was the first survivor. However, her tumor was malignant-pain and simple. It was low grade malignant which means that it does not experience metastases unlike a high grade glioblastoma which does. So perhaps hers was one that morphed- don’t know.

    Her survival was so unexpected that she is being followed in a long term study by St Jude’s Hospital as they watch adults who were not expected to survive a childhood illness. This was a very, ver difficult time in our lives and Abby’s situation was well-known in Dallas at the time because we were part of the medical community.

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    Karl, Did you read anything about radiation in the survival rates and quality of life thereafter?

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    The reason that I wrote about my story was to assure people that I am empathetic to people who struggle with decisions for their children. I am very upset over the outcomes in some of these cases and I know I will take a hard line stand on some. I wanted to be sure people didn’t think I was being uncaring.

    As for your situation. I believe that most parents make the right decisions for their children. Frankly, they are the ones who have the greatest to lose. It is our love and concern-the mother bear instinct-that causes us to do everything in our power to do the right thing.

    For example, in our situation, we called medical friends around the country and were advised to stay with the well known Neurosurgeons for Children. We even were told that one, in particular, might be best in our unusual situation. So, said doctor was rotating off service and I told him that he had to do the surgery, no matter what. So he did.( think he was afraid of the wild glint in my eyes). We would have taken our daughter anywhere in the world if we felt that it would be best.

    Many of the cases I listed were those which were slam dunk. Insulin, antibiotics, etc would have led to the cure. These parents sought out help from some theological nut jobs and chose to believe them over simple medicine. I plan to post a comment today that is rather thoughtful, yet amusing regarding this situation.

    I am sorry for your struggle. Neurological conditions are very difficult. My daughter’s neurosurgeon once said to me that, in some respects, the human brain, along with space, is the last unexplored frontier. He said that he felt like a caveman when he was operating, albeit a very skilled cavemen, thank God. I pray that God will hold your family close as you walk this difficult path.

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    I plan to talk a bit about the psychological aspects of parents who are caught in this situation. Frankly, I think a lot of this reaction is due to poor theology being pushed in the pulpits.How many times have you heard that if you pray hard enough, God will answer. Few people ever raise the issue that Jesus, who could have healed everyone in Israel, chose only to heal some. Physical healing was not the purpose of His ministry and I want to touch a bit on that subject.

    That is a tragic story of those poor people who waited for their child to be raised from the dead. I blame folks like Benny Hinn for this sort of thinking. He once claimed that there would be a time in his ministry that people would bring their dead family members to the television, raise their lifeless hands to the screen and they would be healed. I have some names to call him but they wouldn’t be well received.

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    I think Karl is worried that I am going to proclaim a miracle and that just won’t do. 🙂

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    Dee y Lydia,

    Funny Dee…

    Lydia, no, I did not have an opportunity to research radiation and its long term effects. What I wrote was the result of an entire 3 minutes of google research (or, roogle, as it’s known in the biz) 🙂

    Quite simply, I think that any parent who willfully places their child at seriously increased risk of dying or injury by withholding medical treatment, solely out of religious belief should not be allowed to have children in their care.

    These same people would no doubt laugh at me, if I claimed that praying alone is sufficient for my garden to sprout some nice tomatoes, corn, squash and strawberries all nicely lined up without my planting a single seed, tilling the ground, watering or weeding. They would tell me that God will help, but I need to do some of the work myself…but when it comes to medical treatment for their child, they abandon all reason and put their child in harms way to prove a point.

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    Karlton, I do not understand. Dee made it clear she believes in medical intervention and is against withholding medical treatment. You seemed to be suggesting in your prior comment that, per your research, there is high survival rate so Dee’s situation was not that serious. Yet, had she followed the advice of the majority of medical professionals, she would have put her child through radiation.

    She did not claim a miracle but she did ask for wisdom and guidance from God. Thankfully, concerning the radiation.

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    “So I prayed for her healing, prepared myself for her dying, and asked God to let me walk the path well. And in the midst of it, I experienced the embrace of God, as did my daughter. But that story is for another day.

    When my aunt, a vibrant active woman all of a sudden became very sick and they did not know what it was, we all prayed day and night. Ironically, she was at total peace. This went on for days with no diagnosis. One day, a very old friend of hers showed up at the hospital. This old friend was living out of town, heard she was very ill and asked his daughter to drive him here to see her. They had not seen each other in many years but had a history of ministry together back in the 50’s. They were dear friends.

    He comes in with his walker, looks at my aunt and says, Friend, if he is calling you home, then you are going. My aunt smiled real big and said “Finally! Someone who gets it!”

    She was prepared. We wern’t. And as it should be.

    Death is NOT natural. We have been told it is. Death is a result of sin. It is a paradox and just one reason we love our Savior so very much.

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    Brain tumors are not for the faint of heart. That is why we had the most expert opinions we could. It is very hard to express how difficult to be told that your child has a malignant brain tumor. Note”malignant.” I, too, was excited when I heard the word astrocytoma since they are usually benign.I was quickly disabused of my notion.

    The surgeons who operated on her were very concerned because of the outcome of the 12 documented cases.It could be that hers was a variant that was malignant and that was the reason for their suggestions for intervention.

    Let me give you another example. At the same time my daughter was being operated on in an adjacent OR, was another 3 year old child, a boy, who was the grandson of an opthamologist who was very friendly with my husband. We were startled to see each other in the waiting room. This little boy had a much better diagnosis than Abby-he had a Wilm’s tumor-google that one. The cure rate is very high. He died within the year because his tumor had variant cells. I remember feeling jealous that his family had such a “good” diagnosis. They were most kind to us. Barney the dinosaur made a personal visit to him and they invited my daughter to come to meet him. It was the highlight of her hospital stay.

    So I felt so bad when he died and my daughter lived because the scenario should have played out differently. I often wonder why and know that God will answer me one day.

    Cancer is not a slam dunk and each diagnosis is tricky and individual. So, be careful about making a prognosis based on some quick research. BTW, if you search hard enough, you may read a few articles about my daughter’s case.

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    I have no doubt that the Almighty compelled this man to do something that is considered a “no no.” You don’t go to another medical center and interfere in the care of an excellent team of world recognized experts. He took an unusual risk.

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    @ Dee re. this:

    That is a tragic story of those poor people who waited for their child to be raised from the dead.

    It wasn’t a child; it was a middle-aged adult… in the early 1970s. (i.e., long before Benny Hinn, but during the wilder excesses of the charismatic renewal.)

    As for the doc taking a risk… I’m certainly not a medical professional, but I know that must have been a very big risk! otoh, what you describe re. radiation and its aftereffects is terrifying…. I really feel for you guys, and honestly cannot imagine how hard it must have been to get the news and then have to make such a painful and difficult decision.

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    I was not implying that at all, as I said in the first comment, it was quick research, but I wanted others to see, that many times when people claim divine healing “that couldn’t have happened naturally”, the truth is that they usually either misstate or misunderstand the actual prognosis and/or disease.

    I tried to make a point of saying that this IS NOT the case with Dee, who I believe comes with sufficient medical background to enable her to understand both the diagnosis and prognosis of her daughter’s case. I was just trying to give an example of what is much more typically the situation when one hears of divine healing.

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    What I find interesting is that Dee gives many examples in the post about the failure of belief in Divine Healing….yet you could not resist commenting on her daughter’s diagnosis with some quick research. Sorry, but I found it a bit tastless.I think your hatred for all things of the Kingdom overcame basic manners in this case.

    The incidents that Dee posted about are examples of child abuse and neglect due to wrong doctrine. But her daughter’s diagnosis was NOT typical according to your research as it was malignant. Here survival was not expected. So what do you do with that? After all, you said this:

    “I share this, not to contradict what you said…I have no doubt that you are passing along accurate information. “

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    Thank you for sharing your story and God’s blessing. As a parent of a both pysically and mentally retarded daughter from birth you should be commended for the courage it took to come to your decision. I always get a chuckle when I ask the “faith” healers if they think God will take my 21 year old toddler and make her “normal”. May you and your family continue to remember that as our Shepherd He will always be there so we may walk the path well.

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    I’m not sure I can be any clearer. The comment was NOT a jab at Dee or the issues her daughter had with the tumor…it WAS simply an example of how people who are not believers typically view claims of divine healing.

    To your last paragraph, I’m not sure what your question is, could you please clarify for me.

    I have no more “hated for all things of the Kingdom” than I have “hatred of all things in the land of Oz”, both fictional, neither warrants spending any emotional energy. Now, the people who propagate belief in the magical as though it were a real thing…well that’s a different story 🙂

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    Karlton, My position could be because you hang out on a Christian oriented blog and make comments all the time insulting or trying to undermine our beliefs. Why? Someone emailed me a few weeks ago saying you were simply a troll and to ignore you. Probably good advice.

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    Maybe Karlton thinks he is right and you are wrong—kinda like how you feel you are right and the Calvinistas are wrong…I don’t know-I guess I should let Karlton answer. But I hang out because you address many issues with SGM (of which I helped plant a church of theirs) and I want the truth to be known about how toxic they are and I thought this was a place where discussions and polite disagreement was allowed….has that changed?


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    doubtful, I do not go to athiest boards and insult their beliefs.

    I do not find his first comment polite disagreement at all. It was much more sinister than that. Dee is a big girl who wears big girl panties and handled it with her usual grace.

    I was offended for her….and that is an understatement considering what she went through..

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    I believe that those who are mentally and physically challenged are beautiful gifts of God to our world. I was touched by the book on L’Arche by Henri Nouwen. He lived and worked among the seriously challenged and through them, came to understand how God reveals Himself in the different. How often we miss it!

    The daughter I wrote about spent a summer helping a church in Birmingham set up a special needs program for a church. She then volunteered in the program. She has a love for those who are challenged, particularly those who have profound needs.

    One day, your daughter will be leaping and teaching in heaven and those who were blessed with health, mind and physical, in this life will be taking notes from her as well as her dear parents. My prayers are with you and your family.

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    If you feel it is good advice, then by all means follow it. I have said, many times, I like the discussions here because it is one of the few places where believers and non-believers can engage in debate and dialog.

    I don’t think I have ever “insulted” anyone here, at least not on purpose…if you feel “insulted”, well that’s something you need to deal with…there is no insult indented from this side of the fence.

    As to “…Why I am trying to undermine you beliefs”, quite simply, I’m not. What I am trying to do is discuss and examine available facts, to put our thought and reasoning processes under the lens of logic and reasonableness, to find agreement on what constitutes “reasonableness” and “logic”, to honestly and critically analyze apparent flaws and inconsistencies in our beliefs and doctrines…then take a long hard look and see if they stand up to scrutiny. If they do, well wonderful, but if they don’t you surely wouldn’t want to hold on to them knowing their flawed would you?

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    Thanks so much for the kind words.It is an inspiration to hear that your daughter took her healed vessel and pour out her blessings to those in need. I have seen God’s love and lessons taught to me by my “broken” gift. I have been able to share our families journey this last year and it has been a truly humbling experience. Thanks again and I trust God continues to bless.

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    If you would like to share your journey at this blog, please let me know. I would be happy to post a story that you write. Just contact me at

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    @ Lydia: gosh. I have never had the impression that Karl is trolling here, though I can kind of see why people might think that.

    @ Karl: I hear what you were trying to say with your 1st comment on this post, but… it did rub me the wrong way (what with Dee discussing her daughter and what they went through and all).

    Text-only is a very hard medium for communication, in many respects: no facial expressions, no gestures, no tone of voice.

    I think, though, that sometimes we all get to a point where we have to “agree to disagree” with others.

    Hope that makes sense!

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    It was much more sinister than that.

    I am sorry, but i can’t see any “sinister” intent in Karl’s 1st post.

    but hey… I don’t moderate comments here, and this is really between the 2 of you.

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    I am arriving late to this discussion, but I wanted to comment on the sinister presence in almost every church of those who insist that to seek receive medical or (especially) psychiatric help is a sign of a lack of faith. I suffered a time of deep clinical depression several years ago. I can remember sitting in an armchair, literally unable to move; frozen, almost as if trying to swim submerged in a pit of tar, and crying out to God; repeating Psalm 57: 1 over and over again.
    “Have mercy on me, my God, have mercy on me, for in you I take refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”
    And yet I have heard people in churches say to those in similar straits, “Pray your way through it; Have more faith; get over it. Well-meaning people have prayed in faith, expecting God to heal through their prayers (and I will not deny that sometimes He does), and feeling that a trip to the doctor was unnecessary. Frankly, when I hear people give such advice, even sincerely, I am tempted to slap them upside the head.
    I truly believe God led me to a psychiatrist (a Christian) who found the right medication to bring me through it. As far as I am concerned, God raised up a chemist to develope the medicine that would be my cure. Did God bring me through my depression? Absolutely! But perhaps just as in Esther, at just the right time, God raises up the right human help, “for such a time as this.”
    Thanks be to God for the help He raised up for your daughter, and the correct advice He seemingly brought, “out of nowhere.”

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    Thank you for sharing your story. In fact, I think it might be interesting to do a post on mental health and the church. I have heard and seen variations on your story in other churches. I remember one church who blew off a kid who had been harmed by a pedophile by saying that the young man was “fine” after a 45 minute “counseling” session. I know pastors who think because they have the “anointing and authority” that they are now counselors. They were mistaken about the anointing and they are doubly mistaken about their counseling abilities. The church should be ashamed for its history in this area.

    JB Phillips who wrote a translation of the Bible spent years struggling with mental illness. Yet there are idiots out there in churches who would say he should have “trust in God” in stopped malingering. I am so grateful that you found a counselor. If you would ever like to tell you story, please let us know through our contact info. You could do so anonymously.