The battle for faith in the public square currently has an interesting twist to it in the UK. It’s not just about who can (or can’t) be married. There is a contest for the freedom of Christians to practice their faith in regard to healing. Now admittedly there are significant differences within the Christian church about this, but there remains a significant proportion (myself included) who think it is perfectly reasonable to believe that God heals today.
Anyway, this area has been given fresh prominence by three British MPs writing to the ASA about their injunction against churches offering prayer for healing in public. I have some history here, as the church I previously led had a run-in with the ASA over this very issue. (You can read about it here). Since that happened over three years ago, I’ve personally spoken with half a dozen other churches who have had the same thing. It would be interesting to find out how many churches the ASA have ruled against. Just by searching for the word ‘church’ it shows at least 8 adjudications against churches all for offering healing. The ASA don’t really have any teeth against a local church and it seems that Acts 4:18-21 is a relevant text here.
Unsurprisingly in secular rags like the Guardian the response is pretty scathing (NB: some offensive language in this article) but it again highlights the challenge that Christians have. Water our faith down to nothing and there’s no problem, actually believe and well, that’s another story!
What I would genuinely like to see is atheists engage with healing testimonies and come up with a more compelling explanation. Take this one for example