SCOAN’s response to the Sky news story was both surprising and revealing. It was surprising because it barely addressed the numerous and serious issues that the report brought up. Its tone was smug and complacent, as if whoever wrote it had no idea of the gravity of situation. It was revealing because it is confirmed some of the most worrying aspects of SCOAN’s teaching that brought about the controversy in the first place.
The Sky news report said that SCOAN UK, as well as other churches in London, encourages people to quit their HIV medication after being prayed for and declared ‘healed’. They backed this up with a video from an undercover reporter with HIV who went to SCOAN UK. She was told that 1) healing of HIV/AIDS at SCOAN is 100% effective. She was told that 2) if she began to experience pains and diarrhoea after the ‘healing’, (which are possible effects of stopping taking medication), this was simply a sign of the virus leaving the body. This is all on camera. The report also claims that at least six people in the UK have died as a result of this teaching (though doesn’t specify that these were all in SCOAN). Needless to say, this is pretty serious stuff.
What would you expect a church in this position to say? You might reasonably expect some kind of engagement with the issue. A reassurance that the disciple who said these things was out of line and would be corrected? A clear statement that SCOAN encourages people to consult a doctor before discontinuing medication? Some kind of acknowledgement that whatever happened, people had died, and there were some issues that needed to be carefully examined?
SCOAN gave nothing of the sort. Instead we get a string of TB Joshua Quotable Quotes (TM) and this:
We don’t ask people to stop taking medication.
We believe this is untrue. We have spoken to people who have been explicitly told by SCOAN disciples to stop taking medication . However, we know from Hattie’s account that people are not always directly told to stop medication; the spiritual and psychological pressure to do so is enough.
When we are healed, we are healed for a relationship with Jesus forever. Christianity is a relationship. When the relationship is broken, the blessing is lost.
If anybody comes in the name of God, we pray for them. The outcome of the prayer will determine if they come genuinely or not.
So there it is, straight from the horses mouth. SCOAN believe that healing is conditional, and there is always the possibility you can be unhealed (or re-inflicted?) at a later date. And if you are not healed, this is because you did not come for prayer ‘genuinely’ or have sufficient faith. We will explore what a misguided and unbiblical teaching this is in a further post.