The recent BBC and Sky news investigations have caused much debate on this site. Whether or not SCOAN do tell people (implicitly or explicitly) to stop medication is an on going debate, though the evidence does not look good. What is more clear is that numerous people who TB Joshua has claimed healed have gone on and died of the condition they were ‘healed’ of.
When we make a claim like this, SCOAN supporters will make such statements as:
“it takes faith to maintain one’s healing/ blessing. Jesus said to the crippled man who was healed in John 5:14, ‘Sin no more or something worse might happen to you’” – SCOAN London disciple, Radicalised
“talking about those that died afterwords.well my question is how did they maintain their miracles?” – SCOAN supporter Doi
“in case you didn’t know- healing is not just to be received but also to be maintained as well” – SCOAN “office worker” Soe
Hang on a minute. Maintain their miracles? Where are they getting this idea from?
What does the bible say about ‘maintaining your miracle’?
“Maintaining your miracle/blessing” is not a phrase found in scripture, but the principle is generally supported by two scriptures. The first one is Luke 17:11-19 where Jesus heals 10 lepers, but only one comes back to praise him. Jesus says to this one leper “Rise and go your way, your faith has made you well/saved you/made you whole (depending on your translation)”. SCOAN supporters have claimed that it was only this one who was actually healed because he came back to praise Jesus (maintained his miracle), however if you read up in any commentary about this verse you’ll see that it’s actually talking about his salvation, not his health (for example: “The others only got the outward cure, he alone got the spiritual blessing.” Matthew Henry). The Samaritan had already been physically healed, as had the other 9 – but he was the one who received spiritual healing, or salvation. The second verse used is John 5:14 as quoted by Radicalised above (the healing of the crippled man) where Jesus tells him to ‘Sin no more or something worse might happen to you’. In this case the command from Jesus had nothing to do with the condition he previously had, he was not saying “sin no more or you may lose your miracle”, in fact the phrasing “something worse” directly implies something different.
The link between faith and healing
The other biblical principle they appeal to is the link between faith and healing – to put it simply, if you don’t have enough faith, you won’t maintain your healing. While there are certainly instances in scripture where people are healed because of their faith (e.g. the blind man or the woman with the issue of blood both in Matt 9), we also read of times people receive healing because of someone else’s faith (e.g. the Centurion for his servant in Matt 8 or the Father and his epileptic son in Matt 17), and it even tells of times where people received healing not because of faith at all, but just the mercy of God (e.g. Peters mother in law in Matt 8 or the few people he healed in Nazereth despite the unbelief in Mark 6:5).
Whenever faith is a factor in a miracle happening, it is required to receive the miracle, not to maintain it. There is not a single instance in scripture of someone losing a healing they had already received through lack of faith or sin. What kind of God does that idea portray anyway? One who heals his people, but then inflicts them again with the disease should they dare to doubt?
Healing or treatment?
In response to the Sky and BBC reports, SCOAN said “Doctors treat, Jesus heals”. They are right to distinguish between treatment and healing, but this teaching of TB Joshua presents his “healing” as just a spiritual form of treatment. Treatment is a process which does require maintaining, as Anna, Judith and the AIDS sufferers found out to their peril. In contrast, the bible shows us that healing is an event (“the fever left her”, “the mute man spoke”, “immediately the leprosy departed from him”, “his servant was healed at that very hour”, “the [paralysed] man got up”, “instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong”) – if you are healed by Jesus, you return to the state you were in before you had the condition. You don’t need to “maintain” that state any more than you did before you had it!
“It may be observed that the more excellent anything is, the more will be the counterfeits of it.”
– Jonathan Edwards
This post is continued in: Maintaining your miracle, a followup
Note regarding comments: The argument “unless you’re doing greater miracles than TB Joshua, you can’t criticise him!” has been addressed and responded to numerous times so comments along those lines may not be published in order to keep the focus on the points in the current discussion.