Saturday, May 07, 2005

sad news in the paper

This morning I was flipping though the local newspaper. My eyes caught the headline:

Parents on trial in child's death
Indiana case will touch on religion

I found this intriguing, and read on . . .

FRANKLIN, Ind, -- The trial of a couple whose ailing newborn daughter died when they rejected medical treatment in favor of prayer may focus more on facts than faith. . . .

. . .The couple belong to a church that advocates prayer and faith healing over medical intervention. Instead of seeking a doctor's help, prosecutors said, the parents called church elders to their home to pray for the child, who died less than two days later.

Naturally, the couple did what the Bible said, and only that. According to the church they belong to (The General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn, which I never heard of before) they take these verses literally:

Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. (James 5:14-15)

Fortuately, most Christians no longer trust in prayer to the extent that they rely on it exclusively when their children are deathly ill. In practical matters of life and death such as this, scientific thought has overtaken faith in the miraculous. Unfortunately they are also mostly likely to attibute cases like this to some kooky cult, and never think to apply this lesson on the failure of prayer to their own religion.


Zane said...

Hi Mikel,

This is most sad indeed as our Saviour came to give life.

Some commentators believe that the "anointing with oil" in the James passage above has to do with medical treatments.

Jesus, of course, had a doctor in his company - Luke. He even said that "well people had no need of a doctor" which certainly implies that sick folks should avail themselves to such. With prayer, as always.

How dangerous half-truths are - in this case, fatal.

House Church Network

Mikayla Starstuff said...

I see no biblical basis for associating "anointment with oil" with medical treatment. Not in James nor in the Old Testament with the annointing of kings.

If James meant that the sick should also seek medical treatment, why wouldn't he just say so?