I’ve wondered why sometimes, someone comes in and comes out of a wheelchair, walks around, runs around, and hours later, they are back in that wheelchair again.
3 or 4 years ago, I wrote the first section below about a temporary healing that I experienced. When I wrote it, I had now idea what or why it happened, so it remained a mystery to me. But since I wrote the first section, I have discovered an answer that solves a lot of the questions raised from my own temporary healing and what I have read about and heard from others.
In the second section below I try to convince you in a few paragraphs of something that took me years to retrieve and piece together. It did not come easily to me because it came from a direction I did not expect and I did not know or think about. It took me countless searches down different avenues until one solution surfaced that fit what I was looking for. In fact, it fit like a glove and it best explains what happened to me and the myriads of others, who like me, were healed temporarily.
3 YEARS AGO
In the mid 1970s I went to an Assemblies of God college in Lakeland, FL. As in most Bible Colleges of the day, students had to go to chapel on a regular basis. It was during two of those chapels that Dr. Cho spoke to us.
Visiting us from Seoul, Korea, Dr. Yonggi Cho was the pastor of the largest church in the world, which was also Assemblies of God. The first day’s message was non-eventful – I don’t remember what he spoke about. But after the message he began to share with us “the word of knowledge” that certain people were being healed. After naming a few sicknesses and asking those people who owned those sicknesses or pains to stand, he gave a word of knowledge that was directed to me. He said there was someone in the audience who had sinus issues and sometimes couldn’t breathe at all because they got so bad. Dr. Cho stated that whoever had this sinus issue is getting a strange feeling in his face right now and as he said that, a weird feeling came over my face.
It was me and I didn’t want it to be me. I even said in my head, “Not me, not again. I can’t deal with this.” I had to deal too much with faith healings and weird teachings on the subject, and one year previously I had been in a major car accident and placed on stage with the most famous of all healers, Kathryn Kuhlman, who told me I was healed and I had a cast on from my toes to my hip, and I struggled for months about whether or not I was healed, and thought that I should take off my cast with a knife, but was afraid I would shame Christ if I wasn’t healed, but felt guilty for not trusting him and taking it off without the Doctor’s order, and I felt torment about this for months… and after all that, when it came to healing, I didn’t want to deal with it any more – I just wanted to be left alone. But I would not be left alone – I was the center of attention and all my friends knew Dr. Cho was talking about me, so I stood up.
My sinuses opened up and for the next hour I could breathe better than ever. But all I could think about was that bad teaching that if I don’t have enough faith, this would go away. And I didn’t have enough faith, because in one hour, my sinuses returned to my normal blockage.
Since that day in Lakeland, FL, I have heard of other cases where people were healed, but the next day were back to whatever problem they had. I remember one person telling me about a young girl close to him whose legs were healed by Kathryn Kuhlman and put away her crutches. The next day she had to go in to the Doctor’s and be refitted into her crutches.
MY ORIGINAL CONCLUSIONS
Because of this and many other experiences I have had with healing and miracles that I have come up with a solution in how to deal with healing. I divide everything into three boxes.
1. I have a box for the real thing. These are the supernatural events that I can say were definitely from God.
2. I have a box for the fake. These are the cases that are absolutely or obviously fake, or not from God.
3. But many times, I put things in a box I call the “I Don’t Know Box.” These are events that I may or may not find out later in life when I have more experience or revelation from the Bible. I am very content to say, “I don’t know,” because to conclude prematurely out of pride (pride belittles me for not knowing) is a common mistake that tosses truth aside for the sake of arrogance.
Although there is no sin to saying, “I don’t know,” Jumping to conclusions and building opinions on biased, naive, and baseless foundations can be destructive – no matter which way the opinion goes.
That hour of healing from Dr. Cho (as well as the other temporary healings I hear about) is something that keeps in the “I Don’t Know” box.
Sometimes my “I Don’t Know” experiences are solved later on in life, but many times they are not.
MY CONCLUSIONS TODAY
As I studied temporary healing and famous healers more, I have come up with a solution that explains what happened when I lost my healing.
After reading dozens of articles and books and pouring over more than 200 Kathryn Kuhlman and Benny Hinn miracle testimonies on stage, searching for patterns in the healers and in the testimonies, I stumbled on something that perfectly explains what happened.
At this point, I need to spell out very clearly that I still don’t have all the answers for every miracle that took place with Benny Hinn, Kathryn Kuhlman, or any other so called healer because I haven’t seen every case, and beyond the stage, I have only a dozen or so stories I have heard from Christians and a few case studies found in books and articles, so I don’t have answers for every case, but I believe I can explain what happens in most cases.
A few writers have followed up with Kathryn Kuhlman’s and Benny Hinn’s healed people and found that no one was really healed in the long run. Even though I believe the reports, these studies followed up with only a few dozen people out of the thousands who were on stage. Nevertheless, because these reports are random, I believe they hold a good – but not great representation of what is out there.
I also know that in every one of the cases I saw (over 200) there was only one case where healing or lack of healing could be physically seen by the audience – and in that case, although the pain was gone, the problem was still there.
THE ANSWER TO THE QUESTION
During WWII, nurses and doctors ran out of morphine for the wounded soldiers in one hospital, so a nurse started giving soldiers saline instead and told the soldiers it was morphine. Soldiers believed the word that was told to them, had faith in the nurse, and expected the new flow of liquid to relieve their pain; and it did. Since then, the medical world has been taking the placebo effect very seriously.
Medical studies since then have shown that these ingredients – hope, belief, expectation, and the voice of authority – are the main ingredients that lead to the placebo effect which means that people get healed or have symptoms relieved due to their own reaction to the expectation and belief of being helped. If a doctor (the voice of authority) gives the patient a pill with nothing more than sugar in it and tells that patient that the pill is a new product able to significantly reduce pain, the patient in many cases feels a reduction in pain. The patient’s own body and brain send out endorphins and chemicals needed to relieve pain and/or symptoms.
I am not a fan of Benny Hinn at all, but he does emphasize one dynamic that is crucial to the healer’s meetings. Worship and spiritual atmosphere is tremendously important. I don’t know if healers know this, but they are setting up and tapping into a very natural phenomenon, that many people assume is the work of God; and because people have no better explanation and because people in the audience experience such an amazing feeling during the meetings, they assume with all their hearts that only real miracles are taking place.
While I believe I have witnessed several real bonafide medically established miracles, I think in mass healing crusades, such as with Benny Hinn and Kathryn Kuhlman, the total combination of expectation, hope, and admiration for the healer adds up to a powerful placebo effect.
SIMILARITIES BETWEEN THE PLACEBO EFFECT AND MASS HEALING
Like in the world of healing, the effect of placebos differs with people in how much and how long the placebo can help a patient. And like in the world of mass healing, the placebo effect works on a lot of different problems, but the most responsive problem on the list is pain. Placebos are most effective in relieving pain.
When I recorded Kathryn Kuhlman miracles, I recorded (on Excel) just around 65% of the people on stage mentioned pain and believed they were healed because they felt no more pain. They couldn’t see cancer disappear or arthritis go away, they just experienced a lack of pain which gave them new mobility and new abilities from which pain held them back. Another 10 – 20 % said nothing about pain, but it was obvious that they believed they were healed on the basis of no pain or some subjective feeling they felt inside.
Benny Hinn tells his audiences that they will know they are healed if they feel something. 82 percent of the people on his staqes testify that a feelin or a lack of pain happened. None of those people can verify a real healing took place; every one of them assumed that they were healed because of a feeling. I am claiming that the ones on stage who “feel” a miracle or who can move their bodies due to a lack of pain, are experiencing an effect caused by their brain which we call the placebo effect. I am also claiming that most of those healed are only healed temporarily.
Pain is a symptom of something going on in the body. When WWII soldiers were relieved of pain after receiving morphine or the placebo, their injuries still remained even though their pain subsided. I have arthritis and on some days I barely notice it. Other days I feel a lot of pain. Every day I have arthritis, even on the good days. If someone has cancer and is relieved of pain in the middle of a healing service, the lack of pain does not equal cancer gone. It just means the pain has gone away and in most cases, the pain will come back after the body’s endorphins and other chemicals wear off.
CASE IN POINT
A young man came up to the stage of Kathryn Kuhlman, barefooted and with a big smile on his face because he was convinced that he was healed. This guy was a young runner who could no longer run because he had flat feet and his feet gave him much pain. During KK’s service, the young man felt all the pain in his feet disappear, so he took off his shoes to see the miracle, but his feet were still flat.
Even though his feet were still flat, he was convinced he was healed, because he had no other explanation. Being convinced of his healing he ran up to the stage barefooted and admitted to the entire audience that being healed, his feet were still flat.
The entire episode is found 30 minutes and 27 seconds into the 1969 Melody Land Service at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a8c828KAjbM.
This guy’s testimony is the best and most clear example I can give that pain can go away temporarily due to the atmosphere and one’s reaction to the worship and so on. His pain left in the same way a placebo would take away pain in WWII. But like the soldier in the medical tent, pain going away did not mean healing. None of the soldiers were instantaneously healed from their battle wounds and the young runner was not healed from his flat feet.
Another example is found in YouTube titled, “A Question of Miracles” by Prove All Things…..
In the study conducted by and English documentary and film maker Antony Thomas, Thomas followed 5 people healed in a Portland, OR Benny Hinn Crusade. The names were the only ones that Benny Hinn would give them. It was found that none of the five were clinically healed, 2 exaggerated their problems on stage and even though one person claimed to feel no more pain afterward, he still had a broken vertabrae.
TYPES OF HEALING
There are several reasons I believe that most real stage healing is only the result of a placebo – the lack of pain or a feeling is only one of those reasons. Here are some other reasons I make the connection:
- The dynamics involved – the placebo effect works best when there is belief the product can or will work, the expectation of healing, and the voice of authority such as a doctor or a healer. These dynamics are very present in healing crusades such as Benny Hinn’s.
- The limits of the placebo effect – the placebo effect is limited in what it can acomplish. It does not grow limbs and usually (I don’t think this is absolute) cannot help more than symptoms. Stage healers make sure that such people never make it to the stage. Many people I see in the audiences of healers will never be healed in a crusade. They are not difficult to identify.
Almost every healing I have seen in a Kathryn Kuhlman and Benny Hinn crusade fit perfectily with the placebo effect. The ones that don’t fit the placebo effect are rare and can be easily explained in other ways – but that’s another story.
PLACEBO EFFECT IN HIS CRUSADES – BENNY HINN ADMITS
From A Question of Miracles
Q: Are you aware of something that is known in medical terms as the placebo effect?
BH: I know some about it, but not totally.
Q: It is the power in the human minds to heal our own bodies. It’s dramatic in areas of pain. Now the placebo effect can’t restore a missing limb or remake a damaged brain. And as I watched your crusades, am I seeing anything that goes beyond placebos? And isn’t that what is happening on stage when somebody is so you forced (?) by your presence, they break through these pain barriers?
BH: Some. I believe some, yes. When they come into this positive atmosphere – and that by itself helps them. I’ve wondered why sometimes, someone comes in and comes out of a wheelchair, walks around, runs around, and hours later, they are back in that wheelchair again.