Perhaps the most heartless and unbiblical fraud perpetrated by so-called faith healers is the claim that, after they fail, the subject of their intent had insufficient faith to be healed. Never mind that the individual made a special trip, made a specific request, and exhibited a genuine belief in the so-called man of God to provide healing. Nope. It was all the fault of the sick or disabled person.
Without question or fail, these failed healers will point to an account in today’s reading, namely verse 9, “Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed.” Then they absolve themselves of all blame for their failure and place it squarely on the poor dupe who had come to them.
There are several problems with this application of the text. The first is that we have an example in the Bible where healing was sought and not received due to a lack of faith. In Matthew 17, a man brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus’ disciples, “but they could not cure him.” Taking his son to Jesus, the Lord “rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the child was cured from that very hour.”
In private (likely due to their shame), the disciples came to Jesus, inquiring, “Why could we not cast it out?” What did Jesus tell them concerning their failure? Now listen carefully. Don’t miss it. Here’s what he said—“Because of your unbelief.” Not a failure on the part of the man or his son (even though the man professed that his own faith was weak – cf Mark 9:24). The failure rested solely upon the lack of faith on the part of the apostles.
Another incident of note also involved the apostles, but in this case, a healing took place without any faith on the part of the one healed—and no, I’m not talking about any of the numerous accounts of folks raised from the dead!
In Acts 3 we see the healing of the lame man who lay begging at the temple gate every day. In verse 3, he spotted Peter and John going into the temple and asked for a handout. Peter fixed his eyes on the man who, looking back upon them expected to receive some benevolence. Instead, Peter told him, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you.” He then commanded the man to get up and walk in the name of Jesus, which thing he immediately did.
These accounts are sufficient to refute the “you don’t have enough faith” error.