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The fallacy of Deliverance and Healing schools
08/03/2014 00:00:00
by Learnmore Zuze
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I HAVE always been enchanted by Zimbabwean musician Hosiah Chipanga’s thought-provoking and satirical lyrics. The man has a witty manner of putting his points across and has often courted controversy. Chipanga captures my imagination in the song Rufu which was sung at the height of economic turmoil in the country. Then, it was not uncommon for people to go for months without seeing bread as we know it. Even meat had become an expensive and unavailable luxury. Those who lived in Zimbabwe between 2006 and 2008 can vouch for this truth.

I do not wish to delve into music or politics but would like to extract the structure of a good argument from Chipanga‘s lyrics. He presents a concrete argument when he sings; “Vanogara mumakomo kana vavekuti mhepo ishoma isu vemumapako tanangana nerufu” (If those who live in the mountains are suffocating for want of breathing air then those who live in the caves are facing imminent death.)

Let’s analyze the premises of this argument: Premise 1: If there is not enough breathing air in the mountains (which supposedly must have abundance) Premise 2: Then it means there is virtually little or no air to sustain life in the caves. Logical connection: If there is lack of breathing air in the mountains it means the total absence of it in the caves hence the foreseeable death those living in the caves. Again he argues, “What hope is there for fish in the rivers if fish in the sea are dying for want of water?”

His argument is well premised. A good argument begins with one or more premises then a principle of logical connection is applied. On the other hand, a fallacy is a seemingly factual yet misleading belief. A fallacy is deceptively attractive. It is a mistaken yet popular belief. At one time it was a popular fallacy that the earth was flat. An argument may thus use faulty logic to reach a true conclusion. Conversely and more often, an argument may use correct logic to reach a false conclusion.

Today, the religious world is faced with the phenomenon of Healing and Deliverance Schools. Well known politicians and prominent people have had to part with fortunes travelling to distant States for this kind of faith healing. These schools, purportedly, train people’s minds to receive healing. One international Deliverance School wrote on its website, “…we teach people how to receive any form of healing...” The principal belief is that for one to be healed, they must possess a certain mind frame without which healing cannot take place. There are plenty online deliverance schools with breathtaking claims.


Jesus is commonly associated with the statement; “According to YOUR faith, be it unto you.” It is precisely this statement which is the foundational premise of these schools. The logical connection being that anyone who would be healed thus has to have faith. It’s as if God always waits to enact his miraculous power by our faith. I have often heard deliverance school ministers castigating congregants for blocking healing power because of “lack of faith.” The ideology is that a person is healed by their own faith or mind.

However, this teaching is not accurate. In the Bible, of the 35 miracles recorded in the Gospel accounts, the faith of the recipient is expressed in only 10 of the accounts. The best example is when Apostle Peter cut off the ear of an enemy (Malchus) who had come to seize Jesus (John 18:10). Jesus healed Malchus instantly. Question: did Malchus have faith? In John 11, Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead; can a dead man exercise faith? Again, in the book of Mark, we are told of an extremely violent mad man (Legion) who lived in the tombs of Gadarenes (Mark 8; 25). He was healed without even asking for it. Surely, had the power of God depended on man’s faith then Legion’s was a hopeless case.

In Mk 5:35-43, Jairus’ daughter was even healed because of her father. Jesus did not indiscriminately heal all the people all the time, but it was those God willed to be healed that were healed. These examples and many others I have omitted because of space stand as uncontaminated evidence of God’s power which needs no activation as is being taught today in healing schools.

Like I noted, it is common for an argument to use correct information to reach an untrue conclusion. The argument advanced by proponents of healing schools comes from something as correct as the words of Jesus Christ. However, to arrive at the conclusion that people who would be healed need to undergo coaching deserves scrutiny. It is not paying God so much of a compliment to teach that His power is subject to activation by fallen man. Whether the leaders are conscious or unconscious of it, they are propagating a belief that the power of God is dependent on man’s mind. They place the onus to heal on man’s mind and not on the power of God. To advertise, enroll and register people for faith-training is to uphold that the power of God is subject to sinful people’s minds. Despite the correct premise of the importance of faith, they have deputized the power of God.

Faith is important but what heals is the power of God. The phenomenon of healing schools is but one perfect example where a correct premise is used to reach a conclusion that happens to be untrue. The words, “Thy faith has healed you” were never meant to substitute the power of God with the power of the mind. Belief in the healing powers of the mind is rooted in Buddhism. The deceit that the mind has healing and creative powers was taught by Buddha, adopted by the motivation industry and, today, blindly followed by some in Christianity.

The Bible’s own prescription for acquiring faith is clearly stated: “So then, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).

Learnmore Zuze can be reached at lastawa77@gmail.com

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