Does faith prevent disease? Well, the answers you get to that question depends on whom you ask. Opinions vary according to one’s understanding of the subject and the individual’s ability to look at the available evidence objectively.
If one says that faith does not prevent disease, he is subconsciously labeled a heretic and blasphemer by those who believe otherwise. Such a one must be prepared to be challenged by all the miraculous stories of those who, by faith, stubbornly declared that faith would hold off disease and, magically managed to miss out on the seasonal allergies that everyone else succumbed to that particular year.
He might be made to marvel at the miracle of the individual who diagnosed themselves with some incurable disease, but never went to the doctor for an expert opinion, and is now still alive and well. Such miracles are as hard to disprove as they are to prove, and so they can only be argued to no reliable conclusion.
On the other hand if one argues that faith prevents disease he immediately has exceptions to his theory that he must be ready to explain with sound evidence, for it can be demonstrated with certainty that some who have been considered by their peers as people of great and extraordinary faith have been taken down, and out by disease.
The preventative faith proponents have a tough choice to make when asked to defend their beliefs. They must be prepared to admit that their assertions are not provable and that many examples seem to contradict their belief; or be prepared to disavow and cast dispersion upon all who succumb to illness, judging them as weak christians, pretenders, or hypocrites.
This last option would lead the sane person to reject their argument, simply because there are some pretty big names in Scripture, and religious circles that they will have to cut down to size in the attempt to prop up their defense of their preventative faith theory. But thankfully (for them) their is a third option which most opt for, and that is the painful admission that their assertions are not born-out in every case, but “nevertheless” they say “I believe it is true.”
It is incredible how many sincere believers believe that faith is a preventative against illness. Can we make faith do whatever we want it to do by simply convincing ourselves that something is true, whether it is or not? Or does faith have preset realms and boundaries in which it functions, limits which no amount of delusional thinking can erase?
Did Job have a faith problem, why was he sick? The quick answer will be, “that was a unique case in which God was testing Job.” Such an answer introduces a new factor into the discussion that muddies the water, perhaps. However, if allowed, it still does not provide an adequate explanation. If preventative faith proponents may introduce unique circumstances, then so can their opponents. How then do you know if God is testing you or not?
Are you prepared to believe that faith protects you from illness until it doesn’t? Then in disappointment and confusion, finally concluded that this is a test? In the case of Job, the disease did not kill him or become chronic and when the trial was over God restored his health completely. Therefore as it pertains to chronic or terminal illness, their theory is still unexplainable.
Faith is treated by many like a kid whose parents hope will behave himself. However, when he does not, the parent makes excuse for him, attributing his tantrum to not feeling well, being tired, hungry, or a tummy- ache that know no-one can prove or disprove.
I do not believe Scripture teaches that faith is tricky or unpredictable. If we understand faith and its uses correctly, the results should be consistent. Jesus and the apostles never attempted to heal someone, or raise the dead only to find out that faith just wasn’t in the mood for it at that time, or that (to their severe embarrassment) faith had decided to play one of its tricks.
The avenues that branch off from this subject are so numerous that an exhaustive discussion is impossible here. I offer this article in hopes that it might cause the reader to ask himself some honest questions and set him on a sincere search for authentic faith as taught in the Scriptures.