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Hammer Theology

"The reason you don't have what you want is that you don't ask God for it. And even when you do ask, you don't get it because your whole motive is wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure."1

People who provide simplistic solutions to life's complex problems can leave a trail of hurt people in their path. I heard a so-called "faith healer" tell a woman who had just experienced a major stroke that the reason she wasn't healed after he prayed for her was because she (and not he) lacked faith. I mean, how cruel can you get?

I attended a lecture on healing attended by some 300 people, all in some form of ministry. At one point during the lecture the speaker asked all those not feeling well to stand. About 50 people stood—including me. The speaker called on the demon of sickness to be "cast out" en masse. He then told all those who had been healed to sit down. All but nine or ten of us sat down. One by one he then "cast out" the demon of sickness and told the individual to sit down if he had been healed. One by one they sat down. Then came my turn! He then "cast" the demon of sickness out of me. Nothing happened. The pressure to conform and lie was incredible. I refused to do so. I told the speaker that I still felt sick and that I thought my upset stomach was because of a new medication I was on, and I sat down. He moved on to the next person. During the following break one attendee thanked me for not yielding to the pressure to conform.

I've heard another well-known speaker teach that the answer to personal problems was to be filled with the Holy Spirit, and another that the answer to loneliness was to accept Jesus as your Savior. These may be an answer for some situations but certainly not for all. Some of our problems are physical in nature, including biological problems such as a chemical imbalance in the brain; numerous problems are emotional in nature caused by unresolved negative emotions and/or by impaired relationships; and some by a multiple of different spiritual causes. Problems may be caused by a combination of all three of these areas.

The causes of our problems can be very complex and multiple and to tell a person who has appendicitis that he has a demon or doesn't have enough faith to be healed is ignorant, insensitive, cruel and possibly even life-threatening—and certainly not Christian or Christ-like.

As psychologist Abraham Maslow said, "If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." May I suggest you stay clear of hammer theology—it is neither of the truth nor of God.

Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be sensitive to the needs of others and never give simplistic solutions to life's complex problems. Help me to understand the nature of human suffering and always seek the truth about the true causes of my own and other's problem, when called for, and thereby pray accordingly. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."

1. James 4:2-3 (NLT).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.