Faith healers sentenced to prison; abusive church continues

A faith healing couple who are members of an abusive church that shuns doctors and medicine have been sentenced to 3½ to seven year in prison in the death of their 8-month old son, who died of treatable pneumonia.

In treating their son, Brandon, with prayer instead of proper medical care Herbert and Catherine Schaible defied a court order to get medical care for their children after their 2-year-old son, Kent, died in 2009.

At their sentencing hearing Judge Benjamin Lerner told the couple, “You’ve killed two of your children. … Not God. Not your church. Not religious devotion. You.”

However, the Schaible’s church did have a lot to do with the two deaths.

The Schaibles are third-generation members of the First Century Gospel Church in northeast Philadelphia.

This church teaches that a person’s salvation depends on trusting God to heal without medical help or medicine.


That means the independent church is theologically a cult of Christianity, because its teachings regarding faith in relation to healing, medicine and professional medical help violate essential Christian doctrine regarding salvation.

They also lead to spiritual abuse. Case in point: during the Schaible’s trial in the death of 2-year-old Kent, the church’s pastor, Nelson Clark, blamed the boy’s death on a “spiritual lack” in the parents’ lives.

Ex-members of the church, which they refer to as a cult, say that death surrounded them.

Six of the Schaible’s remaining children are in foster care, while a seventh now lives on his own.

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This post was last updated: Dec. 16, 2016