Forget about those miracle cures – go see the doctor

Bay of Plenty Times (New Zealand), Sep. 19, 2002

A Tauranga evangelist claims he’s produced miracle cures for life-threatening diseases _ but his religious colleagues in the city believe that doctors probably deserve much of the credit.

City Life pastor Weston Carryer has boasted of his successes in Hutt Valley and Wellington newspaper advertisements, earning a rebuke from Health and Disabilities Commissioner Ron Paterson.

The pastor claims hundreds of people in New Zealand and overseas have been miraculously cured after attending his meetings.

“Sicknesses such as chronic asthma, arthritis, cancer, deafness, multiple sclerosis, cervical cancer… and others have miraculously disappeared after prayer…” said an advertisement placed in one newspaper.

Another included testimonies such as: “For the first time in 25 years, I was able to breathe normally… no restrictions and no medication.”

But the commissioner has criticised the advertisements, saying ministers and faith healers are obliged to obey legislation covering alternative medicines and therapies and cannot claim cures.

And Tauranga’s mainstream clergy make it clear they place their faith in conventional medicine rather than miracles.

Father Joe Stack, of Tauranga’s St Mary’s Catholic Church, said: “It would be foolish to presume that one would be able to provide a miracle cure. I believe most of the healing that happens, happens through medicine _ doctors.

“God has given us doctors to get well, although prayer can be part of it, and one doesn’t exclude the other.”

Healing occurred on more than just one level, said Father Stack.

“One may still be crippled but have some inner peace.” Presbyterian minister, the Reverend Bob Maslin, said the Christian faith had a part to play in healing, but medicine did most of the work.

He had seen miracle cures, but felt that they were due to a combination of things, including prayer and conventional medicine.

“I never say that they should stop their medication,” the Rev Maslin said. “They should keep on taking it and see their doctor.”

Anglican Reverend Bronwyn Marchant keeps an open mind and has a healing station in her church, but does not believe in miracle cures.

Mr Paterson, the Disabilities Commissioner, said: “You have to be very careful not to overstate the benefits, because people are gullible.

“If it happened in trade, the Fair Trading Commission or Commerce Commissioner would be taking a very close look at it.”

Mr Paterson agreed that faith healing had been around for centuries, but said the code of health consumer rights applied to any health provider, and that included alternative therapists and ministers.

Mr Carryer could not be reached for comment today.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday September 20, 2002.
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