Christian 'faith healers' prospering in state : The Tribune India

Christian 'faith healers' prospering in state

Mainstream church heads hesitant to counter them for want of ‘proof’

Tribune News Service

GS Paul

Amritsar, September 12

The charismatic Christian “faith healers”, claiming to banish ghosts, cure illness and disability, are prospering in Punjab, if their so-called sessions (crusades) flooding social media is anything to go by.

Government needs to act

There’s no room for miracles or superstitious acts under the Biblical principles. We have no authority to act against the self-styled ministries. It’s the job of the police and the government. The joint action panel, once formed, can frame guidelines to deal with the situation. Bishop Dr P K Samantaroy, Masihi Maha Sabha Chief

These congregations are carried out in the name of Jesus Christ by the new crop of Christian ‘ministries’ run in ‘private’ churches by ‘self-styled pastors’. Most of them are converts who’ve retained Sikh or Hindu names, prefixed with a religious title.

And, there’s no dearth of believers too. Amid repeated chanting of ‘hallelujah’, thousands attend these sessions wherein the compere called up the ‘sufferers’ on the dais to get their live testimony, narrating their ailment and its ‘miraculous treatment’ before the crowd in the deliverance week. The ‘ministries’, which promise miracle cure, also offer “baptism”, in which followers are made to take a dip in holy water.

Declining to endorse them, the mainstream church heads condemn their acts, but are reluctant to initiate action for the want of ‘proof’. Amid row over forced conversions, Christians under the banner of Masihi Maha Sabha, met Akal Takht officiating Jathedar Giani Hapreet Singh on September 5. It was decided to form a 10-member ‘joint action panel’ to take steps against the conversion and the so-called ‘conduit of God’.

The Jathedar had even sought legal action and inquiry into the source of funding of the congregations, which even the mainstream Christianity never permitted.

Bishop Dr PK Samantaroy, MMS president, said the mainline churches never nurture any sort of force or allurement to convert anyone. “The Constitution allows every Indian to pursue the religion of their choice... The joint action panel, once formed, can frame guidelines to deal with the situation. And if proofs are there, we might take the matter to the police,” he added.

When contacted, DCP (law and order) Parminder Singh Bhandal said, “We are helpless until there is a complainant asking us to take action.”

Meanwhile, a search on YouTube revealed over 10 ‘ministries’ that conduct “healing and prayer” sessions. On September 11, a video of ‘Sunday Holy Communion Meeting’ by a ministry (name withheld) was uploaded with a ‘testimony’ from sufferers. In the video, a Gurdaspur resident said she was suffering from back ache, but her faith in God cured her.

A Sikh woman claimed her marriage did not work as she was attacked by evil souls and couldn’t conceive. It was only after she got attached with the Khambra Church, she was blessed with a child in June 2022.

Tribune Shorts


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