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Parents Sentenced to Prison for Belief in Healing Power of Prayer

Couple who broke probation with death of second son given one of harshest punishments for faith healing.
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Two Pentecostal parents from Philadelphia watched two of their sons die from treatable diseases because they believe in faith healing. Now the couple has been sentenced to between three and seven years in prison.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible—already ...

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Displaying 1–25 of 25 comments

darian brown

February 25, 2014  4:10pm

I also agree that the headline is misleading. It insinuates that the parents were imprisoned for praying. When they were imprisoned for refusing treatment and letting two of their children die unnecessary deaths

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darian brown

February 25, 2014  4:06pm

This is an awful case of a belief linked to a person's Christianity.What I'm saying is that the officials will look at cases like this one and link it to almost all Christianity. This is obviously a very bad thing. I am thirteen and have had several life threatening injuries and sicknesses. For one, when I was a baby I caught pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. God provided. There was a prayer chain sent out to my local church. Obviously I survived. I got help from medicine that God had provided and I'm sure the prayers went to the comfort of my parents and up to God. like Rick said few splinter denominations believe in only prayers for help. Now this will be used as an example against all Christians. I personally believe that God has already intervened in almost every medical case ever. Whether by miracle, or by the power of modern medicine ( which I'm sure was inspired by God ) He has helped us all sinners and Christians because he loves us all. In this I stand firmly and God bless

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E. Dean Cozzens

February 24, 2014  9:27pm

I agree that when safe medical treatments are available, people are foolish not to use them. I heard of a lady who died because she refused to get an enema. Foolish to ignore God's natural systems. However, here's one that gives us pause. Around 1900 there was a young boy about 10 who got an infection in his leg. It was spreading. His family took him to the hospital. Before the boy went delirious he got his older brother to promise not to let them cut off his leg. The boy went unconscious. The doctor said they needed to amputate to save his life. The family was devout Christian so they gathered in the hall, and prayed asking God what to do. They told the doctor not to amputate because they were trusting in God. Were they right or wrong? What say you? In the morning the boy miraculously recovered and the infection was gone. The boy's name was Dwight David Eisenhower. The faith he learned in this incident became a critical part of his faith to order D-Day to proceed.

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Deborah hamilton

February 24, 2014  8:11pm

God can heal even if we are getting treatment. Also, when God has provided through knowledge to doctors to easily take care of certain issues, like the urinary blockage situation, there is no sin in getting medical help. In dire cases, especially where doctors can't help or have given a very discouraging prognosis, the healing power of God is definitely needed and should be sought. Getting medical treatment is not all bad. Again . . . whether we are getting medical treatment or not, God is still able to heal in either case. So, medical treatment should be sought in serious cases and prayer for God to intervene during the process. Allowing children to die by withholding needed medical treatment definitely does not please God.

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Catherine F

February 24, 2014  6:01pm

I am a firm believer that the Lord can and will heal. I personally know people who have been healed of various afflictions by God. However, we have been taught that if there is a serious situation and God does not act immediately after praying for recovery, then off to the doctor you go. God does heal sovereignly, but He uses doctors to care for us as well. The Word of God says, "having done all, to stand..." That really does mean doing everything you can within any given health situation. Always pray first, then do all you can humanly do until the Lord intervenes. The Bible mentions the folly of committing presumptuous sin for a reason.

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Charles Cosimano

February 23, 2014  4:20pm

The parents got off too lightly. Public hanging would have been more appropriate.

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Rick Dalbey

February 22, 2014  9:11pm

I don't think we have to worry about monitoring theology. The government's responsibility is to monitor behavior. If parents ignore obvious medical treatment for a sick child and the child suffers, it is abuse. The church is obligated to articulate theology. Of course theology is not one monolithic belief, but at its core should be the responsibility to manage the welfare of the child entrusted to us.

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J G

February 22, 2014  8:44pm

Well said, Rick, Rick, Ann, and others. This is not faith under attack, it is ignorance, and arrogance, and really bad theology under attack. I do not trust the levers of the secular government to manage the third, but I am glad they are there to manage the first and second. Meanwhile, what can -- what should -- we the Church do to manage the third? Such people are deadly, and also bring disrepute on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Dessie T

February 22, 2014  8:13pm

Lame headline. I immediately thought the parents were sentenced for praying.

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Rick Middleton

February 22, 2014  2:10am

What an awful headline. I hope this wasn't chosen on purpose, to paint this as an incendiary Christians vs. government thing. The parents weren't sentenced to jail for their beliefs. If no child had died, they would not have been charged and convicted. It will be interesting to see if CT repairs this headline, and how soon.

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Rick Dalbey

February 21, 2014  3:57pm

Kerwin, the parent's position does not represent the position of Pentecostals, Pentecostal denominations, Charismatics or Christians with healing ministries. These parents are repeat offenders. I looked up the 3 cases in the last 10 years, went online and checked out their churches. They are without exception tiny, very exclusive, legalistic, clannish splinter churches. Healing through the laying on of hands is a mainstream Christian position. Mark Galli, the editor of Christianity Today speaks in tongues and experienced his leg being healed through the laying on of hands. Medical and surgical healing is divinely inspired. When I smashed my left arm falling out of a tree at 13, (I am 63 today) my mother rushed me to an orthopedist. He took X-rays and rushed me to a specialist. While driving to the specialist my mother prayed for may arm in the car. The specialist took a second set of x-rays and could find no evidence of a break! We owe our children the highest standards of care.

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albright39 .

February 21, 2014  3:35pm

This is a sad story yet it is another example of how bad theology can kill just as in the case of the bitten snake handler who refused treatment.

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Kerwin Borntrager

February 21, 2014  3:11pm

Tragic. Due to the broken state of our healthcare system in which I work and the false promises and false claims of healing by "healers" within the church this type of approach seems to be growing. While the parnets bear responsibility I'm more concerned about the individuals within the church that encouraged these parents in the error of their way.

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Raymond Coffey

February 21, 2014  1:37pm

Your headline is misleading. The parents have not been sentenced to jail because of their belief in pray and faith-healing. They are justly and rightly being sentenced for the death of their child. As the Judge stated in your article, "They killed the child. Not their faith, their religion....." It would be better to state that they were sentenced for the death of their child due to misguided and deranged religious beliefs. A tragedy beyond words has been perpetuated on this child.

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Ann Jennerjahn

February 21, 2014  12:45pm

I agree with other posters that the title of the article is misleading. The parents are not being persecuted for their 'beliefs', but are being held accountable for their actions. I also find it ironic that the subheading refers to punishments for 'faith healing' where the real problem is that there was a lack of healing. I do believe in divine healing. I have seen people healed purely through the power of God. But I also think that doctors and medicines are gifts that God has provided, and to avoid medical care is arrogance rather than faith

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Ngallendou Dieye

February 21, 2014  10:12am

Two huge errors: (1) Withhold merciful treatment from the sick. (2) Require that others adhere to a particular religious practice. Two huge truths: (1) The population is sick and dying because of poor nutrition. (2) Allopathic use of petroleum-based drugs kills far more than those who die from bogus religion.

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Ngallendou Dieye

February 21, 2014  10:05am

It should appear quite clear: Those parents were not persecuted for belief in healing through prayer; rather they were prosecuted because they failed to obey Jesus by showing mercy when it was in their power to do so. Most of those who see many healed through prayer are neither Baptists nor Pentecostals, but those who bring the presence and power to God to bear, whether or not the sick receive allopathic medicine,

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albright39 .

February 21, 2014  9:44am

@ Rick Welcome to the world of the of the New Atheists. Their main tool you might ask? A lot of name calling.

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Rick Dalbey

February 20, 2014  11:17pm

David, who are the religious medievalists? Someone who believes that Jesus heals today? That is what I believe with much objective evidence. I also believe that God inspires medical science. Are you saying that I am a religious medievalist?

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David Lloyd-Jones

February 20, 2014  9:57pm

Rick, I think you are right. The saving grace of the religious medievalists is their willingness to throw their beliefs overboard when it really matters. -dlj.

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David Lloyd-Jones

February 20, 2014  9:44pm

Joe, I think you're being disingenuous. They neglected their child exactly because of their belief in faith healing. Put just slightly differently, their god told them to neglect their child. My own remark would be that of course they wouldn't have been caught if their faith healing had worked -- as it so often seems to. -dlj.

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Chris Casberg

February 20, 2014  3:29pm

I'll echo the previous comments and say that I find the sensationalist headline unworthy of CT.

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Bob Bobo

February 20, 2014  2:49pm

I agree wholeheartily with 'Rick D". But I"m disapointed at CT"s tag line on this article. These parents are not going to jail for "Belief in the Power of Prayer". They are going to jail for choosing to allow their children to die when they could have been teated succesfully. I would have thought that after their fiist son died, they would have realized their doctrine was based on cultish speak rather than good theology. But the fact that they did it again? Where they intimidated by their church becuase they were in 'sin" of unbelief? I don't doubt they loved there children but this is how powerful bad theology is. God help us all.

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Rick Dalbey

February 20, 2014  2:33pm

This is not Pentecostal faith. I want to correct that impression. Assembly of God, Foursquare, Open Bible, United Pentecostal, Church of God in Christ, the Vineyard do NOT support denying medical care or presumptive "faith healing". Nor do churches with extraordinary healing ministries like Bethel Church in Redding, Randy Clark, Bill Johnson or others. These are inevitably tiny splinter churches on the fringes who encourage presumption. Paul called Luke the Beloved Physician. Jesus said it is the sick that need a physician. Hezekiah was healed by an application of a poultice, an early form of medicine. Paul urged Timothy to drink a little wine for his frequent ailments. All healing is God's healing. God may choose to heal instantly through prayer. If, after prayer we are not healed we have an obligation to seek healing through conventional medicine. I've seen people healed of cancer and heart disease through the laying on of hands. They're also healed through surgery and radiation.

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JOE DURIKA

February 20, 2014  2:05pm

Who among you, when your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Of if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? I am a Christ-follower, and I find your headline incredibly disturbing. These parents were sent to prison for neglecting the needs of their child, not for their belief in faith-healing.

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