These sorts of outrageous claims are clearly meant to generate responses, and the most obvious one in this instance is apparently one of disgust if the report is to be believed, and there is no reason to doubt the feelings of the Codlin family whose 3 year old son is suffering from leukemia. I can both understand and sympathise with the Codlins, not because I have any experience of such suffering my family (thank goodness) but because they are struggling to cope with the horror of a defenseless young one’s life-threatening illness and they probably feel such a bill-board trivialises that struggle.
Whether or not these are the beliefs that the management of this ‘church’ (“Equippers”???), I don’t think the claim should be used by them in a recruitment campaign because it touches on something far too sensitive to be the basis of what could well be a baseless claim. One could probably understand it if this was seen on a billboard in the suburbs of Mexico City and it referred to faith-healers and chicken-entrails-readers rather than Jesus, or perhaps in the suburbs of urban Mississippi or some other red-neck Deep Southern State in the US if it did, but to see it in one of New Zealand’s provincial cities doesn’t sit well with me.
Further, Faith is one thing but surely Faith should be even-handed? I wonder how many people in the 150 strong ‘congregation’ of this church have actually contracted the killer disease, cancer? I’m sure that if there are a number of people who have been ‘cured’ then it would be stretching our credulity if there weren’t at least a couple who have become victims. That being the case, in the spirit of even handedness should there not be another bill-board that proclaims “Jesus Causes Cancer”? (I’m assuming there isn’t one because I have seen no reports in the media of such a billboard- if there were I am sure it would be BIG news!)
To put all things at the door of a deity you worship (or, by extension his/her representative in your world) surely you must accept the good with the bad. This has been my view since I was an impressionable youth and I couldn’t subscribe to blind Faith (or obedience) in any deity that could allow all of the crap that has happened and continues to happen in our world in their name.
I don’t believe any deity is responsible for people developing cancer any more than I believe any deity is responsible for recovery from it. I do believe inner strength, optimism, ‘faith’ as well as great support, lifestyle choices and appropriate medical procedures are responsible for people recovering from cancers- not Jesus.