autism, Autism Blog, Autistic Adult, mental health, Non-Fiction, young adult

Why Bethel Church’s Stance on Autism is Harmful

Before I begin in my explanation of Bethel Church’s recent Facebook post and why it’s harmful to autistic people,

let me make a disclaimer.

I am a follower of Christ. Have been my whole life, and I have a very strong foundation of faith. I have loved Bethel Music’s albums for years, and this is not meant as an attack on their staff or their statements of healing. 

This is simply an explanation, from an Christian autistic person’s perspective, on why this is harmful to us as a whole. And hopefully a relief to other autistic people who have been concerned by Bethel’s statement, which is:

“Recently, a 33 year-old man was healed of severe autism while he slept as friend stood in proxy for him at a healing meeting on the other side of the country. The previously autistic man woke up the next day and spoke his first ever words, “Mom, I love you.”

Recently we have a seen an increase in Jesus healing autism and similar brain/developmental disorders along with an increase of healings that happen when someone stands in proxy for another. If you are believing for healing for yourself or a loved one of a brain or developmental disorder, we pray you would receive this testimony as a promise. We pray healing right now for you and your loved ones in Jesus name. He is able and He is willing!”

My stomach dropped and I felt on the verge of vomiting when I first laid eyes on this. To see a church that I respected and admired make such a statement made me feel dizzy. 

But you’re probably wondering, “how is this harmful?” or “I don’t see anything wrong with it.”

But let’s look at this from my perspective and piece it apart, so you can understand.

First off, they claimed that this man was “healed from severe autism”.

Do you know how autism works?

It’s not a disease or a vaccine injury like so many fearmongering people like to claim it is.

Autism is linked to our genetics, which means its more than likely passed down in family lineage. Autism is a neurological-based condition that is engrained into a person from the moment they are created. It is intertwined into everything we are as people. How we eat. How we interact with others. How we shape our morals. It’s like putting a lens on the microscope of our lives and seeing everything through a different perspective. It’s not evil or demon-filled. It’s simply a different brain type.

Saying someone can be healed from a different brain type is not true. You can’t “be healed” from having green eyes or writing with your left hand. It’s just who you are. And autistic is who we are. 

Secondly, they claimed that he “spoke his first ever words” after someone else was prayed over.

Do you know what being nonverbal means?

It means that a person either is not capable of using speech because of emotional/sensory overload or chooses not to for similar reasons. 

There is nothing wrong with being nonverbal. Sometimes it’s necessary, so an autistic person can deal with whatever is going on around them. I know being nonverbal is frustrating to those around the autistic person, but sometimes it’s not our fault. And you have to accept that. This world wasn’t made for autistic people. We have to cope somehow.

If you have a child who is autistic, I know it can be difficult to understand what they need. And sometimes you may wonder if they’ll ever live a “normal” life and you hope and pray that God can relieve this “burden” from them.

But autism isn’t a burden.

God made us autistic, and that should be celebrated, not erased. He planted each neuron in our mind with a purpose, and instead of asking Him to take that away, use it as a way to understand us and learn about autism. not dismiss it.

Just because we’re autistic doesn’t mean we weren’t supposed to be.

Our differences make us important.

Stop trying to pray away our purpose.

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1 thought on “Why Bethel Church’s Stance on Autism is Harmful”

  1. As an adult Aspie myself, it was comforting to find out late in life (I’m 58now) why I am the way I am. I was always aware of my difference. However, the criticism against Bethel is unwarranted. (I do not go to the church, but have watched online several times, including Eric’s praying for autistics. Our purpose in life is up to God. It is His Will not ours. Autistic’s that are “healed” such as becoming verbal or having abilities they didn’t before is great! If you are upset about people losing their identity to autism then you are missing it. Our identity is to be in Christ. That is the purpose of all of us.

    Like

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