The Toxicity of ‘Toxic Faith’ by Stephen Arterburn

Toxic Faith: Experiencing Healing from Painful Spiritual Abuse

Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton

On page 39, Stephen Arterburn writes about his brother dying from AIDS, saying that he died because God chose not to heal him. Further down the page he adds that his brother died, but not because he didn’t have faith. And the last line on page 40, into 41, Mr. Arterburn states that God chooses to heal some people, while choosing to not heal others. Every one of these statements, even that about faith, I believe, are in error. Let’s check with Scripture.

Exodus 15:26 NASB

And He said, “If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, YAHWEH, am your healer.”

Isaiah 53:5 NASB

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.

Isaiah 55:10-11 NASB

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater;  (11)  So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.

Psalms 107:19-20 NASB

Then they cried out to Yahweh in their trouble; He saved them out of their distresses.  (20)  He sent His word and healed them and delivered them from their destructions.

So far Scripture, the Book about God, shows us that:

1) God is the healer of the believer

2) That the scourging Yeshua received is for our healing

3) That God has given His word (promise) of healing

4) That God’s promise is true AND becomes true


Let’s look at some more…


Proverbs 4:20-22 NASB

My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings.  (21)  Do not let them depart from your sight; Keep them in the midst of your heart.  (22)  For they are life to those who find them and health to all their body.

Obviously, God does heal, and He heals the body, but one must study and pray the scriptures that tell us this. By doing so we build up faith for what we seek.

Matthew 19:26 NASB

And looking at them Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Mark 9:22-23 NASB

“It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!”  (23)  And Jesus said to him, ” ‘If You can?’ All things are possible to him who believes.”

All things are possible with God, and all those same things are possible TO the one who believes God through His word.


On page 40, Mr. Arterburn tells how his brother attended various healing services “in several states”, that each time he (supposedly) had faith, but each lack of healing made him feel bad about his faith.

Derek Prince has written that many Christians have faith and hope mixed up – they THINK they have faith when in fact it is only hope. I believe this to be the case with the author’s brother, because of what I see in the following scriptures.

Matthew 17:20 NASB

And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

Mark 11:22-24 NASB

And Jesus answered saying to them, “Have faith in God.  (23)  “Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him.  (24)  “Therefore, I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.

If Jerry Arterburn had true, biblical faith, there would have been no need to travel – the power for healing, for all of God’s promises, are within God’s word.

Also, for the author to believe that God chooses who He will or won’t heal contradicts Scripture regarding God not being partial in that very manner:

Acts 10:34-35 NASB

Opening his mouth, Peter said: “I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, (35) but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.

Romans 2:11 NASB

For there is no partiality with God.

Galatians 2:6 NASB

But from those who were of high reputation (what they were makes no difference to me; God shows no partiality)—well, those who were of reputation contributed nothing to me.

Ephesians 6:9 NASB

And masters, do the same things to them, and give up threatening, knowing that both their Master and yours is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.

Faith is rewarded, we have God’s statement to that fact:

Hebrews 11:6 NASB

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.

Because the author is speaking AGAINST the truth of God’s very own word to us, the truth of the matter is…

1 Timothy 4:1 NASB

But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons,

The author has fallen prey to deceitful spirits, and their demonic doctrines have contaminated his faith.

The book’s title includes the statement,Experiencing Healing from Painful Spiritual Abuse”; but his own faith is toxic, and what he’s teaching others by his statement about God choosing to not heal some is leading them into discouragement, depression, and the throwing away of their faith in God.


So be very careful, brothers and sisters in Yeshua; not all that sounds good is good.

Read the best version of God’s Book that you can get and make certain everything else you read aligns with it. If not, throw it away, thank God for His truth, then sit down and read some more of God’s book with Him.

In the love of our Father, and His Son Yeshua,