That opposition hasn't ceased. It has merely changed its outer form. It has grown more cultured on the outside, but the inside is the same.
One phase of this opposition is the teaching that God sends sickness and disease. The bald statement gives an ugly impression of God that stings and stays. It hurts and it lasts.
There comes a dread, an inner deep dread of a God of resistless power who actually does such a thing. This is so even among saintly Christians, far more than is suspected.
Its practical effect has been to act as a check to the working in men's lives of that supernatural power of Christ. The hand doesn't reach out to take what the Pierced Hand is eagerly reaching down to give.
There is a deep-seated impression that we cannot ask for healing. We must settle down and make the best of a bad thing. And meanwhile pray to be patient and resigned.
Psychologically this becomes an unconscious incalculable influence in actually tightening the hold of disease on one's body. Practically it makes a hindrance in the working of God's rare supernatural power in our bodies, and in our lives.
"Well, it was her time to go, and so God sent her pneumonia." The words were spoken quietly, in a matter-of-fact way, and in a tone of finality. They were the answer to my sympathetic question about an earnest Christian woman in the prime of life who had died quite unexpectedly.
I wondered if my startled ears heard aright. But my wife verified their accuracy. The woman who spoke the words was an earnest Christian, of much more than average culture. Several of her family circle were college-bred, and the home had an unusual supply of high class modern books of various sorts.
In later conversation a neighbour of hers, who did not share her belief in this regard, remarked that such was quite a common thought in all the countryside thereabouts. And in varying degree one finds such impression deep-seated everywhere.
And, there are statements in the Scriptures that can be distorted, and disconnected, to give such an impression. That is, I mean, with no intention of distorting, the Scriptures are read in a haphazard, disjointed way, and are quoted without regard to connection. And so such impressions gotten by hearsay are deepened.