Faith healing has been a point of interest for me for awhile. I come from a conservative background and have drifted charismatic over the years; I've seen a few things that could be interpreted as supernatural. My most powerful accounts about healing, however, are second hand information. They come from people who have just had an experience with it and with all my power of Ni, I can see that they, at least, believe what they just had an experience with.
There's also been a rash of healing recently at the church I attend;
Story #1- There was one girl who claimed a knee regrew in her hands (apparently the person she was praying over had lost their knee due to an accident of some kind)...on witnessing her reaction and studying her facial and body expressions carefully as she talked about it, I can tell you that she believes what she was saying.
Story #2- There was also another girl who supposedly received healing for a carpal tunnel injury; I can tell you that she was quite emotional and started crying when healing was declared over her by our speaker. The following week, however, when the normal pastor checked up on this, she told him the truth--that it still hurt her. The young pastor (not me, to be clear) who called her out in front of everyone during his sermon completely glossed over her answer because he didn't know how to handle a healing that "reverted". Upon further reflection with my friend AJ (INTP), we surmised that if she was truly healed to begin with, that it might have been a faith issue, either on the person declaring the healing or on the girl receiving it; in such instances, actually investigating this is painful to the people involved and is fairly difficult.
Story #3- I was actually granted healing for a back injury. The fact is, I wasn't in any pain and the guy declaring it was constantly asking if that felt better. For the record, my spine was/is probably still deviated. If he corrected that, then I'm grateful, but again, the pain focus when there was none was offputting. The healing for the second and this story came from the same guy. As I study what happened that night with more and more objectivity, I believe he may have been a well-spoken fraud, but I acknowledge my admitted lack of information in that regard. I'll go more in depth about him in a little while.
Story #4- There was somebody who apparently "got up and walked" from their wheelchair and no longer needed it (like a strengthening of the legs). This is possibly the same as the first story, but from a different perspective.
The Man Leading via Prophecy and Healing in Stories 2 & 3- He was a guest speaker who came to our church on that platform. He also had what he wryly joked was a cult--a year-long school of prophecy and faith healing that, according to the picture on the brochure, was targeted at an early 20s crowd like ours (I'm 28 this month, but most of the crowd was younger). Whenever something like that is targeted towards younger people, that makes me suspicious. Beyond that I've yet to debrief anyone any further. I will say to his credit that he spoke everything very well, but that doesn't necessarily speak toward whether he was for real or a con.
Faith Leaders- I would say you will know their legitimacy by the outcome of what they do. The bible says to test the spirits--this is part of what that means. I do believe that there are many fakes who lead out of embarrassment because somebody who was "healed" and wasn't actually healed and they don't say anything because they will be accused of having a lack of faith. There is a lot of room for fraud here, on the surface...
My Conclusions- But if you dig deeper, no matter what it is, the truth reveals itself. We had possibly fraudulent and real healing occurring at my church in the same time frame. Stories like #1 and #4...these were stories that I gathered from being around behind the scenes and actually being there as people described what happened to them or what happened to others because of their prayers/declarations; because of my careful observation of their witness and others like it, I do believe faith healing is real and does happen...they could be whomever the Holy Spirit decides to work through at the time who have the faith, or they could be people the Spirit chooses to work through in the same way on a regular basis.
As for the merits of "healing from the pulpit" or being a "charismatic" leader (with a ministry based in the supernatural); I'm suspicious, but it definitely has biblical precedent. Check their outcomes. Be behind the scenes so you won't just get the "official" and possibly "coordinated" stories. If the Spirit works through somebody like this on a regular basis, check their humility ("fraud guy" was humble too, so this is just one of many ways), but most importantly, make sure your investigation includes being close to the aftermath of the action so you get the real stories of what people went through and not some scripted bull.
In Short... I believe healing is real. I believe there are many frauds. I believe that it may be possible for a person to lead on a miraculous platform, but I also believe you should "test the spirits" and investigate carefully.