Scott Hannen is on a mission to radically adjust the way Christians think about healthy living and healing. The chiropractic physician and ordained minister believes the current health system has the church in a trance.
But his blended message of faith and science is not falling on deaf ears.
During the last 15 years, he has gained recognition for his groundbreaking insight into holistic medicine and natural healing. As a Spirit-filled health professional, he believes God has given him revelations into people's health.
Christian leaders nationwide treated by Hannen agree, noting that he has a healing gift. Hannen says he has seen miracles in his practice and ministry--the deaf have heard, the lame have walked and the severely sick have been restored to health.
Suzanne Hinn, wife of healing evangelist Benny Hinn, says Hannen has "an anointing."
"Scott is definitely a voice that God has put in the forefront to help inform and heal the body of Christ," she says. "He's a key figure whom God is raising up for such a time as this.
"With him," she adds, "it's about helping people and getting us to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit in a natural way."
Hannen admits that when he ministers to congregations his message "typically turns the church upside down."
"Christians tell me that they have never heard a message like this," Hannen, 40, told Charisma.
"God told me the same Spirit that brought people to the altar for salvation will also deliver them from disease, addiction and all kinds of illnesses, but you have to make it spiritual," he says. "The same Spirit that whips drugs and alcohol will whip food addiction."
Feed, Cleanse, Protect
Hannen believes "health is a choice" and that Christians should choose life as outlined in John 10:10--"'The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full'" (NIV).
"Everyone has the power daily to choose between life and death," he says. "I encourage people to put only things into their bodies that produce life and not those that steal, kill and destroy God's temple."
Hannen emphasizes three main ideas in his teachings: feeding the body, cleansing the body and protecting the cells of the body.
"The cell is the basic unit of life," he says. "Every person starts out as one cell in the womb and is multiplied into approximately 100 trillion cells without any outside help or intervention. The ears, the heart and all the vital organs know how to show up at the right place."
The cellular origin of life is God's design, he notes.
"Along with that design, God placed in the body the ability to heal itself," he says, citing Genesis 1:28--in which God blessed humanity to be fruitful, to multiply and to replenish the earth. "Every 80 to 120 days, all our red blood cells are multiplied and replenished."
He points out that Genesis 1:28 also says mankind is to subdue and have dominion over every living thing.
"That includes cancer, bacteria, viruses, parasites and other microorganisms that cause illness and disease," Hannen explains. "God's Word promised all of that in the original design. To tap into those potentials, we must follow the Word concerning our health care."
To illustrate, he cites Genesis 1:29: "Then God said, 'I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.'"
Because Hannen believes this verse is the "divine design" to feed the body's cells, he first advocates feeding the body whole foods as God created them--before they are processed and tampered with chemically.
"The best way to do this is to buy only food on the outside aisles when shopping at the grocery store," Hannen explains. "The perimeter of the store is where you'll usually find the meat, fruit and vegetables and dairy section."
It's important to supplement these with vitamins, minerals, fatty acids and enzymes, he says, because some whole foods have been depleted of nutrients by strip farming, erosion and acid rain. He has formulated a nutritional supplement that contains vital nutrients.
Second, Hannen believes in cleansing the body at the cellular level from toxins and chemicals found constantly in food, air and water. This process aids the body's God-given filtration systems--which include the liver (chemical filter), kidneys (fluid or water filter), the spleen (red blood cell filter), lungs and airways (air filters), the lymphatic system (intercellular filter) and the colon (the catch-all filter).
"You must cleanse the cell [for optimum health]. God put herbs in the earth to cleanse each one of these systems safely and effectively without any side effects," he explains. Hannen has developed several products containing herbs for cleansing the body's filters.
Third, he advocates protecting the body's cells with nutrients.
"The way you protect cells is by using antioxidants, which stop the process of oxidation [that] occurs when cells are damaged and they're vulnerable to all types of bacteria and viruses that lead to illness or disease," he says. Products he has developed for this contain natural antioxidants such as vitamin C and the mineral zinc.
His approach to improving the body's fuel system and increasing energy and stamina levels includes the ketogenic diet--designed to help break an addictive, destructive and out-of-balance habitual-eating pattern. The diet, which has been around since the 1700s and was once the treatment of choice for diabetics, has been made popular recently by the Atkins Diet and other diets as a method for weight loss.
"My keto diet is a modified Atkins, but the Atkins allows unhealthy food that I don't prefer," Hannen explains. "A high percentage of Americans are carboholics, which mean they are addicted to sugar foods or refined carbohydrates.
"The only way to beat an addiction is through abstinence," he continues. "So we put people on the keto diet. It takes eight to 12 weeks to beat the sugar addiction. Then they are put on whole foods."
Back in the Game
Hannen claims that his diet and products have helped thousands.
Ron Phillips--pastor for 24 years of 6,000-strong Central Baptist Church in Hixson, Tennessee, and a former carboholic--says Hannen's ketogenic diet has helped him lose 54 pounds since the chiropractor put him on the protocol a week before last Thanksgiving. He has lost five inches from his waist and currently weighs 289 pounds, down from 340 pounds. He has a goal to lose another 50 pounds.
"I was considering some kind of surgery for weight loss, but Dr. Hannen said, 'You don't want to do that,'" Phillips, 57, told Charisma. "I had terrible acid reflux and was on three prescription drugs, but now I'm completely healed."
Phillips adds that he suffered from sleep apnea as well.
"Now I don't snore and don't wake up in the middle of night," he says. "My feet don't swell. My energy is higher."
He calls Hannen "an encourager."
"I think he's a fresh breath of air in the health industry," says Phillips, who met the chiropractic physician last August when the two were on a Daystar TV program.
"His stuff is biblical, solid, practical and doable," Phillips observes. "It's not hard. He told me: '[The diet's] going to be the easiest thing you've done. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle.'"
To go along with his lifestyle message, Hannen teaches against what he calls "the world system of symptom-based health care."
"Treating the symptom is much more profitable for pharmaceutical companies," he explains. "So when I teach people how God intended our bodies to function, it's in direct conflict with what these large companies are training us.
"No one is talking about the cure, but these companies talk about relief," he adds. "When you cure someone, they no longer need to buy your product."
Hannen says he has been persecuted for his teaching, noting that medical doctors have threatened him for speaking out against the prevalent health-care system.
"I'm not upset with them--because they've been trained up in the system," he says. "There's obviously a need for emergency-type medicine.
"I'm not against doctors. I am one. However, I am against using certain treatments that address symptoms instead of providing cure."
In his book, Healing by Design (Charisma House), Hannen writes: "I personally feel that most sicknesses and diseases in the body are caused from imbalances and disruptions in the communication between the brain and the nervous system, caused by trauma, deficiency, toxicity, infection and stress."
Hannen's philosophy has made a believer out of Richard Daniels.
For 20 years, Daniels has pastored McCullough Christian Center, a nondenominational charismatic church in Atmore, Alabama. Three years ago, however, he was ready to quit the ministry. He had undergone three back surgeries, which left him suffering from daily seizures that prevented him from driving and doing many other activities.
But then he met Hannen.
"[Hannen] put me on some therapies and he didn't give me medication," Daniels, 42, says. "The other doctors were giving me medication just to survive. He's the only one who could pull me out of my seizures."
Daniels, who says he is now free from seizures and preaching stronger than ever, adds that his congregation is growing and a new sanctuary is being built.
"I feel like God used him to put me back in the ministry," he says. "I know God gave me my life back. He used Scott to change my lifestyle. He changed everything about me to put me back in the game."
Called to Heal
A chiropractor for 13 years, Hannen studied integrated medicine at Capital University in Washington, D.C. He is a chiropractic physician. Although many people are still somewhat suspicious of chiropractors, chiropractic science is legitimate, he says.
"Chiropractic medicine is licensed in all 50 states and covered by most major medical insurance companies, as well as worker's compensation and Medicare," Hannen explains.
He has treated more than 100,000 patients by using natural medicine and has seen patients healed of cancer, chronic fatigue syndrome, lupus and arthritis without the use of prescription medication.
"The average hours of training and education of a chiropractor is on par with the training and education of a medical physician," he says.
"Chiropractic medicine is a drugless type of treatment," he explains. "Unlike medical doctors, chiropractors are not backed by powerful pharmaceutical and insurance companies. Therefore they don't receive proper recognition."
Hannen adds that he has trained physicians from a variety of specialties to use treatment protocols that he has developed.
In many ways, his spiritual insight into health parallels his Christian journey. He experienced many health problems in his youth, including spinal meningitis when he was 4, which almost took his life.
Raised a Southern Baptist in Lockhart, Florida, near Orlando, Hannen grew up a Christian, but he didn't become a dedicated believer until six months before finishing graduate school at age 26.
"I had a radical encounter with God that called me into ministry while I was attending a Church of God congregation," explains Hannen, who graduated from Life Chiropractic University in Marietta, Georgia.
"The Lord told me that He had made me a physician and that He wanted me to be pure in the things of God so He could manifest the gift that He placed inside of me."
He immediately stopped drinking, taking drugs and using foul language. A year after graduating, he and his wife, Aneesa, moved to Enterprise, Alabama, to start his chiropractic practice. After attending a local Church of God congregation in Enterprise, he received the baptism of the Holy Spirit at the end of a revival service.
"I had been seeking that gift, but didn't think it was for me," he recalls.
Over the next several years, Hannen started sharing his against-the-norm health message at some Alabama churches. He was ordained by his former pastor, David Pizzimenti--who leads Glory to Him Fellowship in Ozark, Alabama.
Daniels, the pastor of McCullough Christian Center whom Hannen had treated for seizures, then licensed him in 2002.
"I licensed him because I know that God has called him to minister the gospel, as well as heal the sick," Daniels says. "He's a doctor, but he also preaches the gospel."
As Hannen's church ministry began to grow, he had another radical encounter with God. During a trip to Israel a few years ago, God called him to take his message of health and healing worldwide.
"I stood where Jesus first preached in Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit asked me, 'Will you take this message to the nations?'" Hannen recalls. "I cried and convulsed for hours.
"I asked God how could this be since I was in Enterprise, Alabama. But He reminded me that it wasn't about me but all about Him."
Soon after that experience, Hannen was asked to write a book about health and healing. The result is Healing by Design, his first book, which released in June 2003. It has sold almost 61,000 copies, with many of the sales generated through word-of-mouth.
Hannen says he then received invitations to appear on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and to speak at churches nationwide and overseas.
"Things began to radically change," he recalls. "In just a short time, I was able to minister to people worldwide, including millions through the TBN broadcasts."
This suits Hannen, whose consuming passion is to "heal the sick."
"I'm trying to give hope back to people who have been told that they have to suffer and die with an illness or disease," he says.
"Unfortunately, none of those things are meant for a born-again believer," he stresses. "You have to die at your appointed time, but you don't have to die sick."
Eric Tiansay is the editor of Charisma Now, www.charismanews.com, an e-mail news service published twice a week by Strang Communications.
For more information about Scott Hannen's ministry, write DocTalks.com, P.O. Box 311384, Enterprise, AL 36331; call toll-free 866-DOC-SAYS (362-7297); or visit www.doctalks.com.