Evangelicals bone up their ‘raising the dead’ skills
TYLER Johnson runs a ministry called the Dead Raising Team in the US. He claims to have brought 11 people back to life. He says he even persuaded the authorities in his state to issue him with an official photocard which lets him through police lines at car accident sites.
Johnson, according to this BBC report, appears in a new documentary film called Deadraisers, which follows enthusiasts as they trail round hospitals and mortuaries trying to bring people back to life.
Sadly, those they pray for in the film remain resolutely dead.
According to the DRT site:
Tyler and his wife Christine are blissfully married with four kids. They hope to see a DRT started in every city in the world, so that nobody could die without being prayed back to life. Tyler is a graduate from Bethel’s School of Supernatural Ministry.
Johnson is unwilling to provide successful case studies. And in general, the proof that believers cite is a bit unconvincing – for example, there is an American heart surgeon who allegedly brought a heart attack patient back from the dead with prayer … oh, and a defibrillator.
Other doctors find the story entirely unremarkable. One wonders why.
The BBC’s Jolyon Jenkins then got to meet Alun and Donna Leppit, a British couple who are convinced that the dead can be raised through the power of prayer.
The evangelic loons were subject of a BBC 4 programme today called Out of the Ordinary: The Power of Prayer.
During the course of the broadcast, Donna lamented that there aren’t too many corpses in the UK that they can practice on.
The one that they did try to resurrect to was Donna’s brother, who died of a heart attack.
By the time they got to the mortuary, he had been dead for eight hours. They prayed over him for nearly an hour, and although at one stage they thought they saw him move, that was as good as it got.
Are they discouraged? ‘Not at all,’ says Alun. ‘Practice makes perfect,’ adds Donna. ‘But in this country, we don’t often get access to dead bodies.’
And it takes a lot to shake Alun and Donna’s faith. Alun himself has serious medical problems. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in his 20s, has had complications, major surgery, and is now on a waiting list for an ileostomy. He needs a miracle. But so far, and despite the prayer, none has come.
The Leppitt are the UK end of a worldwide fellowship of evangelical Christians called Global Awakening. In countries like Mozambique and Brazil, Global Alliance missionaries are converting people to Christianity with spectacular displays that claim to heal through prayer. They say they cure blindness and deafness in big open air meetings.
From another healer, Ian Andrew in Somerset, Jenkins heard of a woman who got a new heart as a result of prayer.
Literally, a new heart?
What happened to the old one?
It was replaced.
These claims are, by any standards, implausible. But in the world of Pentecostal healing, no-one worries about that. In fact, the more impossible the miracle (and they use the term without embarrassment) the better, because it’s more effective for spreading their message.
Hat tip: Beth Williams