God Heals Today through Prayer – Scientific Paper

I am grateful to Healing on the Streets (HOTS) Bath for linking from their home page to my earlier post God can heal, but not to meet advertising standards, which they describe as “some good Christian wisdom”. That post was a response to the Advertising Standards Authority’s ruling that HOTS Bath must not claim publicly that God heals today, physically and not only spiritually.

I was interested to look at some of the other material currently linked to from the same HOTS Bath home page, in a section also responding to the ASA ruling. In particular, they link to a proper scientific paper providing evidence that God heals today, physically, in response to Christian prayer. The paper is entitled Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique, by “Brown, Candy Gunther PhD; Mory, Stephen C. MD; Williams, Rebecca MB BChir, DTM&H; McClymond, Michael J. PhD”, and is published in Southern Medical Journal: September 2010 – Volume 103 – Issue 9 – pp 864-869.

The research for this paper was done in Mozambique, at mass meetings sponsored by Iris Ministries (founded by Rolland and Heidi Baker) and Global Awakening. The authors tested the hearing or eyesight of people coming forward for healing and tested them again after prayer. They found statistically significant improvements in both hearing and eyesight. There is an extremely small probability that these were merely chance improvements or measurement errors. A suggestion or placebo effect cannot be ruled out, but the improvements are much better than have elsewhere been recorded for suggestion and hypnosis.

Heidi Baker with a baby who "was blind with white eyes just minutes before!"

Heidi Baker with a baby who "was blind with white eyes just minutes before!"

It is interesting that the authors write:

Conducting similar studies under controlled clinical conditions in North America would be desirable, yet neither Iris nor Global Awakening claims comparable results in industrialized countries (arguing that “anointing” and “faith” are lower where medical therapies are available) …

I can’t help wondering what results would be obtained if similar measurements were made in industrialized countries at, for example, Todd Bentley or Benny Hinn meetings. These two have also claimed spectacular results in third world countries but would additionally claim comparable results in the USA, and in Benny Hinn’s case other western countries. But, as far as I know, no similar studies have been attempted at their meetings.

Nevertheless, the scientifically demonstrated result that God heals today in Mozambique shows that he is able to do so also in a tent in Florida or on the streets of Bath. This also suggests the veracity of reports that he has actually done so, even if the frequency of such occurrences is less than in Africa.

HOTS Bath also links to the newly formed Global Medical Research Institute, which

seeks to apply the rigorous methods of evidence-based medicine to the study of Christian spiritual healing practices, including the widespread practice of proximal intercessory prayer (PIP).

There is also a link to a book to be published shortly by Harvard University Press, Testing Prayer (my link is an affiliate one to your local Amazon store) by Candy Gunther Brown who is also the lead author of the Mozambique paper. From the publisher’s material:

In Candy Gunther Brown’s view, science cannot prove prayer’s healing power, but what scientists can and should do is study prayer’s measurable effects on health. If prayer produces benefits, even indirectly (and findings suggest that it does), then more careful attention to prayer practices could impact global health, particularly in places without access to conventional medicine.

The clear implication of all this is that there is real scientific evidence that healing prayer is effective and a respectable scholarly opinion that it is beneficial. I am sure HOTS Bath are pointing this out in their appeal to the Advertising Standards Authority. Hopefully this will lead them to reconsider their apparent blanket ban on claims that God heals physically today.

29 thoughts on “God Heals Today through Prayer – Scientific Paper

  1. Many thanks for this Peter and good to see you’re blogging again, and you too have been doing some spade work re HOTS. So you’d like to know that on Sunday we heard Rev John Kilpatrick report on an 8 year old boy receiving his sight last Friday in Dallas. He displayed a photo similar to that of the baby with Heidi.
    Just how this wonderful healing happened at another Bay Revival service can be seen on video and is well worth watching the whole 15 mins as the boy starts seeing things – and it’s getting medical verification this week!
    Start watching at 1hr38 min into the 3hr recording on http://bayrevival.org/media_archive_sub.php?id=191 – the boy’s walking cane got thrown away 12 min later!
    NB: the boy himself made a VERY important point on what he felt as the sheer power and weighty presence of God’s glory came upon him.

    Incidentally, my post at http://wp.me/p1Y1yB-yW (under 3. Proof of Healing) refers to and links into some notable healings during this 18month revival.

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  3. Richard, thank you for your comment, and for your post linking here. I’m sure there is plenty of proof of healing out there for those with eyes to see. Sadly I don’t have time today to watch the video.

    The evidence I mentioned is special in that it is presented in a paper in a proper, presumably peer reviewed, scholarly journal. This should undermine the arguments of those who say they will only believe in healing if there is proper scientific evidence.

  4. Interesting. The first phrase that caught my eye was PIP. So I went looking. That’s when I discovered there were more skeptics concerned about PIP than seemingly “non-skeptics”, such as http://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/proximal-intercessory-prayer/ . Who, by the way, attempts to rip the Mozambique study – and any other prayer study – apart.
    At least Neurologicablog makes the distinction that “proximal” really means, or should mean, the laying on of hands and not simply “being close to someone.”
    Seems to me, anyway, that a proper study of the benefits of healing prayer can’t be mounted in any assuredly measurable form. That may sound like a copout. But one of my praxis norms is that if you don’t shoot the arrow you will never hit the target. So you either pray for someone, or some people, or you don’t. “You” is the necessary variable. And even then, that variable is also dependent upon spiritual gifting. So what really needs to be measured for efficacy is how much or how little any one person seems to be as they pray for everyone they pray for. The lab book would look like, “Prayed for 20 people today; 3 healed immediately. 5 people out of the 20 prayed for yesterday now claiming healing. 1 person from two weeks ago now claiming healing.” Etc.
    Jesus’ lab book: “March 2 (sic): All who came forward for healing today were healed.” “March 3 (sic): All whom I prayed for today were healed (see ref: Luke9) Pharisees complained wrong day to heal” “March 4 (sic): took mountain trip today.”

  5. Rob, thank you for your comment, and for the link. I accept that there are methodological issues with this study. Nevertheless the study was accepted for a peer reviewed journal. The issues could in principle be resolved in further studies, but there would also be practical and ethical difficulties. I have suggested before that such studies may need to be conducted using anthropological rather than orthodox medical techniques, which would be similar to what you suggest using lab books.

    I note also a probable error of fact in your linked article, which claims that

    The study took place in rural Mozambique among members of a Pentecostal church.

    Well, the meeting organisers and PIP practitioners may be “members of a Pentecostal church”, but it is highly misleading to suggest that the subjects also are, without any evidence. Typically in this kind of situation the great majority of a large crowd at an open air meeting will be people without any previous church affiliation, and very likely almost all the disabled people in the village will be brought along. This is a very significant point as the article makes an implicit baseless accusation that everything was done among members of a self-selected group.

  6. Peter – although it’s worth watching the whole session, a short clip can be seen without doing that. Forgive me if you already know, but once this video starts you can advance play by clicking its gray buffer bar. We saw the lot last night – friends have witnessed such, but to see it close up as it happens is truly astounding. Better than evening TV!

    For several years Randy Clark of GA has been keen to get healings medically logged but I suspect it’s a matter of close clerical as well as medical follow-up, plus resourcing of volunteers. So a scientific study is a sensible part of the action plan. I’ll be interested to see the reports on the disappearances of surgical rods, pins, braces etc from peoples’ bodies, as shown in recent GA videos!

  7. Richard, it’s hard for me to find time to watch videos without disturbing others. To scroll ahead to 1:38 on this video I have to let it download for quite a long time first, even on my reasonably fast broadband. By the time it gets there my window of free time to watch may well be over.

    Well, it looks like it will be there soon. So I’ll put my meal in the oven and then I’ll have another 15 minutes to watch the video while my meal warms up. Reporting back soon, I hope…

  8. Richard, thank you again for this video. I am familiar with this kind of meeting and atmosphere in the USA and the UK.

    I have now watched the relevant part of the video. But I’m afraid I am not fully convinced. First, I don’t think it is clearly stated anywhere that the boy was completely blind before the healing. Yes, he was born blind, but his 100+ operations must have had some effect as he was able to recognise colours. And it looks as if after the healing his eyesight was far from 20/20 – he could see yellowish black, not black spots on yellow. So, despite the evangelist’s and the grandmother’s hype, the improvement may have been only slight, or possibly even non-existent. Of course the medical evidence will tell, so it would be interesting to see a report from their consultation due tomorrow.

    By showing uncertainty here I by no means want to deny that genuine healings are taking place at this Bay Revival and elsewhere. But you need to look elsewhere for evidence which will convince the real sceptics.

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  11. Peter, Richard, HOTS and others are clutching at anecdotal straws.

    The Mozambique case study referred to above does not appear to be peer reviewed by experts. However It is not unusual for some journals to print articles submitted to them without peer review.

    The test conducted, sight & sound, mentioned above are both subjective in nature.

    In the case of the auditory tests the method used, asking the subject to indicate, normally by pressing a button, when they can hear a specific pulse of a tone played into the ear with increasing level of volume and at different frequencies across the normal hearing range, should only be carried out in a quiet environment.

    However, the only accurate way to measure whether hearing ability has changed (or is impaired in some way) is to monitor brain wave activity in response to clicks played into each ear in turn. This is called Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing.

    In my opinion, considering the conditions, the conclusions of the Mozambique experiment do not prove anything. Not even placebo!

    I see on the HOTS Bath website that they have posted various anecdotal accounts of ‘healing’ under the link “STORIES”. One story: “For a medical report from a man who had a bladder tumour” (page 6a) clearly states: “Invasive bladder cancer, G3pT2, resected July 2008. This means that the cancerous tumour was SURGICALLY REMOVED! (Resect:- to excise part or all of an organ or other structure)

    The patient may have refused any follow-up chemotherapy or radiation treatment but the fact that there was no metastasis found at later examinations was due to the oncologist’s excellent work in that he/she removed all the cancerous cells (including ‘good cells’ surrounding the tumour) and that fortunately the patients lymph system was not compromised.

    I note therefore that the tumour did not disappear due to the power of prayer even though I feel this was what HOTS would like readers to believe. Recovery without either chemo or radiation is not unusual.

    I think the complaint to the ASA was based on the original HOTS literature and website content that suggested that prayer alone could cure cancer. A very dangerous claim and not one that can be proved. Such claims could dissuade sufferers from seeking the correct medical intervention for their condition and ultimately die.

    I have heard stories, mainly from Born Again Christians, whereby people have been “miraculously cured” of their cancer. However, when I have been able to enquire about the history of their illness they have all, without exception, had full medical intervention!

    Perhaps if the gentleman in the case cited had refused surgery and just opted for prayer he would not be alive today and supporting HOTS with their dubious claims.

    I have not seen any reports of missing limbs miraculously regrowing due to PIP. Perhaps someone would enlighten me as to why this is not the case. However, one day, due to medical advances, this may well be possible.

    Similarly, there are no reports of congenital diseases such as Downs Syndrome, Cleft Pallet etc. etc., being cured by prayer: Why is that?

    How is it that if prayer can supposedly cure diseases we don’t see a stream of people being cured of MS by an “MS Prayer Hospital”? If groups like HOTS Bath, or any other, wish to prove their claims what better way than curing all MS sufferers n the country? Or even better replacing lost limbs. Even the regeneration of a finger tip would be a good start!

    Jesus supposedly said “Suffer little children to come unto me”. There are a lot of suffering children out there but not many convincing arguments as to why a “God” (if he/she exists) would do such things to innocent children … other than the idea of “original sin” which supposedly is due a bit of apple scrumping at the beginning of the world …. just 6,000 years ago.

    Unfortunately, there are about 400,000 children dying every year from Congenital Syphilis. I would submit that they could not be cured by PIP but one dose of benzathine penicillin given to an infected mother WOULD save many of these children. Perhaps HOTS would be better occupied supplying drugs to the third world.

  12. David, thank you for your observations.

    I accept, as do the paper’s authors, that the conditions under which the Mozambique study took place were far from ideal, and that for proper confirmation it would need to be repeated under proper laboratory conditions. It would of course be possible in principle to do this, e.g. to transport to villages in Mozambique the equipment for ABR testing. But this would be very expensive, and it would at least look unethical to spend this much money on an experiment in a place where the same money could be used to provide life-saving drugs for thousands – an issue you rightly raise.

    So I am surprised to read later that you say that the claim that “prayer alone could cure cancer” is “not one that can be proved.” Actually I’m not sure anyone is making that claim including the word “alone” – as I wrote before and as you noted from the stories, those receiving prayer are encouraged also to seek medical treatment. But I am sure that a properly designed experiment could determine the relative survival rate of patients who are prayed for and those who are not, in both cases in the absence of medical treatment. It would presumably be unethical to perform such an experiment, except possibly in a place like rural Mozambique where no medical treatment is available.

    More to the point for us in the western world, it would be possible and ethical to design a experiment to compare the survival rates of cancer patients who are prayed for and those who are not in addition to receiving full medical treatment. The only problem here is that it would be impossible to ensure that no one prays for those in the control group, but they could probably be insulated from PIP, proximal intercessory prayer.

    So what exactly is it that you consider cannot be proved? Are you saying that properly designed experiments could not be carried out? Or is this really your way of saying that you believe, as a faith position coming from your worldview, that the results of such an experiment would always be negative? If that is your attitude, it is an entirely unscientific one. Science has made its major breakthroughs for centuries through experiments with results which have contradicted the expectations of previous generations of scientists, and so have forced paradigm shifts. Are you prepared for your personal paradigm to be shifted?

    Meanwhile I could provide you with anecdotal evidence of limbs being regrown, from people whom I trust personally. But what’s the point of doing so if you won’t even accept, as at least indicative of what might happen in some cases, a published scientific paper?

  13. Peter, let me first clarify that my first post was in support of the ASA decision concerning the original Bath HOTS publicity and claims. The content of their present website, at least, has changed ….. presumably as a result of the ASA findings. However I still find some content duplicitous.

    Now: taking your comments in the order written.

    I am not an audiologist but I am sure it would be possible to take suitably light equipment to Mozambique to do verifiable ABR testing. Nowadays computers are quite small and with a few little extra boxes for the cranial electrodes and a suitable amplifier perhaps a light weight kit could be devised. But why go to Mozambique? Carry out tests in the USA under proper laboratory conditions using local, hearing impaired, citizens! Are they planning to do this? And if not, why not?

    You said: “So I am surprised to read later that you say that the claim that “prayer alone could cure cancer” is “not one that can be proved.” Actually I’m not sure anyone is making that claim including the word “alone” – as I wrote before and as you noted from the stories, those receiving prayer are encouraged also to seek medical treatment.”

    I think you will find that the original Bath HOTS literature claimed ‘cures’ through prayer for all sorts of conditions. That is why they were reported to the ASA: and rightly so.

    Yes, it would be unethical to carry out a comparative experiment for survival without surgery between those having proximal intercessory prayer (PIP) and those having no such ‘intervention’.

    To do such an experiment in the western world on post operative patients would be very difficult as no two carcinomas, or patients, would be identical. This would also be the case if a non-operative experiment (as above) were envisaged.

    So what alternatives are we left with? Well I think an ABR test as I outline above would be a very good start. The tests would have to show that, after a suitably long period of time to negate any placebo effect, the changes were permanent ones. Quite a simple experiment! Three tests. One prior to PIP, one immediately post PIP and a further test six months later.

    I do not wish to spend time trawling the Internet for references but I think most people would agree that relaxation techniques, hypnotherapy, laying on of hands, crystal waving etc. can all have beneficial effects on heart rate, blood pressure and even the immune system. So PIP is not unique in that respect. It may also be possible to prove that if the subject believes that the ‘treatment’ will do them good then the changes would be greater. I would imagine that T-cell counts prior and post PIP could be assayed. However, I would hazard a guess that witchdoctors would have similar results to PIP practitioners! There is a lot we do not understand about the mind-body system.

    So now we come to your penultimate paragraph.

    Q.“Are you saying that properly designed experiments could not be carried out?”

    A. No, I have identified a suitable, objective, experiment that can be carried out – ABR.

    Q. “Or is this really your way of saying that you believe, as a faith position coming from your worldview, that the results of such an experiment would always be negative? If that is your attitude, it is an entirely unscientific one.”

    A. No, I want proper scientific tests to be carried and will accept the results. What I will not accept is anecdotes or invalid, non-repeatable, ‘experiments’.

    So, yes, I am prepared for my personal paradigm to be shifted, after all, I already believe in the placebo effect. However, at the moment, I am not convinced that PIP is more effective than that!

    But it is up to those that promulgate cure by PIP, such as HOTS Bath, to PROVE their case and not use disingenuous or anecdotal ‘stories’ such as those posted on their website to suggest to the naïve, or gullible, that they can cure medical conditions. All I am doing is scrutinising, and objecting to, their claims.

  14. David, we are investigating a phenomenon which, for unknown reasons, is reportedly observed more frequently in Mozambique than in the USA. So it makes scientific sense to observe it in Mozambique. The next stage would be to study why it is more easily observed there than elsewhere.

    I was envisaging a study of large numbers of cancer patients, not of pairs of apparently identical cases. Let a large cancer hospital offer PIP to half of its patients, and compare their overall survival rate to that of the other half. Some corrections might be needed e.g. for those who refused PIP. If you prefer, include also a control group, to test placebo effects, for which people pretend to offer PIP but in fact offer meaningless incantations.

    I am glad that you accept that in principle such a study could prove the effectiveness of PIP, and would accept its results.

    But I’m not sure that I would agree that it is up to HOTS Bath to provide watertight proof of their claims, especially as these claims are essentially religious rather than medical. They have offered a paper from a proper medical journal to back up their claims. Unless the results of this paper can be shown false, the ASA should accept it.

  15. Peter, you state:
    “.. we are investigating a phenomenon which, for unknown reasons, is reportedly observed more frequently in Mozambique than in the USA. So it makes scientific sense to observe it in Mozambique. The next stage would be to study why it is more easily observed there than elsewhere.”

    No, the next step should be to not “observe” but first PROVE it is actually happening in Mozambique. As you say it is only “reportedly observed”. In my opinion the test were not conclusive. Do proper ABR checks out there using independent audiologists, who are not prior believers, to carry out the assessments. Let’s see the before and after graphs taken not minutes, or days, but months apart between the two tests.

    If it can be proved that PIP works in Mozambique then certainly move on to see if it is restricted to certain locations and why. I still have my doubts that anything other than placebo will be found.

    As for your proposed cancer experiments; there would certainly need to be a massive sample size (to reduce effects of poor surgical practice, different types of tumours etc.) and with the results of a surprisingly high success rate for PIP over and above that for both no intervention or placebo. The would be the added complications of patients having no follow-up intervention and those having just chemotherapy, radiation or both.

    The only other experiment I would accept (in preference to the one above as it is much simpler to implement) is that a sample of ‘believers in PIP” who have demonstrably malignant tumours forgo surgery and then, after PIP, the tumours are shown to completely atrophy. If you believe then put your beliefs on the line. Perhaps we would see a Darwinian effect whereby believers in PIP eventually die out.

    Peter, you seem to shy away from any remarks as to why PIP should not be used to treat congenital conditions ….. why is that? Comment, please.

    I iterate that HOTS Bath were originally making claims that they could cure various medical conditions … that is why they were handed the injunction from the ASA. It was nothing to do with religious beliefs.

    It amazes me that you, someone who has a background in physics and engineering, should want to believe that limbs are being regrown on the strength of anecdotal “evidence”. Yes, I would certainly want to see scientific proof of that. Bring it on! I suppose it’s only happening “selectively” in some far off land like Mozambique or where were those ‘miracle babies’ coming from …. Cloud Cuckoo Land?!

  16. Precisely, David. By “observed” I meant with a proper scientific study. Thank you for changing your position and agreeing with me that this study should take place in the location where the phenomenon is said to be common, Mozambique, not in one were it is agreed not to be common. As for audiologists “who are not prior believers”, fair enough, but I would also want ones who are do not have prior commitments to an atheist and materialist worldview.

    The other experiment you propose, for people to forgo surgery, completely fails to address the hypothesis or claim under test, which is not that PIP is a more effective replacement for medical treatment, but that it is a useful complement to medical treatment.

    I do not have any personal experience of PIP being used for congenital conditions. So I cannot make any sensible comments. There may be others who can answer your questions about this.

    Should I accept your anecdotal evidence, for which you provide no proof, that “HOTS Bath were originally making claims that they could cure various medical conditions”? I would want to see their exact wording, particularly if you are trying to insinuate that they encouraged people to refuse medical treatment.

    There is no “injunction” from the ASA, in the legal sense, only a ruling which has no legal force.

    There are biological processes by which limbs can regrow. According to Wikipedia, there are reliable reports of human finger tips regenerating, which was in fact what happened in the case I know of personally. Perhaps “Cloud Cuckoo Land” is the home of those who make categorical statements that such regeneration is impossible.

  17. Fair enough, do the research in Mozambique, as described. I await the results with interest. Strange though that the hard of hearing in the UK or USA can’t be cured. As they say “god moves in mysterious ways”!

    So now we have it. You say: ” …….the hypothesis or claim under test, which is not that PIP is a more effective replacement for medical treatment, but that it is a useful complement to medical treatment.”

    So, no different then to meditation or other techniques I mention in a post above. In your words, Peter …Just a “USEFUL COMPLEMENT TO MEDICAL TREATMENT”.

    I will skip the subject of congenital conditions as you make it quite plain that PIP alone apparently can’t cure such afflictions.

    Don’t accept my anecdotal evidence. A photograph of the original HOTS Bath leaflet, and a similar one from Loughborough, can be see here: http://hayleyisaghost.co.uk/healing-claims-being-made-across-the-uk/

    The images are not very clear but click on the blue one to get a magnified view. As you will see they, HOTS Bath, claimed to be able to cure a wide range of disorders. Also, I understand that it wasn’t so much that they were encouraging people to refuse medical treatment more, perhaps, that they did not insist that it was important people continue with, or seek, medical intervention.

    As for your Wikipedia link concerning regeneration. Yes, there may well be reliable reports of human finger tips regenerating but due to medical science NOT due to prayer. There are no references on the Wikipeadia page you cite that indicate otherwise.

    No Peter, I have not made any “categorical statements that such regeneration is impossible”. What I said in an earlier post was:- “I have not seen any reports of missing limbs miraculously regrowing due to PIP. Perhaps someone would enlighten me as to why this is not the case. However, one day, due to medical advances, this may well be possible.”

    Once again, you are not acknowledging that it is advances in science and not the power of prayer that makes such things possible.

    This page is headed “God Heals Today through Prayer” but you have been unable to supply any proof to support that statement other than: Maybe ‘God’ can make some improvement in hearing in Mozambique (but we are not sure about that) and that PIP may be just as effective as hypnotherapy, meditation, crystal dangling or other such ‘treatments’.

    Peter, you just want to believe that prayer heals so you, like others, piggyback your claims for “healing (or improvement in healing) through prayer” on the back of previous or ongoing medical intervention. It would be like me taking my car to a garage for repair (because you are unable to repair it through prayer) and then you saying some incantations over my repaired vehicle and insisting that I will now get a few extra mpg!

    I know this is an inanimate example but I think you will see my point of view.

  18. David, while I can’t claim to know God’s ways in detail, it is easy to speculate on why he chooses to heal in places where no medical treatment is available, but not so much where it is.

    I have NOT said that PIP cannot cure congenital conditions. Please don’t put such words in my mouth. All I said was that I do not have personal experience of this happening.

    I accept that the Wikipedia reports of regeneration are not explicitly due to divine intervention. I don’t see any mention of medical intervention either, except to state that the commonest such intervention in fact prevents this regeneration. Just as I have no evidence that this was due to prayer, you have no evidence that this was due to “advances in science”. It appears to be a purely natural process.

    As for the HOTS Bath leaflet, thanks for the link. But you totally misrepresent it by claiming that HOTS Bath “claimed to be able to cure a wide range of disorders”. Quite explicitly, they claim that GOD is able to cure these disorders. That is a very different claim. If I claim to be able to cure cancer (I am not a doctor), you will quite reasonably reject me as a charlatan. If I offer to introduce you to a qualified medical expert with a track record of curing cancer, and to ask him to treat you, then I am doing nothing wrong. HOTS Bath’s claim is to be able to introduce you to the Great Physician and ask him to heal you. You may not believe that claim, but it is a very different one from claiming to have healing powers oneself.

    Meanwhile you have not shown me an image of the leaflet which I understand HOTS Bath gives to everyone who receives prayer from them, which, I was told, tells them not to stop taking medication and encourages them to seek further medical advice.

    As for the title of this post, perhaps I should have made it more clear with quotation marks, but the words “God Heals Today through Prayer” were intended to be a summary of the contents of the scientific paper I referred and linked to.

    But on this Easter Sunday, we remember the greatest miracle of all, that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. If God can do that, then healing the sick is no problem for him. If you don’t believe that God did that, then I can hardly expect you to believe he can do anything.

  19. Peter, first thanks for all your excellent work over the holy-days and trust you’ve been greatly blessed. Now I’m back to on-line ‘life’ – which, by comparison to life renewed in Christ, is a half-baked one – I learn how graciously you’ve handled a thread I started. Will close below with an update on the blind boy.

    David, your first line’s opinion that we’re ‘clutching at straws’ is mistaken. As an opening salvo it’s missed the mark and here’s why:

    It wasn’t straws but wheelchair handles I clutched for 4 months. Had the living and almighty God not healed my permanently disabled wife then I would have been pushing her for another 68 months to the present day. That is, God not only enabled her to walk again but also set me completely free from a future of 24/7 caring!! I hope you can appreciate that.

    I took exception to what was said of HOTS in Bath because that was where she received her healing. Also, I was offended by the clearly implicit belief by the complainant and ASA (in this and other cases) that God definitely does not heal physically. (If only they’d taken as much trouble to get to know him personally…)

    To my mind there can be various factors to receiving God’s healing. Often, someone ministering hears the Holy Spirit and operates in their gifting. (Eg., in our case, one lady sensed an unforgiveness issue needed confessing and repenting of. After doing so, my wife then demonstrated her healing beyond any doubt.) Healing can come though a minister’s strong anointing as a ‘little Christ’ to heal (eg. Nathan Morris), but even then it often involves the power of God’s sovereign presence.

    Being acquainted with the leader of HOTS Bath, I regard your claim of duplicity as misplaced. There may be factual errors or misunderstanding but not that which is of the father of lies.

    What it really boils down to is: we’ve seen it and live in it, you haven’t and don’t – does it not?

    Peter, I appreciate your trouble at trying out the video and here’s pastor Kilpatrick’s off-the-cuff report (if you can visualise his gesticulations) of Sun 25th March about Ashton Parker’s progress:

    “He had glaucoma (left eye) so bad that he couldn’t go outside without wearing goggles. He had to wear thick sunglasses, goggles, all the way around his eyes – it was so painful to go outside in the sun. After God healed him that night (in Dallas) his brother had a ball game the next day, and he went to watch the game with no goggles, no sunglasses – totally healed of glaucoma.

    “(Previously) when he went to the doctor he could only see 3 inches from here (hand in front of right eye) and this eye (left) was totally blind, and both eyes were cloudy. That night he got a deep, ocean blue eye (motions over the right eye) with a pupil, and then he started seeing (up to) 20 feet. In this other (left) eye he can see movement in it now – plus, the doctor says, “The glaucoma’s now completely gone!”.”

    Apparently the boy could distinguish colours because his mother had taught him by holding coloured cards up against his ‘better’ eye.

  20. Richard, thank you for the update. While you were away over the holidays, I was mostly at home but not busy, hence the time I was able to spend blogging.

    Thank you especially for the update on the blind boy. I am excited that the Lord has given him a measure of healing, even if not perfect as yet. Formal medical reports on cases like this might help to convince some that healing through prayer is a reality. Sadly some people wouldn’t believe whatever evidence was presented to them.

  21. Yes it really is very exciting and I was blessed to talk to fellow redundant carer-friends of a paralyzed lady healed in Hull. (Details here http://wp.me/p1Y1yB-Lc)
    As I’ve been focussing on these matters for sometime I’ve created a new section ‘God Heals Today’ on my blog, including brief descriptions of video clips for ref purposes.

  22. Pingback: Are we clutching at straws? | Richard's Watch

  23. “Quite explicitly, they claim that GOD is able to cure these disorders. That is a very different claim. If I claim to be able to cure cancer (I am not a doctor), you will quite reasonably reject me as a charlatan. If I offer to introduce you to a qualified medical expert with a track record of curing cancer, and to ask him to treat you, then I am doing nothing wrong. ”
    HOTS are not stupid, they know that claiming that they can heal can easily be challenged, so by shifting the choice to god, they are putting the onus on the person to be healed. If they are not, for some reason god has chosen not to heal them. But why does god only answer requests from his followers? Surely all people are his creations, and if one christian is cured of deafness by the prayers of their congregation, why not all deaf people? Does prayer only have a certain range? 100 yards? 5 miles?
    Your example of referring someone to ” a qualified medical expert with a track record of curing cancer” is exactly the center of this discussion, there IS no track record of god’s healing power. In fact a study was done on recovering heart-attack patients and it was found that the prayed-for group did slightly worse than the control group.
    If preachers could call on god to heal, and they do all the time, then they would be in hospitals, not huge stadiums like Benny Hinn, who’s attendants put people in wheelchairs who did not arrive in them, and never follows up, or publishes any records of the healed, which he would surely do if there was any credence to his claims.
    I live in Tim Farron’s constituency and I emailed him to challenge the very remarks in the letter from which he is so rapidly back-tracking. I expressed my dismay that a man whose chosen career would hopefully be based on good sense & logic, could sign a letter demanding that “scientific proof that god cannot heal” be produced and that he had severely gone down in by estimation.
    I’m thinking he will be keeping his beliefs to himself from now on.

  24. David, HOTS Bath have not shifted on anything. No orthodox Christian person or group has ever claimed to have within themselves the power to heal, but they have always ascribed this power to God or to the Holy Spirit. Well, I guess some may have made such claims inadvertently, but if asked would clarify that the power is God’s. HOTS Bath stands firmly within that tradition.

    But it has been a regular tactic of those attacking Christian healing ministries – whether themselves atheists or jealous Christians – to invent and put into others’ mouths claims to have the power to heal. Please don’t invent such claims yourself.

  25. Above, Richard provides a link which leads to the youtube video of the healing of Delia Knox, I’m afraid this is more grasping at straws as far as proof of healing goes.
    Most of the information about Mrs Knox is almost 2 years old, I would like to see a progress report on her now. It may well be that though she spent a lot of time in a wheelchair, she may still have had some movement in her legs, I have seen people get out of wheelchairs in supermarket carparks & walk a few steps to get into their car while their helper stores Iaway the wheelchair.
    in the youtube video, almost all her weight is being supported by 2 men, & she is barely throwing her legs forward, and let’s face it, if they had let go, she would have fallen flat on her face.
    There are many of these instant “snapshots” of healings, & until unequivocal medical evidence of the level of illness or incapacity can be demonstrated, then a dramatic & lasting improvement documented, it will never be accepted that divine intervention was the reason for the cure.
    The healing stories on the HOTS website are very weak, apart from the Mozambique epoisode, we are directed to a about intercessory prayer which states this:-
    “There was no evidence that prayer affected the numbers of people dying from leukaemia or heart disease or that it decreased coronary care complications or the time participants stayed in hospital.”
    Which, for a group trying to prove that prayer heals, is a rather odd inclusion.
    Another is a report about a bladder tumour in 1941, a sign of desperation if they have to that far back for examples.

  26. David, I suggest you discuss with Richard the evidence he has presented. Yes, of course some people who use wheelchairs can also walk short distances. So I understand that further verification is needed of each case. I agree that there is a shortage of properly documented stories of healing through prayer. But absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

  27. David – unequivocal medical evidence, and of dramatic lasting improvement, does exist.

    It seems Peter’s comment a fortnight ago, ‘Sadly some people wouldn’t believe, whatever evidence was presented to them’, applies to you – especially as your reference to my wife’s account as being ‘very weak’ implies we’re liars! Unless you can convince me that doesn’t apply to you, then I won’t take time for detailed response.

    Hope not to offend, but I’d need to have evidence that open minded integrity hasn’t been compromised by your own belief system; that you can grasp what I’ve already presented.

    Also, please remember; I’ve seen it and live in it, and you obviously haven’t and don’t. (You can imagine how hard it is for a person blind from birth to intellectually and physically grasp what it’s like to be able to see.) If you wish to increase understanding, then you only need to look to and ask for God’s help.

    The following is added because I’d drafted it before reading your second comments:

    Hospitals? Let’s get back to the start of this thread – Mozambique, and back 11 years to an outbreak of cholera epidemic. I heard Heidi Baker herself tell about a doctor forbidding her entry to a quarantined field hospital to minister to the dying. Their ministry’s newsletter of 28 Feb ’01 reports that later, ‘the doctors and nurses at the hospital are in a state of shock and wonder. The Director of Health again put a finger in Heidi’s face:
    “You! This is God! The only reason you got through this was God! You and dozens of these children should be dead!” Eight of the medical staff there want to work with us now. “This is miraculous! You know God! We’ve never seen God do anything like this. We’ve never seen such love! We don’t want to work here anymore. We want to work with you!” ‘

  28. Peter, some inaccuracies above require comment for the sake of clarity:

    First, my link to which David refers was to an account of last month’s remarkable healing (in the UK) of a lady confined to wheelchair. My posting gave two links to videos on The Bay Revival website – not YouTube -the first of which showed Delia Knox receiving her healing. David refers to that first video only and NOT to the second, which actually meets his demands regarding evidence of ‘long lasting improvement’!!

    But maybe he didn’t recognise Delia because she looked differently in full health and strutting around in very HIGH heels? Plus, being a worship leader, she is praising God for her healing.

    In fact, David refers to YouTube, not Bay Revival, and I now find that site has several clips of Delia ‘before’ and ‘after’ being healed – plus 3-part discussion of how she walked into her healing! Thus, everything he demands is actually there to hand on YouTube but was overlooked! However, this has enabled me to improve my links and collection of short video clips of ‘notable’ miracles, a number of which have medical attestation (at http://wp.me/P1Y1yB-MN). So thank you David!

    Incidentally, I understand Delia’s remarkable miracle inspired fellow worship leader Lydia Stanley to pen a new praise song, ‘Oh What My Eyes Have Seen’.

    Commenting about dates of healing is simply carping – but failure to distinguish between date of birth and that of medical case history? (1941 v 2008-9)

    Lastly, a journalist sent to investigate my wife’s testimony was expecting to find a disabled parking permit on her car, but didn’t. He’d come across many instances of fraudulent use of permits by fully able-bodied claimants and said, therefore, that indisputable evidence for her healing is the fact she discontinued receipt of the financial allowance – for which there’s no cessation mechanism! To have continued with the allowance would, she says, be an offence to the Lord. (See http://wp.me/P1Y1yB-LF).

    Btw, how very appropriate that the anti-spam word for this comment is ‘NATHAN’, as Delia’s Knox’s healing came through Nathan Morris…intriguing!

  29. Richard, thank you for clarifying some of the details which David had clearly misunderstood. I will expect further comment from David, especially if he wants to continue to deny the validity of the healings you give evidence of.

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