Awhile back, I put up a post on this site expressing my confusion over some miracles that had been said to have happened at our former church through the use of “anointed” prayer cloths. Although they should have been quite easy to verify – especially one story, where two sets of x-rays were taken within less than 24 hours, x-rays that supposedly proved the healing – no documentation was ever presented to the congregation. The more I thought about this incident in recent months, the more I began to question what I had previously accepted wholeheartedly, just because it had been stated from the pulpit. Given the fact that the “prayer cloth miracle story” was told repeatedly, to cheering crowds eager for their own miracle, it seemed to me highly unlikely that our former pastor would have passed up an opportunity to REALLY promote his church by documenting the incident, since it should have been so simple to document.
I’ve had those same questions about Benny Hinn and his ministry. Given how money seems to be no object for him, and how he certainly employs plenty of camera crews involved in the production of his show, why haven’t any of these same camera crews participated in a follow-up show? Why doesn’t Benny Hinn put an end to all the speculation and simply send a couple of these camera guys home with the folks who say they were healed? American Idol is somehow able to give us camera footage of its contestants in their “natural habitats” – I remember distinctly how one year they even followed one girl (who ended up becoming a finalist) around as she did her mail route (she was a mail carrier). Why doesn’t Benny Hinn do the same thing?
I’ve been following the stories of Todd Bentley and the “outpouring” that is happening at his meetings in Lakeland, Florida. Recently, the internet was abuzz with chatter about the miracles that have been taking place there. One miracle story was particularly spectacular. Supposedly, a little girl who had been dead for two days and was on her way to “get her organs harvested” suddenly coughed and sat up, brought to life again.
There was footage – which I haven’t been able to find again – of Todd Bentley on the stage in Lakeland, speaking with the little girl’s father by cell phone. As Todd relayed what the dad was telling him about the girl’s being raised from the dead, the crowd simply went wild. When Todd got off the phone, he said to the crowd, “So where’s CNN now?” Everybody roared and cheered in agreement.
I actually had the same question as Todd Bentley – where were the news people?
Of course, Christians will say that the news folks, of a liberal bent and out to discount the miraculous (unless it’s a “crying” stained glass window or something associated with New Age teachings), have such a bias against the Christian faith that they would never promote miracles by pursuing such a story. And to some degree, they’re probably right.
But what about the Christian media? Certainly a publication like Charisma Magazine ought to be able to follow up on a story as thrilling as a child who was dead for two days but is now alive again, right?
You’d think so. And, in fact, Charisma HAS done several news stories about Lakeland. One of these stories was published on May 22, 2008 and does mention this particular incident.
But for me, Charisma’s “coverage” of this story raises more questions than it answers.
First of all, what is arguably this outpouring’s most spectacular miracle to date is not even mentioned until the eighteenth paragraph. The story of the little girl who was raised from the dead is buried deep within Charisma’s accounts of all that is happening with the revival.
Moreover, the only thing Charisma finds to say about this story, in terms of documentation, is, “The hospital denied the report.”
That one line simply boggles my mind. While I give Charisma credit for at least having the integrity to mention the hospital’s response, I simply cannot understand why their reporters would not have pursued this answer in more depth.
For instance, WHY did the hospital “deny the report”? (I can immediately think of something that made ME wonder – I’m no medical professional, but even I know that organs are not harvested off of 2-day-old cadavers! Certainly this little detail doesn’t add up!)
Also, even if the HOSPITAL denied the report, there would have to be plenty of other witnesses who could have confirmed that this actually happened. I mean, what about the girl’s doctors? The employees who work in the morgue? What about the nurses? Even the hospital custodians? Surely SOMEBODY who had been there when this thing happened would remember it and be excited to talk about it, right?
The fact that Charisma, a publication with a natural bias toward believing in the Lakeland outpouring and promoting what’s going on there, did nothing to pursue this story tells me that they must know it’s fake.
What is wrong with all the people who aren’t pursuing these things? I just don’t understand why the Christians who are so eager to believe in and promote the dramatic miraculous don’t do more to document what ought to be very easily proven. If a little girl really did die and was raised from the dead two days later, praise God! But let’s see a copy of the death certificate. Let’s see her medical records.
And if it turns out that this story, presented to such cheering acclaim in a very public and publicized meeting broadcast on the internet, turns out to be false or even partially inaccurate, then these inaccuracies ought to be publicized.
To do any less shows a bizarre lack of integrity that is woefully out of line with the Christian faith. I believe Jesus would be ashamed of those who tell lies in His name.