Faith Healing

Is "John of God" a healer or a charlatan?

Feb. 10, 2005 -- For nearly 30 years, millions have visited the tiny village of Abadiania in remote, central Brazil to see a man some call the most powerful spiritual healer since Jesus and others call a charlatan.

"Primetime" followed the journeys of five people who sought out the man known as "João de Deus" — "John of God" — and took a closer look at the amazing claims that surround him.

The first traveler was Matthew Ireland, of Guilford, Vt. who was told he had a quick-growing inoperable brain tumor. He had undergone radiation and chemotherapy treatments. But almost two years after he was diagnosed, and after three visits with João, his tumor has shrunk.

Annabel Sclippa of Boulder, Colo., has not been able to walk since her spinal cord was nearly severed in a car crash in 1988. But after six visits with João, she says she can now feel sensation in her legs and can nearly balance herself standing between handrails — something her physiotherapist said was unusual with her type of injury.

Mary Hendrickson of Seattle was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and powerfully debilitating allergies. She now feels much more energetic. "There is no way I would feel this way if something hadn't changed inside me," she told "Primetime Live." "Something's made a difference."

David Ames, of San Francisco, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in April 2003. His nervous system was slowly disintegrating, and faced almost certain death — only 10 percent of patients survive for 10 years or more. He has had no physical improvement, but he still says his spirit has gained from his visit.

And Lisa Melman of Johannesburg, South Africa, discovered a year ago that she had breast cancer. After visiting João, her doctor told her it had grown, although less aggressively than he expected it to and that she should still have surgery.
Incorporating the Wise

João is not a licensed doctor. Born in 1942, he is said to have been so rebellious he was thrown out of school after the second grade and could not keep a job.

Then, at 16, the story goes, the "entity" of King Solomon entered his body, and performed a miraculous healing. For years, João wandered Brazil offering healings. Twenty-seven years ago, he took residence in his casa in the plateaus and became known as "John of God."

3 more pages at:
Another sportsman goes for "the power of prayer"

This segues nicely from my story on the previous page about the RSA Rugby Football player, this time it's association but the similarities are interesting.

Also, i like the thought of some die hard, godless weejies turning up at this bloke's ministry to see what all the fuss is about :D

Football fans rush to hail the miracle of Marvin's knee
By David Lister, Scotland Correspondent

A SMALL church in Scotland has become a place of pilgrimage for Glasgow Rangers fans after the club’s central defender dedicated his team’s victory in the Scottish Premier League to the healing power of prayer.

Dozens of Rangers fans have turned up at the Zion Praise Centre in Kirkcaldy, Fife, to pay homage to Marvin Andrews, the centre-back who overcame a career-threatening injury to help the team to win the title ten days ago.

Andrews, a lay preacher at the church, claims that prayer has allowed him to recover from the injury without treatment. The “miracle of Marvin’s knee” has astounded doctors and been described by Alex McLeish, the Rangers manager, as “defying logic”.

But the Rev Joe Nwokoye, a Nigerian pastor who counts Andrews, 29, among his congregation, has his own explanation.

He said: “The fact that Marvin was able to continue playing, and that Rangers won the championship, was not because of the strength of Rangers. The fans know also that it was not because Celtic did not put out a strong team. It was because God decided to give it to Marvin because Marvin prayed.”

Mr Nwokoye, 46, who first came to Scotland 20 years ago, said that he was receiving up to 50 e-mails and letters a day from Rangers fans around the world. He said that up to ten fans at a time were turning up at the church’s Bible classes and meetings, in a room above a row of shops in the town.

“Our church is becoming a place of pilgrimage and I believe that this is just the beginning,” he said. “Last Sunday there were about twelve fans who came, and on Wednesday we had two or three. We’re talking about new faces, not regulars.”

He added: “Every day I hear from fans, who are saying that if God can do this for Marvin then maybe He can do it for them as well.”

The saga of Andrews’s injury began in March when he damaged his left knee playing against Dundee. The initial diagnosis was that he had suffered cruciate ligament damage and that he would not play again for four months. After he was sent to specialists, the prognosis grew worse. Despite the recommendation of one specialist that he undergo “restorative surgery followed by months of rest”, the player decided to refuse medical treatment, opting instead for prayer.

He said: “I respect the medical people at Rangers but I don’t want to have the operation. I know it is hard for people to understand but God has given me strength. He is in control of my life and I believe it will be fine.”

After just three weeks’ rest, the Trinidadian international astonished his team-mates and medical staff when he showed no ill-effects during his return against Celtic last month. Since then he has played in every Rangers match and now says that he is able to move again without pain.

Original story can be found on the Times website
Fast-rising preacher's 'healings' draw ire

"LAKELAND, Fla. — Todd Bentley believes God acts through him to cure cancer, heal the deaf and raise the dead.

So do hundreds of thousands of people who have visited his raucous revival meeting, now in its third month and broadcast nightly from a huge tent in the middle of Florida.

The 32-year-old Canadian, tattooed to the fingers and neck, puts a palm to the forehead of the sick, desperate and faithful. Bentley yells "Bam!" they collapse and he proclaims them cured. Attendees dance in the aisles, shout to Heaven, laugh, shake violently and cry.

Such revivals aren't new, but Bentley's stage show has become a phenomenon in the religious world — for both its pull and the criticism it has attracted — in just a few months.

He claims to have medical proof of mass healings, but has not produced widely convincing evidence."

"Critics circulate a YouTube video from Lakeland of him kneeing a supposed terminal stomach cancer patient in the abdomen, saying God told him to. In another clip, Bentley explains how he kicked an elderly lady in the face, choked a man, banged a crippled woman's legs on a platform, "leg-dropped" a pastor and hit a man so hard it dislodged a tooth."

Full Article: ... ling_N.htm
Preacher ad was 'irresponsible' ... 882007.stm

The ASA said the advert could discourage people seeking treatment
Vulnerable people with illnesses could have been misled by a preacher's leaflet, the advert watchdog has ruled.

Don Double was described as a "healing evangelist" on a poster and 15,000 leaflets distributed by the All Nations' Church in Cardiff.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said words like blindness, Aids, and cancer used on the leaflets was "irresponsible".

The church accepted the word "healing" should not have been used.

It said Mr Double would not describe himself as a "healing evangelist" but said staff only noticed the mistake after the posters and leaflets had been used.

The church also said there were far worse adverts in circulation and that no guarantees of success were given in the literature.

The ASA ruled the advert must not be used again in its current form, and warned the church not to include serious medical conditions in its publicity again.

"We considered that some potentially vulnerable readers, in particular those suffering from the listed conditions, might infer that Don Double could offer treatment for those conditions. We therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible and likely to mislead."

It also said that the advert could discourage sufferers from seeking medical treatment.
They got off with 6 months and they get to keep the other kids.

Jail terms for faith healing pair

Dale Neumann says he and his wife continue to trust in God
A US couple who prayed rather than seeking medical attention for their dying daughter have been sentenced to six months in jail.

Dale and Leilani Neumann, of Wisconsin, could have received up to 25 years in prison over the 2008 death of Madeline Neumann, who was known as Kara.

The 11-year-old died of an undiagnosed but treatable form of diabetes.

Judge Vincent Howard ordered the couple to each serve one month in jail each year for the next six years.

God probably works through other people, some of them doctors

Judge Vincent Howard
One parent will serve the term in March and the other in September.

The judge told the Neumanns this would give them time to "think about Kara and what God wants you to learn from this".

He added that they were "very good people, raising their family, who made a bad decision, a reckless decision".

He added: "God probably works through other people, some of them doctors."

The Neumanns each also received 10 years probation, as part of which they must allow a nurse to examine their two youngest surviving children at least once every three months, and must immediately take their children to a doctor for any serious injuries.

'Legal duty'

Prosecutors said the couple had recklessly killed the youngest of their four children by ignoring clear symptoms of severe illness as she became too weak to speak, eat, drink or walk.

They said the couple had a legal duty to take their daughter to a doctor but had instead relied totally on prayer for healing.

Kara died on the floor of the family's rural home as people surrounded her and prayed. The emergency services were only called after she stopped breathing.

In their defence, the parents said they believed healing came from God, and that they had not expected their daughter to die as they prayed for her.

The couple are appealing against their convictions.
'Psychic healer' who claims he can cure cancer by laying his hands on patients is facing jail
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 8:52 AM on 01st March 2010

A self-proclaimed healer is being prosecuted over testimonials on his website claiming he can cure cancer.
Adrian Pengelly, 43, says he is a 'visionary healer, energy worker, teacher and psychic' whose powers have made him 'world famous for treating people with cancer'.
His website is laden with endorsements attesting to his apparently supernatural abilities, many claiming he is a 'miracle worker'.

But he is being taken to court by trading standards officers under the Cancer Act of 1939, which bans advertising offers to treat cancer and carries the threat of a three-month jail sentence.
Pengelly, who featured in a damning episode of the BBC's Watchdog in September, says he is 'proud' of the charges.
Speaking from his home in Leominster, Herefordshire, he said: 'If that's the charge, that on my website there are testimonials from people whose cancer has vanished after I've treated them, then I'm proud to say I did that dastardly deed.'

He says he found 17 years ago he could 'stimulate a healing response' in patients using the laying-on of his hands and has since treated 'tens of thousands' of people and animals, with 13,700 waiting for his services at up to £30 a session.
He also claims he can cure people around the world using 'distance healing'.

Pengelly, who is due before Hereford magistrates this month, says he has never seen his website, which is run by his patients.
He said: 'The people on my website have done it for free, out of the goodness of their hearts.
'I'm just a healer. I can do things most healers only dream about.'

His 'patients' are numerous. One, from IL in Shropshire, states: 'I was diagnosed August/08 with a 4cm breast cancer tumour. I had weekly healing treatments with Adrian until I was operated on four weeks later.
'My surgeons report was - the tumour when removed was 2.5cm, with no cancer spread!! I think this result speaks for itself!!'

Another, from MG in Herefordshire, says: 'In April 2007, I was diagnosed with cancer of the liver and lungs, probably secondaries of a bowl cancer. At that time, the oncologist told me I had four months to live (Six at the outside).

'I have been a patient of Adrian Pengelly since June 2007. The combination of his undoubted gifts, his high professional standards and the atmosphere of calm and harmony which he has created in his consulting room have, I am convinced, contributed greatly to my survival.'

In 2004, supermarket giant Tesco was taken to court under the Cancer Act after running a promotion with Cancer Research UK encouraging people to eat healthily in a bid to prevent cancer.
Those convicted of under the Cancer Act face fines or up to three months in prison.

Read more: ... z0gvJUGlY3
It's a miracle! After 23 years in a wheelchair, woman walks again and says it is all down to spiritual healing
By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 7:44 AM on 22nd December 2010

She was paralysed from the waist down when a drink driver ploughed into her car on Christmas Day in 1987.
Then this year, during a visit to a British spiritual healer, Delia Knox suddenly stood up and walked.
And the 46-year-old has been walking ever since.

Mrs Knox, whose ‘miracle moment’ was filmed and has become a favourite YouTube clip, said: ‘This has turned my world upside down. I can stand in my kitchen and walk around my house. I’m like a little kid out of a baby carriage seeing things that were once so huge now seem so small.
‘I am in awe at seeing the power of God not just in my life but all over the world as a result of this miracle.’

The accident which confined her to a wheelchair for 23 years happened when she was on her way home after a church service in Toronto, Canada, with her sister and brother-in-law.
She was a passenger in the car which was hit by a drink driver and bore the brunt of the impact. Her sister and brother-in-law and their two children escaped with minor injuries.

Mrs Knox lost all feeling in her legs and had almost given up hope of walking again.
When she agreed to attend a meeting with preacher Nathan Morris earlier this year, she had no idea healings were happening.

She said: ‘I wanted to get in the presence of God and to see my good friends Pastor John and Brenda Kilpatrick. I knew it was an evangelistic meeting but I didn’t know healings were taking place. To be honest I’ve stayed away from healing meetings.
‘I’ve been pulled, plopped and dropped and rarely responded to altar calls.
‘But Nathan Morris called my husband forward and I had no idea what was going on. I didn’t want to make a scene when Nathan was praying for me.
‘Then all of a sudden I felt a voice which I knew was the Holy Spirit saying to me, “Get up”, and I felt feeling in my legs and then faith came on me to walk.
‘I wasn’t going to let anyone take this away from me and I knew this was my night to walk out of the chair.

‘I walked and walked and walked and felt I had entered another realm. I ended up on the floor and someone was touching my legs and I could feel my knees for the first time. They were bending and clicking into place.’

The footage, which has been viewed by 200,000 on YouTube, shows her being prayed for and lifted out of the wheelchair by the healer during a visit to the Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival in Mobile, Alabama.
People weep and clap as she stands up and independently moves her legs to make her way through the crowd, her steps steadied by two suited men.

A later video shows her walking unaided. The gospel artist, who lives in the U.S., now rarely uses her wheelchair. Her husband, Bishop Levy Knox, said: ‘What has happened to my wife has changed our lives.’

[13 minute video]

Read more: ... z18qHjyCNk
Nottingham church changes healing claim after complaint ... e-13925399

The ASA said it needed robust evidence to back up healing claims

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has stepped in after a Nottingham church claimed in a leaflet God could heal a range of named illnesses.

It followed a complaint from the head of Nottingham's Secular Society who was handed a flyer while shopping.

The leaflet, distributed by St Mark's Church in Woodthorpe, said God could heal back pain and cancer.

The ASA said "robust evidence" was needed to support such claims.

Matt Wilson from the ASA said: "We are not here to stop religious or faith-based organisations from promoting what they believe in.

"But if they are making absolute claims about curing serious conditions then we have to see that evidence to back it up."

'Dangerous nonsense'
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

I couldn't believe the overarching, ridiculous, unfounded claims they were making”

Dennis Penaluna
Nottingham Secular Society
Dennis Penaluna of Nottingham Secular Society said he was shocked by the leaflet.

"I couldn't believe the overarching, ridiculous, unfounded claims they were making. They can't be substantiated," he said.

"It's a dangerous nonsense. People who are ill or vulnerable can be easily persuaded. They will grasp at anything."

Canon Ed Pruin, who advises people in the Church of England diocese of Nottingham and Southwell on healing, said he agreed the leaflet was "less than helpful".

But he added: "I absolutely do believe that God can heal. I have no doubts.

"I think that one of the ways God heals is through medical science and the care of healthcare professionals.

"But I don't think that he is always in the curing business."

Canon Pruin is on the Healing and Wholeness committee that advised St Mark's to amend the leaflet in accordance with the ASA recommendations.

"The words 'healing on the streets' is perhaps a little misleading. I personally would like to see 'care on the streets'.

"People want to be prayed for when they are sick. We are responding to a need," he said.

No-one from St Mark's Church was available for comment.

Members of the church have been part of the Healing On The Streets ministry for two and a half years.

The Healing On The Streets ministry was started by Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 2005 and has been taken up by dozens of churches across the UK.

Other churches in the ministry have said they would now look at their leaflets to make sure that they are not able to be misinterpreted or misunderstood.
Hi there,

As a reiki master, could I please just say that if anyone other than a medically trained doctor tells you that they can heal you, please walk away - especially if money is involved.

The human body is designed to 'heal' itself in most cases. Many, many physical and mental conditions are simply down to being overworked and overstressed. Sometimes even if we say to ourselves that we are going to relax for the day, we dont. Sometimes all we need is the permission, time and specific place to relax enough to allow our bodies and minds to do what they are best doing and that is healing themselves.

I have had many a client over the years that have initially come to me and said 'I've been told reiki can heal my condition'. I have in turn replied, 'well, I dont know that it will heal your condition, but it will certainly help you relax enough for your body to begin it's own healing process'. When people realise that it is they that do the healing, they become empowered to take more care, make the right choices etc. You can see those that regularly have sessions, as they blossom, they are balanced, relaxed, at peace with themselves.

I am disabled, in the last 4 years I have lost much of my mobility, my independence etc. Although I am a reiki practitioner, I cannot 'heal' myself, I can however keep myself as uplifted, at ease and relaxed as possible, so much so that I am able to manage without most of the stronger meds (morphine etc) that others who have the same condition as I take by the handful. This in turn allows me to think somewhat more clearly than being drugged and get more out of life. I know that I will never be cured of my conditions, but by giving myself regular reiki treatments, I can make sure that my body is being given the optimum chance to rest and recover.

Please dont look at 'healing' in the hope of working miracles, but then again, please dont look at it in the sense that it is all fakery and hocus pocus as neither is correct. Perhaps it is best to look at it as a way of rest, relaxation and recharge. If the body and mind are meant to be 'healed' you can guarantee that they will do just that given the most suitable circumstance.

best wishes
wopppittess said:
Please dont look at 'healing' in the hope of working miracles, but then again, please dont look at it in the sense that it is all fakery and hocus pocus as neither is correct. Perhaps it is best to look at it as a way of rest, relaxation and recharge. If the body and mind are meant to be 'healed' you can guarantee that they will do just that given the most suitable circumstance.
Wise words.

'nuff said.
ramonmercado said:
wopppittess said:
Thanks rynner2 :)

Wise indeed. Welcome to the FTMB. We must arrange the Initiation Ceremony.

Whoops! Just noticed you're here for almost 2 yrs! But only 7 posts. You make them count.
Yip been registered a while, but ill health has kept me away. Thank you all the same for the welcome though, it is much appreciated :)
ramonmercado said:
wopppittess said:
Thanks rynner2 :)

Wise indeed. Welcome to the FTMB. We must arrange the Initiation Ceremony.

I dreads to think what this entails...........please be gentle with me, I am fragile at the moment ;) ;) :lol: :lol:
Bath Christian group's 'God can heal' adverts banned

Related Stories

Church drops 'God heals' advert

A Christian group has been banned from claiming that God can heal illnesses on its website and in leaflets.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said it had concluded that the adverts by Healing on the Streets (HOTS) - Bath, were misleading.

It said a leaflet available to download from the group's website said: "Need Healing? God can heal today!"

The group, based in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire, said it was disappointed with the decision and would appeal.

HOTS Bath said its vision was to promote Christian healing "as a daily lifestyle for every believer".

'False hope'
The ASA said the leaflet read: "Need Healing? God can heal today! Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?

"We'd love to pray for your healing right now!

"We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness."

The ASA said it had been alerted to the adverts by a complainant, and concluded that they could encourage false hope and were irresponsible.

HOTS Bath said: "It seems very odd to us that the ASA wants to prevent us from stating on our website the basic Christian belief that God can heal illness.

"All over the world as part of their normal Christian life, Christians believe in, pray for and experience God's healing; our ministry, in common with many churches, has been active in praying for God's healing (of Christians and non Christians) for many years."

The group said it had tried to reach a compromise, "but there are certain things that we cannot agree to - including a ban on expressing our beliefs".

The Healing On The Streets ministry was started by Causeway Coast Vineyard church in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, in 2005 and has been taken up by dozens of churches across the UK.
US 'faith healers' charged over second baby's death

Herbert and Catherine Schaible are part of a church said to shun seatbelts and toothpaste

A Philadelphia couple said to reject medicine in favour of faith healing have been charged with the murder of their infant son.

Herbert and Catherine Schaible withheld medical care from the seven-month-old boy, who died in April of pneumonia and dehydration, prosecutors said.

Four years ago, another son died under similar circumstances.

After the 2009 death of Kent, two, the couple were ordered to seek medical care if their children fell ill.

They were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in Kent's death.

'How many must die?'
Like Brandon, Kent died from bacterial pneumonia. His parents had prayed for him but did not call a doctor.

The couple told police after Brandon's death they did not seek medical help because they believed in God's power to heal, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

Prosecutors in Philadelphia said the couple were entitled to their own religious beliefs - until their children's lives were in danger.

"How many kids have to die before it becomes extreme indifference to human life?" said prosecutor Ed McCann.

"They killed one kid already."

But defence lawyers characterised the couple as loving parents who did not want their son to die.

The couple are members of the First Century Gospel Church, which shuns measures such as toothpaste and seatbelts, the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper reported.

The couple face seven to 14 years in prison if they are found guilty, prosecutors said.

The couple have seven surviving children under the age of 18, who were placed in foster care last month.
US 'prayer cure' couple lose appeal over child's death

Leilani and Dale Neumann leave a Marathon County Circuit Courtroom in Wausau, Wisconsin 7 May 2008 file photo

Leilani and Dale Neumann identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians
The reckless homicide conviction of a couple whose daughter died after they tried to treat her with prayer, denying her medical help, has been upheld.

By 6-1, Wisconsin's Supreme Court ruled that a law protecting Dale and Leilani Neumann from child abuse charges did not cover their daughter's death.

Kara Neumann, 11, died on Easter Sunday March 2008 from undiagnosed diabetes.

The couple were convicted in separate trials in 2009 and sentenced to six months in prison.

They have not served any jail time while the case went through the appeals process.

The Neumanns' lawyers argued that Wisconsin child abuse laws granted criminal immunity to "prayer-healing" parents, even to the point of creating substantial risk of death.

'Glory of God'
Wisconsin lawyers argued that such protection ends when parents realise a child is at serious risk of death.

The couple identify themselves as Pentecostal Christians and believe visiting a doctor is akin to worshipping an idol, the Supreme Court opinion said.

Madeline Kara Neumann is shown working on chalk art Wausau, Wisconsin July 2007
Kara Neumann's diabetes was undiagnosed
The family first began to pray after Kara became very tired and pale, and her legs turned blue.

They continued to do so as their daughter's conditioned worsened, disregarding suggestions from Leilani Neumann's mother to bring Kara to a doctor.

Leilani Neumann rejected a suggestion that she give Kara a dehydration supplement, saying such a treatment would be taking away the glory from God.

Kara slipped into a coma and died.

Emergency room officials testified the girl's condition was easily treatable and her chances of survival had been high "well into the day of her death".

Dale Neumann testified during his trial that he never thought his daughter would die, and believed that even if she did, Jesus would bring her back from the dead, much like the biblical story of Lazarus.

More than a dozen states have some form of legal protection for parents who use prayer healing.

In Pennsylvania, two parents have been charged with the death of their infant son from pneumonia after they refused medical care and relied only on prayer. They were already serving 10 years of probation for the death of their two-year-old son in 2009.
HIV patients told by Pentecostal pastors 'to rely on God'
By Alex Strangwayes-Booth
BBC News

A crucifix necklace lying on an open Bible

Some young HIV patients have been pressured to stop taking medication, a survey of doctors revealed

Some young HIV patients are giving up their medicine after being told by Pentecostal Church pastors to rely on faith in God instead, doctors warn.

Medical staff told the BBC a minority of pastors in England were endangering young church members by putting them under pressure to stop medication.

Healing is central to Pentecostalism, a radical belief in the power of prayer and miracles.

But one pastor denied people would ever be told to stop taking their medicine.

The Children's HIV Association surveyed 19 doctors and health professionals working with babies and children in England; its members had reported hearing anecdotal evidence of HIV patients deciding to stop taking their anti-retroviral drugs because their pastors had told them to do so.

Among 10 doctors who said they had encountered the problem in the last five years, 29 of their patients had reported being put under pressure to stop taking medicine and at least 11 had done so.

The doctors and health professionals reported a variety of cases:

Some said they had dealt with parents who felt under pressure to stop giving their young children their HIV medicine - and some had actually done so
Others were breastfeeding mothers with HIV who refused the medicine that would stop the virus being passed onto their babies
Some were young people, making the decision for themselves
The healthcare workers also reported that some patients had been told by their pastors they would be healed by prayer or by drinking blessed water.

'Miracle cure'
Sixteen-year-old Oliver (not his real name) said he was told by a pastor to swap his HIV medicine for a plastic bottle containing water that would heal him.

He said many others had come under the same pressure.

"I've been to other churches where... the pastor stands forth there, and he says 'come take this water... if you drink it for this certain amount of days, you are going to be healed'," he said.

Later, after his mother had experienced what he believed was a miracle cure, Oliver stopped taking his medication, and his condition quickly deteriorated.

He has since gone back on his medication and said he believed he needed to combine his drugs with his belief in faith healing.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

We need to stay engaged with the families and understand that... their faith is an important part of the support they get in their condition”

Steve Welch
Children's HIV Association
Dr Toni Tan, a consultant paediatrician, said some Pentecostal pastors were endangering the lives of sick followers.

"It's my view that it's very wrong for faith leaders to actively encourage their congregations to stop taking their medication... it will lead to their deaths."

Pentecostals and other Christians see healing, like speaking in tongues, as a sign of the presence of God.

Pentecostal pastor Stevo Atanasio, from the East London Christian Church, said that among his congregation, blind people had recovered sight, deaf people had heard again, and what were considered terminal illnesses had been cured.

"We don't say to people 'don't take your medication don't go to the doctor'. I mean we never say that," he said.

"But we believe that the first healing comes from inside, it's a spiritual healing. Some people are hurt, they have broken hearts. If you are healed from inside, then you are healed from outside as well."

'Avoid culture clash'
Pentecostalism is booming. The number of Pentecostal churches in London, for example, has doubled since 2005.

The overall number of incidents of HIV patients being told to give up medicine is thought to consist of a minority of churches and a small group of people.

But the Rev Israel Olofinjana, who is a former Pentecostal pastor and now a Baptist minister, said he had seen it happening.

"I've heard languages like that - 'put your trust in God, don't put your trust in medicine'."

He said many of these churches served migrants with an exalted view of the authority of pastors.

"Within the context of African churches, if you're coming from a culture where the pastor is like your fathers or mothers, like your community keepers, the word of your pastor becomes very important," he explained.

"It becomes very significant... there is a minority who say 'because God can heal absolutely... what's the need for medicine?'."

Dr Steve Welch, who is chairman of the Children's HIV Association, said it found it difficult to engage with the faith leaders of churches where healing was an integral part of the worship.

"We need to stay engaged with the families and understand that... their faith is an important part of the support they get in their condition, and engage positively with them and not make it a clash of cultures.

"I think it's about engaging with the pastors and faith leaders who are giving this advice because that's how we will actually address the root of the problem."
Another dangerous conman.

Controversial American evangelist Morris Cerullo returns to Britain for one final 'crusade'

Audrey Reynolds suffered from epilepsy all her life. A congenital brain abnormality meant she would suffer seizures if she did not take three tablets a day. It proved a constant frustration that nothing could be done to cure her, but the devout Christian lived in hope that one day her condition would improve.

In the summer of 1992 a poster advertising the imminent arrival in London of American TV evangelist Morris Cerullo caught the 25-year-old’s eye. “Some will see miracles for the first time” it claimed.

Audrey was intrigued and joined 80,000 people who went to Cerullo’s eight-day "crusade" at the Earls Court exhibition centre. Having queued patiently for her chance to meet Cerullo, Audrey took the stage telling the preacher she believed his message of healing power had cured her. Six days later she had an epileptic fit and drowned in her bath.

The inquest into Audrey’s death heard that only 2.2mg per litre of the lifesaving drug she needed was found in her body - the dose should have been 7.2mg. Recording a verdict of accidental death, Southwark coroner Sir Montague Levine said: “It is a tragedy that she went to this meeting and thought she was cured of everything. Sadly, it led to her death.”

The 'Morris Cerrullo' billboard at London Bridge station (Micha Theiner/The Independent) The 'Morris Cerrullo' billboard at London Bridge station (Micha Theiner/The Independent)
A spokesman for San Diego-based Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE) called it “a very sad situation” but two weeks later the preacher held a press conference raging at the “total injustice” of being blamed for having any role in Audrey’s death. Referring to Sir Montague’s comments, the televangelist said: “I think it was a mischaracterisation, a total injustice. I think conclusions were drawn too quickly. The coroner did not have evidence of the attitude of the person’s mind and he decided what he thought of the matter.”

Dr Cerullo said his crusade to London had been a success and that he had received 746 testimonies from people saying they had been cured of various ailments after attending the rally. Now the controversial preacher is about to return to England, aged 82, for the last time.

His final "Mission to London" posters advertise a six-day residency at Earls Court next week and again make promises of miracles. On promotional material he boasts: “I am expecting 1,000+ people to be saved every night for six nights during August 2014.”

Audrey’s mother, Belzie, is furious. “Cerullo is a dangerous man but I can’t stop him, much as I’d like to,” she told The Independent from her home in Clapham, south London. “His shows are all about money. I remember when my daughter went there all those years ago looking for hope, believing something might happen. I didn’t go. I watched it on TV and saw there were people with buckets collecting money throughout the event. They are all in it for the money.”

Audrey’s story is not the only tragic one associated with Cerullo’s trips to England. Great efforts have been made to remove video footage from the internet of him "healing" his audience, but some remain. Audrey can be seen in one clip face to face with Cerullo, declaring that she feels fine “because I can jump”. Cerullo asks to see her jump. Audrey obliges and Cerullo screams his delight at the audience at the "miracle". ... ... 43696.html
Surely the problem extends beyond faith healing to all forms of alternative medicine? A responsible practitioner will advise you to carry on with the mainstream treatment as well (or go see a conventional doctor as well if you already haven't) but often the patients themselves stack all their hopes on the alternative and neglect the 'normal' treatments.

I've briefly been out with a lady who did homoeopathic medicine and she said this was one of the problems. They never, apparently, advise giving up the main treatment, but some patients do anyway.

Obviously in this case they are prompted to do so by the 'healer' but that isn't always the case. I got taken to a faith healer by my father several times imagining it was going to fix my eye - very weird experience in itself which maybe I'll describe some other time.
A man has told a court he feels "ashamed" at handing over £150,000 to a man he thought was a faith healer.

The witness, who cannot be named, told Leicester Crown Court he believed that he was being cured of an illness and would win millions in a lottery.

Mohammed Ashrafi is accused of conning 18 people in Leicester into handing over large sums of money with the promises of health and wealth. The 50-year-old denies 15 counts of fraud and one of blackmail.

It is alleged that using the name Kamal-Ji, Mr Ashrafi claimed to be a devotee of Indian spiritual healer Sai Baba. ...
My Ma was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer in 1986. We thought she was a goner but she went through replacement treatment and had her spleen removed and was free of all symptoms by 1988. She cites the prayer of congregations. I don't know what did it. The doctors who were treating her had never seen a remission like it. She got breast again in '99 and again the treatment worked. Then she had a breast problem again 4 years ago. Decided she couldn't go through treatment again and just operated to remove and has been ok since, bar a few old lady issues since. There's no knowing what impact personal strength will have on such diseases. My Ma is a battler, but she might have passed on like so many others, despite her postive frame of mind. We still don't understand cancer.
Your Ma is indestructible!
I wish that were true. Every day we have her with us is a gift. She's the foundation of our tribe.
For eons, tens of thousands of years, primitive tribes throughout the ancient world have been practising Faith Healing. Now days it is called Reiki, or Quantum Touch. Back then it was the power of supernatural plants that taught the first humans to heal themselves and others.
What's a "supernatural plant"? Is that connected to the "Screaming Trees" idea?