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Introduction

My question is inspired by the fascinating phenomenon of revivals and the testimonies of supernatural healings that usually accompany them.

Just to give you an idea, the Wikipedia article on the Brownsville Revival says:

The Brownsville Revival (also known as the Pensacola Outpouring) was a widely reported Christian revival within the Pentecostal movement that began on Father's Day June 18, 1995, at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida.[1] Characteristics of the Brownsville Revival movement, as with other Christian religious revivals, included acts of repentance by parishioners and a call to holiness, inspired by the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Some of the occurrences in this revival fit the description of moments of religious ecstasy. More than four million people are reported to have attended the revival meetings from its beginnings in 1995 to around 2000.[2]

One writer offered this description of the revival in 1998:

All told, more than 2.5 million people have visited the church's Monday prayer and Tues-through-Saturday evening revival services, where they sang rousing worship music and heard old-fashioned sermons on sin and salvation. After the sermons were over, hundreds of thousands accepted the invitation to leave their seats and rush forward to a large area in front of the stage-like altar. Here, they "get right with God." . . . Untold thousands have hit the carpet in repentance. After the altar call, pastors and leaders would pray for anyone who desired to be prayed over some fell to the ground some shook under the power of God's presence some lay in a state resembling a coma, sometimes remaining flat on the floor for hours at a time. Some participants call the experience being "slain in the Spirit." Others simply refer to receiving the touch of God. Regardless of what they call it, these people are putting the "roll" back in "holy roller."

— Steve Rabey[3]

And regarding healings:

By 1997, it was common to have lengthy and rapturous periods of singing and dancing and altars packed with hundreds of writhing or dead-still bodies from a variety of ages, races and socioeconomic conditions.[2] As the revival progressed, the testimonies of people receiving salvation were joined by testimonies of supernatural healings. In Steve Hill's words, "We're seeing miraculous healings, cancerous tumors disappear and drug addicts immediately delivered."[5] However, the church told local news reporters that it did not keep records of the healings. In 1997, the leaders of the revival—Hill, Kilpatrick, and Lindell Cooley (Brownsville's worship director)—went to several cities (Anaheim, Dallas, St. Louis, Lake Charles (Louisiana), Toledo, and Birmingham) and held like meetings. They named this ministry "Awake America".[6]

But then we see an interesting connection. Evangelist Steve Hill was the main preacher during the Brownsville Revival, and if we investigate Steve Hill's past, we find that Hill "imported" this "revivalist fire" from Argentina, when he was exposed to the Argentine Revival and the ministry of Carlos Annacondia. According to https://renewaljournal.com/2011/07/22/evangelist-steve-hill-bysharon-wisemann/:

Since Sunday 18th June, 1995 hundreds of thousands of lives have been changed as a direct result of the Pensacola Revival in Florida, USA. The spark that ignited the revival was an evangelist named Steve Hill.

[...]

In Argentina that Hill first saw Carlos Annacondia minister to tens of thousands of people. In his first Annacondia meeting out in the middle of a soccer field he witnessed fifteen to twenty thousand people ‘craving God’. Although he always had the desire for evangelism, Hill believes that he received the evangelistic anointing from Annacondia, who has lead over two million people to Jesus, when he laid hands on him.

Hill was involved in the Argentine Revival, seeing multitudes saved and healed. For seven years he helped plant seven churches in Buenos Aires and Southern Argentina during this revival. He also planted churches and conducted church crusades in several other countries such as Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Spain, Russia and Belarus.

And when we investigate the Argentine Revival, we find books such as Listen to Me, Satan! that makes very similar claims about supernatural healings:

This is the true story of Carlos Annacondia, whose faithfulness, devotion, and faith in signs and miracles brought about an awakening in Argentina that has spread throughout the world and continues to this day. Annacondia's ministry is marked by the same signs and wonders of the early church—sick bodies are healed, bondages are broken, the demonized are set free, oppression is lifted—and he knows these subjects as very few people do.

Listen to Me, Satan! is full of amazing testimonies that will renew, inspire, and charge your faith. It's the story of how one man confronted the devil, in the authority of the name of Jesus, and experienced extraordinary results. Join him on his journey from the poor villages of Buenos Aires to a global ministry, and find victory and freedom in your own life as well.


Question

I mentioned the Brownsville Revival and the Argentine Revival as two notable examples I'm aware of which were intimately connected to each other, in which millions were reached by the gospel and where probably thousands of people claimed to have received supernatural healing, among other extraordinary experiences and manifestations.

But speaking of all modern revivals in general from any part of the world (Africa, Asia, etc.), have any claims of extraordinary healings in such revivals been medically confirmed?

Note: by medically confirmed I mean that a certified physician confirmed, through a trustable protocol of medical examination, that the healing did in fact take place, that is, that the person had a disease at some point in the first place and that later on said disease was found to be absent, meaning that some kind of unexpected healing had to have happened in between.


Related: Are there or have there been Christian healing ministries that have documented healing cases with supporting medical records?

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  • Up-voted +1. I suggest you define what you refer to as 'medically confirm'.
    – Nigel J
    Nov 13, 2021 at 17:12
  • 1
    @NigelJ - Good suggestion. I added a note explaining the intended meaning. Nov 13, 2021 at 17:23
  • Funny thing @SpiritRealmInvestigator upon attempting to look for answers, I came across your reddit post on the same thing and was very confused why some random person posted the exact same question :) then I realized it was you 😂
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 15, 2021 at 2:36
  • 1
    If you can get access, this article may be of some use. Looking for more accessible sources.
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 15, 2021 at 2:37

4 Answers 4

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There is one medically documented case I can think of found here. Furthermore, the miracles of healing at Lourdes are heavily debated and often well cited. Much more nuanced discussion can be found in Craig S. Keener's 2-volume tome Miracles. Somewhat more accessible is the publicly available PowerPoint from Dr. Keener found here. And a lecture by him here. Here is the case of someone raised from the dead from within a hospital.

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+50

Many healings during modern revivals have been medically confirmed. Far fewer have been documented or published. There certainly is no biblical reason for miracles to cease. The same reasons for which the apostles performed miracles continue to exist today. Many people still need encouragement to believe. They still need God to help them with problems they cannot solve on their own. Who knows how many whispered prayers are answered that are never publicized?

Several M.D.s have written books about their miraculous experiences such as Dr. H. Richard Casdorph, in The Miracles (link), who medically documented several of the healings which occurred at Katherine Kuhlman’s meetings, and Dr. Richard Bartlett, medical missionary to Iraq, in Journey of a Medicine Man (link).

I could provide many examples but will limit myself to one by citing an article from the Southern Medical Journal • Volume 103, Number 9, September 2010.

Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique

Candy Gunther Brown, PhD, Stephen C. Mory, MD, Rebecca Williams, MB BChir, DTM&H, and Michael J. McClymond, PhD (link)

The subjects for the study were recruited at Charismatic evangelistic “revival” meetings by Iris and Global Awakening Ministries at four locations in Mozambique. The study was limited to those with vision and hearing problems presumably due to ease of diagnostic verification. Recipients of prayer participated in diagnostic tests before and after. Prayer time ranged from 1 minute up to an hour. Here is the conclusion reported.

Our study has three main findings. First, Mozambican subjects did exhibit improved auditory and/or visual acuity subsequent to PIP interventions. Second, the magnitude of measured effects exceeds that reported in previous studies of suggestion and hypnosis. Although it would be unwise to overgeneralize from these preliminary findings for a small number of PIP practitioners and subjects collected in far-from-ideal field conditions, future study seems warranted to assess whether PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care for certain patients with auditory and/or visual impairments, especially in contexts where access to conventional treatment is limited. The implications are potentially vast given World Health Organization estimates that 278 million people, 80% of whom live in developing countries, have moderate to profound hearing loss in both ears, and 314 million people are visually impaired, 87% of whom live in developing countries, and only a tiny fraction of these populations currently receive any treatment. p. 868

It should come as no surprise that an all-powerful God, in his great love, miraculously intervenes in the lives of those who believe in him and seek his assistance.

Luke 17:19 Then [Jesus] said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."

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Unless the question is about individual cases being confirmed as inexplicable, there isn't going to be a good answer to this.

Scientific confirmation of a supernatural cause would require very different test conditions than what is currently available.

There's no doubt that "miraculous" healing occasionally occurs, even to non-believers. But for atheists, the term "miracle" simply means something unusual that science currently has no reasonable explanation for.

Millions of people have been to revivals, so it's not unexpected that some of them would experience a miracle cure. But would that cure have happened to them had they not attended; would it have happened if they were atheists? And of those millions of people, only those that recovered report it; we don't hear about the others that experienced no change or even died after attending.

Unless those questions can be answered and reliable independent data is available, there can be no scientific proof.

Divide a large sample of people into three groups:

  • The faith-healer prays for them, anoints them, etc.
  • An actor does the same thing, but only pretends, and in his head he keeps repeating "Please God, help them to die.".
  • Nothing is done for them.

Then follow them for a year, recording all health changes among all people.

Until there are statistically significantly different results between the groups, nothing can be said of the phenomenon.

Listening to anecdotal stories, given by only those that experienced success, is not scientifically convincing.

It's no different from the current practice of attributing deaths to COVID-19, or to the vaccination therefor, simply because someone that was murdered or died in traffic happened to have the virus, or happened to have recently received a vaccination.

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  • Would you say that these objections to miracle claims from modern revivals also apply to miracle claims from the 1st century of Christianity? Are the miracle claims recorded in the New Testament equally questionable? Nov 21, 2021 at 0:28
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator, I'm not saying all the claims are false. I'm saying that there is no statistical data that would distinguish true instances from random inexplicable non-supernatural recoveries. Absence of proof isn't proof of absence. Nov 21, 2021 at 0:37
  • Then how can we distinguish true instances of miracles from "random inexplicable non-supernatural recoveries"? How can we be confident that the miracle claims in the Bible fall into the former category and not into the latter? Nov 21, 2021 at 0:52
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator asks '*how can we distinguish true instances of miracles from "random inexplicable non-supernatural recoveries"?'. We can't, at least not without reliable data. That was the point of my answer. Nov 21, 2021 at 1:16
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator, for the second question, I think that's called "having faith" :-) But assuming the Bible reliable, notice that most recorded instances are of specific individuals. Jesus approached one person (or a small group), or they approached him, and he healed them all. That's different from dealing with thousands of people and getting a result of a few successes. Predictable results are scientific confirmation. Look at the backs of 52 cards and guess what each one is. Two thirds of the time you'll get at least one right. Predicting the ones you'd match would be magic. Nov 21, 2021 at 1:17
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I know this is going to be dissatisfying to some people, but no. At least not in the specific circumstances you are referring to. The issues with these revivals is that they tend to build psychological hype and create pseudo miracle experiences. The other difficult part is defining "healing". Some illnesses can be furthered by the mind and an event like this could in certain cases lessen the issues caused by the mind.

I do know there are documented cases of miracles in medical journals, but that seems to be beyond the scope of the question.

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  • I do know there are documented cases of miracles in medical journals, but that seems to be beyond the scope of the question. - perhaps that would be within the scope of this question christianity.stackexchange.com/q/82583/50422 ? Nov 15, 2021 at 2:59
  • @SpiritRealmInvestigator yes. However in the span of the revivals, I would refer to my answer.
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 15, 2021 at 3:00
  • Hi Luke, I agree with you that there is often a lot of hype and phoniness at "revival" meetings. But good science should be able to distinguish between what is fake and what is real. You can't argue with an x-ray when the doctor says, "I can't explain this medically". God is powerful and he honors people's faith even if it happens to get stirred up in a disingenuous way. Nov 19, 2021 at 7:35
  • @martin that’s all well and good, but there is no evidence of such things
    – Luke Hill
    Nov 19, 2021 at 18:12
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    Hey Luke, In the Pentecostal healing article you linked to above by C. Brown, she states that 80-90% of the first generation Chinese who converted to Christianity, did so because they or someone in their family was miraculously healed. Pretty strong proof that God hasn't changed. Nov 19, 2021 at 22:53

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