PUBLISHED THURSDAY NOVEMBER 20, 1997
Copyright 1997 The Pensacola News Journal. All rights
No medical proof of 'miraculous healings'
Church does not keep records
By Kimberly Blair
News Journal staff writer
PENSACOLA -Night after night, revival leaders tell
the crowds that healings are occurring and growing more powerful. "I know
now that we could all get to the place where the dead are raised," evangelist
Steve Hill said in a November 1996 article in "Ministries Today," a magazine
for Christian leaders. "We 're seeing miraculous healings, cancerous tumors
disappear and drug addicts immediately delivered."
But the Brownsville Revival has not provided medical documentation
of spontaneous healing and does not keep a file of names of people who
say they were healed.
The News Journal found several people who say their conditions
were healed or improved as a direct result of the revival, but none had
Most stories are anecdotal. For example, Dave Collins,
a charter bus owner from Oklahoma City, told the News Journal that a woman
who rode on his bus brought her daughter to the revival to cure a rare
disease that caused her daughter 's foot to turn backwards.
"The doctor was about to have the foot amputated. They
went to revival and had an anointing healing service. The foot straightened
out," Collins said.
The News Journal could not interview the woman because
Collins would not give her name or address. The church said it did not
have her name because it does not keep records of the healings.
Many Brownsville Revival regulars and staff members believe
the revival is on the brink of a breakthrough into wide-scale healings.
Brownsville church business administrator Rose Compton
said she believes the healings will start very close to home, with pastor
John Kilpatrick being miraculously healed from the injuries he suffered
in a fall from the second story at his new house in Seminole, Ala., on
His healing will signal the beginning of mass healings,
Kilpatrick, however, told the News Journal during an interview
three weeks ago that he is not being miraculously healed.
His medical records, which he permitted his doctor to
release to the News Journal, confirm that. They show that his injuries
are progressing at normal speed.
Kilpatrick did say, however, that many other people were
being cured and healed at the revival.
"We have noticed more and more sick people coming in and
saying their pain is leaving. We have had people healed of different things,"
he said. "Some of it is on video tapes."
Compton gave the News Journal one videotaped testimonial
produced by a Lima, Ohio, Christian television program, "Turning Point."
On the video, Lima resident Sandy Cornell, 44, says she
"grew a new esophagus" after attending the revival earlier this year.
Her husband, Clarence, asked the News Journal not to call
her doctor for verification.
In another case, Rose Elrod, 61, of Oklahoma City told
the News Journal she was healed of pancreatitis after attending the revival
"I 've been in and out of the hospital 20 times in the
last couple of years," she said. "I was in constant pain and couldn 't
Friday, her third day at the revival, evangelist Steve
Hill prayed for her, Elrod said, and she was slain in the spirit.
"I laid on the floor 45 minutes with my hand raised,"
she said. "When I got up I was healed. You are talking about a woman who
could hardly make a bed, clean my house, cook or eat. I couldn 't stand."
She said she has talked to, but has not been examined
by her physician, Dr. James Hogin, since the healing.
Hogin, a gastroenterologist at Brookwood Medical Center
in Oklahoma City, said he wants to see her. He wants to determine whether
she is indeed improved or if she is undergoing a placebo effect.
God 's healing verifiable
"God 's healing is always verifiable," Hogin said. "With
true healings, it is not that hard to confirm."
Essie Cox, 75, of Atmore, Ala., told the News Journal
that six doctors at two different hospitals in Pensacola and Mobile told
her she needed heart bypass surgery to unblock clogged arteries.
"I was prayed for on Saturday, Aug. 2, 1997. I didn 't
feel anything immediately. I felt kind of woozy like," Cox said. "My husband
kept telling me, 'You are healed. 'š ' '
Three days later, she woke up and felt a complete change,
she said. "I had claimed the healing in my heart. I knew I was healed,"
Since the revival, Cox said, she has had very few problems
with her heart. She is continuing to take her usual dosage of two kinds
of heart medication and blood pressure medication, but she said she no
longer takes daily nitroglycerin.
Cox 's doctor, Dr. J. Andrew Morrow Jr., with Cardiology
Associates in Mobile, said the bypass surgery Cox talked about was an elective
surgery and not a necessary procedure needed to maintain Cox 's health.
While the revival has not medically verified its claims
to healings, the possibility that such healings can occur ‹ at the revival
or elsewhere ‹ is not in dispute.
Religious leaders and worshipers in all denominations
believe in the power of faith to heal.
The Rev. Don Dunkerley, associate pastor of Northeast
Presbyterian Church on Olive Road, has written a book "Healing Evangelism,"
citing Scripture that supports faith healing.
Dunkerley said that divine healings can occur anywhere,
not necessarily at a revival.
However, revivals create an atmosphere ripe for healings,
"It has been observed historically: God seems to answer
more in Evangelistic settings. You are more likely to see something remarkable
in a revival setting vs. home," Dunkerley said.
That is because people go to revivals expecting something
to happen, said Dan Newberry, one of four associate pastors of Crossroads
Cathedral in Oklahoma City.
When people travel to Pensacola from all over the world
to attend revival, they have made an investment of time and money and they
come expecting something miraculous to happen, Newberry said.
"You spend the money, spend the time, and stand outside
that church and wait. That is all you think about. Your expectation level
tends to go up," Newberry said.
"If everyone could get into that mode in regular services
in their own church, the faith level would be above our heads."
The Rev. Teresa Leifur of Immanuel Episcopal Church in
Bay Minette, Ala., said if God wants to heal someone, He will heal them
The point is that God is greater than any one or any event,
Newberry said he has many questions about healings he
does not understand.
"I 've been praying for people to heal for 25 years. Trying
to understand healings is like beating a dead horse. Those who don 't get
healed may be accused of not having enough faith," he said. "But who is
Expectancy with prayer
Dunkerley does not have first-hand knowledge of what is
going on at the Brownsville revival. However, he said he does believe God
answers the prayers of those who pray for healing with a sense of expectancy.
"Jesus said, when you pray, believe that you have received
what you ask for and you will receive," Dunkerley said. "That is expectancy
The late Dr. William A. Nolen, who was chief of surgery
at Meeker County Hospital in Minnesota, spent many years investigating
claims of supernatural healings world-wide.
His conclusions are detailed in Hank Hanegraaff 's book,
"Counterfeit Revival: Looking for Jesus in All the Wrong Places."
Nolen stated: "When evangelical healers dramatically call
on God to transmit His power through them to cure their patients ' diseases,
they are using the power of suggestion in the hope that it will so affect
the patient 's malfunctioning autonomic nervous system (the system that
regulates such functions as digestion, heart rate, blood pressure, etc.)
that the diseases or symptoms caused by derangement of that system will
God never performs healings slowly, Nolen said.
"Biblical miracles were 100 percent and immediate."