Sometime in March while sitting at home, I began receiving texts from friends saying that Shawn Bolz, a prophetic minister, had called my name out at the second year of Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry.
I drove to my church. Without any prior conversation, he said my name, my birth date, the fact that I once lived in Chattanooga, Tennessee; that I grew up in Georgia; that my wife's name is Alison; that she has an aunt named Karen; and that Karen has a daughter named Silky.
During that word, he told me God had commissioned me to make a film. It was to be a new prototype for ministry and would touch the lives of many doctors.
Since then, I have traveled the country interviewing healing ministers such as Randy Clark, Heidi Baker, Rolland Baker, scientists, doctors and skeptics. The goal of the film is to ask the hard questions about miracles and to find cases that are corroborated with medical evidence in order to reach intellectuals, scientists and medical professionals. I am working with the team at the Global Medical Research Institute in Cleveland, Tennessee, founded by Randy Clark, to fact check each case.
When I share my vision about the documentary with people, many breathe a sigh of relief. They often tell me stories of trying to talk with a skeptical spouse or friend about the subject and not having a good resource to point them toward.
In the last six months, I have completed 40 percent of the filming and decided to turn to crowd funding. On Nov. 17, I launched a Kickstarter campaign. In two weeks, we had 690 backers and we received $60,000 in pledges. Here is a trailer that answers many questions I have received about the project:
Aren't Oral Testimonies Good Enough?
Every miracle can't be backed by physical evidence. Sometimes God does things that leave no evidence but impacts the heart, like giving someone a prophetic dream. If you think about it, most events don't have physical evidence for them. I can't prove to you that I ate breakfast on Nov. 12, 2015. No one saw me eat it. I don't have any receipts or trash. But it's true. You would be correct in believing my testimony, and you would believe a lie if you denied it.
We believe a lot of things on eyewitness testimony, and that is sufficient for most things. I don't want to, in any way, undermine the important role testimonies should play in our lives and church ministries. However, those testimonies that can be supported with documentation should be.
Why? The reason we should record evidence is that it leaves a trail of God's faithfulness for the next generation to find.
God understands the human need for evidence. That's why He had the Israelites gather stones from the center of the dry riverbed when they crossed the Jordan, so that there would be evidence of what happened for future generations (Joshua 4:4-7).
God reveals in this text that He thinks collecting evidence that a miracle happened will help the next generation's ability to believe. Secondly, that it is the current generation's responsibility to steward testimony by leaving behind evidence. What would happen if the church thought and acted that way?
Why Do We Need Medical Evidence?
We live in the age of science. We put a man on the moon 50 years ago. We transplant hearts every day. Our culture rightfully values science. If we want to reach them, then we need some cases in which to point hungry, open-minded intellectuals.
Bill Johnson says, "If we want to see our revival become a great awakening, we must influence the influencers." The influencers of our day don't speak the language of the Bible and personal experience. Rather, they speak the language of science, evidence and reason.
If charismatics want to bridge the gap between the intellectual and the supernatural, we must become more missiological, and speak their language. Telling a professor, scientist or doctor that miracles happen, and then being unable to back it up without any evidence is like speaking English to a person who only knows Chinese.
The church has very little impact reaching these types of influencers because we have not made the effort to communicate in a language they respect and understand.
Part of the reason for this is that there is a stronghold in the charismatic movement that says evidence can't change skeptics' minds, only power encounters can. This is false. God often uses truth encounters to set people free.
Kathryn Kuhlman understood this. That is why she was willing to provide medical evidence when asked. It transformed lives. In the 1950s, she allowed a skeptic named Emily Gardiner Neal, who worked for Redbook Magazine to review some healing claims from her ministry. It had such an impact on Neal that she converted from agnosticism and became a healing minister. I want to redig that well.
Imagine the impact this film could have on academia. I talked with a professor who showed healing testimony videos in her religion classes. She reported the students would often tune them out, and, in extreme cases, laugh at them.
She then began reviewing testimonies and showing the medical records that corroborate those claims. She reported that the attitude of the class would shift, and the evidence persuaded many.
I want to use this film to inspire the body of Christ to become passionate about collecting medical data from testimonies. Please send your testimonies to this link, and I will forward them to my researchers.
The best cases will be published in peer-reviewed medical journals. Imagine the impact to have hundreds of cases for researchers to write about. We could have the scientific data needed to convince insurance companies that Christian healing practitioners should be reimbursed for praying for people, like Reiki practitioners are. Imagine the impact it would have on our culture when the academic world becomes convinced of the power of prayer.
I want to ask believers around the world to join with me as I pursue making this film for the fame of Jesus' name. If you would like to find out more, or support the film, click here. You can also listen to the prophetic word in its entirety there.
Elijah Stephens dually majored in Philosophy and Psychology at Covenant College. He served in the Army Reserve and was deployed for most of 2004. After his deployment, he served as a pastor in the Vineyard for seven years. He went on to study for three years at BSSM. He authored Leading Ministry Time to train small group leaders and pastors how to develop others to walk in the supernatural. Find out more at simplykingdom.com.
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