If you happen to run a mortuary in the Phoenix area, and you see a group of people who look a little too happy to be there, you might want to find out what they want before you let them in.
Earlier this year, people from “Extreme Prophetic Ministries” had the brilliant idea of starting a “mortuary outreach program”. This is not to go offer comfort to grieving families or anything else half sane, their intention is to actually raise the dead.
Basically what this consists of is going to random mortuaries and asking to come in and pray over the dead bodies in an attempt to resurrect them. Unsurprisingly, even when they have been let in to pray, they have had no success.
As crazy as this sounds, and as much as non-Christians and even most other Christians laugh at them, are they crazy or are they just following what they believe to be Christianity?
While the verses they use to support their ideas are sometimes based on questionable interpretations (such as using Matthew 10:8 to say they are commanded to raise the dead), the same is true of many other common Christian doctrines. Since the Bible requires so much interpretation by anyone who reads it, who are we to say that their interpretation is wrong?
Here are a couple of other verses they didn’t use to support their idea, but that more clearly seems to support it:
I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
- John 14:12 (NIV)
And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.
- Mark 16:17-18 (NIV)
So, if the Bible is accurate, Christians actually should be able to perform miracles such as raising the dead, walking on water, etc. Although I don’t think that even the Bible’s authors believed in werewolf spirits…
That said, I don’t believe that these people are actually receiving prophecies or performing miracles. Both my personal experiences with them and the unbelievable claims I’ve heard them make have convinced me that they are nothing but second rate charlatans.
They even claim now to have even raised the dead (although it does not appear to be part of their “mortuary outreach program”), and they say they have verifiable evidence of this. So far, we have been unable to find any of it, even on their own web site. If anyone has real evidence of any of these “miracles”, please send it to us and we’ll be happy to post it, but I’m not holding my breath.
As long as they stick to fleecing their own flock, the rest of us should probably not be more concerned about them than any other strange religious sect, but they do have an element much more in keeping with what most religious people view as cults than with more mainstream religion. This element is the idea that they and their followers have some kind of special, and as yet unrevealed, mission from God. That is a disturbing thought.
Attempting to raise the dead, walk on water or cast out werewolf spirits (all of which they claim to have done now) is relatively harmless, but the fact that they are not laughed out of their own churches shows the stunning credulity of their followers. Given that mindset and the idea that at least some of them receive prophecies from God, there is no limit to the damage that could be done to themselves and others if these “prophets” give the word.