Alun and Donna Leppitt are evangelical Pentecostals who take part in faith healing revivals and are part of a movement that claims that their prayers have enabled miracles such as women with hysterectomies having children, curing people who have cancer, and even replacing a defective heart with a new one.
Alun and Donna Leppitt are the UK end of a worldwide fellowship of evangelical Christians called Global Awakening. In countries like Mozambique and Brazil, Global Awakening missionaries are converting people to Christianity with spectacular displays that claim to heal through prayer. They say they cure blindness and deafness in big open air meetings.
It is not surprising that such alleged miracles seem to occur more often at large revival meetings. As I showed in a post a couple of years ago, if you have large enough numbers and a loose enough definition of what constitutes a miracle, you are practically guaranteed a miracle at such events, not as a result of a massive outpouring of faith but just by statistics.
Oddly enough, the Leppitt’s seem to have little success closer to home.
Last year, Donna’s brother died of a heart attack. By the time they got to the mortuary, he had been dead for eight hours. They prayed over him for nearly an hour, and although at one stage they thought they saw him move, that was as good as it got.
Are they discouraged? “Not at all,” says Alun. “Practice makes perfect,” adds Donna. “But in this country, we don’t often get access to dead bodies.”
Who knew that the hardest thing about raising people from the dead was that the people who claim to be able to do this don’t get enough access to dead bodies so that they can practice their craft?
But there is nothing that will shake the faith of these people.
And it takes a lot to shake Alun and Donna’s faith. Alun himself has serious medical problems. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis in his 20s, has had complications, major surgery, and is now on a waiting list for an ileostomy. He needs a miracle. But so far, and despite the prayer, none has come.
At least he has the good sense to seek proper medical treatment as well. But I wonder how many of the people he preaches to at these revivals put their entire faith in prayer and suffer or even die as a result?