Apologetics, Main, Miracles, z166
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British pastor raised from the dead through world-wide prayer chain?

This past November, Christopher Wickland, 47, who pastors the Word Pentecostal Church in Fareham, Hampshire, England suffered a heart attack after jumping on a trampoline, along with three of his children, at the Flip Out trampoline park.

According to the Daily Mail, the park staff immediately rushed to Wickland’s aid thinking he had just passed out. However, when they realized he wasn’t breathing and his heart had stopped, it took four defibrillator shocks to restart Wickland’s heart.

The ambulance arrived in about 15 minutes and transported Wickland to St. Mary’s hospital in Southampton, where he was put in an induced coma.

But because he had been dead and not breathing for 15 minutes, doctors at the hospital told Christopher’s wife, Tracey, to prepare for the worst. Even if he survived, there would undoubtedly be brain and heart damage.

After receiving this dark news, Tracey immediately posted what happened to her husband on Facebook:

“I put it on Facebook and it was amazing because hundreds of people from around the world contacted me and told me they were praying for Chris.”

Tracey Wickland, Daily Mail, January 17, 2020

Forty-eight hours later, during Word Pentecostal’s Sunday morning service, Wickland came out of his coma without any side effects, except one, he has no recollection of what happened at the park.

Tracey was very thankful for the staff at the trampoline park and hospital who played a critical role in keeping her husband alive, but also believes that her husband would not be alive and functioning today without prayer.

Even as the park staff were administering the defibrillator one told Wickland’s three children, aged 12, 7 and 4, to pray for their dad.

Christopher has already returned to pastoral duties said he has been to the doctors several times since his heart attack and added they are still amazed that there has been no damage to his heart or mind as a result:

“This is a miracle that is all down to divine providence and the very quick actions of some people. My congregation and other Christians around the world were also praying for me. All this power was harnessed to keep me alive. I’m not lucky. I’m blessed.”

Christopher Wickland, Daily Mail, January 17, 2010

Though, it can’t be proven conclusively that God raised Wickland from the dead, it is clear that God healed him. Other secular media have noted the unusual nature of this event, as the BBC has even approached Wickland about an interview.

If you include Jesus’s resurrection, the Bible records nine people being raised from the dead.

The prophet Elijah raised the son of a widow living in Zarephath from the dead. Elijah was living in an upper room in the widow’s house when the boy died. Elijah prayed three times before the boy came back to life (1 Kings 17:17-24).

The prophet Elisha, directly and indirectly, raised two people from the dead. This included the son of a Shunammite woman, who collapsed out in the field complaining of a massive head ache, possibly an aneurysm. The prophet stretched over the boy’s body two times before he came back to life (2 Kings 4:18-37). The indirect raising from the dead occurred as men were burying a friend. The sudden appearance of the Moabites resulted in the man’s body being hastily thrown into Elisha’s tomb. The man came to life after touching Elisha’s bones (2 Kings 13:20-21).

Jesus raised three people from the dead. The first is found in Luke 7:11-17, when Jesus encountered a funeral procession for a young man. He touched the coffin and told the man to get up. The second involved the 12-year-old daughter of Jarius, a local synagogue leader. Jesus went to Jarius’ home and commanded her to get up (Luke 8:49-56). The third involved Lazarus of Bethany, the brother of Mary and Martha, who had fallen sick. By the time, Jesus got to Bethany, Lazarus had been dead four days and was already in a tomb. Jesus ordered the tomb to be opened and yelled, “Lazarus, come out” raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11).

The Apostle Peter raised Dorcas, also called Tabatha, from the dead. She was a valued member of the church in Joppa. When she died from an illness, the people called for Peter to come and pray for her (Acts 9:36-43).

The Apostle Paul raised Eutychus from the dead, a young boy living in Troas. Paul was preaching and Eutychus, who was sitting in a window ledge fell three stories after falling asleep. Paul rushed down, wrapped his arms around the boy, raising him from the dead (Acts 20:7-12).

Of course, the eight people, previously cited, would eventually die a second time, and this marks a stark contrast with Christ who God raised from the dead permanently. It was the Lord’s resurrection that broke the power of death. Those who believe in Jesus are given the promise of a new resurrection body (1 Corinthians 15:35-58).

This paves the way for an unusual event that took place at the time of Christ’s death. Matthew writes that a number of tombs were broken open at the moment of Christ’s death. Several saints came back to the life and started appearing to people around the city (Matthew 27:50-53). This may have been looking ahead to the promised second resurrection. There is no mention again of these saints, so it is uncertain what happened to them. Perhaps, they were taken to heaven along with Christ at His ascension (Acts 1:6-11), similar to Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:11).


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