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World News

Bethel Church addresses scepticism around prayers to resurrect 2-year-old girl

by Tola Mbakwe

Pastor of Bethel Church, Bill Johnson, has answered questions about holding prayer and worship services to resurrect a toddler.

On Monday Bethel worship leader Kalley Heiligenthal asked "the global church" to pray for "resurrection power" after her two-year-old daughter Olive was "unexpectedly" pronounced dead on Saturday after not waking up from her sleep.


Since then the church in Redding, California has held daily prayer and worship services, believing that God will bring the girl back to life again.

In a video posted on Facebook on Wednesday night, Johnson thanked the "countless people" who have joined the church in "prayer and intercession for the life and resurrection of Olive Heiligenthal" and added that many people have asked "important questions on that journey".

Johnson explained that they've been praying for a miracle of God because of the "biblical precedent" Jesus set when he raised the dead and commanded his disciples to do so also.

"We try to run with a real conviction and a devotion to the very thing that Jesus taught us to do. So I've been asked, 'isn't this interrupting the sovereignty of God?' And my response is… we don't ever want to violate the sovereignty of God. God is sovereign. He chooses what he wants and we cooperate with him.

"The reason Jesus raised the dead is because not everyone dies in God's timing. And Jesus could tell, and he would interrupt that funeral, he would interrupt that process that some would just call the sovereignty of God. He'd raise a little girl, he'd raise the adult person from the dead. The point is Jesus set a precedent for us to follow."

Johnson admitted that the church "rarely knows what they're doing", claiming that the situation is a "new area" for them.

"There's no manual that tells us fast this many days, pray this many hours. We don't have any of that. What we do have is a biblical precedent, Jesus' lifestyle and Jesus' commands.

"Someone asked, 'How long do you pray and when do you quit praying?', and I don't have a good answer. We're kind of in the middle of that journey right now. But there is a biblical precedent to continue praying."

Johnson said Olivia has been at the morgue since she was pronounced dead by doctors and church members are not surrounding the child to "perform some ritual".

After affirming that God is a "miracle worker" and "gets the glory" when any miracle happens, the pastor also addressed how the church would feel if their prayers were not answered.

"When it doesn't work, we don't blame God. We give Him the glory, we give him the praise we celebrate his goodness, his kindness, because nothing about our experience, difficult or not, changes who he is. We are spending our life trying to discover this wonderful, wonderful father, who is so perfect in every way.

"We're in a journey like many of you. We're in this pursuit to see Jesus exalted, and all generation of people that can accurately and responsibly demonstrate the love, the purity, and the power of God."

He lastly thanked those who has been joining the church in prayer, those who sent "challenging questions" and those who prayed for Jaxon Taylor two years ago, a little boy in the church who was going through life-threatening health issues.

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