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Spiritual healing: Miracle or myth?

Marvin does it in Fife, Pope John Paul II did it for a nun in France and
without it, others say they would be dead. So what is the reality behind
the power of faith healing? Karin Goodwin investigates.

taking in charismatic renewal healing and the Elim pentecostal church in
Glasgow, the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, and the Zion Prayer Center
International in Kirkcaldy.

"At the Zionist [sic]
Prayer Center International in Kirkcaldy, Pastor Joe Nwokoye does not
consider miracles in short supply. The first is that the Nigerian preacher
ended up in this nondescript Fife town at all. In 1983 he answered God’s
call to Scotland, a far-away country where he knew no-one. He chose
Kirkcaldy at random and three years later God rewarded him with his own
centre, where we have agreed to meet.

"Were it not for the sound of
the Congo drums spilling like sunshine into the dusk, I might have walked
past the doorway, next to an office supplies shop. At the top of a dingy
stairway, where the main hall is painted a dirty pink, the simple words
‘the Lord is our God’ arc above the stage where Pastor Joe preaches.

the front, dressed in a tracksuit and lost in prayer, is Marvin Andrews,
the former Rangers footballer, who last August returned to Raith Rovers,
the club that brought him to Scotland from Trinidad in 1997, when he was
just 22.

"It was in these less than salubrious surroundings that
the footballer claims to have been healed of a groin injury, for which
doctors said he needed surgery. ‘In Trinidad my grandmother always taught
me to pray every day, but I didn’t understand about healing until I came
here and Joe explained the scriptures to me,’ he says.

"He can’t
pinpoint the exact moment the pain left him, but he knows it was God’s
work. In turn he now performs healing services at the church, under the
guidance of the pastor. "God has given us all the authority to heal," he
explains. The truth, according to Andrews, is very simple. You just have
to believe.

"’So many people think the Bible is an old story book,’
he says. ‘But the God who raised Lazarus is still the same today. The
people who witness miracles know it can happen. If you believe with all
your heart, you don’t need to be suffering or in pain.’"

• Full story at the Sunday Herald.

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