Recently I roamed YouTube looking for videos of legs growing out in response to prayer. Here are three:
(1 ) Fire Of Faith Church in Denmark (www.troens-ild.dk)
At the start, about a 1 inch difference in length can be seen. Between times 1:10 and 1:35 in the video, this difference vanishes. The rest of the video of little interest unless you understand Danish. The subject is wearing boots (which presumably remain firmly anchored to the feet) and there are lines on the floor for visual alignment.
(2) Healing on the Streets, Reading, England June 12, 2010
This video shows two leg-growing episodes. The first occurs between 1:30 and 2:00 in the video. The light for the videography was not great here, but it looks like about an inch of growth occurred. The second one is more dramatic, with about 2 inches of growth between 4:06 and 4:26. The shoes there are fairly high-topped and tightly laced, so they could not easily be slid off and on the healee’s feet. (The nasty negative comments made about this video in YouTube are unfounded – - they stem from a recent UK TV broadcast by illusionist Darren Brown which exposed some truly phony faith-healers).
(3) Bethel Church, in Redding, CA Nov. 28, 2009
This is only 55 seconds long. There is a dramatic, sudden growth spurt of about 2 inches at about the 27 second mark. The filming here is not as rigorous as might be desired – there are no clear shots from above of the heels side by side. But this is largely because of how spontaneous this thing was. Apparently much growth had taken place already, and then someone with a video camera came over to see what the uproar was about. The reaction of the on-scene witnesses speaks for itself. I happen to know people who know the people at Bethel, and it is not credible that they would have staged this whole episode. Here is the descriptive blurb from the person who originally posted this on YouTube:
This happened today (11-28-09) at Bethel’s healing rooms. I had met the girl earlier and her tailbone had a growth on it that made it too long so we prayed and the growth disappeared and we also found that her one leg was about an inch and a half shorter than the other. So we prayed and it grew out right in front of our eyes!
At this point, she was about 4 feet 9 inches tall. The lady she stands next to at the end of the video is 4 feet 11 inches tall. After we prayed the first time I just felt like asking, So do you want to be taller? and she excitedly agreed. We prayed several times and this is the result that happened. As you can plainly see at the end of the video, she is now a good 2 inches or so taller than her friend. She GREW FOUR INCHES in a matter of 15 minutes in front of at least a dozen people.
The even more amazing thing is that doctors had told her when she was much younger that her bones were fused in a way that she would never grow another inch. So Jesus grew her four!
Cheers and Jeers
These and related video posts have called forth both favorable and unfavorable comments. Here are some corroborating messages:
We saw something like this when this pastor ministered in India. A man with a hand that was very small like the hand of a child. It grew out when the congregation watched it!! -mrstormwind 5 months ago
My friend’s leg grew like this in church and i was there. I can’t deny it, i’ve known her for years and she genuinely walks differently now. I’ve prayed for people on the streets who don’t even believe in a God. I’ve been told ‘you can if you like mate but nothing will happen’. I’ve seen them healed from cancer, broken bones and more. Again, affirmable by their doctors and I still see many of them and the results are permanent. More importantly relationship with God is available to you -9thsquare 10 months ago
Skeptical comments also abound in response to these and similar clips. Most of the objections fall into two categories. First, they claim that this is an easy thing to fake, e.g. by pulling on shoes, or by straightening out a bent knee, or by shifting the feet to one side. This is a fair point, and something to bear in mind in evaluating these incidents. If the person doing the praying were a big-time evangelist who had rented an expensive hall and had a reputation to promote in front of thousands of viewers, that would provide strong motivation to fake a miracle. For instance, this c. 1960 video of faith healer A. A. Allen shows him apparently tugging on the woman’s right shoe to pull it out, then later shoving it back in to create the “miracle” between times 2:18 and 2:27.
The viewer can weigh the motives and circumstances in the three videos above. For instance, in the second video (Healing on the Streets), the shoes are supported gently from beneath; after the first healing is complete in that video, the pray-er does tug on the healee’s foot (at about 2 minute mark) to confirm that that was not done during the healing proper. Also, it doesn’t look like any of the pray-ers are getting rich from their activities.
Apart from charlatans deliberately faking this effect, some believers may fool themselves into thinking a healing has occurred by unconsciously moving the pair of feet to the left or right. Shifting the feet three inches to the side can give the appearance of about an inch of relative growth. In the case of the Danish church above, the feet get shifted to the side about an inch, which would account for about a third of the claimed full inch of growth. There is no apparent sideways movement in the two healings in the Healing on the Streets video above from Reading, but a Healing on the Streets leg-growing at Harrowgate (video here ) was more controversial. The apparent growth there is about 1.5 inches, but the feet get moved to the side (can track by position relative to yellow dots on red carpet) enough to call into question the authenticity of the healing. Skeptics have siezed on this Harrowgate video to try to discredit all such healings. This sideways shifting is so easy to do (intentionally or not) that it would be best when praying for this sort of healing to let the feet rest on a stool, not on someone’s hands, especially if the starting length difference is only an inch.
The other common objection is, “Why don’t we see more impressive miracles, like new legs growing on amputees ?” . This response seems mainly a manifestation of closed-mindedness. The skeptic asks for visual proof of the supernatural, is given it quantitatively in videos which can be paused or played back, but instead of questioning his anti-supernatural assumptions, he turns around and says that these were not dramatic enough for his taste. If it were YOUR leg growing out and YOUR back thereby getting untwisted, you would likely appreciate this healing instead of minimizing it.
That said, most miracles in the Bible do not involve ab initio creation of anything. Jesus revived some dead people, but did not make people appear out of thin air. When abundant wine was needed, he made it from existing water. When food for thousands was needed, he took existing chunks of bread and fish and just kept them coming. Thus, healing or adjustment of existing body parts (e.g. legs growing out or tumors disappearing) seems more consistent with Biblical paradigms than creation of whole new limbs. That may help calibrate our expectations.
For healings of blindness and deafness in response to prayer as documented in a medical journal, see Healing Miracles in Mozambique . Also, the Healing of Nearly-Deaf Boy on YouTube post links to a clear video of a boy’s hearing getting healed in Brazil.
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