Bethel Church Finally Admits a Dead Child Will Not Be Resurrected December 23, 2019

Bethel Church Finally Admits a Dead Child Will Not Be Resurrected

California-based Bethel Church, a ministry that actively promotes belief in the supernatural to the point where seminary students are said to attend “Christian Hogwarts,” recently perpetuated the lie that a dead toddler was coming back to life.

They’re finally giving up on that miracle, admitting that the girl will not be returning, and planning a more formal memorial service.

Just over a week ago, Kalley Heiligenthal lost her two-year-old daughter Olive, who had stopped breathing. In the days that followed, Heiligenthal posted memories of her daughter online with captions suggesting that people’s prayers might bring Olive back to life.

We’re asking for prayer. We believe in a Jesus who died and conclusively defeated every grave, holding the keys to resurrection power. We need it for our little Olive Alayne, who stopped breathing yesterday and has been pronounced dead by doctors. We are asking for bold, unified prayers from the global church to stand with us in belief that He will raise this little girl back to life. Her time here is not done, and it is our time to believe boldly, and with confidence wield what King Jesus paid for. It’s time for her to come to life.

It’s one thing to criticize a grieving parent; it’s fair game, though, to criticize a church culture that makes people believe that could actually work. And that criticism came from many places, including other Christian circles.

It worked. Bethel is now formally admitting Olive will not be coming back to life.

Since learning the news of two-year old Olive Heiligenthal’s sudden death, we have sought a miracle from God to raise her from the dead. We realize this is out of the norm, but that’s what a miracle is — it’s outside the box of nature and our power. As the Bible testifies, God is the God of the reasonable, probable, and possible, as well as the God of the unreasonable, improbable and impossible.

Here is where we are: Olive hasn’t been raised. The breakthrough we have sought hasn’t come. With the same heart of utter confidence in God’s goodness, we receive the comfort of the Good Shepherd as Andrew, Kalley, and Olive’s big sister Elsie, their family, and our church walk together through the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23). And so, we are moving towards a memorial service and celebration of her life.

If this was the statement that came out at the beginning — that the church stands with the family in a time of grief, and that a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family, and that they will trust that this is all part of God’s plan — then there probably wouldn’t be any controversy. That’s what most churches do. The issue is that they waited more than a week to admit the obvious, leading people on with the idea that resurrection is an actual thing and not just a cornerstone of their personal mythology.

My heart goes out to the family. I don’t know what they’re going through. But the church needs to rethink its own theology because it’s downright cruel to tell people their dead loved ones might come back if only they pray hard enough.

It takes religion to add a second layer of misery on top of already unthinkable grief.

(Thanks to Kyle for the link)


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