Hundreds of congregants attempted to resurrect a 2-year-old girl with song and dance at Bethel Church in Redding, California. The Washington Post and Religious News Service interviewed Richard Flory on Pentecostal beliefs about resurrection.
Here is an excerpt from the Washington Post:
Pentecostal Christians frequently pray for those miracles but rarely ask God for someone to be raised from the dead, said Flory, senior director of research and evaluation at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. He said that he had heard of this kind of prayer happening in African nations but that he did not know of other instances of it in the United States.
Flory said Johnson’s assertion that “not everyone dies in God’s timing” seemed presumptuous and inconsistent with many Pentecostal Christians’ belief that God is always in control. Flory said he is more concerned, however, about the potential psychological and emotional effects on the Heiligenthals and other church members when Olive is not resurrected.
In an effort to make the difficulties of life easier to bear, Flory said some people choose to believe in miracles that seem unlikely to others.
“That kind of power that’s not part of this world is something that I think is really appealing to people in a world that’s just seemingly running amok,” he said.
Flory further explained in Religion News Service:
“They’re on their own because they don’t have the same kind of restrictions that a denomination may have,” said Richard Flory, senior director of research and evaluation at the University of Southern California’s Centre for Religion and Civic Culture.
This includes the operation of Bethel Music, a ministry with its own record label that supplies churches around the country with worship songs. There is also the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry, which offers classes on life coaching, preaching and career ministry.
Bethel and other charismatic churches emphasise spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues and healings. Bethel has a particular emphasis on miracles.
“In general they believe in the miraculous access to the supernatural. That’s their whole thing,” Flory said.