By Fred Melton
Peter Popoff, a California based faith healer seen on fifty television outlets, does not deny using electronic gadgetry to obtain “information on names, ailments and other personal details” as though they were revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. “The Holy Spirit does speak,” said Popoff, “but I don’t think people are naive.”
A task force of the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion claims that “Popoff gives his crusade audiences the impression that the Holy Spirit supplies him with the names and information about people to be prayed for.” The committee managed to tape a composite radio-television monitor conversation between Popoff and his wife, Elizabeth, while the “faith healer” was on stage. The following conversation was produced from the Anaheim Crusade on March 16:
“Hello, Petey. I love you. I’m talking to you. Can you hear me? If you can’t, you’re in trouble. . . I’m looking up names right now” she said, then reciting the name of a woman in their audience, Elizabeth continues, “She’s on the right side.” Peter responds by checking the name.
Elizabeth: “Got hives.”
Peter: “(Calls woman by first name) you’ve got hives.”
Elizabeth: “She takes a lot of medication.”
Peter: “You’ve been taking a lot of medication.”
Elizabeth: “She’s there with her son . . . and he has a lump in his chest.”
Peter: (referring to the woman’s son) “He’s got a lump in his chest.”
At another point in that service Elizabeth exclaimed, “Reeford’s got a hot one! ” (Reeford Sherrell is a Popoff associate.)
Elizabeth: “Reeford’s so excited! He came running in back here and scared us half to death. You ready for a hot one? Okay. Want a hot one? Hot off the presses. She is standing in the far back where there’s no chairs . . . She’s against the back wall. She’s got lumps in her breasts. You might want to whisper it. Have her walk down. Have her run up there. Run. Oh! Look at her run! (laughter) She’s got knots in her breast.”
Peter: “Now listen, I’m going to tell her what is wrong with her. But I’m not going to tell it out loud ’cause it’s confidential. How many believe the Holy Spirit is a gentleman?” Peter whispers to her, she nods her head and appears very excited.
Peter: “I’m going to burn that out. Here we go!”
He prays over her and she falls down.
Peter: “She got shocked! She got shocked! Hallelujah!”
Such episodes do not shake the faith of a dedicated Pentecostal. They would probably reply that “some unwise things are being done with respect to the Holy Spirit.”
It is my own opinion that many of these folk are ruled by a fear of sinning against the Holy Spirit. The same threat is also used against anyone who would question such “miracles” in modem times.
Surely, when our own brethren point out the error in the Pentecostal position “according to the scriptures” they are speaking on behalf of the Holy Spirit, not against Him.
There may be far more blasphemous fellows within the Pentecostal camp than without.
Guardian of Truth XXX: 14, p. 420
July 17, 1986