by Chris McKinney
When God does a miracle, is it based on the faith of the person ministering or the person receiving the miracle?
In Scripture, I believe we see examples of both. At times, Jesus seems to be responding to a person’s faith (Mark 5:34). Other times, He seems to do miracles in spite of people’s doubts (Mark 9:23-25). Still other times, He seems to be moved simply by His compassion for people (Luke 7:11-15), with no mention of faith at all.
What about when a person is seeking to know God, receive an anointing, or a touch from the Holy Spirit? Does their ability to receive those things depend on the character of the people speaking, teaching, or ministering to them?
We’ve all seen headlines about fallen ministers. Recently there was a megachurch pastor who tried to hire a hitman to murder one of his personal enemies, among other major problems that surfaced. But he was apparently preaching the gospel for a long time after things went south in his personal life.
Were people still being saved? Was this church still seeing God move in various ways? Were the sheep still being fed through this man’s sermons?
I imagine that they were, and there are plenty of other examples of this happening. After all, God Himself says that His gifts and His calling are “irrevocable” (Romans 11:29 NKJV). No minister is perfect to begin with, and sometimes the level of imperfection that God is willing to work through is shocking to us, both in Bible times and in modern experience.
The Apostle Paul warned about men who preach Christ out of envy, rivalry, and selfish ambition. But he concluded: “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice” (Philippians 1:15-18 NIV).
It’s with this scriptural backdrop that I’d like to address the issue of the flowing oil Bible ministry, and the many miracles which stemmed from it.
What Was the Flowing Oil Bible?
For those who don’t know, the flowing oil Bible was said to be a miracle that occurred when a small group of people got together and earnestly sought the Lord in prayer for several months. One member of the group, Jerry Pearce, reported that his Bible began miraculously producing oil.
The group sought the Lord’s direction for what to do with this miracle, and a ministry of healing was born.
As people used the oil for anointing and prayer, many were healed. Churches began booking the team at events, Christian media covered the alleged miracle, and hundreds of thousands of vials of the oil were distributed for free.
Reports of miracles continued to pour in from everywhere as the flowing oil Bible team traveled to churches all over the US and distributed the oil. One testimony of the team was that a curious chemical engineer had tested the oil and found that it was not manmade or manufactured in any way, and that it did not match any known oil (Note: if that was a real person who did some real testing, it would be pertinent for him to step forward at this point).
However, in February of 2020, news broke that a journalist had investigated the supposed miracle and basically found it to be a fraud. Reported statements by Jerry Pearce seemed to indicate that while not admitting the miracle was fraudulent, that he had engaged in some questionable behavior which called the whole miracle and ministry into serious question.
After a couple of statements indicating that they would work to vindicate the miracle however they could, the ministry basically canceled all events and shut down. Their website went silent and their social media disappeared.
If I had the luxury of just deleting my own testimony that involved this ministry, I probably would have done so. That seems to be the easiest and least painful way to deal with something like this—try to just put it behind us, and keep moving forward.
But many people have been left confused or even hurt by it, so we probably should talk about it to some degree. And like I said, I feel that my hand is forced because in our latest release, Speaking in Tongues, tucked away at the very end in a section labeled “Bonus Material,” is a brief testimony that involved members of the flowing oil Bible team. Once you publish something in a book, you cannot unpublish it.
It’s been a painful lesson for me, and I have certainly focused on how I can learn and grow from this.
How Could People Ever Be So Gullible?
For Christians with the benefit of hindsight, news reports, alleged lab reports, and vague admissions of guilt by one of the ministry’s team members, it’s probably very easy to look at this situation and ask, “How could people ever be so gullible to believe something like this?”
I was one of those people. I believed it was a real miracle, and I admit that.
To be totally transparent about the extent of my experience, I’ll note that I only attended a single event in which the Bible and the ministry were present. I never spoke to any of the flowing oil Bible team members, except to ask Jerry Pearce when prayer ministry would start that night. He responded simply that there would be prayer ministry at the end of the service.
Johnny Taylor was one of several speakers, and the flowing oil Bible team accounted for 4 out of probably 60 people who were praying and ministering to the hundreds of people in attendance that night.
But again, after watching testimonies of the team and hearing so many testimonies about the healing that was happening, I certainly believed the flowing oil Bible was a real miracle. How could I be so gullible?
Well, to that I can only respond… did you hear about the guy who claimed his handkerchief was healing people? Yes, apparently entire cities were taken in by this “charismania.” Some even claimed they were healed by touching an apron that had merely touched this man. How could anyone ever be so gullible?
There was also a nation of desert wanderers who claimed to have been healed when their leader hung a bronze snake up on a pole. All they had to do was look up at the snake, and they were supposedly healed!
Of course, those are real miracles recorded in the Bible. But interestingly, when people started becoming too enamored with the bronze snake and giving it godlike status, God had it destroyed (2 Kings 18:4).
We could go on and on with biblical examples like these. The point is, we serve a miracle-working God who often does strange and unexplainable things through His people.
Was the Flowing Oil Bible a Real Miracle?
I don’t know the answer to that question. It could be that the flowing oil Bible was a real miracle, that it stopped flowing at some point, and that Jerry Pearce decided to “keep it going” with store-bought oil. In fact, that is apparently what he indicated to be the situation in one of his statements to the media.
I know most people are very cynical toward the whole thing at this point, and will probably scoff at that idea. But I also know that human beings are very capable of making terrible mistakes, even when they start off on the right path. So, I think this scenario is definitely possible.
Another scenario is that there was only one person (Jerry Pearce) who deceived everyone else, and that everyone else involved in the ministry was a sincere believer who did no wrong. Again, this is also possible. I have no way to make that determination though.
Another possibility is that everyone involved knew it was fake and was motivated by attention-seeking (they apparently never did anything to profit financially from any of this). I do not believe this was the case. But I concede that I would have no way of knowing if it was the case.
To be honest, I still wonder how the Bible, glue, and ink remained intact, sitting submerged in all of that oil for long periods of time, but I suppose there could be some natural explanation for that.
I’m Glad I Believed This Was a Real Miracle
Whatever the true situation with the flowing oil might have been, I’m glad I believed it was a real miracle. I know that might sound strange, but hear me out.
There is testimony relevant to this discussion that I did not share in the book. The main one is that a person who went to the event with us was miraculously healed of a potentially deadly affliction, and it happened at the exact moment Jerry Pearce touched him with the flowing oil Bible.
He had suffered from a heart problem for several years. The doctors had done surgery and implanted a device in his heart that had basically brought his problem to a manageable state. So he just thought it was something he would have to live with.
After the surgery, he would still have these episodes where his heart would do very strange things every couple of weeks or so, and the doctors would record the activity through the implant device. The device communicated with the doctors’ computers through satellites. If his heart ever stopped completely, they would remotely signal the device to shock his heart.
He had also been suffering from bleeding ulcers in his stomach for a few weeks before that event, and it was the primary reason he was thinking he wanted to go. He wanted the Lord to heal him of the ulcers.
But as we walked in the door of the church that night, he felt the Lord say, “I’m going to heal your heart tonight.”
He said he had not even been thinking about his heart at all before that moment.
There was a time of worship music, and then the first speaker who got up, the first thing out of his mouth was, “God is going to give someone here a new heart tonight.” There was probably at least 600 people there that night, and I started to feel like God was keying in on this person who was with us, to give him a miracle. I was excited for him, and believing for my own healing as well.
We went through the service and got in the prayer line. We weren’t waiting in line for Jerry Pearce. We were just waiting in the line for the prayer teams at the front, trying to be open to whatever the Lord had for us, and trusting that He was working through the process. While we waited, Jerry Pearce came around and anointed people by touching their heads with the Bible.
When Jerry touched the head of this other person who was with me, my companion felt the power of God run from his head, into his heart, flow in a circular motion around his heart very fast several times, and then run all the way down his left leg and seeming “out” through his foot.
He has been healed ever since. He runs several miles a day now, does intense workouts, and does not have any episodes with his heart.
He also was healed of his ulcers that night.
Before we went, he could not eat more than 2-3 bites of food in one sitting. When we left the church at around 2 in the morning, we went to Waffle House and I watched him eat a huge plate of food with no problem or discomfort at all. He hasn’t had a single problem with ulcers since then.
If I had not believed the flowing oil Bible was a real miracle, we never would have gone to that event, and this person might still be suffering from serious health problems to this day.
But he isn’t suffering.
This is how and when God chose to heal him, and not only do I accept that, I embrace it. I don’t fully understand it, but I embrace it simply because that’s how God chose to do it. God’s actions are always right and good. I can only conclude that just like with everyone who received a touch from God through this ministry, that God was responding to this person’s faith. He didn’t go there to be wowed by a miraculous sign. He went there simply seeking a touch from the Lord, and God honored what was in his heart.
God honored the hearts of all who were seeking Him.
There were other miracle healings that night, as I recall. I even watched one deeply disturbed lady get delivered of demonic oppression, and subsequently profess Christ as Savior before being water baptized. She walked out healed and whole, full of joy and praising the Lord. God was moving in all kinds of ways that night. God did not seem to be limited in any way by the presence of the flowing oil Bible and its ministry team.
The Testimony in Our Book is 100% True
One other thing I’d like to make clear is that there is nothing about the testimony in the book for us to recant. I can’t back off of the testimony or downplay any of it, because we shared everything exactly as it happened. There was no embellishment or exaggeration of any kind.
Even though the testimony in the book is true, I felt that I had to address the flowing oil Bible issue because their team members played a role in that testimony. I also plan to update the book to include the URL to this page, rather than the page formerly used by the flowing oil Bible ministry.
After the news broke about Jerry’s admissions of wrongdoing, I did regret having highlighted the ministry in a positive way. For that or any other way in which I fell short, I apologize and ask for forgiveness from the body of Christ.
I am still learning and growing.
The Major Lessons I Take from All of This
First, God is ultimately glorified through these events. Even when human beings are ignorant, corrupt, or both, He is still good. When human beings were making mistakes, He was doing good to them—healing them and blessing them in all kinds of ways. None of the people involved in these events come across looking great. The flowing oil Bible people. The pastors all over the country who hosted them. The Christian media people who promoted them. The seekers who sought a touch from God as their faith was ignited by this alleged sign and wonder. None of us come across in a way that will stroke our own egos. There is no glory for man in any of this.
But God did all kinds of good to people in spite of all the ways humankind fell short. He is good, and this undoubtedly adds to His eternal glory and fame.
Second, when you ask for a fish, your Father will not give you a snake. We are told to test the spirits. We are commanded to be on guard against false prophets. We should always be careful and try to practice discernment. I’m not arguing that we shouldn’t do those things.
But when you are seeking the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is what you’re going to get. Jesus Himself states this fact in Luke 11:11-13. If you’re doing the best you can to seek the Lord, obey His commands, be responsible, and practice discernment—but also going after God with all of your heart—you don’t have to fear the enemy. God is not going to give you a snake.
I do think we can do a better job of testing, and I plan to write a follow-up piece about that.
Third, going after God with all your heart is sometimes messy. It’s much easier to stay in the boat, where everything is acceptable to the mainstream, polished, and never “weird” or “strange.”
But if you’re going after God with all of your heart, you’re going to have to come to terms with the fact that God does things which are very strange to us. Just open your Bible pretty much anywhere and start reading. You cannot deny it. Most of the accounts of God’s handiwork recorded in the Bible—if they happened today—would not be acceptable to much of the mainstream.
This inevitably means that pursuing God with all of our hearts will sometimes look a bit messy. And it will be painful at times. But when we step into eternity, it’s not going to matter what other people thought about us. We’re not going to care about that even the slightest little bit. We’re only going to care whether Jesus says we were good and faithful with the time, opportunities, treasures, and talents He gave us.
We’re only going to care that we loved Him with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.
For that reason, let’s keep going after God, no matter how strange or unacceptable that may look to some people. Lord, please strengthen us and help us to do that, because it’s not easy. Please help us also to watch our lives and our doctrine closely. Help us to test, discern, lead others into truth, and always bring You glory, in Jesus’ name, Amen.