An Australian Pentecostal group is claiming its youth ministry, which boasts members as young as 13 years old, is able to heal people suffering from a magnitude of different illnesses, ranging from sprained wrists to cancer and multiple sclerosis.
The group from the Bridgeman Downs Christian Outreach Center, called "Culture Shifters," has a number of videos that shows team members in action, calling on the power of God to heal people with various afflictions, and apparently seeing results – while not all experience miraculous recoveries on the spot, even some skeptics admit to feeling a positive effect.
The Culture Shifters leaders, pastors Grant Shaw, 27, and wife Emma, 23, show how they minister in a video of Shaw attempting to heal Anthony Gough, a reporter from the Sunday Mail who identifies himself as a skeptic. At the start of the video, Gough explains that he only has 10 percent vision in his right eye and is considered legally blind. Shaw checks out the reporter's vision by having him take a few tests, and then recites a prayer to God for the healing of Gough's retina while placing his hands on the reporter's head.
After the prayer, the skeptic experiences an immediate boost to his vision and is able to see how many fingers Shaw is holding up from much greater distances. He is unable, however, to read the material Shaw wants him to try out, but says he will see how the healing process goes and let the youth pastor know of any progress. As Shaw explains, in some cases a full recovery does not happen on the spot, God's healing factor continues working over a number of weeks and produces remarkable results.
The group claims to have had a 95 percent success rate and healed more than 200 people in the past year, the Herald Sun reported. More videos posted on YouTube with the title "the Brisbane miracles" show members of the group talking to teens and purportedly performing minor miracles, such as helping accelerate the healing process on a girl's fractured hand.
"Sometimes there can be a tingle, sometimes there can be a warmth, sometimes there can be a click, sometimes you don't hear anything at all,'' says Shaw, who is a former state government counselor. He also insisted that the group collects no donations for its work and does it purely to spread the word and power of God.
"She thought it was stupid that I was getting into some sort of cult,'' explained one of the youngest group leaders, Shayna Kendall, 16, admitting that her mother had great objections when she heard she wanted to join the group.
Australian health professionals, however, warn that seeking out professional help should always be the first choice when dealing with any serious injuries or illnesses.
"Anyone who has a medical condition should always seek advice from their doctor,'' argued Australian Medical Association Queensland president Dr. Richard Kidd in response to the Culture Shifters' ministry.