Report One of Four

"The Resurrection of Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu"

By David Kirkwood

www.shepherdserve.org
david@shepherdserve.org

Soon after it occurred in December of 2001, I heard the report of Nigerian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu’s resurrection via e-mail from my friend, pastor David K. Aboderin, of Lagos, Nigeria. I also heard about this miracle from my friend Brent Regis, son-in-law of Reinhard Bonnke. Bonnke had been preaching at the church where Ekechukwu was resurrected a short time before it occurred. Brent told me at that time some of the details of pastor Ekechukwu’s experience in hell. Some months after that, I also watched the video documentary of that miracle produced by Christ for all Nations, which focused primarily on the miracle of the resurrection. I wanted to learn more about the incident. Since I was scheduled to spend the first two weeks of September, 2002 teaching at three pastors’ conferences in Nigeria, I told David Aboderin that if it would be possible, I would like to meet pastor Ekechukwu, and I prayed that the Lord would make it possible.

I learned that pastor Ekechukwu was from a village called Amaimo, Imo State, and that he was pastoring a church in the city of Onitsha, Anambra State, called Power Chapel Evangelical Church. Onitsha was about a three-hour drive from where our final conference would be held, in the eastern Nigerian city of Umahia. So I asked the pastors at that conference if any of them knew how we could find pastor Ekechukwu. One young man raised his hand and told me that he had a friend who had a friend who personally knew pastor Ekechukwu. However, we also learned that pastor Ekechukwu was very difficult to meet, as he is in great demand. To make a long story short, we eventually learned that pastor Ekechukwu was temporarily staying at a hotel just five minutes from David Aboderin’s home in Lagos, where I would be lodging during my final three days in Nigeria. We were also given the opportunity to meet him. So in a country of 130 million people, and in a city of 12 million, the man I wanted to meet was lodging just five minutes away from me! It was either great coincidence or wonderful providence. I was given the favor of personally meeting with Daniel Ekechukwu twice during those three days and also talking with several people on his ministry staff who were very familiar with his story.

The following report has been compiled from several sources: (1) from pastor Daniel Ekechukwu himself by means of personal discussions I had with him from September 12-14, 2002, while I was in Lagos, Nigeria, (2) from his personal written testimony contained in his own self-published booklet which he gave me, titled Miracle of the 21st Century, (3) from listening to his public testimony on September 13th at The Chapel of Glory, Lagos, Nigeria, (4) from the documentary video produced and sold by the ministry of Christ for all Nations, which includes the testimonies of pastor Daniel, the doctor who pronounced him dead, Daniel’s wife, Daniel’s father, the mortician who embalmed Daniel, and several pastors who were present at his resurrection, and (5) from a personal discussion with Ede Samuel, a long-time friend and personal assistant to pastor Daniel, who also was an eye-witness of many of the events surrounding Daniel’s death and resurrection. The events described in the following report are factual to the best of my knowledge and memory. I’ve sent this report to a Nigerian man named Uche Chikezie, who was Daniel Ekechukwu’s Public Relations Director, and he affirmed that all that I reported is true. I am persuaded that due to complications from an automobile accident, Nigerian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu physically died in the late evening of Friday, November 30th, 2001, was dead for at least 42 hours, visited heaven and hell during the time of his physical death, and was raised from the dead between 3:50 P.M. and 5:15 P.M. on Sunday, December 2nd, 2001 in the basement of the Grace of God Mission, located in Onitsha, Nigeria. Pastor Ekechukwu’s resurrection is the greatest modern miracle of which I’ve heard.

Although some of what happened to pastor Ekechukwu is certainly extra-biblical, none of it is unbiblical. Indeed, neither the story of Daniel Ekechukwu’s resurrection or the story of your salvation is found in the Bible, making them both extra-biblical, but neither should be discounted on that basis.


The Account
On Thursday, November 29th, 2001, Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu and his wife, Nneka, had a misunderstanding that degenerated into an argument that ended in her slapping him. He was very offended by this incident, to the point of not even acknowledging her attempt to reconcile the next morning. Pastor Daniel admitted that throughout the day of November 30th, he angrily thought about how he would put his wife in her place when he returned home. He would not, however, make it home that Friday.

As he was driving home that evening, the brakes on his 20-year old Mercedes 230E failed as he was heading down a steep hill, and his car crashed into a concrete pillar that was built to prevent cars from going over a steep embankment. He was not wearing a seat belt (few Nigerians did in 2001, but that changed in 2003, when wearing a seat-belt become a national law), and his chest hit very forcibly against the steering wheel and its knob, apparently doing damage to his internal organs, as he was soon vomiting up blood and having difficulty breathing (not to mention that he soon lost all signs of life). Daniel was not able to remove himself from his car, but frantic on-lookers pulled him out. One bystander volunteered her car while another bystander offered to drive him to St. Charles Borromeo Hospital, not far away on the outskirts of Onitsha.

Within minutes of their arrival at the hospital, a doctor began administering emergency treatment, but Daniel knew his body was not responding to it. He began praying the prayer of a man who knows he is going to die, asking God to forgive him of all his sins so that he would be ready to stand before the Lord. He also sent for his wife, Nneka, with whom he had refused to speak when he left his home earlier that day. She fainted upon hearing the news of her husband’s accident and condition, but when revived was taken by a Christian neighbor to the hospital. Daniel’s friend, Ede Samuel (whom I interviewed at length) was with her and essentially witnessed everything that transpired over the next three days.

Upon seeing Daniel in critical condition when she arrived at St. Charles Borromeo hospital, Daniel’s wife burst into tears, begging her husband not to die and leave her. The doctor admitted that there was nothing he could do to save Daniel’s life (keep in mind this was a Third World hospital), and so Daniel requested that he be transferred by ambulance to Umezuruike Hospital at Owerri, where his personal doctor practiced. The Umezuruike hospital was 80 km away.  Daniel’s wife arranged for the ambulance against the advice of doctors at St. Charles hospital. It was on the way to Umezuruike Hospital that Daniel died.

Daniel was lying in the back of the ambulance while his wife was in the front passenger seat. He began to feel that he was not going to survive, and so he called for his wife to come to him. He began to say goodbye, give her instructions about certain church and personal documents, and admonished her to take care of their sons and his church. She began sobbing greatly and amidst her tears strongly rebuked him for such negative statements. He was a man of God and should have faith, and not be speaking of dying!

As she was speaking, Daniel saw two large angels (they were so large that he later wondered how they fit inside the ambulance---one was as big as the ambulance) who were completely white (even the pupils of their eyes). Daniel tried to speak to the angels, but one held his finger to his lips, motioning for his silence. The angels lifted him on either side, and Daniel realized that there were now two of himself. The angels were holding him under each arm of his spirit man (which was perfectly whole), while his broken body was lying below. Once they left the ambulance, Daniel became oblivious to the natural world.

When the ambulance arrived at Umezuruike Hospital with Daniel’s body, it was now late at night (Friday, November 30th), and Daniel’s doctor was not there. A member of the medical staff, however, examined his body and sadly told Nneka that her husband was dead and there was nothing that could be done. Nneka refused to believe the bad report.

So they drove to the Federal Medical Center in Owerri, but found no doctor there either. Finally they drove to the Eunice Clinic, and there Daniel was confirmed to be dead by Doctor Jossy Anuebunwa. There was no breathing, no heartbeat or pulse, and Daniel’s pupils were dilated and fixed. The doctor said that there was nothing he could do. A death certificate was issued at 11:30 P.M., November 30, 2001.

They then drove Daniel’s corpse to his father’s house in a nearby village, and naturally Daniel’s father and other family members were heartbroken at the sight of Daniel’s dead body, weeping profusely. Daniel’s father instructed them to take his body to Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary (now known as Inyishi Community Hospital mortuary) not far away.  They arrived there around 1:00 A.M. on Saturday morning. The resident mortician, Mr. Darlington Manu, received the corpse and the family members departed.

The primitive Nigerian mortuary where Daniel’s body was taken had no cold storage facilities, and so the mortician injected embalming chemicals into Daniel’s fingers and into his feet. He then prepared to fully embalm Daniel’s body by cutting Daniel’s inner thigh in order to insert a tube by which he could inject more embalming fluid. As he did this, he experienced a shock that pushed him away from the corpse. This did not surprise him, as he had experienced similar forces before and attributed them to occult powers. (Such things are widely practiced in Africa and highly respected by all African pastors whom I know. Africans never understand the skepticism of Americans regarding the reality of occult power.) After a second attempt and a second shock that somewhat paralyzed his right arm, he concluded that Daniel must have been a member of a powerful secret society. He assumed, however, that after some occult sacrifices and incantations the powers in the corpse would subside, and he could then complete his work. (This mortician, of course, was not a Christian, but converted after Daniel’s resurrection.) So he instructed an assistant to lay Daniel’s body in the rear of the mortuary where many other corpses were already laid. (Incidentally, Daniel said that people could smell the embalming chemicals coming out of his body for two weeks after his resurrection. They would hug him and hold their noses.)

Around 2:00 A.M. Saturday morning, the mortician, who lived very close to the mortuary, was disturbed by songs of worship coming from inside his mortuary, which stopped as soon as approached the mortuary doorway. This occurred twice. Upon searching for the music’s source in his mortuary, he noticed some kind of light emanating from the face of Daniel’s corpse. This completely unnerved him.

The mortician was so disturbed over what was happing that that he located Daniel’s father on Saturday morning to inform him of what had been happening and to request that he remove Daniel’s corpse from his mortuary. Then, on Saturday night, while she was sleeping, Daniel’s wife experienced a dream in which she saw the face of her husband, and he was asking her why they had left him in the mortuary. He stated that he was not dead and that she should take him to Onitsha where German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was preaching. She determined to do so, even though her family thought she was out of her mind. Daniel had been dead for more than 28 hours. The family finally yielded, but purchased a casket and brought funeral clothing for the mortician to dress Daniel. Rigor mortis had fully set in by this time. An ambulance was hired on Sunday morning, December 2nd, and the casket that contained Daniel’s body was taken to Grace of God Mission (a large church) in Onitsha, about one and half hours away, where evangelist Reinhard Bonnke was preaching at an afternoon church dedication service. They arrived at the church around 1:00 P.M.

The church grounds were being protected by swarms of federal, state and local security guards for the sake of Reinhard Bonnke, who has received many death threats, and who is hated by Muslims all over Africa. (Not to mention the fact that the World Trade Center had been destroyed by Muslim hijackers just weeks before.) For this reason, the security guards would not allow the casket to be brought onto church grounds, thinking it might actually contain explosives. Daniel’s wife loudly pleaded with them, and opened the casket to show them her dead husband, which resulted in their mocking and even flogging her because of her persistence to gain entrance. She caused such a disturbance that the senior pastor was notified, and his son instructed that Daniel’s wife be permitted to bring his body to the church without the casket, and that it be placed in the basement. Daniel’s body was laid there on two tables pushed together in a Sunday School room.

Some believers gathered around Daniel’s body and prayed while Reinhard Bonnke, who knew nothing of the dead body in the basement, preached and prayed. Eventually, it was noticed that Daniel’s corpse twitched, and then irregular breathing started. (By this time, Reinhard Bonnke had left the premises entirely.) The attendant believers began praying fervently, and because his body was stiff and cold, they began massaging his neck, arms and legs. When those in the sanctuary got word that a dead man below was coming back to life, the basement room was soon jammed with people. Suddenly Daniel sneezed and arose with a jump. It was somewhere between 3:50 and 5:15 PM on Sunday afternoon. Daniel had died Friday night around 10:00 PM. He slowly became fully coherent over the next few hours.

Do you doubt this account? A report on the web site of Christ for all Nations declares:

Here are some hard facts that won’t go away. For two days Daniel did not breathe, his heart had stopped beating. It was in a hot climate, not suspended animation in an ice chamber. He had been injected with a harsh chemical to keep back mortification. As a corpse he was carted around for hours, pulled about, and lay in an airless narrow coffin for hours. He should have had severe brain damage, but he is alive now without any ill effects.

This is no unsupported claim of bringing someone to life privately, as in a house. Here was a public event, an open demonstration of revival from death. If anyone has to be named, it is Nneka. Her incurable faith alone prevented Daniel’s burial simply to bring him where she was convinced God could bring him back to life. She regarded Reinhard Bonnke as a man of God and that in the atmosphere of faith where he ministered this miracle was possible. The faith of Nneka dictated the whole event and her faith was honored. By whom? Who honored her faith? If not God, who else?

I would add to this defense that if the incident was a hoax, I doubt that pastor Ekechukwu would have invented the story of what happened to him when he was escorted to hell, which I will relate next. Pastor Daniel’s message is now one of repentance to the church, to prepare the church to stand before Jesus, and many have indeed repented after hearing his testimony. If his story is all a hoax, the result of this hoax is real holiness. Finally, the ministry of Reinhard Bonnke certainly needs no promotional hoax, as his Nigerian crusades are already attended by millions. He in fact states that he had nothing to do with the miracle, and wasn’t aware of the dead body in the basement of the church where he was preaching.

As amazing as the story of his death and resurrection is, what Daniel experienced after his death is even more amazing. To him, what he experienced between his death and resurrection could have taken only fifteen minutes, even though he was physically dead for almost two days. After he was lifted from his body by the two angels in the ambulance, he soon found himself momentarily alone, but was soon joined by a different angel. Daniel stated that if he was confused about something that he saw or experienced, or if he had a question in his mind, this angel immediately gave him the answer. This angel first told him that they were going to Paradise. There was no time expended in getting anywhere the angel took him. As soon as the angel said they were going to Paradise, they were there.

Daniel stood with the angel and watched a multitude of worshipping people who were dressed in sparkling white garments. He immediately thought they were angels, but the escorting angel told him that they were human beings who, “while they lived on earth, served God and had their faith focused on Christ Jesus and lived righteously.” These people were all ageless and raceless. That is, none appeared to be young or middle-aged or elderly, and none had any racial distinctives in their appearance. All were focused on a very bright light above them, and all worshipped in perfect unison. They would all lift their hands at once and bow at once “as if a sort of electronic device was activating them.”

Daniel did notice one man who looked elderly among the multitude, and the thought occurred to him that perhaps that man was God, but the escorting angel immediately corrected him. The man was father Abraham. (Read Luke 16:19-31 for a story Jesus told that speaks of Abraham in the afterlife.)
Daniel longed to join the worshippers, but the angel told him that there were other things Daniel needed to see. He told Daniel they would next go to see Jesus’ promise to His followers, the mansion He had prepared for those whom “He would find righteous on the last day.” Immediately they were there. Daniel said there is no earthly way to describe what he saw. The mansion had no apparent end to its height or width. It continually moved, and each room also revolved in some manner. It was made of something that was transparent like glass, and the floors appear to be made of light. Daniel didn’t see anybody in the great mansion, but heard beautiful singing. Wondering where the music was coming from, the angel immediately pointed him to the many flowers around the mansion. When Daniel looked at them more closely, they were moving and swaying and singing praise to God!

The angel told Daniel, “The mansion is ready but the saints of God are not. Jesus is being delayed because Christians in the church are not ready yet.” (This is entirely scriptural; see 2 Pet. 3:12.)

Next, the angel took Daniel to hell, and they stood at the gate. When the angel lifted his hand and let it fall again, the gate opened, and Daniel could immediately hear the awful sounds of people screaming and weeping, but everything in hell was in total blackness. Then a bright light shone from the angel, and Daniel could see many groups of people in anguish. He told me of several specific groups that went through endless cycles of torment, held captive to the same sins they practiced on earth. One group consisted of people who would eat their own flesh and then vomit it out onto the ground, at which time the vomit would fly back onto their bodies and turn back into flesh that they would eat again. The angel told Daniel these people were those who had eaten human flesh as an occult practice. (Such things occur in Africa all the time.) Another group, who had stolen land from others while on earth, endlessly dug rock-hard ground with their bare hands.

As I heard Daniel relate this scene, I couldn’t help but thinking of how many times Scripture declares that God will repay every person according to his or her deeds, and also promises that everyone will reap precisely what they have sown. I remembered the story Jesus told of Lazarus and the rich man. In the afterlife, their roles were exactly reversed. The rich man longed for a drip of water from Lazarus just as Lazarus had previously longed for a crumb from the rich man’s table.

Pastor Daniel also saw the former military dictator of Nigeria. He saw a Christian who had dabbled in occult practices and fallen away from the Lord, and a pastor who had embezzled money from his own church and also lied about it. The former pastor pleaded that he would return the money if Daniel could help him escape hell. Although there were different kinds of tortures, all of the people in hell writhed in agony under an unseen force that would wrench them repeatedly. All of them were shouting, wailing and gnashing their teeth. Pastor Daniel told me that if every Christian could see what he saw, there would be no need to preach the gospel, as every Christian would become the gospel.

The most surprising thing is what happened next. The escorting angel told pastor Daniel, “If your record is to be called here, you will in no doubt be thrown into hell.” Pastor Daniel immediately defended himself saying, “I am a man of God! I serve Him with all my heart!” But a Bible appeared in the angel’s hand, and it was opened to Matthew 5 where Jesus warned that if one calls his brother a fool he is guilty enough to go into the hell of fire (see Matt. 5:21-22). Pastor Daniel knew he was guilty for the angry words he had spoken to his wife. The angel also reminded him that Jesus promised that God will not forgive our sins if we do not forgive others (see Matt. 6:14-15), because we will reap what we have sown. Only those who are merciful will obtain mercy (Matt 5:7). The angel told Daniel that the prayers he prayed as he was dying in the hospital were of no effect, because he refused to forgive his wife even when she attempted to reconcile on the morning of his fatal accident.

Pastor Daniel wept at this revelation, but the angel told him not to cry, because God was going to send him back to the earth to grant the rich man’s request (see Luke 16:27-30). A man would come back from the dead and warn people of hell. The angel said that Daniel’s resurrection would serve as a sign and be the last warning for this generation.

Finally, pastor Daniel was led to the top of a mountain, at which there was a large hole full of darkness. There the escorting angel handed Daniel to a man standing there whom he did not recognize at first, but soon realized it was German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke. The angel told Daniel that man would help him spread the gospel of salvation.

Both Daniel and Rev. Bonnke fell into the hole, and that is when pastor Daniel jumped up from the table where he lay at the Grace of God mission. He was back in his body after having been dead for at least 42 hours, almost two full days.

As you may imagine, pastor Daniel greatly emphasizes in his preaching the need to forgive those who have wronged us, lest anyone suffer the fate he almost suffered. How important it is that we obey Jesus’ commandments regarding forgiveness and walking in love toward each other, as well as all the rest of His commandments. It is indeed time for the church to repent and “pursue peace with all men, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). Do not listen to false teachers who say that holiness is not essential to ultimately gain eternal life. Jesus warned that only those who do the will of His Father will enter the kingdom of heaven (see Matt. 7:21). Do not listen to teachers who say that if you are once saved you are guaranteed that you will always be saved. Jesus warned His closest disciples (see Matt. 24:1-3) of the possibility of their not being ready when He returned and being cast into hell (see Matt. 24:42-25:46).

If we expect God to forgive us, we must forgive others. That is what Jesus solemnly promised. Are you ready to stand before Jesus, sincere and blameless?

By David Kirkwood

"Follow-up on the Daniel Ekuchukwu Report"

By David Kirkwood
www.shepherdserve.org
david@shepherdserve.org

So many people have asked questions regarding my report on the resurrection of Nigerian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu that I thought I should write a follow-up. Reactions have ranged from total unbelief to serious self-examination and repentance. And because folks have forwarded the e-mail version or copied the snail-mail version, I’ve received responses from far and wide. The report has, for example, been posted on a web site in New Zealand and inquired about in Finland. If you’ve forwarded my previous report to anyone, you may want to forward this follow-up as well.

First, do I really believe that pastor Daniel Ekechukwu was dead for at least 42 hours? Yes, and for two reasons. First, because the evidence strongly indicates that this miracle actually happened. It is documented by means of many credible witnesses. It didn’t happen secretly; it happened publicly. I personally interviewed two of the witnesses, Daniel himself, and a friend of his, Ede Samuel, who was there when he died and when he was resurrected. Daniel’s friend said he thought Daniel’s wife was crazy thinking that her husband would come back to life.

Second, I believe the report because my theology makes room for the existence of God. It amazes me that people who see and experience millions of unexplainable miracles every day refuse to accept the fact that God performed one more little miracle in Nigeria. When you can explain to me how your fingernails grow or how the leaves change color in Fall, I’ll explain to you how Daniel Ekechukwu was raised from the dead! It takes millions of unexplainable miracles for you just to read this sentence. To religious unbelievers, Paul asked, “Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?” (Acts 26:8).

If one does not believe that Daniel Ekechukwu was raised from the dead, one must then believe that he was unconscious for at least 42 hours, and that medical personnel, a doctor, family members, pastors, church members, and an experienced mortician were fooled into thinking he was dead because of the fact that he was not breathing, had no heartbeat or pulse, had fixed pupils and rigor mortis! One might just as well claim that Lazarus wasn’t dead, only unconscious, and that he just happened to regain consciousness by the startling sound of Jesus’ voice as he lay in his tomb. If I had been there to examine Daniel Ekechukwu, I would have thought he was dead, just like everyone else.

One “discernment ministry” attempts to discredit this miracle by quoting Hebrews 9:27: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment.” Supposedly this verse proves that Daniel Ekechukwu could not have been resurrected since the Bible says that people only die once. This is a very weak argument indeed. A quick look at the context of Hebrews 9:27 reveals that the inspired author was not declaring an unalterable rule, but using a general truth as an analogy for Christ’s one-time sacrifice. The passage actually says, “For inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation...” If Hebrews 9:27 invalidates Daniel Ekechukwu’s resurrection, then it also invalidates the experiences of those whom Jesus, Peter and Paul raised from the dead and who later died again.

Another “discernment ministry,” splitting hairs, points out that the rich man’s request (recorded in Luke 16:27-28) was denied. This supposedly exposes the lie of pastor Daniel’s claim that the angel told him that the request of the rich man had been granted in Daniel’s resurrection. May I point out that the rich man of Luke 16 specifically requested that Lazarus be resurrected to warn his five brothers, but that request was denied because Abraham knew they wouldn’t believe, since they, as Jews, ignored the Law and Prophets all their lives. Abraham, however, never promised that no other people in the future would rise from the dead as a sign in an attempt to get other sinners (especially those who never heard any Scripture) to repent of their sins. If Abraham was promising that God would never resurrect anyone with the hope of leading people to repentance, then we must deny the many later resurrections of which we read in the Gospels and Acts, including even Jesus’ resurrection. The angel’s statement to pastor Daniel Ekechukwu could be paraphrased, “Even though the rich man’s request that Lazarus be sent to his five brothers was denied several thousand years ago (and for good reason), now God is mercifully going to grant even more than the rich man requested, and also for good reason. You will be resurrected and testify before more than five people who will not repent---you will speak to millions, and many who hear you will repent.” So it is in that sense that God has granted the rich man’s request. And God certainly has the prerogative to do that if He desires, even though some “discernment minister” might object.

It has been asked, “How was it that Daniel’s body had no visible marks from his accident when he came back to life?” I suppose that if God is able to raise someone from the dead, He is also able to heal someone’s bruises, cracked ribs, and damaged internal organs. In fact, if God did not heal the people He resurrects, they would immediately die again of what originally killed them.

Would not have Daniel’s body have bloated in the hot Nigerian climate during those two days? another person asks. I don’t know what would have been normal, but as I pointed out in my report, some Nigerians don’t bury their dead for many weeks or even months after death as they gather money from relatives for funerals. They must load those bodies with embalming fluid. (When David Aboderin, my Nigerian friend whom I mentioned in my previous report, lost his mother about a year ago, she was not buried for three months after her death.) Not only was Daniel’s body partially injected with embalming chemicals, but it seems obvious from the mortician’s testimony that supernatural things were occurring to Daniel’s body even as it lay in the morgue.

Some of the “discernment ministries” have attempted to discredit the entire miracle because of its association with Reinhard Bonnke, whom they deem to be a false teacher. Bonnke, however, is a man who has come close to death for his faith in Christ, and risks his life every time he ministers in Africa, where Muslims hate him. He was not permitted to minister in Nigeria for a number of years because of Muslim rioting in the city of Kano, where many Christians lost their lives and he almost lost his life just prior to a crusade there. He proclaims a gospel that calls millions of people to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and he prays for sick people, and numbers of them are healed through their faith, a very biblical thing. The truth is, as I said in my report, Reinhard Bonnke was nowhere near the church when Daniel Ekechukwu was resurrected.

Many of the “discernment ministers,” although saying they believe that God can heal someone or raise someone from the dead, could not tell you of a single instance where they believe God has actually healed someone or raised someone from the dead. Moreover, they do their best to discredit every report of a healing or resurrection if it is associated with someone whose doctrine differs from theirs. And while these “discernment ministers” spread their judgments to their little constituencies of fellow unbelieving believers, people like Reinhard Bonnke just keep preaching the gospel to the lost multitudes, risking what no “discernment minister” would dare risk, as they safely tap away on their keyboards in their kitchens and bedrooms.
What about the theological implications of Daniel’s experience in hell? For example, isn’t the scene of people endlessly eating their own flesh far-fetched? No, not really. God has repeatedly promised in His Word that He will render to every person according to his deeds. Paul wrote:

But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds: to those who by perseverance in doing good seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life; but to those who are selfishly ambitious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, wrath and indignation. There will be tribulation and distress for every soul of man who does evil, of the Jew first and also of the Greek, but glory and honor and peace to everyone who does good, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (Rom. 2:5-10; emphasis added).

The people whom Daniel saw endlessly eating their own flesh were apparently being judged for eating human flesh as an occult practice during their lives. In the Old Testament, God promised He would judge wicked people by leaving them no alternative but to eat the flesh of their own dead children (see Deut. 28:54-57). As foretold in the New Testament book of Revelation, when God will wrathfully turn the waters of the earth into blood, an angel will declare, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it” (Rev. 16:5-6). God is not the big teddy bear that so many think He is.

Unless people repent, God is going to give them exactly what they deserve. They will reap what they have sown, and thus Hell will be customized for every sinner. Jesus warned of this: “And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of a flogging, will receive but few (Luke 12:47-48).

Certainly the one aspect of Daniel’s experience in hell that is the most sobering was the angel’s declaration that Daniel would have ended up there because of his unforgiveness (if God had not had mercy on him). Can unforgiveness actually cause a Christian to end up in hell? Again, Scripture answers Yes. Do you remember the parable of the unforgiving servant found in Matthew 18:21-35? When the master learned that his servant whom he had graciously forgiven had refused to forgive a fellow servant, he was “moved with anger,” and “handed him over to the torturers until he should repay all that was owed him” (Matt. 18:34). That is, the servant’s formerly-forgiven and unpayable debt was reinstated, so that he found himself once again owing what he could never repay, under the wrath of his master and handed over to be tortured. Jesus then warned, “So shall My heavenly Father do to you, if each of you does not forgive his brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:35).

Clearly, this was a warning to Christians as proven by the external context (see Matt. 18:1-2, 21; the parable was spoken to believers, admonishing them to forgive their brothers), and by the internal context, as the unforgiving servant obviously represents a person who was previously forgiven by God, a Christian. But that forgiven person’s forgiven status was annulled. He reaped what he had sown. Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu was no different than the unforgiving servant in Jesus’ parable. So why should we be surprised that an angel told Daniel Ekechukwu what Jesus has told all of His followers?

All of this is to say that Christians can forfeit their salvation by unforgiveness. If you are among those who believe that if you are once saved you are guaranteed that you will always be saved, you need to re-think your position. That view is not only disproved by the parable of the unforgiving servant, but also by many other scriptures. (See Matt. 24:4-5, 11-13, 23-26, 42-51; 25:1-30; Luke 8:11-15; 11:24-28; 12:42-46; John 6:66-71; 8:31-32, 51; 15:1-6; Acts 11:21-23; 14:21-22; Rom. 6:11-23; 8:12-14, 17; 11:20-22; 1 Cor. 9:23-27; 10:1-21; 11:29-32; 15:1-2; 2 Cor. 1:24; 11:2-4; 12:21-13:5; Gal. 5:1-4; 6:7-9; Phil. 2:12-16; 3:17-4:1; Col. 1:21-23; 2:4-8, 18-19; 1 Thes. 3:1-8; 1 Tim. 1:3-7, 18-20; 4:1-16; 5:5-6, 11-15, 6:9-12, 17-19, 20-21; 2 Tim. 2:11-18; 3:13-15; Heb. 2:1-3; 3:6-19; 4:1-16: 5:8-9; 6:4-9, 10-20; 10:19-39; 12:1-17, 25-29; Jas. 1:12-16; 4:4-10; 5:19-20; 2 Pet. 1:5-11; 2:1-22; 3:16-17; 1 John 2:15-2:28; 5:16; 2 John 6-9; Jude 20-21; Rev. 2:7, 10-11, 17-26; 3:4-5, 8-12, 14-22; 21:7-8; 22:18-19.).

Jesus solemnly warned that if we don’t forgive others, God will not forgive us. This is so vital that we should examine ourselves in this regard at least as much as every time we pray according to Jesus:

Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father who is in heaven will also forgive you your transgressions. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions (Mark 11:25-26; emphasis added).

This is so fundamental that the concept is included in the Lord’s Prayer:

‘And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors’....”For if you forgive others for their transgressions, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, then your Father will not forgive your transgressions (Matt. 6:12-15; emphasis added).

Keep in mind that God does not expect us to do what He himself does not do, that is, forgive people who don’t humble themselves and request our forgiveness. If a brother sins against us, Jesus didn’t say we should forgive him; He said we should confront him. And if he refuses to listen to us, Jesus didn’t say we should forgive him. Rather, we should bring two or three with us and confront him again. And if he refuses to listen to those two or three, he should not be forgiven but be confronted before the church. And if he refuses to listen to the church, he should not be forgiven but be excommunicated and treated like an unbeliever. Thus we can confidently say that there are some people whom God does not want us to forgive. Significantly, these steps of reconciliation and discipline I have just mentioned are found in Matthew 18:15-17, just prior to the parable of the unforgiving servant. These two passages certainly should not be interpreted so as to contradict one another.

Forgiveness in its purest form can only be given when it is requested. Jesus said, “If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. “And if he sins against you seven times a day, and returns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ forgive him” (Luke 17:3-4; emphasis added). In the parable of the unforgiving servant mentioned earlier, note that both first and second servants requested mercy.

In pastor Daniel’s case, his wife had sought for reconciliation, Daniel had refused her, and then he experienced his ill-timed death. Thank God that He had mercy on Daniel, and in so doing, God has shown His mercy to all of us who are not ready to stand before Him because of unforgiveness in our hearts.

Clearly, it is a very great evil in God’s eyes to refuse to forgive a brother or sister in Christ who requests our forgiveness. It is also an evil to not confront a brother or sister who sins against us and harbor ill-will against him or her. This is, however, commonly practiced by those of us who name Jesus as Lord. When offended, we don’t confront the offender. Rather, we harbor a grudge and tell everyone of the offense, gossiping, adding sin to our sin, and placing ourselves in the danger of being judged by God (see Matt. 7:1-5). Jesus warned us that if our relationship with our brother is not right, our relationship with God is not right either:

Therefore if you are presenting your offering at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your offering there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and present your offering (Matt. 5:23-24).

If we realize that we have offended a brother, we should stop what we are doing, even if we are performing some spiritual obligation, and go to that brother to work towards reconciliation, just as Jesus taught.

Thus, both the offender (if he realizes what he has done) and the offended have responsibility before God to make no delay in working for reconciliation. And if they can’t reach reconciliation, they should seek the help of others until reconciliation is reached or until one party is excommunicated from the church, according to Christ’s instructions in Matthew 18:15-17. Obviously, this is serious stuff to God.
With unbelievers and false believers, of course, it is not the same. We can attempt to confront those who offend us, but we have very little recourse if they refuse to be reconciled.

As our general rule, we should imitate God, who longs for sinners to turn from their sins and be reconciled to Him, and so He always is working towards reconciliation, patiently waiting for sinners to repent. We, too, should maintain an “open-heart” policy, always doing what we can to be at peace with others. In this regard, Paul wrote, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men” (Rom. 12:18). Both Jesus and Stephen prayed for God to forgive the very people who were killing them. We, too, have the same capacity to love by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Pastor Daniel Ekechukwu is now calling Christians to do what Christ has been commanding all His followers to do for two thousand years: forgive one another. And he is doing it with the passion of a man who really believes that Jesus meant what He said. What if the whole thing is a hoax? Then the worst thing that will come out of it is that hundreds of thousands, and perhaps millions, of Christians will examine their lives and obey Jesus’ commandments regarding forgiveness. Thus they will be more ready to meet Him when He comes. That isn’t so bad, is it? And even if we ignore everything that Daniel Ekechukwu says, we would be wise to not ignore anything Jesus said. He had a lot to say about the absolute necessity of forgiveness and the dire consequences of unforgiveness.

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ (1 Pet. 1:17-19, emphasis added).

By David Kirkwood

Report Three of Four

"Concerning the Resurrection of Daniel Ekechukwu"

By David Kirkwood

www.shepherdserve.org
david@shepherdserve.org

One year after my interview of Daniel Ekechukwu, I returned to Nigeria again, as I have every September of the past four years. I hoped that I would once again be able to locate and interview Daniel, as I would be teaching at a pastors’ conference about three hours away from the city where he lived. (I should say, “Where I thought he lived,” because I later learned that Daniel had move to Lagos, a six to seven-hour drive from where I would be in Port Harcourt.) I also hoped to interview his wife, as well as the doctor who pronounced him dead and the mortician who partially embalmed him, in order to find out first hand if the facts of Daniel’s miracle that I had previously reported were accurate. I had received some e-mail correspondence from some hostile and not-so-hostile “discernment ministries” (as they call themselves), who all attempted to discredit my reporting, saying I had not done a thorough investigation.

My first stop was in the city of Owerri, Imo State, in Eastern Nigeria. There I located the Umezurike hospital, the Federal Medical Center, and St. Eunice’s Clinic, the three final medical facilities where Daniel’s wife took his body on the night of November 30, 2001 (all of which I mentioned in my first article). They were all in the same general vicinity of Owerri. When I arrived at St. Eunice’s Clinic, Dr. Jossy Anuebunwa, who had pronounced Daniel dead, was temporarily out, but I videotaped an interview of his personal assistant, Peter Chinedu Anele. Peter told me that he had known Dr. Anuebunwa for over twenty-two years, that Dr. Anuebunwa had received his medical degree from the University of Nigeria, and that he had been practicing medicine and gynecology for about twenty years. St. Eunice’s Clinic was indeed a real medical clinic, with a real nurse and real patients waiting to see Dr. Anuebunwa.

From there, I drove to the village of Ikeduru, to try to find the Ikeduru General Hospital Mortuary, which I discovered is now known as Inyishi Community Hospital Mortuary. There I interviewed on video Mr. Darlington Manu, the mortician who had partially embalmed Daniel in the very early morning hours of Saturday, December 1, 2001. He is the chief mortician in Imo State, and always has between twenty and fifty bodies in his mortuary that are awaiting burial. His father was a mortician before him, and he has embalmed thousands of corpses. He showed me many photos of corpses in various stages of the embalming process.

Mr. Manu showed me his ledger where he enters important information concerning every corpse that is brought to his mortuary. It contained hundreds of entries. He showed me Daniel Ekechukwu’s name listed there, and the date his corpse was received was recorded as November 30, 2001. The date recorded that the corpse was taken by the relatives was December 2, 2001. Mr. Manu related to me the story of the arrival of Daniel’s family with his body, and how he injected embalming fluid into Daniel’s fingers in order to keep them straight. He also related how he had twice attempted to cut Daniel’s inner thigh to inject embalming fluid, and the shock he twice received. The second time his arm became partially paralyzed, and remained so through the night. He told me about the worship music that emanated from his mortuary during the first night Daniel’s body was lying there, and the light, “something like little stars” that floated above Daniel’s head when he searched for the source of the music in themortuary. He told me how he located Daniel’s father the next morning, and urgently requested that he remove Daniel’s body from his mortuary because of the strange occurrences. He told me how Daniel’s father came early Sunday morning, December 2, with Daniel’s wife to take the body to Onitsha. He said that he had dressed Daniel’s body in a white suit, stuffed his nose with cotton, and laid his body in a coffin that the family had purchased.

Then he told me something I hadn’t known. Mr. Manu had gone in the ambulance with Daniel’s wife, son and father to the church in Onitsha. He was in the room when Daniel came back to life, an eyewitness! Mr. Manu was not a Christian, and Daniel’s resurrection so unnerved him that he immediately left the room and the premises! He told me that he soon after repented and is now serving the Lord. His wife, a long-time believer, had been praying for him for years.

Incidentally, something I learned during practically all of my interviews is that Nigerians, particularly rural Nigerians, are not nearly so conscious of the time of day as most Westerners. Most don’t have wristwatches or clocks. So when you ask them what time something happened, they can only tell you if it was early or late morning, afternoon or evening. If they wake up in the middle of the night, the next day they can’t tell you what time it happened, because they don’t know. Mr. Manu was a perfect example of this. So when “discernment ministries” attempt to discredit the story by showing slight time discrepancies, it only exposes what they don’t know about rural Africans.

Mr. Manu also gave me a tour of his mortuary. I saw about twenty-five corpses in the rear portion of his building, and he showed me exactly where Daniel’s body had laid. Some of the corpses he showed me had been in his mortuary for many months, yet the smell you might expect was very faint, and none of the bodies were bloated, all having been emblamed. (As I said in a previous report, Nigerians don’t bury their dead for weeks and sometimes months as they collect money from relatives and prepare for elaborate funerals.) Mr. Manu showed me one “unclaimed” corpse that had been lying in his mortuary for five years! There were no cold storage facilities.

That evening, I stayed overnight in the Best Way Hotel in Owerri. The next morning, I journeyed back to the St. Eunice’s Clinic in Owerri. On my way there, I called Daniel Ekechukwu by cell phone. I knew he might be preaching outside the country or anywhere in Nigeria, but I hoped he would be at his home in Onitsha, about an hour away. If he was in Onitsha, I was intending to tell him that I would be coming there that afternoon, and to ask if I could meet him at his home.

When I reached him by phone, he asked me if I was in the U.S. I told him I was in Nigeria. He asked me if I was in Lagos. I told him that I was in Owerri. He told me that he was in Owerri, and had been staying in the Best Way Hotel---where I had just left minutes before! I could hardly believe it. I had come to Nigeria not knowing if Daniel would even be in the country, and thinking he was still living in Onitsha, when in reality, he had moved to Lagos (a seven-hour drive away). However, he just happened to be in the Owerri area for his sister’s wedding that weekend. Because his father’s house was so crowded, he and his wife had decided to get away for one night and drove forty minutes to stay in one of many possible hotels in Owerri, a city of a two hundred thousand people. The hotel he had chosen was the same hotel I had randomly chosen, and we were both there the same night. It was another amazing coincidence or wonderful providence.

In any case, Daniel and his wife agreed to meet me at the St. Eunice Clinic, where I was going to interview Dr. Anuebunwa. Once we all arrived, Daniel invited me to join him later at his father’s house in the village of Amaimo, about a forty-minute drive away, once I had interviewed the doctor who wrote his death certificate.

I videotaped Dr. Anuebunwa as I interviewed him. He is a Christian man who gave me the same answers that his personal assistant had the day before to my questions about his background. He stated that during his seventeen years of practicing medicine, he had pronounced hundreds of people dead. I asked him what were the chances that Daniel was only unconscious the night he pronounced him dead. He said that there was no chance. Daniel had no heartbeat, no respiration, no pulse, and his pupils were fixed and dilated.

From there I drove to Daniel’s father’s house, taking a dirt road to the village of Amaimo, and actually arrived before Daniel and his wife, Nneka. So I spent time interviewing Daniel’s father on video. His story collaborated perfectly with the details I had heard from everyone else. He told me how he fell to the ground in anguish when his son’s body was brought to his home, crying out to God and asking, “Why have You punished me like this?” He told me about the mortician’s desperate request on Saturday morning for him to remove Daniel’s body from his mortuary. He told me about Nneka’s dream, and Daniel’s resurrection. He was in the room when Daniel came back to life. I asked him if he believed that Daniel would come back to life. He admitted that he only took Daniel’s body to The Grace of God Mission in Onitsha to please Daniel’s wife, because he feared she would hold it against him for the rest of his life if he didn’t. (I later learned that according to their social customs, Nneka would have had to remain a widow for the rest of her life, living at her father-in-law’s home. Her only option to remarry would have been if one of Daniel’s brothers had proposed to her.)

When Daniel and Nneka arrived, Daniel told me what had been happening to him during the year since I had last seen him. He had traveled to Austria, Finland, Estonia and the U.S. to preach. He had been giving his testimony all over Nigeria at Reinhard Bonnke’s crusades. He had relocated to Lagos to be closer to an international airport and a domestic airport that serves all of Nigeria. Someone had given him a large sum of money to purchase a nice house in Lagos, but he had used the money to purchase a generator, a sound system, platform, and a truck to facilitate his own evangelistic crusades in every state of Nigeria. He said that earthly things now mean nothing to him.

I videotaped a twenty-minute interview with Daniel’s wife, Nneka, the true heroine of the story. Her details harmonized perfectly with what everyone else had told me. She never lost faith in her heart the entire two days of her husband’s death, although she faced incredible emotional challenges. She was in the room when he came back to life. I asked her if it was possible that God have her a gift of special faith (see 1 Cor. 12:9), because her faith seemed so extraordinary. She said yes. However, I must say that it seemed to me that she had stretched her own faith about as far as she could right from the time she learned of her husband’s accident. She told me her faith had been strengthened during a number of previous trials.

I asked her if her two boys knew that their father had died. She said that the oldest one, a five-year old, did, and was always weeping bitterly over the loss of his father. He rode with his mother in the ambulance that took his father’s body to The Grace of God Mission, knowing that his father’s body was in the casket. Nneka said, however, that she “deceived” her younger son into thinking that his father was in Onitsha. When Daniel came back to life, his oldest son met him with laughter in the sanctuary of The Grace of God Mission.

I asked her if the Federal and State security police had literally flogged her when she insisted that they permit her husband’s body to be taken into the church. She said yes, they beat her unmercifully with wooden canes. She said that in Nigeria, they have an expression that applied to what they did to her: “They beat the hell out of me!” (I had never heard such an expression in my life.) I asked her how much time transpired between her arrival at the church and her husband’s resurrection. She estimated that it was about four hours. I have never met anyone in my life with such persistent faith.

Finally, I videotaped an interview of Daniel himself for almost one hour on his experiences in heaven and hell. He is a passionate communicator. There is no doubt that he believes his experience was from God. He elaborated in much more detail than he had with me the previous year. As I listened to him, I had the continual sense that Daniel found it very difficult to describe to his own satisfaction what he heard and saw because the spiritual realm is so different than the material realm, and there is nothing to use as a comparison to provide an explanation. (I get that same sense when I read any of the prophets or John’s Revelation.) I also had the sense that he himself could not understand everything he experienced while he was out of his body, and he was still contemplating them and trying to figure them out. He would tell me his speculations about certain things he did not understand. For example, Daniel said that the angel who escorted him always used the word “we,” speaking of himself and at least one other person whom Daniel didn’t see. Daniel thinks that perhaps there were other angels around him of which he was not aware. I suggested that perhaps that angel was speaking on behalf of God, as we read in Scripture that angels often do, and God was using the word “we” just as He used the word ‘us” in the first chapters of Genesis. Daniel wasn’t sure.

Daniel again told me that his whole experience out of his body seemed like only fifteen minutes to him, and that when he was resurrected, he thought his experience had just been a powerful dream. However, his wife eventually convinced him that he had been lying in a mortuary the previous two nights between two other corpses. If Daniel’s experience was just a dream, it was a dream of amazing detail and revelation.

I also learned that Nneka had begged Daniel to forgive her for slapping him prior to his departure from their home on the morning of November 30, 2001. But he had refused. He said such a thing (a wife slapping a husband) is never done in his country. It is an “abomination.” His intention was to wait until after church on Sunday to ban her for one year’s separation from him to his father’s compound in the village of Amaimo. (Women’s liberation has not reached rural Nigeria yet.) After his resurrection, however, Daniel told his wife that his forgiveness is like bread in the refrigerator---if she wants it, she can come and get it anytime she wants!

Daniel also gave me some information about the difference between Paradise and Heaven, and hell and the lake of fire. For example, he said that many people think that hell and the lake of the fire are the same, but they are not. Hell is just a temporary holding place, and eventually everyone in hell will be judged at the Great White Throne of Judgment, and then will be cast into the lake of fire. I already knew that, as it is contained in Scripture. We read in Revelation 20:14 that death and hell (or as the NASB more accurately says “Hades”) will be cast into the lake of fire. Daniel said that prior to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the saints who died went to a place in Hell. (I would prefer to say “Hades,” as more accurately translated by the NASB. Hades is the Greek word that is equivalent to the Old Testament Hebrew word “Sheol”; compare Acts 2:27 with Psalm 16:10. Sheol/Hades was the Old Testament abode of the wicked and righteous after death, apparently consisting of a place of torment and a place of comfort; see Luke 16:19-31.) Daniel said that after His death, Jesus took the righteous with Him to Paradise. I have heard the same doctrine taught many times in America by conservative Evangelicals.

I asked Daniel about the sign he saw over the gate of hell that he saw which said, “Welcome to the Gate of Hell.” I told him I had a hard time believing that God would put such a sign there, as it would seem to be a sarcastic, out-of-character, mockery. Daniel told me something that I had never considered, and still would like to consider in light of Scripture. He said that Satan still has authority over the unrighteous in hell, just as he did on earth, and that hell is actually Satan’s domain. There the devil tortures and torments his own, keeping them captive to the very sins they were enslaved to while they served him on earth. Having nothing to lose, Satan no longer deceives them about his true nature, and so he fully reveals it to them, hating his own spiritual children who have served him. God doesn’t deal with the unrighteous until they are brought before the Great White Throne of judgment, after which they are cast into the lake of fire. That lake is a manifestation of God’s judgment against them, and that is why both hell and Satan himself are ultimately cast there. One could wonder: If hell is God’s domain of punishment, why would He not cast people into hell after their judgment at His Great White Throne, rather than into the lake of fire? Why wouldn’t He cast Satan there as well, rather than into the lake of fire as we are told He will do? And why would God cast hell itself into the lake of fire if it is something of His design? Finally, why did Jesus promise that "the Gates of Hades" (or "hell" as the KJV says) would not overpower His church (see Matt. 16:18) if "the Gates of Hades" speak of or represent a place of God's domain? Those are a few questions to think about.

Daniel also indicated that Paradise and the place of the great mansion, the “Father’s house” that Jesus has prepared for His people, are different places. Presently, believers who die go to Paradise, not to the great mansion. He said it is only at the return of Christ when Jesus will take believers from Paradise and the earth and bring them into the mansion, His “Father’s house” (as He perhaps implied in John 14:2-3). Daniel said that the great mansion he saw is the New Jerusalem, or at least part of it, that will one day come down from heaven to earth (see Rev. 21:2, 10).

In any case, I completed my investigation even more convinced that Daniel Ekechukwu did die on the night of November 30, 2001, and came back to life on the afternoon of December 2, 2001, in response the persistent faith of his wife, Nneka. The evidence is very compelling. I am also more persuaded that Daniel’s out-of-the body experience was genuine, and that he did have a divinely-granted opportunity to see parts of heaven and hell. And I have once again made certain that I am harboring no unforgiveness in my heart!

By David Kirkwood


Report Four of Four

"Answering Skeptics"

By David Kirkwood

www.shepherdserve.org
david@shepherdserve.org

This article is a response to skeptical statements and a comparison chart concerning the resurrection of Daniel Ekechukwu that have been publicly posted at "Deception in the Church." Because the creator of that website has taken the liberty to freely quote from my articles on Daniel Ekechukwu, I knew he wouldn’t mind if I freely quoted from his articles.

My primary concern is that by discrediting a wonderful miracle performed by the power of the Holy Spirit, the message that Daniel Ekechukwu was divinely given to take to the church and the world will be missed by those who believe the false facts of skeptics.The creator of the "Deception in the Church" website has done no firsthand research, nor has he interviewed any eyewitnesses to the miracle. Even though I have sent him the results of my firsthand research done in Nigeria that exposes the many errors posted on his website, he continues to propagate his false facts and skepticism. He doesn’t seem to care about the truth, but only that his own agenda be furthered. As it is, his agenda could hinder an important and very biblical message from being spread to people who need to hear it.

The "Deception in the Church" website has posted a comparison chart of seven different sources that have reported details of Pastor Ekechukwu’s resurrection (see www.deceptioninthechurch.com/ekechart.html). The introduction to that chart states:

This is a comparison chart noting the divergent details in five major sources of information regarding the alleged dead raising of Daniel Ekechukwu in Nigeria in a church where Reinhard Bonnke was visiting (emphasis added).

The author then immediately cites another web article on the story that he says contains “details that prove this story is a fabrication” (emphasis added). Amazingly, he believes that the entire story is a fabrication, but the only evidence he offers is a chart that supposedly shows the differences in how the story has been reported.

Most people realize, of course, that any time different sources report on the same incident, there are always some discrepancies. If there were no discrepancies from seven different sources regarding Daniel Ekechukwu, I would be suspicious that there was collaboration. Discrepancies prove there was no collaboration.

My first thought as I examined the comparison chart was how many harmonious facts are revealed by the comparison chart that actually help substantiate the story. The chart actually reveals much more harmony than disharmony among the sources cited.

My second observation was that the one negative source cited was the report of an atheist, Leo Igwe, whose article is found at the web site address www.secularhumanism.org/library/aah/igwe_11_3.htm. His article reveals his great bias against any miracles as well as against the existence of God. His stated bio is:

Leo Igwe is the director of the Center for Inquiry–Nigeria, and the secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement. He is a strong skeptic and a long-time critic of German evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, a favorite among Nigerian Christians.

In the article cited in the comparison chart, Leo Igwe calls the resurrections of Jesus and Lazarus folktales! I wondered why such a person would be considered a trustworthy source to be quoted by a Christian.

My third observation, when I read the actual source articles cited in the comparison study, was how harmonious all the articles were. I would say the facts presented in each article/interview were 98% harmonious among each other, if not more. Yet the creator of the chart looked for the tiniest scrap of a disharmony with the intention of disproving the miracle,and simply exposed his own bias.

My fourth observation, as I studied the chart further, were the obvious intentional misrepresentations of what was stated in the source articles. Numerous facts presented in the comparison chart are deceptive, which is not good for a web site that claims to be dedicated to exposing deception. I have reproduced that chart and added an additional column on the left that includes my comments on each of the comparisons. In those comments, I also expose the misrepresentations of what was stated in the source articles. In the same article, the author states:

The sale of the $35 video alone will bring in huge profits to the coffers of CFAN (multiply the number of videos likely to be sold--you do the math!). It will also make Daniel Ekechukwu a rich man and his church will have plenty of money to preach the Word-Faith gospel.

I don’t doubt that CFAN has made money selling the video about Daniel’s resurrection. But it seems somewhat hypocritical for the creator of the “Deception in the Church” website to be so critical when he sells plenty of videos from his own website. If someone purchased everything he has for sale, it would cost hundreds of dollars. Moreover, I don’t believe that the Bible states that making money legitimately is wrong. Rather, how it is spent is the issue, and CFAN requires millions of dollars a year in order to reach the millions of people it reaches with the gospel at every African crusade. Additionally, the CFAN video has not made Daniel Ekechukwu a rich man as the author states, which makes his statement a published lie. Daniel doesn’t receive any royalties from the sale of the video. The truth is that, not too long ago, Daniel Ekechukwu was given a large sum of money from a wealthy American to purchase a very nice home in Lagos, Nigeria. He used the majority of the money, however, to purchase a PA system, a generator, lights, a platform and truck to use for his own evangelistic crusades where he calls sinners to repentance. Daniel says that earthly things now mean nothing to him. He lives in a crowded, dirty city in a Third World country, while the creator of the Deception in the Church website lives in Hawaii.

A second article found at the “Deception in the Church” website is also highly critical, titled, “Raised From The Dead” by Reinhard Bonnke Oh Really? (see www.deceptioninthechurch.com/bonnke2.html). The author first skeptically questions if Daniel Ekechukwu and the name “Dan Eke” that is written on the death certificate are the same person. The answer is, they are. Any Nigerian could have explained that to him had he bothered to investigate it.

The author then alleges collusion between Bonnke and Ekechukwu, stating that Bonnke was previously involved with the church that Daniel Ekechukwu was pastoring at the time. However, he offers absolutely no proof at all for his statement. It is pure speculation, and because it is not true, it is a published lie. The truth is, Bonnke never met Daniel until some time after Daniel was resurrected.

The author then makes many errors in recounting the story of Daniel’s body being taken to various medical facilities, and then asks questions based on his own wrongly reported information. For example, he wrongly states that Daniel was first taken to the “Federal Medical Center in Boromyuo,” and then asks concerning the report of Daniel’s wife coming to the hospital after his accident, “Was she with him when he had his accident in the Mercedes? Or did she have to travel 1 1/2 to 2 hours from her home in Onitsha? In either case, why was this not mentioned?”

It was, of course, never reported that Nneka was with Daniel when he had his accident. Neither did she have to travel two hours from her home in Onitsha to Boromyuo to see him in the hospital because there is no place called Boromyuo nor was Daniel taken to a hospital there. Daniel was first taken to a hospital in Onitsha called the St. Charles Borromeo hospital, just a few minutes from his home and the place of his accident. And to answer why this was not mentioned is simple. There is no need to mention what didn’t occur.

The author’s speculations become almost comical as he continues. He suggests that perhaps the embalming fluid that was injected into Daniel’s body put him into a trance and also alleviated his pain until he regained consciousness two days later, or that perhaps Daniel’s body was injected with something else that put his body into a catatonic state! Moreover, from simply looking at a CFAN photo of resurrected Daniel and the mortician looking at the coffin where Daniel’s body was laid for several hours, the author skeptically questions if Daniel could fit into the coffin! (And the view of the coffin is from the foot-end panel!)

The author questions why Daniel’s body didn’t decay and smell after two days. As I have stated in my reports from the facts of my firsthand research, there were obviously miraculous things happening to Daniel’s body while it lay in the mortuary. The mortician twice heard angels singing at night in his mortuary. Could they have been praising God for the great miracle He was about to do, and the important message that would be forthcoming? And is it not written in Scripture of Jesus’ body that His Father did not allow it to undergo decay while He was dead? (see Acts 2:27; 13:35). Is not the God who can resurrect a dead body also able to keep that dead body from decaying for two days?

The author asks if the Bishop’s son, Pastor Paul, is an authority on rigor mortis. If not, the author says, then the report of Daniel’s rigor mortis should not have been included in the CFAN report! I would suspect that it wouldn’t take an expert on rigor mortis to determine if someone’s non-breathing body is stiff.

The author asks why there are no scars evident on Daniel after his resurrection as a result of his head allegedly breaking the windshield of his car. First, it has never been reported by anyone that Daniel’s head broke the windshield of his car. Secondly, I don’t think his head did hit the windshield. Everyone I interviewed, including the mortician, never mentioned any cuts on Daniel’s forehead. They all said there was blood coming from his nose and mouth. Third, would it not be possible for God to heal those whom He raises from the dead? In fact, if God didn’t heal those whom He resurrects, they would die from what originally killed them.

After admitting that Bonnke stated publicly on TV that the miracle was to “God’s glory,” the author then accuses Bonnke of seeking glory for the miracle because of a Nigerian newspaper headline he also showed on the same TV program that read, “Bonnke Raises Man from Death in Onitsha.” The author asks, “Is this giving glory to the Lord or to Bonnke?

The answer, of course, is that Bonnke didn’t write the headline on that Nigerian newspaper. And what continues to become evident is the author’s absurd search to find the smallest fault with Bonnke. For example, he next asks, “If they claim that simply bringing Dan Eke into the presence of the ‘anointed’ Bonnke effected his resurrection, then why did it effect the death of countless others?” He then goes on to list five web addresses for newspaper articles in the same African newspaper that report of people who have been trampled to death by the throngs of people who attended some of Bonnke’s African crusades.

This kind of logic is amazing. First, no person has ever claimed that “simply bringing Dan Eke into the presence of the ‘anointed” Bonnke effected his resurrection.” Clearly it was Nneka’s God-given faith that effected her husband’s resurrection, and she believes she was divinely directed to take her husband’s body to a church where Bonnke was preaching. She believed that the anointing would be so strong where Bonnke was preaching that it could raise her husband, just as we read in Scripture of a woman who believed that if she got her dead son to Elijah, he would be resurrected (see 2 Kings 4:18-37). She believed that Elijah was anointed by God, and her faith brought her son back to life.

Second, it was not because people were brought into Bonnke’s presence that some were trampled to death. It was the result of crowds of people who, by their own choices, became uncontrollable. I would suggest that the responsibility for those deaths lies with those who started pushing against the crowds and the Nigerian authorities for not preparing for better crowd control. Having been to Nigeria many times, I know it is a lawless and dangerous place, and criminals abound. One of the newspaper articles cited in this article relates how ruthless men took advantage of the pandemonium and began raping helpless women right in public. Westerners have no conception of what can happen in Africa. It is very conceivable and even probable that certain persons intended and succeeded in starting a stampede that resulted in the deaths. It is quite possible in Nigeria for such a thing to be done for the expressed purpose of gaining bad press for Reinhard Bonnke.

Most Western evangelists would be afraid to preach in the kinds of places that Bonnke holds his crusades. But who in their right mind would place the blame on Bonnke for those deaths? We might as well blame the owner of Ford’s Theater for the death of President Lincoln. And what logical person would ever try to expose Daniel’s Ekechukwu’s resurrection as a fraud because of the fact that selfish people at some of Bonnke’s crusades have become uncontrollable and crushed other people to death under their feet?

The author asks, “Why are there never dead raisings in America where medical histories and authorities can be easily contacted?” That is a question only God could answer. He is the only one who can raise the dead. I suspect that God knows, however, that few sinners in the U.S. would repent as a result of anyone’s resurrection. God can’t even get alleged Christian ministers to believe in a resurrection that occurred in Africa that is overwhelmingly substantiated by many proofs.

Stooping to his lowest, the author asks where Reinhard Bonnke was on September 11th, 2001, as if Bonnke could have saved the lives of those who perished at the Twin Towers in New York! Bonnke has never claimed power to resurrect the dead. He readily admits publicly that he had nothing to do with the miracle of Daniel’s resurrection, and wasn’t there when it happened.

Finally, the author claims that Daniel Ekechukwu’s “near-death vision from heaven is patently unbiblical.” However, he cites not a single scripture to show that Daniel’s experience was unbiblical. Rather he just asks some questions based on his own misunderstanding of the facts and his unusual “logic.”

He asks, “First, is a Christian pastor going to be taken to heaven then to hell? Isn’t hell only for the unregenerate?

I ask, Where does Scripture say that God will never take a pastor who has died, one whom He intends to resurrect, to show him heaven and hell? Aren’t heaven and hell two real places? Doesn’t God want everyone to believe those two places exist? Aren’t they mentioned in the Bible repeatedly? Didn’t Jesus talk about those places? Didn’t Jesus Himself descend to hell (as Christians recite in the Apostles’ Creed) at some time after His death and preach to the spirits in prison (see 1 Pet. 3:18-20). But (to quote the author) “Isn’t hell only for the unregenerate”? Then what was Jesus doing there? And didn’t the apostle John see the future Lake of Fire (see Rev. 20:10, 14-15)? But, “Isn’t hell only for the unregenerate?” And wasn’t Paul caught up into the third heaven? What was God doing, taking these people to hell and heaven? Poor God didn’t know He was bound by the rules of a “discernment minister” who lives in Hawaii.

The author says, “Even Lazarus didn’t go to hell.” So? Is Lazarus’ experience binding on every other human? And incidentally, Lazarus did see into hell (just like Daniel) and saw the torment of the rich man. “But isn’t hell only for the unregenerate?” the author asked. If this author is correct, then Lazarus must have been unregenerate, because people who get to look into hell like Daniel Ekechukwu must be unregenerate.

The truth is, being cast into hell is only for the unsaved. But why can’t God take someone else to the gate of hell to look in?

The author says, “If Daniel did go to hell then why would God give him a second chance to come back and give a message that is already warned of in God’s Word?”

If such logic is valid, then why should any preacher warn of hell, since it is “already warned of in God’s Word?” What kind of logic is this?

The message given to Daniel while he was dead was not only concerning the realities of heaven and hell, but of the desperate need of the church to get ready to stand at Christ’s judgment seat. Specifically, Daniel was given an important message concerning forgiveness, something Jesus solemnly spoke of and something that has been ignored by much of the church. Daniel was sent back because God loves us all, and He doesn’t want anyone to die unprepared.

The author says, “Second, the request to Lazarus will never be granted. No one in hell will ever get a drink of water or be saved.”

Daniel Ekechukwu has never said that anyone in hell would get a drink of water or be saved. Additionally, the rich man didn’t request to be saved, so the author misrepresents what Daniel has said and what the Bible clearly states.

The specific request that the angel told Daniel would be granted was the rich man’s request that Lazarus, or someone, would come back from the dead and warn his five sinful brothers to repent. His request was denied because the five brothers all knew full well what Moses and the prophets had said, and Abraham knew that they would not repent if someone rose from the dead.

Obviously, when the angel told Daniel that the rich man’s request was going to be granted to this generation, he did not mean that Lazarus would be resurrected for the sake of the rich man’s five wicked brothers. Anyone could see that. Rather, he simply meant that Daniel would come back to life to warn the wicked people of his generation. And that is what he has been doing ever since, and people have been repenting by the thousands. If Daniel would not have had his experience, it is safe to say that the large majority of those people would not have repented.

The author writes, “Third, the warning of hell from the Bible is strong and consistent. Is the Gospel message not enough for people to believe without angels having to allegedly take people on a tour of hell, which has never happened in the Bible? If not then God should have been sending people back from hell all along.”

God has not limited Himself to only the written word of the Bible or the gospel message being preached in order to accomplish His purposes or to warn sinners. Many, many times He has given certain servants special supernatural experiences and callings to accomplish His purposes. He has also done many unusual things, miracles, to get people’s attention in order to get them to repent.

If one accepted the logic of this author, one could ask, “Why would God need to speak to Moses through a burning bush, or give Ezekiel and Daniel wonderful and complex and sometimes incomprehensible visions? Why would God have to use a virgin girl to come into the world? Why would God need to shine a great light on Saul of Tarsus to get him to repent? Wasn’t the Bible or the gospel message enough? Why was Jesus transfigured before Peter, James and John? Why did Jesus perform all those miracles? Wasn’t just preaching the gospel enough? Why was John given those strange revelations he recorded in the final book of the Bible? And the list could go on and on.

Every miracle in the Bible is a special testimony often designed to get people’s attention. God has obviously never considered the Bible or the gospel message proclaimed to be enough. And don’t forget, it is in the Bible where we read about all those miracles. If anyone should believe that God does miracles to accomplish His purposes or to get people to wake up and repent, it should be people who read the Bible. Yet so many who claim to believe the Bible, like this author, ignore or deny the clear facts of one of the greatest miracles God has done in a long time.

The author writes, “I suspect that if this were a true vision that God would be warning us about apostasy in the church and to stay away from false teachers like Reinhard Bonnke…”

This, in one sense, is very true, and in fact, is what Daniel’s experience was all about. Daniel is now warning us about apostasy in the church. But he is not warning to stay away from “false teachers like Reinhard Bonnke” who, for example, said publicly during an interview with Pat Robertson regarding the message Daniel Ekechukwu is preaching:

It is true. I would say it this way. We have to say 'yes' to Jesus. Many have done that, but when saying 'yes' to Jesus, we must say at the same time 'no' to sin. Otherwise, that 'yes' to Jesus is invalid. We cannot walk in two directions at the same time. If we do, we fool ourselves. That would be very terrible, like that pastor that was witnessed there. Say 'yes' to Jesus from the bottom of your heart and turn around from unrighteousness. Repent of your sins and receive forgiveness by the blood of Jesus Christ. Then walk the path of righteousness. Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Bonnke hardly sounds like a false teacher, does he? He, in fact, has also been greatly impacted by what happened to Daniel Ekechukwu.

The kind of false teachers Daniel is warning about are those who, like so many today, preach a false gospel of false grace that requires no repentance and no holiness. He is warning against false teachers who say that there is nothing Christians can do to forfeit their salvation. He is warning the church that Jesus really meant what He said about the necessity of forgiveness, and that God will indeed reinstate our formerly-forgiven sins if we refuse to forgive others, just as Jesus promised (see Matt. 6:14-15, 18:21-35).

Unfortunately, the creator of the “Deception in the Church” website has taken a posture against Daniel Ekechukwu and what God is trying to say through Daniel Ekechukwu. He is calling the mighty, glorious, and holy work of the Holy Spirit in raising Daniel Ekechukwu from the dead to be only a fraud, and he has no evidence.

By David Kirkwood