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The BBC’s documentary about my healing ministry was biased

Last month BBC Three aired ‘Heal me in the name of Jesus – a documentary in which Australian healing evangelist John Mellor prayed for the healing of a woman with Cerebral Palsy. Rev Zoe Heming responded to the program with her blog ‘Why Jesus offers more than the ‘healer’ in this BBC documentary. Now John Mellor explains why he believes both the blog and original documentary misrepresented his ministry.

Rev Zoe Heming’s blog was an emotional, unscriptural and ill-informed attack on my ministry, and Christian healing ministry in general, based on her watching the BBC’s biased programme ‘Heal Me in the Name of Jesus’.

I believe that Rev Heming’s own experience of not having received healing through prayer colour her view. Her article reminded me of a game of Chinese whispers which further twisted the BBC’s prejudiced interpretation of my ministry a second time with her own misunderstandings, ending up a long way from the truth.

Setting the record straight

The program showed wheelchair-user Emily Yates coming to my meeting for prayer.

Emily (who, despite what Rev Heming states is not a Christian) approached me through a producer to attend a meeting with cameras rolling. Emily and the production crew were invited to attend three meetings over one weekend and we encouraged her to attend a meeting for prayer, without the pressures of the cameras filming her, if she really was pursuing healing. Emily declined and only wanted to attend one of the meetings and to be prayed for with cameras rolling, though the crew attended two meetings. 

I knew the risks in allowing the secular media to attend my meetings, particularly knowing that the BBC is anti-Christian in many respects, but I decided that for the sake of the opportunity to spread the Gospel and the news that Jesus still heals today, to allow them to come.

The truth is that Emily didn’t actually want to be healed – she states in her blog about the programme that she’s content being in a wheelchair, plus her identity and career are based around her disability. So why did she want to come? To further her career as a BBC presenter, disability consultant and advocate? 

I believe that Emily’s agenda was predetermined before attending my meeting. During the church service she attended, Emily smirks to the camera during worship, before she saw anyone being prayed for.  She later whispers to the camera, “This is ‘bulls**t’.”  Rev Zoe Heming sides with Emily and writes in her article, “I like her choice of expletive to camera when he isn’t within earshot.” 

Emily's assumed BBC viewer is cynical and not open to what happens in the meeting. Emily, in he way she acted, is letting the viewer know she’s on their side. The programme was loaded against me from the beginning and heavily edited to make me out to be an exploitative charlatan. 

Rev Heming assumes that Emily was humiliatingly “bullied” and pulled up from her chair without permission. But we never force healing on anyone. Emily said she had pain in her feet and that they were bent. The pain left her feet after prayer – she says so on camera.

Emily was asked if she would like to try to stand, which she can do for short periods of time with support, to see if there was a change in the strength of her feet.  She agreed.  The BBC edited out Emily being asked if she’d like to try to stand.  Perhaps there was also a studied touch of distress in Emily’s expression, knowing the cameras were on her and that the awkward hoisting might evoke pathos to her advantage in the documentary. 

My motivation

I can't help feeling it's naïve of Rev Heming, to blindly swallow the slanted BBC presentation of my ministry and join in the secular mocking of a Christian ministry that seeks to serve people and glorify God and assume instead that I am all about the money.  My meetings are free to attend.  Free will love offerings are taken up in my meetings because I live by faith, but there is never any pressure to give. I always emphasise that healing is free. The BBC made a point of showing the donation page on my website. They claimed that we “actively promote this page” which is totally untrue. 

If Rev Heming had attended the meetings, she would have witnessed over one hundred people being healed, including some very serious debilitating conditions, not just sore backs and knees, which Emily seems to discount anyway. These people queued for hours to give their testimonies, on camera, to the BBC, but of course hardly any of these were shown in the programme, though we recorded many of them ourselves for our YouTube channel. Pastors Colin and Clive Urquhart from Kingdom Faith Church in Horsham can verify the abundance of miracles that took place on the day the BBC filmed Emily in their church in October 2016.

I am not motivated by money.  I still don’t own my own modest home and I drive a 14 year old Holden car. Over the years, it has cost me more to minister in the UK than what I have received financially and the majority of churches I minister in are smaller churches with less than 100 members.  I still choose to minister in the UK for several weeks each year because I see the UK/Europe as a mission field.

Healing is real

I never promise healing to individuals at my meetings, but I encourage everyone who comes that Jesus is the healer and by his sacrifice on the cross, he made a way for us to receive salvation, forgiveness and healing. God’s word does promise healing and answer to prayer through faith: “whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours,” Mark 11:24.

By ignoring the many promises of healing in the Bible and damning all Christian healing ministers, I believe that Rev Heming robs herself and others she may influence, from believing God for the abundant life Jesus purchased for us on the cross.  Many people are healed by Jesus at my meetings, often instantly; though for some it’s a process of coming closer to God and building faith.

Friends warned me about letting the BBC film, but I sincerely wanted Emily and her crew to hear about Jesus and experience his love.  But I will not be welcoming the secular media into my meetings again anytime soon.

Rev Heming has never met me.  She does not know my background – that I ministered amongst remote Aboriginal communities for years and lived in poverty myself.  I then ministered around the world non-stop for over ten years without owning a home or car because I could not afford them.  I minister because I love Jesus and people and want to see everyone saved and healed.  

John Mellor is an International Healing Evangelist. For more information visit his website johnmellor.org

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