Medical Journal Research Team Confirms ‘Miracle’ Healing Ministry of Heidi Baker

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Heidi Baker is a well known Christian figure who has dedicated her life to ministry in the African country of Mozambique (1). Through stories coming from Baker’s compassionate work on the ground, there has been an arousal of academic interest in some events surrounding her.

Baker’s ministry has seemed to have garnered the reputation for remarkable occurrences, and it  was not too long until  it caught the attention of western scholar and researcher Candy Gunther Brown. Brown is a Professor in religious studies at Indiana University who has since identified Heidi as being “a hero to young women.” (2).

Proximal Intercessory Prayer

Brown was intrigued by the claims of healing and looked to examine them through scientific protocol (3). The study examined “proximal intercessory prayer” (PIP) meaning that the people prayed for were not at a distance away from the intercessor who was doing the praying. Rather than blind prayer studies where controlled groups are separated by distance and location, Brown’s study looked at “direct-contact prayer, frequently involving touch, by one or more persons on behalf of another” (p. 864). It is a prayer Brown says is similar to the New Testament accounts of Jesus and his disciples laying hands on the sick. At this point in the academic literature, proximal intercessory prayer has received little attention, and Brown’s study is an attempt to fill this gap.

Acquiring the Data

She traveled to Mozambique with a small team where they would accompany Baker on her ministry outreaches. The study explains that,

“… the site was selected because Iris leaders are widely reputed among Pentecostals globally as “specialists” in praying for those with hearing and vision impairments—especially during village outreaches in rural Mozambique” (p. 865).

During evangelistic meetings blind and deaf persons were directed to designated spots to receive prayer for healing by Baker, Baker’s ministry team, and other Western and Mozambican affiliates. Through this Brown and her team were able to test 24 Mozambicans before and after prayer. The process of PIP included spending 1–15 minutes (sometimes an hour or more, circumstances permitting) administering proximal intercessory prayer. Hands were placed on the recipient’s head and sometimes the person was embraced in a hug, keeping their eyes open to observe results,

“In soft tones, they petitioned God to heal, invited the Holy Spirit’s anointing, and commanded healing and the departure of any evil spirits in Jesus’ name. Those who prayed then asked recipients whether they were healed. If recipients responded negatively or stated that the healing was partial, PIP was continued. If they answered in the affirmative, informal tests were conducted, such as asking recipients to repeat words or sounds (eg, hand claps) intoned from behind or to count fingers from roughly 30 cm away. If recipients were unable or partially able to perform tasks, PIP was continued for as long as circumstances permitted” (p. 865).

Testing Methods

Brown’s team evaluated a consecutive series of 24 Mozambican subjects (19 males and 5 females) reporting auditory (14 subjects) and/or visual (11 subjects) impairments who received PIP. Only one subject reported having both a hearing and vision impairment.

To test hearing Brown’s team used a handheld audiometer (EarscanES3, Micro Audiometrics Corp, Murphy, N.C., calibrated 3 months prior to the study, with calibration valid for 12 months) to measure hearing thresholds. Ambient noise coming from the nearby crowd was taken into account and measured with a sound meter (Tenma model 72–935) in dB SPL in order to investigate whether or not it influenced readings. A total of 18 ears in 11 individuals with hearing impairments were analyzed, and subjects responded by button press on the audiometer or verbally.

Visual testing included testing 11 visually impaired subjects “using 40cm (6 subjects) and/or 6 m (5 subjects: this chart was used for elderly subjects reporting distant vision problems) logarithmic, “Illiterate E” visual acuity charts (Precision Vision, LaSalle, Ill.), using both eyes together, or with each eye separately as time allowed. The minimum measurable acuity was 6/120 on the 40-cm chart and 6/30 on the 6-m chart. A pre-measured string was used to hold charts at the appropriate distance. As researchers pointed to each letter, subjects pointed or verbally indicated which direction it faced; researchers did not indicate whether responses were correct making it less likely that subjects memorized the chart” (p. 866).

Data Results

Where hearing is concerned,

“There was a highly significant improvement in hearing across the 18 ears of 11 subjects (t(10)3.93,P0.003,two-tailed) (Fig. 1). Two subjects showed hearing thresholds reduced by over 50 dB HL. AN was very high during testing (50–100 dB SPL), but AN (85 dB SPL), calculated for eachsubject individually as the average of the minimum and maximum noise during measurement was unchanged between pre- and post-PIP tests (t(10)-0.48,P0.64, two-tailed), indicating that AN was not likely to be a confound (Fig. 1,A). The average 3 kHz threshold after PIP was 49.4 dB HL,which was slightly high, perhaps due to high AN” (p. 866).

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Regarding vision,

“Significant visual improvements (both difference and ratio of before vs after) were seen across the tested population (Wilcoxon signed rank test z2.49,P0.02, two-tailed) (Fig. 2,A). Three of eleven subjects improved from 6/120 or worse to 6/24 or better, and one subject improved from unable to count fingers at 30 cm (6/2400) to 6/38 (Fig. 2,B). All but one vision subject was tested in broad daylight; the remaining subject was tested after dark, with electricity provided by generator-powered stage lights and a flash-light (See Subject E in Supplemental Digital Content, http://links.lww.com/SMJ/A1); the lighting level did not appear improved between the pre- and post- test (conducted less than one minute later), making it unlikely that variable lighting was a confound” (p. 877).

What Accounts for these Remarkable Results?

The study then matches the data to possible explanations accounting for the visual and hearing improvements. This includes hypnosis because some have suggested hypnosis to result in statistically significant visual acuity improvement. But this is disqualified given that several studies of hypnotic suggestion showed an average 2 or 2.5 times increase in visual acuity, while other studies reported no improvement in vision or auditory thresholds after hypnotic suggestion. However, in Brown’s PIP study, the average visual acuity improvement measured was over tenfold, significantly higher than in suggestion or hypnosis studies.

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What about demand effects? According to the study,

“demand effects may also account for some cases in which subjects reported improved hearing (but not vision) despite no measurable improvement. It should be noted, however, that in the Mozambican cultural context, traditional healers typically charge clients more when healing occurs; thus, subjects may have been predisposed to minimize reporting post-PIP improvements… It seems much less likely that subjects who went from being unable to read a single line (in which case it is unclear that this experience constituted practice) to reading far down the chart were exhibiting practice effects” (p. 867-868)

And Practice effects?

“Practice effects might also have contributed to some observed improvement, but these would also be present in hypnosis studies to similar degrees and therefore may not fully account for the larger effects observed here. Further-more, the amount of practice was minimal at best. Subjects with measurable hearing thresholds experienced the test tones of a given frequency only a few times in each ear, following the Carhart-Jerger protocol.” (p. 867)

The Three Findings of the Study

The study has three main findings (p. 868). The clearest finding is that the PIP assisted improvements:

“First, Mozambican subjects did exhibit improved auditory and/or visual acuity subsequent to PIP interventions. Second, the magnitude of measured effects exceeds that reported in previous studies of suggestion and hypnosis.”

Third, and most striking, is that the study suggests that PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care,

“Although it would be unwise to over generalize from these preliminary findings for a small number of PIP practitioners and subjects collected in far-from-ideal field conditions, future study seems warranted to assess whether PIP may be a useful adjunct to standard medical care for certain patients with auditory and/or visual impairments, especially in contexts where access to conventional treatment is limited.”

Baker Beyond Brown’s Study

Beyond this study, Baker’s ministry has been associated with some other remarkable claims including the multiplying of food (4), to raising the dead which have led thousands to Christ. Professor Craig Keener in his two volume work on the subject of miracles explains that “Unless one works from controlling  presuppositions that miracles cannot occur, most would consider the Bakers credible sources” (5). Keener has interacted with several eyewitnesses who have all attested to miraculous occurrences within Baker’s ministry. This included a “young filmmaker” who witnessed  hearing being restored to the deaf, which is what Brown’s study itself demonstrated. Amanda Hammill Kaminski, who had met Heidi Baker through YWAM, informed Keener that her roommate had spent some time working with Baker and during that time witnessed numerous conspicuously visible miracles. Another eyewitness, Kathy Evans, who works with the Bakers’ ministry, visited them with a team of students and witnessed a middle-aged man born deaf being fully healed. According to Keener there are multiple, credible “independently confirmed reports about the ministry of the Bakers and their Mozambican colleagues…” According to Baker the formula is simple, “When we walk as Jesus walked, we will be blessed.”

References.

1. Chan, P. 2012. Miracles in Mozambique: How Mama Heidi Reaches the Abandoned. Available.

2. Chan, P. 2012. Ibid.

3. Brown, C., Mory, S. Williams, R. & McClymond, M. 2010. “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique.” In Southern Medical Journal, 103 (9): 864–869.

4. Keener, C. Miracles. p. 503-505 (Scribd ebook format)

27 responses to “Medical Journal Research Team Confirms ‘Miracle’ Healing Ministry of Heidi Baker

  1. Heidi Baker is a false teacher who teaches a false kenotic Jesus, and not the Jesus of the Bible. Since God does not listen to the prayers of unbelievers, any so-called “miracle healing” that may have happened in Mozambique were certainly not of Heidi Baker and her prayers. She had nothing to do with them.

    • Robert, sorry to bust your subtle Tuttle bubble, but Jesus healed all the time without repentance. Read yo Bible

      • Hi Dallas,
        I actually have read my Bible, and that is how I know that Jesus is fully God and Fully man. And that is how I know that God is a Triune God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Heidi Baker, on the other hand, believes that Jesus was fully man, but not fully God. She believes and teaches that Jesus divested Himself of His Divine attributes. That is the Jesus that Heidi Baker follows, and it is not the Jesus of the Bible. Heidi Baker believes in, teaches, and follows a different Jesus. She is, therefore, a false teacher, and a false Christian, as one cannot believe in a different Jesus other than the Jesus of the Bible, and still legitimately be a Christian.
        Have a blessed day, Dallas.

    • “”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. You blind guides, straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel!”
      ‭‭Matthew‬ ‭23:23-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬
      This is why Christians are so unattractive to the world. You fight and condemn each other. That’s not what Jesus called us to do.

      • Hi Fronda,
        I am not condemning a sister in Christ. I am simply saying that Heidi Baker is not a Christian, and is a false teacher. She denies the Jesus of the Bible, and teaches another Jesus, one who is not Divine. It’s as simple as that.
        Have a blessed day.

  2. Heidi Baker is a false teacher who teaches a false kenotic Jesus, and not the Jesus of the Bible. Any “miracle healing” that may have happened in Mozambique was certainly not connected to Heidi Baker or her “ministry” in any way.

    • What you should just know is that jesus heals whether through heidi or even you and His healing style no man can define…immagine Jesus gut dust to heal eyes..to others he said rise up and walk….so man of God the lord has Many ways of doing it

      • Hi Joel,
        As I have explained, Heidi Baker is not a Christian. She teaches a different Jesus. As God has said, “For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Cor 11:4)

    • I couldn’t disagree that the source of the healing has not been proven to be God, which is obviously an inference from the results. I do sometimes wonder who is more fearful of such data: atheist-naturalists whose entire worldview is threatened by it, or Christians who believe other Christians who appear to be doing God’s work are fully heretics and false teachers?

      • I understand what you’re saying James but the NAR movement, who focus on signs and wonders plus its dominionism doctrines are rapidly becoming a world force that preach another gospel. Famine in the Land from https://fitl.co.za/ in South Africa provides a lot of background information if you are interested. Blessings my friend.

        • The joke is that if your business fails in Africa or Brazil, start a church, presumably a Pentecostal church preaching prosperity and miracles. What appears to be the wealthiest minister on earth is a Brazilian Pentecostal preacher, a billionaire who owns the 2nd largest TV station in Brazil, and 49% of the shares in a big bank and who recently rebuilt Herod’s temple many times the dimensions of the original to serve as his church headquarters. There are conveyor belts and safe rooms to store the offerings from each worship service. He also played a large role in getting Brazil’s own version of “Trump” elected as president down there, someone who says they love torture, and that new Brazilian president has lifted restrictions on denuding the rain forest. I guess that’s how God works.

  3. Pingback: Medical Journal Research Team Confirms ‘Miracle’ Healing Ministry of Heidi Baker – Elders Scrolls·

  4. Heidi Baker believes she was cured from a bacterial illness miraculously, however what happened was that she got pumped full of antibiotics. and would not stay in the hospital as advised, but got on a plane to deliver a rally message, and got better along the way.

    Also see the article in Christianity Today, “Miracles in Mozambique” (Christianity Today, 56 no 5 May 2012, p 18-26) that praises Heidi Baker’s good works, while leaving the question of testing her healing claims up in the air. But it gives one a good idea how the show works. Heidi and a team of volunteers enter a village at night that has no electricity, and they set up a movie about Jesus, have a call for healing, and with speakers and lights blaring they get people in the village to claim they can see or hear now. But her fame precedes her, along with her being white skinned, and the hope or knowledge that she has access to resources the village needs. So, afterward the healing show…

    “[Heidi] Baker later says, that the village chief approached her. ‘Did you see Antonio healed?’ she asked him. He said he had seen it. He then announced that the elders would like to donate land where Baker could build a church, which could double as a preschool and meeting center. He also invited Heidi and husband Rolland Baker’s umbrella organization, Iris Ministries, to come drill a well.'”

    The incentive is to claim someone has received healing to gain access to Heidi’s resources for the sake of one’s village. Note the unconvincing nature of this alleged miraculous healing from the CHRISTIANITY TODAY article:

    “I want anybody who is deaf to come to the front. Anybody who can’t hear. God is going to heal tonight.” Heidi Baker… speaks over a powerful sound system into a pitchblack African night. We are in the dusty village of Chiure, Mozambique, the 11th poorest nation on earth. No electricity or running water is available here. From their ragged clothes and bare feet, you can see that the people are destitute. Two trucks have brought students from Pemba, Baker’s mission center. Setting up open-air screens and generator-powered projectors, they have just shown the Jesus film. Preaching followed. And now, a crowd of several hundred has gathered on the bare ground in front of the trucks for the climactic moment. Heidi Baker, known worldwide for her healing miracles, spends a third of every year on the charismatic speaking circuit, where people routinely fall to the floor in unconscious bliss or shake and laugh uncontrollably. They come, enthralled, to hear of Baker’s miracles in places like Chiure. In recent years, she says, 100 percent of the deaf in the Chiure area have been healed through prayer. Not only that, she claims, scores have risen from the dead, food has been multiplied, the crippled and blind have been restored, and the gospel has spread like fire. Baker’s church association now numbers 10,000 congregations, maybe more. Responding to Baker’s call, four people straggle to the front, standing uneasily. The audience crowds forward around them, blocking the view. Most of what happens is relayed over the booming sound system in Portuguese and translated into Makhuwa, the local language, with occasional explanations in English. One can hardly see through a blinding floodlight on the truck. Attention focuses on Antonio, a somber boy of perhaps 12 who, as a young child, it is said, lost his hearing completely. Antonio cannot explain himself, because he cannot hear or apparently speak. Baker asks the audience for help. “Do you know Antonio? Is he really deaf?” Only a few people seem to respond. But Baker is satisfied and proceeds to lay hands on Antonio and pray. Then she gives Antonio a microphone. “Ba-ba!” she shouts, her voice booming through the sound system loudly enough to make the deaf hear. “Ba-ba,” Antonio repeats in a strangled, calf-like mew. “Ma-ma!” Baker shouts. “Ma-ma,” Antonio repeats. “Jesus,” Baker cues. “Jesus.” Baker announces jubilantly that Antonio is completely healed, and that, in fact, all four people on stage have been healed of deafness. She invites the crowd to praise God, but the response is weak. Later, when asked about the subdued reaction, she says, “It’s always that way in Mozambique. They never show much reaction.” Her assistant Antoinette, who has seen many Mozambican healings, agrees. “It seems odd,” she says. “We would be jumping around.” Was it a miracle? Unless you knew Antonio before and after, you couldn’t say for sure. Baker, though, has no doubt, and nobody else seems to either. After the healing, Baker asks for villagers with bad backs to raise their hands so that members of the outreach team can find them and pray for them. Then come those with stomach problems. Finally, she invites drunkards who want healing prayer to identify themselves, and a few do. The evening program concludes with outreach team members circulating through the crowd laying hands on and praying for anyone who wants it. Plenty of people seem eager. Some indicate that prayers have been answered. It was during this time of prayer, Baker later says, that the village chief approached her. “Did you see Antonio healed?” she asked him. He said he had seen it. He then announced that the elders would like to donate land where Baker could build a church, which could double as a preschool and meeting center. He also invited Heidi and husband Rolland Baker’s umbrella organization, Iris Ministries, to come drill a well. In Chiure as in so many places in Mozambique, healing has opened the door for God’s love.

    The article in CHRISTIANITY TODAY goes on to state:

    Though Heidi’s stories almost always end in miraculous victory, she points out to Pemba students that Iris children die, that they build homes for blind people who aren’t healed, and that suffering continues in spite of prayer. The Bakers have both suffered severe sicknesses. Close to memory is Rolland’s breakdown several years ago, when he suffered inexplicable dementia and lost virtually all functionality for many months.

    Testing 24 Mozambicans before and after healing prayer—half performed by Baker—her team detected statistically significant improvements in hearing and vision. (The results were published in the September 2010 edition of the Southern Medical Journal, and are available online.) Brown’s team found similar results on an excursion to Brazil, but testing at charismatic gatherings in North America did not yield significant results.

    At one session, Heidi prophesied to two of the pastors that they would raise people from the dead. Soon there were reports of the wife of a district official rising from her deathbed [deathbed? Not coffin? My comment] after two hours of prayer. News spread fast of astonishing miracles, and church numbers multiplied.

    • Ok. But here is an actual scientific study done to test the very clains you are criticizing and the results don’t support what you are positing. Can you directly refute this study or only rely upon cynical observations made by a third party that happens to support your perspective?

      • Did you read a word I wrote? They tried the same study in North America, presumably with better equipment and with more savvy participants who were familiar with doctors checking their sight and hearing, and the results were nil. The study above was with inferior low quality instruments in the middle of a revival. It was far from a double blind study. And the people had probably never seen such tests before, so when they were rechecked after prayer they had learned to look more acutely at the eye chart letters and listen more acutely for the coming beep. And I bet they strove a lot harder to distinguish letters in the eye charts and listen for beeps when rechecked. The ambient noise of the revival and lighting could also have changed before the recheck was made. Nor did anyone’s eye or ear deficiencies entirely vanish no matter how many additional prayers were said.

  5. I have been been researching faith healing claims in Keener’s book, Miracles, and have an article coming out soon concerning some of his most often repeated claims. I also have some pieces on my blog that discuss claims not covered in my article. https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/search/label/miracles

    John G. Lake was a famous South African “healer” and church founder whose claims were researched by a South African scholar and found wanting. Dowie also helped found a major church in South Africa via his claims. Both were proven to be liars: https://edward-t-babinski.blogspot.com/2019/04/miracles-by-craig-s-keener-two-con-men.html

  6. Add an entry to your Encyclopedia on religious fanaticism. There is tons of material to work with. I can send you a long list of videos, images, and articles for starters. Weird miracle claims, including unexpcted healings having little to do with orthodox Christianity (like healings related to a gay-atheist hypnotist’s show, Miracle), weird and/or erroneous prophecies, wealthy glutenous, sexually perverse, church leaders, and the struggling mislead millions who support them as they starve for food, decent jobs, healthcare.

  7. Amazes me how people run with the devil himself just to try and shut down others… so so sad actually. Get alone with Jesus and stop your bickering and nitpicking.

  8. Some of these comments are really amazing.

    We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but he is ready to hear those who worship him and do his will. Ever since the world began, no one has been able to open the eyes of someone born blind. If this person were not from God, they couldn’t have done it.

  9. Its not about anyone, its about God getting the glory AND the ones He loves so much, his people crying out to him for help.

    • I am sure that IF those people were truly healed (apparently there is some question regarding the report), I am positive Heidi Baker had nothing to do with it. She is a false teacher. She denies the biblical Jesus. This is not simply a theological difference, but rather teaching a different Jesus other than the Jesus of the Bible. She is a false teacher, she is not a Christian. She is lying to those she preaches to.

  10. After praying according to 1 John 5:14-15….We need to focus on 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, receive this love and develope a lifestyle praising, thanking and worshipping God for who He is, what He has done, and what He will do regardless of circumstances. He is faithful to His Word. He is good. I choose to NOT live in unbelief and offended based on my negative experiences.

  11. im very interested…i wish there were a way to share this to my page….my email is often down….

  12. For anyone who might be slightly swayed by Robert and Seth’s comment that God does not listen to the prayers or sinners or unbelievers –
    In the book of Collisions in the Bible, Chapter 2 – it clearly says that while we were dead in our sins (i.e.. when we were sinners), God made us alive in Christ, he forgave us and took away any debt or condemnation against us by nailing it to the cross in himself.

    God does not make any distinction between us, we were all sinners!! There’s nothing we have done or could ever do to put us right with God. Thats why Jesus sorted it before we were ever even able to cry out to him. Thats what the love and grace of God is and why he’s so flipping’ amazing! Totally dependant on his goodness and nothing to do with us.

    God offers real relationship with him, freedom from our past and a life of purpose to every single one of us, regardless of what we do – it’s just up to us whether we choose to receive it.

    Bless you Robert for your passion to know the real Jesus – Bless you and bless us all as, that we would never stop our journey to truly know and understand Him more.

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