The pastor who was raised from the dead in Nigeria-God only knows!

The Pastor Who Was Raised From the Dead in NigeriaOnly God knows!



Summary of eRumor:

This widely circulated story is about Nigerian Pastor who was declared dead after an automobile accident.  He was taken to a mortuary and prepared for burial.  His wife, however, felt that God had promised her that such a thing would not happen so she transported the coffin by ambulance to a church were an evangelist was holding meetings and with the expectation that her husband would be raised from the dead.  His body was taken to a room in the church where he started breathing, opened his eyes, sat up, and to the joy of the people at the church, apparently came back from the dead.

The Truth:

This is a story that doesn’t have the kind of evidence to satisfy the skeptics but is sincere enough to thrill the believers.

The most commonly circulated version is an article from the website of Christian evangelist Reinhard Bonnke.  It goes into detail about the experience of Nigerian pastor Daniel Ekechukwu.  Bonnke’s organization has also released a video documentary of the incident which features interviews with many of the people involved including a doctor, the mortician, Ekechukwu’s wife and father, and several pastors who were there when he started showing signs of life again.

The first question that our readers have been asking is whether there is any evidence that this is a hoax, an intentional deception on the part of the pastor, the evangelist, or any of their supporters.  From the accounts of the story, interviews with the participants, the video documentary, and even a researcher who is skeptical about the story, everybody involved is sincere in their belief about Pastor Ekechukwu’s experience.  The events happened spontaneously and without apparent planning or collusion.

The key question focuses on whether Ekechukwu truly died.  After he stopped breathing while being transported from a hospital to a doctor’s office, he was seen by two doctors, who regarded him as dead, but critics say the examinations were brief and could have overlooked minimal signs of life.  One of the doctors was interviewed in the video and said that he checked both breathing and heart activity with a stethoscope and that Ekechukwu’s eyes were fixed and dilated.  He signed the paperwork to send him on to the mortuary.  The mortician is also interviewed in the video and says he regarded Ekechukwu as dead and ready for burial.  Initial versions of the eRumor said the mortician had embalmed the body.  The video carefully avoids that topic and quotes the doctor as saying the pastor was ready to be embalmed.  Leo Igwe, a Nigerian skeptic who is critical of claims of miracles says the mortician told him that he had not done anything to embalm the body.  Igwe also says that he was told by physicians that if Ekechukwu had actually been dead and without embalming, there would have been evidence of that such as abdominal bloating that is not visible in pictures of his body at the time.  The mortician did, however, tell Igwe the fascinating story that the pastor’s body was not “allowing” him to sleep at night and that he had heard a chorus of voices singing from the mortuary.  

Apart from the question about whether Ekechukwu actually died, his is a remarkable story.  He was regarded as dead, lay in a coffin in a small mortuary in his father’s village for two days with wooden plugs in his nostrils, his coffin was taken to a church because of his wife’s belief that he would come back to life, he woke up in the midst of people singing and praying for him, and now has the perspective of a person who has been given a second chance at life.  He also says that while he was counted as among the dead, he had an experience of being escorted by angels to both heaven and hell and being given a message to bring back to tell others.  In the video, he revisits his father’s village, the doctor who pronounced him dead, the mortician who tended to him, and sees the coffin in which he lay and some of the grave clothes he wore.

Last updated 8/19/02