A Skeptical Evaluation of Robby “Resurrection” Dawkins Part 1

In the previous post, I commented on the three types of skeptics and mentioned that the church is in a bad scenario in the current era.  The bad scenario comes with the combination of Jesus’ warning against spiritual frauds and the modern distaste for any biblically cautious and critical evaluation.  I closed off the article with the statement that “critical evaluation is not just unpopular; it is actively suppressed altogether” and mentioned that I would take a look at a fairly recent example: Robby “Resurrection” Dawkins.

Now, it’s time to explore that example.

Robby Dawkins is a highly sought-after speaker in the Vineyard church who hails from Illinois that has come to recent fame (and fortune) due to his claims of performing a resurrection.  Dawkins’ claims are reported by the none other than the wonderfully imaginative Jennifer LeClaire.  Leclaire has reported his claims in an article and also a full interview at Charisma magazine.  Leclaire is also a busy woman.  Not only does she write for Charisma Magazine, but she also runs a “ministry” that has an ironic homepage:

This is her home page, as of June 18th, 2015.  Not exactly subtle...

This is her home page, as of June 18th, 2015.  She even quotes Matthew 24:24.

Seeing that LeClaire is in the middle of this all, and her website encourages me to exercise discernment, I’m going to take my cue from her.  I’m going to apply a little discernment to Robby Dawkins’ resurrection claim that LeClaire is using her global media outlet to promote.  In this post, I’ll present the facts as best I can.  In the next post, I’ll offer a little biblically cautious and critical discernment.

Don’t blame me.

I’m just taking my cue from Jennifer LeClaire.

In the account I’ve assembled from both interview and the article, the event occurred as follows:

1.  In April (actually March 9-10 2015), Robby Dawkins was speaking (at Inglewhite Congregational Church) in North England.

2.  He had spent the morning praying for healing for the people of the church.  Dawkins speaks of that morning saying,”we saw many healed, even some children at a church facility experienced healing and God’s presence with heat and tingling.”

3.  Just as Dawkins was about to speak, a man named Matt Catlow started having contortions of the face.  His mother (Heather) started screaming that Matt was having another stroke (he had apparently had one around a year before).  She called for someone to get an ambulance.

4.  Catlow was jerking and twitching severely, and Dawkins claimed to see “a strong demonic presence over him.”

5.  Dawkins ran over, “put his hand on his chest and forehead” and “started binding demonic powers and commanding his body to be loosed in Jesus’ name.”

6.  It didn’t produce the desired effect as Catlow’s lips started turning blue, and his body went stiff.

7.  A doctor joined him in prayer, as did several other people.

8.  Dawkins had his hand on Matt’s chest and felt that he had a strong pulse, even though he was having labored breathing.

9.  Dawkins proceeded to forbid Satan from attacking Matt and started “binding the spirit of infirmity.”

10.  Dawkins and the others “laid him on the floor and began to rebuke the spirit of death.”

11.  Catlow’s pupils became fixed and dilated and then Dawkins claimed “he heard the death rattle—the sound a dying person makes when fluids accumulate in the throat and upper chest.” Apparently Dawkins knew about the “death rattle” because he witnessed it when his mother died.

12.  The doctor checked the pulse (but didn’t say anything one way or the other), and the mother screamed “he’s dead.”

13.  The Lord spoke to Dawkins and said “What happens next is something I am breaking off of this whole area and country.”

14.  Dawkins got angry and refused to give up praying.

15.  Dawkins continued to pray and spoke to the ‘spirit of death’ saying, “You can’t have him!”

16.  Dawkins “began to declare the resurrection life of Jesus Christ over him.”

17.  The man started breathing, his pupils recovered, and his color returned.

18.  Dawkins started speaking to Matt, but Heather (Matt’s mother) said he couldn’t speak because of a previous stroke.

19.  Dawkins said that within minutes, Matt began to speak and answer him coherently.  His mother rejoiced, yelling “He can speak!”

20.  The people tried to get Matt to sit but instead he wanted to stand.

21.  Matt looked at the crowd and asked “What are they looking at?”

22.  Dawkins then says,

“I turned him towards me and pulled him into my chest—like a hug—and declared a full impartation of life. He let go and then embraced me again,” Dawkins says. “I did this because I had a friend who had raised the dead and said there is something about the chest-to-chest connection—like in the Bible—that seems to impart life. I continued to pray and break off the enemy’s assignment against him. Some men helped him to the back of the church to wait for the ambulance.”

23.  The pastor called the people back in, and Dawkins preached and then healed five people.

24.  The following day, Dawkins went to see Matt.  Matt had apparently fractured his shoulder, and it needed surgery.

25.  Dawkins asked Matt if he could pray for the shoulder.  Dawkins did, and the pain went away.

26.  After Dawkins had prayed for the shoulder, the medical staff re-evaluated the shoulder and said that the surgery wasn’t needed.

27.  Dawkins admits that this was his first performance of a resurrection.

So that’s quite the tale for Robby to add to his repertoire!

Dawkins

This event happened in a western country and somewhere in the vicinity of 200 people were apparently present.  There should certainly be some video evidence or credible witnesses or any number of people and facts that can corroborate the story.  Apparently, there are at least two corroborating witnesses.  I directly contacted Robby Dawkins to inquire about some of that information.  He said precious little but forwarded me the following corroborative witness accounts:

The doctor’s account of the incident was provided on the Facebook page of Dawkins’ ministry.  The account reads:

Hi Robby,

It’s The Dr. who was behind Matt tonight. You wanted me to write what I saw, so here goes!

You had just started speaking and I was sat in the chair behind him. He was sat upright then started to fall back slowly, twitching, like he was having a fit. The lady next to him – his mum? – started shrieking “He’s having another stroke – he had one last year” and shouted, “someone call an ambulance” as well as crying loudly and saying other things.

He then started to go further back and you started to come over. He started going blue and developed laboured breathing, but he wasn’t sweaty initially. I helped lift him down to the floor.

You started to pray and Matt started to go purple. However, he still had a strong regular carotid pulse, so this was not a faint leading to a fit (which is called a “reflex anoxic seizure”). His breathing started to become even more laboured, and he started to froth at the mouth. I was holding his airway open as much as I could. You put your hand on his chest and assured his mum that his heart was still beating. You started to pray against the spirit of death and as you did so, his pupils became fixed and dilated (as they do when people have died) and his breathing became much worse: this was “agonal breathing” (breathing that people do around death – a bit before and a bit after).

In other words, he was dead.

I was on the point of psyching myself up to do mouth to mouth (he didn’t need heart massage), but as you continued to pray, his breathing recovered and his colour started to return very slightly – or rather the lips that were purple/black started to get less dark. His eyes stopped being fixed and dilated and started to move. We rolled him onto his side at that point to allow his tongue to fall forward, but he was starting to come round.

Very gradually he started to improve his colour and his breathing became less laboured, and twice he rolled back onto his back. He was starting to respond to my voice and then after a few seconds you started to speak to him and he started to answer you, coherently in complete sentences. The strange thing is that his mother stated (and verified by many there) he had lost his speech ability after the stroke.

He then started to get up, initially kneeling and then trying to stand, we tried to get him to sit in a chair but he wanted to stand, looking rather vacant. You hugged him and prayed for him and continued to break off the enemy’s assignment against him. We got him to sit down and then eventually helped him to the back of the church to wait for the ambulance. (I thought the way you handled it pastorally was brilliant – I was learning!!)

So, reflections:

1. This was not a faint: he was red, not sweaty and with a strong pulse.

2. He went very blue/black: this is not that unusual in a faint, but the speed of him going black while having a strong pulse & still breathing was surprising.

3. He went from fitting to signs of being dead very quickly. To look like that with pupils that became fixed and dilated (I saw them go) from a fit is extremely unlikely. It could happen with a bleed in his head or a blockage of a cerebral artery or some other catastrophic “stroke”. It would therefore have qualified as a “SUDEP” (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy), however, these tend to happen in people with severe chronic epilepsy.

4. To get up, talk and walk about afterwards, even though not coherent wasn’t compatible with a faint and is unlikely after a fit: and certainly not compatible with some massive brain insult!

In hospital training (I was training to be a hospital physician before swapping to General Practice) I have seen a lot of people have a cardiac arrest, a few people have a brain stem death while I watched, loads of people fainting and a lot of people have fits. This however was weird!

So, enough of the medical reflection! It was amazing!!! I’m sure you’re right that this was a spirit of death and that was resurrection power right there! If you hadn’t waged war against that spirit of death and called him back, Matt would be still dead – or at least I would have ended up having to do mouth-to-mouth until the paramedics came: thank you for saving me from that!!! Anyway, the chances of successful resuscitation from that situation with the length mouth-to-mouth that would have been needed is almost nil with a non-cardiac death!

Thank you Jesus – what a great demo of the power of God, and yes, I fully intend to raise the dead!

Thank you so much Robby for your courage and also explaining the fury that you felt against this attack of the devil: also, your thought process on how to pastor this at the same time as feeling furious: it was so helpful to be mentored like that!

Bless you,

(no name included)

Also, Dawkins has provided a video of another testimonial from someone at the event:

In that video (starting around 2:45), the testimony more or less says that he saw the events occur and doesn’t exactly know what happened, but takes Dawkin’s account of it as reliable.

So that’s the evidence, straight from the horses mouth.

It seems like those testimonies pretty much settle it, right?

Not so fast.

What about Matt Catlow?  Surely he has an opinion on the matter, right?

For some reason, he’s not talking, but his sister sure is.

I contacted Rebecca Colley (Matt’s real name is “Colley,” not “Catlow) and got a little (hesitantly provided) information.  Apparently, she has attempted to contact Robby Dawkins, as well as the reporting media, regarding Mr. Dawkin’s claims, but to no avail.  Apparently she has a wildly different story to tell, but her efforts were met with her comments being deleted on certain relevant Facebook pages.  So, she made a Facebook page that strongly repudiates the claims of Mr. Dawkins.  Rebecca (sitting in the middle) has written the following:

Colley

Matthew had a stroke about a year ago. Physically he was not effected. His speech and communication unfortunately were effected and although he is 10 times better at communicating than he was a year ago (prior to the meeting, because of all the hard work he has put into re training his brain) Robby saying that his speech is 100% improved is a pure lie. He did not know Matthew before hand and therefore unable to comment on whether his speech had improved or not.

Regarding the ‘death’… what Robby is telling everyone is not true. It has since been MEDICALLY proven that Matthew had suffered an epileptic seizure which often can display similar signs of someone dying. TWO nurse family friends of ours both had their hands on Matthew throughout and not once lost his pulse. So no, Matthew did not die.

The preacher from inglewhite church has been so thrown by all of this that on Sunday just gone he stood at the front of church and apologized to his congregation for allowing Robby into their church. The doctor who was also there is said to be apologizing to them next week for all the pain caused through this unbelievable encounter that he had given and the shock that all this had been broadcast on Facebook by this coward of a man who will not face up to the actual truth.

Anyway. What you choose to believe is up to you. But as his sister who has known him for 30+ years, i know I’d prefer it if people choose to believe the truth rather than someone who had met my brother for all of half an hour.

Hmm.

That’s not all.

The sister has also written the following about her brother’s current state:

He is struggling right now. More seizures. Very low. And everytime he sees something on fb about RD, and that night, and the promises that were made to him to be healed, it gets him down. He just needs to put it past him and to concentrate on getting back on the long road to recovery.

If it was down to me, I’d tell the world about that night… i could write a book… (!) but at this time my brother’s health comes first.

Robbie Dawkins has had these facts made known to him.

Robby-Dawkins-Screenshot

On his official Facebook page, this is how he has responded:

There were several people that witnessed what Happened and the report you read from a good and reputable Godly Dr before. I heard his mother is very relieved and thanking God for her son’s life back. Several from the church said she is very happy.

A couple of family members who were not present at the meeting when this event occurred demanded that the post be removed and picture taken down renouncing what happened and was reported (Keep in mind This man is a 39 year old man and not a child). Again they were not there to see it as eyewitnesses.

There was a nurse who was not hands on but witnessed but couldn’t say he had passed because she only felt his pulse after he revived another nurse who said she was also checking his pulse (she never identified herself to me) said he never lost his pulse but I heard she did acknowledge the dilated pupils.

I was put under a lot of pressure (by the few 3 people only) to deny this report of this man coming back to life.

My response? Based on what I saw (and many support), Praise the Lord He has conquered death again!!!!!!!

So clearly Mr. Dawkins is aware of the comments being made by Rebecca Colley.

Clearly, Mr. Dawkins has not taken the course of action she desires.

Beyond that, here’s something else that Mr. Dawkins has said about this whole affair:

So the Charisma article on the resurrection in England has official gone viral on Social media. 43,000 shares (FB alone has 24,000 likes) since it came out 24 hrs ago. My book Do What Jesus Did shot to number one in 3 best sellers categories. It’s at Number on in Evangelism.

I’ve had cessationist and atheists send messages of unbelief and hate. So everyone knows I have a full Dr.’s Report of that night in my possession (but because of threats the Dr. Received, I took it down from social media). But far out weighing that are people feeling empowered to raise the dead. Thank you Jesus!

I just want to make Jesus famous. He is the source! All of this is just a crown to cast at the feet of the one on heaven’s throne.

Hmm.

book-cover-do-what-jesus-did

Interesting story, and definitely some interesting twists and details.

I’m going to cut this post off here as it’s more than long enough, but those are the facts as I’ve found them.  I’ve tried to be objective and just report the facts in this post.

I’ll give some interaction with the details and story in the next post.  Don’t wait for me though; let me know what you think in the comments!

Until Next Time,

Lyndon “I believe, help my unbelief” Unger

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18 thoughts on “A Skeptical Evaluation of Robby “Resurrection” Dawkins Part 1

  1. “I’ve tried to be objective and just report the facts in this post.”
    Well, you’re not being very Emerson like here.
    “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” and my mind about this must be very small indeed.
    My question is just how does one possess, or direct, the power to raise the dead at one moment, but not to bother with a cure for a seizure disorder at the same time, or parse between the two in this tsunami of conjuring?

  2. Hey there Lyndon – happy Saturday!

    I am not a fan of these types at all. Their showmanship is bad enough, but then they go naming all sorts of different spirits as though you need to get the right one and if you don’t, all that work is to no avail! (“Silly me, I was trying to cast out Infirmary, when it was really Death! No wonder I wasn’t getting a response…”) If only the Bible provided a comprehensive list of all demons and their choice methods of wrecking havoc in our lives we would waste so much less time! (And be healthier, I’m sure. Probably wouldn’t have to diet anymore…just gotta cast Gluten out of my bread. And Sugar outta my sodapop.)
    I’ve really digressed here, but I curious: how did you find out the family’s real surname?? I did a couple Google searches and came up short (or empty, as the case may be).

    All the best – Matt

  3. Pingback: A Skeptical Evaluation of Robby “Resurrection” Dawkins – Part 2 | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely…

  4. I’ve met Robby a few times. I have witnessed people being healed and encouraged during the ministry times when he or others prayed. I know that he is eager to see God raise people from the dead and why not be? If he is legitimate and convinced that this is another bonafide miracle it will be hard to dissuade him because he has seen too many at this point. When a guy puts himself out there as Robby has, it is par for the course that people will try to slime him and discredit him. Maybe he should go back there and try to make things right with the Colley family and the church there but could they even hear him at this point?
    You did a good job presenting the facts but it doesn’t seem like you left any room for a conclusion other than the one you probably started with.

    • I’m the first to admit that the Bible kinda fences me in on this one.

      The Bible defines the categories for us and our experiences need to be carefully evaluated against the Biblical standard.

  5. I’m delighted to have found your thoughts about Robby Dawkins. I’ve been researching an associate of his – Mark Marx – who operates over here in Northern Ireland (though travels all over the world with his “Healing on the Streets” ministry).

    We had a case over here in Northern Ireland” during the “Florida Revival” – a claimed raising of the dead that was really just a resuscitation. But I’m going to try to follow it up.

    Kudos on the articles here.

    Regards,

    Stephen J Graham

    stephenjgraham.wordpress.com

    • Thanks so much for the kind words Stephen. I’ve written a fair bit on this sort of stuff, but my blog index is a few years out of date…

      Doh. Feel free to drop a comment if you want to connect on something specific and I can send you my email or my unposted research or whatever.

  6. Pingback: Dishonest Charismatic Claims | stephenjgraham

  7. Robby is not from Illinois; he is from Georgia and born in Japan to missionary parents. He first became associated with Vineyard in Yorkville, Il., 1996. Also, he was a highly sought after speaker well before the “resurrection.” In addition, your tone is sarcastic and disrespectful. Paul instructs us to correct with gentleness. As to your charge, I will not address that as I wasn’t there when the resurrection occurred, or did not occur.

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