1. Matt Colley had previously had a stroke though he had recovered somewhat from it.
2. Matt Colley appeared to experience an incident that led to his temporary death on Marth 9/10, 2015.
It seems that the only symptoms that were used to reach the conclusion that Matt Colley was dead were the dilation of his pupils and his labored breathing. See the following note.
3. Robby Dawkins intervened, along with a doctor and at least one nurse.
Robby Dawkins (possibly unwittingly) admitted that there were two nurses present, just like Rebecca said, and at least one of them was helping attend to Matt Colley. Rebecca Colley claimed that both nurses were “hands on” with Matt. Robby Dawkins stated that the first nurse didn’t check Matt’s pulse until he revived, but the second nurse did monitor his pulse, which she claimed did not stop. Dawkins stated that the second nurse “did acknowledge the dilated pupils,” which appears to be the only agreed-upon diagnostic criteria for the pronouncement of death.
It’s also worth noting that Robby Dawkins didn’t admit that both nurses were present until after Rebecca Colley pointed out that information.
4. Nobody confirmed that Matt Colley’s pulse stopped at any time, and at least one person claims that it did not stop.
I’m not a medical expert, but I imagine that a constant pulse probably means that someone is not dead. It’s not proof per say, but it seems fairly self-evident that corpses do not have a pulse.
5. The account from the doctor seems to sound like Matt Colley didn’t stop breathing.
Again, I’m not a medical expert. It would seem fairly reasonable to suggest that labored breathing is still breathing. So given that Matt Colley was breathing (albeit with great difficulty) and still had a pulse, it sounds like the pronouncements of death were premature.
Even if his breathing stopped for 30-90 seconds, that’s not “dead”.
6. Robbie Dawkins claims to have resurrected Matt Colley, on March 9/10 2015, at Inglewhite Congregational Church (I don’t know the precise date).
And here’s the rub. It seems like Robby Dawkins was caught up in a high-intensity moment where people didn’t know the medical history of Matt Colley and weren’t sure what was happening. It also sounds like the event was over as quickly as it started. It seems unavoidable, given the facts that Robby Dawkins has admitted, that there are significant reasons to believe that Matt Colley was not dead.
That’s a serious problem for a claim of a resurrection.
1. The mysterious doctor’s report has been taken off social media because of threats the doctor has received…except it wasn’t.
I found the report. There’re no names given, so maybe it was edited, but it’s hard to imagine how Dawkins’ anonymous doctor has been threatened. By whom? For what reason?
2. All the symptoms (agonal breathing, continued pulse, rigidity, ability to walk afterward, etc.) are apparently compatible with what one might expect with a seizure.
Consider this article from the American Epilepsy Society. Believe it or not, not all doctors are experts on specialized areas of medical knowledge (i.e. recognizing a specific type of seizure at sight and being aware of the typical aftermath effects). The body is incredibly complex, and not all doctors have equal bodies of specialized knowledge.
3. Robby’s response is essentially “I was there, so I was right” and he stonewalled any attempt at gathering verifying evidence.
If this is such an open and shut case, this seems highly bizarre. I contacted Robby Dawkins, and he stonewalled me, providing nothing but some basic links that were already on his Facebook page. He won’t talk about it, but he’s gladly making money from his book sales and the publicity this is gaining for him.
4. Rebecca Colley hasn’t pursued this.
That’s suspicious in itself. I don’t really understand why she hasn’t responded much to my attempts to gather any information (though we did have a brief exchange). She pleads her brother’s health and wants to let this whole affair drop. As someone who spent the last two years dying, I guess I can understand that. Still, if a person is lying about you or a loved-one and making money off that lie, most people have some internal sense of justice that is violated and do something about it. Then again, some people have different priorities and don’t pursue battles that don’t appear winnable.
Then, there’s the whole elephant in the room: Robby Dawkins’ theological explanation of what transpired…
1. Even if it occurred, it would be a resuscitation, not a resurrection.
Jesus is the firstborn of the dead (Col. 1:18, Rev. 1:5) and there is only one coming resurrection. False teachers wrongfully claimed that this had happened in the first century (2 Tim. 2:18). The apostles (who had resuscitated dead people) looked forward to this event even near the end of their lives (Acts 24:15, 21; Rev. 20:5-6). People coming back to life before that event weren’t said to be “resurrected.” Jesus raised Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Matt. 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43; Luke 8:40-56), as well as Lazarus (John 12:38-44), but they both died again. Dorcas was raised from the dead (Acts 9:36-43) though she eventually died again. Eutychus was also raised from the dead (Acts 20:7-12) though he eventually died again. People who are properly resurrected, like Jesus, don’t die again (Rom. 6:5-9). People who die and come back to life before the final resurrection are resuscitated, not resurrected.
I’m guessing Robby, who started pastoring at 12 but was apparently headed towards ministry from the age of 2, doesn’t exactly have the theological training needed to understand the biblical nuance here. It’s strange that God gives this sort of miracle-working power to someone who’s so biblically and theologically undeveloped.
Paul and the apostles sure weren’t seen that way.
2. There is no “spirit of infirmity” in the Bible, and certainly no “spirit of death.”
Generally speaking, sickness isn’t caused by spirits. Some folks look at some somewhat cryptic verses (i.e. Matt. 4:24, 8:16, 9:32-33, 10:1, 12:22, 17:14-20; Mark 1:32, 6:13, 9:20-25; Luke 6:18, 9:1, 11:14; Acts 5:16, 8:7, 19:12) and make a flawed leap. They think that because people in the New Testament were healed of their infirmities and had demons cast out of them, the demons were somehow related to the infirmities. There’s no reason to think that most the people who were sick were the same people who were afflicted by unclean spirits.
Of the few instances where the afflicted people were also sick (i.e. Matt. 9:32-33, 12:22, 17:14-20; Luke 11:14), there are a few points to consider:
– There is also reason to suspect concurrence, as opposed to causal relationships, between demons and sickness.
– There’s some question as to what precisely was wrong with a miniscule number of demon-afflicted people. For example, Matt. 17:14-20 says that the boy was selēniazomai, which means “moonstruck”. Modern Bibles translate it as “lunatic” or “epileptic,” but the broad banner of “moonstruck” covered a whole lot of conditions. It’s hard exactly what modern illness or condition would correspond to that broad term.
– There’s no reason to suspect that demons were behind every instance of being “moonstruck” let alone sick/afflicted with anything else. Seeing that the time of Christ was an era of unprecedented demonic activity (both affliction and exorcism – there’s more demonic activity recorded in the 3 decades of the ministry of Christ and his apostles than there was in the 3,000 year period of the Old Testament), there’s an honest and serious question of historical continuity. Are demons as active in modern times as they were during the few years of the ministry of Christ and the apostles? They sure weren’t that explicitly active in the Old Testament. Seeing that the casting out of demons by Christ and the apostles served the common purpose of authentication (i.e. Mark 1:21-28; Luke 4:31-37), one should be hesitant to suggest that the frequency of demonic activity (and exorcism) during the ministry of Christ and the apostles must be normative. I’m certainly not saying that demonic activity doesn’t happen or never causes sickness/infirmity, but it’s a far different position to suggest that demonic activity is the normative cause of sickness/infirmity. The simple fact that a statistically overwhelming majority of illness is cured by modern medicine, rather than exorcism, begs the question. Demons aren’t cast out by antibiotic or antiviral treatments.
As for the question of demons and death, Romans 8:2 mentions “the Spirit of Life” as another name for the Holy Spirit, sure. Still, there’s certainly no inversely corresponding “spirit of death.” Death isn’t caused by demonic spirits that Christians can overpower through the power of the Holy Spirit. If death is caused by any spirit, death is caused by the Spirit of Life removing that life (i.e. Acts 5:3-10; 1 Cor. 11:29-30).
Robby Dawkins has a frighteningly confused demonology that has more in common with Buddhism than Christianity.
3. Christians cannot give an “impartation of life” to anyone; that’s strictly the domain of Christ alone.
Remember that Dawkins said “there is something about the chest-to-chest connection—like in the Bible—that seems to impart life.” I’m guessing he’s thinking of Elijah (1 Ki. 17:21) or Elisha (2 Ki. 4:34-35). That’s not exactly a normative expression of how one raises the dead. Beyond that, it’s unfathomable hubris to place oneself at the spiritual level of Elijah, Elisha, or Jesus Christ.
So there’s the unverified nature of the death, the suspicious nature of the facts, and the Biblically absurd nature of Dawkins’ claims. For those three reasons, I find it difficult to believe Robby Dawkins’ explanation of whatever occurred at Inglewhite Congregational Church on March 9/10, 2015. Robby Dawkins’ claims lack sufficient medical credibility and any biblical credibility. He may claim that he tried to do what Jesus did, but his claims don’t stand up to scrutiny.
It seems most fitting to suggest that whatever occurred (and something certainly did); it was neither a biblical resurrection nor resuscitation.
So there we have it. An extended exploration of what’s considered an “open and shut” example of a modern resurrection.
Not nearly as straightforward and unquestionable as Mr. Dawkins might want to suggest…but that’s not surprising. The Charisma Magazine crowd makes a whole lot of claims that don’t stand up to rational scrutiny, let alone biblical scrutiny.
June 24th Update – I don’t think Robby Dawkins is worried enough about issues of credibility. I just saw this: