A Skeptical Evaluation of Robby “Resurrection” Dawkins – Part 2

In my previous post, I presented the facts about the resurrection claim of Robby Dawkins.  I also presented the counter-claim of Matt Colley’s sister, Rebecca.  Now given both sets of competing details, let’s lay out the facts as they lie and attempt to arrive at a conclusion.
Clouseau
So let’s consider the essential facts as recognized by all parties:

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.

not-dead-yet That’s not all.  There are some other things that make this whole affair suspicious:

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.

elephant

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.

lord_ganesha_surrounded_by_buddhist_deities_tm96

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.

If you have any disagreements, think I’ve been somewhat unfair, think I missed some key information, or think I reached wrongful conclusions, feel free to bring up your objections or challenges in the comments.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Longing for the Resurrection” Unger

June 24th Update – I don’t think Robby Dawkins is worried enough about issues of credibility.  I just saw this:

Robby Josh Mills Sid Roth
That’s Joshua Mills (the guy who gets “Holy Spirit Oil stigmata” and gold dandruff…seriously), David Herzog (the guy who went to heaven and learned the secrets of Holy Spirit hair renewal and instant weight loss…seriously), Sid Roth (whose picture appears in the dictionary under the term “insane”), and Robby Dawkins.
Those guys (Mills, Herzog and Roth) are to Christianity what Frank Chu is to journalism:
Why exactly is Robby Dawkins hanging out with that crowd?
Advertisements

12 thoughts on “A Skeptical Evaluation of Robby “Resurrection” Dawkins – Part 2

  1. You are correct in your views here. I was struck as I read Robbys account that at the point he was “rebuking the spirit of death” that he was treading quite dangerously not only from the prespective of Jude 1:8 but also from the perspective that perhaps God decides how long a mans days are. When someone begins “rebuking” they better be pretty sure what or who they are rebuking lest they find themselves speaking presumptuously to the Lord.

  2. I would have been happier if you had simply made an ‘evaluation’ of this claim rather than a ‘sceptical evaluation’, as this looks like another case where you are looking to prove an existing theological conviction, unfortunately not always absent from critiques of things charismatic, so-called made by classic evangelicals.

    Nevertheless, I think you have been fair and reached a reasonable conclusion. Whether cessationalist or continuationist, gullibility is not one of the gifts or the Spirit! Sadly it can be a feature of both sides in this particular debate.

    I’ll take issue with one sentence in your post, there is a ‘spirit of infirmity’ in the bible at Luke 13:11 in the RSV and some other similar versions. This was a woman bound by Satan for 18 long years, and Jesus cured her – interestingly the text does not say he cast the spirit out! So I think we may conclude from this and other verses in the gospels that some sickness may indeed have a demonic origin or component, and the church needs to recognise and deal with this. Religious people won’t like it, but it’s there and we have to face it. When evangelicals refuse to do so, they hand this territory over to Pigs in the Parlour type doctrinal abberations and ‘ministry’.

    • Thanks for your thoughts Ken.

      In the post, I certainly recognized that there is certainly some possibility of sickness/infirmity having a spiritual component and or cause. This has sadly been utterly ignored in much of evangelicalism.

      What’s interesting about the passage in Luke 13 is that, as you pointed out, Jesus didn’t cast a demon out of the woman. That, when combined with the usage of vocabulary, makes for an interesting passage that may not be as clear cut as first appears.

      Luke 13:11 says that the woman had a “disabling spirit” and the result was that she could not stand upright.

      Interestingly, the Greek term is “astheneia”, which is a term that can refer to any weakness (mental or physical). It’s only three other times in Luke (5:15, 8:2, 13:12) and is differentiated from specifically physical weakness in Matthew 8:17 where it’s used alongside a different Greek term, “nosos”. “Nosos” refers specifically to physical illness and Luke uses that term four times (4:40, 6:17, 7:21, 9:1). It may be telling that Luke doesn’t use that term in chapter 13 (possibly, possibly not).

      I cannot make an open and shut case, but I’d suggest that there’s a reasonable case to be made for the idea that the “spirit” (pneuma) in Luke 13:11 may NOT have been a demon, but rather the woman’s own spirit (which is certainly within the acceptable range of meanings for the term “pneuma”).

      In other words, she had some sort of issue where there was a serious mental component as well as a physical component.

      Now Jesus does say that Satan had bound her for 18 years (Luke 13:16), but the passage doesn’t say whether the bondage was physical, psychological, or a combination of both.

      Given the use of slightly ambiguous vocabulary (which I pointed out), and the abnormal nature of the healing where no demon was cast out, I’d say that it’s easily within the realm of possibility to suggest that the “spirit of infirmity” was the woman’s own internal spirit with regards to her physical condition.

      As I said, it’s not an open and shut case, but if this was an incident where a demon was directly behind an infirmity, it would be the only case in the NT where the demon was NOT case out and there was still a healing. That would be very, very strange indeed. In fact, her response in Luke 13:13 would make that option impossible. One does not “glorify God” while still being indwelt with a (previously indwelling) demon.

      Food for thought…

  3. There are a few typo’s in your post, but the most glaring is the absence of the word NOT in this sentence:

    “I’m certainly ^ 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.”

  4. Thank you so much for this post. I have tried to question Robby on his facebook page and book page and been removed for doing so. I have lost the friendship of friends over this, who go to Vineyard and believe the kind of dodgy teaching that people like Robby spurt out. I do hope that this dodgy teacher gets caught out sooner rather than later before he misleads and uses any more vulnerable and not so vulnerable people.
    Rebecca set up the Facebook page to show her side of the story. I am sure you can understand that the family have been through a lot with Matt due to his stroke and now epilepsy problems, meanwhile Robby is making a packet out of this. The family too got their comments removed from Robby’s facebook page, alongside many other skeptics. I’m sure they don’t have the time or energy to hound Robby further because the whole thing has been quite upsetting and I’m sure they’d prefer to just get on with life. I must also add that the family have received some nasty emails from Robby’s followers because they are questioning Robby’s so called ‘God given’ ‘power’. I believe that in charismatic circles, questioning pastors and their spiritual power is seen as very bad.
    I myself have tried hard to get the message out about dodgy Robby but it is difficult because a lot of people just blindly believe what he says, even when they are faced with the evidence!!
    The other issue is if this argument gets into the hands of an athiest journalist, who uses it to their own advantage to mock ALL Christians making out we believe anything even against the facts which would be unfair to the rest of us Christians who DO use discernment.. (unfortunately this is true for Robby’s followers who are unable to believe the facts but would prefer to believe Robby’s lies).
    Many thanks again for writing this blog post. The truth needs to get out there. I shall be sharing it on my wall.

  5. First time reader and really like the blog. Ended up here as I was doing my own research on Robby Dawkins. I would like to ask a question … There are reports circulating that Rebecca Colley is an atheist who lives in Australia and has no direct knowledge of the actual events. Yet Ms. Colley’s statement mentions her family’s faith and Christian heritage. Since you have communicated with Ms. Colley I was wondering if you could comment one way or the other on these items. It may seem trivial, but very relevant to a current church discussion for this truth seeker. Thank you.

    • Where are those reports circulating?

      I looked online and couldn’t find anything. I’d love a link to check out.

      Let’s assume that Rebecca Colley is an atheist (even though she claims to be a Christian). What does that change when it comes to matters of factual information?

      Atheists can tell the truth too, as much as some might not want to admit it.

      What about being from Australia?

      Well, Robby Dawkins is from America. He was in the church in question when the events happened (seeing that he was a speaker, that seems obvious). Rebecca didn’t claim to have been there, but the important claim was that she was Matt’s sister.

      What about her claims to be the sister Matt (and thereby have firsthand knowledge of the situation)?

      Interestingly, Robby Dawkins hasn’t challenged those claims. Rather, he has passively admitted that Rebecca is Matt’s sister. When Robby says something to the effect of “a family member has said…” and then responds to any of Rebecca’s claims, he inadvertently confirms the fact that she IS a family member (i.e. his sister).

      That one fact, which is uncontested by Dawkins himself, eradicates the claims that she’s some random Australian atheist.

      Just a little critical thinking for you.

      • The reports are a type of grassroots rebuttal to the Rebecca’s account of the events. I could not find information online either, that is why I decided to post a comment. I agree with your critical thinking. It is unfortunate that in many circles critical thinking is seen as anti-God, when in reality it goes hand-in-hand with spiritual discernment.

        Thank you for the quick response.

  6. Pingback: Dishonest Charismatic Claims | stephenjgraham

Share your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s