I am challenging the founder of Omega Ministries, Apostle Suleman to demonstrate his so-called gift of healing under agreed medical and scientific conditions. I ask Suleman to heal a person with a confirmed case of COVID19 and get a thousand US dollars.
This challenge has become necessary because Apostle Suleman has in a recent video urged the government of Nigeria to allow him and other pastors with the gift of healing into the isolation centers so that they could pray and heal those who have been infected by the virus.
This request should not go unattended. Suleman specifically said that the gifted pastors could heal 18 out of 20 COVID19 patients. This is a reasonable number. Isn’t it? And in a recent tweet, Apostle Suleman affirmed that (his) God was bigger than the coronavirus. This challenge is for Suleman to heal, not 2 or 3 persons, not 10 or 15 patients but one person with a viral infection.
For too long, people from various religious traditions have claimed to have the ability to heal all kinds of diseases including malaria, diabetes, hepatitis, and HIV/AIDS. Self-acclaimed godmen and women have organized healing/prayer sessions where they supposedly got rid of illnesses through faith and prayers. This ability, if proven to be effective, could be an enormous resource at a time like this when the world to trying to contain a vicious pandemic, that is ravaging many parts of the world.
Incidentally, faith healing in Africa has largely been taken for granted. Faith healing claims have gone unchallenged and untested. There has not been any major effort to hold African faith healers to account or get them to openly and publicly demonstrate the potency and efficacy of their healing propositions under scientific testing conditions. The outbreak of COVID19 offers an ample opportunity to realize this – to test and confirm the much-avowed healing gifts and abilities of pastors.
So I hereby challenge Apostle Suleman to prove that he can heal COVID19 patients through prayer. Apostle Suleman will get one thousand US dollars for any proven case of faith healing of a COVID19 patient under agreed scientific conditions.
Suleman should agree to pray for a COVID19 patient from wherever he is since going into the isolation centers without face masks and personal protective equipment is not medically permitted and would violate existing laws and regulations. After all, Jesus performed miracles at a distance (John 4: 46-54). Didn’t he? And also the Bible enjoins believers to pray in secret, and that the prayers would be answered (Matthew 6:6).
So it is not necessary for Apostle Suleman or any gifted pastor to get into the isolation centers before they could pray and heal any COVID19 patient.
Besides, Suleman should consider this a standing challenge, which he could accept after the vaccine has been discovered and regulations on managing COVID19 infection have been relaxed.
Otherwise, I challenge Apostle Suleman to heal an HIV/AIDS patient through prayer and take home a thousand US dollars. HIV is another viral infection that is killing many people in Nigeria and across the world. Apostle Suleman should use this window to demonstrate under medical and scientific conditions his supernatural gift of healing. He should show Nigerians and the rest of the world that his God is truly bigger than a virus, whether it is COVID19 or HIV. I hope that Apostle Suleman or any other gifted pastor accepts this challenge and seizes this opportunity to demonstrate the potency and efficacy of faith healing.
Leo Igwe holds a doctoral degree in religious studies from the University of Bayreuth and a master's degree in philosophy from the University of Calabar. He directs Advocacy for Alleged Witches and can be reached at [email protected] or [email protected] or tel 09039908664