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Meet the Evangelicals Who Believe They Can Raise the Dead

Dead Raising Team (DRT) is a team of evangelical Christians who boast that they can raise people from the dead with their prayers. Tyler Johnson, the group’s charismatic leader, claims to be responsible for bringing 13 corpses back to life!

The DRT story was covered in the 2013 documentary film Deadraiser. It depicts various miracle stories where DRT members pray for dead people and witness them come alive. Some of the people who allegedly came back from the dead claimed to have seen hell and the demons who were torturing them. But they were ultimately saved and pulled back to earth.

Mark DeDio, for instance, used to be a troubled drug user who actually claims to have died in 2006 as a result of an overdose. The next thing he knew, “there was screeching, torment, screams. The smell was just like vomit, sulphur.” But he was eventually saved by DRT member TJ Aderholdt, who happened to pass by the ambulance in which Mark’s corpse lay.

Although the man had no pulse, TJ began speaking in tongues as soon as he spotted Mark. Within minutes, Mark’s eyes popped open, he stood up and started telling everybody how he went to hell and was pulled back. “It was like a grab on my collar,” he recalled. “Jesus pulled me out.”

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DRT founder Tyler Johnson is an Evangelist and the author of books such as Stories of the Supernatural and How to Raise the Dead. He spends his time traveling all over the world, healing the sick and raising the dead. He also gives free lessons on resurrection to the faithful. He apparently has dozens of trained DRTs in the US, Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Canada.

“I abhorred Christianity growing up,” Johnson revealed. “It was plastic to me. It was all about the money.” But when he turned 17, he attended a youth mission to Canada and claims to have witnessed a prostitute turning into Jesus right before his very eyes. That was a turning point in his life and he slowly began to learn more about faith healing.

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One of Johnson’s inspirations is English plumber Smith Wigglesworth, who was a renowned dead-raiser in the late 19th century. He was so popular that he left his day job to travel across the world, healing people and bringing them back to life. Johnson’s own dead-raising journey began when he was only 19 years old and his father died in front of him.

“He was redoing the roof,” he recalled. “I’d woken from a nap and joined him. I’d been up there for a couple of minutes when he just keeled over. We brought him down and tried resuscitation.” When that didn’t work, Johnson said that he heard God speaking to him and giving him a choice: “Son, I want to talk to you alone. Right now your dad is dead. You can believe I’m good and I didn’t do this. Or you can believe I’m responsible for it.” Johnson said that he decided to believe the former, that God is good.

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That’s when he began to delve deeper into the Bible and read verses that indicated that God never intended for anyone to die. “Jesus really clearly tells us in John 10:10 the way we can discern what is of the devil is that the enemy comes to steal, kill and destroy. So anytime there’s any killing – that’s the enemy,” he explained.

Five years later, Johnson reached the conclusion that God expects everybody to summon life into dead bodies. “I think there’s this security we gain by thinking God’s responsible for all the evil in the world, like he has this big divine plan. But that means the Holocaust was ordained by God and that’s just ridiculous. It’s asinine,” he said.

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So he began to pin his belief on a particular verse from the Bible, Matthew 10:8, in which Jesus says: “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, drive out demons.” He decided to try raising the dead by praying for them, anywhere he got an opportunity – in a morgue or a funeral home, or even at a car accident. When people got to know what he was doing, they welcomed him to give it his best shot.

Johnson hasn’t looked back since then – word of his attempts spread through his Christian networks and others who were ‘radical enough to believe him’ soon joined hands with him. Many of them believe that raising the dead isn’t a flippant aside, but central to the whole of Christianity.

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Of course, there are some Christians who do not entirely agree with Johnson. They are of the opinion that Jesus’ words were intended for his 12 disciples, who were alone given that power. So it is unthinkable that people who have had no direct contact with Jesus could exercise it. Especially, some argue, si9nce Jesus himself raised only three people from the dead.

Another cause for suspicion is that the DRT do not seem to have any evidence to prove that they are indeed bringing people back from the dead. Johnson cites the example of a friend that he revived on a Florida beach, but he’s unable to provide the date, the name of the beach, or the name of the friend. He also talks about a man in a hospital who came back to life after Johnson prayed, but again, he cannot remember the date or year.

 

The testimony of Mark and TJ also seems doubtful, especially after Mark claimed in another interview that he’d never been to hell. Instead, he said that he’d only passed out and when he came around, he’d felt very grateful. He didn’t even remember who TJ was.

Johnson agreed that Deadraisers would have been much better if it had actually featured the raising of a dead person. “That would have been a golden ticket, man,” he said. “Everyone in the world would have seen the movie if that happened. But it didn’t.”

Photos: Facebook

Sources: Telegraph.co.uk, VICE

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