That was the headline of an article that appeared in the Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 13, 1978. An 80‐year‐old lady by the name of Gladys Rogers had died in Harrison, Arkansas, in February of that year. Her son, a Pentecostal preacher by the name of Daniel Aaron Rogers, decided that he’d try to raise her from the dead. So he packed her body in dry ice and then a week later put it in a freezer (everyone knows that it’s almost impossible to raise someone from the dead after a few days unless the body has been frozen). Mr. Rogers then got a preacher friend of his, evangelist J. T. Williams, of Pea Ridge, Arkansas, to help him, and one Sunday the two of them get together and prayed over the woman’s body. About 500 people waited outside and sang gospel songs—many of them “wept, moaned and prayed.”
According to the newspaper article, Williams
…could be heard raising his voice in prayer. At one point, he shouted: “Oh, her eyes are moving… Thank you, Jesus!”
Can you guess what happened next?
If you’re thinking that maybe, just maybe, the mother did come back to life, after being in a freezer
for weeks—well, you’d be wrong. “After more than an hour of pleading and praying, Williams emerged
from the tiny room,” and admitted that no resurrection had taken place.
I’m wondering—was she beginning to thaw out after an hour? I don’t know—maybe she was
beginning to thaw out after an hour, and that’s when they decided they had prayed enough.
Now, what do you think the preachers said afterwards? Did they confess to some failings on their
part, that they hadn’t prayed hard enough, or that they didn’t have enough faith? Did the preachers
blame the congregation, accusing the congregation of not having enough faith? Did they blame skeptics
and critics who might have been present?
No, they just said they didn’t know why. “We don’t know what went wrong,” one of the preachers
said. “We have tried everything Jesus told us to do, and we don’t know what is wrong,” the other
But that’s not all they said. They also said they were going to keep trying! The preacher son of the
deceased woman said,
We have not given up, and we haven’t lost heart. People are still praying with
us and standing with us in our faith. We’re going to keep praying for at least another two weeks.
Did it never occur to them that maybe their understanding of the Scriptures was incorrect? That
the Bible teaches that the age of miracles has passed? Have they never read I Corinthians 13? The main
point of that chapter is the relative unimportance of miraculous spiritual gifts. The chapter also explicitly
says that miraculous spiritual gifts will “fail” and “cease” and “vanish away” (v. 8, KJV). Furthermore, the
purpose of miracles—to confirm the word (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4)—has been accomplished; we have
God’s completed revelation, in written form. There are no living prophets and apostles today, giving us
continuing revelation and instruction from God.
One of the preachers did get something right. He told those who had gathered in the chapel, “She
has not risen from the dead.”