Watchdog tells church it can keep advertising its belief in miracles

Religion recorded a rare victory over science yesterday when a church was allowed to retain a poster offering the prospect of miracles.

Critics complained to the Advertising Standards Authority that the poster, which pictured a man with a microphone hugging a child beneath the words “Miracles, Healing, Faith”, was misleading and irresponsible.

They said that the Penial Pentecostal Church in Brentwood, Essex, was claiming an ability to cure medical conditions but could offer no scientific proof, and the poster “preyed on the credulity of vulnerable people”.

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But the church, run by Michael Reid, a former Metropolitan Police officer turned insurance salesman turned evangelist, said the poster did not specifically refer to cures or medical conditions.

The words “miracle, healing, faith” were merely a statement of its belief in the Christian Gospel, it argued, and most people were aware of the Christian belief in the miraculous.

Mr Reid, who was made a “bishop” by the International Communion of Charismatic Churches in 1995, called the investigation “a nonsense”.

“There is mounting pressure to be politically correct and try to appease everyone. To take the miracles out of Christianity is to deny the Bible.”

He was supported by three Conservative MPs. One, Eric Pickles, MP for Brentwood and Ongar, said in a letter to the authority: “This should be a matter for theological debate not a referral to the ASA.”

The ASA said: “We considered that most people in the UK were aware of Christian beliefs and would understand that the poster referred to spiritual, not physical, miracles and healing.”


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)
Daily Telegraph, UK
Oct. 5, 2005
Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
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Religion News Blog posted this on Thursday October 6, 2005.
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