(Official Statement of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, March 17, 1999)
Why would God fill people's teeth with gold? Perhaps because He loves them and delights in blessing His children. Perhaps it is a sign and a wonder to expose the skepticism still in so many of us. Perhaps His glory and presence are drawing very near.
On Wednesday evening March 3rd, 1999 miracles began happening in peoples teeth. By Thursday evening, over 50 people were on the platform at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship testifying to having received what appeared to be gold or bright silver fillings or crowns, which they believed had supernaturally appeared in their mouths after receiving prayer during the Intercession Conference. Many received one, two, three or more, and in some cases up to ten changed fillings! On the Saturday night of the conference, there were 198 on the platform saying that God had given them a dental miracle. By Sunday night, well over 300 people were testifying to this unusual sign. Testimonies, even now, are continuing to pour in.
Our leadership have encouraged people to verify these miracles with their dentists, who in some cases, have been understandably hesitant to explain why their patients fillings have become so shiny and have changed in colour from dark amalgam to bright silver or gold. In a few cases, dentists were able to show from their records that the gold was put in their mouths previously by the dentist and not by God. These people had apparently forgotten that this work had been done. The majority of these incidents however, seem to be beyond explaining, other than that God has given these wonderful gifts.
After the conference, delegates returned home and dental miracles surprisingly began to happen to some of their friends and family members. Some are testifying that these miracles happened while watching conference sessions on video tape. Reports of peoples fillings turning a bright silver or gold color are coming in from South Africa, Australia, England, Mexico and across Canada and the USA. The excitement here at TACF is electric with the news of how these dental miracles are so rapidly spreading.
TACF is encouraging people to obtain dental confirmations. We will do a follow-up report in the near future and publish our findings. Meanwhile dental miracles, along with many other healings, continue to take place at the nightly meetings. Things that we have seen happening in Argentina and Brazil for fifteen years are starting to happen here now. Conversions to Christ have also increased! While we are thankful for the miracles and healings that are taking place, our eyes are on Jesus and it is Him alone we look to and worship.
Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship
by Melinda Fish ("Spread the Fire" [published by the Toronto Airport Christian fellowship], n. 2/1999)
On Wednesday evening, March 3, during TACFs Intercession Conference, a new dimension of the Holy Spirits presence fell, this time in healing power and signs and wonders. Two women from Capetown, South Africa testified before the nearly 4,000 conference attendees that their father had received a gold filling while watching a video of John and Carol Arnotts meeting at the Hatfield Christian Church in Pretoria, South Africa in February, where several people had reported receiving gold fillings. After their testimonies, John Arnott asked everyone who needed healing or a touch from God on their mouths, necks, jaws, teeth or gums or who wanted to ask God to supernaturally fill their teeth to stand. Almost everyone stood to their feet and prayed.
Within moments approximately twenty people began to stream to the altar reporting that gold teeth had miraculously appeared in their mouths immediately after prayer. As the service continued the number of those receiving miraculous touches in their mouths began to increase dramatically. Some attendees were testifying to the color of their amalgam fillings changing to gold.
By the next day, the air of expectancy in the conference began to escalate dramatically. By the Friday evening service, over 100 people gathered in the cafeteria adjoining the sanctuary to fill out testimony forms answering specific questions about the miraculous changes taking place in their mouths. As the conference attendees, including a professional dental hygienist from Germany, shone penlights on each others teeth, many reported observing changes in the metallic composition of the fillings taking place before their eyes. The room was filled with people in awe. Some were shouting and gasping and others were falling under the power.
By Saturday night, 198 people stood in front of the platform testifying to miraculous changes taking place in their mouths. Many of them reported the sudden appearance of gold overlaying teeth formerly covered by amalgam fillings and white porcelain caps. Others reported gradual changes occurring in the color of their fillings and healings of diseases of the mouth. In several mouths, gold work obviously done by dentists was juxtaposed beside brand new, shiny teeth completely overlaid with gold entirely different in appearance to the man-made dental work. The supernaturally overlaid teeth appeared as though they had been freshly painted with pure gold leaf. Incredibly, the sides of some of the gold teeth even appeared to be etched with designs, one with a lily and several with crosses.
One woman who had suffered for years with swollen gums as a result of gingivitis reported that her gums had returned to normal and that by Saturday only a tiny red spot remained in the roof of her mouth.
On Sunday evening more people testified to receiving gold fillings in place of amalgam. One woman from Idaho testified that she asked God to put a sign in her mouth as He was doing for others. He gave her the scripture, Psalm 34, "His praise shall continually be in my mouth." As John Arnott laid hands on her mouth after the Sunday morning service, her previously gray amalgam fillings began to change appearance. All who looked in her mouth saw the fillings change to delicate, yellow florentine gold.
Pictures of the gold teeth may be accessed at Torontos web site address, <www.tacf.org>. As individuals downloaded these pictures, and all over the world people showed them to others, the same miracle began to break out in other locations. Calls were coming in from England as well as cities in the US and Canada reporting the supernatural appearance of new gold teeth and fillings.
The supernatural appearance of the gold teeth in peoples mouths has been widely reported for several years in Argentinean revival meetings. In fact, their appearance has become so commonplace that some evangelists there refuse to allow testimony of those receiving fewer than three in one meeting.
All those who came to the altar were exhorted to go home and make appointments with their dentists to verify the changes and validate the miracles taking place. In our next issue, we will report further on the results of these miracles and their professional confirmations.
In the meantime, other healings began to break out as the faith level at the conference rose. One woman threw her back brace across the platform and began to bend over, touch her toes and run across the stage screaming, "I dont need this anymore; Im healed." Another wheelchair-bound faithful member of TACF reported being able to touch his toes for the first time in his life.
On Sunday morning Paul and Elaine Morris of Cincinnati, Ohio testified holding their two-year-old daughter Rebekah. In September the Morrises had brought their daughter to TACF to receive prayer. Rebekah had been diagnosed at age 12 months with Hepatitis C, an incurable liver disease. Her mother reported that she had passed the disease on to her daughter during pregnancy.
After Rebekah received prayer, the Morrises returned home to Cincinnati. On October 26, 1998, they went back to the doctor to receive the results of tests taken on Rebekah after their trip to TACF. The doctor reported that there was no longer any trace of the Hepatitis C virus in her bloodstream and that she was completely healed.
Paul Morris, Rebekahs father, tearfully thanked the Lord Jesus Christ publicly. Elaine Morris, Rebekahs mother, still suffers from the illness but received prayer on Sunday. "When we were here the first time, there was no way I could ever ask for healing for myself," she said. "I just needed Rebekah to be healed so much that my healing wasnt even an issue."
The outbreak of new signs and healing miracles gave rise to speculation that a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit has begun, and that the River has risen to a new level. Prophetic voices at the conference and throughout the US and Canada were phoning in interpretations to the events. "Its a sign that a new filling has begun," some said. Others quoted the scripture, "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it." Still others remembered, "Buy of me gold, refined in the fire " Sue Mitchell, one of the conference speakers, interpreted the appearance of gold in the mouths of believers as a sign of the gospel being preached and the end-time harvest beginning. All of these are undoubtedly true. But John Arnotts characteristically gracious interpretation may be the most accurate. "I just believe God loves people and wants to bless them."
by Connie Janzen and Melinda Fish ("Spread the Fire", n. 3/1999)
Since the Intercession Conference, March 3-6,1999, where nearly 150 people reported receiving gold fillings or other miraculous changes in their mouths, TACF has contacted all those we could find who had completed pink testimony forms. In addition we were in contact with numerous individuals and churches through email. Heres what we found.
About one-third of the people we contacted by phone actually went to see their dentist; the rest encountered difficulties such as their dentist had moved away, their records could not be found, they were waiting for an appointment or they simply did not get back to us.
These were the responses from the dentists who were sought for confirmation:
Some dentists were unwilling to comment or responded by saying that their patients teeth just looked polished by grinding of teeth or eating something acidic, or they asked if the patient had been elsewhere.
Others found that they already had their gold fillings put in previously by the dentist and had forgotten about it or were not aware of the work that had been done in their mouths.
About 5% found that their dental records conflicted with what appeared in their mouths, but the dentist was skeptical or fearful and simply said that an error must have been made on the records or that the records were too old to be accurate.
About 5% of the dentists were surprised at the changes in their patients teeth and were willing to say that a miracle seemed to have occurred. Of this five percent about 1-2% were willing to verify by writing a letter of support for their patient. Heres one letter we received.
"Today my dentist examined my gold fillings I received during the Intercession Conference This exam was to have this miracle confirmed medically, and it was! My dentist was so astounded by this miracle He said, "Ive never seen anything like this in my life." I asked him for his opinion and he said, "It is my opinion that this is a miracle."
Paulette - Ypsilanti, Michigan
In other cases, people checked their dental records and insurance forms and found that what was in their mouths reflected a change; however, they didnt request the dentists written confirmation. The conflict in the record was enough evidence to satisfy them that a miracle had taken place as in the case below.
"Our pastor looked in the mirror and noticed that his white crown had turned to solid bright GOLD! He called his dentist to verify that it had been porcelain and the records proved it. He now has a 100% gold tooth!" James - Fort Worth, Texas
We appreciate the integrity of everyone who reported findings. We also noticed that after every avenue of confirmation was examined in those cases where dentists confirmed the changes, there was still the need to take that last leap of faith to believe that God had performed a sign and wonder and that no other dentist had been consulted. While we need to "provide things honest in the sight of all men" (Romans 12:17) and seek verification, in the end, we discovered that there is still no substitute for childlike faith.
(If you have obtained a written confirmation from your dentist that a sign or healing has been performed in your mouth, please contact TACF at (416) 674-8463.)
by Ruth Gledhill ("The Times", April 17, 1999)
God is filling worshippers' teeth with gold fillings and producing gold dust on their hands and faces, according to the latest "miracle" craze to sweep England's charismatic evangelical churches.
In the new phenomenon, emanating from Canada and California, gold fillings are said to replace amalgam fillings in worshippers' mouths during prayer.
The latest Christian "miracles" are said to be a fulfilment of the prophecy in Psalm 81.10: "Open thy mouth wide and I will fill it."
The miracles are reported on the British Christian website Ship of Fools, an on-line magazine which keeps track of happenings in church life.
The gold fillings are said to be the latest manifestation of the "Toronto Blessing", the charismatic phenomenon which led to worshippers falling down, laughing and barking like dogs in churches up and down the land in 1995.
The miracles began in March at a meeting of evangelical church leaders, where more than 300 people were said to have received gold fillings in their mouth. Churches in Wimbledon, Bath and Croydon are among those said to be affected.
One church which has been affected is Croydon's Folly's End Christian Fellowship, an independent evangelical church of about 300 worshippers.
Jenny Taylor, administrator of the Fellowship, said: "I have had gold dust appear on my hands and chest and around my eyes, although I have not had gold teeth.
"A woman who went to a church in Bath showed me her teeth and she had six gold fillings which she said had previously been amalgam. She is going to go to her dentist to verify it."
The Toronto Airport church insists the miracles are true. In a statement on their Web page, accompanied by photographs of the miracle fillings, the church says: "On Wednesday evening March 3, 1999, miracles began happening in people's teeth. By Thursday evening, over 50 people were on the platform at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship testifying to having received what appeared to be gold or bright silver fillings or crowns, which they believed had supernaturally appeared in their mouths after receiving prayer.
"In a few cases, dentists were able to show from their records that the gold was put in their mouths previously by the dentist and not by God. These people had apparently forgotten that this work had been done. The majority of these incidents, however, seem to be beyond explaining, other than that God has given these wonderful gifts."
by Elizabeth Moll Stalcup ("Charisma Magazine", November 1999)
When I pulled into the wooded parking lot next to Calvary Pentecostal Tabernacle in Ashland, Virginia, I could hear lively praise music coming from the meeting house--a wooden structure that seats more than 1,500 people. Although it was a sweltering summer night--with no air conditioning in the place--people were singing, clapping their hands and even dancing in the aisles.
I grabbed my seat in the second row and looked around to find Ruth Heflin, a 61-year-old Pentecostal minister whose family has preached at this camp meeting for 45 years. I scrutinized her, searching for any trace of the supernatural gold dust she says has been falling on people for months in these meetings.
Despite the heat, Heflin was wearing a long-sleeved black dress. I watched her closely as she worshiped, and I saw no metallic gleam anywhere. But as the service progressed, tiny specks of gold began to appear, first on her face and then on her clothes. I remembered what she had told me about the gold dust when we talked on the phone the day before: "It falls like rain, or it just suddenly appears."
I searched the air over Heflin's head. With its high ceiling and theater-style seats, the tabernacle was open on all sides to the surrounding woods. Occasionally I thought I saw something floating in the air, but each time it turned out to be a buzzing insect drawn to the bright lights.
As I watched, more gold appeared on Heflin and on some of the women in the music team. I was skeptical. After all, I had worked as a geologist for the federal government for 17 years. My scientific training told me this was impossible.
"Lord," I prayed silently, "If this is of You, I want to know."
A few minutes later I saw flecks of gold on the face of a teen-age girl a few seats away. Later, I spotted two tiny bits of gold on my wrist. Baffled, I held my wrist up to the light and twisted my hand back and forth so I could see the gold as it sparkled. This was hard to believe. Was God really manifesting the glory of His presence in a tangible way?
Sparkles From Heaven?
For about six months, Charisma's offices have been flooded by fax and e-mail reports of gold dust falling on people during worship, as well as accounts of believers receiving supernatural dental healings. Silver amalgam fillings or crowns have turned to gold or platinum, or even to white enamel. In other cases people claim their dark amalgam fillings have miraculously turned to shiny silver.
Others claim they received new fillings or crowns that appeared in their mouths where they had had no previous dental work. And some say whole teeth have turned to gold.
According to church growth expert C. Peter Wagner, miracles like these are not new. In Argentina's revival in the mid-1970s, teeth were mostly being filled "with a hard, white substance that dentists could not identify," Wagner recalls.
Wagner and his wife, Doris, first heard of the dental miracles in the early 1980s when they encountered the ministry of Omar Cabrera. "Today," Wagner says, "there is hardly a church that I have been to in Argentina where numbers of people haven't had supernatural dental work."
In services conducted by Argentine evangelist Carlos Annacondia, Wagner adds, "People can only give a public testimony if they've had three or more teeth filled. If they've just had two teeth filled, that is considered normal."
The dental miracles spread to Brazil in the early 1990s, where the first reports of gold dust also originated. Although there have been isolated reports of gold fillings in North America even in the late 1800s, the phenomenon only became widespread in 1999.
Heflin says she saw gold dust for the first time in February 1998, after some of her associates visited Brazil. The daughter of Pentecostal pioneers, Heflin says she never doubted that the gold was a miracle from God. Within a few days of hearing the reports, people began to see flecks of gold on Heflin's face when she preached.
By April 1998, Heflin began seeing gold on the faces of others. Once, a gold nugget the size of a dime fell out of a woman's dress during a women's convention where Heflin preached. At the same conference, tiny flecks of gold appeared on the face of a guest speaker. It seemed the more Heflin talked about the phenomenon, the more it occurred.
Because so many pastors were uncomfortable with the idea of God putting gold dust on people's skin, when Heflin traveled she was careful how she reported it. She often kept quiet if the pastor asked her not to mention the gold. But she still saw gold dust appear on faces in the congregation, even when no one had said a word about it.
Pastors admonished Heflin to "focus on the Giver and not the gift," she says. But finally she decided that to stop talking about it would dishonor God--because she believes it is a sign of His glory.
"The Lord loves for us to show off the gold dust because of His relationship with us. We couldn't do this ourselves. He is doing it because His coming is so near," Heflin says.
Whenever Heflin talks about the gold dust, it falls on someone nearby. In November 1998, pastor Bob Shattles of Friendship Baptist Church in Austell, Georgia, asked Heflin to minister to his congregation. When she prayed for him, he felt overcome by the Holy Spirit's power and saw an extended vision.
The next morning, Shattles says, oil began flowing from his hands, and by the evening service gold dust appeared on his neck and face. He says he received an unusual anointing for evangelism that day--and he now claims that he has led more than 2,000 people to Christ since the encounter.
Heflin finally decided she wouldn't minister in a place where she is not allowed to talk about the gold.
"I had a major speaking invitation canceled because of it--but I never felt bad because when you've got the gold dust, you don't care," she says. "It is like a sovereign sign from heaven that is so glorious that you don't care about the approval of people because you know you have God's approval, and that is all that matters."
By the end of last year Heflin had gold dust on her face almost every time she preached. Soon she was not alone. In March, during a conference at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF), almost 700 people claimed they received gold or silver fillings. The church put the story in their newsletter and posted it on their Web site, and almost simultaneously reports of gold manifestations began occurring in Oklahoma, California, Florida, Montana, Tennessee, Kansas, North Carolina, Ohio and outside the United States.
A Contagious Phenomenon
Everywhere that Heflin or Shattles preached, gold miracles were reported. The phenomenon spread from Toronto, too, as well as from South Africa where it had actually occurred a few months earlier. "It is highly contagious," says Marc Dupont of Fort Wayne (Indiana) Vineyard Christian Fellowship.
After the conference in Toronto, TACF pastor John Arnott excitedly called Ché Ahn, pastor of Harvest Rock Church in Pasadena, California, to tell him about the miracles. Although it was 11:30 at night in California, Ahn asked Arnott to pray for him over the phone when he heard about the gold fillings.
The next morning, Ahn noticed that all his dark gray amalgam fillings had turned to shiny silver. "They were bright," Ahn says. "I just said, 'Wow.' It gave me enough faith that God was up to something."
Ahn already was scheduled to speak at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee that week, so he shared the story of the gold miracles in both places. People received gold crowns and fillings at each location, and the miracles were repeated at his home church in Pasadena and at a church in Pennsylvania when he visited there the next week. Since then Ahn has seen the miracle duplicated in Indonesia, the Philippines and Hong Kong.
But what does it mean? Why would God put gold in people's mouths and sprinkle gold dust on church audiences? Everyone involved in this unusual movement has a different opinion: Some say it is a signal that Jesus is coming soon or that revival is near or that God is simply displaying His extravagant love.
"I believe this is a sign to make people wonder," says Trevor Pearce of St. Martin's Episcopal Church in Bergvliet, South Africa. Using his distinctive Anglican terminology, he says the gold is "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." He advises his parishioners not to pass the sign or stop at it, but to "follow the sign to God and hear what He is saying."
Ahn agrees, noting that God always uses signs and wonders to attract the curious. Recently, a man who visited Ahn's church told God he would become a Christian if he received a gold tooth. Says Ahn: "He didn't get a gold tooth, but he came expecting it. He heard the gospel and came under conviction, and he gave his life to Jesus later that week."
Wagner notes that dental miracles seem to attract even more attention than healings from diseases such as cancer. "Perhaps because it is something you can measure, something that dentists can confirm," he says. "Not that you can't confirm other healings, but somehow this seems to be more spectacular."
The skeptics are receiving gold teeth, too. In Ahn's church, someone brought a non-Christian friend to her college fellowship meeting. "She received a gold filling, and it freaked her out," Ahn says.
Joel Budd, pastor of Open Bible Fellowship in Tulsa, Oklahoma, says a 14-year-old boy came to his church after telling his parents that he could get his teeth fixed at Open Bible. His father scoffed at him, but the boy countered by making a deal with his dad: "If God heals my mouth, you have to stop drinking and start attending church too," he told him. The father reluctantly agreed.
"The boy was a brand new Christian from a rough family," Budd says. "Yet he received two gold teeth." The father was reportedly astonished.
Last spring, Dupont prayed for a man in El Cajon, California, who was scheduled to have surgery to correct serious dental problems caused by an automobile accident. The young Baptist testified in front of hundreds of people: "The pain is all gone, my teeth are right, and I didn't even believe God did these things 10 minutes ago."
Hype and Counterfeits
Although the praise reports are exciting, those who are involved in this new movement admit there is a downside to it, too. Some people get caught up in the sensationalism of the supernatural, just to enjoy a ride on the next charismatic bandwagon. Others may be faking the phenomenon.
"A lot of people are thinking that their fillings are turning gold when they're not," warns Wagner. "My dentist in Colorado Springs had a woman come to him thinking that her silver fillings had turned to gold, but he said they weren't gold. In fact, the cavities that she had in her mouth were still there."
She is not alone. After hundreds of people reportedly received gold crowns or fillings in Toronto, the staff at TACF tried to verify as many of the dental miracles as possible. They found that in half of the cases, people's amalgam fillings had become shiny--"But they weren't gold," Arnott says.
About 25 percent of the cases were a mistake. People who thought they received a miracle learned later that their dentists had put gold crowns in their mouths and they had forgotten. The other 25 percent were verifiably gold.
"So 25 percent of them were not miraculous as testified or claimed, but that means that in 75 percent of the cases something supernatural had happened," Arnott says. In some unusual cases, entire crowns made of porcelain and metal turned to gold, with "fairly good evidence from dental records, lab reports, plus personal testimony that they weren't there before," the pastor noted.
Others also have seen entire teeth turn to gold. Last spring, after Marc Dupont prayed for pastor Rich Oliver of Family Christian Center in Sacramento, California, Oliver got a huge gold tooth. "There is absolutely no white showing," Dupont says. Oliver's current dentist and his previous one confirmed that he never had any gold teeth before.
No one knows what is happening when people's amalgam fillings become shiny, but Arnott speculates that God may be removing mercury in the fillings. A friend of Arnott's who owns a dental lab recently told him that amalgam, which is a mixture of silver and mercury, is tricky to mix.
"If there is too much mercury in it, it bleeds out," Arnott says. Mercury is toxic, so surplus mercury can be harmful to the body. "I could see where God would take [mercury] out of a person's mouth--to heal them of mercury poisoning," Arnott adds.
Wagner, who says he has no problem believing that God is performing these miracles, notes that they should catch the attention of the secular world. "Alchemists have been trying to turn other elements into gold for a millennia," he says. "They haven't been successful, but God has."
To keep the focus on Jesus and not on the sensation, Dupont says he never prays specifically for people to receive gold fillings or gold teeth. "I pray for God to heal their mouth, teeth and gums," he says. "I don't pray for manifestations, but when they take place they are signs and wonders."
To complicate matters, there have been questions raised about people fabricating the gold dust phenomenon by sprinkling glitter on themselves. One Brazilian minister, Silvania Machado, insists she does not fake the manifestation even though two independent tests showed the substance that fell from her head was some kind of plastic film.
In most cases where the gold dust has appeared recently in the United States, no one has tested the substance, and some pastors said they wouldn't feel right about testing it anyway because they saw the flecks appear out of nowhere.
"We know it is a supernatural occurrence, whether or not it is gold," says pastor Bill Ligon of Christian Renewal Church in Brunswick, Georgia. His church began witnessing the gold dust phenomenon early this year. "The fact remains that God is sending a supernatural sign in our midst that He is using to win the lost, heal the sick and deliver the oppressed," Ligon says.
And that is what most people involved in this movement contend: If people are being healed or converted to Christ, or if their faith is being strengthened, or if they are becoming more zealous in evangelism as a result of gold dust or gold fillings, then God is at work no matter how bizarre these miracles seem or how much they offend human reasoning.
The real "acid test," says Anglican minister Trevor Pearce, is whether people affected by these miracles grow closer to the Lord, develop greater faith in His power and become more serious about the things of God. Notes Pearce: "Satan doesn't do those things." *
*Elizabeth Moll Stalcup is a professional writer based in Fairfax, Virginia, where she attends The Church of the Apostles.
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CESNUR reproduces or quotes documents from the media and different sources on a number of religious issues. Unless otherwise indicated, the opinions expressed are those of the document's author(s), not of CESNUR or its directors.
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