Was the Flowing Oil in Dalton a Hoax?

by | Feb 18, 2020 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

For three years the team at Flowing Oil Ministries in Dalton, Georgia, said oil was supernaturally flowing from a Bible owned by a man named Jerry Pearce. People traveled to the north Georgia city from all over the country to see the Bible, receive prayer and take home a small vial of the clear oil. More than 350,000 vials of the oil have been given away since the miracle reportedly began in early 2017.

But today, 400 gallons of oil later, leaders of the ministry say the miracle stopped on Jan. 10. On Feb. 11 they canceled regular worship services, which were being held in the Wink Theater in Dalton. And the ministry’s website says revival meetings scheduled in Arizona, North Carolina, California and other states have all been canceled. What happened?

The abrupt announcement came around the time that the Chattanooga Times Free Press published an investigative article claiming that Pearce had been seen regularly buying mineral oil at a local Tractor Supply store in Dalton. Two store managers told the Times they saw Pearce making the purchases. And when the newspaper ran chemical tests on the oil, they reportedly found the substance exactly matched the oil sold at the store.

Leaders of the ministry reject the idea that they were fabricating the miracle. They have maintained from the beginning that the oil first appeared as a small smudge in Psalm 39 and that it eventually soaked the entire book. Leaders then put the Bible in a plastic bag, and later in a glass container, and claimed that the oil kept flowing.

As reports spread, people began flocking to Dalton to be anointed by the oil. Sometimes ministry leaders would lay the dripping Bible on people’s heads at the altar. Some visitors claimed to be healed, while others said they sensed God’s presence in a special way.

Now, the ministry has shut down, at least temporarily. In a statement posted on Flowing Oil’s website, leaders said that Pearce’s purchase of oil at the local store “was made without the knowledge or approval of anyone else in the ministry and we are seeking the full truth of these accusations.” The statement also says Pearce has expressed remorse “for having caused the integrity of the work of God to be questioned because of his action.”

Pearce later admitted in a Feb. 18 interview with the Times that he did in fact buy eight gallons of mineral oil from Tractor Supply on one occasion to pour on the Bible. “I was going to pour that oil on the Bible when the Bible quit producing oil,” he told the newspaper. “But the Lord checked my spirit on it.”

I’ve seen it all when it comes to the ups, downs and embarrassing quirks of the charismatic movement. It wasn’t that long ago when a small church in Illinois claimed that diamonds, rubies and emeralds were falling from their ceiling during worship services. People flocked to that place to see the “miracle”—though smarter folks could tell the “gems” looked like they came from a Michael’s craft store.

As it turned out, within months the church’s married pastor ran away with another woman, and locals learned that someone was dropping fake jewels through the church’s ceiling tiles. Busted!

I understand why we are vulnerable to these scenarios. We charismatics believe in the power of God, and we know He does miracles. In a world gone crazy, we want people to experience New Testament-style wonders. But how can we avoid the kind of embarrassment we just experienced in Dalton? Here are three simple rules:

  1. Pray for discernment. When Jesus warned us about false prophets, he said we would “know them by their fruit” (Matt. 7:16). If we have God’s wisdom we will be able to distinguish the real from the fake. But it has become obvious that many Christians are lacking in discernment today. True miracles are never fabricated. When a blind man sees, that’s all the proof we need. True healings can be documented. And we don’t have to “help God” perform a miracle.
  1. Test the spirits. Back in the early 2000s, a charismatic Brazilian woman claimed that supernatural gold dust was pouring from her Bible and from her head. John Arnott, leader of the Toronto Blessing revival movement, suspected that the woman was a fraud. So he had the gold tested in a lab, and the results showed it was plastic glitter. Arnott refused to allow the woman in his pulpit. And 1 John 4:1 tells us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” It isn’t a lack of faith to ask questions; in fact, we are commanded to ask questions!
  1. Look to see who is being glorified. My experience has been that questionable movements and weird manifestations are usually associated with independent groups that lack accountability. In fact, renegade ministries sometimes resort to “funny business” in order to prove they have a special connection to God. Beware of lone rangers who claim special revelation. Churches that use gimmicks to say, “Look at us!” always implode.

In the case of the Dalton ministry, there were some very sweet, Bible-believing, Jesus-loving people who got caught up in the excitement of the oil-soaked Bible. Many visited out of curiosity. I believe some people who went to Flowing Oil for a touch from God probably got it because they went in genuine faith. I don’t condemn them.

But I pray we learn our lesson and raise the bar, because our credibility is at stake here. Skeptics are watching, and right now they are having a field day.

Pastor Matt Evans of Rock Bridge Community Church in Dalton had been allowing Flowing Oil Ministries to rent the Wink Theater facility, but now the church has asked Pearce and his team to stop meeting there. Evans wrote in a blog this week that this is a time to seek God, not to point fingers. He wrote: “Perhaps the wisest position for us to adopt at this time is one of caution, not cynicism; and prayer, not pessimism.”

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How Prophetic Evangelism Is Impacting Change in Today’s Culture

How Prophetic Evangelism Is Impacting Change in Today’s Culture

Dr. Candice Smithyman, host of Manifest His Presence on the Charisma Podcast Network, recently interviewed apostle Stacey Campbell, founder of Shiloh Global about how prophecy can impact today’s culture. Apostle Campbell is passionate about teaching young people and...

Joyce Meyer’s Daughter: ‘I Tried Until I Almost Died!’

Joyce Meyer’s Daughter: ‘I Tried Until I Almost Died!’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xc14ip0XyOw Growing up as the daughter of Dave and Joyce Meyer, Sandra McCollom knew about God’s goodness and unconditional love. “At eight years old, I remember sitting on the floor as my mom shared her faith with me. That’s when I...

Prophet: 10 Essential Guardrails for Hearing God’s Voice

Prophet: 10 Essential Guardrails for Hearing God’s Voice

In the journey of hearing God's voice today effectively and accurately, you need the practical and personal work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus clearly told his followers that those who hear His words and put them into practice are wise! "Whoever hears these sayings of...

Prophetic Vision: Three Tables Are Set

Prophetic Vision: Three Tables Are Set

Recently as I was worshipping the Lord, I went into a vision where I could see I was in a dark and very deep valley. It was nighttime, and the valley was surrounded by tall mountains. On the top of each I could see the outlines of men and instinctively knew they were...

How Your Apostolic and Prophetic Worship Will Hurt the Enemy

How Your Apostolic and Prophetic Worship Will Hurt the Enemy

We are living in a time where it seems that dreams and visions are accelerating. The enemy fights against prophetic insight being poured out according to Joel 2:28-32. Numerous deliverance ministries have risen up to combat the ‘Pandora's box’ that was released in...

RECENT ARTICLES

Is He a God of Wrath or a God of Love?

Do you think the God of the Old Testament is a God of wrath, and the God of the New Testament is a God of love? The truth is that God is the same throughout the entire Bible. His wrath and His love...
How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

How You Can Have a Perfect Heart

Your heart is the most important part of you. It’s not only a physical organ that keeps your blood pumping, but when the Bible refers to the heart, it’s talking about who you really are. Each person has an inner and an outer life. There’s the person we show to...

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

How the FBI Raid on Mar-a-Lago Is Spiritual Warfare

It's been a few days since the FBI raided President Donald Trump's home in Mar-a-Lago, and the Biden Administration has yet to explain to the American people why they did what's never been done in American history—the government raiding the home of a former president....

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

Why Partial Obedience to God is Disobedience

My husband had a saying for our children growing up. “Partial obedience is disobedience.” He wanted them to understand that doing half the plan would not get them the full reward. Another reminder we used to tell our kids was, “Don’t think about it, don’t hesitate,...

Pin It on Pinterest

[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]
[class^="wpforms-"]