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What Mama & Papa told me

Pastor Wippon’s healing message – no more than a death cult

Revival Centres poster (Sil Bolkin)KELA KAPKORA SIL BOLKIN

IN late September the Revival Centres of Papua New Guinea staged a national rally at Unagi Oval in Port Moresby.

It was reported that around 30,000 participants congregated at the oval.  They came from Australia, Indonesia, Fiji, Solomon Islands and most came from the 22 provinces of PNG.

The vendors selling scones, cordial and Coca-Cola formed a circle around Unagi Oval like a human barrier protecting the 30,000 converts. In return the 30,000 dined in the dust and simmering heat of Port Moresby.

When nature called, the men and children jumped over the sewerage ways surrounding the oval to urinate and defecate. The women walked the long distance to Gordon’s market forming a queue that started at the gate and ended at the door of the ladies rest room.

The rest room keeper, a Simbu lad, said he made good money the week the Revivalists gathered at Unagi Oval.

Bidding farewell to a happy loo keeper, I walked into a market shed and found some Simbu women in their Revival convention uniforms. They were from my part of the province and were originally Roman Catholic and Lutheran.

We shook hands, talked a bit about life in the Simbu and then jumped into Pastor Wippon’s healing message. The women told me they had joined a real church and had found peace and healing.

I acknowledged their feelings of contentment and good health but said I was worried that, if some of them were HIV positive, they might forgo the ART medication because of Pastor Godfrey Wippon’s message of healing.

One lady said her brother had married a church member from Kimbe. They had been married for close to two years but the lady had stopped going to church and, as a result, her HIV had returned and she was now in the final stages of AIDS.

I was angry upon hearing this. I work in this field and know that HIV does not disappear when you are baptised, whether with fire, water or oil.

The lady had made an uneducated decision to bring an HIV positive woman from Kimbe to Port Moresby, stopped her from taking ART medication and gave her in marriage to an innocent man. The bride and sister in law hadn’t even told the new husband she was HIV positive.

I said the husband should have an HIV antibody test and that, if he was positive, he had to be placed on ART together with his HIV positive wife.

But the Simbu ladies at the market remained convinced that, if the HIV positive Kimbe woman returned to the Revival Centre for worship, the HIV would disappear and there would be no need for ART.

The Revival sisters did not want to listen to more of my sermon on the importance of blood tests, ART and positive living.

I said that if her sister-in-law died due or if her brother became infected not to call us wantoks to the funeral.

I angrily bade farewell and headed to the bus stop for my hideout in Morata.

Pastor Godfrey Wippon, the leader of the Revival Centre, is famously known for preaching and stopping people living with HIV from taking the ART medication.  The pastor has bragged that his Revival Centre is the fastest growing religious movement in PNG.

The rationale for this growth is that ignorant people fall for the rhetoric that joining the ministry will cure their ailments through miracles and other wonders. Wippon himself seems convinced that the Lord heals through his ministry.

He has even proclaimed that baptism and prayer can cure AIDS and raise the dead back to life.

Indeed, one of PNG’s HIV and gender champions fell for his rhetoric and discarded her ART medication, eventually succumbing to AIDS in August 2013. Wippon’s reaction, when probed about her fate, was that she had died physically but was still alive in spirit.

Some of the 30,000 disciples of Wippon who travelled to Port Moresby came with all sorts of ailments, including HIV and AIDS. They were convinced the Holy Spirit baptism Wippon promised would cleanse them of such ailments and the other of their socio-economic ills.

In fact, Pastor Wippon's Revival has all the signs and symptoms of a death cult that can be equated to Joseph Kibweteere’s cult in Uganda or others like the Aum Shinrikyo, Branch Davidians or Heaven’s Gate.

Some years ago, a Pastor Benny Hinn came to PNG, got a bag of money from the late Sir Bill Skate (prime minister at the time) and high-tailed it back to the United States. Everybody that went with wheelchairs and crutches to the Sir John Guise Stadium to see Pastor Benny to be healed was still on crutches and in wheelchairs when he left with the loot.

Papua New Guineans, it seems, use more emotion and less logic and ethics. As such they are more vulnerable to deception and exploitation.

These growing Revival Centres in Papua New Guinea pose a real danger to the success of the HIV response in our country. 


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Jordan Dean

It baffles me these days how pastors and so-called men of God have cars and live a luxurious life while their members or followers are languishing in abject poverty.

We've read about pastors owning properties and businesses. Recently, a pastor was appointed as chairman over the gambling industry.

Pastors these days are rich from the tax-free tithes and offering of destitute members, some of whom can't even feed themselves. Jesus never owned a mansion but pastors in PNG do!

The government should impose tax on all churches.

Pome Kwai

Revival Centers of PNG is not Pastor Godfrey Wippon's business but is God's business, Pastor Wippon is just a servant of God preaching the simple salvation message of repent, be baptised and receiving of the holy ghost.

If you do not receive the holy ghost you will not enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3-5). This church is the true and only church of God.

John K Kamasua

No one has found the cure for HIV/IADS as yet. No Church has found the cure for it as yet either. Please let's practice our Christianity of compassion and good will to fellow humans without giving false hopes.

Churches really need to ram up the messages of being faithful and practising abstinence.

HIV/AIDS is real as rain and sun. It is real as the law of gravity, or the water cycle in nature. It is real and the only way to avoid it is to prevent the infection in the first place.

Heitz Wasiki

Philip Kai, Do you believe as Christians? I would advise you to read bibles. Read my previous post and understand.

Those of you opposes Pr Wippon, yupla pairap nating, upla no fit. Pairap nating nogat waanpla samting bai upla mekim too.

Heitz Wasikio

Anyone who belongs to the world preaches the earthly things and loved by the world,and the ones who preaches the gospel of the Lord truly can be stoned by the world of human living.

Those who preach the truth about God might be rejected by the world around him because they cannot understand his true preaching and because they don't have the God's gift.

You see when Jisas went while preaching to the Israelites, they don't believe him because he preaches the Kingdom of God.

Ecclessiates or the Book of Save man Chapter 7 says that none of the rulers of this world have the wisdom of the Lord,if they have it they would have not persecute Jisas,so same applies,those of you who opposes Wippon because you don't have such wisdom that's why you indirectly persecute him because you don't have the gift Jisas promised in John16:7.

Wise sayings are too deep for a stupid person to understand. He has nothing to say when important matters are being discussed.

Lindsay F Bond

Exploitation of uninformed folk in the Pacific is a risk, even now, not a thing of the past.
See "...the sheer brazen nature of their exploitation, which was described by Justice Jarrett in a judgment as "appalling..."
reported at:

Lindsay F Bond

Organisations of Christians came to islands of New Guinea (Papua too) in effort to offset effects of visiting miners and mercenary labour hirers. By and large those early organisations yielded worthy effect.
That which now parades as if Christian, yet is pretence of intelligence, raises new challenge to PNG society.
The worth of evidence-based research and learning calls for clearer espousal by more than 'mainstream' Churches in outreach.
That lives are at risk, is cause enough for wider humanity to support a societal appraisal and remedial engagement.

Heitz Wasikio

More better all of you should read bibles, the truth is in the bible. You sound like an empty drum without a water in it.

Yupla mas ridim bible blo upla na bihain pairap, noken pairap nating. PNG declared itself as Christian country, kain olsem empty drum pairap blo em ogeta hap ba harim.

We believe in Heaven and Earth, that is our belief as Christians. Ino name revival bai karim umi go lo heaven, believe blo umi wanwan.

If yu nogat kain believe then maybe yu mas muslim or buddish or. Bible is the truth

Michael Dom


That's a laughable and detestable doctrine that blame's a persons illness and death on lack of faith.

That's just dumbass.

The poor people espousing that doctrine seriously need Jesus.

Billy Ekono

Malachi 3:6 says that God never changes. Hebrews 13:8 says Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and for evermore. That Jesus Christ who heals multitude some thousand years ago even heals today and will continue to heal.

If Pastor Godfrey is preaching the word of that Jesus who does not change, then he is the Living God. Jesus blood even speaks today (Hebrew 12:24). So healing come through that blood by Holy Spirit.

Their are countless people out their who have been healed not just through Godfrey's ministry but believing in Jesus and following His word.

So whatever it is, the blood and word of Jesus heals HIV even today. It depends on individual faith.

I would be neglecting my job as publisher and editor if I did not tell readers that what Billy writes about HIV is utter rubbish - KJ

John K Kamasua

Amen to that, Peter! We have all spoken with different voices but along the same grain.

Not all is lost...yet.

Peter Kranz

John - I see hope in the talented PNG young people graduating and becoming professional (yes and perhaps having to travel to other countries to further their education).

I see hope in the flourishing art and literature of PNG promoted by this site. I see hope in the new generation of activists and NGO's who won't stand idly by while the country is damaged. I see hope in the energy of PNG social media.

It's believing in ourselves which brings hope, not believing in a spirit in the sky who will make all well if only we have enough 'faith'.

I see hope in the eyes of my family especially my Grand-niece who told me 'I want to be a doctor when I am bigger.'

Never lose hope, but make sure it is based on the right foundation. There was a group of early believers in a place called Berea in northern Greece. St. Paul commended them for not taking him at his word, but first wishing to check what he said against the wisdom of their ancient writings.

I think we should react the same way today when confronted by the preaching of Wippon. And our wise writings are scientific as well as theological.

John K Kamasua

Michael I see your point. I have been an active member of a church for a while... and am musing the thought of going back. And before that when I was a kid I used to plod alone with my parents to the Lutheran church.

It is not my intention to paint a bleak picture, not at all.

Yes in recent times the churches have been bombarded with many upheavals and challenges, both within and without.

If the mainstream churches are not seen to be fulfilling their missions, other ideas and movements will surely creep in to fill the void.

If Wippon's movement promises hope in curing diseases, ailments and what not, and these were mostly missing in the old boring mainstream churches, people will act.Regardless of how absurd and stupid some of the tenets maybe. They will gravitate towards something that promises something..including hope in the form of answers to prayers, and the secular problems they are encountering.

Strange world we live in, Michael strange world.

Yes like many in this country, it is a good thing you and I are not losing all hope for the country. Sure if I lost all hopes in the country, I would be probably one of the first highlanders to go back home, and stay close to motherland.

But I am planning not to do that just yet.

And hopefully that wont happen just yet - the lost of all hope for the country.

Michael Dom

"Pastor Wippon and his movement may have released what has been missing among the people for many years..Hope"

That's a bleak image you've suggested there, John Kamasua, and not very reflective of the truth I think.

Perhaps you've mistake charisma, the new and fascinating, nice clothes and a pretty whacky hat to boot, for inspiration.

The ring master of Circus Bruno comes to mind.

But surely, PNG people had not entirely lost hope, since they had decades of service from the mainstream churches before such 'revival' centres sprouted, and millions continue to benefit from the Catholic church, especially.

The Lutherans are recently too busy with politics.

Salvation...yes the main problem I have with that message is that it requires people to have a very low self-esteem (putting your brother down), and place another human being on a high pedestal (sounds like idolatry to me) then most likely builds them up in an unrealistic and uncharacteristic manner from the individual personality (who's telling who how to live their lives?) that each person has.

I'd rather think that if Christ's Almighty God wanted to make us all the same he probably would have done so, and since that doesn't seem to be the case, we're all good, wart's n' all.

Revival - sure - read your bible.

Maybe Christians were falling asleep on the job.

It seems to me that they haven't even woken up yet, despite the fanfare arrival of the 400 year old bible.

What happens to the argument that PNG is a Christian country when all this political manure is being spread around by their blessed PM?

I've always been doubtful of that claim, but that's just me.

John K Kamasua

Pastor Wippon and his movement may have released what has been missing among the people for many years..Hope

Hope in the future, and a general sense that people's needs, wants and questions can be answered. All religion have features of that.

His Church is one of the fastest growing in the country. It has international affiliations.

And they seem to do some good, like providing meaning and hope. It is only when his church is made out to be an answer to all and sundry that the problems begin.

Churches should preach the message of grace and unconditional love, healthy living, and improved horizontal relationships with fellow human, and a reverential abiding vertical relationship with the source of life - God.

Churches should also advocate that if members suffer an ailment, an earthly doctor would be the first port of call.

Many of the people who congregate to these gatherings may appear to have been hoodwinked!!

Great article for discussion, Sil.

Peter Kranz

On a recent visit to PNG I had a run-in with a cousin-sister lay preacher who said she could heal Rose of her cancer if she had enough faith and took this special oil which only she knew the secret of making.

I said this is rubbish.

I got angry and after a few harsh words (which I regret) she left. My cousin-brother who is a wise man, commiserated and said "Peter, these so-called faith healers are a disgrace to PNG. They give false hope but are happy to take our money to the bank."

Rose is getting better thanks to scientific medicine and great treatment, not a belief in voodoo magic.

Wake up PNG!

Michael Dom

Hi Nick, was Pastor Godfrey one of that crowd who put the 400 year old King James Version Bible in my Haus Tambaran?

Maybe you can ask him to go and remove it now, along with that demonic Prime Minister who is ruining our country.

Nick Mylchreest

I have known Pastor Godfrey for 20 years and know that he is a true man of God no matter what others may say. He preaches the truth found in the word of God. You can think you are having a go at him but in fact you are having a go at the living God. That's not a position id [sic] like to be in!

Paul Waugla Wii

Mr Bolkin, I am interested in the picture which accompanies this article you have written. Did you take the shot yourself? If you did, you have rather failed to confirm the scripture which was written on that banner.

Pastor Godfrey Wippon (picured) is a servant of God. Period. He preaches holiness. He preaches the word of God as it is in the Bible.

As far as I know, Pastor Wippon has spent the last 33 years in PNG preaching the word of God, telling people to turn from their immoral ways and to live a life of holiness in God. He does not preach HIV Aids, nor does he stop people from taking ART medication.

There are people who were miraculously healed of their afflictions when they responded to the Word of God. Pastor Wippon is not a miracle worker. Healings and miracles are things that only God is capable of.

The Lord Jesus Christ did perform healings and miracles when he was ministering. The records are there in the Bible.

Sil Bolkin, may I ask you to turn to the Bible in Mark chapter 16, verses 17-18 "and these signs shall follow those who believe in the Lord."

Those who fail to read the Bible will utterly fail to discern what God is doing in these end times. God's power to heal people of their afflictions is as relevent today as it was two thousand years ago.

People in PNG whose lives were broken by alcohol, prostitution, corruption, sexual perversion and the list goes on were restored when they turned to God by the message of salvation preached by Pastor Wippon.

Pastor Wippon lives by the Word he preaches.

Finally, but not the least Mr Bolkin I am inviting you to come and observe our fellowship at the Revival fellowships. You are almost close to finding the truth.

The photo was inserted by the editor, not Sil Bolkin - KJ

Philip Kai Morre

Pastor Godfrey Wippon's healing powers cannot be scientifically proven as real and genuine.

Pastor Wippon is a conspiracy theorist and a religious fanatic who manipulates the ignorance of the people and indoctrinates his evil ideology.

Those so called revival crusaders have entered a dubious morality.

A church teaching basing on lies, fear, guilt and shame is heading for more problems. Can the government come up with a law under ignorance and nonsense act to prosecute such people who have done more damage than good.

Dominica Are

I think that another danger to the success of the HIV response is the eruption of so -called herbs juice everywhere.
On the streets of Goroka, there are people selling different kinds of herbs juice and most of them say these herbs heal HIV and all kinds of diseases.
I am not sure if this is true but yes there needs to be researches carried out to confirm that these herbs can surely heal instead of misleading people.

Kela Kapkora Sil Bolkin

In the secular world we have to base our judgement on the outcome of well designed and coordinated research. We can't base all hopes and ways of doing things on metaphysics such as a healing crusade (supernatural powers) or the kumo (sanguma).

Government, businesses, institutions and all sectors of society are governed with empirical evidence and best practice that can enhance public good.

Anything else is normative and personal, therefore should not be used to mislead and proselytise people to forgo what is backed by research evidence.

Bernard Singu Yegiora

I like Mr Kin's comment.

Alois Yoba Bai

I was approached by many patients at my hospital who refused treatment. Not long after they realised that their health status was deteriorating. They then came back to the health centre for treatment again.

I wonder what is the theology behind such teaching. We do believe that Jesus does heal and through faith many are healed. However, medicine has been here for centuries and has a proven record of cure. Medical intervention has saved million of lives worldwide. Medical innovation has the blessing of God.

Those of us who are working in the faith based health service base our service on faith. We acknowledge Jesus as the centre of our practice. Indeed we experience wonders and miracles every day in the health facilities.

History has shown that the first missionaries who set foot in PNG promoted holistic development. The missionaries preached and converted people to Christianity, set up schools to educate people and built health facilities to heal, prevent and promote health. Their work has been fruitful and exemplary.

PNG's development progress is the result of the early missionaries sacrifice. Yet today many are deceived by many teaching due to the ignorance of our uneducated people. Indeed is sad to see such activity getting out of hand.

Francis Hualupmomi

I think we should refrain from judging other churches. Let God judge others. Judging is a sin. What right do we have in judging others?

Liam Cochrane

Godfrey Wippon is a dangerous scam artist. Unfortunately gullible people have taken his advice and died from AIDS.

Here is a TV story I did last year about the issue for ABC. Watch it and make up your own mind:

If your internet is slow, here's a text version:

Mathias Kin

For 2,000 years, Christians have been looking to the heavens every single day for the Glory of God to descend. Yes we have waited 2,000 years.

Pastors Wippon, Benny Hinn and a thousand others before them have come and gone disappointed. Thousands more will come and surely humanity live into the 3,000 and, before long mankind may truly be living on Mars as we see in the movies.

Time and knowledge have changed so much, we should be smarter in the way we relate to Jesus Christ, God, the coming of Christ etc. My thoughts.

Bessielah David

Bolkin, I do agree it can be really frustrating when confronted with such ignorance about HIV/AIDS. Perhaps, there should be more awareness about HIV/AIDS in the far remote villages and plateaus/towns and shantys of PNG in our dialects and mother tongues to address this issues.

As educated Papua New Guineans we have the mandate to educate our people with whatever resources we have and in little ways we can contribute. A clan/tribe/community/society at a time.

HIV/AIDS is real and it doesn't get any better when the vulnerable population are being mislead with ambiguous messages that is rallied is such events.

I reckon ignorance and illiteracy is a major set back and thorough awareness and education should be paramount to mitigate such ignorance and illiteracy, otherwise, the vulnerable population will keep on depending on their emotions than logical conscience when addressing HIV/AIDS.

Barbara Short

Sil, I placed your article on the Sepik Region Development Discussion Forum on Facebook and many people have commented and agreed with you.

But here is someone who disagrees ..Israel Paramaren...and this is what he wrote....

This article is totally biased.It's obvious that the writer's main agenda here is to disrepute the good name of Pastor Godfrey Wippon, the Revival Church of PNG and all the good work that they have done throughout the country since.

I strongly will defend this church (even if it's a matter of life or death) and Pastor Godfrey Wippon at any given time because i have seen blind people, paralyze, bearans, mentally ill, deaf, dumb and people with all kinds of illness/ diseases including others who were struggling in life being healed respectively and having restoration in their lives.

My mother joined the church back in 1996 (i was only 3 years old that time) , i grew up following my mother to church, to every church meetings, to every events (rallies, camps, etc..),even had the opportunity to be prayed upon by Pastor Godfrey himself. And therefore, i can guarantee you that Pastor Godfrey has never discouraged people from taking medication.

"Medication is important to our physical well being" he usally says.In fact, one of his famous quotes in tokpisin i can still remember is "Samting body karim ,em blo body..Na samting spirit karim em blo Spirit" In English it simply states that physical matters are to be approached physically and matters of spirituality are to be approached spiritually.

Plandi toktok maski yupla English lain na tokpisin lain skelim displa lo understanding blo yupla yet, em clear or nogat??!!

I know this church and it's principle teachings very well (100%). Pastor Wippon's teachings has always been about "SALVATION". Salvation- ,biblically -is the process of being saved process of being saved and freed from everything (sin) that prevents us from enjoying the eternal life with God.

In this process believers would receive restoration (healing) both physically and spiritually. This has always been the main message this church's been preaching.

And i believe this has been the misinterpreted message that most Papua New Guinean believers have, that's why they tend to ignore medicine.Blame this on illiteracy!!

Yes the church does say that God will heal you from diseases such as HIV Aids or any other diseases; no doubt about that, God can heal the sick !! However,every Christian should know that the process of physical healing is between oneself and God ( depend lo faith blo yu yet) and we cannot ignore medicine and wait for miracle to just happen.

God gave knowledge to people and they created medicine, so kisim marasin!! And by the way before lo yupla tromoi stone lo me, me toksave olsem me no wanpla pastor or current member blo displa church ( me bin jst bihainim mama blo me go lotu taim me liklik mangi).. Me too me cuurently marn blo graun...Sin blo yu na me nau yet ya em wankain...or maybe blo me mas abrusim blo yu by a hundred nambaut or.. Cheers!!

Arnold  Mundua

One revival member addressed me as 'brother in body' sometime ago. I realy don't understand what he meant here. But maybe, I had to be a revival member to be called 'brother in spirit'...or is it?

Bomai D Witne

Kops, revival centers in PNG are growing like mushrooms and someone is exploiting our illiterate and ignorant population.

Michael Dom

People are free to believe whatever they want, choose how they want to live their lives and in what particular manner they want to go to Hell.

It is amusing how religious beliefs in PNG are parallel to their political beliefs.

People really do believe that O'Neil is the savior of PNG and that all we need is faith and an old bible in the Parliament to heal PNG's economy.

But don't worry the World Bank and IMF will come to PNG's haus krai, and may be Australia will take care of the bastards and orphans.

Daniel Ipan Kumbon

True Bolkin. Many of us PNGeans live on emotions more than logic and ethics.

Just look at a contemporary PNG 'Haus Krai' where you see heaps and heaps of food and thousands upon thousands of kina contributed by frinds and relatives - politicians included - to show their 'last respects'.

Just imagine, taking the deceased to a well equiped hospital to add a few more fruitful years to his or her precious life by contributing towards his or her medical bills would have been far better than all this utter waste. Who benefits - the deceased or the person showing his 'last respect'?

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