An evangelical church in New Zealand is marketing olive oil as a cure-all for both physical and mental illness.
The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God is calling its own brand of olive oil “holy oil.” It claims the product was blessed at biblical miracle sites in Israel.
"The Holy Oil was chosen by God as an instrument of faith to heal the sick," the church says in an 8-page letter said, claiming it previously cured mental illness, strokes, and heart defects.
It says one woman even cured herself of a pancreatic tumor.
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"After anointing herself for a period of time with the oil, [she] went back to the doctors for a check-up. The doctors couldn't find anything! No trace of the tumour was detected," says the letter.
"Learn how to use it to anoint the sick, the emotionally depressed, your loved ones and family, your workplace and objects that represent difficulties or challenges in your life," it adds.
The church will hold a free giveaway this Sunday at the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau, calling it a "unique opportunity for those of you in need of a miracle.”
Despite the literature the church mailed out, Bishop Victor Silva told the New Zealand Herald that the oil isn’t a cure-all, but "an act of faith.”
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“The church does not have specialist medical expertise so people who present themselves at church with an illness are always advised to seek a medical diagnosis from their GP," Silva said.
The church, Igreja Universal do Reino de Deus, originated in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it has 5,000 churches. It came to New Zealand in 2005.