What happens when miracles meet science? That is the project that Elijah Stephens (M.A. ’19), a graduate of the Christian apologetics program at Biola’s Talbot School of Theology, sets out to unpack in his recently released documentary, Send Proof.
Interweaving his personal journey of faith and skepticism, Stephens invites viewers to take a serious look at miracle claims. Assembling a cast of medical experts, faith healers, notable apologists like J.P. Moreland and William Lane Craig, and well-known skeptics like Michael Shermer, Stephens examines the evidence for and against miracles, and allows the audience to hear from multiple points of view, including people who themselves claim to have experienced miraculous healing.
Ultimately, the film encourages viewers to be receptive to the reality of unexplained, medically documented healings while also cautioning against the theatrics and questionable theology often associated with healing ministries or miracle claims.
“Witnessing the legitimacy of miracles eliminates our excuses for not praying for the sick radically,” Stephens said. “It leaves us with no moral justification. God healing people spreads the gospel. If miracles happen, then maybe something like the resurrection can be true.”
Though Stephens grew up in a Christian household, his home was not a warm environment and he often suffered physical abuse. This abuse drew questions for Stephens about who God was, or if he even existed.
“Where are you at God? Why are you letting children be beaten like this?” Stephens recalls. It was at a church camp where Stephens first experienced answered prayer in a way that demonstrated the overwhelming realness of the presence of God, he said.
This experience became a catalyst in Stephens’ faith journey, and ultimately led him to explore the relationship between the supernatural and science.
“I realized there wasn’t a lot of apologetics around the legitimacy of miracles,” he said. He connected with the Global Medical Research Institute, an organization whose work primarily documents cases of unexplainable healing, and theologian Craig Keener, who has written and researched extensively on modern-day miracles. Stephens quickly raised $135,000 on Kickstarter to create a documentary that would hopefully provide authenticity to miraculous experiences.
Send Proof is Stephens’ directorial debut. Over the process of filming, Stephens experienced huge ups and downs, admitting he hadn’t been so stretched in his life and the process took much longer than originally anticipated — as he sought to gather a high burden of proof.
“I didn’t want to make a propaganda film,” he said. “I wanted to follow the truth wherever it led, even if it didn’t fit my worldview.” As Stephens profiles numerous people who recount their experience of radical healing, he also interviews the doctors who treated them and has each case examined by medical experts — presenting evidence that these individuals were, in fact, healed. Send Proof has been well-received, with positive reviews from The Gospel Coalition and other outlets. It also won silver for Best Documentary at the International Christian Visual Media Film Crown Awards and was featured on the popular Unbelievable? podcast.
At the end of Send Proof, there is a call for viewers to send in medical evidence or documentation they have personally experienced a miracle. All submitted evidence will be reviewed by the Global Medical Research Institute and Keener. The goal is to continue the project of the documentary — to accumulate medical proof that miracles occur.
“I want to change the way those in and outside of the church see miracles — that there are legitimate cases of modern miracles,” Stephens said.
Send Proof is available to stream on Amazon Prime and Christian Cinema and also available for purchase on DVD. To learn more about Stephens’ project on miracles, visit sendproof.com.