Faith Healer Greg Kerr Talks About The Power Of The Holy Spirit
Story By Karla Wall • Photos By Chris Brennan
A lot has changed since my first visit with faith healer Greg Kerr in 2002.
The white-walled home chapel in Opelousas with the twinkling-light-adorned trellis, sweet potpourri-scented air and soft pan flute music has been replaced as Kerr’s ministry headquarters by a huge, spartan warehouse building in Lafayette. Kerr’s hair and beard, both still long and reminiscent of Biblical prophets, are grayer.
But the eyes haven’t changed one iota. They’re still piercing and mesmerizing; still seeming to be filled with knowledge and vision that most of us can’t imagine. The eyes are the same as when I gazed into them, feeling something akin to terror, on our first visit 16 years ago.
A Fisher Of Men
Lagniappe had never seen a response to an article like the one that followed our 2002 reprinting of Reese Fuller’s feature on Kerr, who had just begun advertising a healing ministry in the Times of Acadiana in Lafayette. The article relayed Fuller’s visit with Kerr, and Kerr’s healing of Fuller’s photographer — eliminating back pain that the photographer had been living with for years.
And we haven’t seen such a response since. The phone rang constantly for months. People seemed desperate to know more about Kerr and how to get in touch with him.
We ran a photo of Kerr on the cover of the issue in which the article appeared, and in the weeks that followed, while fielding call after call, I found myself gazing at the photo — at those eyes — wondering how a simple Cajun vacuum cleaner service shop owner came to be “anointed” with a gift most of us can’t imagine, nor would want. And I’ll admit I wondered whether he was God’s instrument on Earth or a charlatan. I had to meet him.
I arranged to do a follow-up article and met Kerr in his home, in the small chapel. The pan flute music, the potpourri, the lighting and Kerr’s voice —which would alternate between whispers and the booming cadenced tones associated with Biblical prophets — were disquieting. Together, the whole package was almost overwhelming. Fuller had admitted in his article that he’d been so nervous he was nauseated during the visit, and I completely understood why.
Meeting with Kerr just a couple of weeks ago, there were no nerves. No pan flute music. No lights. No Old Testament image. No “prophetic” voice.
Kerr seems much more relaxed than I’d remembered him from our last visit, and his tone is conversational and friendly.
He relates again the events that led to his gift.
In the early ‘90s, Kerr had several visions. In the first vision, he says, he was in a meadow and saw Christ through a thickening fog. Then he was hit by “a shaft of light so bright it brought me to my knees.”
He began fasting and praying, and soon had other visions. He saw and heard a “heavenly choir” in the hallway of his home. He saw Jesus in a building much like the one we were sitting and talking in.
“There were two chairs, about 12 feet apart, and they faced each other,” he says. “I sat in one, and a white-bearded man sat in the other. He spoke to me, and I saw the words flying through the air from his mouth toward me.”
In August of ’95, after attending many revivals, he and his wife Luella decided to attend a Benny Hinn revival in St. Louis.
The first day of the revival was disappointing, he says, with no visions, no answers and no direction. Then, at the end of the last day of the revival, which he and Luella almost didn’t attend, he saw a gray-blue cloud. “It was the shekinah or glory cloud,” Kerr says.
The cloud followed him and remained with him at home for four days. On the third day, he says, God told him that if he wanted the glory to remain with him and with his family, he would have to pay the price. Kerr consulted with his wife, who told him that whatever God wanted him to do, he should do. Kerr agreed. And the cloud lifted.
In August of ’96, while working in his shop, Kerr was visited by an elderly couple. The husband, he says, looked reluctant, almost angry to be there, but the woman looked determined.
“She told me ‘young man, I have a message for you from God,’” Kerr recalls.
The woman, Kerr says, had had a dream in which Jesus was standing over Kerr with his hands on Kerr’s forehead. In the dream, Jesus told the woman to tell Kerr that He had anointed him.
Kerr had never met the couple in all his years in Opelousas. Nor has he seen them since.
And in September ’97, Kerr, who by then was going no longer than two hours without praying, and still fasting, was praying in the middle of the night when he was hit in the face by a “bright shaft of light.” He smelled smoke for a few moments, then it was gone. He felt a strange “energy and heat” throughout his body, particularly his hands.
On that first visit, Kerr asked me, as he’d asked Fuller and his photographer during their visit, to hold my hands up and out. He held his own hands up, and I indeed felt a tingling sensation through my hands and into my arm.
“That’s the anointing,” he said. “That’s the Holy Spirit.”
“I’m bringing power from a different realm into this realm,” Kerr had told Fuller when Fuller experienced the same thing.
That, Kerr says, is how he heals through God. He likens it to being plugged into a wall socket. A lamp does nothing if it’s not plugged in, he says. He is simply plugged into God’s power, he tells me.
Kerr began holding small healing services in his home, and people came to him for relief from afflictions ranging from infertility to arthritis.
Writing that 2002 article, I heard from quite a few people who had sought Kerr out, and all said they’d been healed — one woman of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and one of chronic back and shoulder pain. One woman told me that, following a visit with Kerr, she was able to quit smoking when nothing else had worked.
Kerr himself, in this recent interview, tells me of curing a young man of a ventricular embolism. The man had been DOA in the emergency room; his skin was bluish and his breathing had stopped, though doctors had him on a respirator.
The man’s mother called Kerr. Kerr went to the hospital, touched the man and told him it was time to go home. “Those were the words God told me to say the man,” he tells me.
The man awoke, and a follow-up echocardiogram showed no sign of the clot. He did indeed go home soon thereafter, and went back to work shortly after that.
“(The blood clot) just disappeared,” Kerr says.
He also tells of healing a Lafayette area man of Hepatitis C. The man, who’d been jaundiced, fatigued and in pain, returned to work offshore after meeting with Kerr.
There’s no braggadocio involved — no ego — when Kerr relates these events. He is quick to tell you he has nothing to do with the healing.
“It’s not me; it’s God,” he says. “I’m not a special person. But I love Christ. He’s closer to me than anyone on this planet. I just do what he tells me to do, because that’s where the power lies.”
Not Exactly A Palace
Following the Lafayette and Lagniappe articles, Kerr says “thousands” came to his home — so many that he knew he would have to find a larger place to house his services.
He moved to Lafayette, and his ministry fell by the wayside for a time. But recently he found a larger place for his services; a businessman came to him and said he felt “led by God” to donate his empty warehouse to Kerr to use for his healing services.
“This was a man I’d met once years ago,” Kerr says. “I’d told him about the work we’re doing for the Lord, and he wanted to help.”
The space is cavernous, empty except for an RV, where Kerr goes to “stay with God” before the services. There’s a small chapel walled off in one corner of the building “for those who can’t walk well or are disabled.”
It’s far from luxurious; but, as Kerr points out, “Jesus didn’t have a palace. This isn’t a $12 million church, and you don’t need a $12 million church.”
An Old-Time Revival
Kerr calls the services “old-time tent revivals.”
Those who wish to be healed fill out a form with name and a brief description of the illness or problem they’re coming to the service to be healed of. As Kerr approaches each person’s seat, his assistant, wearing a clip-on mic, calls out that person’s name and information. Kerr “lays hands” on the person, placing his hands so that the “healing energy” flows through the affected area. Kerr simply tells the person to let him know when the pain is gone. It usually, he says, takes only two or three minutes.
“There are people who come in here on oxygen and walk out not needing it,” he says. “There are people who come in with their knees or back so bad they need a walker and walk out of here without using it.”
The services are open to anyone who needs to be healed or simply wants to witness a service to see if they truly believe or not.
“I’ve been asked how much faith you have to have to be healed,” Kerr says. “I always answer ‘Enough to show up.’”
‘There’s A Rumbling’
The place is certainly large enough to hold hundreds of the faithful or simply curious. And Kerr says that space will be needed — and filled, because people are becoming more and more desperate for answers, and increasingly worried and stressed about changes in the world around them — from politics to social stability to climate.
“People are seeking answers,” he says. “There’s a growing feeling of helplessness. People sense something happening — there’s a rumbling. And they need to know that there is hope. There’s such a need for hope in this country. I let people know that there is a God; that God will take control and switch this around, and that they have a shot at eternal life.
An End Of An Age Movement
Kerr, on our first visit, called his ministry an “end of an age movement.” And he re-emphasizes that on our recent visit.
“It isn’t the end of the world, but it is the end of an age,” he says. “We’re at the second coming. Christ will return to Earth soon to take over the governance of the world.”
How close is it? Kerr tells me that the antichrist prophesied by Revelation is already here and has risen to power.
“I’ve seen him in a vision,” he tells me. “But I won’t say who he is.”
“In the spirit realm,” Kerr told me on that first visit, “there have been things set in motion that no power or principality can stop.”
Kerr’s services are held at 6 pm on weekdays, and 2 pm on Saturdays and Sundays in the metal warehouse building at the corner of Ambassador Caffery and Amadee Streets in Lafayette. (There are banner signs on the building.) Those who attend should bring their own chairs — there are none in the building. And the building is not climate controlled, so guests should dress accordingly. For more information, call 337-849-1993.