05:52 GMT23 January 2021
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    A Norwegian Lutheran Church has received state support for new courses in supernatural disciplines, such as healing and clairvoyance. Needless to say, this paranormal offer has raised eyebrows among more skeptical Norwegians.

    The Lutheran IMI Church, which is located in the city of Stavanger and already runs a "bible school" named Acta, was recently given the blessing of the Directorate of Education to provide courses in healing and prophesying. The healing program will include a practical part, where students will spend 120 hours preaching evangelism and applying their skills in the streets of Stavanger. During prophesying courses, students will learn to "tune in" to the voice of God in various situations.

    "We want the curriculum to provide students with knowledge on how to live in those aspects of the life of Jesus we see in the Gospel. Most often, his teachings and his goodness are emphasized, while the supernatural dimension is easily overlooked," Principal Egil Elling Ellingsen told the Norwegian daily Aftonbladet.

    However, the IMI Church's plans met with skepticism. Professor Bård Mæland of the VID Scientific College argued that establishing courses in healing creates a sensational touch and provides students with unrealistic expectations.

    Psychologist Kari Halstensen called the IMI Church's curriculum "thoughtful," yet at the same time warned of possible pitfalls.

    "In a narcissistic time it is also important that knowledge of and contact with the supernatural is managed with great care and a lot of prudence," Kari Halstensen told the Norwegian news outlet Vårt Land, venturing that it was important to learn the motivation of the applicants.

    The IMI Church in Stavanger is a congregation of about 700 members, which has been active for several generations. The name IMI is an abbreviation for IndreMisjonen ("Inner Mission"). The IMI Church is also known for arranging the youth conference Impulse in Stavanger and Trondheim, where thousands of young people congregate. The church operates under the motto "We make conscious followers of Jesus Christ from worthy people."

    In 2011, the IMI church came under fire for sending confirmees to the streets to conduct faith healing. After being taught about healing through prayer and the laying on of hands, they were sent out to test what they had learned in practice.


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    healing, prophecy, religion, Scandinavia, Norway
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