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Controversial church billboard removed

Wednesday 7 Mar 2012 2:55 p.m.

The church's pastor defended the billboard to Campbell Live

The church's pastor defended the billboard to Campbell Live

A controversial billboard that claimed Jesus heals cancer has been taken down by the church, and replaced with a Bible quote that claims Jesus heals all sickness and disease.

The Equippers Church billboard originally read “Jesus heals cancer”, but the wording has been changed to “Jesus heals every sickness and every disease - Matthew 4:23”.

The Napier church came under fire after claiming six of their parishioners had been cured of cancer, and the Advertising Standards Authority carried out an investigation after nine complaints were laid.

After public outrage about the billboard, Campbell Live spoke to the church pastor - who defended it - and to the parishioners who claimed Jesus had cured their cancer.

Jody Condin, whose son is undergoing leukaemia treatment, was one of the original complainants. She says the replacement billboard is still misleading.

“I still think that that could bring harm to those who haven't been cured from every sickness and every illness,” she told the New Zealand Herald.

“I still think that's giving false hope. I believe that [the church] can heal the soul, but I don't think they can heal every disease and every illness.”

Ms Condin says her complaint was “nothing to do with anti-religion, and totally to do with morals”.   She hopes the billboard will be replaced with a message of positivity.

The church said in a statement that it did not intend to cause offence or contention with the original billboard.

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