A little over a year ago I subscribed to the daily e-mail of The Church Report Online just to have a handy resource for news in evangelicalism. I knew that they were somewhat shifty and that their understanding of the Bible included a white Jesus and that “America was God’s chosen country”; I always took most of what they did and said with a grain of salt.
However, I was particularly bemused tonight when I opened up their latest message and saw this headline:
Unlock the Secrets of Creating Wealth And Harness the Power of Money to Influence Everything
RICH CHURCH – POOR CHURCH
Yeah, once again we learn that God wants us to be rich. No real surprises here; televangelists continue to spin variations on this theme ad nauseum, and astonishingly, people continue to buy it. This is followed by a particularly twisted reading of the Abrahamic Covenant. But the real gem of this piece, the one that made my jaw drop into my lap, is below the fold (I warn you, not for the easily offended):
No One Understands This Better Than the Jewish People
Of all the people groups in the world, perhaps none is less conflicted about wealth and influence than the Jewish people. In October 2007, the Jerusalem Post published details of a study done by Vanity Fair which lists “the world’s most powerful people.” According to the publication, “the top 100 consisted of the bankers and media moguls, publishers and image makers who shape the lives of billions. It’s an exclusive, insular club, one whose influence stretches around the globe but is concentrated strategically in the highest corridors of power.” 51 of Vanity Fair’s top 100 list are Jewish.
We live in a world where Christians outnumber Jews 400 to 1, yet they occupy 51% of the top 100 most powerful positions on the planet. I believe it is safe to say that we have plenty to learn from the olive tree into which we were grafted and we could start by knowing the covenant and walking it out here and now. [Italics mine]
So now we are back to that old canard about how Jews have all of the money. One would hope that this thinking would have died out among reputable groups, but there it is, in all of its misbegotten glory. Of course, we could quibble over how reputable the people who developed this are, but I promise you this: someone, somewhere, will buy what they are selling. And I would put good odds on the people who buy into this being people who cannot afford to get caught up in these kinds of schemes…all because they think it is “God’s will.”
Lest we think all of the disgrace is taking place here in the U.S., it turns out that a pastor in Australia who inspired millions with a song praising God in the midst of his struggle with cancer didn’t exactly tell the truth about his illness. In fact, it turns out he didn’t have cancer at all.
Pastor Michael Guglielmucci spun gospel of lies
HE preached to thousands about his terminal illness and tugged at hearts with a hit song.
The problem is the pastor wasn’t dying at all
Michael Guglielmucci, who inspired hundreds of thousands of young Christians with his terminal cancer “battle”, has been exposed as a fraud.
Guglielmucci, whose parents established Edge Church International, an Assemblies of God church at O’Halloran Hill in Adelaide’s southern suburbs, now is seeking professional help.
Earlier this year, Mr Guglielmucci released a hit song, Healer , which was featured on Sydney church Hillsong’s latest album.
The song debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts.
It since has become an anthem of faith for believers, many of whom are suffering their own illness and were praying for a miracle for Mr Guglielmucci, who has claimed for two years to be terminally ill.
In one church performance that has attracted 300,000 hits on YouTube, he performs his hit song with an oxygen tube in his nose.
It appears Mr Guglielmucci, who was a pastor with one of Australia’s biggest youth churches, Planetshakers, may even have deceived his own family.
“This news has come as a great shock to everyone including, it seems, his own wife and family,” Hillsong general manager George Aghajanian said in an email to his congregation yesterday.
“Michael has confirmed that he is not suffering with a terminal illness and is seeking professional help in Adelaide with the support of his family. We are asking our church to pray for the Guglielmucci family during this difficult time.”
The Advertiser was told last night Mr Guglielmucci may release a statement on the situation.
The Australian Christian Church said Mr Guglielmucci’s credentials immediately were suspended once he told the national executive that his cancer claims were “untrue”.
“The national executive is taking this matter very seriously and is awaiting the results of medical tests before determining the full extent of the discipline that will be imposed upon him,” vice president Alun Davies said.
“We are very concerned for the many people who have been or will be hurt by Michael’s actions.
“We encourage all of our churches to pray for all those affected.”
And some people think I am too cynical. What are we teaching in our churches when a pastor can’t see that this is wrong? I hope that he is found to have some sort of personality disorder and didn’t do this in a rational state. The alternative scares me a little too much.
Now onto less depressing things, I received the list below with the title “You Might Be a Baptist” but I want C of C readers to take a look and tell me how many you think apply to us. Happy reading.
1. You believe you are supposed to take a covered dish to heaven.
2. You have never sung the third verse of any hymn.
3. You think that someone who says “amen” while the pastor is preaching is charismatic.
4. You complain because your pastor only works one day a week and then “he works too
5. You clapped in church last Sunday and felt guilty all week.
6. You woke up craving fried chicken, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole and interpreted it as a “call” to preach.
7. You’re old enough to get senior citizen discounts, but not old enough to be promoted into the senior adult dept.
8. You think God’s presence is always strongest in the last three pews.
9. You think John the Baptist founded the Southern Baptist Convention.
10. You think “Victory in Jesus” is the national anthem.
11. The first complete sentence you uttered was, “We’ve never done it this way before.”
12. You judge the quality of the sermon by the amount of sweat worked up by the preacher.
13. Your definition of “fellowship” has something to do with food.
14. You have ever wondered when Lottie Moon and Annie Armstrong will be paid off.
15. You honestly believe the Apostle Paul spoke King James English.
16. You think Welch’s grape juice and saltines were served at the Last Supper.