Eugene Cho

guglielmucci & bentley: safeguarding your heart

It’s been a difficult week for couple “Christian celebrities” on the newswire.  Several people have asked what my thoughts are regarding Pastor Michael Guglielmucci [Australia] and Evangelist Todd Bentley [Canada/Florida].  

It’s not my intent to dispense gossip or to kick others when they’re down.  Not at all.  My heart grieves – particularly when leaders fall and people hurt, struggle, and stumble as a result.  Sadly, these are not the first leaders to stumble and sin and they won’t be the last.  So, while we extend grace [and discernment]…what can we learn?

Michael Guglielmucci is a prominent songwriter and pastor in Australia but was in the news this week [and here] over an incredible deception involving a fake terminal illnesss. He may also face criminal charges.

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.

Earlier this year, Mr Guglielmucci released a hit song, Healer , which was featured on Sydney church Hillsong’s latest album…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…It appears Mr Guglielmucci…may even have deceived his own family.

Todd Bentley, the controversial “faith healer,” in an inappropriate “emotional” relationship:

Evangelist Todd Bentley, who led a months-long faith-healing revival that attracted thousands and worldwide attention, had “an unhealthy relationship” with a female staff member during the revival, it was announced Friday by the board of his organization, Fresh Fire Ministries of Abbotsford, British Columbia…

The announcement, a statement posted on the Web site of Fresh Fire said the board had discovered Bentley “has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff.”
“On behalf of the Fresh Fire leadership and the Board of Directors, we wish to apologize to our friends and partners and to the larger body of Christ and to ask for your forgiveness,” the statement said.
It was announced last week that Bentley had separated from his wife, Shonnah Bentley, and would not return to conclude his tenure with the Florida Outpouring revival this week as he had originally intended.

So, what can we learn and discern?

1.  While it’s inevitable that influential leaders emerge, we must place our faith ultimately on the person of Jesus, the cross of Christ, and the substantive doctrine that is rooted in the narrative of God and the relevation of Christ through Scriptures.
2. There is a difference between being a Christian influence and a Christian celebrity.  The latter is dangerous… 
3. While it’s appropriate to “judge” the cirumstances of these two individuals, let’s be careful not to condemn.  While these circumstances will certainly cause great pain to people, the Lord will redeem…
4.  We’re not perfect so let’s not pretend we’re perfect…especially in front of crowds of people.
5.  We live in an incredibly informative and connected world.  Not only is your neighbor watching, the larger city and world is watching.  Be wise.  Even in imperfection, let’s live lives that honor Christ.
6.  Every person is susceptible to pride, power, ego, etc.   Every single person…including you, your pastor, your mother, and me. 
And if for whatever reason, you think you’re not susceptible to power, money, lust, pride, and [insert temptation here], you’re probably much closer to falling than you can imagine.
So, I ask you two simple question:
What are you thoughts about what we can learn?  Whether you are a leader in the church or not, how do you safeguard your heart?

Filed under: religion, , , , ,

44 Responses

  1. Sue says:

    Bentley’s situation was particularly dangerous because I saw him as a false prophet. Days after the “revival” began, there were ATM machines lined up all over the meeting places.

    Regarding Guglielmucci, I’m disheartened and saddened by so many people, including young people, that are shakened by this deception. It’s unbelievable.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I have to think the best way to safeguard your heart is to let people into it.

    These two situations remind me so much of what happened to Ted Haggard. It seems to me that if he had let a small number of men and women further into his heart he might have found someone to talk through his issues with, someone who could encourage him into counseling, etc.

    For all the talk about “community” that is popular today, I think there are a lot of lonly Christians, and Christian leaders. Everyone finds themselves tempted by various things – but when lonly, isolated people are tempted, it seems like they are in much more danger because even if they’re sitting in church every week, or in a small group every week, they have no one to have vulnerable and intimate conversation with about their struggles.

    How do you safeguard your heart? You let people into it.

  3. Dan Hauge says:

    Yes, letting people into your heart is key. And this is much harder to do in the church culture which insists on setting apart ‘extraoridnary’ individuals, setting them on pedestals above and outside of the general community.

    I think we must take a harder look at our general church culture, and the ridiculous expectations we place on leaders. I am not referring to asking our leaders to live out lives integrity–that general expectation is fine (though we must also learn to extend grace). I am referring to our insistence on exalting the dominant, charismatic leader–the one who is expected to be the face, the voice, the healer, and the minister for the entire community. People in that position feel, to a certain extent, a huge burden to be the example and the ‘overseer’, often even for their own staffs. How can one open their heart in a vulnerable way when they are not truly part of a community of equals in their own leadership teams, when they are seen as the ‘top of the pyramid’ with no one whom they are receiving help, accountability, and relationship from?

    The egos of charismatic Christian leaders do figure into the equation, but we must also turn the lens on our community cultures and expectations that insist on these mega-personalities. What would happen if we were able to let pastors and leaders truly be just a part of a team, part of the wider community? What would happen if we were more willing to tolerate hearing about normal human struggles of our leaders, so they did not feel they needed to constantly hide, and cover up, making it that much easier for catastrophic failure to occur?

    I don’t mean to completely let leaders off the hook for pursuing relationship and integrity in their lives–not at all. But I believe it is also a cultural dysfunction.

  4. Tyler says:

    I’ve been amazed at how either judgmental or grace giving the responses have been. There isn’t really much of a middle ground for people on this. I really latched onto the song Healer when I heard about it months ago and we’ve been doing it at our church for a month now. So this was a shock for me. It was a tough reminder of where my hope must lie. I talked a little about all this on my blog. Great thoughts Eugene.

    http://manofdepravity.com/2008/08/20/healer-has-been-a-lie/

  5. I think God is really tired of these Celebrity Preachers, I call them Gospelpreneurs.

    http://www.reverendlutionary.blogspot.com

  6. Jennifer says:

    Dan Hauge – I’m right there with you.

  7. chenster22 says:

    i can’t imagine the pain and just feeling of betrayal especially if a worship song has touched someone’s heart and influenced them. then in truth, the words behind the song were written with fraudulent intent and intent to deceive.

    these guys are no worse off than the peter popoff selling miracle manna and don stewart with his miracle handkerchief on late late tv infomercials. except, popoff and stewart are more blatant with their deception.

  8. Ryan says:

    I’m with Jennifer in agreeing with Dan Hauge’s comments. It is difficult to manage the high expectations and pressures that come from being a “public” (I like this better than celebrity) Christian leader. I’m sure there were many points along the way for both Bentley and Guglielmucci when they could have stopped this behavior. I also think there were probably those around them that knew but maybe rationalized not stepping in for the sake of the “greater good” they thought was happening. It’s sad news.
    I’m about as far from a “public” Christian as you can get, but some good advice I received as a pastor was to intentionally give 3 people in my life “walk-in privileges” – i.e. your spouse and 2 other trusted friends have the right to stop you in whatever you’re doing and challenge your decision making / actions. Of course you have your normal groups of leaders and boards, etc. around you. But your commitment is to take their advice very seriously and recognize why you’ve given them this privilege – they know you and care about you and what you’re doing and they wouldn’t be exercising this “walk-in” privilege if they didn’t think it was neccessary. It’s tough on the ego to do this kind of thing sometimes, but I think it’s important.

  9. […] turned worship, and again, the temptation of being a christian celebrity (see Pastor Eugene’s post here, where i found out about this). while i myself never heard the song before today, my heart […]

  10. Jeff Lam says:

    i think these stories remind us that one’s gifting is no reflection of their character. individuals who are gifted musicians, speakers, or leaders are celebrated in the church, but it’s important to recognize we can’t make assumptions about their relationship with god based on their gifts (no matter how great they may be).

    i’m personally not as bothered by the worship song controversy. there aren’t many worship songs out there that came from a totally pure heart who’s only interest was in worshipping god. we’d probably be shocked to find out how many of our favorite songs were written by someone who had at least some interest in their own fame and celebrity. the song “healer” emerged from a sinful heart, like all the other worship songs out there. and like all the other worship songs out there, healer will probably continue to be a great source of encouragement to a lot of people despite its shady origins.

  11. Luckily the wonderful and miraculous Florida Outpouring wasn’t dependent upon Todd Bentley, but it’s on God!! The show still goes on. God is not stopped. Don’t let this tragic event stop you from receiving what God has for you from the Florida Outpouring.

    I feel for his wife, though. That must be absolutely horrible.

    Anybody up for a glass of forgiveness, shaken- not stirred?

  12. eugenecho says:

    @dan/jennifer: but how do you guys know that was the issue with the two respective leaders mentioned on the blog?

    my thoughts are initially much more simple: temptations are real and have great force and lure. we’ve seen this not only with religious leaders but simply people as they emerge in power and popularity.

    as for the culture of expectations, i think it’s too easy to react to the other pendulum. as i read the scriptures, God calls individuals or groups of people to lead. they are not perfect but they are anointed, called, gifted, burdened, or whatever to do certain tasks. i think it’s reasonable to have leaders both lead as visible leaders AND be in community and partnership.

  13. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    Hmmm…good question. I dont have any special knowledge of what either of those situation involve. I actually know very little about either of them. I’m just trying to say that for me, the key to safeguarding your heart comes through allowing a small handful of other people to have intimate access to what is going on in your head/heart. Some people take the other point of view and say that the key to protecting your heart is to put up high walls and not let the wrong people in, or be in the wrong situation, etc. I cant speak for anyone else, but for me that kind of mentality has been a soul-killer in the past. I wasnt protecting my heart behind defenses, I was entombing it. But I recognize things might be different for other people.

  14. paul says:

    Idolatry is the subject of the second of the ten commanments andf attracts a three generational curse to it.
    The story Micheal shows the extent to which image- is own and those he was addicted to- built into idolatry which the current church basing itself upon the technology of image projection is unwilling and unable to dismanatle.
    If St Paul were alive today he would be in an American detention facility as his brillance lay in so challanging and undermining the religious and civil establishment of his day so that they had no choice but to lock him up. (Paul had an Arab gospel) Like wise one of the greatest apostles of the 20th century the late Nee Duo Sheng (Watchman Nee) spent the last 25 years of his life in jail.
    My point is that for revival to occur in the church we do not need to have our greatest saints or apostles out in the public eye rather a much deeper work takes place.
    Jonah began his ministry in the midst of the depths yet when he came to the heathern nation God had prepared the way so that a truely massive revival took place.

    Saint Peter named in the bible as the foundation of the church had this to say “humble yourselves under God’s mighty hand and in his own good time he will lift you up”
    If these two Todd and Micheal do genuinely have gifts and calling which the church needs then in utter obscurity and locked away God is quite able to do his work for his glory. I think of one of the saints of the 1830s who sermons are still studied with intense interest as the issues he raised especially in respect of the humanity of Jesus await some sort of response. Edward Irving cast out of his pulpit saw first his children die of poverty and cold then his wife before he was dead before the age of 35.
    One of the great families of this nation of New Zealand the Fountain family are all descendants of one child born to a missionary who on joining William Carey in India died.

    So lets set our hearts to quit the idolatry and to in deep humility seek the way which will produce the greatest glory for God who says “I share my glory with no man”

  15. eugenecho says:

    @jeff lam: i’m not sure jeff. i think it’s unfair and harsh to judge the motivation of those who write hymns and worship songs. and while seeking fame and celebrity is wrong, i don’t see anything wrong with someone that brings their story into writing a song.

    as for healer, i suspect that it can still be used to honor Christ but i think there will be a significant impact. for example, how can you lead that song in a church w/o at least explaining the it’s story – the origin and pastor g’s deception.

    what if amazing grace’s author – newton – really never repented and continued in his slave trading days? i dont’ know about you but i couldn’t and wouldn’t sing it.

  16. Dan Hauge says:

    Eugene,

    Certainly I don’t know the specific situations of the two individuals in question. And I would definitely affirm that temptations to lie, or cheat on one’s spouse, are temptations that all people are subject to–not just those in high positions. So it would be over-simplifying for me to just say ‘leadership in high position is itself the problem’.

    However, I continue to think that there are elements in our church culture, and how we understand leadership, that make these kinds of high pofile ‘falls’ even easier to fall into. First, we 1) invest too much importance and status in a single, charismatic leader-figure, and this therefore 2) has the effect of isolating that person from equal-power, mutually accountable relationships which are so important in helping each of us live lives of integrity. And when I speak of these relationships of accountability, I’m not just talking about having someone who will confront you on how much you’ve been sinning (although that can be important, in cases). I’m talking about having people who know you and know your weaknesses and desires, your places of loneliness, where you need support and rest and encouragement as well as accountability and critique and confrontation. Maybe these people can’t be congregants, but if they aren’t found on our specific staffs then they need to be found somewhere. (And I’d argue that it’s important that not all of that burden fall upon the leader’s spouse.) Actually, too few of us have good relationships of this quality, anyway; but there are elements of the ‘pastor’ role which make this especially difficult.

    Are certain individuals called and gifted to lead and oversee congregations? Yes. Is it necessary for communities to recognize those people in their positions and offer respect and trust? Yes. Are leaders called to be examples in their faith and conduct? Yes. But does that necessarily mean that there needs to be a singular leader with the vast majority of status and acknowledgement in a community? I’m not so sure. Do leaders need honest fellowship with people in relationships that have some level of equal power? I’m convinced of it. Is it easy for pastors and leaders to find those relationships? I believe not–in my own (limited) experience of different ministries and churches I think it’s pretty rare. Should we perhaps re-think some of our church leadership structures, and perhaps repent of some of our need for pastors to be ‘super people’, in order to make these relationships more the norm than the exception? That’s what I’m arguing.

    I agree that I cannot say that this issue is the central cause for ministers falling. Spiritual warfare, normal sin temptation, the lure of power, good old-fashioned ego, those are all part of the mix. But while I totally affirm the need for leadership, I still think the way that our culture does leadership is an issue that needs further discussion.

  17. Dennis says:

    The Guglielucchi situation is very disturbing and as news continues to come out, it just gets worse.

    He lied. Okay, so people lie but he died about dying of a terminal illness. He performed songs wearing tubes up his nose on stage. That’s downright scary. Donations were given to his family in lieu of his terminal illness. The guy was addicted to pornography for the past 16 years – all while leading one of the larger youth churches in Australia.

    If the church gets a black idea because of this scandal, it’s well deserved.

  18. RK says:

    I’m sad for both of these men and those they impact. I hope that we can pray for these men and those affected by their actions; If I ever publically screwed up like that, I’d hope that believers would pray for my redemption and offer grace and forgiveness.

  19. Jaded says:

    If this was a politician, they’d be kicked out of government.
    If it was you or me, we’d be in jail serving time for fraud.
    We’re not talking small change here, it’s a LOT of money. Why do we have the law if not to serve justice? His father has offered to refund money IF people ask for it back and donate it to charity. Which charity is this and isn’t the church supposed to help people instead of pastors lining their own pockets and vying for a seat in government?
    These people are in a business of making money for themselves and using God’s name as their cover. Perhaps this might open peoples eyes and take a good look at their ‘fleecers’ who tend their flocks.

  20. Pat McCoy says:

    My heart grieves for all who are affected by the Guglielmucci incident. We have to remember always that we are in a battle and the enemy is in our camp. I am not referring to Mike Guglielmucci as the enemy – but Satan and his band of demons. My
    personal belief is that when Mike Guglielmucci started looking at porn at the age of 12 he invited in the demonic and all the mysterious illnesses that came on at that age testify to that fact. If Satan can take down future leaders at an early age look what a tremendous blow he can have on the church. We will be seeing a lot more of this in the
    church. Let’s continue to pray for our spiritual leaders they really need it.

  21. Maz says:

    Lets remember the patience, tolerence, forgiveness and Grace of Jesus. In addition to this, we should remember to pray for our leaders, always….

  22. eugenecho says:

    dan: i agree with everything that you say. no one is above accountability and integrity. no one. no one must lead in isolation. and i agree that people – even if it’s a small group – need to have access to the heart and mind of leaders. and i know you weren’t saying this but i often find people using these instances to instigate the reaction to depart from a theology of leadership altogether. that’s what i conpletely disagree with. at times, i find this very frustrating amongst younger and/or emerging churches.

    leadership is so important and critical…and by this, i am speaking of both the task of leading and leading a church community so that they’re the ones doing ministry.

    when we speak about ‘church culture’ – the thing that concerns me the most isn’t so much the issue of expectations but the one where people aren’t supposed to question leaders. i admit, as a leader, it does get frustrating – especially when the same question is asked but i agree that there has to be a culture where people must feel free to ask questions – even the hard ones.

  23. Dennis says:

    From: http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24232365-5006787,00.html

    THE father of disgraced pastor Michael Guglielmucci has revealed his son has been addicted to pornography since the age of 12.

    Danny Guglielmucci – whose high-profile preacher son last week week admitted his two-year battle with cancer was fake – said the “severe addiction to pornography” was part of a bizarre double life his son had been leading.

    Mr Guglielmucci, who established Edge Church International, an Assemblies of God church in Adelaide, said Melbourne-based Michael had made a full confession to his family about his past, including revelations about the 16-year porn obsession and the lies over his supposed battle with terminal illness.

    In an exclusive interview with Adelaide’s Sunday Mail this week, Mr Guglielmucci also revealed:

    HIS son has been suffering “mystery illnesses” since the age of 12.

    DOCTORS gave his parents the option of admitting him to a psychiatric ward for assessment as a child over the ongoing “illnesses”, but they refused.

    THE family’s “absolute shock” at discovering Michael was not terminally ill.

    Mr Guglielmucci said he and wife Sharonne – who founded Edge Church International with him – were struggling to comprehend what their son had done.

    They are expected to address the church’s Adelaide congregation today to explain his actions.

    “When (Michael) rang me last Tuesday, I was on my way to New Zealand,” Mr Guglielmucci said.

    “He said, ‘Dad you’ve got to come and see me’.

    “I said to my wife, ‘Maybe the doctors have told him he’s only got a few weeks to live’.

    “So we cancelled everything and jumped on the plane and went to see him in Melbourne, and that’s when he told us the story.

    “We were just in absolute shock and we still are. We haven’t had time to get our head around it. He said, ‘I don’t have cancer. I’ve had two lives that I’ve lived’.

    “His wife (Amanda), who has been with him for seven years, found out the day before we did and she’s had no idea.

    “Michael has had a severe addiction to pornography. The addiction to pornography started when he was 12.

    “It’s horrendous because we don’t have that sort of stuff around. He was raised in a Christian home; we’ve never brought that stuff into our home.”

    Michael Guglielmucci was one of Australia’s highest-profile Christian preachers, inspiring hundreds of thousands around the world as he performed his hit song Healer with an oxygen tube in his nose.

    He was a pastor with Planetshakers, a Christian youth movement that began in Adelaide and has grown into an international ministry.

    But that all came crashing down this week when his deception became public.

    Mr Guglielmucci said his son finally confessed after the guilt of his lies and addiction became overwhelming.

    “He lived the two lives and he would get sick as a result of the guilt,” he said.

    “He was feeling like he was letting God down, letting his family down, his church, his friends.

    “He’s been living this for so long, feeling like he’s had these two lives and now he’s the one that’s come out in the open. He confessed it, he didn’t get caught.

    “To deal with the guilt he would pour himself into doing good work. He’s touched the lives of young people all over the world. Now they are all affected by this.

    “He hasn’t done this for any reasons that have been portrayed that he’s a fraud.

    “It was either keep pretending or come out with the truth and tell everything. He’s come out with everything but now we’ve got the consequences of it all.

    “We have to accept it. We’re hoping to share with our congregation how it all started and how it got where it is.

    “We understand people’s anger, we understand their questioning.

    “There’s so many questions.

    “An addiction like this is not going to be fixed overnight. You can’t have a 16-year problem and fix it in a week.”

    Mr Guglielmucci said his son was undergoing psychiatric assessment with Adelaide doctors.

    “They have said to me that he is very ill. They are assessing where reality stopped and fantasy kicked in and what’s caused all this,” he said.

    “The doctor believes that at times Michael was totally convinced that he had this sickness.”

    Mr Guglielmucci said his son had a long history of “mystery illnesses”, starting in childhood.

    “When he was about 12 he did vomit all the time, he’d get really really sick,” he said.

    “He was in the Adelaide Children’s Hospital for seven weeks at one stage; he didn’t eat and we thought we were going to lose him.

    “They took out his appendix, thinking that it might be that, but they realised that it wasn’t.

    “They gave us the option of putting him in a psychiatric ward to see if there was something psychological but we felt uncomfortable with that at the time.

    “We signed him out from hospital and then he would go a few months and then he would get sick again.

    “We’d always take him to hospital; we’d always do the proper thing but they couldn’t get to the bottom of it until now.”

    Mr Guglielmucci said he and his wife were in “absolute shock” to discover their son was not terminally ill.

    “We have watched our son go through what we thought was cancer,” he said.

    “My wife and I, over the past two years, have watched him vomit in buckets, having nosebleeds, and even his hair fell out in clumps at one stage.

    “Every time we saw him, we saw symptoms. He stayed with us for a while where we had to put a special air-conditioner in one of the rooms because he would heat up so much in the middle of winter.

    “He had this cold air-conditioner blowing on him to try to keep the heat down. As a professional minister I’ve stood in front of my congregation and cried and said to pray for my son.

    “I’ve travelled the world asking people to pray for him. Can you imagine what a horrible thing it would be if I was playing a game?

    “To be honest, I ask myself as a father, ‘What did I miss, what did I not do? What could I have done better?’ ”

    Mr Guglielmucci said Michael’s wife was “getting really good counselling”.

    “She’s not made any decision at this point,” he said.

    “It’s happened so quickly. There’s so many questions.”

  24. Andrew (AUS) says:

    What can we learn? I’m learning to live with the tension there is between grace and judgement, that it might just be the right thing to extend both grace – when things like this happen – but be wise enough to understand that it is absoultely wrong and there are consequences for sin. I particularly will pray for those who feel the deep hurt of this wrong/hoax AND for Mike G. I pray that ALL will receive/extend grace and work through the pain (deserved and undeserved) and as Eugene put it to “…place our faith ultimately on the person of Jesus, the cross of Christ, and the substantive doctrine that is rooted in the narrative of God and the relevation of Christ through Scriptures.”

  25. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    I am with you on the need for a theology of leadeship…I just really think it should include some space for leaders to be just normal people who allow other normal people intimate access into their lives. Same goes for non-leaders. Maybe its just me, but I am fairly suspicious of any Christian leader who doesnt have anyone other than their spouse as a close friend.

  26. Dennis says:

    @Andrew: Well said.

  27. Col says:

    Thanks for a blog that isn’t downright condemnation to these two guys, I have read some hate filled stuff and it saddens me to see other Christians write about a brother in Christ like that. They have done wrong and will suffer the consequences. Hate is not the answer

  28. emc says:

    hi., (I am youth wker w/ cert iv counseling)

    THis is a great tool Called SID’s, to test where your at;

    Secret
    Illegitimate
    Desires

    Steps 1-4, each one opens doors, which open another!

    1. Fear of exposure of your SID, or a reaction to someone else exposing your SID causes you to become offended, high anxiety, stress, guilt, conviction. (A good time to seek God and others’, help and forgiveness.)

    2. A pattern of self comfort, where you feel that you must cover up your SID and or justify your actions with reasons for continuing the cover up so that pain in ones life can be escaped, ignored or might go away. (God’s love is not like our love, His ways not like ours., He is not domesticated w/ formula’s, magic or work overnight miracles, He works with a community and washes us with the Word of truth).

    3. Unrestrained desire is given permission to continue and is excused. Increased comfort is required at a higher level or threshold, to be able to sustain over-riding ones pain, which compounds. Self harm, hidden habitual sin, self cutting, high risk patterns can begin to evidence themselves. (Personal accountability to family and friends, youth workers, counselors and pastors are all good options and we are never meant to walk alone).

    4. The level of energy in, restraining oneself or in comforting oneself has become unbearable and permits a spirit in ones inner soul to give up trying or can become sick. Death may seem the only option or at least the need to comfort oneself to death. In a surreal fantasy world where we are self deceived, the level of habitual addiction becomes the controller. (Suicide can be more than physical… How many give up on relationships? God will always hold out His arms in forgiveness and gives tools and people to help in redemption. Knowing there is hope for a relationship that comes from outside of oneself, will bring renewal.)

  29. One of the main reasons people are disenfranchised with Christianity is because they foolishly put their trust in the preacher – or increasingly the celebrity preacher and not God. Man will always let you down, God won’t.

    Billy Graham always warned about the pitfalls of men in ministry, he said the greatest enemies were the Gold, the Girls and the Glory. How many TV evangelists have fallen through inappropriate relationships, money and publicity?

    We should always remember that these men (and women) are simply conduits. It makes me shudder to see Benny Hinn sitting on a gold throne talking to the church asking them to send money in. Inappropriate praise is sometimes foisted on preachers to elevate themselves.

    Jesus remained humble, would spend time with those others would not wish to be involved in and warned of the evils of money.

    When you think about it, humility and integrity are the easiest things to hear and the hardest lessons to learn.

    Paul Nicholls
    Birmingham, England.

  30. Jennifer says:

    Paul,

    I know this isnt really the topic….

    Even though I have much respect for Billy Graham, and think he has served God well….you cant get much more offensive to women than to say that one of the biggest enemies of the gospel is “the girls.”

    “Girls” are not an enemey to the gospel – his own (normal) struggle with lust may have been. He is a man from a different time, so this isnt a huge deal, but I dont think its any longer acceptable to blame one’s struggle on a whole other group of people that way. His statements about refusing to even ride in an elevator or a car with a woman are along the same lines…it makes women seem sooo dangerous. Maybe there was a day when that was okay, but today, its just offensive.

  31. Jennifer says:

    Paul,

    I should have added…if a man really feels that he would not be able to control himself on a 30-second elevator ride, or in a car with a woman, then by all means he should take measure to protect himself and the women aroudn him. But I never got the sense that is what Graham (or those who copy his policy) are saying. The problem isnt their’s it’s the woman who is dangerous – or, it’s the “prectption” which is a polite way to say that he thinks the woman is too dangerous.

  32. eugenecho says:

    Jennifer:

    Clearly, that’s not what Graham was saying. Sometimes, we dig ourselves a hole when we go for those cool alliterations.

    Girls clearly aren’t the enemy. Thanks for making that loudly clear.

    Lust, however, is an issue and hearts must be safeguarded.

  33. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    Yes, I hear you.

    I agree that is not what Graham was saying. But that doenst change the reality that what he said has the effect of subtly telling women they are dangerous, and telling men women are dangerous. I dont think Graham’s intent was wrong. I really hold him innocent. He is a man from a different era. But it’s time to move past the era when subtle sexism is okay.

    I know plenty of good people would disagree with me.

  34. Mark Driscoll has a practice that I think is highly commendable when it comes to this issue. Whenever he travels out of town or overseas and his wife is not able to come, he takes a trusted male assistant with him. He is never in hotel room alone after a long day of conference speaking or whatever it is. Although this is obviously just one step to take in a much larger picture, I think it is brilliant. We need more Christian leaders with this kind of resolve not to fall into sin.

  35. eugenecho says:

    Andrew,
    And I think that’s great but the message we have to convey is that it’s not because WOMEN are dangerous but the truth is that Temptation is an issue for Mark and that he values being above reproach. I don’t see that as a big deal and I commend him for his honesty and that commitment to being above reproach.

    Hope that makes sense and no one spreads rumors that I’m accusing Mark of anything.

  36. Jennifer says:

    Eugene,

    I think that is a great nuance. I totally respect a man who says, “I would struggle too much with temptation if I was traveling with a woman.” That is a world apart from saying, “Traveling with a woman alone is unwise/unsafe” or something like that. I can always respect someone who protects thier own vulnerabilities without placing blame on someone else.

  37. kitadiva says:

    Jennifer,
    I went to your site because your response (at the top) really did make me think about my own life and how I live. Sometimes, unintentionally we touch other people just by telling our truth. Thanks for sharing yours. I think that what you and Dan stated is truly valid for leaders and those who want to stop being so cut off from the world.

  38. Jennifer says:

    Kit – many thanks!🙂

  39. Paul says:

    Now the media say he is a porn addict – been one since he was 12. We all are exposed to porn and most of us enjoy it occasionally. Problem starts when we are made to feel guilty about it. Wasn’t it Mike’s fundamentalist parents who made him feel guilty when he was just growing up and his sexuality was budding? I think the whole conservative pseudoChristian culture of “charismatic” or “evangelical” megachurches is to blame. They try to create a feeling of guilt in us so that they have power over us and can manipulate us. Anyone still feeling like giving collection money? Yes, Mike is a guilty fraudster, but so is most of Christianity. I don’t think they would even allow Jesus to join them!

  40. Greg says:

    Let the one of us who is not guilty of sin cast the first stone. This is tragic news and is the
    work of the evil one. Attention must be focused on how to help Mike restore his relationship with the Lord; on how to help those who have been hurt by his deception find wholeness in Jesus; and how to let God bring glory through this human failure. It does not always make sense, but we can be assured that while not all things are good (and this certainly is not) that ALL things (even this) can work together for good. May we all pray this to be the result.

  41. j says:

    going through the same stuff at my old church and thus our departure. pastor cheated on his wife with mutiple women and the last woman, he assulted her to the point where she’s got a broken rib….certanly, i can not judge him since i am a sinner….i have nothign to forgive because my trust was with God and not with a pastor, who is a human after all. the reason for my departure….needed to shield my kids from that kind of environment where church is divided to pro-paster & anti-pastor. infact, the latest i heard was that the pastor hired personal security, waited at the gate before the sunday service….directed who is allowed to enter the church parameter or not…..he has taken the church as if it is his own financial property…..lessons learned: store your wealth up in heaven where it will be safe and secure. should not put your trust/faith on any human but instead lay all your sorrow/burden upon Jesus. what i hear, pastor eugene is a damn good pastor but for the congregation who are reading this blog….please set a side extra prayer session for him to have strength / wisdom/ faith to endure through all temptations that this world will bring. Pastors can be more vulneralble than you and I…..

    Eugene…..pray that God will walk with you and lift you up each and every second of your life.

  42. […] saddened to hear the news. the devastation he, his parents, his wife + family must feel. p.e. has a great entry about this on his blog and the need to allow others into our lives so there is accountability and transparency in our […]

  43. Mike says:

    Insanity, the word pastor is mentioned once in the Bible as a gifting and we’ve turned him into a CEO/king/celibrity. He’s about as special,or less, than the spirit filled janitor, but flesh filled men want to be lead by men as Isreal desired. This institutional ritualistic fraud called the church is deceiving many unbelievers into thinking they are saved but they are not and they fill the “churches”.

  44. This really is so unfortunate. I think we sometimes overlook the fact that these brothers and sisters who fail publicly like this are human beings who are obviously hurting and in need of our love and prayers. After the righteous indignation subsides we must ask ourselves what it was that brought this person to this place of shame? Often, it really is a cry for help. Rather than writing them off or maintaining how we knew it all along we should be looking for ways to reach and restore them. Let’s not forget Paul’s admonishment to the Corinthian church to restore the fallen brother and not to continue to ostracize him, making his shame and sin unbearable. Godly sorrow leads to repentance….

    May God restore these men in His grace and forgiveness!

    http://religiousmisc.blogspot.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

My Instagram

Father - daughters bonding (and freezing) time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tickets. Now, go Hawks. Pound the Panthers. The family that karaokes together stays together. #ChoFamilyKPopFamily Family time in one of my favorite cities in the world - especially when the exchange rate is so favorable. Thank you, Vancouver, for being such a great refuge for our souls for the past 20 years. #QuestVancouver It's the day after...that day.
Be grateful. Again.
We woke up. We're alive.
Breathing. Dreaming.
Pursuing. Embodying. Loving.

It's never that perfect or easy but that we get to try to do these things is reason enough to be grateful to the One who gives us life.

Yes. Be grateful.
That you, Jesus.
#PreachingToMyself This is what real life looks like after a crazy couple weeks. Grateful for this woman. I love her. She's gonna scream at me for posting this pic. #ThoseSocksThough Grateful for the opportunity to encourage 2500 youth leaders & pastors at the @youthspecialties conference in Cincinnati, Ohio. Had prayed for wisdom to encourage leaders and courage to navigate a word for leaders post election about empathy and compassion for the unseen, marginalized, and those experiencing real fear.

Also, what a joy to have my church's youth pastor, @cobycagle, also here teaching. Some years ago, I was a youth pastor for several years in California, Korea, NY, and NJ. They were meaningful years but filled with challenges and loneliness. Sometimes, I felt unseen and insignificant - in comparison to "real" adult ministry. As a lead pastor now, I want to make sure I don't make those mistakes of overlooking our youth and children's ministry and their volunteers and staff. 
Pastor Coby, Pastor Katey, Pam, Jalle, and Jasmin: We see you. We appreciate you. We are grateful for your presence and leadership at Quest and beyond. Thank you and all of our amazing volunteers

my tweets

  • This is huge. Your prayers & support made this possible: @OneDaysWages recently celebrated our 100th partnership! - youtube.com/watch?v=O7THlm… || 4 hours ago
  • Breathe. Show yourself some grace. We can't do everything for everyone in every situation. Do what you can and do it with a cheerful heart. || 7 hours ago
  • RT @LizVerHage: Advent always reminds me of Mary's YES, the powerful voice of a faithful girl who chose trust, hope & life over fear. Where… || 15 hours ago
  • RT @EugeneCho: We wait for Christ to return to restore all things but while we wait, we join and partner with God to work towards that rest… || 1 day ago
  • Father/daughters bonding time at the Seahawks game. Grateful to the Panthers organization for the tix. Now, go Hawk… twitter.com/i/web/status/8… || 3 days ago
  • "Genuine hope is not blind optimism. It is hope with open eyes, which sees the suffering and yet believes in the future." ~ Jürgen Moltmann || 3 days ago

JOIN ME ON FACEBOOK

advertisements

Blog Stats

  • 3,434,777 hits