Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Reason # 12,345 Why We Should Be Skeptical

Pastor Michael Guglielmucci spun gospel of lies

I know, another tangent. However, we had a visiting gospel singer and his wife at church on Sunday. The husband shared an amazing story of how his brother in law had terminal cancer and was in a coma. He then went to his room and prayed over him, sang a song and the next day he was healed and sitting up.

I'm very skeptical of stories like this because most of them are lies or deep embellishments. I wanted to confront the singer after church, for more details, however, too many people were in line to hear more of his amazing stories.

But this news story below is another reason we SHOULD be doubtful over these amazing stories.


A pastor who claimed terminal cancer inspired him to write a hit evangelical pop song has been exposed as a fraud.

Michael Guglielmucci told worshippers, friends and his own family that he was likely to die from the disease.

He claimed his hit song "Healer", which was included on mega-church Hillsong's latest album, came to him as a "gift from God" on the day the diagnosis was revealed.

It propelled Mr Guglielmucci, formerly a pastor with Melbourne-based church Planetshakers, to the forefront of Australia's Christian youth movement.

But the story was completely made up.
A statement from Australian Christian Churches vice president Alun Davies said Mr

Guglielmucci, now living in Adelaide, had admitted to fabricating his cancer story.
"Representatives of the National Executive for the Australian Christian Churches recently met with Michael Guglielmucci," Mr Davies said.

"At this meeting, he read a statement indicating that his claim to have cancer was untrue.
"His credential with the Australian Christian Churches was immediately suspended."
An abundance of material documenting Mr Guglielmucci's falsified illness is available on the internet.

In one Hillsong video, subtitled in Spanish and posted to YouTube, the pastor described his made-up cancer diagnosis in meticulous detail.

"I went to the hospital expecting to have some tests and got the news that I had cancer, and quite an aggressive form of cancer," he said.

"I walked into my studio at home and for some reason pressed record, which was a good thing ... I just sat at a piano and began to worship.

"I didn't, like, sit down and write the verses and the chorus, I just sang that song from the start to the finish.

"I just realised that God had given me an incredible gift and I knew that was going to be my strength."

A Facebook group entitled "I continue to love and support Michael Guglielmucci" has been set up, with many young Christians calling for the pastor to be forgiven.

But comments attached to YouTube videos have been less kind.

"Should this still be on [here]? Can someone delete it? Mike never had cancer, it's all a lie he made up. It's embarrassing and sad to watch," read one comment.

In an e-mail sent to Hillsong members yesterday, the church's general manager George Aghajanian said the news was even a shock to Mr Guglielmucci's own family.
The suspended pastor was seeking professional help, the e-mail said.

Planetshakers spokesman Darryn Keneally said his church was "devastated by the elaborate hoax".

He said Mr Guglielmucci would make reparations to anyone who gave him money because of his made-up sickness. "There were no fundraisers conducted however when Michael left the church, 18 months ago, a special offering was taken up in honor of his services to the church," he said.

"Planetshakers Church did not ask for any congregational financial support to be given to Michael and we have not given him any financial assistance since.
"We have asked that all money generated from the proceeds of his song Healer be donated to charity."

What his video on You Tube ( http://hk.youtube.com/watch?v=W0v5BFjolHY&feature=related ) then allow yourself to throw up.

Yes there is forgiveness and tremendous grace in Christ . . . but that's no excuse for our non-skeptical behavior over this madness. I'm not trying to throw stones at this one man, but to say, something is wrong with our entire Christian mindset where we keep falling for this crap.

1) We don't understand the depth of the fall.
2) We don't appreciate the influence of the fall on the psyche, both ours and others. The reason is, we don't give our physical brains, emotions etc. the credit they deserve. We spiritualize everything. For example that a man can be so much of a liar. There is such a things as Factitious syndrome that is much more than the simple act of lying (one simple sin), it is a mental illiness (the result of the fall of Adam).


Anonymous said...

hey, i found your blog through a good search. i too was a navigator in college, but it turned into a horrible experience. the nav staff were so controlling of people's decisions. one old guy was discouraging my engagement to another nav guy. do you have any insight into what a spritual leadership is supposed to look like? in the bible, the believer's lives were intertwined heavily (acts 4), and paul commented on all aspects of their lives. Is it biblcal for these nav leaders to be "mentoring" young men's personal decisions?

Anonymous said...

also, i know what you mean about the gnostic dualism in navs. they thought it was wrong to desire worldly goods, like marriage, because a one was supposed to be satisfied completely with jesus alone. there are so many things wrong with the navs i don't know where to start. since college, i totally cut off all contact with them because they are all neurotic nuts.

MJ said...

I try to give the Navs the benefit of the doubt as I have not been around them since about 95. I visited the headquarters for a week. I have to say, things looked very different to me there than they had while I was in college.

In college we saw Glen Erie as Mecca. All the staff there, we considered “very godly” and really, almost infallible.

I went back to Glen Erie in 95, to deal with our terrible missionary experience (we cam back from the field in 90, serving with the Navs). This time, I didn’t see people that I thought could walk on water. This time, I saw a lot of people playing psychological games, covering it up with a fa├žade of Godliness. In one day, I had three different (high up) staff tell amazing stories of what God had done. But each story was really a veiled bragging of what that staff person had accomplished.

But I have a good friend who is a Nav leader. He is a very good guy and very honest . . . and humble. I could never imagine him using this guilt or spiritual manipulation as the old Navs had with us. However, I don’t know if he is the rare exception or if the whole Navigators have changed.

But, I see the same thing happen even within our church (and especially within other churches). Pastors, or anyone, will want to do something for a very human reason (to make them look good in the eyes of the denomination etc) but they will cover it with “spiritual reasons.” They will say things like, “God has led me to do such and such.” So this is a religious cover. If anyone challenges them, then they are made out to be challenging God. It is a psychological manipulation.