[Editor’s Note: For five years or so, a maelstrom of controversy has been building in reformed protestant circles regarding the protodenomination formerly known as Sovereign Grace Ministries (SGM), headquartered for more than 30 years in Gaithersburg, Maryland, near Washington DC. The organization that once claimed more than 100 affiliate churches and hundreds of affiliated ministers in numerous nations, originally named People of Destiny International (PDI), was founded by C.J. Mahaney and Larry Tomczak and two other lesser-knowns in the 1970s, spinning off the so-called Jesus Movement spawned in California in the late 1960s. Conflicts and strife within the PDI leadership has been recurrent for many years, finally peaking around the mid-1990s with the ouster and disfellowship of Larry Tomczak amid internal accusations of misconduct, mishandling of related matters, and irreconcilable doctrinal/philosophical differences. A continuous current of criticism and allegations of flagrant relational and leadership wrongdoing against Mahaney coursed on for decades before and after the Tomczak debacle, erupting like a volcano in 2011 with formal charges of misconduct and corruption by him being widely disseminated by one of those aforementioned lesser-known, also disfellowshipped, Mahaney associates turned blogger. Some aspects of those revelations received substantial accreditation by a civil lawsuit against SGM, Mahaney, and other named SGM leaders, alleging multiple incidences of sexual misconduct by SGM employees and associates, an organization-wide cover-up conspiracy, hush-money payments and perks, decades-long employment of confessed sex-offenders, and failure to report to authorities multiple known criminal acts of child molestation, as well as aiding and abetting of same, filed in October 2012. The original suit with its several amendments, was eventually dismissed due to expiration of statutes of limitations and jurisdictional technicalities, but it spawned a criminal investigation, subsequent arrest, trial, conviction, and incarceration of a longtime SGM employee in the organization-owned schools who was also a close associate and personal friend of a number of top SGM leaders, including Mahaney. The tentacles of the continuing controversy and conflicts have already reached deep into the Southern Baptist Convention and Reformed Theology realms and has been reported by numerous national media outlets. Knowledgeable, credible sources, however, presage that the expansive imbroglio is far from over and the complete story is yet to be revealed. What we do know with certainty at this time is that ongoing investigations are being conducted, facts are being compiled, books and articles are being written, and more revelations and fallout are forthcoming. SLM will report further developments in this disheartening and troubling matter as they develop and warrant. The following news-release by the Survivor’s Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) urging the leadership of the Together for the Gospel (T4G16) conference conveners to disinvite C.J. Mahaney—one of the original founders of the amalgamation—as a conference speaker, provides a good overview of the ongoing controversy. It is for that reason, and the strong view that all believers should be aware and informed about such matters that we publish it.] Continue reading “SNAP Urges T4G16 Leaders to Dis-Invite C.J. Mahaney” »
Category Archives: Church News
Joshua Harris, the senior pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, this past Sunday announced his plans for stepping down in order to attend seminary. Harris is the son-in-law of the controversy-ensconced founder of the church and the network of churches of which CLC was the mother church for 27 years, C.J. Mahaney. Ten years ago in 2004, Mahaney appointed the then 30-year-old Harris to the top leadership position, seven years into their relationship that began with Harris moving into Mahaney’s basement, being employed as a church intern, accompanying Mahaney as his assistant in his travels as a conference speaker, and culminating with him marrying Mahaney’s daughter. Continue reading “Joshua Harris Abandons CLC Sinking Ship” »
CharismaNews updated its story regarding Ryan Hill, adoptive son of the late Evangelist Steve Hill, who died of cancer in March.
Jeri Hill, wife of Steve and adoptive mother of Ryan, posted on Facebook Monday morning around 9:30 AM:
“Ryan Michael Hill 1987-2014, father & son are together.” In another post Jeri wrote: “My heart is broken to lay him to rest this week near his daddy. To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. II Cor. 5:8” Ryan, age 27, reportedly passed away on the previous Saturday in Orlando, Florida. Strangely, no cause of death has been reported. At the time of his seven weeks premature birth in Argentina, on October 8, 1987, doctors gave the 3 pounds/15 ounce, and 16 inches long baby little chance of surviving more than a few days.
CharismaNews updated their story Tuesday morning with a new posting at 9:40 AM, providing some additional information about Ryan Hill’s brief life.
UPDATED — July 23, 2014 — see update below.
Bishop Anthony Joseph “Tony” Palmer, a South African Bishop with the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches, who earlier this year gained notoriety as the mediator of a meeting between a small cadre of high-profile Charismatic leaders and Catholic Pope Francis, died Sunday, July 20, 2014, from injuries sustained in a motorbike accident in the UK. Surgeons laboring for more than 10 hours were unable to save him from his mortal injuries. Continue reading “South African Bishop Tony Palmer Dead from Motorcycle Accident” »
What George O. Wood Really Thinks About Pentecostals Speaking in Tongues
By George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God
Several decades ago, I visited the Sistine Chapel in Rome. Looking up to Michelangelo’s great fresco of The Last Judgment, I thought to myself, Why is everyone raving about this work of art? It’s very occluded and dark.
What had happened is that over the last four centuries, there have been so many candles burning in the Sistine Chapel that the smoke had gradually put a layer of gray over the painting. So when I saw how dark it was, I wasn’t impressed at all. Now, many years later, it has been restored. All the smudge is gone and the colors are radiant and alive, and it’s as though the painting had just been done yesterday.
That’s what Pentecostalism, in its purist form, tries to do. It tries to erase the smudges on the church for the last 20 centuries and get back to what the early Christians believed and practiced. That is our goal—to get back to biblical, original Christianity.
I have been asked a number of times by national reporters about speaking in tongues. I was talking with a reporter from the New York Times and told him there’s nothing unusual about what Pentecostals are doing today. If you look at the first-century church, all the writers of the New Testament spoke in tongues and the Early Church spoke in tongues. So Pentecostalism, at its roots, is basically a restorationist movement. We believe that we can cut through 20 centuries of church tradition and get back to the original church. It doesn’t mean that we do everything like the original church, but we’re trying to have the same doctrine and experience of the Early Church.
In so many of our American churches today, little emphasis is placed on the Holy Spirit. Those of us in leadership, out of concern over this neglect, urge our pastors and churches to pray and provide opportunities for people to receive Spirit baptism with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. But, we must not stop there.
Pentecostals have always believed and taught that speaking in other tongues is the initial physical evidence.
But it is initial. We must have the initial evidence, but we must also go past the initial to the enduring work of the Spirit. The seventh doctrine of our Statement of Fundamental Truths declares that with the baptism in the Spirit “comes the enduement of power for life and service, the bestowment of the gifts and their uses in the work of the ministry.”
This tenet also states: “With the baptism in the Holy Ghost come such experiences as an overflowing fullness of the Spirit, a deepened reverence for God, an intensified consecration to God and dedication to His work, and a more active love for Christ, for His Word, and for the lost.”
We believe the baptism in the Spirit brings the delight of initially speaking with other tongues, but if we stop there, this Pentecostal experience will have no ongoing fruitfulness. I grew up in the Assemblies of God when it was preached that the baptism of the Spirit is for the empowerment of believers for life and service.
In short, the enduring evidence of the baptism in the Spirit results in our fulfilling Acts 1:8. Evangelism and outreach is enduring evidence of the Spirit’s work. If we are not seeing this evidence—fruitfulness—we’re in trouble.###
This article was originally published on CharismaNews. Republished by permission.
Dr. George O. Wood currently serves as the General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, headquartered in Springfield, MO.
Read more about the Baptism in the Holy Spirit on Spirit Life magazine:
- DUNAMIS! Power From On High!
- The Baptism in the Holy Spirit & How To Receive It
- Why The Baptism In The Holy Spirit
- The Holy Spirit
- How To: Flow In The Gifts Of The Holy Spirit
Click on the arrow below to hear a message from Dr. Lambert guiding listeners through receiving the Baptism in the Holy Spirit now:
The Shattering of Jars of Clay
[Note: This article was modified on 5-2-14 with a link to a follow-up article by the author of this article (see bottom of article), which cites a so-called apology by Dan Haseltine.]
Beginning on Tuesday, April 21st, Dan Haseltine, front-man for the popular Christian band Jars of Clay, took to Twitter to announce his apparent support for same-sex “marriage.” And for the life of him, he can’t figure out a single good reason to oppose it.
It is for reasons like this that we have been sounding the alarm these last 10 years. Continue reading “Michael Brown Answers Jars of Clay Leader’s Pro Gay Marriage Tweets” »
The prominent principal behind the “Basic Life Principles” Seminars, Bill Gothard, amid sexual harassment and predatory charges by a bevy of whistle-blowing women, has been forced to resign from his multimillion dollar a year ministry organization. Some three dozen women, now in their thirties and early forties, allege the 79-year old, never-married, ordained minister of more than five decades, has engaged in a pattern of deviant sexual misconduct against them and other young, some underage, women, going all the way back to the earliest beginnings of Gothard’s ministry in 1961. Continue reading “GOTHARD-GATE: Bill Gothard’s Free-Fall From Grace” »
Editor’s Note: Steve Hill, the evangelist who brought an untold myriad to Christ over decades of ministry, the best part of two of which was after he had decided to give up on the ministry after fulfilling his last scheduled engagement on Father’s Day, June 18, 1995, at Brownsville Assembly of God church in Pensacola, Florida, graduated from his earthly course on March 9th, and matriculated to receive his eternal rewards from his Lord, Master, and Savior, Christ Jesus. Many articles have been scribed already, many more will come. His life and ministry was worthy of all such human tribute. Here we republish two, and provide links to a few others. Thank you, Heavenly Father, for the earthen vessel called Steve Hill, who, though he himself would have strenuously eschewed such platitudes, would well be classified among those the writer characterized as “men of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:38). We thank you and praise your for the Holy Spirit’s saving and sanctifying workings so powerful as to redeem and renew former drug and sin addicts such as our brother, Steve, and empower him with the burning fire that melts men’s hearts, wooing them to the receive the Savior, and may the hot embers left behind by such a firebrand for Christ explode in firestorms of evangelism throughout the world as they are fanned by hurricane-force Winds of the Holy Spirit! Amen! Hallelujah!###
Steve Hill: You Can’t Have It
By Steve Hill
Charisma Editor’s note: Sunday, March 9, Steve finished his race. Oh, to have seen that moment when he saw Jesus for the very first time and heard Him say, “Well done.” He lived every day of his life for that moment. It is truly fitting that we would post this article of his this week as we celebrate his homegoing.
My friend, there is coming a day when you will receive your reward for the work you did here on earth. None of us are aware of the time set for that event, but you can rest assured it is coming, and it is coming quickly. Continue reading “Remembering Evangelist Steve Hill” »
[Editor’s note: In an article posted on Charisma Magazine at 1:30 PM, 25 hours after its original posting reporting David Yonggi Cho’s being found guilty of embezzlement and tax-evasion charges, Charisma Magazine then posted the following article by a pastor claiming to have been present at the trial and being a longtime close friend and adviser to Cho. Bob Rodgers’ article reports details of the sentencing as well as the facts of the case that conflict with Charisma’s original article by Jennifer Leclaire, and places the blame for the embezzlement of church funds and tax-evasion scheme squarely on Cho’s eldest son and some treacherous church elders who essentially duped the elder Cho into signing some papers without comprehending their contents or import that were the paperwork for a $12-Million fraudulent stock scheme using church monies. Spirit Life Magazine has been unable at the time of this posting to independently verify any of Bob Rodgers’ version of the story, but will report them if and when we are able to do so. In the meantime, Rodgers’ version of the facts in the case, in our view, even if true, do not change much the thrust of the cautionary tale represented in the matter and the matters we wrote about in our article. Those issues remain unchanged. Moreover, Rodgers’ article only brings up another whole set of issues relative to other character, heart, spiritual, fathering, and leadership questions and issues on the part of Pastor Cho. “To whom much is given, much is required,” “Let not many of you become teachers (church leaders) for in such you incur a stricter judgment,” and are two admonitions from Scripture that come to mind, along with another that says that an overseer “must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?) [1 Tim. 3:4-5]. One is also reminded of the fathering failure of Eli, the High Priest, and how his sons misused their priestly power to rape and mistreat women and to engage in a form of embezzlement and extortion. It seems evident that the “iniquity (perversion) of the father” produced a harvest of evil crop that manifested in his corrupt adult sons. God punished them all, including Eli himself, with untimely death for their wickedness. When one has been vaunted and almost beatified as “the world’s greatest pastor,” based primarily on the fact that the church he leads has the most members of any church in the world, unfortunately, such claims to “greatness” and de facto apotheosis only subject (unfairly and unreasonably) the principal to greater scrutiny, higher standards of conduct and spirituality, and expectations from others. Regardless, having posted our original article concerning the matter, we felt obliged in all fairness to post Bob Rodgers’ article published by Charisma Magazine as well. However, over the years of scandal after scandal emerging out of the Pentecostal/Charismatic realm, most inveterate observers can almost predict in advance that whenever an exalted leader is involved in some scandal that becomes news, some close friend or sycophant of the principal will write some article refuting all the allegations and insist it was all a misunderstanding or someone’s vendetta or a kangaroo trial and miscarriage of justice, and their good-ole boy friend is really the reincarnation of St. Francis of Assisi. We’re all pretty much used to that by now, and so Mr. Rodgers’ claims that it’s all just a big mistake and it’s really just another wonderful day in the neighborhood, doesn’t hold much water with us at this point. Regardless of the details, where there’s smoke, there’s usually some sort of fire somewhere, which means there’s some sort of wrong doing here somewhere, wherever and whatever it might be. While it may often be true that, as the saying goes, “the devil’s in the details,” sometimes in matters of the Kingdom God’s adjudication and judgment is in a matter in which the details are muddled, unclear, or not as reported. We think this is one of those cases.]
Setting the Record Straight on David Yonggi Cho
By Dr. Bob Rodgers, Sr.
David Yonggi Cho, pastor of Yoido Full Gospel Church in Seoul, South Korea, has been a personal friend of our family for more than 40 years. He has stayed in our home, and my father and I have served on his church growth board for a combined 38 years. Presently, I serve as president of Church Growth International of the Americas. Continue reading “David Yonngi Cho Case, Post Facto” »
According to published reports, David Yonngi Cho, 78, pastor of the world’s largest Pentecostal/Charismatic church, Yoido Full Gospel Church in South Korea, was convicted last week of embezzlement and tax-evasion, and sentenced to three years in prison, though that part of his punishment was suspended. Cho founded the church that now boasts more than 1 million members, in 1958, and a short time afterward affiliated the church with the Assemblies of God Pentecostal denomination.
Reportedly, the crux of the case was a 2002 purchase of 250,000 shares of publicly traded stock in the name of his oldest son, Cho Hee-jun, at an inflated price of four times their market value. The elder Cho, who many years ago changed his name to Paul Yonggi and then years after that to David, according to the charges of which he was convicted, authorized the purchase using church funds, though defense attorneys claimed and apparently persuaded the judge that he was unaware of what he was signing when the large stack of paperwork for the purchase was presented to him in 2002 by Hee-Jun accompanied by a small number of then church elders allied with him in the illegal scheme.(1)
Yonhap News Agency reported that in the sentencing phase, the judge expressed his conviction that in view of his status in society, Cho’s punishment for his breach of the public trust should be severe, but that his positive contributions to society of service as pastor of the mega-church for so many decades warranted mitigation with respect to punishment, and based on that view was levying a lighter sentence for the tax evasion offense than what could have been levied under South Korean law. Cho was also ordered by the judge to pay approximately $4.6 million in fines as part of the adjudication of the case. Cho Hee-jun was also sentenced to three years in prison for his part in the illegal scheme. Continue reading “David Yonngi Cho Found Guilty of Embezzlement and Tax-Evasion” »
Editor’s note: We will be posting more about this as soon as we can, but here’s the video message from Pope Francis’ of the Roman Catholic Church to the Charismatic/Evangelical church, expressing his “yearning” to bridge nearly two millennia of division and separation and for the worldwide Body of Christ to become “one” as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane. The video message was played at a recent conference hosted by Kenneth Copeland. First is the Pope’s message, below it is the conference video in which Anglican Episcopal Bishop Tony Palmer, who recorded the message on his I-Phone at the request of the Pope during a visit in which he was summoned to the Vatican by the Pope himself via phone call the Pope initiated. The Pope and Bishop Palmer became friends eight years ago, and the Bishop considered the newly elected Pope to be one of three “fathers in the Lord” and mentors. In Bishop Palmer’s remarks he references the signing of an agreement in 1999 by the Roman Catholic Church and a Lutheran synod concurring on a settlement of the main point of disagreement behind the 1517 split and beginnings of the Protestant churches spearheaded by Martin Luther, i.e., justification by faith in Christ’s works alone (Luther’s position) and justification by works (Roman Catholic Church’s position).
It is in our desire to be a conduit of information that Spirit Life Magazine has posted these videos, not to endorse any of the principals or ministries involved, neither Charismaticism or Catholicism; or as an implicit statement of any kind. At this time, we have made no conclusions ourselves regarding the implications of the substance of either video, though we have taken at face value and have no reason to doubt the sincerity of Pope Francis’ expressed “yearning” for unity with the entire Body of Christ, albeit, at the same time we fully understand that sincerity is not the determining factor of rightness or righteousness. We realize that some major ministries that we respect highly have already been outspoken about their determination that Pope Francis is the “last pope” of the one-world, one-church regime of the antichrist. We can fully understand the reasons behind those conclusions, based on eschatalogical theories, some widely accepted, some not. However, that is the problem with the subject of eschatalogy, it, maybe like no other theological discipline or area of study is comprised of a lot of hypothesis that no one can really define as the absolute, irrefutable, unchallengeable TRUTH! Jesus said not even the Son (talking about Himself) knows that “times and epochs” set by the Father, so it is prudent to tread lightly when dealing with the subject of the end-times, and it is quite possible that what God will do, in the end, will not be according to ANY of the plethora of the extant eschatological theories. Continue reading “Pope Francis’ Video Message to Charismatics & Evangelicals” »
By Janet Boynes
Donnie McClurkin was invited to perform at the 50th anniversary of the civil rights movement in Washington, D.C. This event was a government-sponsored concert with other singers at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Saturday evening. But after the gay rights activists got wind of his participation, the fight was on to disinvite the Grammy Award-winning singer from this amazing event. Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s office asked him not to attend the concert where he was considered a headliner.
Why? Because gospel singer Donnie McClurkin has said God delivered him from “the curse” of homosexuality. Continue reading “Ex-Homosexual Donnie McClurkin Under Attack by Gay Activists” »
In an age dominated by mass media, lightning-quick computer technology and society’s unquenchable need for information, it’s unfathomable that hundreds of thousands of people could gather in a single location without attracting international attention.
But that’s exactly what has happened for 53 years when evangelist T.L. Osborn and his wife, Daisy, who died in 1995, held open-field crusades in developing countries, drawing an estimated 250,000 to 500,000 people to each event. All told, millions of lives have been directly changed by Tulsa, Oklahoma-based Osborn International in the last 58 years. Continue reading “How T.L. Osborn Dared to Touch the World” »
Tommy Lee (T.L.) Osborn stepped through the veil into eternity peacefully, at home surrounded by four generations of his beloved family on February 14th 2013 shortly after asking His Lord Jesus, “Take me home!” He was 89. The ministry of T.L. and Daisy Osborn has made an unprecedented impact on the world. Together with their daughter Dr. LaDonna Osborn, they have probably reached and led more unreached souls to Christ, and may have witnessed more great healing miracles, than any other family in history. Continue reading “Renowned Evangelist T.L. Osborn Is Home” »
Sam Hinn, 51-year old younger brother of well-known controversial healing evangelist, Benny Hinn, has added himself to the recent list of high-profile Christian ministers stepping down from their pulpits due to marital infidelity, a disproportionate number of which are headquartered in Central Florida. Hinn and his wife of more than 25 years, Erika, who reportedly is staying in the marriage to work through the marital issues, have four children.
In a letter he first read at the Wednesday night service January 16 to the congregation of The Gathering Place Worship Center located in Sanford, Florida, a church he founded in 1996, while not specifically stating his reason(s) for stepping down, Hinn said in part, “I take full responsibility for the place we now find ourselves. As painful as this is to confess, I have allowed myself to be drawn into a relationship that has caused much hurt and pain to my wife and family. I have repented and asked for and received their forgiveness. Scripture states that I must bring forth the fruit of repentance if I expect to be restored….” Continue reading “Sam Hinn Steps Down From Pulpit” »