J. Lee Grady, Editor of Charisma Magazine
In many charismatic ministries today, basic
Christian morality has been hijacked.
How would you feel if your pastor announced from the pulpit that
he had uncovered a new revelation in the Bible? His discovery:
That a church leader can have more than one wife.
Hopefully, you and everyone in the building would run, not walk,
out of that church and never come back until the pastor had been
replaced. But I am afraid too many of us gullible charismatics
might stay in the pews and eventually give the guy a standing
ovation plus a $10,000 love offering.
That's how strange it is getting out there. Something has gone
terribly wrong in our movement. Everywhere I turn I find that
leaders of so-called Spirit-filled churches are making bizarre
choices that compromise basic Christian integrity. Some
a.. At one charismatic megachurch, staff pastors successfully
convinced all their wives and female staff members to get breast
implants. (I wonder: Was this discussed at a staff meeting?)
b.. A church in California (known for its revival meetings and
prophetic ministry) recently imploded after members learned that
several men in the church had been having homosexual affairs
with the pastor, who was married.
c.. A leader with an international following (who wears the
label of apostle) recently informed his leaders that men of God
who reach his level of anointing are allowed to have more than
one sexual partner. Then his own son offered his wife to his
father out of a sense of spiritual obligation.
We can all say together: Eeeuuuwww!
What has triggered this madness? The devil is working overtime,
yet our discernment is at an all-time low. Satan's tactics are
more brazen than ever. We might as well let him walk into church
on Sunday morning and give him the microphone.
We've been bewitched. What matters to us today are the carnal
things. We want flash, bang and the wow factor. If a person can
shout loud enough and get everyone to swoon at the altar, we
don't care how he or she lives at home. Morality is irrelevant.
In 2000 Charisma reported that charismatic preacher Clarence
McClendon had divorced his wife of 16 years, Tammera McClendon,
and married another woman after only seven days. The ceremony
was performed by Bishop Earl Paulk, founder of the Cathedral of
the Holy Spirit in Atlanta. Several prominent ministers attended
the wedding, lending their endorsement to McClendon's actions.
Tammera McClendon later informed Charisma that Clarence had told
her while they were married that God had already shown him the
woman who would replace her as his wife.
McClendon left his denomination, the International Church of the
Foursquare Gospel, after his divorce became public. He began a
new church, Full Harvest International Church, which currently
meets in Gardena, California. His preaching is aired on the
Trinity Broadcasting Network, and he was a featured guest on
TBN's Praise the Lord program last week.
In fact, McClendon collected the offering during the network's
annual telethon. When I turned on the program and saw him
raising money, I stared in disbelief.
How did we get in this pitiful condition? The very pulpits of
America have become defiled because we are unwilling to confront
sin. We are playing political games when the very health of the
church is at stake.
Some Christians write letters to me saying: The Bible says we
shouldn't judge. Sure these leaders have stumbled, but no one is
perfect. We need to forgive.
What Bible are these people reading? Mine says plainly that it
is our responsibility to judge sin in the church. Of course we
forgive, but forgiveness does not involve putting a preacher
back on stage the next week if he just had a serious moral
When the apostle Paul learned that a man was living in an
immoral relationship with his father's wife, he tore into the
situation with a vengeance. He said: Are you not to judge those
inside [the church]? Expel the wicked person from among you.
Those are not politically correct words, but they were spoken by
a true apostle. If we want a restoration of genuine, apostolic
Christianity in our generation, we need to dispense with the
craziness and initiate some apostolic confrontation.
J. Lee Grady is editor of Charisma and an award-winning
journalist. He writes a column for Charisma Online twice a week.
Note from Dave: I can tell
you part of what has gone wrong. The so-called
Toronto Blessing was a Trojan
horse bringing in religious spirits disguised as gifts to those
who were willing to depart from the Word.