Charisma’s 25th Anniversary Hall of Shame (Repost from the year 2000)

Testing the Fruit of Charisma’s Heroes

Charisma Magazine‘s 25th Anniversary edition looks at the legacy of those who have graced its covers.  The list is a Who’s Who of people who have brought shame to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  This self-tribute is the biggest compilation of evidence against the charismatic renewal ever put to paper.  Stephen Strang (founding editor) and Lee Grady (editor-in-chief) have unknowingly demonstrated what a miserable lack of accountability exists in their ranks.  Here’s some brief quotes that speak from themselves as seen in this new issue of Charisma displaying the cacophony of scoundrels, heretics, and  rotten churched role-models:

  • Robert Tilton — July 1985 Coverboy — Tilton “was one of TV journalist Diane Sawyer’s prime targets.  The Prime-Time segment focused on the estimated $80 million a year Tilton’s ministry received in donations–and his organization’s methods of raising it. . . Today, Robert lives in the Miami area, where he has continued his television ministry. . . In days gone by, the Tiltons were under fire for a lifestyle that included a 5,000-square-foot parsonage on a golf course in Dallas; a waterfront condo in Florida and a mansion in California, which Prime Time valued at $4.5 million.”
  • David du Plessis — Nov.-Dec. 1978 Coverboy — “Du Plessis was one of the most influential charismatic leaders of the 20th century.  Dubbed ‘Mr. Pentecost’ . . . he became known around the world– first for his efforts to bring unity among Pentecostals and later for his work in helping to merge the four major streams of the charismatic movement: mainline Protestant, nondenominational, Catholic and Pentecostal. . . he was invited to attend the third session of Vatican II in 1964.. . his efforts were instrumental in initiating a continuing dialogue between Catholics and Pentecostals, spreading the charismatic renewal across denominational lines, and laying the foundation for the worldwide spiritual renewal that is occurring today.”
  • Jimmy Swaggart — March 1977 Coverboy — “There are signs, too, that the 65-year-old native of Ferriday, Louisiana, may leave a brighter legacy than the one dimmed by the sex scandals of 1988 and 1991 which tarnished his ministry. His Bible college, renamed soon after the first scandal broke, is down to a few dozen students, compared with 1,451 in the fall of 1986.  Many buildings in the ministry center are leased to the government.  Adjacent property at one time eyed for a 25,000-seat church is now the site of a shopping mall.”
  • Amy Grant — June 1988 Covergirl — “Grant said that she had ‘received her prayer language’ and had ‘come to understand her gift for prophetic prayer.’  She also confessed to having a ‘terrible fear that Gary and I weren’t going to survive.’ . . . ‘I never thought I would end up here,’ Grant said of her divorce in the Nashville Tennessean last year.  ‘I did the very best I could..I want to stand up and say, It’s not the way you think it was!  But it doesn’t really matter.'”
  • Kenneth Hagin — October 1981 Coverboy — “Hagin has for several years conducted Holy Ghost meetings held in churches around the country. Recently, he has begun holding All Faiths gatherings again as he did in the 1980s and early 1990s.  Each meeting lasts up to two weeks.”
  • Benny Hinn — April 1979 Coverboy — “Hinn walks to the platform’s center and welcomes the 21st century by making numerous declarations about the future . . . ‘Within two years there will be a new pope,’ Hinn declares.  He then describes the new pontiff as an Italian who wears glasses and has long hair.  ‘And within two years,’ he adds, ‘a young Egyptian male converted from Islam will preach the gospel so well that hundreds of thousands of Muslims will accept Christ.'”
  • Larry Lea — October 1986 Coverboy — “His ministry has shrunk since the days when nationwide television audiences eagerly tuned in to his messages.  But after overcoming personal problems, Larry Lea has resumed teaching on his favorite topic: Prayer. . . Two years after leaving Church on the Rock, ABC’s Prime Time Live questioned the ethics of Lea and two other Dallas-based televangelists, W. V. Grant and Robert Tilton.  Stung by the criticism, Lea withdrew from television..  But Rodgers says the incident created a much longer-lasting impact.  The evangelist lapsed into a four-year-long bout with depression, culminating in a nervous breakdown.  His marriage to his wife, Melva, also collapsed.”
  • Dennis Bennett — May 1980 Coverboy — “When a humble priest named Dennis Bennett was filled with the Holy Spirit in 1960, he thrust charismatic renewal into the public eye. . . Though Bennett was certainly not the first clergyman to receive the baptism, the publicity surrounding the event brought attention to and helped fuel a ‘new’ move of the Spirit known today as the charismatic renewal. . . When asked about her husband’s continuing influence on the body of Christ, Rita says it is the result of his emphasis on unity–promoting the power of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit to bring people together.'”
  • Fred Price — May 1985 Coverboy — “He divides his exhaustive series of messages into hourlong segments that are blunt and sometimes border on the offensive.  ‘Anybody who prays for God to give them more faith is stupid,’ he says at one point this Sunday.  ‘They don’t know that if you’re saved you already have it.  You just have to develop it.’ . . Much of his teaching, while grounded in Word-Faith doctrine, flies with prosperity teaching.  His current series is ‘None Suffer Lack.'”
  • David (Paul) Yonngi Cho — May-June 1977 Coverboy– “Pastors flocked to Seoul in the 1980s to learn Cho’s ‘cell group’ concept. . . However, the explosive growth that defined Yoido Full Gospel Church is not occurring today. . . During a recent service, Cho was so exhausted that he sat in the front of the church while a video of his preaching from an earlier service was played on the screen above.”
  • Rosey Grier — October 1982 Coverboy — “Grier still hangs out every week with his friend O. J. Simpson, whose murder trial put Grier in the spotlight in 1994.  Grier says Simpson gave his life to Christ during one of their private meetings in Simpson’s jail cell and that he’s still a committed Christian today.  ‘He is strong.  He loves the Lord,’ Grier says.  ‘He has his faults, but we all do.'”
  • John Wimber — Sept. 1985 Coverboy — “Wimber’s widow, Carol, ‘John’s greatest legacy was taking the gifts of the Holy Spirit and putting them in the hands of the everyday Christian’ . . . ‘He believed the gifts could move through any believer’ . . . John Arnott, pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, made a similar observation.  ‘Through John’s ministry,’ Arnott said, ‘we learned once and for all that ordinary people can be equipped to move in the power of the Holy Spirit and bring the dynamic presence of a supernatural God into our daily lives.'”
  • Charles & Frances Hunter — Sept.-Oct. Covercouple — ” The Hunters introduced thousands to the baptism of the Holy Spirit at Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship meetings. . . Charles and Frances Hunter made famous what are known as ‘Healing Explosions’: large-scale citywide campaigns in which the key focus is to pray for the sick to be healed. . . Each healing-team member reads How to Heal the Sick, one of dozens of books written by the Hunters, and attends 15 hours of video training supplied by the Hunters to Video Healing Schools that are set up in churches throughout the area.”

Past cover-girls and boys shown on the current issue’s cover that failed to receive tribute on the inside pages were:

  • Richard Roberts
  • Rod Parsley
  • Andre Crouch
  • Morris Cerullo
  • T. D. Jakes
  • Rodney Howard-Browne
  • Paul Crouch
  • Bob Mumford
  • Marilyn Hickey
  • Joyce Meyer
  • Cindy Jacobs
  • Jim Bakker
  • Arthur Blessitt
  • Tommy Tenney
  • Ben Kinchlow
  • Bishop Clarence McClendon
  • Che Ahn
  • James Robison
  • Jack Hayford