Affluenza among Christian leaders
By Mario Murillo
Something crazy is happening to high profile Christian leaders. They are saying and doing things that are bizarre and in some cases tragic. I refuse to name names. The mission of this missive is not to embarrass any leader or to make myself look holier than them…and it is most certainly not an attack on God’s promises to prosper us.
Here is a list of things said and done recently that prove something has gone very bad.
-“God has told me…when our Carolina Panthers win the Super Bowl, a time of major revival, awakening, moves of God are going to break out in America,” – Famous Pastor. Well…now that they lost 24-10 is national revival impossible?
-“I need to get my wife her own jet. Sometimes she wants to leave meetings before I do.”- Another famous pastor.
-I walked into a restaurant where the entire worship team of a famous revival church was bellied up to the bar sucking down cocktails. This church also is fine with their women leaders dressing scantily: “we were now reaching a global culture and this look helps us relate.” The alcohol is part of their new found revelation of grace.
-A very famous Spirit-filled female pastor stands with her husband and tells their congregation that Christian couples should watch porn together to strengthen their marriage.
-The daily broadcast of one preacher and his guest explaining how they needed private jets since they can’t communicate to God in commercial jets and it protects the anointing of God on their life. And one says: “because in this doped filled world … and you get in a long tube with a bunch of demons…it”s deadly”. And the other one chimes in …”and it works on your heart, it really does”.
-Silent night was given a cringe-worthy (well, you just had to see it) makeover by a global Church. When the video went viral…a mainstream Christian magazine gave an equally cringe-worthy defense “they were showing how King Herod would do silent night…they did it the right way later in the show.”
-The most popular gospel artist of today suddenly leaves the church after making millions off of Christians… The former “Jesus Freak” is advocating that Jesus is as fake as the tooth fairy… Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. What? Yes! It’s true, as he admits “The concept of religion as we know it is a lie”.
These are all cases of affluenza and they have all happened in the space of a few months.
Affluenza came on the scene recently when Ethan Anthony Couch’s attorneys used it as a defense for murder. Ethan–a teenager, was guilty of four counts of intoxication manslaughter, for recklessly driving drunk on June 15, 2013, in Burleson, Texas. He was illegally driving on a restricted license and speeding, lost control, plowed into a group of people. Four people were killed in the collision; two passengers in Couch’s truck suffered serious bodily injury and a total of nine people were injured.
The formal definition of affluenza is: the unhealthy and unwelcome psychological and social effects of affluence regarded especially as a widespread societal problem: such as: feelings of guilt, lack of motivation, and social isolation experienced by wealthy people Anastasia Toufexis Editor in Chief of Psychology Today coined the term “Affluenza” in 1988.
Affluenza strikes a Christian leader who has too much time, wealth, technology at their disposal. It warps common sense and herds them into foolishness and in its worst form…self-destruction. Here is what it looks like
Affluenza makes them blurt out heresy: The sheer volume of material they must produce along with the continual need to hold people’s attention is a breeding ground for heresy.
One affluenzed leader diminished the Bible: “Why do we trust in a book that the early Christians did not have more than in the Spirit that they did have?” I promise you he doesn’t really believe this—in the heat of the moment and in the need to dazzle his audience—he just blurted it out. Problem is it made into a book that is widely circulated and influences young fertile minds.
Affluenza makes sustaining popularity a priority over telling the truth. Just as the newly rich athlete is insecure about his money and behaves in an irrational manner so these leaders suddenly display unstable pulpit and mood swings. They say and do the things they think will keep their business afloat.
Affluenza puts them in a bubble. They are detached from reality and have no clue of how they look and sound. They are often surrounded by people who will not confront their aberrant behavior.
Affluenza gives them strange priorities and urgencies. Think about it…we are about to lose our country. America has sunk into unprecedented debauchery. Many Christians face financial crisis. 2015 saw more persecution of Christians worldwide that any year in the modern era. Does any of this subject enter their pulpits? Do they see who what they say may hurt and confuse? Does it move them to break before God?
Both for Ethan Couch and preachers, affluenza is not an excuse—it is an onerous moral failure. For vessels called of God it is both inexcusable and disastrous.
Listen carefully: The consequence of a sin is amplified by the time, place and circumstances in which it is committed. Probably the most compelling example of this in the Bible is 2 Kings: 5. After Naaman was healed of leprosy he offered riches to Elisha the prophet. The prophet refused his gifts. Verse 20 says, “Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said to himself, “My master was too easy on Naaman, this Aramean, by not accepting from him what he brought. As surely as the Lord lives, I will run after him and get something from him.” He indeed went and got the riches and hid them.
Verse 25 says, “When he went in and stood before his master, Elisha asked him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” “Your servant didn’t go anywhere,” Gehazi answered. 26 But Elisha said to him, “Was not my spirit with you when the man got down from his chariot to meet you? Is this the time to take money or to accept clothes—or olive groves and vineyards, or flocks and herds, or male and female slaves? 27 Naaman’s leprosy will cling to you and to your descendants forever.” Then Gehazi went from Elisha’s presence and his skin was leprous—it had become as white as snow.”
If you get nothing else from this message get this: Against the backdrop of America’s doom…is this the time for silly prophecies? Is this the time for fictional doctrines, prescribing porn, drunkenness and flaunting obscene lifestyles?
You Had to Be There
By Mario Murillo
February 2, 2016
Sunday night, January 31st, Faith and Wisdom Church, Branson Missouri: She came will multiple ailments—especially in her shoulders—but what she did next will burn in our memories forever. More on this in a moment…
The last 48 hours will be bracketed in American history by two events. As Iowa caucused to elect a president—Branson was crowning Christ King of America. Only time will tell which of the two will have the greatest impact on the destiny of our nation.
Every revival has its critics. Naysayers vowed that a 2 month break in Branson would douse the flames of revival. Instead, the fire got hotter—the people pressed in deeper and signs and wonders emerged with greater force.
Even I had my dark night of the soul before I returned to Branson. God used John Davis to encourage me with a powerful word of how the people were still excited and waiting for the next level of the Branson Outbreak!
But even before these meetings began there were omens. People felt an irresistible urge to travel to Branson at a time of year when the city virtually closes down. Leaders came from Los Angeles and one prominent missionary arrived from the Ukraine. A holy voice was inviting people from all regions and walks of life. Some were told they would be revolutionized, others were given promises of healing, still others could not tell you why they were pulled to this place.
Friday night: felt like a reunion of long lost friends and yet it felt as if there was no break in the action. My message declared the need for EXTRAVAGANT ASKING. The verse of the hour was John 16: 23 “And in that day you will ask Me nothing. Most assuredly, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in My name He will give you. 24 Until now you have asked nothing in My name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.” The mandate of God was simple: Compared to what you should ask of Me…you have asked nothing!
Saturday morning: Ron McIntosh preached a timeless call to true revival and the urgency of admitting we are all gifts and ministries in this miracle. As Jovita Shepphard and the worship team began singing “There is power in the name of Jesus.” Undiluted Glory drenched the people. They discarded doubt—ignored their own needs—and wholly embraced their role as soldiers. Never—and I mean never—have a people sung the phrase THERE’S AN ARMY RISING UP where I was overcome with the reality that an army indeed was rising up.
Sunday Morning: Pastor Gary McSpadden stoked the flames of revival even higher by declaring to Faith and Wisdom church “We are now a revival church!” This was a rhema word…for as he spoke it the presence of God invaded the house. People hit the floor, bodies were healed…you could feel the plans of Satan being foiled and the Kingdom of God overtaking Branson.
Sunday Night: The house of God filled with people and a crackling expectancy filled the air. A rare and beautiful mixture of excitement and reverence overcame us all. The worship team from Faith and Wisdom took the lead and sang as I have never heard them before.
Then Dino came to the piano. We had a program but it was about to go up in flames. As he played, a churning glory filled the room. The music had a startling impact on the people. As Dino neared the end of the song people spontaneously began to cheer. Dino looked at me and said “Mario, people are being healed now!” Truer words were never spoken—indeed a cluster of healings manifested simultaneously in all parts of the auditorium. Soon we witnessed spines, hearts, ears, every limb, and cancer and well, the list seemed to go on and on.
The woman I mentioned at the beginning came will multiple ailments—especially in her shoulders—but what she did next will burn in our memories forever. She raised both her arms to heaven. Her new shoulders refused to let her lower her arms. (We have all raised our arms and felt the fatigue and pain after a few minutes.) Now listen: She held her arms aloft for almost 40 minutes. She had a heavenly gaze…if you permit me—I will tell you she seemed to be in a trance.
I was reminded of Moses holding the rod of God over the battle. Aaron and Hur helped Moses keep his arms up—in this case the Holy Spirit was doing it. The entire time that here hand was raised the miracles kept coming. She was not healing the people…Jesus was.
Lost souls came to Christ…they had gotten best kind of Soul Winning Sermon you could get. “And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” -1 Corinthians 2: 4
How can I do justice to what happened in the last 48 hours? I cannot…you had to be there
P.S. The miracle in Branson shows no sign of letting up! I return to Branson on Sunday 6 PM February 28th!
Donald Trump is dominating the GOP presidential field in the first three states to vote in the 2016 campaign, including in Iowa where he has extinguished the lead once held by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a new Wall Street Journal/NBC/Marist Poll finds.
In New Hampshire and South Carolina, Mr. Trump leads by double-digit margins. In all three states he is the first choice of more than 30% of people likely to vote in the Republican primaries or caucuses.
“Trump is positioned to run the house in these first three states,” said Lee M. Miringoff,director of the Marist College Institute of Public Opinion. “His supporters are committed and plan to turn out.”
The poll suggests Mr. Cruz will be his strongest competitor even if the senator has lost ground in Iowa. Mr. Cruz now stands in second place in all three states including New Hampshire, a place that doesn’t typically favor Republicans with his kind of conservative profile.
Among Democrats, the poll points to a roller-coaster ride through the three early-voting states. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont remain deadlocked in Iowa; Mr. Sanders has opened a commanding 57%-38% lead in New Hampshire; in South Carolina, Mrs. Clinton enjoys an even wider 64%-27% spread.
The polls demonstrate that Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton remain their party’s front-runners. While Mrs. Clinton has a rougher road than Mr. Trump in Iowa and New Hampshire, South Carolina gives her a “firewall,” Mr. Miringoff said.