Jumping the shark
By Mario Murillo
We are trapped in a highly embarrassing situation: Youth are leaving churches to meet in homes—now get this—to study the Bible and pray. This is happening because many churches have jumped the shark.
Wikipedia says, “’Jumping the shark’ is an idiom used to describe the moment a television show begins a decline in quality, signaled by a particular scene, episode, or aspect of a show in which the writers use some type of gimmick in an attempt to keep viewers’ interest, which is taken as a sign of desperation, and is seen by viewers to be the point at which the show strayed irretrievably from its original formula. The phrase is based on a scene from a fifth-season episode of the sitcom Happy Days when the character Fonzie jumps over a shark while on water-skis.”
The two kinds of churches hit by this youth exodus are: 1. The Seeker (mega) churches. 2. Churches that focus on exotic supernatural experiences.
How Seeker (mega) churches jumped the shark: The idea was that the Gospel—on its own—would not attract the unchurched. They hoped that by adding—enhancements—buttresses—rebranding, they would impact secular culture. Culture won.
They had zero impact on cultural deterioration. While they frantically tinkered, America entered a moral nuclear winter. Violence, debauchery and atheism spiked on their watch. This forced their goal to change from reformation to simply keeping seats full.
In desperation they jump more sharks: Secular music ousts hymns—half-naked women do dance productions—people get tattooed on stage as a backdrop to preaching…and the preaching is mushier than ever.
Then the shocker: The doctrines, values and compelling truth that seeker pastors so assiduously extracted—thinking it would attract youth—is the vacuum that drove them away.
Prophetic/Hyper-supernatural churches are also jumping the shark. Prophecies, encounters with angels, dripping oil, feathers and soul travel are reported with greater frequency…they have to be.
It is not enough for speakers to say they visited the third heaven, now they have to say they do it daily, and finally they say they can do it at will. It is not enough to say Jesus visited them, now their guests are dead ministers—plus, they can invite others to these séances. The sheer abundance of prophetic words, mystical experiences and soul travel that are now required in order to maintain popularity is breathtaking.
Youth are leaving these kinds of churches. They may have oohed and awed for a season—now these extremes make their eyes roll.
We have the best message the world has ever heard. Trying to improve it or spice it up only makes it worse. We have the best book ever written. We have the Holy Spirit to give us grace and power to more than match the evil of our day.
The American church is guilty of wresting away control from the Holy Spirit. We have every advantage and yet we are losing for all the wrong reasons. Never have so many, done so little, with so much!
Yet, we have every reason to be encouraged if our youth are craving the Word of God. In fact, those who are listening and rejecting falsehood are hearing a clear message: God is revealing to all praying people that a glorious new work of the Spirit is about to break forth.
Yes, we can still turn everything around! Our youth are yearning for the Bible—that is awesome news! So get up, let’s go! It starts with these simple declarations:
- The Bible is able to stand against all cultural lies. Preaching the Blood, the Cross, the Second Coming and yes, Hell transforms your pulpit into the place of power. Do not apologize just speak it and watch the Spirit of almighty God make your preaching into something you never imagined.
Recognize the danger signs! When simple Biblical truth no longer thrills you—when you feel the need to be more exotic…stop! Never let the audience clamor for more spooky revelations.
- Crave the towering miracles of the book of acts and not parlor tricks. Kathryn Kuhlman saw awesome power in a reverent atmosphere. The book of Acts and Corinthians are gleaming road maps to the kinds of healings, prophecies and miracles that no culture can stop and no generation can resist.
- Realize that God wants to do great and mighty things even more than we do. He does not need to be convinced to work, nor do we need to invent work to make up for some deficiency in God.
The Holy Spirit is waiting in the wings to lead us out of this mess. Every minister who reads this has the power to repent and receive unquestioned clarity and authority that will make them compelling to youth.
Instead of jumping the shark—let’s flatten the enemy.
The Panther Prophecy: My Last words.
By Mario Murillo
I really hate to be the one to tell you this. Okay be honest…what was your immediate reaction when you heard the Carolina Panthers Prophecy? If it baffled you, you are in the extreme majority. Not only this, but it gave vent to a growing suspicion about the prophetic movement itself. A host of people believe it has been drifting into unscriptural waters for a long time.
About 5% of those who commented disagreed with the blog. That is lower than normal. I was very surprised. Because I broke from tradition by naming names—I expected a much bigger firestorm.
However, for the honest hearts who were pained by the whole affair I wish to make some clarifying remarks.
What I wrote, I wrote with tears and a heavy heart. There was no anger or ridicule in my words. I wrote it because I felt the Holy Spirit urge me to address this issue. His reasons were very compelling:
Young people everywhere are seeing what we do. Websites that are youth oriented carried mocking references to this prediction. It fit into the narrative that Spirit-filled believers are loons. However—as you will see later—I am addressing a far greater issue than a prediction about the Panthers.
Someone else was supposed to correct this privately and they did not. When I prayed about this it was very clear to me that the Holy Spirit had chosen someone—in fact several people—much closer to the situation to speak wisdom. It was only after many attempts to get others to obey that the Holy Spirit tapped me for this sad assignment.
The Lord took me to Job 32 to understand the example of Elihu. He waited to speak because he assumed that the elders sitting with Job would say something rational but they did not.
Sincere hearts asked why I didn’t talk to Mr. Joyner first. They cited Matthew 5: 23 “Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.” If indeed I had aught against Mr. Joyner I would have done so—this situation fits a different model in the Word of God.
We are to judge public prophecy…publicly. 1 Corinthians 14: 29 teaches us to “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.” The clear instruction is that when a prophecy comes forth publicly it is judged publicly—on the spot. Paul did not say when prophets prophesy, take them in a private room and commiserate about the validity of what he said and if he should have gone public with it.
I was told to judge the prophecy itself. It’s clear and undeniable inference was: simply because the Panthers won…it would bring revival. Charisma Magazine did not help matters by asking, “Are the Carolina Panthers prophesied to win the Super Bowl to bring about national revival?” What about prayer, fasting and repentance? Show us in the Word of God how simply winning a game will ignite awakening?
The Bible never said “If my team”—it says “if my people.” God has often used athletes to bring the WORD to the world. C.T. Studd was a famed Cricket player who became a legendary missionary. Eric Liddell was a track star that brought a powerful witness by a supernatural performance in the Paris Olympics. Billy Sunday was a famous baseball player before he became a great evangelist. God will use individuals in an event but the event itself is not an intrinsic catalyst or sign of revival.
Maybe next year: Lance Wallnau defended Bob Jones’ prediction by saying, “well, he never named a year.” That’s just it! Prophecies like these can put people’s lives on hold—create false preconditions and agendas. Ask yourself should anyone be waiting for the Panthers to win the Superbowl so we can have national revival? Like it or not—whether you intend it or not—that is what impressionable hearts take away from this.
That leads me to the much larger point of my action: I am not harping on just one prophecy but an alarming trend. It has become common for people to consult “words” from a prophet more than pastors, or the Bible. People are not seeking wise counsel. They are making tragic mistakes.
It breaks my heart to be the one to tell you this…the prophecy movement is coming off the rails. The tragedy is that we desperately need the prophetic! We need all of the gifts of the Spirit.
This crisis has been building up for a long time. The goal—of the enemy—is to discredit the Spirit-filled church. I am speaking out because I am a soul winner. I see the damage this is doing to youth…who now consider us a bunch of loons. I have to take valuable Gospel time to differentiate between the Bible and this bizarre behavior to young lost souls.
You have seen it for yourself. Many prophetic teachers barely, ever, quote scripture. They are almost purely anecdotal—they string a bunch of stories of their own exotic experiences together to enchant their audiences. They may not realize that they are building new doctrines—but they are.
They often tell us not to put God in a box. What they forget is the God put Himself into a book. Psalm 138: 2 says, “I will worship toward Your holy temple, And praise Your name For Your loving-kindness and Your truth; For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.”
A young student approached the head of one of our most famous revival/prophetic schools because he was concerned that some of the teaching was outside of scripture. This well-known writer and head of that school rebuked him by saying “you are worshiping a book!” Wow, what an illogical and scary thing to say to anyone, let alone a young man seeking to go into ministry.
I issue this warning with a broken heart: Every movement that has lost its Bible base has been washed away like footprints on the beach.
Of course I will lose friends because of this…but not any true friends. Doors will close for me and that’s okay—I am a soul winner—the doors to reach the lost will always be open. I have peace because I know I did not say one thing in anger or of my own volition.
The good news is that God not man is in control. He moved me to issue a warning but He is doing so much more than any of us realize. If we admit our error and humble ourselves before Jesus we will rise up again with greater power and impact on our nation.
Mario you embarrassed and humiliated people…actually that would be me. Obeying God to write this has been one of the most embarrassing and humiliating things in my life…but, it is okay because that is what disciples do. It’s like I told you in the beginning: I really, really hated to be the one to have to tell you this. But I had to tell you.
While men slept: Where is the adult supervision?
By Mario Murillo
Matthew 13: 24, 25 says, “Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
I am going to talk to you about the behavior of Paula White and Rick Joyner. I put it off until the fire in my bones could no longer be contained. I am pleading out of a broken heart for sanity against widespread foolishness that is really making us look bad to America.
We cannot be harsh, sarcastic or disrespectful in advancing the cause of Christ—but we must also know when silence is a sin. A.W. Tozer said, “To sit back for the sake of peace and allow the enemy to carry off the sacred vessels from the temple is never the part of the true man of God. Moderation to the point of surrender where holy things are concerned is certainly not a virtue; but pugnacity never yet won the battle when the battle was a heavenly one. The fury of man never furthered the glory of God.”
I will strike a balance that will be a deep disappointment both to those who are out for blood and to those who want to maintain an artificial peace.
Here is why I was hesitant to say anything: Job 32: 3 “Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. 4 Now because they were years older than he, Elihu had waited to speak to Job. 5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was aroused. 6 So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said: “I am young in years, and you are very old; therefore I was afraid, and dared not declare my opinion to you. 7 I said, ‘Age should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.’ 8 But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. 9 Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice.” Like Elihu, I knew it was not my place to say anything about this…but I was shocked that nobody in real authority is speaking out. That is when I knew it was time to write you this message.
Paula White and her husband promote porn: “Paula White and her new rock-n-roll husband Jonathan Cain are discussing sex one Sunday morning with children and teens in attendance. Her new husband actually suggests that wives and husbands should watch porn together. Paula laughs and snickers at her husband’s statement and says, “I am going to clear some things up, because I know the church world. John and I don’t watch porn. We have never watched porn together.” He’s standing there and knows she’s lying. So then she retracts and says, “He doesn’t watch porn without me.”
If a man stares at another woman, having sex in order to be turned on for his wife…doesn’t Jesus call it adultery? “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:28.
Rick Joyner cites a prophecy by Bob Jones from 1988 that predicts revival will breakout when the Panthers win the Super Bowl. Since they lost—I ask with a broken heart—are we to wait until they win for revival? I say this in humble agony…the Bible does not say “If my team.” It says, “If my people.”
We need to shed our arrogance and show the honest to God humility that David Wilkerson displayed in 2000. David Wilkerson said this in 1994 “Right now I sense in my spirit that in less than 5 years there will be no more so-called gospel television networks. They will all fall into bankruptcy and absolute ruin.”
He knew that he was wrong. So in the year 2,000 he apologized and said: “”In prayer, I have told the Lord I am ready at any time to confess I am wrong – that I must have spoken from my own fears or that I have spoken unadvisedly.” Did his apology diminish his standing? Not at all, it enhanced his credibility.
I am writing this as a passionate soul winner. Our nation is divided. Society has never walked in such dark despair. Just as the lost are dying—of thirst for truth and hope—we replace Bible preaching, holy living and true anointing with parlor tricks, sensual sermons and materialism? God help us!
While men slept: My special sorrow is reserved for the leaders who sleep as these weeds are planted. Where is the adult supervision? Where are the leaders who can say “I do not care how big a crowd you can draw or how many books you can sell—you need loving correction.
No matter how tenderly I write…there will be those who will condemn me as judgmental. I fully anticipate a firestorm from their fans. I know my heart…I want the best for each of these ministries. I am crying out of a broken heart.
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 will not name names because I am praying for them to repent. There will be a time when I will 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? My real issue here is connecting football to revival. Whether is was done in 1980 or in 2016 makes no difference…they are totally unrelated.
-“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?