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?