Michael Guglielmucci, Achan warned you.

Worship blogs all over the place are still buzzing with the news of Michael Guglielmucci's confession that his terminal cancer never existed, that the whole thing was a lie. This is shaking the entire world worship community to it's core, and even more so the entire youth community in Australia. So what can we take away from this?

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about sending our musicians out into the world in a post called Sending Christian Artists into the World - At What Cost? As it turns out, that question was a valid one. That post is so far the most popular one that I've written in terms of hits. So people are interested in the topic, and it deserves discussion.

Many of the blogs I read regularly are talking about this, and the commenters' blogs are also talking about this. I must have seen a hundred blogs about it yesterday. So what's the lesson here?

The big question is obviously "How did this happen?" And that is a very valid question. Where is the oversight of Hillsong church? Hillsong is affiliated with the Australian Christian Churches, the Aussie arm of the Assemblies of God church. Now I know some AOG people, and I can tell you that the ones I know are not reckless in any way. In fact, we have an AOG pastor coming to Gospel Light this weekend to speak at our annual Back to School Revival for the third consecutive year. So how is it that no one - not his wife, his pastor, his presbyter, his president, his record label, his doctors... no one apparently knew that he wasn't sick.

I am reminded of the story of Achan in the Book of Joshua. Achan stole things that were devoted to God, and hid them under his tent. His sin affected the whole of Israel, who, having just defeated Jericho, were devastated by tiny Ai. God told Joshua that Israel had sinned. When Achan was discovered, they stoned him and his entire family. Why? Because there is no way that his family could not have been complicent in Achan's sin, and they needed to get rid of everything that Achan had touched.

Now, I am not suggesting that we stone Hillsong's leadership, or Michael's family. But we need to realize that the failure of the church leadership to verify his claims is as much responsible for this mess as the lie was to begin with.

Several bloggers and journalists alike have used this incident as an indictment of the Pentacostal/Charismatic movement. They point to incidents like this, and charismatic preachers like Todd Bentley who have publicly fallen from grace, and throw blame around like it's going to fix something. This has nothing to do with Pentacostalism, except perhaps because Pentacostal or charismatic believers are out there doing something and not hiding behind the walls of some hundred-year-old church peeking out at the rest of us. I guess you can't fail at what you don't try. (Although I would say you fail at everything you don't try - but that's another post.)

There is truth is some of what was written, though. The Body of Christ, even us pentacostals, have become far more man-centered than Christ-centered. I touched on this a bit the other day, asking why some of these very popular rock-star preachers feel the need to beam themselves into satellite campuses instead of sending someone to plant a church? Some of these men - and not by any stretch all, or even most - have built a cult of personality around themselves. I imagine that all the attention Guglielmucci was getting for his story, selling his song, millions of views on Youtube - all of that is heady stuff. Now, it may turn out it was done to sell records, or to hide a deeper sin (there's old Achan again) or a case of Munchausen syndrome; I don't know. I do know that we need to not let this tear us apart, and we need not to tear Guglielmucci apart.

We should hold his leadership accountable, we should ask hard questions and learn from the answers, we should change the way we think about things. And we should forgive a fallen man as we would forgive anyone else, with love and compassion and prayer.


  1. This is so well put. I am very sad about this situation and I can't understand why someone and how someone could do something like this. I have read a lot of things that people have written about the situation and most of it is very negative, but this blog hit the nail right on the head. You are absolutely right.


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