Apprising Ministries was begun in June of 2005 as a fully integrated auxillary of the church where I am pastor-teacher as a way for me to use my 25 years of study into aologetics, counter-cult evangelism and Comparative Religion.
But a month later, a man I really didn’t know bought this domain, developed this website and literally gave it to me because he believed God wanted me to have “an Internet pulpit.”
It was never the plan of our church leadership to be on the Internet.
Six plus years later, the state of the visible church is so far down this New Downgrade No-Controversy that I am among the missionaries the Lord is sending to Christendom in this developing mission field of online apologetics and discernment ministry.
The truth be told, I miss my interactions with Mormon Missionaries. Like the day I had four of them in my living room; we had such a great discussion—for hours. The Lord be praised, they left knowing the truth; they heard the Gospel. You may say, “This is interesting, but what does this have to do with Marjoe Gortner?”
Unfortunately, more than you’re likely going to want to know. I point you now to AM special correspondent Daniel Neades of BetterThanSacrifice.org and his short post The story of Marjoe – sometimes, preachers really are out to fleece the sheep.
Neades informs us:
Marjoe Gortner was a child preacher who earned millions of dollars for his parents, beginning in the late 1940s. After a break from his ‘ministry’, he found himself short of money in his early twenties and so resumed preaching.
Until struck by a crisis of conscience in the late 1960s, Marjoe continued to deceive many in the church and relieve them of their money. He then allowed a documentary film crew unlimited access to his final revival tour, giving them backstage interviews where he explained how he and others deceived the flock. The video below is the resulting must-see documentary, with a startling relevance for today’s church. The film won the 1972 Academy Award for best documentary.
Of course, Christians today would never be so gullible. Would they?… (Online source)
You can see the documentary right within Neades’ The story of Marjoe – sometimes, preachers really are out to fleece the sheep. In closing this, for now, I want to zero in on Neades’ insightful question:
Of course, Christians today would never be so gullible. Would they?
Does fleecing the flock go on today taking in gullible Christians with spiritual snake oil? Well, let’s first consider that Marjoe Gortner’s “ministry” was a product created by his parents:
When Gortner was three, his father Vernon Gortner, a third generation minister, noticed his son’s talent for mimicry and overall fearlessness of strangers and public settings. His parents claimed he had received a vision from God during a bath.
They began training him to deliver sermons, complete with dramatic gestures and emphatic lunges. By the time he was four, his parents arranged for him to perform a marriage ceremony for a film crew from Paramount studios, referring to him as “the youngest ordained minister in history.” (Online source)
Perhaps it even looked a little like the below:
As far as fleecing flocks today; I offer into evidence the following from Word Faith propserity preacher T.D. Jakes pitching for the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I say, this is exactly what you’ll see him doing: