Friday, March 23, 2012

Reinhard Bonnke and the Case of the Evil God

"When you grasp what we are saying here, then you join the army with the battering ram of the Word of the Cross. It will pulverise the strongholds of the devil. It is the drum-roll thunder of God’s invincible army on the march."
 "No matter how brilliant a sermon may be, in a form as perfect as the bullet case of a tank cartridge, if you do not fill it with explosives it will simply bounce off the hardened hearts of the unbelievers."
"Witnesses should witness; it is our nature. Soldiers are not fitted with uniforms and equipped with weapons simply to go on parade; their true place is on the battlefield." (Wasser und Mehr)
There are religious books that only provide heat when put on a bonfire. (Evangelism by fire.)
The church was never constructed for defensive purposes. The gates of hell should be invaded, not avoided. Offence is the best defense. Instead of waiting to ward off the devil's onslaught, turn the tide of battle and launch an invasion of the devil's territory. Jesus is with you. (Official Facebook page) 

Many years ago I spent a rather enjoyable week working in Istanbul. It was my first time in a Muslim majority country and much less of a difference than I had perhaps naively expected. I avoided alcohol, pork, and long conversations on unstunned Halal slaughter. I'd heard a rumour that showing the sole of one's shoe could be considered offensive. This was prudish of me - I have no doubt that I would still have been welcome had I indulged in all the above perceived vices - but it seemed only fair that I make a moderate effort when visiting.

But what of Reinhard Bonnke? A close associate of the very rich huckster Benny Hinn, Bonnke was called in a dream (naturally) to minister to Africa, where his performances are billed under the ill-advised heading of crusades.

I feel certain that Bonnke must work late into the night in his efforts to provoke reactions when he 'invades the Devil's territory'. Crusades are not looked upon with kindness by Muslims and they have strong historical precedent for adopting this position. Couple this with Bonnke's incessant, dreary repetition of analogies with soldiers, guns, explosives, invasions, tanks and so on and you're left quite certain that he is not a chap interested in interfaith dialogue.

But could it get worse?

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Dawit Molalegn and FBI's Miracle Church

By the time I reach the end of this sentence you'll likely be asking why I'm suddenly concerned with a Megachurch in Ethiopia. I have a radio show coming up where I'll be discussing miracles, and as part of my background reading I've been investigating those listed as reliable witnesses of the miraculous. The FBI church is not my strongest case, but I'm working through these in rough chronological order so it managed to come up trumps.

Although originally named Faith Baptist Church, self-styled megachurch President Dawit Molalegn rebranded his ministry to Faith Bible International Church. The more astute among you will already have noticed the logo in the bottom right corner of all screenshots - he's stolen his livery wholesale from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

A documentary made by the megachurch is available on and the comments make for interesting reading:
"This man is so fat, because of this poeple's money and fat life. But full of lie. He drive, he eat, he talk(bussiness), and live like he is popstar. There is no way he look like pastor. He did not even mentiion one word from bible. 
all is money, dollar, dollar, dollar, dollarhow paster take the stage to talk about dollar???"
Comments on Molalegn's weight may seem a little ill spirited, but if you watch the video you won't find anyone else who's managed to acquire such a quintessentially Western complaint.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Gunning for God (John Lennox) - Hitler and the atheist baptisms

You may be aware that Mohandas Gandhi was posthumously baptised into the Mormon faith. The same industrious folk also converted the parents of famed Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. The noteworthy are not their sole targets; their net is cast so wide that a performer in this proxy baptism charade sued the church for back injuries sustained while performing two hundred immersions.

When first I heard of these tales I pictured two fresh-faced elders of the Mormon church, dressed in trademark black slacks and short sleeve shirts, knocking at the doors of hell and asking politely if they could take the insipid word of Joe Smith to the complex's residents. I dismissed it as an oddity, peculiar to the Latter Day Saints.

Until I found John Lennox trying a similar trick.

Considering the multitudes in his ambitious plan I hope he has opted not to perform proxy immersions. Rather than attempting to swell the ranks of Christianity his goal is to deplete them. Throughout Gunning for God he strives to separate the wheat from the chaff. The True ChristiansTM are kept and celebrated, those he discards as failing his almighty judgement are assigned to the atheist pile.