Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Craig Marsh and the anonymous performance review

I've been contacted by a former worker at one of Craig Marsh's shows. They've wanted to tell their story for some time now but have been concerned about community reprisals. I'll be respecting their request for anonymity, but if you have any questions based on the below please add a comment and I'll e-mail the author for clarification.

The year was, 2006 (I think), the month, March (I think) and Craig Marsh had arrived to conduct a multi-day mission.

I say 'I think' because it could have been the previous October, or both, I didn't keep much of a record about the dates I'm afraid.

(I got the date from here but that's the event I was involved with).

I also attended two other shows when he returned to the area for shorter events but I don't have dates for those.

My role at these events was to control the visuals: a PC connected to the projector. I had to put the song lyrics on screen so that people could sing along (it's surprisingly stressful) and to display slides for Craig, as and when, but he didn't give much direction for the slides.

The slides themselves consisted of photos of people Craig claims to have healed and of places he had visited. The ones I remember are the rather awful skin diseases and infections that are prevalent in Africa. There were children present and I felt uncomfortable showing them. I think there were before and after photos but nothing more substantial; no mention was made as to whether or not conventional medicine was administered or the exact nature of the illnesses; details are boring and don't make for good entertainment. There were no slides of any of the medical records of Craig himself though.

I hardly spoke to Craig during the entire time I was there and I don't remember him thanking me. I must have done at least three or four nights in total at the big event and I worked at two other events at different times as I mentioned above. On stage he exudes the usual charisma that you'd expect from a faith healer but he wasn't over the top (mostly) but he certainly dramatised things. In person he seemed hard to talk to and distant, almost curt.

The evenings were run of the mill. Singing, prayer, Craig's testimonies, Craig's preaching, Craig's prayers etc etc repeat ad nauseum. People would go up for prayer and healing, people would fall over at the right moment as they were expected to. I soon got tired of his testimony except for one night where he mentioned that his son is an atheist, I found that interesting. If his miraculous healing didn't convince his own son, something must be amiss. (I don't know how many children he has though).

Another moment during one of his talks pricked my ears. Craig was talking about how healings had been going on during previous nights (I don't recall anything of the sort except for people claiming to 'feel better') and he mentioned that during the previous night someone's leg had miraculously grown and that her parents had to buy her new clothes. I presume some child had a significant length difference with their legs and Craig was claiming to have healed it. First of all I don't understand why they would have to buy new clothes if only one leg grew, and secondly I was there the previous night and no such healing occurred and surprise surprise, the family wasn't there to testify. I had the distinct feeling that he knew this, and that therefore he was lying.

Naturally he would plug his books and his CDs and his wife was ready to sell these from a small stall at the end of each evening. It was a tiny stall and I don't think sales were very brisk. But the most vulgar thing that happened during the event was the money collection. At some point during proceedings the ushers would pass round these buckets for people to put money or cheques in. They were shaped like a dustbin but were bright red and somewhere around a foot to a foot and a half tall if memory serves me correctly and there must have been nearly a dozen of them. Now, I don't know to whom this money went but Craig must get some of it, he runs a ministry after all, and has lots of travel to pay for.

That's my experience of Craig in a nutshell. He's just a run of the mill faith healer who doesn't produce results but likes to make fantastic claims and whip the crowd into a frenzy. I think these kind of people are subconsciously highly insecure in their faith and they continue with this charade because if they didn't they would implode and realise it's all a sham. They don't see any miracles happening yet they yearn for them as some kind of proof of their beliefs. What better way to satisfy themselves than to indulge their fantasy and be the one 'performing' those long sought after miracles.


St Badger said...

He really should just scan those x-rays so we can all see them for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting on this. The Unbelievable podcast was interesting. I was eager for follow up on this issue (and the results are unsurprising). I wonder if Justin Brierly will comment on it. I also noticed in the podcast Justin Brierly exaggerated a miracle claim he had heard only a moment prior (while continuing, I believe, to express incredulity that the miracle claims of Jesus's followers could have been exaggerated in the "short time" between his life and the time when the gospels were being written.


Anonymous said...

Craig Marsh was my pastor in the late 90's for a short time. He was everything your writer explains here, but in our little church in rural New Zealand. He was stood down and charged with serious misconduct as a pastor (use your imagination - there are only a few things you can do to make that happen) and the New Zealand Assemblies of God stripped him of his Pastors credentials. We found out that not long afterwards his charisma had managed to help him get "friends" to organise pastors credentials from another denomination. He must have managed to convince his wife and all his friends to believe our church to be full of liars. The AOG executive investigation into the whole mess would disprove that. Every now and then I google his name to check up on him, hoping that he has not caused any more devastation, only to find that people think he is wonderful. He is very very clever. Our church people suffered greatly from the lies of this man. We found out many untruths after he had left. We never ever ever saw any x-rays or proof that his stomach had been operated on. We as a couple watched him exqaggerate and embelish stories and situations to the people that we knew were not correct, but we were youngish christians and were completely manipulated by his compliments and his presence. After he left, our church was in an awful mess. Integral, wonderful people had to leave. Many people were extremely damaged and some still suffering today. It has taken years and years to lift this spirit of control off our church. Mr Marsh never apologised or asked forgiveness. I dont see how he can go on and preach and profess to be so wonderful when he has damaged so many and never said he is sorry. Stay very very far away from this man!
And the only reason I am staying anonymous is because I dont trust this man.

sabersun said...

good luck with these craig. I know the truth. I can tell everyone, everything!!

femalekiwi said...

It will come as no surprise to many Christians that Craig Marsh has been criticized & lied about... Satan must be working overtime to stop such an awesome ministry... the many healings, excellent teachings, people who are saved during Craigs & Jennys meetings would by far outnumber any perceived wrongdoings reported by the said AOG patrons & I feel sorry for those people as it is all hearsay & I pity other unfortunate people who may have believed these rumors. Who would believe this person who acts as if they are speaking for the many? Craig & Jenny are awesomely Blessed & they are good people, they deserve better than this... it is sad their lives are blighted by the spreading of these malicious untrue rumors... God works through some people more than others & he works powerfully through this amazingly dedicated couple - God Bless them both & you all... if you get the chance to attend a healing meeting you will know the Truth & it will set you Free... I have witnessed many healings & seen first hand the Holy Spirit moving during their meetings.

Edwardtbabinski said...

Questions for Keener in the comments section of this post:

Phyllis said...

Believe in God, Trust in GOd, have FAITH IN GOD. NOT CRAIG!

4th3157 said...

Craig Marsh popped into my consciousness again recently so I decided to do some searching to see what he's up to.

Apparently things haven't gone well for him recently. So much so that he and his wife set up a fundraising campaign to save their house:

"Over the past 15 months due to several family related deaths and health issues plus a bad vehicle crash late last year in which Craig suffered head injuries they have not been able to minister for quite some time.

Craig and Jenni are now facing the very real probability of losing their family home and now is the time for us to rise up and bless and help this couple who have given so much in ministry to the nations."

Half of me doesn't trust the story, it's a bit light on the details and I don't trust him to tell the truth for other reasons. However, if it's true then he has my sympathy. It doesn't look like they raised enough money though (praise the Lord for his blessings eh?). I don't take pleasure in using people's misfortune to make a point but in the case of Christianity, such situations are directly and critically relevant to the issue of whether or not Christianity is true. Personally I would expect God to do more than he ever seems to do, especially for the highly devoted. It's almost like he's not actually real.

Anyway, it looks like Craig is not doing ministry any more (his website is down but is back in New Zealand trying to set up a house-sitting business. I guess it's because they don't have a house of their own?