When Vessels Break (Mike Guglielmucci and Healer)

53

Mike Guglielmucci, "Healer" Author

Dear Worship Community,

I write this article today from my home office and studio.  Looking outside my windows I can see the rain and wind increasing from Tropical Storm Fay.  Although she is located several hours south of our home I can see and feel her presence.  As the sky grows darker and more ominous I can’t help but think of the storm we’ve encountered over the last twenty four hours in the world’s worshiping communities.

Breaking across the news, forums, blogs, and twitter we all became aware of a great disappointment involving Mike Guglielmucci, author of the smashing hit song, “Healer”.  Many who are familiar with this song and Mike’s story would read this and immediately think “Mike has passed away.  He lost his battle with cancer”.

Thankfully, that is not the disappointment and sorrow that we embraced yesterday.  On the contrary, we were informed of a totally different, sad situation … the news that Mike Guglielmucci’s story of his terminal disease, his battle with cancer, and who knows what else …. was a lie.  While we can rejoice that our brother in Christ does not have cancer, we grieve for the reality that He felt it necessary to create a lie that would spread around the world. One of the original stories was published in this Australian news site.

So as worshipers, many of whom have promoted this song, the now-famous video testimony, and the recordings, we find ourselves tossing back and forth with waves of emotion including anger, grief, frustration, bitterness, pity … and the list goes on and on.  Many of us have shown the video of this false testimony to our churches, our friends, and even our sick loved ones.

This comes on the heels of continued announcements of sin and moral failure from other well-known ministers including Todd Bentley of the “Lakeland Revival”.

Events like these invoke such incredible emotions and questions.  With today’s technology it’s not uncommon for a person, a song, a ministry, or an event to become world-famous within a few weeks.  How do we handle the fame?
How do we address the elevation of people and songs into the world’s view?  More importantly – how do we handle it when these “vessels” break?

The news came pouring into my inbox  yesterday morning.  I was scheduled to lead an hour of worship and prayer at my home church, St. Simons Community Church.  I arrived for prayer, sat down at the keyboard, and looked across the congregation.  With authentic disclosure I leaned into the mic and said, “I don’t want to be here.  I don’t want to worship.  I don’t want to sing.  I’m frustrated.  I’m disappointed and disillusioned”.  Jumping into a super-spiritual time of worship would have been fake and fabricated – just as much as the story Mike Guglielmucci has told us.  I gave a quick, 2-3 minute recap of the morning’s events and just sat back for prayer.

One of the men in the congregation spoke out and brought forth a reading from God’s Word that I believe is incredibly relevant to this situation.

15 It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16 The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17 The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.

18 But what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice,

Philippians 1:15-18 (NIV)

I love how “The Message” translation covers verses 18-19:

18 So how am I to respond? I’ve decided that I really don’t care about their motives, whether mixed, bad, or indifferent. Every time one of them opens his mouth, Christ is proclaimed, so I just cheer them on! And I’m going to keep that celebration going 19 because I know how it’s going to turn out.

Men and women of God, we must remember this truth.  God has given us His light.  We are to be His glory here in the earth.  However, the all-wise God of the Universe chose to put Himself in us, a people who despite all the wonderful glory of God are “prone to wander” as the hymn writer of “Come Thou Fount” so poetically puts it.

Paul speaks to this in 2 Corinthians:

7 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all‑surpassing power is from God and not from us. (2 Cor. 4:7)

We are these earthen, clay vessels.  The thing about earthen, clay vessels is that they are fragile.  They can break.  So when vessels break, how do we respond?  Biblical discipline should be exercised through the local church.  I’m grateful to see this is happening.  The position of influence and honor should be removed.  Restoration should begin.  Healing should be sought.  Prayer should be offered.

As I have pondered these events, I’m somewhat at peace by the reminder that none of this surprised God.  He wasn’t caught off guard.  As much as this sin and failure grieves Him and His Church, He is still in control.

We do not know the heart or motives of Mike Guglielmucci, Todd Bentley, or other ministers who have had their sins exposed on a worldwide level.  We certainly must confess that we’re all capable of such sin.  We must ask ourselves how the Church would respond if all of our secret sins, thoughts, motives, and selfish ambitions were exposed for the world to see.

With this in mind, we have to ask ourselves this question – does the breaking of the vessel disqualify what the vessel produced?  Is the song tainted?  Honestly, the true motive behind the creation of these lyrics and this beautiful, anthemic melody is still unknown.  We cannot (and should not) accurately judge that at this time with our limited information.  Still, aren’t these lyrics still true?  Do they not express God’s redemption and healing grace?  Do they not uplift and edify the sick, the weak and the weary?

Lastly, could it be that God will use any vessel (weak, strong, broken, tainted) to accomplish His will? I believe we can go to Scripture and see God using the weak to confound the wise.  He uses wicked Kings and rulers to further His plan.  He uses prostitutes and yes, even donkeys.  He uses you and me.

These actions, like Tropical Storm Fay, are sending out their effects.  The rock has been thrown into the water, and the ripples are racing across time.  How will we, the Church, respond?  Despite our frustration, let’s allow the local church and those in authority over these “broken vessels” their freedom to exercise discipline.  For the rest of us, let us pray.  Pray earnestly for those affected.  Pray that God will be glorified in the midst of failure.  Pray that “in our weakness, He will be strong”.  Pray for wisdom to those involved in the music industry that have supported this song.  Pray for Planetshakers, Hillsongs, and for Integrity Music.  Pray for the tens of thousands of Believers that will be discouraged by high profile, public failure.

I believe You’re my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You’re my Portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need
My Healer, You’re my Healer
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands

As for me ….

I STILL BELIEVE.

Discussion ongoing in our forums.  Or post your comments right here.

  • you got it fred…I wrote some similar stuff on my site today…dead on…great chat last night by the way

  • Ben

    Beautiful…thanks Fred.

  • Pingback: Healer Thoughts: Now what? « CECWorship (Worship Resources)()

  • this has definitely been a shot to the gut…i’m thankful for your honest response and sharing that with us…i’m thankful for this song and what it has meant to me in the past few weeks…i pray that God will bring restoration and healing, that He alone can bring…

    i still believe!!!

  • Fred – thanks so much for this. A great perspective to a horribly difficult and destructive situation. I’ll be sure to link this when I blog about this situation today. I was going to just ignore the whole thing and let others speak about it – but it’s too important not to talk about.

  • Pingback: FredMcKinnon.Com » Blog Archive » When Vessels Break (Healer, the Day After)()

  • You are absolutely right. I don’t know why, but I’ve just kind of assumed that the worship community was immune to the same kind of scandals generated in the pulpit. Something about the “genuineness” required to lead worship made me think that this kind of thing wouldn’t happen in our community. Wrong! This is an important wake up call for me, for us all.

  • I remember several years ago now when Jay Bakker came to town and spoke at a very rigidly fundamental church and really rocked some people. He spoke a little about his father’s own moral failure and how it affected him. The one thing that sticks in my head is how he said people acted about and around his father before the truth came out; how he was placed on a pedestal and treated as some demi-god, but when he fell, suddenly people were shocked that he was only human after all. And then everyone left him for dead. Even his mother bore a great deal of scorn afterward, even to her death. He spoke of Jimmy Swaggart, who similarly fell from the grace of the public eye, as he fell from the Way.

    We have a great ability as the Church to devour our wounded, when Jesus came to seek that which was lost, and heal that which is broken. We SHOULD pray- pray for these and others who finds themselves on a mountain top, only to get knocked down by their own humanity. We ARE all broken, and none are righteous. Even the apostle Paul called himself the chief among sinners.

    But ours is the ministry of reconciliation. And not just to one another, but more importantly to God. And that is the prayer we should be praying now for Mike and Todd, and for each of us as we battle with our humanity. And not just praying, but reaching out to these Brothers “as though God were making his appeal through us… Be reconciled to God.” This is how they will know we are Christ-followers, by the Love and Grace we show, and not ours, but that which God has so graciously and lavishly given and shown to us.

    In the Potter’s Hand,
    JW

  • Fred,

    Truly awesome response. I can’t say how blessed I am to see the body RESPONDING to the need instead of REACTING to it. Our flesh and soul desire to lash out and murder, but God’s Spirit is full of mercy and grace in our time of need if we but ask for it.

    Thank you for loving.

  • Pingback: Reflecting on The Recent News on Mike Guglielmucci’s “Healer” | i am an offering()

  • This was so upsetting as I passed the video of his testimony on to all our launch team and to a friend who is battling cancer. As I read on another blog from a comment…we set people up to fail by exalting them above God at times. His You Tube vide, the song and on and on. This all happening doesn’t change the most important fact..that God is still on His thrown.

    I know we won’t be using the song at our services for now. We are a new church targeting young non-christians. This very scandal is why many won’t walk in the doors of a church! We don’t want one of these new attenders to hear the song…go hunt for it online and to see what has happened. We will be saving it for Nights of Worship…where a more spiritually mature crowd will come.

    My last thoughts are to pray …pray ..pray for Mike and his family. I can’t imagine being his wife and being decieved..thinking my own husband would pass away of cancer. Praying for her comfort, peace and understanding. Thanks Fred!

    Jen

  • Good word.

  • Pingback: Sojourn Music » Blog Archive » Worship Leaders and the “Cult of Personality” In The Wake Of The Mike Guglielmucci/ “Healer” Scandal()

  • Excellent, Fred. I think you bring out all the right points. Why are we ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater?

    I kind of touched on the same ideas today…

    http://mikeymo1741.blogspot.com/2008/08/michael-guglielmucci-achen-warned-you.html

  • Wow! I’m still in shock. Great article Fred. Just this morning I shared this scripture with some of our team who was wandering if we would still do the song. Which we are. God is good……all the time. His faithfulness and presence is not controlled by our lack of spirituality or Mike’s. God be with his family and his future.

  • Pingback: pigduck.com » When Pastors Fail They Drag the Church Down With Them()

  • Pingback: Oop’s I Don’t Have Terminal Cancer (part 3) - betterthanblank()

  • Pingback: Consuming Worship » Fabricated ministry: We were warned()

  • Thank you so much for your post. What a great perception. I know God still wants to heal…that is what he does. I still believe as well.

  • JGNZ

    Nice article, well thought out and obviously not spur of the moment. But a bit confused on the Todd Bentley thing. From a little reading all he has done is use ‘violence’ in healing (Smith Wigglesworth punched, threw babies etc and saw many healings and people raised many from the dead). And we should never judge someone on their outside appearance (Samuel when choosing David as king). And the secular media will always look at with misunderstanding any amount of money that flows into a christian organisation and assume greed (which as all are human is present in cases). God did not object to wealth in his provision for his kings. Love the response from most christian, that our faith is in Christ, we follow him not our earthly leaders, & that verse from Phil.

  • Pingback: Andrea C Parker()

  • Brad,

    Thanks a ton.

    Brewster – (Stephen) … praying for you guys especially.

  • Wonderful comments, everyone … I’m glad to here so many people in agreement with how we handle this.

    JGNZ – i replied via email, but apparently you’ve not heard of Todd Bentley’s public failure and resignation, due to some immoral issues, marriage issues, he’s filed for separation from his wife, now dealing with multiple accusations of immoral conduct, lying, and other abominations.

  • Pingback: » There’s A Monster At The End of This Post - BradRuggles.com()

  • Your article here is one of the best responses I’ve read to this story so far. Honest and balanced. We’re all just vessels made of earth and clay and vessels break. There, but for the grace of God, go I.

    Thank you for writing this.

  • Pingback: “Healer” author exposed… « Stef’s Random Ramblings()

  • steve

    Thanks Fred…………….very helpful perspective………….total contrast to the understandably hurtful stuff elsewhere.
    And the fact is 1 The song really is wonderful and 2 God really does heal today.

  • Where is discernment in the body of Christ today? Motives are important. I feel very sorry for the Bentley family and The Guglielmucci family as well as the individuals (Mr. Bentley and Mr. Guglielmucci) who have perpurtrated the exaggerations, embellishments, deceptions, and out-right-lies to the body of Christ and to those who are LOST and “dead in tresspasses and sin.” May God have mercy on all of us. The sheep deserve better. I pray that both Mr. Bertley and Mr. Guglielmucci will express Godly sorrow that leads to repentence–true change, not the worldly sorrow that occurs because one “gets caught’ doing wrong. They both need real correction and discipleship. They may also have to face some legal correction for their respective fraudulent words and deeds. These are serious days–get in the Word and in your prayer closet–get real with the Savior of the World. Learn to test any “word,” any “dream,” or any”prophecy” that is given in your presence. God loves us and wants to confirm what is true and what is not. Again, may the Lord have mercy on us in these difficult times.
    Sincerely,
    Teri
    In the heart of the Bible Belt
    Speaking the Truth in Love

  • chelcy

    i cant belive it

  • Hey, Really great article mate.

    If you don’t mind i will copy paste this into my blog, of course with the link and crediting you.

    Any time i do this i make it obvious to the reader that it is not my own material.

    However if you have a problem with it feel free to contact me.

    Thanks.

    Keep up the good work

    1 corinth 15:58

    :D

  • we all are weak vessels…
    His was just more public.
    You responded properly…
    with prayer…

  • Pingback: 08.24.08 Set List « The Jon Morris()

  • Kate

    “Sadly, that is not the disappointment and sorrow that we embraced yesterday.” What an interesting comment. Guglielmucci is a fraud. But it’s sad to me that you would apparently rather he died than the church face the embarrassment of his exposure as a charlatan. In fact, it speaks volumes of the attitudes found in this particular brand of ‘christianity’.

  • Kate

    Ah, I see comments on your blog are moderated. I won’t hold my breath for my comment to be posted!

  • Hi Kate,

    Your comment was published, and thanks for it. I never “read” that line that way, but can see how it sounds. I think most will understand that the “sadly” isn’t referring to the news of the fraud, not the news that he didn’t die from cancer.

    Nevertheless, I appreciate you pointing that out – I assure you, the attitude, heart, and motive behind my comment was not to celebrate either … the entire episode breaks my heart, and I hate that it’s unfolding as it is. I would’ve much rather have reported that he was miraculously healed and cured from the cancer.

    Regardless, I know God will take this instance and work it for good.

    Thanks for the remark.
    Fred

    PS: “this brand of Christianity wouldn’t hold back your comment just because you had something different to say” … your point is a good one, and well taken. Enough that I edited that line to be more clear in what I was trying to say.

  • Pingback: When Vessels Break « josh collesano()

  • Simon

    Sometimes the culture of a Christian organization can place great emphasis on its leaders. Leaders take authority and place great emphasis on their own and the congregations personal responsibility, integrity and lifestyle choices. In Christianity it is encouraged to lead by example and for the flock to imitate their leaders (Paul the apostle seems to indicate this).

    The church was never meant to be a place that set the moral standards for the rest of society. Rather the Church was a place for sinners to find redemption in community with others and God, to be restored through forgiveness to a life of love. To embrace and preserver through the inevitable sufferings of this life whilst choosing, as Jesus did, the ways of love.

    I, like Mike, am only human and when things upset me I can’t simply switch of a feeling like a light switch. In my life I find forgiveness to be a hard choice, so very hard! When I heard of this man, Mike, doing what he did I felt anger. I believe anger is a natural response, its an understandable response. What he did was serious, it was fraudulent.

    This act was his choice and the reasons why he did it do not matter, he is responsible.

    But I guess I forgive him and yet he doesn’t deserves it! I forgive him not because he deserves it but because I don’t deserve it. There is no way I deserve God’s forgiveness yet he gives forgiveness to me. And I am a great sinner.

    Now that I have felt anger, maybe betrayal, embarrassment, and disappointment I think its time to take responsibility for my reaction to this. Its ok to feel these feelings but I think once we acknowledge them they are ours to own. I can’t change what he did and if I strike out against Mike I become an even greater hypocrite than his actions have shown him to be.

    Where sinners are don’t be surprised if you find sin.

  • Donald

    Thank you for that Fred for your encouraging word :)

  • Heather

    I’ve found this very interesting. Thank you for writing the piece, when vessels break. I found it very sound and full of grace.
    I am saddened too about the revelations of Pastors whom we hold up somehow to be a great example to us yet we are baffled when they are found to be sinners. Why would we be, they are like us, yet to be perfected. In a world full of pain and suffering and temptation it is far from easy to live out our faith in a way that constantly brings glory to OUr Father.
    All we can do is continue to believe in HIM and in His goodness and to stay closer than ever to HIs WOrd.
    May all of those who are hurt by Mike G’s revelations be comforted by the Holy Spirit especially his family and those who know him personally and most feel betrayed.

  • Danielle

    As for me… I still believe… it’s more than clear he may not have cancer, but he has some other sort of psychological disease and as time passes by we’ll understand what really happened. God is still on the throne and He is still our Healer. Is it possible that as we were singing this song we were not really worshiping God, but being moved by emotions? Even a secular song can make us cry if written during tragic times… but now, stripped of carnal emotions, can we take our eyes off of Mike – he’s just a man, after all — and worship The Healer? Jehovah Rafa??? Yes, I remember praying for Mike a couple of times and in the end, I’m really glad He doesn’t have cancer and now I pray that he really “gets alone with God” and allow Him to restore his life. Ok, he may have problems with pornography, so what? Each one of has or has had problems with one thing or another… I’ll continue to worship God, I’ll still watch my “This is our God” dvd even more passionately than before! Let all the “great” leaders fall, I’ll still love Jesus, let me be the only one in the whole World, I’ll still stand up for my Creator, He’s my portion and I have nowhere else to go to… Let’s unite!

  • Neil

    Right on to Teri (comment posted) on August 22nd, 2008 3:18 pm. This comes hot on the heals of the Tod Bentley deception and should act as a bullhorn to all of us to be more discerning! Church and Christianity is much more than a show and good entertainment – test everything. Let’s get back to good teaching.

  • amanda

    Praise God he admitted to his fault not an easy thing to do in the light of how much coverage he had and where it took him, epecially knowing how the “church” was going to react to him when the truth came out.

    Just goes to show that the church should not put people on pedestals. To quick to want to make celebrities out of people. Mike and his family need the support of the leaders of the churches that put him on a pedestal in the first place they have as much egg on there faces as he does, if not more as they are supposed to be the “Spiritual ” ones and proclaim to know what is of God and what is not..

    We are all broken vessels all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Gods grace is new every morning lets stop shooting our wounded and become a restorer of broken people if we can’t do it for our own, we will never do it for the lost in the world.

  • Franco

    I am saddened, like most of you, about what happened to Mike G. But what grieves me most is the reaction of the “modern time x-tians” in treating other christians who, like all of us, made mistake and had fallen several times. First of all, Mike G. was not caught and was later exposed (as many media has published). He confessed his wrongdoing to his family and that’s where i admired him most. I have no approval of his lies but the fact that he faced the consequences of confesing his wrongdoing is a godly thing to do. Most of us, if not caught sinning, will pretend everything is well and under control and live an “ideal” christian life as a costume or a facade (somebody may comment on this and will tell me, “that’s only you. PLS. STOP THE HYPOCRISY). I am also saddened by the decision done by HILLSONG removing the song Healer even from their latest audio album. In the video album, it’s reasonable because of the nature of the video. But in the audio/cd album, in my opinion, it is not necessary. It’s like removing part of the book of Psalms because the author is a murderer/adulterer servant of God. But, that’s their business. What bothers me of their action is the thought that i’m sure is not intentional; that is if you are a servant of God, and publicly you confess that you commit a sin and with a repentant heart you are asking for forgiveness, instead of extending/lending a helping hand and a shoulder to lean on, you will be disowned, mock, set aside, erased, forgotten so better keep your sin to your self and God and live “victoriously.” If there is any moment that Mike is to sing his song Healer, that is now. Having an illness that is more dangerous than cancer (sexual sin if not repented can lead to eternal damnation) is the right time to ask God for help. And that’s what Jesus is all about, Gracious Savior. And to those who momentarily lost the knowledge of God’s grace because of gruesome, judgmental and arrogant thinking, read again the lives of King David (a man who’s after God’s heart yet sinned) and Apostle Paul on how they experienced God’s grace. And if it’s not enough, read again your life story and how God found you and make you whole again….and again…..and again….God bless you all…. >>> franco of Roxas City, Philippines & Montreal, Canada

  • Josh Regan

    Satan may have meant it all for evil, but God meant it for good, and therefore, it will be good!

  • Gecko

    Let’s not forget King David. He too sinned but he repented. I believe Mike’s confession is his first step towards repentance and restoration…

  • Franco

    please check video…very timely…speaking from the very heart of God…..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OCm99yxRZ-0

  • Jayeel Cornelio

    Not an easy issue to tackle but yes, we are to respond with compassion and hope even for Mike G. After all, each one of us has issues to face. And we know the difficulty that brings.

  • Pingback: “I still believe” « Life Between the Cities()

  • Coltrain

    Despite Phillipians 1:15-18, I think you’re reaching and stretching here.

    You don’t need to ever use this song.

    There are hundreds of thousands of songs written by sincere
    Christian musicians which speak “truth”. Forgive? Certainly.
    But continue to feed this man CCLI/CCM residual$ by u$ing
    mu$ic that was birthed in a lie, thus rewarding such behaviour?
    I don’t think so.

    While it’s not really for me to judge, I sincerely doubt his
    “addicted to porn” story either. It’s just a coverup for all
    the rest of his untenable deceptions, skillfully designed to
    conjure up maximum sympathy by the deceived.

    Who does the bible say is the “father of lies”?
    Who does the bible say is the “Way, the Truth, and the Life”?

    Yes, we’ve all sinned and fallen short.
    But that does not mean that sin does not have consequences.

    Lose the song.
    There are plenty of other better ones.

  • Florence

    To me l believe and think the message shared says it all,let look at the scriptures,it talks all that Fred has shared with us and also about restoring the week brother,we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory,but God gives us a second chance why should we deny it to our brother Mike?He needs us to support him through this time when the enemy wants him back so much in hiding of his the dark sinful ways.

  • PANALONGLEON

    I ADMIRE MIKE’S COURAGE TO ADMIT THE TRUTH AND CORRECT EVERYTHING…He may have done a mistake…But who does’nt…I am a devout Catholic…I was saved by Christ too…Mike…You are saved…Please do not loose heart…I believe, your work was directed by the Holy Spirit. We all need to pray for each other…All of us who have been saved by Christ.

  • Lewis Mhlanga

    What a blessing!!! Lie or Truth this song has blessed my faith in the Lord. Yes, when am down or through it all I play this song. God bless you Mike!!! I love you and God loves you more

  • Lewis Mhlanga

    Mike Guglielmucci keep doing what God has called you to do. Who are we to judge you?? You refresh my heart in the Lord