I was going to post today some reflections from Dave Kinnaman’s book UnChristian. The book makes the point that the term non-Christian is no longer helpful as it implies that those who do not believe are neutral towards Christianity. Kinnaman’s research discovered that young adults who are not believers actually have consciously made a choice not to be Christians. They are opposed to faith because of the example that believers and the church have set for them. They see Christians as hypocritical and judgemental.
Then this news story broke here in Australia. Mike Guglielmucci has been one of Australia’s highest profile youth ministers. For the last few years Mike has been in the fight of his life with cancer. Thousands who attended Hillsong conference this year were moved to tears as Mike sang the song Healer on stage complete with Oxygen mask. Thousands of young people have pledged money and committed to pray for Mike on Facebook and Myspace, there have been services, and prayer vigils held across the country. Then his church sent out this email this morning.
It is with great sadness that we send you this email. We wanted to tell you all in person but because others were being informed outside our church we felt it necessary to send you this correspondence. Michael Guglielmucci has informed us that he does not suffer from cancer, was never diagnosed with cancer, and has never suffered from the disease. This admission has come as a great shock to everyone including his Wife and family who had no knowledge of the matter. We know this will shock and hurt many of you and we offer you our support and prayers. Our pastoral team will be available to offer any assistance in regard to this situation. We are all saddened by this revelation and our prayers are with the Guglielmucci family. We would encourage you to take this situation to the Lord in prayer responding out of a heart of love, grace and truth. While it is difficult for all of us to understand why this happened we would encourage you all to a closer personal walk with our Lord Jesus. On Sunday we will announce the news again to the church with other relevant information that may help you in dealing with this matter from a personal point of view. We love you all dearly and would hate for this information to hurt you in any way. We are praying for you all. We want the best for you all.
Read news report here Preacher Michael Guglielmucci faked terminal illness
I feel a sense of sadness for the guy that he has gotten so low as to get to this level of deception, and grace always abounds. But to be honest I feel more sad for my country today. A country that is so cynical about the gospel, so hardend, and as this story splashes across our media today, millions of Aussies will have another excuse to reject faith. I feel sad for the thousands of young adult believers who now have another excuse to be cynical about their faith. My heart breaks for those people out there who are facing genuine terminal and serious illnesses who found solace and hope in Mike Guglielmucci’s false testimony.
If you do have a moment today remember the Church in Australia in prayer.