Twenty years ago I was interviewed for a BBC programme that would cover Morris Cerullo’s Mission to London. I was pastor of the church that had been his first UK headquarters, my office was his old office and I’d inherited a load of newspaper clips and walking sticks from the various evangelists who had preached there in the 1960s and 70s.
They wanted to cover a controversy related to fundraising mail shots and for me to say certain things about Morris himself, but I argued against the latter explaining people really did get healed. Nonetheless they pushed and pushed, which annoyed me. Afterwards they even telephoned and asked me to return as I hadn’t said a specific phrase they wanted me to! I point blank refused. Typically the only part of the interview they used was about the fundraising letters, but Morris Cerullo handled this extraordinarily well. He was gracious, factual, self controlled and never at any point got personal.
Twenty years on I’ve seen a lot. Is a fundraising letter really so bad compared to usury? Churches mortgage themselves to the hilt and borrow way over what they can afford. Is even a badly written fundraising letter worse than a denomination chucking a whole congregation out of their building to secure an income, turning congregations into 10% fee payers in the guise of a tithe or buying shares in pay day loan companies? Against all this a fundraising letter seems upfront! Looking back, like Morgan Freeman in the Shawshank Redemption, I’d tell that young man, “hey young fellow, tell them the gospel, then get up and walk!’
This is Morris Cerullo’s last Mission to London. May it be blessed!