Sunday, August 03, 2014

Before "Christianity in Crisis" and "Strange Fire" There was "Marjoe"

Back in the 1990's there appeared two much-needed books documenting and exposing the heretical doctrines and deviant practices that had found a home in Pentecostalism: Christianity in Crisis and Counterfeit Revival  by Hank Hanegraaff. Both of these books were valuable contributions by a Christian writer dedicated to the health and sanctification of the church. Recently the church has also benefited from the Strange Fire conference and book. There have also been contributions by non-Christians that have some value, for instance James Randi's The Faith Healers. While Randi appears to be bent on destroying the Church, one should not deny the value of his work exposing the deceit and trickery of some of the faith healers.

Recently I came across a documentary from the early 1970's infiltrating and exposing some of the deviant practices of American Pentecostalism: Marjoe. Marjoe Gortner had been raised in Pentecostalism, and was himself a novelty within the movement being ordained as a preacher at four years old. As an adult in the early 1970's, Marjoe traveled the Pentecostal circuit with a film crew bent on exposing the movement. In the film, Gortner is accepted by a number of churches as a gifted preacher, none of which realized that he didn't believe a word of what he was preaching, nor did they realize the film crew was making a documentary to attack Pentecostalism. The documentary eventually won the 1972 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

I found the film quite disturbing and even at times blasphemous. On the other hand,  the film does capture some of the fraudulent practices of Pentecostalism. In understanding those people seeking to be caught up in a frenzied / emotional worship service, this movie is a valuable contribution.

I found the video below on the Internet Archive.


steve said...

As long as you wear rubber gloves before you touch the Anointed Ones. Otherwise, you might be electrocuted! :-)

James Swan said...

I would certainly be curious to read a review of Hays watching Marjoe. Obviously, I'm more used to reading Tblog reviews of the current offerings from Hollywood.

steve said...

Of course, boy-preachers are a stable of Pentecostalism. Kids are good at imitating adults. Style is everything. Apostate Hector Avalos is one example of many. I personally knew another.

Like Hollywood child starts, it tends to end badly.

steve said...

That should read "staple" rather than "stable," although you could take that as a pun on the sawdust trail.

Scott Backle said...

it reminded me of an old Little Rascals show with Spanky is the minister. This is Charles Finney and Pelagianism gone amok