Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mount Zion Family Life Church

Graham Dacre the millionaire second hand car dealer turned preacher (the man behind the academy bid in Norwich) recently merged his Drayton Hall Church with Mount Zion Family Life Church to form the Norwich Family Life Church.

There’s a strong tradition amongst the Pentecostalists of charismatic preachers forming their own churches or splitting from an existing congregation. Mount Zion Family Life Church was founded forty years ago by “Doctor” Sedley Pimlott (he was awarded a doctorate by the Logos International Seminary in Miami in February 1992). He died in 2006, but his sons Alan, Trevor and Bud (dynastic succession is another common thread) are listed as pastors of the new church along with Graham Dacre.

From their web site you won’t divine much about their beliefs or values, they do however state,

‘Over the years we have had the privilege of hosting a range of world-class speakers who have spoken into the life of our church. They have included Rick Godwin, Ed Cole, Henry Hinn, John Bevere and Phil Dooley (Hillsong United.)’

The list is a virtual ‘Who’s Who’ of Pentecostalism. Looking at their web sites one thing is clear – “Shop”, “Store” and “Donate” feature very prominently. The Biblical quote, that ‘It's easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven’ or St. Chrysostom’s maxim that, ‘the rich man is a thief’, don’t make an appearance. If you’re used to economically challenged clergy think again, when it comes to the Pentecostalists with the ‘prosperity gospel’ their mansions, fleets of cars and expensive clothes are merely a sign that God has blessed their ministry.

Pentecostalist web sites are full of personal attacks on rivals, obscure Biblical quotes and arcane disputes. To save you trawling through here’s my guide to the preachers that Mount Zion Family Life Church has ‘had the privilege of hosting’.

Henry Hinn

Henry and his more famous brother Benny represent the faith healing branch of Pentecostalism. In a rich country with free and comprehensive health cover you might have a benign attitude and view them as charlatans. This interview with Henry Hinn about Kenya puts things in a different light.

‘The presence of God in these crusades is what heals the sick. But there is a peak that takes place, there's a certain peak, I call it the 'miracle peak' where my brother leads worship, leads the presence of God, leads worship where the presence of God comes, and there is, there's about maybe less than ten minutes, 15 minutes, I call it the time of miracles. If you know the peek it reaches, that's when people receive. That lady in a wheelchair was back there with this tumor big huge wheelchair. She could only move with her hands. The wheels are in her hands, huge. Here she sees her sitting there crying among the crowd, and she's screaming. I go down there sand all over my shoes. A million people squeeze. Here's God almighty, the Lord himself, you feel His presence out there and this lady's tumor falls off the wheelchair and bursts behind her in the wheelchair and I get the privilege of seeing people who are sick and seeing them healed. And what a privilege that is for me to be able to see what God is doing.’

Rick Godwin

His most famous book is ‘Exposing Witchcraft in the Church’. The main root of witchcraft is rebellion. As Christianbook.com explains –

‘Godwin defines witchcraft as rebellion, based on 1 Samuel 15:23 ("for rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft..."). At the root of witchcraft, according to Godwin, is rebellion. How does this manifest itself in the lives of people? In three main ways: manipulation, domination, and intimidation. According to Godwin, "whenever you run into these three things, an evil spirit lurks not far behind." He feels that if manipulation, domination or intimidation are present, then so is witchcraft, because witchcraft is the use of power for an illegitimate reason or from an illegitimate source.’

Rick seems to be obsessed with it, don’t mention Salem anyone.

Ed Cole

Founded the Christian Men’s Network, Ed advises us that, ‘Men were born to be champions, heroes’, and he has some practical advice about condoms

“ [they] don’t protect people, they protect lifestyle. Condoms are porous with each pore approximately fifty micra. Human sperm is 400 micra and cannot pass through. But the HIV virus is 4 micra. Four dozen passing through is not a guarantee of protection from disease. Safe sex is done with your wife. No wife, no sex.”

Abortion “is too often an atonement for the consequences of immorality, the sins of the parents.”

Evolution? “Believing in evolution is believing in the unproved, while believing in Christ is believing in the proven.”

Ed Cole died in 2002 his legacy are his ‘Coleisms’ and they run to 939 items, whatever you do don’t go there…

John Bevere

Was one of Benny Hinn’s personal assistants before he branched out on his own and established Messenger International. His wife Lisa figures prominently on their web site (allegations of nepotism are never far away).

Phil Dooley

Hillsong United are the youth movement of the creationist Assemblies of God Church in Australia.

I strongly believe in freedom of thought and religion. I’ll defend the right of creationists, the ‘Flat Earth Society’ and the Aurelians to propagate their views. I just don’t want them running our schools…


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