Planetshakers Insider

Musings on Life, the Christian Journey and being a part of Planetshakers City Church

The 12 Lies of Michael Guglielmucci – Is Church Culture To Blame?

with 57 comments

During Michael Guglielmucci’s time as Youth Pastor at Planetshakers City Church, “Pastor Mike” experienced (and in many cases, was miraculously “healed” of):

  • Glandular Fever
  • A Blood Clot in his brain
  • A Brain Tumor
  • A Burst Ear Drum
  • A broken leg
  • 33 other broken bones, including
  • 2 broken arms,
  • 8 broken bones in his back
  • 2 Broken hips
  • and several broken ribs
  • Multiple Myelomas – a rare bone cancer usually reserved for old men
  • And a blood cancer diagnosis that gave him just 9 months to live.

Sadly, it has surfaced in the past week that Pastor Mike Guglielmucci is a fake, a fraud, a phoney. Pastor Mike was not suffering from a rare and deadly cancer… He wasn’t sick at all. It was part of an elaborate faith act, and it is reported that Pastor Mike is now undergoing psychological counselling.

Pastor Mike didn’t just get away with it – he thrived as a result of his lie. A song he wrote during a low-point of his suffering, “Healer”, debuted at #2 on the ARIA charts.

He conned tens of thousands of Christian youth, including thousands of people at his home church – Planetshakers City Church.

Laid out like this, you might ask “Why didn’t someone pick up on this before?” – “Why didn’t someone question his claims?”

I can’t speak for other churches that Pastor Mike Guglielmucci had spoken at…

But at Planetshakers, the problem comes down to church culture.

The culture responsible? – “Don’t question – just believe…”

Lee Grady of Charisma Magazine had something to say about this in a recent article on Todd Bentley’s Florida Outpouring – an equally scandalous recent affair…

“But among those who jumped on the Lakeland bandwagon, discernment was discouraged. They were expected to swallow and follow… [people were told] ‘any criticism of Todd Bentley is demonic’…”

“Swallow and Follow”… I’ve also heard it less flatteringly referred to as “drink the kool-aid”.

Essentially – if you question leadership, you are rebelling; you’re a divisive influence; and in some cases, you’re satanic.

While it may be true that constant questioning of authority would be divisive, without scrutiny – what accountability do we have?

Could this be at the root of the Mike Guglielmucci fraud scandal?

Having been involved with Planetshakers City Church for several years, a “swallow and follow” culture has certainly been something I have noticed at the church.

Senior Pastor, Russell Evans, goes to lengths to stress the importance of this culture – in church leadership training courses, and in sermons.

In Planetshakers’ course on the core values of the church (DNA), it’s described in its most positive light – as “Unity”, “Dwelling Together”.

From the DNA Study Manual:

“God will never bless disunity. If you are struggling with an issue against a brother or sister in the church then you need to deal with the issues and come to the place of unity.”

Fair enough – this sounds quite positive…

…But what does “deal with the issues” actually look like – particularly under the light of church scrutiny?

From the pulpit, (a 2007 sermon, and a 2006 DNA course) Senior Pastor Russell Evans has explicitly referred to Planetshakers as being led solely under his annointing – and if people don’t like the way something’s run, they should either deal with it or get out (even going so far as to recount asking people to leave the church after they criticised Planetshakers.)

So how can wisdom and discernment exist when scrutiny is seen as disunity, and results in excommunication?

Yes, we should test wisdom against scripture…

But this is not enough!

In Matthew 4:1-11, Satan tempts Jesus using scripture taken directly from the bible itself.

The pharisees beliefs were based on biblical scripture.

And, Mike Guglielmucci did the same while faking cancer – quoting scripture, and writing poignant and biblically-correct Christian worship music.

So this is not enough.

Planetshakers – Pastors Russell and Sam Evans – it’s time to stop drinking the kool-aid and start putting thought into the way accountability works inside Planetshakers City Church.

Planetshakers is a fantastic church – it’s because I like Planetshakers that I feel compelled to write on its failings in the hope that through honest and constructive criticism, the foundation of the church can be strengthened.

It’s a shame that, while the current church culture of criticism resulting in excommunication exists, this is the only way that I might potentially be able to communicate this with the leadership of my own church though…

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Written by Planetshakers Insider

August 22, 2008 at 6:21 pm

57 Responses

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  1. I thought this was a very sensitive and thought provoking post. I have been very concerned about the culture of non questioning in charismatic churches. Jesus would expect us to exercise discernment and to question is not necessarily divisive.

    Francis

    August 22, 2008 at 7:11 pm

  2. I think to put the blame on planetshakers leadership is wrong. He fooled his wife, his family, planetshakers, hillsong, manifest and every other church out their. I don’t think it’s a question of accountability or someone having discernment that he was lying. No-one had a clue, this was a total curve ball for everyone. I think Pastor Russell and Sam’s hearts are in the right place, and it’s wrong to tar everyone with the same brush….

    Rachael

    August 22, 2008 at 8:46 pm

  3. Who would question Michael Guglielmucci?
    I come from a church that hosted Michael during his supposed illness. I have read comments that church culture is to blame for letting this go for such a long time, and maybe they are right. But who would really question someone who says they have cancer? I could understand, if a person who had a reputation as being a chronic lier and their character was not up to scratch, but Michael come’s from a pastor’s family, he preaches according to the Bible, has seen many come to Jesus, he was in the circle of ‘genuine’ leaders who I trust. So it would be completely out of character for anyone to question the legitimacy of his claim. The leaders I know are genuine, and they too were deceived by Michael’s claims. It has shocked me, and I’m still coming to terms with the weight of his decisions that have affected more people than I first realised. So as most people are saying, we should pray for Michael, and forgive.

    Liam

    August 22, 2008 at 9:15 pm

  4. I totally agree that we are reaping the fruits of the culture and theology of the churches involved. I recently left one of the churches whose reputation will be damaged by Mike’s actions. This church highly values worldly achievements, fame, riches and success and their theology is built around these things. Perhaps Mike felt pressure in a culture of excellence and polished performances to do something which would make him feel like he fit the bill. Perhaps he justified it to himself that his lies would further the cause of the church and that he somehow deserved to be rich through his ministry because that’s what certain church doctrines have told him.

    To me, the limelight, fame, money, glory, stadiums, expensive conferences, aria chart that certain churches value SO much does not always glorify God but instead glorifies man (or the church brand). It is very tempting for preachers/worship leaders to fulfill their own desires through the church. I have been around these circles for a long time and have seen what goes on in the background and i think the church needs to really question whether we should make pop stars of our worship leaders and treat our leaders like gods. It is plain unhealthy and another word for it is idolatry. We are doing our leaders a disservice putting them in such positions of temptation and taking glory away from Jesus. We are all equal in God’s eyes and He desires us to be humble not full of pride or disguising competitiveness as “striving for excellence”!

    I think when churches begin to value image, talent, money, entertainment and charisma rather than the word of God, character, and integrity we seriously need to worry. We need to get back to what God sees as excellent and not what the world does.

    I think this drama/song by Jason Upton illustrates very clearly what is happening in some of our churches. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MSDYX1DErfs

    All I hope is that those in leadership in the churches involved will take a look at themselves and look at what their culture and theology has created to rather distancing themselves from Mike to protect their image. Then hopefully something good will come out of all this.

    I love the church and don’t want to judge any particular group or person. I am just tired of the fake performances, empty worship and abuse of God’s bride by certain sections of the church. Too much is at stake here. The church needs to go back to basics and back to God’s word.

    Gen

    August 22, 2008 at 10:12 pm

  5. I don’t know your name because you don’t provide it.

    You hide behind the veil of anonymity and you think you can do that with integrity. As if.

    If you have something to say, put your name to it. If you can or won’t have the courage to do that, don’t say it.

    All you’re doing, no matter how wise you think you are, is adding to the problem.

    You cannot achieve godly ends by ungodly means. Think about that.

    Please either put your name to this blog, or shut it down.

    Just quieten down for a moment and allow the conviction of the Holy Spirit to tell you what’s going on in your motives, coz I believe you will hear him say that this project of yours is not right.

    So much damage is done on the Internet every day by people “on the inside” who gossip and slander, all the while trying to sanctify their sin with the nonsense that they actually “love” the organisation in question, and that their motives are pure.

    I totally do not buy that, and I am asking you to either put your name to this or shut it down.

    -Alister

  6. There have been lots of people say “why didn’t other ministers/gifted people etc… pick up on these lies”. One person posting on Mark Conner’s blog alluded to the fact that others had had prophecies/words of knowledge that confirmed what Mike said, or else had words that were along the same vein regarding healing.

    Is any of this going to be questioned? I hope that Mike isn’t the only one who faces consequences for this, and that anyone who has had a word or prophecy about Mike would be removed form their position of trusted prophet.

    Hamish

    August 23, 2008 at 3:08 am

  7. Very interesting points.

    Thanks for clarifying my point about Mike Guglielmucci’s involvement. I should have stressed the point that Mike Guglielmucci wasn’t as actively involved with Planetshakers – however his actively involvement did continue for two albums and several months after his diagnosis, and Planetshakers actions after left Mike Guglielmucci only served to confirmed his illness.

    Sadly, I have to agree with you about this confirmation.

    In addition to this, people even had words of prophecy about his healing, and the church community continued to pray for his healing from cancer. For me, this is the most sad and embarrassing. 😦

    Planetshakers Insider

    August 23, 2008 at 1:35 pm

  8. I think you’ll find that Mike wasn’t really involved with Planet Shakers for the last 2 years during his ‘cancer’. Maybe you shouldn’t be so negative towards Russell in that way.

    Josh

    August 23, 2008 at 3:38 am

  9. We should revisit the qualifications for ordination laid down by Paul in the Bible.
    We should also address the contemporary church’s secular methods – which date back as far as the Queensland Assembly of God’s reluctance to embrace the charismatic movement, choosing instead to substitute secular methods for renewal.

    BR

    August 23, 2008 at 5:13 am

  10. Your post is evidently borne out of love and loyalty, and I am so relieved to finally come across a fellow member whose love and concerns for the church run as deep as mine.
    I wrote a long letter to church leadership recently to humbly point out a few questionable things taking place within shakers and have yet to be excommunicated. I don’t believe we should be bound by the fear that we might be told to leave and let that stop us from speaking out of love. I for one, searched my heart for a long time and made sure it was in the right place, without judgement or condemnation before I wrote. Our leaders might miss a thing or two (or more) at times but from personal experience, I also know that when a member speaks out of love and edification rather than judgement and condemnation, they are always open to listening. Matt 18:15 came to mind, but I also made sure to check off James 1:19/Galatians 6:1-2 before I proceeded (presentation, wisdom and discernment is vital, arrogance and a judgemental attitude will so much sooner destroy your cause then you know because our leaders, they are still human). I would encourage you to pray and then write to them as well if the Spirit leads you. Bless you! xx

    ST

    August 23, 2008 at 6:36 am

  11. Sorry, I should also add that I am a firm believer that Ps Russell & Sam’s hearts are in the right places but I also believe we are a Body with many functions for a reason (1Cor 12).

    ST

    August 23, 2008 at 6:47 am

  12. A lot of interesting comments by a lot of people!

    Francis:

    Thank you for your support and feedback

    Rachel:

    I agree with you that Russell and Sam’s hearts were in the right place. And Hillsong, Manifest, the Manisamas, Edge, Danny Guglielmucci and co – their hearts are all in the right place too. However, I also suspect that Mike Guglielmucci’s heart was in the right place too. He was doing God’s work, he was growing the body of Christ, encouraging young people’s faith, encouraging new decisions for Christ. He probably even believed the lies himself at times.

    Liam:

    I agree. It would be difficult to question someone from a respected family, who was in a position of honour in the church.

    Maybe it’s just with the benefit of hindsight that when we look at the 12 lies, including a cancer diagnosis that changed from a blood disease to a bone disease, something looks suss.

    Gen:

    Hadn’t heard that song before, but loved the lines: “World-wide is your strategy; But shinning star I hope you see; If the whole wide world is staring straight at you; They can’t see me…” – it made me reflect about Planetshakers Malaysia, Planetshakers College Brisbane, Planetshakers Band’s world tours… Food for further thought..

    You sound like you’re having the same thoughts and frustrations as me in many ways. I wish you the best with them – I hope you’ve found a nurturing place to be since leaving your previous church.

    Alistair:

    You and I both know that neither anonymity nor distinctiveness is a hallmark of integrity in and of itself.

    Character is doing the right thing when nobody’s looking.

    You suggested that I am creating a problem.

    It’s one thing to create a problem, but it’s another to shine a light on a problem. Looking at the other comments here, it seems that many others have similar experiences – so I ask you, why is this something that lies in the shadows?

    There are several other claims you make in your comment that need substantiation: What “more godly” means should be undertaken, as you suggested? How does a name change the message as you have suggested? Which parts of this blog are slanderous, or gossip as you have suggested?

    Is this a case of “Drink the kool-aid, or get out of line; for the sake of unity”?

    “Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue. ”
    -Proverbs 17:28

    However, the Bible also says: “By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures.”
    -Proverbs 24:3-4

    “He who gets wisdom loves his own soul; he who cherishes understanding prospers.”
    -Proverbs 19:8

    Finally: “Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you; rebuke a wise man and he will love you. Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning.”
    -Proverbs 9:8-9

    In the light of this, I do appreciate your comments and I would appreciate your further guidance. It seems you’re a much wiser Christian than I, but your comment leaves open more questions, and little resolution.

    Hamish:

    Irony would tell us that Ps Mike Guglielmucci “was” healed of a cancer he was carrying around…

    Sadly, I think you’re right; many had words of prophecy about Pastor Mike. Are these fabrications too? Can any word of prophecy be trusted, even if it has supporting scripture?

    Josh:

    You say “I think you’ll find that Mike wasn’t really involved with Planet Shakers for the last 2 years during his ‘cancer’…”

    Unfortunately, you’re only partially right here.

    Pastor Mike Guglielmucci LEFT his role as Youth Pastor at Planetshakers BECAUSE he was sick from cancer. The cancer lie was fabricated during his time at Planetshakers.

    BUT he continued to be closely tied to Planetshakers long after he resigned as Youth Pastor due to “illness”.

    He wrote songs for Planetshakers albums (including “Healer”), news about his “healings” was shared with great joy at sermons, and his now infamous performance of “Healer” with breathing tube props was performed at a Planetshakers conference.

    Mike Guglielmucci was certainly involved with Planetshakers long after he stepped down as Youth Pastor.

    BR:

    You raise some interesting points that I will need to research further.

    planetshakersinsider

    August 23, 2008 at 7:39 am

  13. Hi all

    TheTruth

    August 23, 2008 at 8:04 am

  14. There is soo much that everyone can learn from this, it is such a harsh awakening but I really think that we can get way too comfortable sometimes and also place others in ministry on such great pedestal’s that can fall at anytime.

    The church and soo many people treated him like a famous rockstar, sadly this happens to soo many people involved in ministry.

    Hero’s will always fail us, we should be seeking the glory, acceptance, hope of God rather than of man.

    In alot of ways we set Mike Guglielmucci up to fail.
    Just like Hollywood, soo many famous individuals get soo burnt out on living the fame and everything that goes with it, all the people that are watching them expecting this famous individual to somehow fix and change their lives, and then they consumed and eventually break, turning to drugs or something else that in the end destroys them.

    Steve

    August 23, 2008 at 9:09 am

  15. ST:

    Missed your comment as I was replying to others.

    I agree that Ps Russell and Sam had their hearts in the right place. As I said in my previous comment though – I also believe Ps Mike Guglielmucci had his heart in the right place too.

    After all, he was seeing great results from his message, God’s kingdom was being built, people were making decisions for Christ, words of prophets were coming true… Plus, although what he said was a lie, everything he said checked out biblically when compared with the written word of God.

    Re: commenting directly to the church – I thought it was interesting to read about your letter.

    I would be interested to find out about the response you received.

    Previously, when making gentle criticism to church elders or pastors, I’ve got to be honest in saying that the comments themselves were listened to – but sadly, never taken on board or acted upon.

    Unfortunately, I’ve only ever heard the justifications for why things are done the way they are, never an acknowledgment of a problem.

    It’s the senior pastoral team who might act – but as we’ve heard in sermons, criticism risks excommunication.

    Sadly, I think this might be the best way to go for now.

    Planetshakers Insider

    August 23, 2008 at 9:47 am

  16. He wrote songs for Planetshakers albums (including “Healer”), news about his “healings” was shared with great joy at sermons, and his now infamous performance of “Healer” with breathing tube props was performed at a Planetshakers conference.

    2 things, first, he stopped writing music pretty soon after the “diagnose”. Healer was one of the last.

    The performance was at Hillsong with the tubes, he introduced Healer, again only months after the diagnose at the 07 Conference.

    On his healings, I think we actually hear very little about Mike except through the usual Church network who did support him.

    On the confirmation of healings, that is one of the most interesting questions, one that might be talked about tomorrow. If the pastor asked if he had any cancer, and he felt nothing, then it is more likely the question was wrong.

    Don’t forget that the enemy has had millenia to practice his deceptions, one with this impact was always going to be a complex one. It does prove that the Church is impacting lives though as the enemy doesn’t go to this extreme for just anybody.

    Nathan

    August 23, 2008 at 10:25 am

  17. This was really interesting…thanks for more in depth information.

    Tyler

    August 24, 2008 at 2:55 am

  18. I personally was shocked when I found out about this through a friend, and I didn’t believe it until I found all this information on the internet.

    I can’t honestly believe everyone is being so “ok” with it all….I mean I know as Christians we are meant to forgive, and Im sure I will, but I am absolutley appaulled by it all. I think that it is SICK for someone to pretend to have a life threatening disease just for their own good! I became a christian last year at Audacious in the UK, because of his preaching, and his inspriation, and now I feel conned, and so so SO angry, and upset. My friend recently died from a brain tumor, and someone close in my family has just been diagnosed with cancer.They are not christians, and one of the only things that kept me going through my friends death, and my family members diagnosis was Mike and his “healing” and that it would happen for them.

    I am just shocked….why would someone feel it was necessary to do and say these things if Jesus really does heal?? I am really questioning everything that I believe and have been taught in my year as a christian.

    I am just speechless……
    I do not think he should ever go back into ministry. Oh forgiveness and all….blah blah blah…..someone who can make up a huge lie like that and convince the entire world of it should not be in the limelight of a huge church!

    louise

    August 24, 2008 at 8:57 am

  19. Excommunication is traditionally when someone is cut out of the church – not just a church but ‘The’ Church. Paul talks about handing a man over to Satan “so that he will be taught not to blaspheme”; he tells the Corinthians that a man who had indulged in gross sexual immorality “should be removed from among you” (1 Cor 5:2). Jesus said that if your brother sins against you and doesn’t listen to the rebuke of the whole church, you should “treat him as a tax collector or sinner” – i.e. with love and compassion but not as ‘one of us’.
    For Russell Evans to tell people to get with his programme or find another church is NOT the same thing as ‘excommunication’. In today’s church culture there’s lots of different church congregations you can be a part of, and planetshakers is only one. There’s a world of difference between telling a person “you are no longer welcome as a part of the body of Christ” and “I’m doing what I think God wants me to do; if you don’t want on board, then serve God somewhere else in your own way”. Russell doesn’t deserve that particular criticism.

    Finally, regarding how people should treat Mike’s songwriting and preaching now that we know he wasn’t suffering from cancer – I know he’s got a lot of good in him, that he’s possibly suffering from mental illness, that a lot of people have been hurt. But I think this scripture from Philippians 1 is relevant:
    ” 15It is true that some preach Christ out of envy and rivalry, but others out of goodwill. 16The latter do so in love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17The former preach Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.[c] 18But 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. “

    Ben

    August 24, 2008 at 9:10 am

  20. I think you have written this well and I think you have every right to question leadership. I too have been part of a church that is pretty closely linked with Planetshakers and I do think the unity stuff and submitting to leadership can be a bit dangerous as well. Maybe this is a bit of a canary in the coalmine situation? In saying that they are all fantastic people and the failings of any one leader would never shake me that much, I just think it’s worthwhile to have a wider discussion about why this happened for so long. I’m going to be interested to hear what was said around Australia and NZ in churches today.

    kazzles

    August 24, 2008 at 11:57 am

  21. Louise:

    I pray for you, and hope you find your peace and faith again.

    Ben:

    A comment on this was left by another Planetshakers member recently. Planetshakers is a fantastic church and one that both this person and I have a heart for, but Senior Leadership would prefer to boot someone from the church than hear any sort of feedback that isn’t overwhelmingly positive.

    Kazzles:

    Thanks for your great feedback. I agree that this is a chance for us to think about how we hold leaders, and whether they should get a rock-star status…

    Planetshakers Insider

    August 24, 2008 at 2:53 pm

  22. Okay… so the dude messed up big time. Has anyone else ever messed up big time?
    The “church” everyone talks about is not a church. It’s an organisation full of strict leadership and messed up values. The CHURCH Jesus created was a body of people. Not a place. Not a building or an organisation. The CHUCH is a powerful body of people who live Christian values and love God. I’m not saying that people who “ATTEND CHURCH” don’t love God, but I think they’ve been conditioned to get it wrong. If anyone cares about what I’m saying, look up the history of Constantine and how he made Christianity a law. And then turned it into an army structure.

    And once you’ve checked this gear out, comment. Cos I want to hear people’s informed views.
    hxc_@hotmail.com
    http://www.christisall.org

    Luke

    August 24, 2008 at 3:37 pm

  23. P.S. Jesus is the Leader, not any other human ever.

    Luke

    August 24, 2008 at 3:48 pm

  24. One has to ask the question;
    Are we today in the church that far removed from our faith that we have no discernment to see the sin in the camp.
    I have scanned the headlines and feel that Planetshakers and Hillsong are taking a step back from this. Where are their responses?
    It seems they are leaving Mike out to dry… cant have the company name sullied.
    However those who had influence over Mike cannot do this. They are all accountable for his mentoring, his christian teaching, and his christian accountability. Not just his parents. Who were his mentors? Who were his Leaders? Who were his counsel?

    Where have all the Shepherds gone? Replaced by CEO’s and “leaders”… the shepherds are supposed to protect the flock, care for the flock, find the ones that have wandered away from the flock and bring them back. Time to take a long hard look at what we have become.

    Paul

    August 24, 2008 at 6:36 pm

  25. Yes we are called to forgive Mike, and we are certainly not to judge, i.e. condemn him, as salvation is available to Mike right up to his final breath.

    On the same note, can I enlighten all you Pentecostals out there who are bound by a diabolical code of silence that says that you must never utilize your God given right and ability to discern, correct, rebuke, and make accountable.
    Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 5:11 “But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat”

    So according to the above, I should not even eat with Mr Guglielmucci. Yes we should forgive him, but does it mean we should trust and associate ourselves with such a man ever again?

    Now the question is, where does this leave us as Pentecostals, i.e. a people who love the idea of a God of the “second chance”. Well, let me enlighten you further.

    Hebrews 6:4 “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

    Mike has deceived the church, and his family for the last two years in a most calculating and deceitful way. Pastor Mike’s problem is not so much that he has fallen, as the righteous man falls seven times; it is that he has consciously chosen to deceive God’s children, and the Lord Himself warns in Mathew 18:6 “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea”.

    The deeper issue here is, is Mike to blame entirely, or is the system that created him the problem. Also, how is it that amongst our super-spiritual Pentecostal leadership, not one “prophet” was able to discern or hear from God at some point during this two year deception? Maybe the ones who truly hear from God are the very ones who have nothing to do with such ministries.

    All of this is the product of a contemporary Christian culture that makes idols of men, and pulls in the numbers through spectacle, hype, and the promise of worldly pleasures and wealth. The bible has much to say about pursuing worldly wealth- Mathew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”. Do Brian Houston and Hillsong come to mind here?

    The Church of God will emerge. It’s about time to return to the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

    TheTruth

    August 24, 2008 at 9:13 pm

  26. OK….. here is the thing that I believe we are all missing, but are actually covering in everyone’s opinion.

    At the end of the day, Mike made his own bed. And now he has to metaphorically sleep in it. Did an addiction to pornography cause this? Hardly! Unfortunately this soap opera (and it would make a great TV movie) just span out of control. Could you imagine living this lie people? Deep down I believe he was begging to let this out of the bag. But because of the massive following that this young man developed, how do you come clean with with this? This is the compassion that I feel for this man.And God would want this as well. But it far from excuses has actions. With great power comes great responsibility! And accountability.

    Ultimately leaders like Mike are raised up and therefore accountable to someone! And these are his leaders! Who occupy a massive stage themselves and raise up their own people around them to be accountable to! Are you getting this? Lets hand pick those who we are going to report to. How ridiculous. When did you last pick your boss, bank manager, or local police officer to be accountable to?

    This swallow and follow, TV show Christianity is accountable to no one. I have worked with these people intimately over the years, until I challenged at the highest level. And for this I was discarded. Am I bitter…. no… not at all. God is my provider… not a contract from these people to escalate their standing in the world of media and CD / DVD releases. Challenge at your peril people. Or use at as an opportunity to test your faith. You will never regret it.

    A catch phrase used by many in the inner sanctum was “Do not challenge God’s anointed”. I have heard this for 10 years. And it is insane. Checks and balances exist in the professional, political and every day world. We are taught to question. We are taught to evaluate and make our own decisions. And we are taught to have faith! And I thank God that we have this right now. But we are taught to report for our actions. Where is this?

    So……. Mike’s leaders are just as accountable as he is. They pride themselves on discernment, having dreams and incite into sinners lives. Ummm…. what happened here people? The inside word in these churches is now developing into “yeah.. we thought something was up”! What!…. I don’t buy this and neither should you.

    A very wise man taught me that prominent ministers with no accountability will fall over sex, money or sex for money. Give me another example and I will recant this statement. But you cant.

    The modern day church is BIG BUSINESS now days. And these leaders are well looked after. It is time for the congregation to really bond together and simply ask….”who are you accountable to and what is in place to keep you honest”.

    But I’ll bet you will be told “don’t question God’s anointed leaders!

    And until this does happen….. Wait and see what else pops up!

    And God will clean out his church. His word says so. But pray for Mike. Pray for the church. But pray for some accountability. There is safety for everyone in this.

    On The Outer

    August 24, 2008 at 11:35 pm

  27. Wow, great post Plaentshaker Insider! You are spot on about the culture of the evangelical church today. Was it because Mike was apart of the “Untouchable” hierarchy at Shakers, that there was no one to confide in about his struggle? What is the difference between our daily battle of the flesh and Mikes? I think that once you are a Pastor or in a position of leadership in the church, all of a sudden we are expected to be living a sin free life. Well that’s not going to happen. There should be accountability especially for leadership. But on the other hand, lets look at the fruit. If this is Mikes fruit, lies deception, pornography etc, his he soundly born again? I really pray that his remorse is not out of the response that he has been caught out.

    What if?

    August 25, 2008 at 9:38 am

  28. No “What if”……. Mike was certainly not untouchable…. As the Shakers and the Hills have run a mile from this boy! All have claimed that he left their congregation “ages” ago. It really is quite sad. No guilt by “dis-association” is there? See…. the loyalty is there ONLY when it suits. I thank God there are churches that rebuild those in the “u2” church that do fall. How else is restoration put into place?

    Not by severing the relationship! Yes… stand him down…. take away his platform… maybe for life…. but don’t stone him to death. I say again…. these leaders raised him up…. so where is there accountability in this? Where was all this all knowing insight?

    The most wonderful thing….. his Dad is standing by his side and holding him accountable. And isn’t that what our Heavenly Father does for all of us?

    If I ever saw a real world example of this, it has been on the weekend. I applaud his fathers courage and integrity. Sadly… any one can be duped by sin. Isn’t Satan referred to as the great deceiver? And his family are only human.

    Again…. pray for Mike. I believe that he is broken before God and wants repentance and not from being caught out by others. You are right… there is no difference in struggles between all of us.

    Sadly… the difference always is …..in regards to leaders … is the height of the fall…..

    On the Outer

    August 26, 2008 at 12:11 am

  29. Fantastic thread here.

    I do think Mike was “untouchable” – but only because nobody questions anything, and those who might question are discouraged lest they be “divisive”, “causing disunity”, and even booted out of the church. 😦

    Planetshakers Insider

    August 26, 2008 at 12:55 am

  30. what you’re doing is great.

    assembliesofwhat

    August 26, 2008 at 1:07 pm

  31. Hi all,

    Some random thoughts….

    I’d like to make mention of what we commonly refer to as the “5-fold ministry”, as discussed by St Paul in the NT, being: the apostle, prophet, teacher, evangelist and pastor.

    St Paul states that God gave these ‘gifts’ (being those ministers) to man, for the equipping of the saints for ministry.

    Please note, “equipping of the SAINTS for ministry”….

    This tells us that lay people are meant to be the ministers out there in the world, and the ‘church leadership’ (5-fold) is meant to be equipping us to do it.

    It makes me think that if this was actually happening out there – this applies to all churches in all denominations (although I am certain there are exeptions to this generalisation – such as Bethel in Redding, CA, USA) – we probably wouldn’t have this idolisation of leaders.

    However, I am then reminded of St Paul writing in one of his letters that people shouldn’t be focussing on whether they follow Paul or Apollos, as they just “plant and water’ but ‘it is God who brings the increase’.

    With this in mind, it seams that even though you may have brilliant “church structure”, like back in St Paul’s time, you are still going to have ordinary people idolising leaders.

    This then brings to my mind how the children of Israel did not want to hear from God themselves at Mount Sinai, but instead told Moses to talk to God and relay to them what He said. Israel effectively traded a personal relationship with God for a set of rules and a reliance on leadership.

    It seems that we still have this problem today. We have traded a personal relationship with God through Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, for someone else to digest the food of the Word of God (like infant birds), and to hear His voice on our behalf (like the OT prophets). Only God doesn’t operate like this anymore.

    With love, Willa

    Willa

    August 26, 2008 at 1:30 pm

  32. Great blog, don’t be fazed by those asking you to shut it down because they don’t like what they are seeing.

    Unfortunately the Mike saga is not a new phenomenon, just a particularly public one.

    I guess as churches of this variety seek fame and power (convince me they are not) along with this comes blanket news coverage when it all goes awry.

    I have seen it all before with rise of the evangelical movement and the AOG in the 90’s and the focus on a culture of celebrity.

    I can only quote Lord Acton – “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.” and likewise William Pitt, The Elder “Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it”.

    These ‘leaders’ are handed the keys and are fawned over by their congregations – especially the youth. Their power is absolute and to question is to be seen as evil and those that do question eventually end up questioning themselves and their faith as they feel they must be evil in some way, or under the influence of the devil.

    This is dangerous territory and I have seen this result in a sharp rise in disillusionment and even suicides. I sincerely hope that the youth affected by this receive sufficient counselling (of the crisis type, not just the Christian type).

    I do not discount the fact that God can heal, although I have yet to see any proof myself (yes, I have an evil questioning mind that actually demands proof).

    But how can any rational person believe without question the amazing list of diseases/ailments that Mike was supposedly cured from without digging deeper?

    I think it all lies in the group dynamics.

    It is no different to the rise of Adolf Hitler in Nazi Germany (before I get crucified I am not suggesting that Mike is Hitler-esque!) and the fact that no-one felt they could question what was happening. If the leaders say it is right and everyone else seems to think so, then it must be right. It must just be me, I must try (or in this case pray) harder.

    Always question, and if you don’t get the answers, question again.

    Maybe Mike will end up being the best servant of Christ we have seen for a long time by bringing some focus to this and hopefully bring about wholesale change.

    But I doubt it, as too many people have too much invested (and I use that word deliberately) in maintaining the status quo.

    Nic

    August 26, 2008 at 5:24 pm

  33. Hi,

    I think I’m agree with ur opinions. I still remember when I attended a church before its head pastor decided to separate from the current church and open a new church since head pastor got this vision from God to do so. I remember that for several weeks after that the preachers or other pastors always preach the important of being submissive to the church. At that time, I felt really sick on how they are handling it. I felt like they don’t allow people to give constructive criticism to church. As the bible said that we have to be the light and the salt of the world but I felt that sometimes church always feel that they are always right therefore, any criticism is not welcome. I think church needs to be open to all criticism since we can always learn something from criticism. It will help church grows.

    elle

    August 26, 2008 at 5:55 pm

  34. Last night a Friend came over to see me and told me the story about Mike, Will I had to look in and read all what everyone had to say. There is this saying “What the Devil ment for harm God will turn it around for the good” Our youths are under attack from all conners of the world and this is just another of the devil plan to harm them. What Mike did should not be taken badly. Look at the amount of healing that is going to take place when this song is sing in churches an confrences across the world.

    Shirley Cleary

    August 27, 2008 at 8:19 pm

  35. The most basic thing that wasn’t checked. That is; doctors certificates of his medical conditions and test results from a third party.

    “A fool has no delight in understanding; But in expressing his own heart”
    Proverbs 18:2

    “The foolishness of man twists his way, And his heart frets against the Lord”
    Proverbs 19:3

    I am very surprised the church leadership did not check this simple process, especially if a preacher going share an important personal testimony. Its part of integrity and simple wisdom in the church.

    Lawts

    August 29, 2008 at 9:18 am

  36. […] web of lies began, Michael felt he could not stop, he felt he had gone too deep into his lie, so he continued to play up his illness, claiming glandular fever, a brain tumor, a burst ear drum, multiple myelomas, kidney failure, 33 […]

  37. […] – for me, and sadly it seems for Mike too. I’m still trying to reconcile specifics, like Mike Guglielmucci’s broken leg, back to this – wondering about whether this should be private or public – and more. One point […]

  38. Guglielmucci is the product of a system that ultimately rewards and elevates “the Man” rather than God. A bit of honest skepticism and double checking of his claims would have discovered him to be the phoney he was. No doubt there were enough “insiders” who knew, who suspected, but the system does not reward these insiders but punishes them (like some posters are attempting to do here). The system is at fault…fix the system, you fix the problem. But there are a few too many people at the heart of the system, rewarded by the system and profiting from the system to want to change the system…

    DD

    Doosra Dave

    November 20, 2008 at 4:25 pm

  39. Hi,
    I just want to say we have a serious problem in Pentecostal circles. Pentecostalism started out as people excited by what the Holy Spirit was doing – there was NO clergy & laity. Now we have just such a structure – & when it comes to leadership, it is incestuous. By that I mean, take a look at the number of Pentecostal churches where the son has taken over leadership from the father, or as in Michael’s situation, followed Daddy into ‘the ministry.’ If we could look back in time I think we would find that Michael got a much easier & less complicated ride into leadership than those not in the ‘in circle.’ And there most definitely is an ‘in circle’ in the AOG. We need to get back to the concept of The Body of Christ with ALL having the right & forum to have a say, not only the Pastor – which is the case in probably every AOG church – in Australia at least.

    Sue Walker

    January 2, 2009 at 7:51 am

  40. hi
    I think that if you tell lies it will lead to selfishness and you can cover one lie with another. you can lie about cancer and cover it with a lie about porn, but you cannot cover porn with lies cause porn leads to explicit sex and sex outside marriage.how many single women in the church at planetshakers and no complaints. none? This is a case of no discernment. by the way the devil is a liar, but hey belief a liar and be trapped in the lie.mike lied forgive him but don’t believe everything you hear.

    dave

    January 16, 2009 at 9:39 am

  41. A very well written post, and so very true. We questioned things in our church (like the prosperity gospel etc), and eventually jumped before we were pushed. None of our friends from church ever kept in touch with us, they were told not to. So the cost of questioning is very high, you loose all your church friends! Consequently, few are inclined to question anything. But questioning is healthy, blindly following is not only foolish, but it offers no accountability to the leaders and they are more likely to go astray if there’s no feedback or discussion. It becomes a cult, an autocratic system where the leadership has ultimate power and the congregation believe whatever their told and switch off that part of their brain that thinks for itself. If Michael is an example of the quality of the leadership in these churches, you need to question everything!!

    Ruby

    June 2, 2009 at 8:51 am

  42. if this planetshakers is the way the catholic church wants to promote itself amongst drug-addicted confused teenagers than i will renounce my membership to the Church tomorrow! It was the dumbest collection of the most immature people you could ever find. what a disgrace!!! Completely brain-washed stupid kids that go there.

    mIKE

    October 11, 2009 at 8:11 pm

  43. the only thing I prayed for was that they weren’t going to start some mass drug fest where everybody would start injecting needles into themselves. I’ve honestly never seen such an unintelligent collection of human trash before (99% were teenagers, 1 % not-fully-mature adults, 66% were white-trash arrogant convicts (that is, Aussies), and 33% were Asian rat trash that would follow anything that anyone would say. Absolutely unbelievable how bad it was. Some guy at the front speaking, no one in the entire area has any brain, and every other second some moran yells out stuff like awesome!, yes!, yeah!, and so on. The comments that came out of the teens’ mouth reminded me of sounds that Beavis and Butthead would make.

    mIKE

    October 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm

  44. Planetshakers really reminded me of a cult. A cult that would eventually organize maybe some mass suicide considering their demographics, average IQ level, and teachings. It is a perfect recipe for disaster. Bunch of lost and confused fantizing teens with an average thinking abilitiy equivalent to that of a pile of shit. Being taught how not to think or question anything. Completely brainwashed into agreeing with everything that church says (without even thinking for a second), and completely facsinated with causing pain and harm through domination. Maybe one day with the thousands of teenage members that church has they will organize a mass suicide in Melbourne and for that I’d say thank God!

    mIKE

    October 11, 2009 at 8:22 pm

  45. […] web of lies began, Michael felt he could not stop, he felt he had gone too deep into his lie, so he continued to play up his illness, claiming glandular fever, a brain tumor, a burst ear drum, multiple myelomas, kidney failure, 33 […]

  46. Dear Church,

    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.

    All our love,

    Russell and Sam Evans

    planetshaker

    December 31, 2010 at 8:13 am

  47. Why are we so much interested in what Mike has done? He did it and everyone knows about it. So, lets forgive and forget. If we keep talking about this matter than we are doing something worst than what Mike did.

    Clement Gorda

    August 28, 2012 at 3:04 am

  48. What i see as a shame is that in your report. U say it was down to a “faith act”
    If u listen to / watch the announcement by associate pastor john partington…the statement said it was due to a addiction to adult porn …he lied to cover his addiction.

    Feel free to criticise but get the facts straight..loose the plank then carry on being captain criticism cause that’s Christ like

    andy

    March 1, 2013 at 9:01 am

  49. All I can say is… we should not linger in the past, for what has passed is past. Don’t linger in it! Let us move on, and do what God commanded us to do, and don’t pay attention to those people who are being used by the devil to destroy the church, even to those who talk negatively against it. From their words we will know that… obviously, they are ignorant of what church really is. The more they say something negative about the church, the more it becomes obvious, that they know NOTHING!

    grace

    July 13, 2013 at 4:36 pm

  50. mike is the man. his songs are amazing and i still put his recordings on to get close to god. who cares about his personal life, every one looks at porn, who cares, just let him do what gods designed him to do and thats to make amazing worship and draw so many people, including me into the presence of god!

    reuben

    September 11, 2013 at 6:35 pm

  51. […] re-edited to exclude any content which featured him or his music. Pastor. Pentecostal/Hillsong. (Source Source […]

  52. I have been attending PlanetShakers for a while now and, while I like the church, I think Sam Evans has a “few areas” where growth is needed. He seems to be very proud of his church but what he does not understand is that size does not automatically mean God is pleased with the church. One only has to open the book of Revelation, the letters to the seven churches, to see that a big church might be an instrument of Satan. One simply can not use size as a measure of God’s blessing. It may very well be that Planetshakers if thriving because Evans preaches prosperity Gospel. He seems to follow Joel Osteen to the letter. No wonder people are coming to Planetshaker – all Evans talks about is how to get rich. He does not seem to have a deep grasp on the Bible (think of his sermon about “flavour” or “honour key” as but a couple of examples) and fails to notice that, in most cases, God uses adversity and hardship for Christian growth. Wealth is not God’s priority.

    Alex

    June 6, 2014 at 8:01 pm

  53. […] Guglielmucci, youth pastor of Planetshakers City Church, had a long history of faking ailments and injuries and then receiving miraculous divine “healing” for them–from broken bones to […]

  54. […] Guglielmucci, youth pastor of Planetshakers City Church, had a long history of faking ailments and injuries and then receiving miraculous divine “healing” for them. [Read […]

  55. The whole situation is diabolical. People call for more discernment. From the very beginning when I saw Mike walking around my church bandaged up and looking all demur, this thought went through my mind, ” he is not sick, he is faking it.” But, I pushed those thoughts aside and told myself to stop being so nasty. Now, I listen to my God given discernment because it is a gift. The whole Pentecostal, AOG, Charismatic movement is diabolical, period! It is nothing more than an opportunity to make money, it is a great money making machine driven and grown off the backs of blind followers who think the movement is driven and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Poppy Cock! If those people walked, these clubs wouldn’t exist.
    I am making my comments based on experience, years and years of experience, so it is informed. Seriously, these establishments are not proper churches, they are nothing more than tax free clubs filled with lewd, money hungry, closet crooks who are smarter then their followers. This is the bottom line truth, pure and simple. I’ve seen first hand how they spend the “gift offerings” (modern day term for the tithe). Expensive cars, houses, holidays, etc etc all tax free. Mike Gug is nothing more than a sick pervert and who is driven by the mighty $. Shame, shame, shame!

    Tracy Freeman

    April 11, 2015 at 9:04 am

  56. […] web of lies began, Michael felt he could not stop, he felt he had gone too deep into his lie, so he continued to play up his illness, claiming glandular fever, a brain tumor, a burst ear drum, multiple myelomas, kidney failure, 33 […]

  57. I remember reading about the whole Michael Guglielmucci thing in a major newspaper. I was suprised by the scale and theme of the deception, but not its essential nature. Lesser types of scandals happened here in the West in the 90’s involving AOG Pastors in large churches. Tracy Freeman, you are right on the dot ! I agree with you, after many years of experience myself. I could probably expand on your evaluation to some extent, but you have done a fine job there so far.

    Nitro 9

    August 14, 2015 at 6:14 pm


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