How to Make a Lot of Money Preaching

Below is a clip from the 1972 documentary Marjoe. Marjoe was a fake evangelist which he admitted in the documentary explaining that he would manipulate people. His real name is Hugh Marjoe Ross Gortner who may be recognized from past movie roles or from the 80’s TV series Falcon Crest.

The Internet Movie Database provides the follow quote from Marjoe. It is not clear from where and when Marjoe was quoted. I emphasized in bold what seems a key part of his approach. Apparently, he knew the kind of experience people wanted and could draw them and control them by giving them that experience.

When I was traveling (as a minister), I’d see someone who wanted to get saved in one of my meetings, and he was so open and bubbly in his desire to get the Holy Ghost. It was wonderful and very fresh, but four years later I’d return and that person might be a hard-nosed intolerant Christian because he had Christ. That’s when the danger comes in. People want an experience. They want to feel good, and their lives can be helped by it. But then as you start moving into the operation of the thing, you get into controlling people and power and money.

What is amazing (or scary) about the clip is how much Marjoe’s words and actions parallel some of what passes today for legitimate preaching.

Unfortunately, a lot of money can be made manipulating people preaching like Marjoe once did. There seems to be no shortage today of people doing the same. Hopefully, before someone starts or even continues down this path they heed Jesus’ words recorded in Mark 8:36 (ESV), “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”

tagged as , , in apologetics,Christianity,heresy,morality

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 MosesModel May 22, 2013 at 9:15 am

A buddy and I constantly joke that we are going to hit the road as evangelists.  I would play the faith healer and he would be the prosperity pimp.  🙂
This is very telling.  “People want an experience. They want to feel good, and their lives can be helped by it.” Ultimately this is the conclusion that I have come to again and again over the decades.  When I was younger it was worship experiences and I found out that I could manipulate myself.  At Liberty, so many preachers with so many different messages were the word of God for that day.  People chided me for questioning instead of just tuning in.  I thought that I was significantly cynical and skeptical by the time I was in seminary, then this Ergun thing blew up in my face.  Often, too often, people think that God moved, but it was just a guy saying the right words at the right time. 
Likewise I intend to warn my children when they start to date that a person saying the right things can be very persuasive. 
PS – Has anyone else noticed a lack of unattractive men leading worship at women’s conferences. 🙂


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