Tuesday, April 15, 2008

‘When joining “The Chorus” might be a betrayal of your own truths.’

CROSS PURPOSES 112

‘When joining “The Chorus” might be a betrayal of your own truths.’

Hi People. Trust you are well.

Just before Easter the Sydney Morning Herald ran a series of “Special Investigation” articles concerning “Mercy Ministries”, a program for helping young women in trouble of one sort or another. Mercy Ministries was introduced to Australia through people connected with Hillsong. It receives substantial support from the Gloria Jeans Coffee organization.

A number of young women who had not had ‘good experiences’ in the program were interviewed. You can imagine the headlines and the “horror stories”. Newspapers and other media love that stuff. And if we have a bias against Hillsong we’re tempted to ‘silently applaud’ as well.

Now I’ll admit upfront that I have personal reservations about some things Pentecostal. I have my own questions. But I have my own questions and reservations about the media presentation and hype as well. What’s true and what is not can be hard to know.

HOWEVER… HOWEVER…

There was a sub-text running through the SMH articles and subsequent media commentary which is important for us to discern, evaluate, acknowledge and disown. Let me give you some examples. (The best way for me to capture the tone is to paraphrase.)

“These young women had to participate in daily bible studies as part of their ‘healing’. Can you believe that? It’s laughable that anybody would entertain the idea that bible study would help young women in trouble.”

My comment: Jesus said to the tempter, “Humans shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. Jesus said “if you continue in my word you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” Paul says “be transformed by the renewal of your mind…”
To know Jesus Christ ,and Jesus Christ centred truth is, for us, the beginning and end of all healing! It’s why we put high value on Bible reading and Bible Study.

“Oh dearie, dearie me. These people actually believe that prayer for healing can lead to healing! How fanciful is that? I mean, this is the 21st century after all. How naïve can you be?”

My comment: Read Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, Peter, James and Hebrews on prayer and healing. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful in its effects”.

“These fundamentalist Christians think the ideas of Jesus, spoken 2000 years ago for heaven’s sake, are the way to understand the issues of our modern world. They even want to talk about guilt and shame. That’s ridiculous, let alone dangerous to a person’s mental health”.

My comment: It’s clear that if we unthinkingly join the chorus of ridicule and criticism being sung over that ministry, which is being carried out in the name of Jesus Christ, then we sacrifice our own identity and foundations on the altar of secular acceptance.

Jesus saw, identified and recognized the Prince of Darkness and his Kingdom for what they were. He understood the enslavement and burden of sin, guilt, shame, fear and condemnation. Good Friday, and all that led up to it, was an utterly necessary action on God’s part for human forgiveness, freedom and fellowship with God.

SO THERE. Have your questions. Ask them. But let’s resist with fierce love the possibility that we deny our own truths, and condemn our brothers and sisters without cause. Jesus is Lord.

Fred

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,

Thanks for your post. My sister was caught up in Mercy Ministries in Australia too.

The young women who spoke out are Christians, who contacted Mercy several times regarding their concerns, which were ignored. Concerned Psychologist, counsellors, family and friends has also been in touch with Mercy Ministries, but unfortunately Mercy did not take the experiences of the young women and the trauma they experienced and continued to experience, seriously.

After much prayer and consultation with pastors and Christian counsellors, it was decided that the girls needed to take further action in order to help prevent further abuse to other vulnerable young women, and that is when it was decided that the media was the only way to get the warnings out there.

Remember that these young women were Christians, going to a Christian program that offered them professional psychiatric care free of charge. However, when the young women arrived, it was a different story, not what they had signed up for at all.

The rest is in the articles, and I can confirm that that is a true depiction of Mercy Ministries because my sister was there also. She also had to pay thousands of dollars to Mercy Ministries to be in the program.

Forced exorcisms (because Mercy told the girls that psychological illess did not exist - rather, it was demonic.) The girls had no appropriate psychiatric or medical care, and were prevented from having appropriate support from families, their pastors, their own counsellors and doctors.

I know that it is hard to accept that a 'Christian' organisation has been abusing young girls, and exploiting them. I certainly did not want to believe it when I first found out what Mercy had been doing to my sister. It is such a source of shame for the whole Christian community.

However, do we simply turn away, blame it on media bias and ignore the real damage done to young people? Surely as Christians we cannot turn away and go into defensive mode, or damage control.

I am very glad that the realities of this 'Christian' program are being exposed because I saw the lasting damage it caused to my sister. The things the staff did and the way they 'treated' the young women, unfortunately, was not Christ like at all.

S

1:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please read these comments from some of the young ladies involved, and decide for yourself.

http://mattstone.blogs.com/journeysinbetween/2008/03/hillsong-in-tro/comments/page/1/

http://mattstone.blogs.com/journeysinbetween/2008/03/hillsong-in-tro/comments/page/2/#comments

2:56 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home