Putting my money where my mouth is

I was recently sent the following email.

Hello,
Do not erase please! Important email. Most of you know that David Herzog, a born-again, on-fire for God man is coming to speak at the Cadillac High School Auditorium today Friday @ 7, tomorrow Saturday @ 7 and Sunday 10am and 6 at the Revival Center in Cadillac.

I would encourage all to come, bring the lost, this man has lead thousands to Christ and his ministry has personally refreshed my family’s life and the life of our friends. Please don’t miss as Miracles, Signs, and Wonders have accompanied this man’s ministry.

If you don’t understand all the more to come, you won’t be disappointed.

For those of you who think you know what it’s all about, or don’t believe miracles are vital to the church or your personal relationship with Christ today all the more reason to be there. I would ask that all would lay aside there pride for just 1 weekend, 1 meeting! In the New Testament Jesus could only help the willing, the religious leaders couldn’t stand the Word of God that He preached and never recieved from Jesus what He wanted for their lives.

If you want more of God please come, it’s that simple. A lot of us at First Baptist want to see more of our church people there. Please come, if for nothing else to hear what people are going to be talking about for a long time.

This weekend has been bathed in prayer, expectancy, fasting, intercession, and excitement for what God is going to do.

I don’t gain anything by emailing this. I’m jealous for more of God in Cadillac, I’m jealous for the lost to be saved. We don’t always know the best ways or the most effective ways, but I tell you what I do know, I’m willing to let God do what He wants to do.

It was a risk people took in believing Jesus, but the reward was priceless. Step out of your comfort zone. Let’s see God work…Hundreds of people from all over the U.S are coming, this is a HUGE event, this is not some fly by night charismatic fluff event. This event has been advertised on TV, Radio, and internet ALL over the U.S. This is a well planned event, that is in our own backyard. I’ve talked many people who are flying here or driving from VERY far. David has led revivals of thousands in France and other parts of the World. His humble spirit and passion for Christ will overwhelm you. You will learn things you might have never heard.

See you all there…(snip)

I normally delete emails like this but this one I find particularly troublesome. The sender, whose identity I shall not divulge, sent it to 72 people and put our email addresses in the CC field instead of BCC. So, I replied to all.

The reply, which I will include below, is where things get interesting. Before I received this email, I knew nothing of David. After minutes of research, I gathered my conclusions and composed a rebuttal. I pulled no punches. If the insinuations I have made are false, he will have a strong libel or slander case to make against me.

The stakes are high. If this article pops up near the top of the list every time someone searches for David’s name, it will have a chilling effect on donations. There are tens of thousands of dollars are at stake. David has a significant financial interest to not sully his name. Should he slap me with a cease-and-desist or defamation lawsuit, my best recourse is copious discovery and my own witnesses.

I expect David would rather fly under the radar, keeping his public attention to  sympathetic churchgoers. A public confrontation simply would not be good for business. If I am wrong, I will need witnesses. If you are in Cadillac, please attend for me. Take notes. Record a session if you can.

Without further delay, here is my response.

My apologies. My greatest joys are not found in snuffing out enthusiasm, but this is a situation in which the wisdom of a serpent (Matt 10:6) is called for.

If you go to this event, I urge sensible caution. The event will kick off with high energy, easy to sing music. David will do the offering call. He is charismatic and there will be excitement and emotion when he is speaking. He will speak on  high points of scriptural giving (like Acts 4) and ignore the low ones (like Acts 5). He will challenge you to give to God, and expect God to give it back to you 10-fold, or more. Except that it won’t be God or your local church that he wants you to make the checks out to.

Treat this like a shopping trip to look at new cars. Before you depart home, resolve not to make any financial commitments of any sort. Empty your wallet of cash, checks, and credit cards. If he compels you to give sacrificially, trusting in God to repay it, put that money in the offering basket at your local church on Sunday morning. God has not (yet) claimed to grant special dividends on money given to itinerant evangelists.

There is good reason to be skeptical of David Herzog. The amount of advertising you see is a reflection of how David spends his “donations.” Yes, you too can buy his next radio or TV commercial. The pentecostal third wave, or latter rain movement has a significant population of these “prophets,” or “revivalists.” While many “experience” wonderful things, the effects are only emotional and the long term effects of these “healers” is always hurt people with less money.

I challenge you to look into these great revivals in France and elsewhere. France is post-Christian, with 0.1% of the population being evangelical (which includes charismatic). If David were leading “thousands” of French people to Christ, this would be Really Big News[TM] in the world of Christendom. Strange that I find no mention of this “fact” anywhere.

You can read more about David on his web site: http://www.thegloryzone.org/

He is not well publicized other than in small town local media, the sort that doesn’t vet their advertisers to weed out predators. You can find a few articles on the internet about David, written by other sources. His name is not unique so you have to sift through to find articles written about this David Herzog. Despite claims you might hear, he does not attract mass media attention. Whether this is purposeful or not, is up to you to judge.

If you want to know more about David or this “revivalist” type, I urge you to look into the fathers of this type of ministry, and what has become of them and their “ministries” over the years:

1940s – William Branham
1950s – Kansas City Prophets: Paul Cain, Bob Jones,
recent – Jack Deere, John Wimber, Peter Wager, Wayne Grudem

Other keywords to search on are “Latter Rain Movement,” “Third Wave of the Holy Spirit,” and “Third Wave Charismatic.” These movements and leaders share a common lineage. David is a recent child in a long string of these revivalists. Internet searches for these people will uncover many cases of fraud, deceit, sexual immorality, abuse of power, cult followings, heretical teachings, and much more.

None of these “prophets,” despite what they claim, have ever performed a supernatural miracle. Think about it. What news reporting agency would not want to be the first to report these signs and wonders? Not even one verified, bona fide miracle? Why can these miracle workers not perform the miraculous when a skeptic is present? The Guiness Book of World Records has agents standing by. Moses wasn’t deterred by a skeptical pharoah.

Why should you listen to a skeptic like myself? I grew up in one of those post-Pentecostal apostolic churches. I know what it’s like on the inside. During my last year in seminary, I had to read Surprised By the Voice of God by Jack Deere. As part of the class work, I had to research Deere, and it was there that I discovered the links between all of the figures and movements listed above.

The research took on special significance when the connection between todays Vineyard Churches was traced back to William Branham, whose teachings I grew up hearing, and whom I know to have been terribly misaligned with Scriptural teachings. During my research, I also attended Vineyard churches. In summary, I know an awful lot about this movement and the foundations of their theology.

Despite my strong admonitions, I urge each and every one of you to go to David’s meetings. Yes, that is right. Go to his meetings. In fact, go to the first meeting. Consider it free entertainment. Watch like you would a magician, and see if you can’t pick out how the “miracles” were staged. During the offering, pay attention to your emotions and ask yourself if it is your faith being challenged, or if someone is taking advantage of peoples’ greed.

Practice loving your neighbor while you are there. Keep them from writing out that check. After the emotions of the moment pass and they come to their senses, ask them, as a favor to you, to return to the next meeting and spare others from what could have been your fate.

Matt Simerson

PS: I do love and care about you. I just spent hours of my time researching, composing, and sharing my knowledge with you. For those of you who are sensible enough to not be taken advantage of at an event like this, please do go and lend a hand to your neighbors.

  • Interesting… I didn’t realize there were still people like this around. If I were closer, I’d go for you and take excellent notes. I’m sure I’d be just as skeptical as you. 🙂

  • Have you experienced any backlash from this?

  • Not in public. With one exception (and she knows who she is), every defense has been a frothing mad private email. Not a single person has defended him in public. It’s almost like, deep down, they know I’m right, and they hate me for it, because they want so hard to believe.

    I have had some interesting emails and phone calls though, from folks who were similarly concerned. One, a most interesting call, was from a very skeptical person. The interesting part is that this person got to spend several hours with David. The author of the original email that instigated this, thinks my caller is a sold-out “believer.”

    It’s no skin off my nose either way. Whether people believe and support this guy or not is their perogative. I tossed out a big red flag and that’s about all I can do.

  • BUARGH ARGH BLAH BLAH BUAH! How dare you speak so harshly of this man! He is a true follower of…okay I cant bring myself to do it, but I tried, deep deep down but not so deep mostly obviously I agree, yes if only more people didnt agree to have wool pulled over their eyes, and yes that was obnoxious, but reading the article like a week ago and then forgetting to leave a comment made me this way, I want more updates on Kayla!

  • Chris Moyer

    Hello, Matt. I watched a few of David Herzog’s online productions, and it just seemed to me that he was being truthful. I guess maybe I’m a bit naive, but I just don’t understand how someone could purposefully use Jesus Christ’s name for personal profit, the thought of it makes me sick. I saw the supposed miracles that took place- for example one woman was laughing hysterically, trying to hold up her close, because she supposedly lost 70 pounds at the conference. WHY THE HELL WOULD PEOPLE GO ALONG WITH DAVID??? Would such a woman be “in on it”, just a plant to bring other people to the services. I just have a really hard time believing it is all fake…but at the same time I have lots of doubts. So I emailed David and asked if I could bring a camera to his big tent revival that is taking place in Arizona in February. I told him that I would interview a bunch of people before the revival, asking them what miracle they were seeking. Then I told him that I would ask them to seek me out if their miracle took place- this would be solid, empiracle evidence that a miracle actually took place. I didn’t say anything to him, but if he says ok, I will probably even bring a scale, so I can weigh people after their supposed “immediate weight loss”. I’m not too enthusiastic that I might get a word back from him, so I might actually attempt to call him if too much time goes by. What does he have to be afraid of, if he is actually doing miracles by the power of God. I just don’t understand how other people would either be so gullible or even go along with deceiving others for, what, a cut of the pay? Sickening. Anyway, Matt, do you think this is a good idea, or do you believe I’m wasting my time and money to even attempt this? I mean, certainly Christ must be able to heal today? Do you believe there is anyone on the face of the earth who is able to be used by Christ to perform miracles. I’m very interested in this right now, please tell me what you think. My email address is cmoyer_musician@yahoo.com
    Thanks, Matt, and God Bless.

  • Hi Chris.

    I’d encourage you to go there with your camera, a note pad, and a set of scales. That’s exactly what I’d have done. In fact, arrive early and note who is around before the crowds. I don’t think you will be treated poorly, that would not reflect well upon their mission or message. You have nothing to lose. Document everything very well. If there is truly something miraculous going on, I’ll eat my words, and the pen I wrote them with.

    The circus tricks being performed at these “revivals” are nothing new. This kind of thing has been going on since the 1950’s, and it always targets the same demographic, poorly educated, lower income, bible belt Americans. Considering that it is nearly always born again, and again, and again Christians that are being “saved” at these revivals, one should begin to wonder exactly what purpose and whom are they serving?

    As to whether anyone on earth is able to be used by Christ to perform miracles, the better question is, “Is anyone performing miracles today being used by Christ?” Everyone, including Jesus’ disciples wanted Him to use his supernatural powers to wow the crowds, but that is hardly the example Jesus left us with. He even went out of his way to warn of false prophets showing great signs and wonders.

    Miracles are for circuses and magic acts. When it comes to religious leaders using stunts to win the affections of their audience, I am more than a little bit skeptical.

  • Jordina H.

    Dear Matt,

    I hope this email can bring some balance and offer another view point on David Herzog’s ministry.

    As you recommended – I attended the meeting in Cadillac, MI. By nature I am a skeptical person and always verify every teaching with scripture.I enjoyed David’s meetings. I confirmed everything David said with scripture and found nothing wrong with his teachings. I witnessed people getting saved and also witnessed several healings. Everything he said gave Glory to God and ultimately point to Jesus Christ. All that matters is that it Gives Glory to God.

    I myself recieved a healing. I was in a terrible car accident and almost lost my thumb, my wrist was split open. I had surgery on my hand and had no strength at all. In his meeting, I felt the power of God come on me like heat. Then I was able to do push ups on that hand and before the meeting I could barley pick up my daughter with that hand. Even the scaring began to fade away.

    In regard to donating money to his ministry, I saw no difference between his methods of taking up and offering and numerous other churches and ministries I’ve been to in my life time. Every pastor, evangelist, revivalist and ministry has all done it pretty much the same way.

    In regard to you not hearing reports from France about his meetings…here is an article below for review.

    OUTPOURING IN PARIS CONTINUES. Date: 14 Aug, 1998
    Pastor Marc Lebrun reports that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in his Church in Paris, France, is still continuing. 107 people were saved in eight weeks of revival meetings with David Herzog. Around 6,000 people have visited the meetings. Some come from far in France. Every night more than 100 persons go to the altar to repent before God. Many physical healings were recorded like skin desease, backs, shoulders and arms, digestive problems, hearing problems, eyes, and much more. People were set free from boundages like cigarettes, alcohol, television and lust. Lebrun’s Church will continue the daily revival meetings all trough the Summer.
    Source: Joel News

  • c miller

    did you receive my testimony- I entered it and it said not a safe site

  • micky

    Very good posting

    What exactly do these guys do with the money they make from donations ?

    In the USA do they have to file some sort of tax return or because of the division of church and state do they slide out of having to have their finances exposed to public scrutiny.

    I went to a recent “healing” event here in the UK and was amazed by the depth of desire to be healed of trivial things (such as a stiff shoulder) and was also amazed at the lack of any real accountability as to what was a healing – other than the person being asked on a scale of 0 to 100% how much better it felt”

    They also had an impartation ceremony – what was interesting was that as the music got louder the more people seemed to feel the need to collapse afterwards.

    Last question – how come people who need to be healed (such as those born handicapped) never seem to be those who are healed – probably as they are not lucrative money streams.

    What I find particularly repulsive is how these characters get away with trading on peoples insecurities and promise them heaven on earth (as long as they donate to the cause – as they will be repaid many times over with god’s generosity)

  • Steve Horn

    Jan. 21, 2009
    I find it interesting that Mr. Simerson is completely quiet about what Ms. Jordina H. had to say. Cat got your tongue Mr. Skeptical or are you busy chewing on your pad and pencil?! It’s a very sad state of affairs for YOUR Gospel; cause mine is as BIG as God!
    Sincerely yours, S. Horn
    P.S. When exactly did you backslide?

  • tom4u

    Hello Matt & Everybody here,
    I just want to say something here that I believe everyone should hear! First I`m NOT a Cessationist! This Very wrong Theologie which belittles God & teaches restriction of His Power, is Very Wrong and NOT Biblical (He Is The Same Yesterday, Today & Forever)! It wasted all lot of my time with God & caused me a lot of pain!
    1. You are causing a lot of infighting & unbelief in The Body of Christ, and Not based on facts but feelings this is Not good and will be held accountable,
    (I beleve you when you say you mean it sincerly wanting to help, but you are not)!
    2. I was skeptical what I saw on TV and was not sure, but when I managed to attend a meeting I saw none of the things you say, and found David to be
    a very genuine nice person. -> Why did you not reply to Jordina`s personal witness and just ignore her & others?
    3. After meeting David I invited him to speak to a meeting in Nbg. > He put up the money for the Hall expenses etc. and had nothing to expect from poor
    russian jews in collections!
    No money graber would do this!
    Sincerly yours. Tom