The improbable “return” of Jimmy Swaggart

Disclaimer: I do not endorse Jimmy Swaggart Ministries (JSM). I offer this posting strictly as a summary of my recent observations.

Back when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior in the early 1980’s, (c)hristian television was pretty bad, just like today with all of the shenanigans going on at TBN. The biggest name in (c)hristian television back then was Jim Bakker, who preached a nascent prosperity gospel with his flamboyant wife, Tammy Faye, on their PTL network. Another big-name televangelist at the time was Jimmy Swaggart. It was Swaggart who helped bring down his fellow-Pentecostal, Bakker, when financial improprieties and sexual scandals began coming to light in 1987. But Swaggart wasn’t immune from scandal himself. Just a year later, in 1988, he was caught with a prostitute, and again in 1991. Swaggart should have resigned, but he had a mini-empire down there in Baton Rouge and kept the wheels rolling. Defrocked by the Assemblies of God, Swaggart faded into semi-obscurity.

Flash forward to 2018. My wife and I just purchased a new mattress with an adjustable base. Wowza! It’s a fine thing to recline in bed with my head and feet raised up. Ahhh! I usually wind down my day by aimlessly channel surfing in bed until I turn out the lights, but lately I’ve been pausing on Jimmy Swaggart’s SonLife Network (SLN) cable channel. Jimmy Swaggart? Is he still around? Yes, brother Swaggart is now 83-years-old, and has actually revived his once very-troubled ministry with the help of his son, Donnie, and grandson, Gabriel.

I’ve watched the SLN channel irregularly for about a month and I do have a few observations:

  • Pretty much forgotten after his scandals, Swaggart’s ministry was deep in the dumps – Sunday attendance at his 7000-seat Family Worship Center was only a couple of hundred in the early aughts – until he improbably revived the enterpri$e through his SLN cable network. Read the amazing story here.
  • Swaggart is a Pentecostal and I am a cessationist in regards to the apostolic gifts of the Spirit. Jimmy and his associates refer to glossolalia and healings quite a bit, but I take all of that with a grain of salt, no offense intended to my Pentecostal and charismatic brethren.
  • Swaggart does preach the genuine Gospel of salvation by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, but he delivers it packaged as “The Message of the Cross,” a slogan he uses repeatedly. A viewer gets the impression that he’s had the phrase trademarked, he uses it so often. For every time Jesus’ name is mentioned by Swaggart, “the cross” is mentioned ten or fifteen times. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not not saying we should never mention what Jesus Christ accomplished for us on the cross, it’s just that the cross is given a strange preeminence at JSM.
  • Swaggart constantly hawks his “Expositor’s Study Bible,” in which his commentary in red lettering is intermixed with Scripture instead of being placed as footnotes. That’s just wrong.
  • Speaking of hawking, during the program breaks, JSM materials are constantly promoted by Jimmy, Donnie, and Gabe. It also seems like there’s a never-ending plethora of telethons for the support of JSM and SLN.
  • To his credit, Swaggart indirectly refers to his past failings with remorse.
  • The prosperity gospel is not pushed hard by the Swaggarts compared to televangelists like Copeland, Dollar, or Meyer, but it’s still a part of the message. A young Donnie Swaggart notoriously rebuked prosperity preachers twenty years ago (see video here), but he’s now saying financial prosperity is part of the believer’s inheritance in Christ.
  • Speaking of financial prosperity, the Swaggarts do not divulge any of JSM’s financial records. If you’re sending your money to JSM, you have no idea if it’s going towards ministry or Donnie’s new Rolex. The Lord commands us to be good stewards. If a ministry refuses to allow its financial records to be scrutinized, we shouldn’t contribute one red cent.
  • The other night, I was listening to Donnie praising the work of the Holy Spirit in regards to the proliferation of the manifestations of the Pentecostal gifts of the spirit throughout the world. He specifically mentioned the Catholic Charismatic Renewal (CCR) movement as an example. Donnie makes my point for me. One-hundred and sixty-million Catholics, including tens of thousands of priests, belong to CCR. They still strongly believe in Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit, yet Pentecostals and charismatics embrace them as believers because they manifest the requisite gifts. To be fair, many cessationist evangelicals also embrace Rome.
  • The music/worship segments that are broadcast are generally very enjoyable. Swaggart employs some talented singers and musicians and ol’ Jimmy can still tickle the ivories. You won’t hear any Hillsong music during one of Swaggart’s worship segments. I imagine many Christians who otherwise would not devote any time to Swaggart tune in for the music segments.
  • All of the shows on SLN are slick. There’s nothing amateurish about the production quality. The operative word here is slick. Jimmy, Donnie, and Gabe are exceptional communicators and entertainers. If they were selling cars, they would have the most profitable dealership in Louisiana.

Final thoughts: I wouldn’t recommend that anyone get their teaching from Jimmy or the other Swaggarts. As I mentioned previously, Jimmy should have resigned from the ministry following his scandals. However, there is “some” good information that does comes through SLN. I imagine some people have genuinely accepted Christ after listening to the Swaggarts give out the Gospel. But a believer definitely needs to be cautious and discerning while watching SBN and must be constantly engaged in “chewing on the meat and spitting out the bones.”

Postscript: A couple of months after writing the above post, I happened to catch a telecast of a “classic” (pre-scandal) telecast from the Family Worship Center and I was amazed to see a mammoth balcony stretching across the auditorium filled with people. The balcony is still there but current telecasts of services at the FWC purposely limit the camera angle so as not to expose the empty balcony.

81 thoughts on “The improbable “return” of Jimmy Swaggart

      1. Fully agree.
        The thing is he is interrupting while God is speaking. In addition he is finding fault in the Holy Spirit moved translators of the KJV. And we have to believe what he Swaggart is incorrectly claiming in his exposition?. I found “his KJV” bible online. The best Teacher of explaining His Word is God Himself.
        Let the Bible interpret the Bible by comparing Scripture with Scripture “here a little and there a little”
        Isaiah 28:10

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      2. Thanks, Jackie. I believe commentaries from faithful Bible scholars can be helpful to a degree, but commentary should not be intermixed with Scripture as Swaggart does.

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  1. “I imagine many Christians who otherwise would not devote any time to Swaggart tune in for the music segments.” Yes, this was me. Then I had a vivid dream that I was committing spiritual adultery on my Beloved no different than when he was looking but not touching.

    “But a believer definitely needs to be cautious and discerning while watching SBN and must be constantly engaged in ‘chewing on the meat and spitting out the bones.’” Unfortunately, babes in Christ, like myself once, tend to swallow the bones… 😦

    Have a wonderfully blessed day, Tom! \o/

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    1. Thanks for the good comments, Sherry! Yes, SLN/JSM is a spiritual minefield much like the vast majority of shows on TBN as well as the majority of offerings at today’s (c)hristian bookstores. While there is some good there, a young believer is not going to have the discernment to sort the good from the bad.

      Thank you, Sherry, and have a wonderfully blessed day as well!

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      1. Yeah! I did, too! But what finally got to me was all the Biblethons and money raising going on! I wasn’t being “fed” anymore and in a way they look as though they are prosperity preachers, too.The music is enticing! I understand what Sherry is saying!

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      2. Yes, they hold those Bible-thons and other “thons” quite often! Donnie rattles off the contributors, “Bob in Chicago, $100, prayer request. Mary in New York City, $500, prayer request. Ted in Memphis, $50, prayer request. Etc., etc., etc.” I’m very skeptical whether anyone is actually praying for those requests?

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  2. Many years ago I visited Louisiana to see some of the guys I served in Iraq with in the Marines. This one guy promised to take me to a nice church on a Friday. We got there and I was surprised at the fact that it was Jimmy Saggart’s church! His son was preaching. There was a half way constructed building that others told me was originally their plan for a school but wasn’t finished because of the scandals that arose. Back in 2003 it had the feeling of a dying mega church though you can see the media saaviness of film crews and brochures they hand out. Sometimes it is surprising it doesn’t die out…Good post.

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    1. Thanks! During the broadcasts they often include a quick tour of the ministry campus and remark on each of the particular buildings. The Jimmy Swaggart Bible College is squished in with several other ministries into one building, which fits with your experience. There actually now seems to be some near-capacity crowds at some of the services but as you witnessed and the article states, they were on the brink of folding.

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      1. Swaggart has done a lot of damage to the Christian cause in general and not just Charismatics. I hear atheists and even Muslims speaking badly of Christianity because of Swaggart. Of course I grieve every time the faith is blasphemed

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      2. While watching SLN this past month, I have heard the Swaggarts cite David several times as a leader who fell to sin, but repented and continued on. The connection they’re trying to make is obvious. But the New Testament requires a pastor to be above public reproach. Yes, Swaggart has greatly hindered the Gospel witness.

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      3. Probably very lost. By the way that one friday night I was there I felt there were some people (not all) that dressed like they were clubbing more than going to church…

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      4. I’ve seen a few services where the congregation get pumped up to an amazing degree. Men were running at full speed through the auditorium. It was dangerous.

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    1. Thanks, Maria. Yes, I do remember it causing quite a public stir when both Bakker and Swaggart fell one after the other. I remember hearing some people say afterwards that all ministers are phonies, etc.

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  3. I have one word for these productions: STAGED. They are so dishonoring to God. But personally, I wouldnt “eat the meat and spit out the bones”. Truth mixed with deception is the devil’s strategy – I say stay away! Good post, always look forward to them!

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    1. RE: Truth mixed with deception is the devil’s strategy – I say stay away!

      Thanks, Lisa Beth! Yes, I fully concur. In such an environment a believer would have to be constantly occupied filtering the information and some bones are eventually sure to be swallowed.

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  4. Thank you for the post Tom. I remember when my Catholic mother was watching PTL and would go around the house singing “I’m blessed, I’m blessed, I’m blessed…” along with Tammy Faye Baker. She watched that show regularly…and joy could be felt in our home though I was already a rebellious teenager. She was also going to daily mass at the Catholic Church. My mom calls her experience a “spiritual awakening”. I believe she was born again…but when Baker fell, she stopped watching and focused more intently on Catholicism. She says it’s praying the rosary that brought her to Jesus.
    For me it was all very confusing until I was 48 years old and wanted to take my own life and Jesus saved me. He used televangelist and Dave Ramsey and Gateway church to teach me of His love for me, His desire for me to understand the biblical principles of money management and to teach me His word.
    Today as I continue to seek Him I am finding Him and I am more and more cautious of who I listen to. I am determined to follow Him…and He is weeding out the false teachers as I learn to discern what the Bible actually says. I repent of itching ears and wanting Jesus to be my genie in a bottle. I am so grateful for the journey He has taken me on to be very discerning . Because of what I’m learning I am more and more aware of how easy it is to be deceived. People need good teachers to help them but they have to INDIVIDUALLY open their bible and let the word of God speak to them…if you don’t seek the truth you won’t find it! You’ll just get your ears tickled.

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    1. Jackie, thanks for all of your good comments. There are many pastors and teachers out there and they range from godly and faithful shepherds to ravenous wolves and shysters. As you mention, we sheep are very prone to leadership idolatry so we should not put any man on a pedestal, even good preachers. I did that somewhat with the pastor at our first church, an independent Baptist church, and I was inevitably disappointed by him, which rocked my faith. After I returned to the Lord four years ago, he blessed me by bringing some solid Bible teachers into my life via books and videos/audios, men like John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Paul Washer, and from a couple of generations ago, Martyn Lloyd-Jones. These men are all Calvinists while I’m in the middle of the election-free will debate, but beyond that, their teachings have been a great blessing to me. It’s interesting to communicate with other believers who have different church backgrounds and different beliefs regarding the secondaries. There are some who believe so strongly about some particular secondary issues that fellowship is difficult and sometimes impossible. Of course, there are many evangelicals who don’t know a lot about Catholicism who believe it to be Christian at its core and do not look favorably on such things as a blog called “excatholic4christ.”

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    1. Funny you should ask because I utilize J. Vernon’s 5-volume Thru-the-Bible Commentary as part of my daily Bible study along with a few other Bible study aids. Simple yet good insights and practical applications for Christian living.

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  5. Unfortunately there is a disturbing trend within Pentecostalism to revere the preacher to the extent that they are like “rock stars” within the denomination. The service is wrapped in spectacle so that it is very much of a concert atmosphere. So many, many things are forbidden that this charged church service becomes an emotional and–I’m sorry to say–sexual outlet for some of the members. This is not confined to Pentecostals only, but, from my research it is more prevalent in this denomination–at least during the time of Jimmy Swaggart’s reign. If you go onto to his ministries website, it is–unfortunately–a den of swag.

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  6. Wow can’t believe all the negative comments about Jimmy Swaggart. You know he may have messed up in his life Like we all have.!Thank God for his amazing Grace.. I find that JSM is very anointed. He preaches the true gospel ! We all fall short including preachers! .cast the first stone !get your religious spirit out of the way and get a relationship with Jesus!

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  7. You say Jimmy Swaggart was disqualified from the ministry in 1988. Do you not believe that God forgives and restores? What about many examples in the Bible of those who fell and were restored? I think you need to repent of your judgemental spirit. It is not for you, or anyone, to judge Jimmy Swaggart. Is it was true repentance, then God knows. I pray you don’t ever need such forgiveness because it just may elude you. Perhaps you should pray for the man and leave judgement to God. How can the preaching of the Cross be wrong? Without it, we would have no chance, for it is through the cross that all may come freely for forgiveness and restoration to the Father. WOW!! You need a wake-up call. If you haven’t been in the services there, how can you make such claims? For you to do this in a public forum is disgusting. You will give account, my friend…

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    1. Roselea, Jimmy can certainly find forgiveness in Christ for his transgressions but according to God’s Word, Jimmy disqualified himself from the office of pastor:
      1 Timothy 3:1-7
      “1 The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. 2 Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, 5 for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God’s church? 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover, he must be well thought of by outsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil.”

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    2. “Anointed”, I doubt you have ever researched that word. “That song is anointed”. “The message was anointed”. “That brother/sister is anointed”. Truth is the “anointing” as spoken about by modern Pentecostals is NEVER spoken of by NT writers; and I think you and I will agree that they understood the anointing better than us. That which we understand to be the “anointing” is nothing more than false teaching interspersed with Hinduism. We have all continue to fall short of His glory, but Swaggart does not preach the true Gospel, whether a false gospel which is another gospel. Why not divorce yourself from religiosity to follow the true CHRIST, not a false christ preached by a false teacher.

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  8. You said your knowledge of Pentecostalism is limited….Maybe you should read the book of Acts and get your knowledge extended. To criticize the moving of the Holy Spirit, (as some of your commentators have done) is outright blasphemy. Running, jumping, shouting, crying, etc are all outward manifestations of the presence of the Holy Ghost in a believers life, so if you don’t understand it, it would be better to say nothing than to put yourself in such a dangerous position. Your knowledge is definitely limited and biased against something you don’t even understand…pitiful!! All the while, you are inciting others to follow YOUR view with no verifiable proof behind your ridiculous claims. I have experienced the moving of the Holy Spirit and let me tell you, it’s real. God will not force anyone to accept His free gift, so no worries for you there. I found the truth through honest prayer and seeking God for HIS truth, not mans. I do not worship nor idolize any man on this earth. One such man you promote is John McArthur who also does not believe. So, it doesn’t surprise me why you are making such false claims. I suggest one thing. Got sincere with God and ask Him to show you HIS truth and He will. When that happens, you will have to make some VERY pubic apologies for your slander against a man I believe has repented before God and man. He does not have to prove himself to any man or follow man’s rules. This is just like the Pharisees did and look where they ended up-GONE!!

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    1. Pentecostalism and the charismatic movement have opened the church to grievous errors. Read “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship” by John MacArthur

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    2. You are wrong about the “manifestation of the Holy Spirit”. We are to conclude the true blasphemy of the “Toronto Revival” of 1992, aka “Holy Laughter” is manifestations of the Holy Spirit? People on all fours, acting like animals, acting intoxicated, and all manners of foolishness. I am a former Pentecostal, having lived that life of debauchery for 30 years. For all the hype of Divine healing, gifts of the Spirit, I never witnessed one healing or miracle. I believe that GOD can heal, but healing in not guaranteed, nor bought. The modern Pentecostal message is one of greed, deception, and doctrines of demons.

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      1. Agree.
        The manifestations in Toronto definitely are not of the Holy Spirit but of evil spirits. Just like “slain in the spirit” of Benny Hinn is not of the Holy Spirit. People all fall backwards.

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  9. It’s really unfortunate that you do not see that the real enemy here is not a man but the devil – stirring up strife, divisions and slander amongst the members of the body of Christ. In discerning the body of Christ, as Christians, we must stand hand in hand with each other, ensuring no one is lost, whether “great” or “small”. Before God, we are all His beloved children, Pastors and members alike. If God was merciful with David in the old testament, how much more, a believer in the new testament? Yes, Pastor Jimmy Swaggart erred in his times of weakness, just like we ALL have. “Sin” is never excused, but in Christ Jesus, there is forgiveness. Mary, the ex-prostitute in the Bible was caught right in the act. But Jesus forgave her, not condemned her. As Jesus said, “the one who is forgiven most, loves most.” Firstly, it is not in our place to judge or condemn a Minister of God. Romans 14:4-” who art thou that judgeth another man’s servant? To his master, he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand.” So its not in our place to say he should or should not continue in the work that he was given. The Lord Himself who called him is the only one who can make that judgement. If he has repented and received forgiveness, our attitude towards him should be one of love, acceptance and prayers for him that he may fulfill his call and finish it without reproach. Consider the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15:13-24. Now, if God is not condemning him, who are we to condemn him? The Bible urges us instead to pray for ministers of the Gospel because they face unimaginable temptations at their level. When one wins, we all win. So, we all have a responsibility to pray for and love one other. Before the scandal, see how many lives were blessed and souls saved at his crusades! Are we Christians going to also take sides with the devil who is the REAL ENEMY here in ending a fellow brother’s divine call? Having started well, we must also pray for him that he finishes well. Shouldn’t we be happy that the Church is not left in ruins and can still bring the message of Christ to people, rather than wondering why “he is still around?” The Lord has not disqualified him, seeing that he has repented. Who therefore are we to, as though we called him? Moreover, do not fall into the trap of speaking lightly or carelessly of someone bearing the Name of God. If you have “observations” or “reservations” about a particular ministry, or doctrines you do not understand or agree with, you can express your concerns effectively without mentioning names or being judgemental. It may be fatal in the long run. Furthermore, if Christ has forgiven him, so should we. Please read 2 Corinthians 2:5-11.
    P.S. – I am not a member of JSM. I only just discovered his broadcast barely two weeks ago. And just like some other congregations, they may have their challenges. However, I believe it’s our responsibility as members of the body of Christ to keep the unity of the faith and of the body, rather than tear each other down. We are members of Christ’s body, of His flesh and of His bones. The Church of Jesus is marching on gloriously, and the gates of hell CANNOT prevail against it!!!

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    1. According to 1 Timothy 3:2, Swaggart should have stepped down from pastoring after the first time he was caught visiting a prostitute. God forgives but pastors are to be above that kind of public reproach. In 1987, Swaggart publicly accused Jim Bakker of being a “cancer on the body of Christ” when he was just as bad.

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  10. I have to start this comment by saying that I have cut my teeth as a Christian in a pentecostal church. However, I currently attend an old school, Calvinistic, hymns only, no dancing, suit, ties and dresses only SBC church. I am, for all intents and purposes, a “Bapta-costal”. That all being said, although I am one of those who believes in what is known as the “gifts”, I have moved away from MUCH of what is called “pentecostal” lately! You have a LOT of bizarre, completely UNBIBLICAL, and downright bordering on witchcraft things that are going on in the modern Pentecostal church today!!! (Bethel Church comes to mind) Not only that, but you have some of these self proclaimed “prophets” who believe that their words are direct revelations of God! There are WOLVES in the camp!!!
    But please don’t throw out the baby with the bath water. The term, “Pentecostal” is such a broad brush stroke to describe a whole number of different beliefs, from snake handlers, to chandalier swingers, to pew jumpers, to people like me. I believe in the “gifts”, but in the world of huge ministries like Swaggart, and Bill Johnson and others, the “gifts” are more a show. There is much more perspiration than inspiration going on! And don’t even get me started on the “charismatic Catholics!” Catholicism is a FALSE teaching! So WHAT if they act like Pentecostals! They still pray to Mary!! Ugh!!!! They are now doubly deceived. Sad. One last thing…I don’t care WHO it is…anyone who puts THEIR name on a Bible, GUARANTEES that I will NEVER buy it! Be it John MacArthur, Jimmy Swaggart, or Charles Stanley! Once you market God while promoting “YOUR ” ministry, sermons, or books, I am COMPLETELY turned off!
    Sorry for the long comment…
    I coulda just said, “I agree”3. Or “Amen!”…but I’m a writing addict….(I’m getting help! 😂)

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    1. Thanks for your comments, Paul! I am a “cessationist” regarding the showy gifts of the Spirit. I believe those particular gifts ended with the apostles, but I usually try to avoid arguing over secondary beliefs with fellow believers. It is very interesting to me though that the Catholic Charismatic Renewal claims 160 million members, including tens of thousands of priests, who manifest the requisite gifts of the spirit yet they continue to hold to Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. Does not compute. So my question to Pentecostal/charismatic evangelicals is how can Roman Catholics who are not born again in Jesus Christ (because they still enthusiastically adhere to Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit) manifest the gifts of the spirit? This is a conundrum that I have not seen addressed. Bethel, the NAR, the prosperity gospel, and most of what we see on TBN are the fruit of the experientialism and emotionalism trumping right doctrine and soberness. Sorry, Paul, I’m definitely not trying to start an argument, but I wanted to share where I’m coming from as you did. We can agree to disagree and leave it at that. I’m guessing there are secondaries you overlook at your church, just as I do with mine. Praise the Lord that we are united in the Gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus Christ alone! I’m looking forward to more of your posts!

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      1. I think that wherever there is true, there is also a counterfeit. I think of Pharaoh’s magicians and Moses here. My point is that “charismatic Catholics” may speak in tongues and all that stuff, but the proof is in the end of it! Who are Catholics REALLY following? It’s unfortunately NOT Jesus! It’s Rome! And as far as Bethel, the NAR, and MOST of Pentecostalism in general, you are completely right! Their gospel is based upon experience rather than

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      2. Thanks for the good comments, Paul. I should add for even-handed clarity that a sizeable portion of non-Pentecostal/charismatic evangelicals also regrettably embrace Roman Catholicism as a Christian entity.

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      3. This is sad. I was delivered from the RCC by the grace of God! The Reformation was a GREAT and NEEDED move of God in the Church! While I love Catholics, I cannot hold hands doctrinally with them! Sad that evangelicals at large have capitulated. Blessings, bro!!! 👍👍 Love your blogs!!!

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      4. Praise God that He freed us from the chains of Roman Catholicism and saved us by His grace through faith in Christ alone! Thank you and blessings to you as well! Looking forward to more of your good posts!

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    2. Paul, I agree with most of your comments, except the conventional statement “do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.” If the “baby” is accordance with false doctrines of modern Pentecostalism, I say, throw thar baby out! Pentecostalism is more corrupt than any other denominations because the former “mainstream” denominations refrain from the excesses of demonic doctrines as Pentecostalism. I like the contrast between “perspiration vs. inspiration”. Like you, once their “ministry” is marketed and not the elevation of the Word of GOD, I am turned off, unto the point that I no longer view Christian TV because it is ALL a hoax spinned for the sole purpose of dollars. Keep pressing on for CHRIST!

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  11. I disagree with recommending the teachings of Swaggart. Although a former follower, and a former Pentecostal, I have since renounced the teachings of both. I subscribe to secessionist teaching that the apostolic gifts were fulfilled in the First Century AD, and modern “speaking in tongues” is not only false, but demonic. As JESUS said, “a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit.” Swaggart is corrupt. His “Message of the Cross” is an evil gospel that perverts holy scripture, accusing the apostles of not understanding the gospel and living in sin. Swaggart is a king of an earthly realm, although talented, he is deceived and deceiving the unlearned.

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      1. Thank you. I owe the enlightenment to the Holy Spirit. My Father was a Pentecostal preacher, I am a former Pentecostal preacher. All of my close acquaintances and “brethren” were Pentecostal preachers or Pentecostals. I lost all renouncing the debauchery, but, I gained my soul. I have never known true liberty and Grace since exiting the false church.
        Thank you for not recommending Swaggart. If one has not been exposed to the church, one is much better off than exposure to Swaggart. The LORD bless you all.

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  12. I will apologize now for what has turned out to be a very long first-ever post.
    I was Saved in a Pentecostal church! … not Saved BY it. Jesus Christ and I met there, finally, after years in the Catholic Church and then years in no-man’s land.
    A little back-story: At a particularly bad time in my personal and spiritual life a friend invited me to attend his Pentecostal church and I stayed, and was involved for about five years. I began to notice odd changes in the services – the praise and worship “Hillsongs Top 10 show” before the sermon became more and more of a rock show, even including rap at times. The messages were becoming more and more prosperity-minded and less and less scripture-anchored (though I did buy into it in the beginning). The final straw for me was when the pulpit was replaced by a tall cocktail table, and the pastor delivered his message from a bar stool. I’m not kidding. I had to get out.
    That same friend then started hosting a “home church”, and the central fixture of our Sunday was to watch Jimmy Swaggart at the Family Worship Center on television. I really welcomed the “Message of the Cross” – it was a refreshing change to see a pastor actually open up a Bible (even if it was the Expositor’s). I still own one today. I could accept that Jimmy’s state of forgiveness and/or salvation was not mine to judge. I drove from home in Canada all the way down to Baton Rouge (3300 miles return trip!!!) to attend FWC in person – TWICE. I even had a short private consultation with Donnie once. I considered FWC to be MY church and I tithed to the JSM faithfully and cheerfully. Occasionally, we’d hear a plea for special giving to the television ministry – to buy new cameras, equipment, etc, etc, and I was ok with that – all for the cause of reaching lost souls, right?
    But then one day, I heard a comment about the spanking-brand-new piano on the stage costing some $250,000. Jimmy needed this particular piano to better reach lost souls. Excuse me?!?! I was speechless. Now all the tithing, and the pledge drives, and the merchandising, and the now-apparent “hereditary monarchy” started to become very clear, and distasteful. There is a very clear Swaggart family empire in place, and it is obvious that the ministry will continue in the family when Jimmy can no longer lead. I could not abide this one more day, and I dropped FWC in a heartbeat.
    It took about a year, but I found a local Bible-believing, Bible-preaching church and pastor that I could trust to teach from Scripture, always, and only. We have a very modest group of musicians and singers, with a mix of modern songs and traditional hymns – all of which are curated to ensure the praise and worship never compromises or overtakes the Word.
    I don’t regret my years at FWC any more than I regret the years at the prosperity Pentecostal “Community” church, or the years as a Catholic. By God’s grace, I was delivered from that, and brought to a place where I can be aware of the dangers of having “tickled ears”, false teaching and worship, and worse! I appreciate that God has been steadfast in His care of me. Whether these other church “steps” were ordered by Him for my edification, or my own rebellious missteps allowed by His Grace, He has delivered me and continues His work in me. He is faithful, indeed.
    Let’s pray instead for Jimmy Swaggart and his family, and for those that are “tuned in”, that they too will see the Light.
    If you have read all the way through – Thank you for your patience.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the comments, Glenn. I’m glad the Lord led you out of JSM and FWC. There’s some truth there but a believer would need so much discernment and would have to spend so much time spitting out the bones that I wouldn’t recommend anyone attend or tune in.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Even then, when I was loyal to FWC as “my” church, it always irked me that they (the Swaggarts) always pressed the message of “Baptism of The Holy Spirit” with the first evidence ALWAYS being the “utterance” of tongues. It wasn’t enough to be saved. There was this hierarchy of God’s blessing in your life. Those with it were intrinsically better than those without it. It wasn’t enough to have the Holy Spirit abide in you – we all get that the moment we are saved. It wasn’t enough to be “filled” with The Holy Spirit – anyone can have that, and it’s only fleeting, after all. But to be “Baptized” of The Holy Spirit is different. It is more. A privilege not everyone gets. It is a measure that could be recognized by others, and could potentially be called upon by the owner. They taught that some people have it, but most people don’t. Those that don’t have it should be praying for it, because it is at the core of Pentecostal power.

        I asked Donnie Swaggart what was wrong with me – that I didn’t have it. I certainly felt otherwise blessed, and filled, but I thought that I was somehow flawed without it. He really didn’t have an answer for me. He had the advantage that “he” had it and there was nothing that “he” could do to help me get it. There was a certain smugness in those that “obviously” had the Baptism – and I saw that smugness in my friends in our local home church, because they could burst out in Mandarin or some other otherwise unknown language at any time. Looking back, this is when things started to unravel for me.

        So while I don’t regret my time there, since the Lord in His time and by His Grace has brought me to where I am. I feel He guided me through it all and led me out of it – and more – by the Holy Spirit that is within me – always.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Thanks, Glenn. Yes, I can very well imagine that in the Pentecostal/charismatic church environment there is TREMENDOUS pressure on people to conform and manifest glossolalia and that those who don’t are shunned and treated as second class believers or non-believers. Pentecostal practices began seeping into the Roman Catholic church in the late 1960s and became full-bloom with Catholic Charismatic Renewal. There are 160 million Catholics involved in CCM and I assume a great number of them “speak in tongues.” Yet they still adhere to Catholicism’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. These people are not born again by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone, but are still attempting to merit their salvation. Which is proof to me that the unintelligible glossolalia of CCM (and Pentecostalism) is illegitimate. Good books to read on the topic are “Charismatic Chaos” and “Strange Fire” by John MacArthur.

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  13. I too had that inadequate “feeling” that I wasn’t good enough or something when it came to being baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues!!! There definitely was a “smugness” to Donnie when ever one would call I’m dismayed that they were getting that “baptism”. 😞

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    1. Thanks, Beth. I was never a part of Pentecostalism/Charismaticism, but I can imagine the pressure to conform had to be extremely intense and that those who didn’t/couldn’t personally manifest the euphoria were shunned. That had to be painful. So wrong. I believe the tongues/languages spoken of in Acts and elsewhere in the New Testament were actual languages, but that’s a long post. Pope Francis has said that he was once opposed to the Catholic Charismatic Movement but then embraced it when he realized that it was a marvelous tool for ecumenism.

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      1. I was literally in tears for hours one day over not being able to speak in tongues. I can’t explain the feeling I had that day when a friend hooked me up with someone that could “teach me”! It just didn’t “feel right”. I just couldn’t “do it”!
        So happy to know better now! Praise the Lord! I believe The Lord was showing me then it wasn’t necessary!!

        Yes the pope would say that to further satan’s agenda!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad you came out of that. Praise God for leading you out! God’s Word tells us to be sober and vigilant rather than getting caught up in emotionalism/euphoria/hysteria/experientialism. Yes, I have seen YouTube videos of a person instructing a gathering on “how to have the gift of glossolalia.” There was no instruction/coaching in Acts 2.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thank you! Me, too!
        That’s right, brother, no instructions given!!!
        God is so good and I just can never ever believe that enough!
        It’s so awesome to look back at things and see that God was showing me things then that I didn’t understand why… BUT HE KNEW… and now I’m coming to understand some of those things! His timing is always perfect because HE IS PERFECTION! 🙏🏻

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes, I also look back and can see how the Lord brought me through some experiences (Catholicism, fundamentalism, liberal Southern Baptist) for His good reasons and purposes.

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