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Jarrod Davidoff, an “Evangelist”, at Shofar

December 31st, 2007 · Posted by Hugo · 39 Comments

Update, Nov 2008: This is an old blog post. Like most old blog posts, there are quite a number of things I don’t like in it, and would write differently these days. But, FWIW, this is how I felt at the time:

Jarrod Pamplet Front Cover

Last night (30 December) I attended Shofar again. Interesting stuff. To be fair, it wasn’t one of the regular speakers, it was another guest speaker named “Jarrod Davidoff”, whose organisation is titled Save the World Foundation.

Some of the things I learned: it takes his organisation on average R10 to lead a soul to Jesus. By giving them R100, you could thus lead 10 souls to Jesus. Why would you want to do this? Because money is an earthly possession, and you cannot take it with you to heaven. The act of giving them money lets them “save souls” on your behalf, and every soul you are responsible for, adds to the balance of your heavenly bank account. The more people you help “save”, the more money you give to Jarrod here on earth, the bigger your balance when you get to heaven. Or so goes Jarrod Davidoff’s rhetoric. It seems what’s really important, according to Davidoff, is the headcount. “How many? How many?” Over and over. “How many people will you lead to Jesus next year? 10? 100? 1000?”

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To an outsider, this sermon would look much like a pyramid scheme. If you (Shofarians) do yourselves a favour and replace every use of Jesus’ name with, say, “Bill”, I’m convinced you would see the similarities between this and a pyramid scheme as easily as an outsider. Complete with personal-story hook at the start, emotional build-up line in the middle, and climactic finish sinker at the end to close the deal.

Jarrod advertised he is selling a “comprehensive” insurance policy. Except, the policy is free! You don’t have to pay anything to obtain this policy, you only have to give your life to his boss. Oh, and the insurance policy only applies once you’re dead, and it doesn’t help the ones you leave behind.

All good and well, because it’s free. However, now that you’ve given your life to his boss, his boss requires of you to resell the insurance policy to other people. You can either do it yourself, or you can give money, to fund Jarrod Davidoff or Fred May’s lifestyle, amongst other things, so that they may do it on your behalf. (I hope the “amongst other things” is true… are Shofar’s financial books available to members of the congregation?)

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Thus, a free insurance policy. Completely free. Except once you’ve bought into it, they guilt you into giving more money every Sunday. This seems typical of many financial scams: get you hooked on some free product, get you into the fold, and once you’re part of the organisation, they start milking. I’m not saying Shofar is a pyramid scheme, I’m merely saying that to an outsider, it looks very much like one. Do yourselves a favour, watch the video in Get the Good News Right, and think to yourself: “how do my religious perspectives differ from that which is illustrated in that video clip?”

Just like one might expect from an effective personal-contact pyramid-scheme scammer, Jarrod made great use of his history, particularly the fact that he was born Jewish, suffered anti-Semitic sentiments, and later “found Jesus”. (So what, that helped him escape anti-Semitic sentiments, right?) Despite then being taken to numerous Rabbi’s in an attempt to “win him back to Judaism” (his words), the hand of the Lord was upon him to “guide and protect” him. (To what, protect him from Judaism? That seems like an anti-Semitic slight to me, actually…) “If God can use me, a shy Jewish boy, to lead two hundred thousand people to Jesus every year, he can use you as well!” Two hundred thousand people per year at R10 each seems to indicate his organisation has a cash flow of around two million Rand per year.

He also taught the congregation to be bold in their attempts to “save” other people, to be healed from diseases like tuberculosis (through prayer), and to go cast out demons in his boss’ name. I’m sure that kind of rhetoric really wins souls during his “crusades” (his word) into Africa (e.g. Nigeria, Botswana, also Khayelitsha. These miracle cures sound great, just what Africa needs. Could we send in some scientists to do a study to determine how many thousands of people were cured by these crusades, and how many still died from TB, possibly because of “backsliding” (losing their faith a few weeks later)? We could then show the world some numbers on how effective this kind of “saving” is, by comparing it to the effectiveness of “secular” medical treatments…

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Oh, and they also target prisons, orphanages and schools. In the case of schools, they need cooperation from principles to allow them in, because some principles refuse on the grounds that it is illegal. For that reason, you should pray for cooperation from the principles. Do yourselves a favour: don’t get your hands dirty by pulling illegal strings, just pray! Pray that God will do all the illegal dirty work for you, because God does not have to obey human laws. Also, I don’t think God expects of you to do anything illegal, right? He did come to “raise the bar”, to fulfil the law, not abolish it, right? (That is not my understanding of what Jesus taught, that is what is typically taught in Shofar.)

Sharing The Gospel

Jarrod’s incredible oratory powers: he is able to share the whole Gospel for twenty minutes, at a bus stop for example. Not even in twenty minutes, for twenty minutes, implying he doesn’t even need twenty minutes. I took a look at my Bible: the shortest of the four canonical Gospels is the Gospel of Mark. In my NIV, that’s more than 23 pages. The intro in my copy of “The Message” (another translation, actually, a bit of a paraphrase) points out:

Mark wastes no time in getting down to business — a single-sentence introduction, and not a digression to be found from beginning to end.

That sounds like a decent enough benchmark. A quick experiment indicated it takes me more than a minute to read a single page, If I do speed reading. I can probably only get value from the pages at that speed, because I’m already familiar with the material. And I read much faster than I speak. There is no way I’d get through the Gospel of Mark in less than half an hour. As such, Jarrod must be a supernatural orator in order to share “the whole Gospel” in just twenty minutes…

The other possibility is that he is sharing a small fragment of the Gospel, a short extract significantly simplified — something which can be shared in as little time or as much time as you have, very nice for our modern single-serving culture (Fight Club) where we don’t want to build real relationships. It’s only the head-count that is important, after all. Who cares about their lives. Um, God can take care of that, you say? But aren’t we God’s hands and feet? (Christian doctrine.) Doesn’t God expect of us to care for one another and make a difference in each other’s lives? Either way, if he’s only sharing a small extract, couldn’t he drop the “whole” from his rhetoric? Otherwise he seriously runs the risk of being a liar, does he not?

Dear Shofarians

I don’t know if people like Jarred are charlatans (as some of my friends suggest) or if they really and truly believe they’re doing the world some good, I just know that this kind of behaviour looks extremely suspicious to people that keep their wits about them. I further believe it causes Jesus a huge PR nightmare — something militant anti-theists (or Satan?) might celebrate.

Dear long-time Shofarians (I’ve only been back at the church for two sermons now), I would like to know if this is the kind of thing you approve of for your church (own it, you pay for it). Is this the kind of evangelism you would like your church to promote in this hurting world of ours? If so, yikes, but okay. If not, don’t you think you can make a stand and demand that your church, your money, be employed to make more of a positive difference in people’s lives, rather than just hitting people with the Jesus truck in a real-life game of Carmageddon?

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Categories: Shofar
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39 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Al Lovejoy // Jan 1, 2008 at 12:51 am

    It costs R10 to lead someone to Jesus??? Isn’t it utterly amazing what actuarial science can calculate!

    I was firmly under the impression that the earthly price was thirty pieces of silver and Heaven’s price was His very life. Apparently, and of course now I realise I might be wrong – but weren’t both prices supposed to have been settled in full? I mean, is the R10 something we missed in the fine print (of the whole gospel of course) and how does this fit in with inflation? Is it the same price per soul in other countries and does that price get affected by foreign exchange fluctuations? Has Jesus got an Internet payment gateway yet, so that I don’t have to buy souls through the Reserve Bank? And if I pay by VISA or MasterCard does that mean the bank gets my Heavenly Credit points for those souls until I have payed off my account? Also, what happens if I go bankrupt – does that mean those souls go to hell because I can only afford 40c on the Rand? Or are they kept on lay-bye?

    And considering that money is an imaginary electronic concept that we use to trade with symbolically, does it mean that you can lead people to Jesus through other imaginary financial concepts like the Tooth Fairy. At my sister in law’s current rate, one milk tooth should buy five souls…

    I think I need this man’s address. I’m gonna send him a post-dated cheque for my baby’s milk teeth and start a whole church from the comfort of my armchair – just as soon as the Tooth Fairy pays up!

  • 2 Al Lovejoy // Jan 1, 2008 at 1:41 am

    Oh, and does this mean that Christianity has moved from the free gift of Grace – to the basic gold standard or does it calculate the value of a soul based on futures, bonds and monetary markets?

    And how do diamonds fit in? They are an “invention” of the de Beers company after all and their value utterly artificial. Read more about what I mean here…http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/diamond/prologue.htm

    Otto Schindler bought Jews from the Nazis with diamonds to stop them from being murdered – does God accept diamonds to save souls too? What must still be paid for those Jews to be saved? Must it be paid in cash?

    Can I pay in Zimbabwean dollars because this price of evangelism is confusing to me.

  • 3 Hugo // Jan 1, 2008 at 2:05 am

    Hehe, much fun reading your comments Al, I don’t know if they’re just humour or intended as serious though. So, for whoever is uncertain about what Jarrod meant, here is a more serious comment, hopefully more constructive:

    Jarrod’s organisation “leads people to Jesus”. The cost of doing what he does can be expressed in terms of a monetary value. Travelling costs, living costs, food expenses, equipment costs, etc, for his organisation, comes to approximately R10 per “soul saved”, according to Jarrod.

    Now let’s suppose someone wanted to contribute financially to “changing the world”, because they cannot do so themselves but would like to contribute. They use the token that is money, in order to contribute a piece of their “work”, their income. It makes complete sense to ask “so what would be the best organisation to contribute to?”

    Now you have two choices: supposedly save twenty souls for R10, or make a real and significant difference in two people’s lives. Those two people can then hopefully break free from poverty and disease, get their own income going, and each help another two in their local community to turn their lives around. Etcetera. A pyramid scheme of a different sort…?

    Do you invest in the R10 deal, or in the R100 deal? Which is better value for money? When buying cutlery, do you buy a bunch of weak plastic forks contributing to global pollution, or do you buy a piece of metal that you can use over and over?

    Don’t get fooled by a cheap price… quantity is not what counts, quality is where you make the real difference. The question I’m asking, is what is the quality of the difference Jarrod is making?

  • 4 Hugo // Jan 1, 2008 at 2:14 am

    I should probably have been more constructive in my post, I guess. Leaving the “constructive criticism” for the third comment is probably not the best course of action. (But playing with words is so much fun! Hehe…)

  • 5 Al Lovejoy // Jan 1, 2008 at 10:54 am

    It is God who is both Author and Finisher of our faith, not any organisation and to go back to Otto Schindler and the part money played in saving people from the holocaust – He bankrupted himself completely for those people (from another religion!!!) and this seems to be pole opposites of what people like this Jarrod person and Fred May are in the business of doing. Especially Fred May who has declared publicly that God, yes God! has called him to amass wealth.

    And china, is he being obedient!!!

    I think the old Rabbi said that if you save one person you have saved the world. When people become a purchaseable commodity – all you have is another form of slavery, only this one is based on corrupted religious economics. And of course it’s only an idea on sale – the purchaser will never know or see what has been bought in reality.

    Christ’s damnation in his sermon on the sheep and the goats – is that the goats basically wanted credit from Him for how well they served the Insititution, its extentions and public displays. Christ rewarded the sheep for serving the individual with the gospel. There is absolutely no way you can attach a cash price tag to that!

    These men would have one believe that the gospel can be bought and sold in bulk through a pyramid sales organisation like Herbalife, when the real price of a soul is much more expensive – it is priceless and the cost: Unconditional Love.

  • 6 Al Lovejoy // Jan 1, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    erratta – Oskar Schindler (not Otto) was the Nazi who bankrupted himself to buy the lives of Jews who would have otherwise been gassed by his compatriots in their satanic mills and tossed in the ovens of the holocaust.

    When I studied mathematics in matric, our lecturer walked in one day and wrote an equation down on the blackboard proving in its final conclusion that 1=2. He then told us to find out what was wrong with the equation.

    For those of you familiar with the problem, the solution is simple. Hidden in the rhetoric of algebraic operators and boolean logic – a fundamental law of mathematics is broken, one variable is divided by another variable, except that variable is actually zero. From there on everything in that equation is garbage that means nothing – the mathematic equivalent of a lie.

    The lie this man Jarrod represents is this – “Now let’s suppose someone wanted to contribute financially to “changing the world”, because they cannot do so themselves ” – THEY CANNOT DO SO THEMSELVES???

    THEY CANNOT DO SO THEMSELVES??? Is that your final testimony Shofar and anyone else who supports this meaningless circus act?

    Translate that into give money to this well oiled charlatan, so he can do something with it out of sight. He says he get 200 000 people saved every year at R10 a pop. What evidence is there that this is true – his corporate word???

    I watched Rheinhard Bonke as a first time guest on one of his super sound stages – vhip up a crowd into throwing avay all de athsma pumps and valking sticks, because Jessssusss had healed them – HALLELUJAH!!!

    T-shirts, DVD’s books and other merchandising in the tents at the back. And ushers will be moving through the crowd as your heart is moved by the Holy Spirit into giving into the the ministry God is doing through our brother Rheinard, blah, blah, just hand over the cash…

    Oh, and Hugo – you have no idea how well it works, as good as the emotional tension in any good rock concert and man Bono could take tips from these okes on how to focus all attention on themselves, which they literally scream is only being focussed on God.

    It’s all the same circus, run by a bunch of manic street preachers made good. Finacially good.

    You cannot buy the gospel on someone’s behalf – we are commanded as Christians to go – personally and bring good news – a lot more than R10.

  • 7 Hugo // Jan 1, 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Quite finicky about word choice… Al, you wrote this:

    “The lie this man Jarrod represents is this:”

    I’m afraid you cannot make that statement. The following was written by me, personally:

    Now let’s suppose someone wanted to contribute financially to “changing the world”, because they cannot do so themselves but would like to contribute.

    This does not necessarily represent Jarrod’s perspective. It only represents my own imperfect wording of a particular situation.

    I agree that we can and should all try to contribute personally. My poor word choice of “cannot do so themselves” should rather have been worded differently. While I could have done much better, getting the word choice perfect is rather tricky though, given a diverse audience.

    Suppose Herr Schindler had run out of money, but had the opportunity to save another 1,000 Jews through the channels he had in place. If some of his friends were keen to help out, it would have been beneficial if they contributed money. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

    Al, while I agree with the gist of your comment, I’m sure you know as well as I do that that kind of rhetoric chases certain kinds of people away, or gets them on the defensive. Exactly the kind of people I would like to engage in conversation here, particularly in the “Shofar” category of my blog. I love your contributions, but in this particular category, I’m concerned that they are not directly helpful, if you know what I mean?

    Yes, not many Shofarians around yet, or not many commenting yet, at least. The keyword is “yet”. I intend to change that a few weeks down the line, once I have everything in place.

  • 8 Hugo // Jan 1, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    What’s your take on Bono by the way? Do you like the guy? Stellenbosch Gemeente is quite a fan… ;-)

    Oh, and Hugo – you have no idea how well it works

    It is also possible that I have a much better idea of how well it works than you think I do…

  • 9 gloep // Jan 1, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    Gross.

  • 10 Al Lovejoy // Jan 1, 2008 at 8:31 pm

    I apologise, I will tone down the rhetorix – but having seen one of these Bonke type circuses first hand (In the middle of the Cape Flats) – I cannot see anyone being led to Christ in any significant fashion, except by the will of God and God alone – they might become fans of Jesus and wear the T-shirt for a while but life on the streets and in their ghettoes is all they know and when the likes of Jarrod and Rheinhard disappear on their roadshow and take the feel good circus with them – the folks who bought the T-Shirts are still probably going to die in gang fights. This isn’t speculation – it is history, only then the murders and fighting were about mandrax instead of tik.

    And, correct me on this – but it is probable that you don’t know. I’ve been back stage at one of these mega events and watched the money get counted. Have you ever seen that? Have you ever seen the feverish excitement that accompanies it? What these okes do on stage is affected but what they do in the presence of the money is intensely real. I have seen it – and next to watching Fred May strip an orphan of 10% of his susbstantial inheritance, it was the third most filthy and ugly thing I have ever seen concerning money and the church. It nearly made me puke. Like you said it creates a PR nightmare that causes folks to hate Christ and the message of the gospel even more than they do already.

    The Shofarians might argue that out of 200 000 maybe 200 get truly “saved” – but at what expense to the gospel? To the kids in the gangs, a week later, Jesus was just another white man’s joke way to get money.

    Christ commanded his disciples to actively practise syncretism to the point of living in poverty with those whom you would convert, eating what was put in front of you without question, albeit meat or grain sacrificed to foreign gods and to charge nothing for the hospitality of your hosts, except, when they have accepted and understood the message – leave them with the blessing and peace of God.

    I mean – is it possible to pay another man to do my dirty work? When you must consider that I have no means of paying him for that work – until I and only I do the work myself. That is what I mean by a lie. It is an equation that turns to garbage half way through.

    Scripture say store up treasure for yourselves in heaven – it does not say invest in a ministry that will pay out the same heavenly dividends – as if human beings were stocks to trade. That is bullshit.

    I apologise to all those who might have been offended with my comments and the tone of my rhetoric – it was born out of an irratation and anger that comes from purely subjective experience – something I obviously need to communicate very clearly before taking the liberty to react to it.

    My comments mean nothing because like it or not – these are professional hustlers. They have perfected their gig and sussed their target marks out perfectly. They move from town to town in Africa, living in air-conditioned trailers like movie stars. And they work huge crowds for the industrial size coin machines after the show. After a couple of years, one counts up a few million saved, money in both banks and you retire – job done.

    From now on I will keep those kind of inflamatory comments to myself.

    (P.S. Loved Bono since the Joshua Tree, a very valid person…)

  • 11 Hugo // Jan 1, 2008 at 9:14 pm

    Thanks Al! Another brilliant comment… I like your rhetorix, I’d love to keep hearing what you have to say, but maybe in smaller doses. As Jesus suggested, the aim is to plant some seeds, then help them grow, rather than forcefully trying to create a tree. (That’s God’s job, right? ;) ) Often people can’t deal with a whole loaf of bread and a whole bottle of wine at once. They need smaller pieces, one Eucharist at a time.

    And, correct me on this – but it is probable that you don’t know

    No, you’re right. I guess I mis-estimated your estimation of my knowledge of the effect of how well it works. Thanks for the details, scary… I have indeed not experienced the behind-the-scenes gig at such meetings. (I do sometimes lend a hand in the sorting of money at my church, actually, but there it’s much more of a schlep: “ugh, do we have to sort money yet again? Let’s hope it doesn’t take too long.” The majority of those sorting the money gets no cent of it, being volunteers, so there’s indeed no feverish excitement.)

    From now on I will keep those kind of inflamatory comments to myself.

    I hate that that is necessary, which is why I’m working on some software codenamed “mengelmoes”. The idea is to make it possible for absolutely everyone to make whatever contributions they can and would like to do, without it bothering those that don’t want to, or shouldn’t, see it. Think: a Zerg-rush of fundamentalists’ comments flooding a discussion to drown out criticism. I would like to not have to censor anyone, at most classify the lot as “rambling nonsense”, available for reading for those that have masochistic tendencies.

  • 12 Hugo // Jan 1, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    (Once mengelmoes is operational, you should be able to write a wonderfully passionate and verbosely inflammatory comment, then tag it as such. When the time comes, we can brainstorm how best to organise and present such comments and discussions in order to avoid causing paralysis-by-verbosity and offending the weak-minded, while still encouraging cross-pollination of ideas. A particularly delicate balancing act, I suspect.)

  • 13 Al Lovejoy // Jan 2, 2008 at 8:10 pm

    My small contention with the very idea of supporting someone like this Jarrod person financially is born out of asking the question – why?

    Why pay this man money to apparently save souls somewhere unseen, when I can show you photographs of tiny children living in mud and filth – with extremely young drunk and tikked up parents – right HERE in Stellenbosch?

    Why are those poor desperate people not important? If evangelism is to bring good news to the poor and broken hearted – why coporately pay some slick stranger so that people out of sight can go to a gospel gig? When you consider there are real people desperate for that knowledge and right on Shofar’s multi-million rand office’s doorstep – where they can be reached for free any time Fred May wants!!! Why are these big speakers with their big words and big numbers – with their hats out – given more precedence than the teenage children who break into cars and houses and mug strangers for tik money on our streets?

    I’ll tell you why.

    It is because it is impossible to preach the gospel to someone who sees straight through you.

    I had a minor involvement with a soup kitchen a while back, which was closed down after I had moved on because threats were made against the volunteers by street people. I didn’t tell the pastor of the church why that happened, because his church was in fact one of the very few trying.

    Imagine you are a con just out of jail, friendless, moneyless, no opportunities – nothing except your criminal acumen because you are socially almost a non person, so cunning is your only skill. You hear about a church dishing out free food so you go ’cause you’re hungry.

    Upon arrival you find a crowd of people like yourself and you go in. You are told to sit and wait until eventually some boer comes down the stairs with a Bible in his hand. He starts preaching some bullshit and then he prays. THEN you are only allowed to get a chow from the ladies at the back. So, you grab something to eat and go sit down. You see the boer walking around making awkward small talk, like he must or something. He gets to you, says some kak – you tune him what he wants to hear baas and he leaves you alone. He doesn’t eat with you, so you pick at your food until he disappears upstairs. Then you and the ouens get down and eat and suss out amongst the other bergies who you can maybe rob or gang up with.

    Next time you go, you decide fuck him and walk in and take chow, without being forced to listen to his Bible kak first and when the old woman behind the counter tunes you kak about it – you make sure she understands that nobody takes you for a poes.

    I had a round about discussion with another pastor about this and told him that I could have helped that pastor trying that sort of hit and run evangelism in that soup kitchen. Let’s call him Gary. I would have walked in, told Gary to empty his pockets, give his wallet and money to to one of the ladies, sit down, eat well and leave with their sort of unspoken leader – Gordon. Then live with them day by day (for a nice bilical number like forty), garnering the essentials that one needs in a totally existential lifestyle and in essence relying on them to help him for his daily neccessities in the same manner he expects them to care for their eternal. Definitely enough time to cover the whole gospel and prove it through his life (This advice was meant for him and no one else).

    See, your whole life, not just the bits of paper in your pocket that actually belong to the Reserve Bank of South Africa and cannot be co-owned by God. If He wants it to get His business done – He has to pay tax to SARS like the citizens of South Africa who paid it to Him.

    Ask SARS. Like I said previously – weren’t both heaven and earth price’s paid by Christ in full?

    A very delicate balancing act Hugo, almost like those fragile tea cups you can see through, with the pretty painted flowers and the fake gold bits.

  • 14 Hugo // Jan 2, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Yup… I’m quite curious to see how long I last. ;-)

  • 15 Al Lovejoy // Jan 2, 2008 at 8:54 pm

    Here Hugo, this is an extract from Acid Alex, about a very difficult time for me as a young man…it illustrates what I’m speaking about here in these posts from my voice and an experience almost twenty-two years ago…

    Extract from Madness and Miracles – Acid Alex by Al Lovejoy – Copyright Al Lovejoy (2005)

    You see, I always had a diametrically opposing idea. One that didn’t fit in with The Program and usually conflicted with the leadership. Example…
    We arrive in Worcester to do a SOS (Summer of Service). The leader of the base – a guy named Brian Kinghorn – tells us we’ll be working on eleven farms in the area. All the farmers are Christian friends open to the idea. Tonight we will be going to one of them to minister to the plaaswerkers just before they have their dop. All the farms in the area run on the dop system. I dunno if you know how that works, so I’ll tell you. The workers are given a choice of a cash wage or a ration of wine. The volume of dop the farmer gives them is way more than they can possibly buy at a liquor store, and therein lies the hook. It costs him pittance to produce and effectively buys him narcotic slaves.
    Brian tells us that we must prepare three songs, a testimony and a drama. I suggest to Brian that, maybe, because we are here for three months, why don’t we just go and meet them tonight? Each of us befriends a couple of people, gets to know their names, and we chat with them the whole time – so we can pray for their personal needs more effectively. He turns to me, furious with me for contradicting him, and tells me that he was the YWAM director of the entire Philippines operation and he is NOT about be told how to run his base. We will do The Program…
    It was horrible.
    I stood in front of a bunch of obsequious, miserably poor coloured folk seated on benches in rows under the roof of a dusty shed – and did The Program as ordered. They sat in mild trepidation, the men with their heads bowed in respect to us, nervously gripping their hats in their hands, and the women with their colourful doeke, staring carefully, hands folded meekly in their laps. Their kids were not allowed. Too noisy and inattentive, which freaked me out because my study speciality was children’s ministry.
    I also got one hell of a shock when we arrived. Brian and his wife spoke down at them, ordering them around as if they were stupid, obstinate, wayward children. Almost not even people. And the rage started to rise again.
    It was, is and has always been like this for me. After Brian finished preaching a little Frankenstein evangelism, he asked them to raise their hands if they wanted to accept Jesus – or sommer die and go to Hell.
    Everyone’s hand went up for Pastor Baas Brian. These were counted and diligently added to the statistics of drunken heathen snatched from the lake of fire.
    Later that night I try dealing with my rebellious spirit. My leaders tell me this is my deep sin. Out in a big wheatfield – I begin praying. I know exactly where these poor people are coming from. They live in tiny crowded hovels, do backbreaking work for a pittance and live from generation to generation in alcoholism. Here in deep apartheid, that is how things work – but I cannot believe this is how the Person I believe to be God wants it. I cannot.
    And that’s where my spiritual schizophrenia is coming from. We destroyed these people’s spirits but maybe we can change it for their children by changing it for them.
    I pray and pray.
    I pray almost the whole night and nearly collide with a big snake, which I hear hissing menacingly near me. The old pap-driven meaning-making machine on top of my shoulders tells me that I’m on the right track because A Serpent has tried to shut me up. Yes, yes – I know I’m nuts… but… I get my answer with a warning that I don’t heed because I think it could never be part of it.
    Following the strict chain of command, I go to my flock group leader – a really gentle, red-head giant named William who loves playing a droning alto sax – and tell him what I think we must do.
    First we must get rid of our beautiful leather-bound Bibles and dress in our oldest, strongest jeans, a plain shirt and jersey or jacket, but nothing with designer labels. Leave everything else behind. Boomboxes, CD players, all our gospel music, books, money, and other appliances and cosmetics. Put a toothbrush in one pocket. Then we are to split up into able girl–guy pairs and go to the different farms. But we must walk – we cannot take the Hi-Ace, because it is brand new. Upon arriving at the farms, each pair goes down to the dop shed and waits. When the workers eventually come in we must sit with them. Those of us who want to can drink a dop. When the folk ask what we are there for – we tell them that we have come to visit them for an entire month and make friends. And very, very important, we must NOT, absolutely NOT, speak about Jesus.
    Not once.
    William looks at me as if I have gone completely and utterly stark-raving mad. I try explaining from what I believe I had heard or felt after praying the night before – and back it up with Scripture…
    When Christ sent out his disciples to perform His miracles and preach His message, He sent them out in pairs in all directions and told them to take nothing with them except the clothes on their backs. I told William that I had prayed very hard about it and felt it was because we needed to give power to these broken and completely powerless people.
    My Das sense told me exactly why they lived in delinquency, but I couldn’t judge them for it. I had been the same all my life until That Night. I knew exactly what it felt like to be one of them.
    I loved them because of it.
    I explain to him that what they need is to feel empowered, and the only way to do that will be to strip ourselves of everything that makes us appear superior in any way, and then make ourselves dependent on them – yes, them – for food, water and shelter. We can’t do anything about our white skins but if we are really sincere and – most important – friendly, without ANY fokkenhotnotkaffer attitudes inside – they will accept us and look after the two of us from their own poverty until the farmer pays us for our work.
    I know this from District Six.
    It might mean sleeping out under the stars for the first night or two. But we can just make a fire. And we might go hungry but we can fast. Water is plentiful. I know these people – they will not chase us away. They have big hearts, even if they are broken. We can drink a dop with them too, because Jesus did so with lots of people like them. The Pharisees hated him for it, so it has to be okay for us too – because we’re NOT here to put them on a guilt trip and tell them how they must live their lives or what they must believe. We want them to know Love by showing it to them. The reason why we absolutely must NOT speak about Jesus is because He is the God of the white people who treat them like dogs. We have to make real friends by living and working side by side with them every day because none of them have ever had a white friend, and having a white friend will help them understand that some people aren’t white or black or coloured or whatever – they are just people. Once they realise that we are truly people who want to make friends – it will make them curious. They will ask but we mustn’t tell them until almost at the end when we are truly friends and our friendship has built that mustard grain of self-esteem. Then we can explain that there is a White Jesus, and a Money Jesus, a TV Jesus and a Political Jesus, sometimes all mixed up Jesuses too – but there is also a Real Jesus, and we tell them about the Real Jesus and how much the Real Jesus loves them. How we believe He set the whole world free without us even asking. How simply knowing that changed everything we thought important in life. I know they will listen to what we have to say then, because we will have showed them how the real Jesus feels inside. The real Jesus will do the rest.
    William looked at me and started crying. Really crying. He freaked me out a bit because he sounded so genuinely heartbroken. He told me that he was so, so sorry that the leadership didn’t like me, that they always got angry at what I said and refused to listen. He promised to speak to Brian but also warned me that I had to accept realistically that he might not want to hear.
    He didn’t. And that’s the painful irony. I felt I had been warned in my answer the night before:
    – Do not go to your leaders with what I have told you. They will not listen to you –
    Understand please, I am not arrogant or insane enough to think I can personally and singularly hear The Voice Of God, but I am also not so stupid that I won’t diligently try to listen – and follow up practically with what my gut instincts and empathic choices tell me Scripture is trying to really mean. Always and only from the point of:
    What does what I believe in make me pray for, and then do, on behalf of others – who have nothing and no one to believe in?
    Brian Kinghorn had a speciality in ministering something called the Father Heart of God. I think he wrote a book. Famous for it. How could he be wrong? Why would I feel I had been told he was my leader. Wasn’t he supposed to be God’s leader? See what I mean? Deep down in me – in my sinful, rebellious and kaffirboetie heart, he was just another mad religious Dutchman I had already begun to dislike.
    Brian’s wife told me I was cursed because of my tattoos.
    These were speaking-in-tongues, hands-waving-wildly-in-the-air, Charismatic Christians. Better than anyone else. God’s anointed. White Christian parents sent their kids to them from all over the country to teach them how to be like them. The anger I felt at these self-centred fools tore me apart. They were supposed to be our role models like Christ was to his disciples, yet all they could practise was a Program… of self-adulation, petty emotional manipulation and racism.
    As a missionary I saw it so often. Everywhere. So much blindness to the basic needs and pain of others. So much unbridled arrogance and disrespect. The poison in the roots of the entire tree. Making men who could be good— bad. In my heart of hearts I could not believe one of them had ever met the Person I had, because if they had they would realise – THAT PERSON IS NOT LIKE THAT.

    To anybody.

    Ever.

  • 16 Hugo // Jan 2, 2008 at 9:58 pm

    AMEN!

    Their kids were not allowed. Too noisy and inattentive, which freaked me out because my study speciality was children’s ministry.

    *bleep*ing hell. (oops.) I wonder if they know their Bibles? “Let the little children come to me” is the first thing that pops into my head…

    Every time I see something really shocking like this (despite the fact that it does not surprise me one iota, I’ve come across it often enough even if my personal experience of it is not as extensive as yours), I feel like giving up hope. Giving up on them. It takes me a minute or two to regroup my thoughts and get my focus set again, which is why I wonder “how long will I last?” It’s so easy to become despondent.

    Brain McLaren, in “Finding Faith”, suggested we shut up about Jesus for, say, um, 25 years, not mention his name at all, and focus instead on just living the way Jesus taught. Maybe after 25 years, we could start talking about “Jesus” again without everyone cringing, thanks to the damage done to the name. Brian McLaren further wonders what name Jesus would choose if he came today… suggesting that, due to the damage we’ve done to the “Jesus” label, he’d likely choose a completely different name…

    OK, right, tomorrow’s blog post then: Stellenbosch Gemeente’s New Year’s sermons. 30 December and 31 December. Dealt with “hope”, and mentioned that Brain McLaren bit. Tomorrow is going to be a really busy day. (More catching up with a friend from far away, likely work on my current “consulting”(?) job, which has a steep deadline, get some exercise to drop the thesis-gut, and make some time to write that blog post.)

  • 17 Steve // Jan 3, 2008 at 8:24 am

    Awesome extract, Al.

  • 18 Al Lovejoy // Jan 3, 2008 at 10:26 am

    http://www.acidalex.com/fan_base/shofar.html

  • 19 Hugo // Jan 3, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    From that page:

    False Retort: YOU ARE A DRUG DEALER TO CHILDREN…!!!

    My method of responding to such “false” accusations: “Yes, I’m a drug dealer. The drugs I deal are life, hope, liberty (from poverty and oppression). What drugs do you deal? Whose drugs are the most harmful?”

    Life is a drug. A really exhilarating one, if you know how to use it.

  • 20 Al Lovejoy // Jan 4, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Melanie Peters of the Weekend Argus solicited information from me before printing her two articles last November and this is my response to her:

    Dear Mel

    The real damage Shofar causes is mostly hidden because it affects and tears families apart. Take my deceased girlfriend Christine. Her little sister came to the University of Stellenbosch and went on the Shofar first-year indoctrination camp – which incidentally gets dressed up as an adventure camp. She came back from it completely changed – and not for the better. Christine told me that she had suddenly become abnormally religious and fearful and began to fight continuously with their traditional NG Kerk parents, who had raised them Christian – over issues like adult baptism and “praying in tongues” amongst others. She vehemently denounced their older brother as having a “demon of homosexuality”, something which hurt him terribly as he had recently gone through the deeply embarrassing and painful business of admitting being gay, not only to himself – but to the family. She told Christine she was damned straight to hell because I was her boyfriend (I was already speaking out against them as a cult in my opinion). Then after Christine died in a car accident, her sister wrote me a letter telling me she was glad it took twenty minutes (lying next to the road without medical attention) for Christine to die, because it gave her “time to make right with Jesus”. At our last meeting, their brother looked at me, started crying and told me she refuses to have any contact with him and it feels like he has lost both his little sisters…

    Al

    Their brother’s first exposure to Shofar’s “Take the whole gospel the whole world” – was at his little sister’s ordination as a Shofar “pastor” by Fred May, who incidentally has never been ordained and had no formal degree in theology. His only claim to a theological education is self-indoctrination through listening to virtually hundreds of cassettes from “Word of Faith” preachers, all the clones of Kenneth Hagin Snr. who plagiarised Mary Baker Eddy of the Christian Science cult for his “name it an claim it” teachings. While other people were out working to pay Fred May their tithes, so he could buy a bigger sound system and afford a more compensate lifestyle of leisure – he was listening to his super rich, super successful heroes and learning to imitate them and their verbal techniques and emotional manipulation perfectly.

    Back at Christine’s little sister’s “ordination”:

    As part of his sermon ordaining this little girl, Fred May told the congregation deeply and movingly of how he, Fred May – had personally cast a demon of homosexuality out of a young man who had now repented of his gayness and given his heart to Jesus. Can anyone say praise God?

    Needless to say Christine’s brother got up and walked out, while Christine and her parents sat on in horribly embarrassed silence.

    None of them ever went back to a Shofar meeting and Christine’s little sister went on into “full time ministry” for Shofar, while her parents were forced to financially support her and her unemployed “pastor” husband, from the small business they started after their dad was retrenched and very nearly went bankrupt trying to cover their study fees. They had nearly lost their house and everything after the retrenchment, while their dad and mom worked like slaves to keep them in university.

    I don’t think she ever completed her degree, while Christine and her brother both completed theirs. Christine with a cum laude for her honours degree in Marketing Management and her brother his advanced doctorate in clinical psychology. He is now a practising specialist in a certain field – helping people with certain psychological impediments lead happier, practical and less ashamed lives.

  • 21 Hugo // Jan 4, 2008 at 2:00 pm

    Now, after all that, I want to say:

    No church is perfect. Fact. No organisation is perfect. Fact. Some ways of dealing with imperfection: try to ignore it, try to destroy it, try to improve it.

    I’m going for the third. Who is with me? Who still cares enough about Shofar that they would try walking this path with me? I know this seems nuts to some. I seem to have an incurable sense of hope, even in the most troubling circumstances.

    Hope.

    And I’ve still not made that blog post about SG’s New Year’s sermons. Hey, maybe if I wait long enough, I could link to them on the SG website.

  • 22 Al Lovejoy // Jan 5, 2008 at 12:45 am

    Okay, Hugo – I agree wholeheartedly with the concept of hope, it is the first of our strongest spiritual assets next to faith and love. Part of our armour.

    However, Hugo, I must beg to disagree slightly – one cannot ignore an organisation like Shofar because they get in your face whether one wants it or not, my family, my friends, my business, my public reputation. I don’t want anyone destroyed else I’d still be a syndicate crime boss and carrying a gun, that sorts out the bullshit real fast. I’m a Christian. It took me a long time and an ocean of hurt to come back to that understanding and I want everyone else to experience the full adventure of our lives in Christ, like has been given to me. Everyone.

    One, and bear with me on this – one cannot improve on the foundation of a lie. The immutable doctrines of tithing and water baptism that Shofar propagates among others (some downright weird) – Fred May’s doctrines, which cause pseudo guilt trips and create divisions with other congregations that are false and have hurt so many, many young people without regard. How does one improve on this – except to expose it, like Scripture says, and shout it from the rooftops?

    Look at how long I have been fighting to get Fred May or Ray McCauley into a televised debate in a public forum on tithing. What is apologetics other than to give an explanation of why one holds to certain beliefs? If Fred May believes Jesus is entitled to 10% of my dead parent’s wealth, though him as His Senior “anointed” Pastor, blah, blah – then he and Ray should be able to back it up from the “whole gospel” and use the opportunity to upstage me and preach the “whole gospel” to the audience listening, like Jesus did = so why are they so frightened of me? Why keep a (not so) secret file on me? Why (openly) call me the Devil’s Advocate behind my back? Why threaten me with a lawyer’s letter demanding money and criminal sanction?

    Why is the subject of tithing so touchy that it evokes all those kinds of reactions from so-called – highly respected leaders? Huh? Anyone?

    See, Hugo that prayer I mentioned in the extract of Acid Alex is very, very real. No play, play. In my opinion – you cannot call, label, title, aggrandize – yourself as a Christian without really praying that through – and if you do, as a member of Shofar – you will have to confront the leadership from Scripture and prayer- and that special place is where every single person who has confronted the Mays, gets the boot. Don’t try this at home alone kids!

    The good thing is that God, in my experience, has never held me in the same opinion as the May’s – and that one can never improve upon. It is the adventure. And please, don’t be dismayed at these stories I’ve told you – they are real but the players are grownups. I hold nothing against Fred personally, except his theology, which is twisted to suit him in spite of how much he screams it is all for God. I just wonder why he wants to hurt the Body, strip it of money that does not belong to him and punish it so much with inverted racism? The evidence coming unsolicited from the mouths of other non-Shofarians, ex-Shofarians, complaints from the University and the division I’ve heard him sowing almost continuously from the pulpit, while he praises himself through the medium of his warstories and bullshit – scream there is something wrong with this man’s perceptions of the very nature and character of God and he is forcing these perceptions on young people who know no better and have not been afforded the life experience to form their own. The guy claims to have raised the dead! Please.

    To be quite honest, I don’t know what to do about Fred May except expose him with the truth. He hates being exposed and tried everything to neutralise me years ago, and damned near succeeded – because his deep dislike of me was put to me in a fashion that made me believe God shared those sentiments. I literally nearly killed myself as a result. Obviously I was just learning more tough lessons but now, he and others like him – will never be able to do that again. And like any rape, I never want to hear of another victim – that is why I am taking the time from my family, friends, art and business to do this.

    Stop the perpetrator. Don’t harm him. Just stop him.

    But the problem is, and has been from day one – if you question Fred in the slightest on any core issue, especially money and his power consolidators – you are in rebellion to God himself. You cannot call yourself a Shofarian without that holding true. Obviously that is rubbish, as you have pointed out already, because no one, no church, no Christian – is perfect. The small things I know of theology have taken over twenty years of study and meditation in both good times and evil. Still, I’m a student living the cliche that the more I learn the less I know.

    The Father kept me through everything, and in a way, I feel prepared me for this – through fire. I have developed a thought in two directions about the ancient and modern corruptions of the message of Christ . Those that Scripture clearly warns us will mark this time.

    I have a theory that the reason why He sweated blood in the garden wasn’t because he was fearful of his immenent painful death, many men face painful death without flinching – he was suffering the knowledge of the corruption of His name and Work – into a slogan, a sales gimmick, an entertainent trademark, a T-Shirt, a bumper sticker, a TV show, a movie, a topic for writers and musicians to cash in on, a hat to hand out so that men with masks and lies in their mouths about His Father blesings could rake in millions or have power over many for their own purposes using him as a corporate mask. He knew men would do that with what he was giving them for free and begged His Father not to let it happen.

    He knew it would make the love of many grow cold.

    My other theory, the one why Jesus prophesied it and why God tolerates it, is because he also said – My sheep hear My voice [in amongst the babel of false prophets and messiahs].

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    Watch a man get executed!!
    Watch the warm up as he gets beaten and klapped with sticks!
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    Then see, the crowd scene as they boo and chase him on, beating Him to get there faster!
    Finally, observe as he is nailed to a wooden thing and hung up on it to die…!!!
    And much more!!!

    You might think this kind of five star entertainment is worth R50! But, for you, if you respond in the next ten minutes…, for you the special price for all this – is a mere R10 per person!!! Just call this number and have your credit card ready…

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    How’s that for a bargain?

  • 23 nkem Chima // Mar 20, 2008 at 7:05 pm

    I still see the sence in the apostle´s question ´Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things´ Acta 4:25,26
    There will definitely continue to be an enraged attack on the Gospel as well as its presentaters. I found nothing new in your powerful, well thought out, energy- sapping criticism of the preachers. Jesus was criticised for healing a paralysed, luke 5:21, Paul for casting out a spirit of divination from a young girl Acts 16:16-20 etc
    Folks are always comfortable when others remain in bondage. They just dont want transformation for others who need it. else how can someone waste so much time criticisng people who are commited to transforming street children, reforming gangstars, helping prisoners! healing marriages, I have personally seen an assassin drop his gun and a prostitute delivered from incest- things no government is equipped to handle. If this critic knows more scriptures than the Haggins, Macaulays, Bonkes etc he should let the wheat and the tares grow together. Someday we will know who really is serving Jesus´interest of world discipleship. Matt 28:19
    Correct me if I am wrong on this, but I have never in the scriptures or in modern times heared of the DELIVERED complain about Jesus or his Evangelists. It is always the by-standers who feel a strong resentment about all this.
    One final word for evangelists – NEVER HONOUR ANY CRITIC BY APPEARING SIDE BY SIDE ON A T.V DEBATE

  • 24 Hugo // Mar 20, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    nkem, Jesus reserved his strongest words and criticism for religious oppressors, eg pharisees. It makes me sad when people claiming to follow Jesus defends or propagates the kind of thing Jesus would criticize. Christians are too silent when it comes to the wrongs committed by their own. (Yes, I don’t count myself as Christian anymore, I only count myself as a follower of Jesus, who said “come, follow me, walk with me”, not “thou shalt call thyself Christian”)

    I will not stand idly and watch when I feel a wrong is committed. By all means, let me know if you differ from me, but do not tell me to stay silent. That goes against my understanding of the great commission. I don’t criticize those that help the poor and heal the sick, so accuse me of not trusting Jarrod if you like, but his show at Shofar was what I was criticizing. I stand by what I wrote.

  • 25 Al Lovejoy // Mar 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    1 Timothy 4:1 – “Now the Spirit expressly says that in the latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron…”

    Acts 20:29-31a – “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch…

    Matt 7:20 “Therefore by their fruits you will know them. Not every one says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? Cast out demons in your name? And done many wonders in your Name? And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you: depart from me, you who practise lawlessness.'”

    Matt 18:14 “Even so, it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish”

    Matt 18:6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea”

    I completely fail to see how you can call this an attack on the Gospel. It is a discussion about men using the gospel as a thin excuse to live rock star lifestyles and somehow expect other Christians to buy this as “The Lord’s ministry”. What utter tripe.

    I don’t think you know what you are talking about outside of being militantly partisan in a clumsy effort at defending these fakes – because you certainly cannot communicate anything intelligent or present a clear point of debate.

    And the Scriptures you have taken out of context as your “object lesson” show nothing more than you have learnt the neat trick of collaging lots of bible sentences together to back anything you put your mind to – and that tells me you have never actually studied the Bible formally and academically or with any sort of genuine intent of expressing Christian faith of the sort that Christ preached and demonstrated to his friends.

    Deliverance is a lot more than a feel good gig. Sometimes it takes unconditional love for years and like Hugo said – it is sad to see a message and a way of life so beautiful and so simple get turned into a money making racket for men with egotistical self-worshipping personalities and no compassion at all.

    If I was lying this wouldn’t have made you so angry and so very defensive…

  • 26 Al Lovejoy // Mar 25, 2008 at 11:37 am

    And nkem – Christ debated the priests, in public – at the age of twelve.

  • 27 nkem Chima // Mar 25, 2008 at 8:46 pm

    Bless you Brother Hugo,

    You are right when you said ´´nkem, Jesus reserved his strongest words and criticism for religious oppressors, e.g. Pharisees.´´

    Specifically Those strong words were extended also to those who criticized his life style of mixing with the wine babblers and tax collectors Luke 5:27-31; Luke 15:1-5, his death on the cross matt 16:23 , casting out demons Matt 12:22-31 and even those who repudiated his message of the kingdom, his miracles, SONSHIP , his coming from the Father,etc
    They don’t have to be Pharisees they can exist in the 21st century. Those Pharisees knew apologetics as much as we do. They were the progenitors!

    Did you read Al´s mail ´´And nkem – Christ debated the priests, in public – at the age of
    twelve´´ I checked it out in the scriptures:

    Luke 2:46,47 Then, after three days they found Him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers, both listening to them and asking them questions New American Standard.
    May be that Q/A translates to a ´´debate´´ [I don’t know, ask Al] but looking at Jesus’ life I think unlike us, He spent more time evangelizing – reaching out to a lost world with the love of God –
    Luke 4:18 “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
    Because He has anointed Me
    To preach the gospel to the poor;
    He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
    To proclaim liberty to the captives
    And recovery of sight to the blind,
    To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
    Luke 4:19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.”

    May be this is ´apologetics´ I am for it if it is about Kingdom advance.
    Perhaps the time has come for us to redefine ´apologetics´ and we can if we spend time evangelizing the world [defending our faith before the world that they may believe and join us]; we can when we sift ´apologetics´ of armchair criticism. After all it is not a spiritual gift of the Holy Spirit and it should not consume so much space and time in our hearts and lives.

    Blessings
    Nkem

  • 28 Al Lovejoy // Mar 26, 2008 at 1:46 pm

    Do you know why I have no respect for people like you nkem?

    You don’t like what I have to say, it doesn’t sit well with you, it punctures your comfort bubble – so you try passive aggression in a clumsy attempt to discredit what I have said, using ad hoc scriptures to support your argument and be snide about my character – and yet you somehow still believe yourself to be both effective and clever. Listen to yourself…

    “´Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine vain things´ Acta 4:25,26
    There will definitely continue to be an enraged attack on the Gospel as well as its presentaters. I found nothing new in your powerful, well thought out, energy- sapping criticism of the preachers. Jesus was criticised for healing a paralysed, luke 5:21, Paul for casting out a spirit of divination from a young girl Acts 16:16-20 etc
    Folks are always comfortable when others remain in bondage.”

    Okay, this “heathen” has a few unimagined things to tell you about bondage. Albeit in enraged vain.

    Can we agree, by Christ’s commandment – that all things be establised by TWO or THREE witnesses in the church? You cannot squirm past that and likewise it has nothing to do with my poor malficient character. In other parlance – it is not going to achieve anything shooting the messenger…

    Read all of this first: http://www.acidalex.com/fan_base/shofar3.html

    People like Fred and Lucille May – who have been proven to – blatantly lie, manipulate, practise witchcraft through blessings and curses that are not from God or Scripture and sell the gospel for cash money have nothing to do with Christ in spite of the fact that they use His message for their own ends. He foretold of many fakes using His name who would “cast out demons” and “perform miracles” and do that to the Gospel. And if you choose to align yourself with people like this – you will certainly take great exception to what I am saying and have already said. You will not be able to stop yourself.

    No matter how many passy-aggy threats you try and make with your amusing nursery school exegesis and no matter how much you try and label me heathen, a satanist, a blasphemer – an insane person…

    The facts and testimony of two or more people way beyond your utterly inadequate sphere of control – stand as competent and adequate testimony and verify everything I have said. My past and who I am have nothing to do with it. This is an established matter by honest Christian testimony – not a personal opinion. Hundreds of pastors share my convictions and even if they didn’t – I would still oppose the Mays and the Shofar leadership and the corruption that they and people like them in Rhema and the IFCC – ALL bring to the Body.

    And forget trying to tell me or anyone what the Spirit of God is trying to say – He reserves the right to convict me of sin and lead me into all truth – Himself. He really doesn’t need your help and it is the reason my spirit cries out Abba – Father! Truly, And if you had prayed for discernment or asked people who know me personally – you would have heard from them that my armchair was given away to people in a local squatter camp a long, long time ago.

    I have answers to ALL of the following questions:

    1. When last and what did you do for prisoners in jail?
    2. When last and what did you do for a sick person in despair?
    3. When last and what did you do for a very poor child?
    4. When last and what did you do for a very poor man without clothes or shoes?
    5. When last and what did you do to feed the hungry?
    6. When last and what did you do for a poor mother with a broken spirit?

    What are your personal practical answers to those questions nkem? Those questions and their lack of corporate answers in the Church right here in Stellenbosch are the reason you are even reading this. Why I am speaking out from my armchair in the mud and dirt, with the cries of small children all around me. And of course, you might be inclined to think that I am using this as a spiritual pissing contest – do not be mistaken – Scripture says very clearly:

    God will not hear a prayer without faith and faith without works is dead.

    I prayed and asked what I must pray for and then DO for those who have nothing and nobody to believe in. And I can do it with a piece of masking tape over my mouth because love is above language or culture and you will know they are My disciples by their love…

    That is the definition and a non specific testimony of real evangelism – not the eschatological cocktail of crap preached by the likes of the “whole gospel” for ten bucks bullshit above. Or the Shofar cult of the May’s warped personalities for money and the worship of Fred May in proxy for Jesus. And like I said – it goes for everyone like them.

    It is a lot more difficult and often very painful and takes time and unconditional love – BUT it lasts a lot longer than the T-shirt these folks sell at their cheap, emotional, mass gospel gigs.

    Until you can tell me what the Spirit feels over thirty or more children under the age of seven, who live in squalor under the Kayamandi railway bridge right here in Stellenbosch, whose first words they could remember are: Jou Ma se Poes!! – as their parents begin their daily fight over cheap wine and their father starts beating their mother to go out and scavenge cardboard and paper for the recyclers – until you can tell me what the Spirit feels about their constant hunger and abuse and rejection as human beings and children of God and tell me how filthy rich charismatic preachers are so “blessed” by God with monetary wealth and assets (???) from their adoring congregations and their 10% pyramid scam heresy – so that they never know anything execept the fulfillment of ALL their earthly material desires for their “obedience” – until then nkem, you and all like you have nothing to say to me.

    Nothing at all – because all I hear is the angry bleating of goats.

    I don’t speak goat.

  • 29 Al Lovejoy // Mar 26, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    My personal answer to all those questions I asked you above nkem is:

    Where, how and who next Father? Amen.

  • 30 nkem Chima // Mar 26, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    Al its ok,

    Jesus does not expect you to use insults on others. I will not write you anymore on this issue because you are becoming too temperamental and I will not be the one to provoke you to temptation.

    Let me explain that if we are true followers of Jesus we must love each other. We must not eulogize our work and vilify others.
    Please run a fresh check through my entire contributions from none prejudiced platforms and you will truly discover am not in anyway a defender of Jarrod or May etc You know them better.

    But I stand up for Bonke because I have seen his fruits and listened to his message. I have seen his commitment to Africa and I don’t see him as a rip-off person. To cast him in the mould of a rock-star life style is going too far, Al.

    You reeled out some witnesses to support your position. Reinard Bonke has some witnesses as well. Perhaps his number runs into millions of witnesses. Well Christian witness is not about democracy so his number may not matter to you.

    Mega ministries come with huge challenges, yes. It is up to us to lend helping hands in one form or the other. That will gladden the heart of Jesus, don’t you think?

    What Nkem has been stressing is the need for objectivity. Let your assessment of others be balanced. You should ALSO publish the good things God is doing through them. This certainly is helpful to our Christian cause.

    If you have the intestinal fortitude to accommodate differing opinions this will help the Body of Christ more. I have seen a strong language of hate and anger in your lines and I choose to be out at this stage.

  • 31 Al Lovejoy // Mar 27, 2008 at 1:49 am

    Oaky, so let’s read between the lines here – you cannot jump into my character anymore with ad hoc scripture as an offensive shield – which leaves you in the cold and uncomfortable position of having to answer my personal questions to you.

    So now are you off to try the two foot shuffle and turn your attention to the piety and unquestioned effectiveness of a charlatan I’ve also vitnessed – with his glib mouth and bad cherman accent? Or rattle the sabres and point shaking fingers at aaaangeerr and haaaate???

    Dude, lose the flowery rhetoric – you refuse to answer my questions to you personally, questions I am asking as a “hateful heathen” who can ask you for your apologetic.

    Why is that?

    I shared how I prayed for those I was called to minister to as a young man in an extract from my book Acid Alex above here. Share your similar experience and tell us all how you were obedient.

    It is edifying to the Body.

    No matter how many valking sticks, athsma pumps and cigarette lighters old Rheinhard gets his dirt poor, utterly ignorant, mostly superstitious crowds to throw away in mass hysteria, posing as bullshit healing sessions, from the beatiful safety of his huge sound stages – I still don’t speak goat.

    And I never will.

    Maybe if you answered my personal questions to you and shared testimony of how the Lord has been able to use your own obedience personally in ministry, like you preached at me when Jesus confirmed the prophesy of His ministry in the synagogue that day – I might have amended my attitude. You don’t seem to like what you give in the least little bit.

    There is no such thing as a mega ministry nkem, there never ever was…there is only the next person for you to pray over and love personally – like our Father loves you. And only the next desperate and broken person or child Christ died for matters.

    No more, no less. The sheep and the goats.

    And if you choose to be out nkem – then why are you reading this….??? See, that is pride my pious friend, the core reason why you cannot answer my questions in the love you are supposedly brimming over with – and instead use my apparent hate and other people’s apparent glory to shy away from your own personal stake. You may find this hard to believe but I am not your adversary even though it might be more comfortable for you if I were. Your posing and posturing and passive aggressiveness do not elicit anything in me except irritation, deep irritation because one wonders what point it is you are really trying to make and of course, why you don’t you just come right out and say it?

    Come on nkem, answer those questions Honestly – even if only to yourself and God…and if you cannot answer them – then pray, go out and find the answers to them. I guarantee that then, and only then – you will truly never ever need to return here for these veiled reasons – and you will find the true reward you seek, which does not lie in the fleeting, fickle, recoginition or praise of men, or the passing comforts of yearned for material dreams. And it does not lie in the thin veil of hypocrisy that covers the institutional total of their unanswered fears and unbelief either.

    It lies in the soul of the next person in whose eyes you personallty see the light of our Father light up and shine. And only YOU can bring it there:

    1. When last and what did YOU do for prisoners in jail?
    2. When last and what did YOU do for a sick person in despair?
    3. When last and what did YOU do for a very poor child?
    4. When last and what did YOU do for a very poor man without clothes or shoes?
    5. When last and what did YOU do to feed the hungry?
    6. When last and what did YOU do for a poor mother with a broken spirit?

    Father, what must I pray for and then DO on behalf of others who have nothing and nobody to believe in. Amen.

  • 32 Al Lovejoy // Mar 27, 2008 at 2:07 am

    Tell us about the assassin the Lord helped through your ministry. What is his name? Where does he work now? What happened about the crimes he committed? Are you good friends? Do you break bread together often?

    And the abused lady. Don’t tell us her name, make one up. And is she okay now? Has she had counselling for the abuse? Is she HIV+? Does she have any children? What are their names? Are they in school? What are they doing for money? Is she in a healthy relationship or is she still healing up?

    How difficult has it been for both of them to fit into society again? How are they doing in their small group? How difficult has it been for them to trust in love again? Are the scars healing? Do they still have problem with drugs, alcohol, self-destructive behaviour, nightmares, very bad memories that most people would not begin to be able to imagine?

    You testify that you were personally involved with these folks – tell us about them. Give us your testimony about how the Father was able to use you in their lives…

  • 33 Evolution… of Language, Culture, Technology, and Religion // Jun 21, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    […] of behaviour so far, is Jarrod Davidoff’s sermon at Shofar in December. I wrote about it in Jarrod Davidoff, an “Evangelist”, at Shofar. No, I don’t know whether he really makes a difference in people’s lives or not. No, I […]

  • 34 Browser // Oct 29, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    I have been fascinated to read this thread. Recently I have been looking into churches in Cape Town and came across Shofar and the swirling controversy that seems to surround each move they make.

    Hugo, I admire your honesty and willingness to question something that you are part of. May I ask if you still attend Shofar and if your views are the same?

    Al, I’ve heard about your book, though never read it. Your encounters with that church – without wishing to pass judgement on rights or wrongs on either side – are heartbreaking in the effect they had on you. You sound like the sort of fellow I’d love to sit down and talk to about it all. I am more than impressed that you returned to take your stand for Christ despite your experiences.

  • 35 Hugo // Oct 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Hi Browser.

    I was in Shofar for a couple of months a number of years ago. The above post was written during a stint in which I returned to Shofar to see what I could learn with a more impartial “outsider” perspective. It is unfortunate that they lack more internal reflection, the most interesting reflections and deconstructions happen among ex-Shofarians. I’ve heard of some churches where there are a number of them present, and the unpacking and deconstruction of their past views sound very healthy.

    You say you are looking into churches in Cape Town? Have you recently moved there? What else have you looked at so far, and what were your impressions? (I’m curious what you’re looking for.)

    Shalom,
    Hugo

  • 36 Browser // Oct 30, 2009 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Hugo,

    Ok, yeah I did wonder. I’ve had some contact with some Shofarites, but found their dismissal of Christians who didn’t agree with them to be a little off. I’m involved in a Christian ministry in Cape Town, was brought up here as a kid, but moved away for many years, returning just recently.

    Happy to chat email rather than on a website, as I do also work for the Church in Cape Town, and wouldn’t want to colour the views of readers of any particular denomination in either direction… :-)

    I just came accross your blog, and bookmarked it for more reading later as I find your posts to be interesting. Not that I agree with everything, but thought-provoking is always good.

    Feel free to email if you want to chat further.

    cp

  • 37 Hugo // Oct 31, 2009 at 8:35 pm

    Not that I agree with everything, but thought-provoking is always good.

    Excellent! ;) I’d hate it if people agreed with everything!

    Happy to chat email rather than on a website

    Will do, will send you a mail soon and continue the conversation there.

  • 38 Rosemary // Jul 9, 2010 at 7:21 am

    My mother is sick of all the diseas you can think of please pray for her in Jesus Name I have a pain at my back my philopian tubes are blocks I cant conceave me and my family there is a miss understandanding between us becuase of the health of my mother please pray for us and I have applied for a job that pays well please pray for us

  • 39 PJ // Jul 20, 2013 at 7:25 am

    People who it down doing nothing for God’s Kingdom are the same people who critisize and insult others. If you believe someone is not doing what he is doing in right way, so what are you doing in a right way? Kikikikikikikikikikikiki! You guys are funny!

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