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Story Behind Healer Has Been A Lie

Come read my 2nd post on Healer…new information and thoughts

You know that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when someone you care about lies to you. That is what I feel right now. I found out earlier this morning that the man who wrote Healer was lying about his terminal battle with cancer (article below). Clearly we need to be praying for those most effected by this, including his family, his church ministry (Planetshakers), and Hillsong as well. This has been a song latched onto by churches worldwide like none I have seen in the past 5 years, including Sunset. I sensed that it had God’s anointing…but all that is a huge question mark in my head now. The song itself is incredibly powerful, but the premise behind it is also a lie now.

Here is one positive to take out of this (if at all possible). Too often we let our worship become about something other than God. Maybe we worshiped the song because of the story behind it instead of worshiping God. I think I could be guilty of that. This story reminds us of our depravity and brings us back to worshiping only God.

Here is my one question and the one that I am wrestling with in my head right now: How does the local church respond? Or maybe we don’t respond at all?

Here are some good thoughts by Joel Klampert, Fred McKinnon, Carlos Whittaker, and Bryan Allain of the Burnside Writers.

UPDATE: The newspaper providing much of the coverage of this story has added a poll to one of their articles on whether Michael should be forgiven. Less than 40% say yes. I’m sad for Christianity around the world today. We love to accept grace but we rarely give it. Sad sad sad.

Full News Article (LINK HERE):

Michael Guglielmucci, whose parents established Edge Church International, an Assemblies of God church at O’Halloran Hill, is now seeking professional help. Earlier this year, Mr Guglielmucci released a hit song The Healer which was featured on Sydney church Hillsong’s latest album. It debuted at No. 2 on the ARIA charts. The song has become an anthem of faith for believers, many of whom are suffering their own illness and were praying for a miracle for Mr Guglielmucci, who has claimed for two years to be terminally ill. In one church performance that has attracted 300,000 hits on YouTube, he performs his hit song with an oxygen tube in his nose. The clip was pulled late last night by YouTube with the advice “video no longer available.”

It appears that Mr Guglielmucci, who was a pastor with one of Australia’s biggest youth churches, Planetshakers, may have even deceived his own family. “This news has come as a great shock to everyone including, it seems, his own wife and family,” Hillsong general manager George Aghajanian said in an email to his congregation yesterday. “Michael has confirmed that he is not suffering with a terminal illness and is seeking professional help in Adelaide with the support of his family. “We are asking our church to pray for the Guglielmucci family during this difficult time.”

The Advertiser was last night  told that Mr Guglielmucci may release a statement on the situation. The Australian Christian Church said that Mr Guglielmucci’s credentials were immediately suspended once he told the national executive that his cancer claims were “untrue”. “The National Executive is taking this matter very seriously and is awaiting the results of medical tests before determining the full extent of the discipline that will be imposed upon him,” said vice president Alun Davies. “We are very concerned for the many people who have been or will be hurt by Michael’s actions. We encourage all of our churches to pray for all those affected.”

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  • http://ash-nits.blogspot.com ash

    here’s the thing, tyler. god can use people no matter where they are at, even if they are lying. this guy may have decieved people, but god still used his song to touch people that needed touched. the song IS true for someone, even if it wasn’t the author and that’s what is important.

    while pastors and leaders must take careful watch over their actions and their following, again, you can’t judge the heart of that person. god sees their insecurities. and the article is clear that he is now seeking help.

    he obviouly has a gift and that gift still has/had purpose. i think his local church is taking the best appropriate action they can take for a case like this…at this time. should the song be banned or destroyed? no. b/c we as christians have to learn to seperate the gift from the person sometimes….if that makes sense.

  • Yonas

    I’ll try to write more, but this is absolutely a very very sad thing. Ugh.

  • http://www.jenniclayville.com Jenni

    This is so so so sad.

  • http://seth.heasley.net/blog Seth

    His church should certainly take action on something like this. If he had been having an affair or something like that, he’d be out on his ear. If he truly lied here, I don’t see how they don’t remove him from ministry. He’d no longer pass the “beyond reproach” test. Some would object that nobody is really beyond reproach, but I’m talking about public scandal here, which is different from private sin.

    In terms of what the local church should do about it, I’d say we should wait to see if he comes out with a statement. It’s still a powerful song, and it’s still a true song. We haven’t thrown out many of the Psalms yet in response to David’s misadventures…

  • http://www.vimeo.com/jayfriesen JR

    We’re all on the same level despite what we do here on earth: Sinners, in need of God’s grace in our lives. We have but one response: extend grace and forgive. Otherwise, we’re elevating ourselves above someone else. Of course, that’s what Peacemaker Ministries is all about…conflict resolution is bigger than simply an argument with another believer.

  • http://www.vimeo.com/jayfriesen JR

    I feel the need to expound. Is his sin of deception with his family and how many other thousands of believers any worse than our deception to our employer? Deception to our spouses? …not much expounding I guess…

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  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    I love what some of you are saying. “we as christians have to learn to seperate the gift from the person sometimes” and “We haven’t thrown out many of the Psalms yet in response to David’s misadventures…”

    I totally agree with both of you Ash and Seth.

  • http://www.vinthomas.com/blog Vin Thomas

    What a nut. This guy was obviously more concerned with the attention that worshiping God. Doesn’t mean the song isn’t good and worth singing…

    Not to make light of it, but maybe he needs to sing the song asking for God to heal his compulsive lying…

  • http://www.melindalgroth.blogspot.com/ Melinda Groth

    I have lied. I may again.
    I have deceived. I may again.
    Sometimes I am caught. More times, I am not.
    I won’t throw a stone.

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    So here is a question…should a local church which has been singing this song and maybe even showed the video in church make an announcement about the truth?

  • Yonas

    Tyler,

    This one is a toughie. The danger of playing the song would be people may be drawn more to the recent story of the song rather than to the powerful meaning of the lyrics, OR maybe it might go the other way that people would sing that song for God to heal him.

    I’d vote for not playing the song as I’m sure there are many other songs that are as powerful.

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    Yonas-

    So here is my loving pushback. Are you not playing the song because it is a hot Christian news story? I ask that because I am quite sure there are tons of songs written by people who have made some very large mistakes but their mistakes did not get aired to the world like this one has. And I’ll go back to what Seth said. We sing David’s songs every Sunday and he was a murderer and an adulterer…yet no one ever thinks about that when they sing what he wrote.

  • Yonas

    OK I need to rephrase….(hopefully not as many times as when I posted about mr.rupp..):

    Hmmm…like I mentioned originally, I’m trying to avoid the possibility of people thinking about the story more rather than the song when they’re singing it.

    BUT yes, if you used David’s example for the songs we sing, that’s a good point.

    I just bought my one way plane ticket to Switzerland :) (ok my weird joke of trying to somewhat being ‘neutral’ and save myself from being in the hotseat :) )

  • http://www.fredmckinnon.com fmckinnon

    T,
    Hope you’ll pardon the scattered thoughts and some copy/paste commenting … I’m trying to comment on some of these blogs that have linked back to my own. Much has transpired today, I’ve spent a good bit of time in prayer and worship, thinking of this situation.

    Overall, it’s disappointing. By the end of the day, I start wondering if Mike wasn’t delusional at this point – I mean, I’ve watched that video over and over the past months. Even knowing the hoax, I still watch it and identify so strongly. I typically have a high level of discernment, yet I watch and it seems so authentic. Maybe he really was believing this lie, or part of him.

    The song – I still love it, though it’s somewhat tainted with this tragic revelation. But, God wasn’t surprised. Maybe He knew … Maybe He knew that we, the Church, needed this song. Maybe THAT’s WHY his favor seemed to rest on that song so strongly. Maybe it’s a reminder that God can (and will) use any vessel to communicate … even the weak, or people and ways that confound the wise and religious.

    Many, many questions. I’m sad, disappointed, but in the end …. I BELIEVE YOU’RE MY HEALER. I BELIEVE YOU ARE ALL I NEED. AMEN.

    For the Kingdom,
    Fred McKinnon
    http://www.fredmckinnon.com
    http://www.theworshipcommunity.com

  • Debbie Stewart

    I think the problem with not saying anything at this point (speaking as an attender of Sunset and being present the Sunday this was used in the service) is that we may come off seeming to be stupid or ignorant(are we not paying attention to ‘current events’?) or seeming to put ourselves above the issue and in a sense giving ‘silent’ approval to what he did because it looks like we are hiding what we now know to be the truth and that we only want to communicate the “feel good” things. Yes it’s sad, yes we all make mistakes and yes we are all in need of forgiveness and healing. I think it would be appropriate to communicate the information regarding the truth of the circumstances in some way, emphasizing that the message of the song is still true b/c God still is THE HEALER OF ALL OUR AFFLICTIONS.

  • Yonas

    OK I promise…last post on this:

    FYI…if any churches wanted to keep playing this song, more power to them. I don’t dislike the maker of the song….my concern was purely because of what I had said earlier. No beef with the guy.

    OK now I’ll probably move on and watch how Rose guts that fish :)

  • http://designingforphilistines.blogspot.com/ dorothy (vicar of vibe)

    simply praying…

  • Jeff Israel

    I think that our local body can grow from this. At the end of the day, if you separate the lyrics from the story, they remain highly God-honoring. In our own use of this song of worship (speaking as member of the congregation), I am (or should I say I become?) very humbled when these words are between me and God . . .

  • Matt

    We need to pray against Satan here. Satan is the issue and need all come together and pray against Satan right now, that he will no longer deceive Michael. Let’s not fight against Michael, but LETS FIGHT AGAINST SATAN.

  • http://cecworship.wordpress.com/ klampert

    I wonder what hillsongs and integrity’s response would be or should be.
    mine is conflicted at the moment…i think ill post more thoughts on this tonight.

  • Milo Velebir

    Repent! There is no way around it. And the second is: Do not judge and you will not be judged. Sin is sin and we are all guilty- some of us are more fortunate that our sins are not broadcasted on TV and on You-tube, but wages for sin is death – any sin! Of course, when we do it on You tube, we can hurt millions, so it has a greater impact, but it is still the same old fashioned sin and there is only one OLD fashioned and well tested remedy: the blood of our Lord Jesus and His forgiveness. And guess what! He actualy forgives when we repent. So be gracious as you receive grace from Him.
    pastor Milo, Duncraig

  • http://ash-nits.blogspot.com ash

    klampert-
    i think as far as hillsong is concerned…if it’s a recording issue, they could do one of two things and either decision would probably just fine- 1- record it w/ someone else singing, emphasizing that the song can still exemplify issue (if the cd is out, they can still come out w/ a statement like that) or 2- choose not use the song and heal from their own wounds, trust was obviously broken, there. again, either way, it would be a fine decision and understandable

  • http://www.richkirkpatrick.com Rich Kirkpatrick

    This will be spun, I am sure, by the “business” arm of Integrity, however some good thoughts here. I think we “worship” the hype too much, in my opinion. Maybe we all got duped because we are being to easy when it comes to worship and how we choose music? Just a question.

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    Fred- Totally agree man, good thoughts.

    Debbie- So I guess my main issue with announcing something is that I have no idea how you could do that without distracting from an environment of worship. Hence, why I struggle with how to allow people to know about it but not with some formal announcement on a Sunday morning service.

    Jeff- Yeah agree with you there for sure.

    Milo- I don’t understand why the local church would need to repent. Maybe you misunderstood my question or something.

    Rich- That is kind of what I was saying. I think we might have started worshiping the story behind the song rather than the God who allowed it to be written.

  • http://cecworship.wordpress.com/ klampert

    wow ash…never thought of rerecording it…hmmm

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  • JRupp

    I believe our church should acknowledge what has happened. Show the video to acquaint 100% of the people attending the service that day as to the exact song and the “story” behind it. I believe our pastor could do an entire message revolving around all the sin involved : lying, deceiving, the effect to others, the consequences, grace and mercy, forgiveness. SOOOOO many teaching opportunities here. This is a message that needs to be preached now because it happens to be absolutely current to the moment. Just as we learn about stories so quickly as they happen because of current technology, so much the church respond.

  • JRupp

    I will expound on my reasoning: I believe the story video behind the song was shown recently in our church, and so now it should be explained as what it really is. If the video had never been shown, I don’t think a whole lot would have needed to be said.

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  • Debbie Stewart

    I agree with JRupp. Well-said. No matter how much time/print space is given to the matter, I think the worship leaders who were involved in using the video/song in our services owe it to the worshipers at Sunset the story behind the story behind the song. To ignore it like the truth hasn’t come out doesn’t seem very transparent and authentic.
    Debbie

  • http://gr8-g8.blogspot.com eric lopez

    apalling! I know people are people and we all have junk, but that is unexceptable! he should be removed from all responsibility in leadership. God is big and has brought good out of it, he always does.

    I have seen stuff like this in church my whole life. it is very dissapointing! it must be “nipped” in a way that honors God. shows value to that person, and does not let God get stepped on. so more than just a “slap on the wrist”.

    Keep it about God, if it isnt, it not right. Test everything. trust God alot and really get to know Him! people are trustable at a distance as far as im concerned (also I’m learning that i get out of “it” what I put into it…) Judging is messed up, but lying is too. I hate thinking about this guy! Although he is a person so I love him.
    Church should be honest about the news and confront it. People will find out sooner or later, and if it doesnt come from those that showed it, the situation gets worse.

    Honesty, there’s nothing like it!

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    Definitely appreciate your thoughts JRupp and Debbie. We’re in the process of figuring out how best to promote an environment of worship on a Sunday morning while also allowing people to understand the truth of the story. I just can’t help but wonder if announcing something like that on a Sunday morning wouldn’t distract from our desire to be supremely focused on God for that time. Still thinking about that…

  • http://thebrewster.wordpress.com brewster

    Great question man. This could be the churches finest hour. Now we can show if we believe God is a healer, if we believe in Grace, or if we are what the world thinks we are and we leave our wounded to die. Is it bad…YES. Does it hurt…OF COURSE. We just have to remember GRACE ALWAYS WINS.

  • JRupp

    I see your point to a certain degree Tyler. But consider this: showing the video again of the “story” along with an explanation of the real truth is quite appropriate – especially if you plan to ever sing this particular song again in church . If you plan to use this song again with all the knowledge behind it and all the buzz around it, how can you NOT explain the real truth ? Your comment regarding the distraction around the song and still focusing on God makes sense, but please know that by not mentioning the controversery around the song is even more distracting. Not addressing it seems like the old saying, “ignoring the elephant in the room” – mainly because it has been shown already in an earlieer service. But that’s only my opinion. Perhaps a period of time could elapse before using this song again in a service. In the meantime a portion of a service could be devoted to the explanation of the false video and use this as a teaching moment to the congregation. I like the song, but frankly … I don’t want to sing it again for a bit. I need time to pass before I want to hear it again because the VISUALS of the video are so fresh even though I know the WORDS of the song are the truth. Again, that’s only my opinion.

  • http://brentinworship.com/blog brent(inWorship)

    “Too often we let our worship become about something other than God. Maybe we worshiped the song because of the story behind it instead of worshiping God. I think I could be guilty of that. This story reminds us of our depravity and brings us back to worshiping only God.”

    Yes, we are thinking similar here. I know I have been guilty of it and it has definitely been a wake up call for me. especially as a leader who can abuse my freedom’s.

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    One other things to keep in mind here is that we have very little information other than he said his claims were untrue. As far as I know he is planning on releasing a statement. It could be wise to give the situation more time to develop, more for information to come out. This would allow the information given to a church body to be truly informed rather than based on a random Australian newspaper.

  • Conor

    The exposed fradulence of Mike Guglielmucci is a tragedy, and while we should be forgiving and not judge, I think the church needs to ask some hard questions about where it is at today. Whatever happened to discipleship? When are christians going to stop worshipping pop religion and get back to following the Christ who calls us to take up our cross??? I’m all for relevance but I think that in some ways we have compromised the gospel today. We need to be thinking christians, not just emotion driven. Do we really want to give the world the impression that we’re just naive, gullible suckers? I’m all for christian pop music, I play in a metal band, but maybe instead of making heroes out of every faddish trendy christian we should follow the example of the great saints throughout christian history. Maybe we should pay more attention to those who have stood the test of time, those who died for their faith and are still remembered today because of there humble faithfulness.
    By all means pray for Mike Guglielmucci and his family, they need it, but please, please pray also for the church to wake up! Don’t just look at the fraud of one person, look for what’s underlying it. The worldly values and structures that breed this kind of thing! Please pray for revival, in the traditional sense of that word, repentance. Yes that ugly word that is oh so politically incorrect today. Thank you and God bless.

  • http://manofdepravity.com Tyler

    Conor-

    I mostly understand what you are saying. Here is my thoughts from that:
    Is your first inclination after hearing about a powerful song someone who has cancer wrote to ask if he really has cancer? Should we automatically be questioning everything or error on the side of trust? I think I would prefer to be trusting and then after sin takes place be full of grace with exhortation.

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