Morris Cerullo

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Morris Cerullo (born October 2, 1931) is an American pentecostaltelevangelist.
Biography
Early life and ministry
Cerullo, whose evangelistic ministry is based in San Diego, California, was born in Passaic, New Jersey to a Russo Jewish/Italian family. His parents died in an automobile accident when he was only two years old. By virtue of being of half Jewish parentage, he was then raised in an Orthodox Jewish orphanage in nearby Clifton, New Jersey, in which he recalls being led out of by heavenly messengers. This experience then led him to a receiving Jesus Christ as his Savior at age fourteen. From this experience he then begin preaching the gospel at the age of sixteen after claiming to have seen a vision from God, in which he witnessed people suffering torments in Hell. He then later attended and graduated from divinity school in New York state in 1953, and began ministering with the help of his then soon-to-be bride Theresa. In the early 1950s, he was ordained in the Assemblies of God.[1]
Power of Prayer
There are many claims that people at his rallies were healed of serious medical conditions by the power of prayer. After the prayer many people came forward giving testimony of miracles that they feel have happened to them or to those they have brought with them to the meetings. His posters for a London appearance featured abandoned canes and wheelchairs.
Schools of Ministry
For many years Morris Cerullo conducted repeated "Schools of Ministry" in several countries like Mexico, Brazil, The Philippines, Korea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Netherlands and many others. During these "SOMs" one of the days of the conferences he would preach in an open air crusade, or a large theater/arena, and lead people in a commitment to Jesus Christ and then would pray for healings to happen in the crowd. He would have the school of ministry students test the genuineness of the reports from the people's testimonies. After the large mass meetings he would charge the "SOM" school of ministry students to reach out to their countryman with the same message being inspired by the results of the public rally. Cerullo often stated that not he, but Jesus Christ was the healer. He would encourage faith in, as he would say, "the written and the living word of God."
Personal
Morris and Theresa Cerullo recently celebrated their 59th wedding anniversary and are the parents of three children, David (b.1952), Mark (b.1960) and Susan (b.1961). Cerullo still travels as a missionary in 2009. Cerullo and his son David, who serves as Inspiration Network's CEO, were both featured in a May 23, 2009. Charlotte Observer article.[2]

Heritage USA
In 1990, Cerullo purchased, from the United States Federal Bankruptcy Court in Columbia, South Carolina, the assets of Jim Bakker's bankrupt ministry, PTL.[citation needed] These assets included the Heritage USA Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina which he purchased in partnership with Malayan United Industries (Berhad). After a dispute with his business partners over his issuance of discount cards to the theme park, the Malaysian entity bought out Cerullo's interest in Heritage USA.
The Inspiration Network (INSP)
As a part of his agreement to purchase Heritage USA, the bankruptcy court also approved Cerullo's $7 million offer to purchase PTL's cable television network, The Inspirational Network, which was renamed INSP-The Inspiration Network and transferred into a new, separate entity, The Inspiration Networks. Cerullo's son, David, has served as the corporation’s President & CEO, and as a member of its Board of Directors since its formation. In 2005 he was elected to serve as its Chairman. The organization, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is currently building a new multi-million dollar broadcast headquarters facility known as "The City of Light" in Lancaster County, South Carolina. This was opened on 1 March 2009.
Controversy
General
Morris Cerullo has proven to be a highly controversial figure, with concerns being raised about his fund-raising practices.
Over the years Cerullo has been criticized for the manner and style of his fundraising[3][4] practices in the developed countries to finance his mission work.
As a Jewish Christian, he has carried a few evangelistic campaigns targeted at the Jewish community, drawing some condemnation from anti-missionary organizations and claims of deceptive practices.[5][6][7]
While no charges were brought against Cerullo's ministry, Cerullo was found to have underrepresented his income for 1998 through 2000. However, on August 8, 2007, the US District Court, Southern District of California ordered that the indictment be dismissed as a consequence of the prosecutor's inaccurate explanation of the Duberstein test to the jury. An extract from the ruling was published on Cerullo's website.[8]
United Kingdom
Cerullo's activities in the United Kingdom have attracted considerable critical attention, particularly during the early 1990s.
In 1991, British authorities suspended the license of a satellite station for broadcasting the program, Victory with Morris Cerullo. The license was reinstated after the station agreed to precede the program with the disclaimer, "Morris Cerullo World Evangelism cannot substantiate the claims made by those participants featured in this programme," and advising all persons suffering from illness to seek medical attention.[9][10]
Following Cerullo's Mission to London in 1992, a documentary on the BBC, Newsround, reported that a lady called Audrey Reynolds stopped taking medication for epilepsy (although she was never instructed or advised to do so by the ministry) after she believed herself to have been healed during Cerullo's rally. She subsequently died following a seizure in her bath. The story was also reported in a Christian newspaper.[11][12] Another report from this crusade claimed that Cerullo pronounced a four year old cancer sufferer to be free from the disease, yet she died from it just two months later.[13][14]
Cerullo has claimed that giving money to send evangelistic booklets to Jewish people would result in family members becoming Christians. Rev Dr Chris Wright, principle of All Nations Christian College, denounced Cerullo's methods as "spiritually perverted and pastorally disastrous". The Chief RabbiJonathan Sacks was quoted as being "deeply distressed by missionary tactics specifically targeted against Jews".[15]
Subsequently, Cerullo was challenged on British television to produce his three best examples of claimed miraculous healing for scrutiny by a panel of doctors. Their final report was "there is no evidence that anything has occurred that is outside the realm of normal clinical experience".[16]
Cerullo did resign from the Evangelical Alliance in 1996 after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld four complaints against him relating to his claims of being able to offer miraculous healing to the disabled.[17][18] Following Cerullo's resignation, Britain's then largest church, Kensington Temple, also left the Alliance in protest.[19][20]
In 1999, the Christian Channel, a UK cable channel, broadcast an advertisement for one of Cerullo's European rallies which claimed that "Satanic hordes" had "occupied the principal palaces of power." As a result, the channel was fined £20,000 for breaching advertising codes requiring political impartiality, for denigrating other religious beliefs, for potentially frightening viewers, and for making statements prejudicial of "respect for human dignity".[21]
India
Cerullo was expelled from India in 1992 after disturbances erupted at one of his rallies. The Times of India reported, "A so-called miracle healer, Morris Cerullo, who prefers to call himself a man of God, was declared 'persona non grata' and bundled out of the country by Calcutta police this morning after mass healing services on Park Circus Maidan yesterday evening turned into a fiasco when members of the crowd stormed the dais challenging the efficacy of his healing power".[22][23] A later article in the San Diego Union Tribune suggested that "Cerullo worked a crowd of 30,000 – many of them sick – into a frenzy for two hours and then pronounced them cured, prompting many in the crowd to call him a cheat".[24]
See also

[edit] References

External links

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