Faith healing, army building, and the hotel business.

Pentecostal evangelist Morris Cerullo is better known in Nigeria than in, say, North Dakota. The 48-year-old, Assemblies of God-ordained minister has been known to draw audiences of more than 200,000 for a single service in Third World countries. In an interview, Cerullo said of his popularity overseas, “If I were to go to Indonesia tomorrow, no less than 50,000 would turn out.”

Among Christians in the United States, Cerullo’s name was little recognized, especially until recent years. Even in San Diego—headquarters of Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE) since its 1960 founding—residents, when questioned, seem to know little about their home town’s faith-healing evangelist.

But recent shifts may bring MCWE greater visibility in the U.S. In 1970, in response to one of a number of self-professed personal messages from God, the stocky five-foot, seven-inch evangelist felt led to a greater North American emphasis. MCWE increased its number of meetings in the U.S. and Canada; at least 15 are scheduled this year.

Trademarks of Cerullo’s meetings are: healings, with on-the-spot testimonials of their validity; clapping and exuberant worship; attenders anointed with oil; and a concluding salvation altar call. In the U.S., local church support for Cerullo is mostly Pentecostal and charismatic, although he frequently makes interdenominational appeals and says Roman Catholics and ethnic peoples are among his strongest supporters.

Cerullo says his organization now takes in $10 million annually—no paltry amount, considering that many evangelicals say they’ve never heard of him.

In earlier years Cerullo sought to avoid publicity. Now, MCWE’s ICI Advertising Agency helps promote Cerullo’s ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.