Absence Of Truth

It takes more than poignant stories and a paying public to meet God’s media standards.

From the beginning, Mike Wamke seemed improbable. He came to evangelical fame through bone-chilling tales of Satanist conspiracies and his preconversion role as a high priest of evil. With this background he became a Christian comedian?

Warnke found other ways to stretch the imagination. Who could believe a leading evangelical who has married and divorced three times since his conversion proudly promoting his latest book, written with his third ex-wife, on surviving divorce? That is just what Warnke did at the June Christian Booksellers Association convention.

The Christian marketplace has blithely swallowed all this. It remains to be seen whether it can swallow the revelations produced in the June issue of Cornerstone magazine. Its 12-page, small-type, footnoted exposé asserts that Warnke made up or grossly exaggerated his Satanist past (see CT, Aug. 17, 1992, p. 50). Worse, Cornerstone reports in numbing detail on repeated adultery and Warnke’s high living. Worst, it suggests that a good many Christian leaders and co-workers knew about the real Mike Warnke and did nothing.

Warnke denies it all, and as of this writing, he has not answered any of the very specific evidence cited against him. Publishers of his books continue to distribute them, while Word, Inc., has suspended the sale and promotion of his recordings pending investigation of possible financial improprieties.

Warnke is not the only evangelical celebrity to face such questions of truth and confidence. Other authors and speakers who claimed bizarre or miracle-studded pasts have been scrutinized and found lacking. They form a pattern that raises serious questions ...

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