Mike Warnke is back
Former Christian comedian Mike Warnke is returning to the spotlight with his second autobiography. His first, readers will recall, was exposed as a hoax by Cornerstone magazine in 1992. Warnke's popular 1973 book, The Satan Seller, claimed that he spent his college immersed in drugs and alcohol, wore his hair long, and led a Satanist group of 1,500. Cornerstone's exposÉ effectively ended Warnke's days as the top Christian comedian. Now, ten years after the piece that brought the Jesus People USA publication national attention, Mike Warnke is responding with Friendly Fire: A Survival Guide for Believers Battered by Religion, published by Destiny Image, a charismatic book publisher. The first chapter of Warnke's book, available for free at the publisher's site, talks about his 1992 experience:

At times the stress was so bad that I broke out in hives. I couldn't sleep, my hair came out by the fistful, and I was unable to eat anything that didn't upset my stomach. … Within two months, everything I had worked so hard for was gone. From a guy who had his own plane and 50 employees, I was reduced to the point of one day standing in a Kroger grocery store with a coupon for baked beans and a coupon for toilet paper but only enough money for one or the other. … Was I a fake, a charlatan, a deceiver, and a liar? No. I never lied about my testimony and I never ran a fake ministry. That being said, however, let me hasten to add that all was not right in the Warnke world. … My life was out of control. I had no spiritual accountability. Decisions concerning the ministry were based on the bottom line rather than on spiritual priorities. … When the storm of controversy hit, everything I had built for 22 years suddenly collapsed like a house of cards.

In an interview with Charisma News Service, Warnke explains why it's time for him to come back. "We have done the work. I feel we have a solid foundation for saying what we are saying," he says. "I feel like I'm coming from a better place now than I ever have in my entire ministry. A lot of what happened was necessary. I got so focused on my career that I forgot about my calling."

Cornerstone's Jon Trott has already issued a response to the book:

One waits in vain for any evidence of true repentance. … Warnke's response to our article was to set up the form of accountability without the power thereof, a group of pastors near Warnke who (when we asked) had no evidence contradicting our story. He has never admitted the truth about his alleged involvement with the occult, nor the false testimony he sold as a true autobiography in The Satan Seller and various recordings. His new book focuses on being allegedly wounded by fellow Christians, a classic case of bait and switch technique that one hopes won't work (but fears likely will). There's not much else we can say.
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Christian Solidarity International, other groups say slave redemption is real
Days after The Irish Times, The Washington Post, and other newspapers published major exposÉs of fake slave redemptions in Sudan, the main organization that buys and frees slaves in that country has issued press releases in response. A press release from Christian Solidarity International (CSI) contains quotes from several Sudanese church leaders supporting CSI's work and attacking the articles. Likewise, CSI supporters have issued a statement calling the newspaper reports "grotesquely distorted." The statement reiteraties that "black slaves in Sudan are subjected routinely to beatings, rape, female genital mutilation, death threats, forced labor and forced conversions."

Unfortunately, neither the statement nor the CSI press release actually refutes the articles in question. Both Irish Times reporter Declan Walsh and The Washington Post's Karl Vick carefully noted that both Sudanese slavery is horrifically real and groups like CSI have legitimately freed countless numbers: However, based on eyewitness testimony (especially that of Roman Catholic priest Mario Riva), the papers reported that some of the redemption transactions were fake. Riva gives very specific details about a redemption conducted by CSI head John Eibner between the towns of Marial Bai and Nyamlell. Saying there are slaves and slave redemptions in Sudan doesn't answer that allegation.

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Life ethics:

  • Pro-life centers fight N.Y. state investigation | Two pregnancy centers are fighting subpoenas issued in a state investigation of possible false advertising and illegal medical practice—claims that critics are calling politically motivated (The Washington Times)

  • Abortion row threatens UN funds | Population Research Institute has accused the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) of promoting forced abortions and the involuntary sterilisation of women. (BBC)

Sex & marriage:

Pat Robertson:

  • I can't stand Pat | Robertson had a point. That's why he should have kept his mouth shut. (Tunku Varadarajan, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Robertson's wrong | He is anxious to create a climate of misunderstanding between America and the Islamic world and for Israel to benefit from that misunderstanding (Editorial, The Gulf News, Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

Missions & ministry:

  • Small relief agency takes big risks | Orthodox Christian group now focusing on Palestinian aid (The Baltimore Sun)

  • The national crusade, nation's restoration | The supplications and penitent spirit that characterized the Liberia for Jesus Crusade will have no meaning in the drive for national restoration unless we turn a new page of our national history (Bill K. Jarkloh, The News, Monrovia, Liberia)

  • Deadly crusades | Reinhard Bonnke's crusade in Nigeria are always a harvest of miracle amidst deaths (Kunle Owolabi, The News, Lagos, Nigeria)

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Church life:



Roman Catholics:

Other stories of interest:

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