Author’s Preface

I’m angry. I’m angry at eloquent charlatans who pass themselves off as spiritual authorities with special powers. I’m saddened by gullible Christians who fall for lies, half-truths, and get-rich-quick schemes. I’m heartbroken as I see Christian television stations selling valuable ministry time to wealthy televangelists whose primary objective appears to be building their own kingdom. These hucksters are masters at persuading people to give money. Consequently, the most successful fundraisers are given additional free exposure and legitimacy by constantly being invited to raise money on every telethon across the nation.

And I know what I’m talking about. I began my career in broadcasting in 1963, long before there were Christian television stations. Back then, very few ministries were on television. During the last forty years, I’ve watched as evangelists became televangelists and observed many who failed—and a few who became very well-known and very rich. Unfortunately, not all of them are as they look on television. This book confronts the dishonest side of televangelism.

It should be understood: I believe fully in God and the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit. I also believe in the efficacy of Christian television to reach souls and change lives. I have no doubt God restores lives, heals disease and blesses those who give. This story is not meant to minimize in any way the power of prayer or the validity of honest soul-winning evangelism.

David Samuel Randall and the events of his life are fictional, although they may be similar to real-life situations I have witnessed during a fifty-two year career in broadcasting. It is my desire that as you read this story, you will begin to question those who use their dynamic personality and religious jargon to manipulate vulnerable Christians. One purpose of this book is to help the reader to discern between the counterfeit and the genuine work of the Holy Spirit.

As I wrote this book, several people made the comment, “The world is so quick to criticize Christians, why give them any additional ammunition?” I can only ask, “If we don’t face our faults, how can we ever expect to correct them?” Perhaps we have buried our heads too long. Could it be that our critics are right? The non-believer looks at our actions and calls us hypocrites.

Maybe we need to stop looking the other way as a few people (who may or may not be Christians) become excessively rich by spreading false doctrines. Maybe we should have the courage to correct our friends who get tangled up in ministries that cause them to look and act like fools. Crawling around on the church floor, barking like a dog, howling like a wolf, laughing and shaking uncontrollably, pretending to be drunk, or behaving in any other nonsensical way only serves to undermine the genuine work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the only source for our healing, our comfort, and our salvation.

This book is not suggesting that all televangelists are dishonest. Many are called by God and led by the Spirit. It’s the few bad ones who seem to get the publicity and give Christians bad names. The way we react, or fail to react, when we see Christian leaders involved in questionable activities determines what non-believers think of us.

In this story many people close to David Randall choose to turn their backs as he sins and uses his trickery. To the thousands who follow him, he appears to be a blessed and anointed servant of God. His services are filled with signs and wonders. Devout believers around him are afraid to touch God’s anointed. Consequently, the people in his inner circle keep their mouths shut even as they witness things that are just not right. They stand by quietly and benefit financially from his success.

A well-respected pastor once told me, “We Christians are easily fooled. We never question anything that might be a move of the Holy Spirit—it’s very dangerous.” I think his observation was wise. We make a big mistake if we fail to remember 1 John 4:1 “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (KJV)

This story is pure fiction. All the characters, organizations, events, and situations portrayed have no existence outside of the imagination of the author. Any resemblance to anyone living or dead is purely coincidental.

Paul Garber