Orlando, Fl April 1, 2009 — They arrived by first class or flew in on their private jets for this first-ever gathering of mega-church pastors from all over the United States. They had gathered to trade secrets of their success and form a new denomination called Church of the Champions.
But in their first session as Bob Johnson, a renowned media analyst who was going to brief them on new strategies to exert pressure on the media and to take back the culture for God, started to speak a bright light suddenly appeared over the lectern and many reported later that a voice spoke out of rafters: “Pastors, pastors, why are you persecuting me?”
Observers say everyone sat spell-bound in their seats for a moment. Nothing in the room moved. Soon many of them began to weep and fall to the ground confessing the error of their ways. Some confessed to dividing the body of Christ by competing to be the biggest and best church in their area. Some admitted that they had supplanted Jesus in the lives of their followers by teaching the people to follow them instead of following him. Others said they had lived lavish lifestyles on the backs of those who lived in need. Still others confessed to manipulating people’s need for approval instead of freeing them to live as loved children of God, to providing a public persona different from the reality of their own doubts and struggles, to being in love with power and influence instead of the simple reality of the kingdom.
After nearly two hours of soul-purging confession they read together Matthew 23, admitting that they had created the same realities that Jesus had warned the Pharisees about. By unanimous acclimation they agreed to abandon their plans to form a new denomination, and instead go home and tell the people the truth, apologize for their short-sited ambitions, dismantle the institutions that blinded people to God’s reality and start living in the honesty of their own spiritual journey.
In what might be a related story, scientists that have been observing the fires of hell from the Haney Terrascope buried deep within the earth outside Lubbock, Texas have observed strange white matter appearing on the surface of hell’s lake of fire. “It looks like ice,” one scientist said, “though I know that doesn’t make any sense. We’ll have to run more tests to be certain.”