Morris Cerullo (October 2, 1931 – July 10, 2020) was an American Pentecostal evangelist. He traveled extensively around the world for his ministry. He hosted Victory Today, a daily television program, and published more than 80 books.
|Died||July 10, 2020 (aged 88)|
|Other names||Dr. Morris Cerullo|
|Occupation||Evangelist, inspirational speaker, missionary, author,|
|Children||David (b. 1952) |
Susan (b. 1954)
Mark (b. 1957–1993)
|Religion||Judaism, then Pentecostalism|
|Founder, Morris Cerullo World Evangelism |
Founder, Morris Cerullo Schools of Ministry
Early life and familyEdit
Cerullo was born in Passaic, New Jersey, to an Italian father and a Russian Jewish mother. His parents died in an automobile accident when he was very young. He was raised in various orphanages, the last being an Orthodox Jewish orphanage in nearby Clifton, New Jersey. He converted to Christianity at age 14 with the guidance of a nurse in the Clifton orphanage. Soon after, Jewish orphanage directors restricted him from practicing certain matters of his new faith, so he ran away from the orphanage. He began preaching the gospel at the age of 16, after claiming to have seen a vision from God, in which he witnessed people suffering torments in Hell. He attended and graduated from divinity school in New York state in 1953, and began ministering with the help of his then soon-to-be bride, Theresa. In the early 1950s, he was ordained in the Assemblies of God.
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For many years Morris Cerullo conducted repeated "Schools of Ministry" in several countries like Mexico, Brazil, The Philippines, Korea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Netherlands and many others. During these "SOMs" one of the days of the conferences he would preach in an open air crusade, or a large theater/arena, and lead people in a commitment to Jesus Christ and then would pray for healings to happen in the crowd. He would have the school of ministry students test the genuineness of the reports from the people's testimonies. After the large mass meetings he would charge the "SOM," School Of Ministry, students to reach out to their countrymen with the same message being inspired by the results of the public rally. Cerullo often stated that not he, but Jesus Christ was the healer. He would encourage faith in, as he would say, "the written and the living word of God."
In 1990, Cerullo purchased, from the United States Federal Bankruptcy Court in Columbia, South Carolina, the assets of Jim Bakker's bankrupt ministry, PTL. These assets included the Heritage USA Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina which he purchased in partnership with Malayan United Industries (Berhad). After a dispute with his business partners over his issuance of discount cards to the theme park, the Malaysian entity bought out Cerullo's interest in Heritage USA.
The Inspiration Network (INSP)Edit
As a part of his agreement to purchase Heritage USA, the bankruptcy court also approved Cerullo's $7 million offer to purchase PTL's cable television network, The Inspirational Network, which was renamed INSP-The Inspiration Network and transferred into a new, separate entity, The Inspiration Networks. Cerullo's son, David, has served as the corporation's president and CEO, and as a member of its board of directors since its formation. In 2005 he was elected to serve as its chairman. The organization, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, is currently building a new multi-million dollar broadcast headquarters facility known as "CrossRidge" in Lancaster County, South Carolina. This was opened on March 1, 2009. Cerullo and his son David were both featured in a 2009 Charlotte Observer article.
Cerullo still travelled as a missionary, and in the 2014 World Conference, he stated that God told him that "Prophets never retire!". In 2015, at the age of 83, Cerullo toured Africa for nine days, during which time he held meetings in six African countries, preaching, holding training sessions and meeting with political leaders.
Cerullo died from complications of pneumonia on July 11, 2020 at the age of 88.
Cerullo is considered by some critics to be controversial, with concerns having been raised about his financial practices. He was indicted for income tax evasion in California. Those charges were dismissed by the court.
As a Christian of Jewish origin, he has carried a few evangelistic campaigns targeted at the Jewish community, drawing some condemnation from anti-missionary organizations and claims of deceptive practices.
While no charges were brought against Cerullo's ministry, Cerullo was found to have underrepresented his income for 1998 through 2000. However, on August 8, 2007, the US District Court, Southern District of California ordered that the indictment be dismissed as a consequence of the prosecutor's inaccurate explanation of the Duberstein test to the jury. An extract from the ruling was published on Cerullo's website.
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Cerullo's activities in the United Kingdom have attracted considerable critical attention, particularly during the early 1990s.
In 1991, British authorities suspended the license of a satellite station for broadcasting the program, Victory with Morris Cerullo. The license was reinstated after the station agreed to precede the program with the disclaimer, "Morris Cerullo World Evangelism cannot substantiate the claims made by those participants featured in this programme," and advising all persons suffering from illness to seek medical attention.
Following Cerullo's Mission at Earl's Court London in 1992, a documentary on the BBC, Newsround, reported that a lady called Audrey Reynolds stopped taking medication for epilepsy (although she was never instructed or advised to do so by the ministry) after she believed herself to have been healed during Cerullo's rally. She subsequently died following a seizure in her bath. The story was also reported in a Christian newspaper. Another report from this crusade claimed that Cerullo pronounced a four-year-old cancer sufferer to be free from the disease, yet she died from it just two months later.
Cerullo has claimed that giving money to send evangelistic booklets to Jewish people would result in family members becoming Christians. Chris Wright, principal of All Nations Christian College, denounced Cerullo's methods as "spiritually perverted and pastorally disastrous". The Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks was quoted as being "deeply distressed by missionary tactics specifically targeted against Jews".
Subsequently, Cerullo was challenged on British television to produce his three best examples of claimed miraculous healing for scrutiny by a panel of doctors. Their final report was "there is no evidence that anything has occurred that is outside the realm of normal clinical experience".
In 1996 the Evangelical Alliance considered, but decided against, ejecting Cerullo after the Advertising Standards Authority upheld four complaints against him relating to his claims of being able to offer miraculous healing to the disabled. Cerullo later resigned from the alliance. Following Cerullo's resignation, Britain's then-largest church, Kensington Temple, also left the Alliance in protest.
In 1999, the Christian Channel, a UK cable channel, broadcast an advertisement for one of Cerullo's European rallies which claimed that "Satanic hordes" had "occupied the principal palaces of power." As a result, the channel was fined £20,000 for breaching advertising codes requiring political impartiality, for denigrating other religious beliefs, for potentially frightening viewers, and for making statements prejudicial of "respect for human dignity".
Cerullo was expelled from India in 1992 after disturbances erupted at one of his rallies. The Times of India on October 17, 1992 reported, "A so-called miracle healer, Morris Cerullo, who prefers to call himself a man of God, was declared 'persona non-grata' and bundled out of the country by Calcutta police this morning after mass healing services on Park Circus Maidan yesterday evening turned into a fiasco when members of the crowd stormed the dais challenging the efficacy of his healing power".
In 2009, Cerullo was invited to be the guest in the television show in Brazil. During the interview, he introduced his special financial healing to the televiewers. He asked for 900 Brazilian Reals in order to avail this ‘God’s life-time annointment’. His action was criticized by the presiding minister of Members Church of God International (MCGI) Bro. Eli Soriano.
- Burton, Jeremy (April 13, 2015). "Bonnke, Cerullo, Hayford and Hickey Winning This Massive Honor". Chrisma News. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
- "A 'Witchmobile' Warns of the Occult". August 6, 1972 – via NYTimes.com.
- Zeigler, James R. (2002). "Cerullo, Morris". In Stanley M. Burgess (ed.). The new international dictionary of Pentecostal and charismatic movements (Rev. and expanded ed.). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Pub. House. p. 472. ISBN 0310224810.
- Gallagher, Paul (August 1, 2014). "Controversial American evangelist Morris Cerullo returns to Britain for one final crusade". Independent. Archived from the original on October 18, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
- "Morris Cerullo and his ministry to the Jews". Jews for Judaism. Archived from the original on August 12, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- Buckland, Danny (July 27, 2014). "Preacher Morris Cerullo makes millions from his 'miracles'". Express. Archived from the original on August 13, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- "Morris Cerullo and Adoption". Adoption.com. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- "Evangelist Morris Cerullo". MGM Ministry. Archived from the original on August 11, 2016. Retrieved June 28, 2016.
- "World-Renowned Evangelist Morris Cerullo Passes Away at 88". CBN News. July 11, 2020. Retrieved November 29, 2020.
- "20 facts on Morris Cerullo, American healing evangelist, who dies at 88 -". TheNEWS magazine. July 11, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "American healing evangelist, Morris Cerullo, passes on at 88". Christianity Nigeria. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- "Morris Cerullo Death - Pastor Morris Cerullo Is Dead, What Killed Him? Cause Of Death, Obituary". Latest News In South Africa Today. July 11, 2020. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
- Kraul, Chris (June 1, 1990). "S.D. Evangelist Gets OK to Buy Bakker's PTL Cable Network". L.A. Times. Archived from the original on October 24, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2016.
- Alexander, Ames; Funk, Tim (May 24, 2009). "Surging ministry, growing questions". Charlotte Observer. Archived from the original on June 7, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- Morris Cerullo (2016). The Legend of Morris Cerullo: How God Used an Orphan to Change the World. Charisma Media. ISBN 9781629985374.
- Mauro, Greg (February 3, 2015). "Morris Cerullo launches bold new tour". Charisma News. Archived from the original on August 16, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- Justice, Jessilyn (March 23, 2015). "83-year-old Morris Cerullo wages spiritual attacks against forces of darkness". Charisma News. Archived from the original on June 29, 2016. Retrieved June 7, 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 11, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2020.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Tax case dismissed against Morris Cerullo". Religious News Blog. August 20, 2007. Archived from the original on November 3, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- "Federal Judge Dismisses Tax-Evasion Indictment Against Evangelist Morris Cerullo". Charisma Magazine. August 17, 2007. Archived from the original on November 4, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2016.
- "Morris Cerullo & His Ministry to the Jews – Jews for Judaism". Archived from the original on June 21, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- admin (March 31, 2000). "Missionaries dupe Jewish newspapers across country". Archived from the original on April 17, 2017. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- "Jweekly.com". Archived from the original on September 10, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on October 24, 2007. Retrieved March 7, 2017.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link) CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
- Tomasson, Robert E. (August 14, 1991). "Chronicle". The New York Times. Archived from the original on November 15, 2013. Retrieved May 13, 2010.
- "Google News". Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- "THE STRANGE HISTORY OF PENTECOSTALISM PART 3 OF 3". Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- Haville, Mark (June 1997). "Giving their lives to the faith". Evangelicals Now. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
In 1992 Christians were shocked by the death of Audrey Reynolds, a 25-year-old from Clapham in London who died after attending Morris Cerullo's Mission to London. Audrey drowned in her bath having abandoned her epilepsy medication
- on YouTube
- Haville, Mark (June 1997). "Giving their lives to the faith". Evangelicals Now. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved October 23, 2009.
Another sad case from the Mission to London 1992 was that of the beautiful four-year-old African girl Natalia Barned who had neuroblastoma (a childhood cancer growing above the kidney). She was pronounced healed by Cerullo after she showed an absence of pain. The following day Cerullo led the congregation in thanks to God for healing of the cancer. Tragically, within two months, she had died of that same disease
- Brown, Andrew (August 6, 1993). "Church press rejects Cerullo's adverts: Fund-raising tactics scandalise the evangelical mainstream". London: The Independent. Archived from the original on November 4, 2012. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
(Quoting fundraising letter from Cerullo) ...If you send in pounds 10 for the salvation of 2 Jews, then I believe God will return to you the salvation of 2 of your family members. God honors his spiritual laws. What you sow is what you harvest. This is what I am believing God for.
- "Healthwatch-uk.org". Archived from the original on February 24, 2012. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
- Listing on IMDb
- Intotruth.org Archived February 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Quoting the Christian Herald of December 23, 1995, The Advertising Standards Authority has upheld four complaints about advertisements by Morris Cerullo that offered miraculous healing to the disabled.
- Prasch, Jacob (2001). "A tribute and modern history lesson". Christian Witness Ministries. Archived from the original on June 13, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
...which saw Cerullo resigning from The Evangelical Alliance after he was found guilty of all four charges against him by the UK Advertising Standards Council (sic)
- Andrews, Cecil (April 29, 2008). "'Mandate 2008' with Colin Dye: Another cause for concern". Take Heed Ministries. Archived from the original on October 26, 2009. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
In a move that could signal a major split in British Evangelicalism, Kensington Temple, claimed to be the biggest Church in Britain, has resigned from the Evangelical alliance. The move is a sequel to the recent resignation of evangelist Morris Cerullo from the EA. A press statement from Colin Dye, the church's senior pastor said, "For some time I have felt the Alliance was not adequately representing the concerns of Pentecostals on the radical end of the evangelical spectrum. I had hoped that the Alliance would indeed prove itself broad enough to carry the full breadth of opinion that wished to rest in it. But despite recent assurances and moves towards total acceptance of a greater diversity within the Alliance, I find the handling of the whole Morris Cerullo affair to be too telling to ignore"
- Powell, Philip L. (June 1999). "Unmasked... Colin Dye". Contending Ernestly for the Faith. Christian Witness Ministries. Archived from the original on January 25, 2010. Retrieved October 29, 2009.
Dye ... has in fact withdrawn London City Church from the Evangelical Alliance because the latter presumed to inquire into the finances of Morris Cerullo's missionary organisation
Independent Television Commission (December 1, 1999). "Television Advertising Complaints Reports – Morris Cerullo Rally". National Archives. Archived from the original on January 4, 2004. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
The Christian Channel finally accepted that the advertising breached ITC rules ... The ITC upheld the complaint and instructed the Christian Channel not to broadcast the material again. In the light of the previous breaches of ITC rules by the Christian Channel, the ITC imposed a financial penalty of £20,000.
- giacintobutindaro (October 29, 2010). "Morris Cerullo sells financial anointing". He who has ears let him hear. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved June 1, 2020.
- "An Epoch of Fraud and Deceit: Bro. Eli Analyzes Society". EliSoriano.com. August 21, 2007. Retrieved July 25, 2020.