Pat Rob’s best Driscoll Imitation

May 17, 2013

outrageousThere are many different ways to become well-known in this world. But for a preacher, the number of acceptable means to get your name in the public eye is smaller than with other people.

Or at least, it should be.

But there is a growing coterie of preachers/bible teachers/”evangelists” who have chosen a tried-and-true formula for notoriety. The number who do this is always small and always annoying to true followers of Christ.

The formula looks like this:

1. Make outrageous statements based on marginal Christian beliefs that owe more to popular opinion than the Bible.

2. Make even more outrageous statements to back up the first ones.

3. When cornered by the press, claim  you were taken out of context, or that the current culture of morality can’t accept the truth, or even that you meant something completely different.

A century ago, Aimee  Semple McPherson did this. Oral Roberts also practiced the same approach. Mark Driscoll is well on his way to eclipsing both of them for bombasticity.

But we should not forget Pat Robertson, whose 700 Club gave him ample visibility to make unwise statements. Just the other day he made another of his monumental blunders. You can read about it here:

In the program, Robertson is responding to a letter from a woman whose husband has had an affair. Here’s a short excerpt from the article:

Robertson responded to a woman identified as Ivy during Wednesday’s episode of “The 700 Club.” Ivy wrote, “We have gone to counseling, but I just can’t seem to forgive, nor can I trust. How do you let go of the anger? How do you trust again?

Robertson’s co-host began to answer the letter when the one-time Republican presidential hopeful interjected with the “secret” to getting past the cheating.

“Stop talking about the cheating. He cheated on you. Well, he’s a man. O.K.,” Robertson said.

Robertson, in true misogynistic fashion lays covert blame on the wife. He tells her, ““Males have a tendency to wander a little bit, and what you want to do it make the home so wonderful that he doesn’t want to wander.”

So Pat R. is essentially saying, “This is just the way men are”, and “if you don’t make the home a perfect place to come to, you can expect him to act this way.” Implicitely, this makes it her fault.

He has unleashed a firestorm of criticism and just gives those who are leaving churches another justification for doing so.

This debacle underscores the dangers of having any Christian superstar preachers and teachers. It is better to be taught by those who aren’t looking for the spotlight and who count the ability to communicate with gentleness, love and Truth as more important than the motto “I don’t care what you say about me, just spell my name right.”



  1. I guess you are going to have to present an example of what you are discussing when related to Aimee Semple McPherson and how it is similar to Pat Robertson. From what I have been studying, the two could not be further apart, indeed McPherson is case study of HOW TO BE the diplomat, this quote of hers is rather well known and even published on Wikipedia:

    >In 1927, she arrived in New York in furs and a yellow suit, and was taken to a prime watering spot of the Roaring Twenties, Texas Guinan’s speakeasy, on Fifty-fourth Street. A reporter called out, with whatever sardonic intent, that she should be invited to speak. Guinan agreed, and, as Epstein tells it, ‘Aimee, demure, dignified, stone sober … left her table and stood in the center of the dance floor, smiling until everyone was quiet.’ Then she said:

    “Behind all these beautiful clothes, behind these good times, in the midst of your lovely buildings and shops and pleasures, there is another life. There is something on the other side. What shall it profit a man if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? With all your getting and playing and good times, do not forget you have a Lord. Take Him into your hearts.”

    And that was all — a miniature masterpiece of the evangelist’s art, silencing a boozy crowd in no mood to hear it. Epstein writes, ‘All at once they applauded, and Tex put her arm around Aimee. The clapping went on for much longer than her speech had taken<

    Yes "a miniature masterpiece of the evangelist's art." The website at


    uses her speech as an example of HOW TO improve ones public speaking, among which are:

    1 Surprise your critics with the unexpected
    2 Preach beyond the choir
    3 Keep it brief and direct

    • Steamchip…as much as I would love to agree with you about Sister Aimee, I cannot. She was well-known for making outlandish statements (regardless of how she advised others to act) and when called upon it, she would back off on her original statements or tell people to “lighten up”. She was one of America’s finest preachers (probably the greatest female preacher of her generation) but controversy followed her continuously. She lived in a different era that Robertson et al. but she had the same effect as I mentioned in my article. Having said that, I like reading her work. Several books chronicle her preaching excesses such as “Limited Liberty” and “Sister Aimee”.

      • Thank you for your reply. “Sister Aimee,” presumably Daniel Mark Epstein (1 July 1994). Sister Aimee: The Life of Aimee Semple McPherson? That is where the Three Hundred Club quote is from and Epstein uses it as a compressed example of her life of elegant yet direct speech. if she was well known for outlandish statements, I cannot locate any. The only exception I can find are statements regarding the optimism about her new third marriage (which failed spectacularly, and if there was anything she regretted in her life, her marriage to David Hutton was it.)

        –Matthew Avery Sutton (Aimee Semple Mcpherson and the Resurrection of Christian America” 2000 )
        –Edith L. Blumhofer(Aimee Semple McPherson: Everybody’s Sister(1993)

        The aforementioned three are perhaps the most responsible biographers, especially when considering the earlier works of Thomas Lately and Robert Bahr . The former relied heavily on newspaper clippings which were heavily skewed against the evangelist while the latter was in many ways a historical novel, and of diminished scholarly value. I do not have the other book you mentioned.

        To understand the more nuanced areas of the 1926 kidnapping, Raymond L Cox,. The Verdict is In, 1983, has lots of information.

        I guess, if you wish to convey McPherson as a purveyor outrageous Robertson or Sarah Palin type gaffs, you will have to draw me a map as I cannot find any good examples. Is there a book I’m missing? Reporters solicited her for opinions on everything and the more I study, the more she seems an example of astute diplomatic tact.

        In fact Sutton’s book lists McPherson as using the term “Minions of Satan,” to describe her displeasure with regulators for her radio station being turned off because of “drifting frequencies.”

        (55disneyland) JIM HILLIKER (a former radio station operator and now historian) wanted to investigate the truth of that story and the result is an interesting bit of detective and research work which indicates McPherson never sent that message and her station was never temporarily taken off the air.

        A forum commentator wrote: “Aimee was kind, popular and loved, and doubts she got that way by calling people “minions of Satan.” ”

        Hilliker wrote two articles, one in 2003 which he considers the story MIGHT be true,
        and a 2nd article in 2011, supported by more research, which he deducts the story is not true; that McPherson did not send such a message and how the legend originated.

        Anyway, the discussion is here:

        Jim Hilliker’s first article is here:

        Jim Hilliker’s 2nd article is here:

        In summary of her scandals, I had to take a closer look. If a person has assigned to them as many faith healings (tens of thousands) as McPherson, it would seem to me improbable that God would work His power through them, or at least not for long. Unlike modern evangelists who transgressed and faded away, McPherson weathered all her scandals to the chagrin of her opponents. I find in her scandals mitigating circumstances which have to be studied in their own context. Most are a tempest in a teapot, or stuff of old ladies leaning on backyard fences. The term “sign of contradiction.” comes to mind. In Catholic theology, this is someone who, upon manifesting holiness, is subject to extreme opposition.

        The once exception is the third failed marriage, which she repented for, and is ongoing discussion in the Church today, is it fine to remarry while the “ex” is still upright and since remarried?

        McPherson also created a commissary system through her church which tended to the physical needs of the distressed. It was a reminder that the Church has a responsibility to take care of the less fortunate; present already in the Catholic Church and Salvation Army, but absent in many protestant pre-millennial faiths. While other agencies moved at the speed of government, it was estimated that as many as 1.5 mission persons were fed clothed and otherwise assisted through her commissary system, many of them during the depths of the Great Depression.

        Thank you,
        Best regards,

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