M orris Cerullo is one of the most high-profile and notable of American Tele-evangelists.

Cerullo has claimed many things including that, at the age of only 14, he was led out of an orphanage by two angelic beings who transported him to heaven for a personal meeting with God. According to this "vision," God informed Cerrulo that, in the future, he would be capable of giving prophecy (Cerullo, The Miracle Book, ix; and 7 Point Outreach, World Evangelism and You (pamphlet), “God's Faithful, Anointed Servant, Morris Cerullo”)

Cerullo, who is widely-known to be fabulously wealthy, has claimed many miracles but many observers strongly question the validity of some of these claimed 'miracles,' indeed, a few of these are genuinely tragic. One such case is the case of the little girl, riddled with cancer, who is informed by Cerrullo that she is "healed." Tragically this poor little girl was dead within weeks. You may (or may not) want to see this tragic "healing" for yourself. If so, it is here.

Morris Cerullo espouses 'Word-faith' ('the health, wealth and prosperity gospel'), but has also embraced some other pretty strange teachings. For some time now, part of his message has been a kind of combination of 'Word faith' and the teaching of 'human divinity,' this pretty much straight out of New Ageism. Here is an example:

“Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself?…Who are you? Come on, who are you? Come on, say it: ‘Sons of God!’ Come on, say it! And what does work inside us, brother, is that manifestation of the expression of all that God is and all that God has. And when we stand up here, brother, you’re not looking at Morris Cerullo; you’re looking at God. You’re looking at Jesus.” (Morris Cerullo, The Endtime Manifestation of the Sons of God, (San Diego: Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, n.d.), audiotape 1, sides1 and 2.

In this statement there seem to be influences coming from Mormonism, Armstrongism and, of course, New Ageism. The opening comment, 'Did you know that from the beginning of time the whole purpose of God was to reproduce Himself?' comes straight from the lips of the late Hebert W. Armstrong, founder of the once entirely heretical Worldwide Church of God.

A number of years ago Cerullo was also selling "anointed Holy Ghost handkerchiefs" - the idea was that if you purchased one of these you would be 'healed.' This of course is a particularly tragic and vile parody of certain miracles which God performed through Paul the Apostle in Acts 19:12:

Acts 19:11 And God did works of power through the hands of Paul,
Acts 19:12 so that even handkerchiefs or aprons from his skin being brought onto the sick, the diseases were released, and the evil spirits went out of them.

Morris Cerullo appears on 'Inspiration' satellite TV in the UK, March 2009.

In this manner, God used Paul to heal many sick people who he could not actually personally visit. It should go without saying that Paul did not charge for this service!

Herbert Armstrong's ministry observed the same practice but certainly did not charge for sending out 'anointed cloths' (which had been prayed over, of course). Again, Paul certainly gave these away completely free - certainly having no desire to make merchandise out of people who desperately needed God's help.

Cerullo, now in his 70s, is, of course, no stranger to controversy or to the government investigating his ministry. In November 2001, Cerrullo appeared in the San Diego Appeals Court for possible fraudulent fundraising practices. Several Vice Presidents of the Morris Cerullo World Evangelism organisation resigned and confronted Morris Cerrullo about unethical fundraising practices. Here is how this was reported in one newspaper:

Morris Cerullo Lawsuit

NEWS Release
For Release: November 9, 2001.


SAN DIEGO, Ca., Nov. 14, 2001/ John Paul Warren-- Case gives literal meaning to scripture verse, “….false prophets will appear and deceive many people.”

Morris Cerullo claims to be a miracle maker, but he is under investigation for being a money taker. John Paul Warren, a former Senior Executive and successor with Morris Cerullo World Evangelism (MCWE) has filed a lawsuit claiming he was ousted from the MCWE organization after confronting Cerullo about “unethical and fraudulent fund-raising techniques.” This is the second such lawsuit against Cerullo. Warren, who is a highly respected, third-generation, ordained Assemblies of God Minister, filed his suit in May of 2000 in San Diego County Superior Court. He is represented by attorneys Dean Broyles and Tim Rutherford of San Diego, and Hunter Lundy, based in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Lundy successfully represented Marvin Gorman in his suit against televangelist Jimmy Swaggart in 1991, which resulted in a large verdict against Swaggart.

“Cerullo refers to himself as ‘Dr. Cerullo,’ although he does not have any degree earning him this title,” says Lundy. “He runs MCWE from offices in San Diego, which he calls ‘mission control,’ but he does not serve as the minister of any physical church or congregation.” Cerullo raised millions of dollars and bought the defunct PTL Network, theme park and conference grounds from bankruptcy court after Televangelist Jim Bakker’s career ended when he was convicted and sent to federal prison for fraud.

“Cerullo purports to have first met God at the age of eight. Since then, his life has apparently been one unbelievable experience after another,” says Lundy. “He says he was led out of a Jewish orphanage by two angelic beings; transported to heaven for a face-to-face meeting with God; has the ability to predict the future; can heal the sick; and has told audiences when they look at him they ‘are looking at God.’ He also asks them to ‘give me your pocket books.’ ”

According to Broyles, Cerullo’s primary focus is raising millions of dollars in the name of God to support his own personal lavish lifestyle both overseas and in the United States. He says, “The victims of Cerullo’s tactics and the source of his millions are the elderly, widows and poor here in the United States as well as in distressed third world nations.” Broyles says Cerullo’s fundraising tactics include direct solicitations, prayer rallies, the sale of videotapes, prayer networks, television marketing and mail campaigns, among others, all of which are based upon misrepresentations and false promises.

Warren, who has first-hand knowledge of MCWE operations, says, “Cerullo made countless promises to his donors he never intended to keep. He would raise money for popular projects that would generate extraordinary donor support, then never do the project, but keep the money.” Warren says shortly after moving to San Diego to assume the leadership of MCWE he discovered that Cerullo used the charitable status of MCWE to personally profit. “Cerullo merchandises the gospel for his own personal wealth,” says Warren. Warren has asked Cerullo to repent for his deceptive fundraising practices and to return millions to his donors, but Cerullo refused.

Cerullo’s son, David Cerullo, runs the former PTL Network, now known as the Inspiration (INSP) Network based in North Carolina, which serves as a primary medium for disseminating Cerullo’s solicitation programs and generating names for future fundraising efforts. “Neither Cerullo’s MCWE nor his Inspiration Network are financially accountable to any group,” says Rutherford. “In fact, Cerullo, his son David and his wife Theresa are all members of MCWE’s board of directors.”

Warren’s attorneys say their sources report 70% of Cerullo’s income comes from profit-oriented business activities as opposed to the non-profit activities dictated by his tax-exempt status. “Cerullo lives in plush comfort in a multi-million dollar mansion behind two security gates on a luxurious estate in the exclusive Ranch Sante Fe neighborhood, purported to be the richest neighborhood in the country. MCWE owns and controls numerous business properties, several luxury automobiles and a gold-plated private jet. He is reported to have personally estimated his net worth at 100 million dollars. Does this sound like the lifestyle of a minister of the gospel?” asks Lundy.

Attorney’s say trouble seems to be following Cerullo and his MCWE ministry. Numerous former employees have reported possible criminal violations to the Internal Revenue Service, U.S. Customs and the U.S. Postal Inspector. Cerullo has been banned from television in Great Britain unless he can authenticate the miracles he supposedly performs, and the Jewish community has protested what they call his underhanded attempts to convert practicing Jews to Christianity. In addition, many established, respected religious organizations have distanced themselves from Cerullo and MCWE.

Attorneys in this case are deeply concerned that Cerullo’s fundraising practices are harmful, especially to the elderly. Earlier this year, Superior Court Judge Linda B. Quinn denied a motion by Cerullo to dismiss Warren’s claims. Cerullo has appealed Judge Quinn’s ruling. He seeks immunity from litigation under the First Amendment to the Constitution. The appeal will be heard in the Superior Court of Appeals of the State of California at the San Diego County Courthouse at 9am on November 14.

A news conference will be held outside the courthouse immediately following the appeal hearing.

Of course Cerullo has been back to court several times since then, most notably in 2005. But then, once again, on March 14, 2007, the Religion News Blog carried the following report:

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — The onetime leader of the Inspiration Network, now based in Fort Mill, S.C., is in court next week in San Diego on tax evasion charges. Dr. Morris Cerullo raised the Inspiration Network up from the shambles it was in when owned by Jim Bakker’s PTL Ministry.

Dr. Cerullo is head of Morris Cerullo World Evangelism. His style is unmistakable: faith healing, a mission, he says, to build up God’s army. On his web site, Morris Cerullo claims that 2007 will be your year for financial breakthrough, even as he prepares to face charges for lying about his own personal finances.

Cerullo is facing federal charges of tax evasion.

WCNC obtained a copy of the federal indictment filed against Cerullo in San Diego. In it are claims that Cerullo lied on his income tax returns, omitting more than $500,000.

This, just 15 years after Cerullo’s ministry took over what was left of Jim Bakker’s fallen PTL television network.....the federal prosecutor said that the money in question came from offerings at breakthrough rallies and speaking fees.The feds tell us Cerullo used that money as his own.

Cerullo will get his day in a San Diego court on March 20.

If convicted, Cerullo could spend up to nine years in prison and pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines."

As we now write, in the spring of 2009, it seems as though Morris Cerullo has got off most of the charges against him, at least for the present, but expect further developments before too long.

These days Cerullo is very much involved with the (so-called) Inspiration TV satellite channel. The list of ministries which this channel supports is virtually a 'Who's who' of teachers who pervert the gospel and the message of Jesus. Think we are exaggerating? Not at all, just check here.

UK Apologetics, March, 2009.