Televangelist Morris Cerullo Dead at 88

After preaching for 70 years, faith healer and televangelist Morris Cerullo has died at 88 years of age from pneumonia.

In the months before he died, Cerullo’s final project, a theme park and hotel, opened to the public. The Legacy International Center cost $190 million and featured a small replica of the Temple’s wailing wall, catacombs with large murals of Bible stories, and water fountains.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, “Cerullo spared no expense on the $14.5 million, 100-seat theater located in the project’s Welcome Center that will house most of the Legacy Center’s attractions, many of which were conceived with the help of cutting-edge technology.”

How does a televangelist raise $190 million? By preaching the prosperity gospel and selling older assets. The prosperity gospel is clearly profitable for the people that preach it.

After televangelist Jim Bakker’s PTL Television Network went bankrupt, Cerullo acquired the assets and in 1992 launched The Inspirational Network.

In 2005, Cerullo was indicted, but never convicted, for filing a fraudulent tax return. The indictment accused Cerullo of omitting “at least $290,000 in income.” After the charges were filed, Cerullo’s TV network amended its articles of incorporation and Cerullo was dropped from the board of directors. Cerullo’s son David then took control of the TV channel.

In 1993, the televangelist’s non-profit organization Morris Cerullo World Evangelism incorporated on the tax haven island of Aruba which is famous for offshore banking.

Cerullo also used controversial, theatrical faith healing techniques.

Trinity Foundation provided video of Cerullo for the documentary “Suffer the Children” by New Zealand filmmaker Trevor Glass. The video, viewable on YouTube, shows Cerullo commanding a man wearing a neck brace, “Just rip the brace off! Take the brace off of your neck!”

Before a large television audience, Cerullo placed his hand on the man’s head and pushed down. Then Cerullo used his hands to turn the man’s head while screaming “Move it! Move it!”

Critical obituaries often provoke a backlash. Readers will respond, “Do you have no respect for the dead or their grieving families?”   However, truth must be spoken in season and out of season, for truth has the power to transform lives and bring forth repentance.

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