Charisma’s history of unaccountable dishonesty

Charisma’s history of unaccountable dishonesty September 10, 2014

For a magazine that loves to go on about the “gift of prophecy,” it’s remarkable how often Charisma publishes false prophets. And when they do, they don’t explain, correct or apologize. They just keep going.

TwoYearsWrongHonesty, integrity and accountability seem to have disappeared from Charisma around the same time as Stephen Strang’s mustache.

Here’s a little flashback from two years ago: In July of 2012, Alan Chambers was still running the “ex-gay ministry” Exodus International, but he had begun changing the organization’s tone and shifting away from its previous sweeping claims.

Charisma magazine responded by reaching back to an article Chambers wrote in 2004. They edited it to update some of the references and republished it — without his knowledge or consent — on the front page of their website, presenting it as a new, current story.

I have no idea why Charisma decided to reach so deep, edit and republish an 8-year-old article that I am embarrassed that I ever wrote,” Chambers told Jim Burroway of Box Turtle Bulletin. “Our PR team has asked them to remove the article and not to repost it.”

The article later vanished, without explanation. As Burroway wrote:

What happened at Charisma was very deliberate. If they had simply re-published, unaltered, an eight year old commentary, they might have been able to explain it away by citing some kind of a technical glitch or error. … But as we know, that 2004 article was updated with information that wasn’t true in 2004 … which means that this article’s revision and appearance was deliberate. There is simply no other way to read this. Charisma owes everyone, but especially its readers and Alan Chambers an explanation. A very detailed, thorough, and unequivocal explanation. Something very sinister and underhanded happened at Charisma. That we know. What we don’t know is what Charisma will do to address it.

They never did address it. Nor did they provide an explanation. They just got away with it as long as they could, then stopped. Zero accountability to their readers or to the truth. Zero responsibility.

Just like with the article the magazine posted this weekend advocating the extermination of one seventh of the world’s population. They got away with it as long as they could, and then the article just disappeared. No explanation. No apology. No retraction.

What I wrote last year — “Charisma magazine’s spirit of hate and lies” — seems more true every day:

I don’t claim to have any special gifts of spiritual discernment, but I can hear what these Charisma writers are shouting at the top of their lungs. This is hate. And lies. And lies in the service of hate. Whatever spirit is at work in this, it cannot be a holy one.

Boze Herrington wrote about the magazine’s disturbing devolution, “We Need to Talk About Charisma”:

We need to address what Charisma is turning into. Something has gone dangerously awry inside the once-venerated institution. It is not healthy. It is not good. And, more and more, it is not safe.

Elsewhere, Charisma’s weekend foray into advocating ethnic cleansing caught the attention of The Huffington Post and the Associated Baptist Press. And Brian McLaren has posted an open letter addressed to Steve Strang, Jennifer LeClaire, Shawn Akers and Lee Grady of Charisma Media.


Browse Our Archives