The True Power Team


                              Phil Scovell

                          Copyright (C) 1997/2003

                            By Phil Scovell

                          All Rights Reserved

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          Phil Scovell
          840 South Sheridan Boulevard
          Denver, Colorado  80226-8017
          Toll Free:  888-936-0001
          Voice:  303-936-2188
          Fax:  303-936-1841
          Email:  Phil@RedWhiteAndBlue.ORG
          Web:  WWW.RedWhiteAndBlue.ORG

                          THE TRUE POWER TEAM


                              Phil Scovell

               I   suppose   in   today's   mechanized,   televised,    and
          electronically  publicized  church that  everybody  has seen  the
          power team  with their super  human feats of strength.   Recently
          they performed in Denver and I  went with my children.  As  I sat
          and witnessed the  smashing of huge  ice blocks set  a fire,  the
          bending of  one inch  steal bars between  teeth, the  snapping of
          police hand  cuffs, the bursting  of hot water bottles  as though
          they were toy balloons, and the pulverizing of concrete walls, my
          heart  ached...something  was  wrong.    I began  to  examine  my
          thoughts and the Scriptures to determine the cause for my feeling
          of spiritual uneasiness.


               There were a number of  things I appreciated about the Power
          Team:   They did  not water down  or in  any way tamper  with the
          Gospel.  John  Jacobs clearly preached a message  of Jesus Christ
          as Lord and Saviour and that  sin condemned one to eternal  Hell.
          He, without  apology, made it clear  that one had to  confess his
          sin before the Lord and then confess Jesus as Lord of His life in
          order to  be born again.   He furthermore stated  that Christians
          are required to  live clean and holy lives before the world.  His
          message was clear  and concise and there was  absolutely no guess
          work in  interpreting what  he was trying  to say  concerning the
          Gospel of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of salvation.

               Besides the preaching of the  Gospel, there were a number of
          other things which  I appreciated about the Power  Team and their
          ministry.   The  fact that  they  normally rent  city auditoriums
          rather than  performing in  local churches  is refreshing.   Such
          performances should be conducted outside the Church if such is to
          be performed  at all.   The  Church should  never be  a place  of
          entertainment.  They  also have performed  in over four  thousand
          secular  schools.   Not  many pastors  or  evangelists have  been
          allowed to witness  in that many public institutions.   The Power
          Team likewise reaches the  youth, and especially street  kids, in
          major cities across  the country.  One must  admit they certainly
          have   an  attraction  to   America's  youth.     Their  personal
          testimonies  seem solid  and clear.   They  emphasize  a personal
          relationship  with Christ  to be  more  important than  anything,
          including physical  strength, and  they likewise  emphasize one's
          self worth and  personal integrity.   They preach against  drugs,
          immorality,  violence, and  sin of  all kinds.   They  have altar
          calls;  people are  born again,  sometimes some  are healed,  and
          Christians are challenged to go all out for God.  They attempt to
          follow up with literature and correspondence with those  who have
          come forward  during  the altar  call.    In short,  and  on  the
          surface, there are a  number of good things which can  be said of
          the Power Team and their ministry.  Then why did I sit in my seat
          and wish I had STAYED HOME?


               If one chooses not to consider the following things negative
          or Scripturally wrong, at the  very least I would think  we might
          label  them inappropriate.   For example, the  music was ungodly.
          As soon  as the team ran  out on the  stage blowing up  hot water
          bottles  till they burst,  the music  was turned  up so  loud, it
          would have been impossible to communicate with  the person seated
          next  to you  without  cupping  your hands  about  their ear  and
          yelling.   It  frankly wasn't  the volume  but the type  of music
          which disturbed  me.   I honestly could  not tell  the difference
          between the music played by the Power Team and that I used to sit
          and listen to in the late 1960's when performed  by Led Zeppelin,
          Jimmy Hindrix, Steppen Wolf, The Who, or any number of modern day
          rock bands such  as Kiss, Mega Death, Judas  Preist, or Metalica.
          Occasionally I  heard the  words Jesus or  Christ and  prayed the
          music being  played  was Christian  and  not secular  rock  bands
          throwing  in our  Lord's  name  for effect.    Later John  Jacobs
          confirmed this was special music  they had put together for their
          performances and it could be  purchased at their tables following
          the show.  In  fact, he said, they got so many  requests for good
          Christian  music for  the kids  who were  converted to  Christ in
          their performances  and by  Christian parents that  want to  wean
          their teenagers from  secular rock, that this was  the music they
          were recommending  and selling.   I  know something  sounds wrong
          with that philosophy  but I leave it  to the reader to  figure it
          out.  I simply refuse to accept any rock music as Godly no matter
          who  sings  may  think  otherwise.    This  philosophy,
          however, sounds like  the methadone program the  government began
          in the late 1960's in order to wean heroin addicts.

               Let's  consider, for a moment, and for argument's sake, that
          the music isn't any  big deal.  Let's suggest that  the music has
          no effect on those seated in the audience and that the Power Team
          really  doesn't  believe   that  music  is  important   to  their
          performance.   Let  me ask  the  question... "What  is the  Power
          Team?"   It  isn't the Church.   In  fact, John Jacobs  began the
          program by saying he wasn't interested in what church anyone went
          to; he was just glad everyone  came to the performance that night
          and he hoped they enjoyed themselves  and had a good time.   Then
          what is the Power Team?  John Jacobs said they  were evangelists.
          Biblical  evangelists were men who traveled about the countryside
          preaching God's Word, healing the sick, and preparing the way for
          apostles to come and establish  local New Testament churches.  Is
          this what the Power  Team does?  Let's be honest!  The Power Team
          are  Christian  entertainers.    Good  ones,  I  might  add,  but
          entertainers nonetheless.   Thank God they preach  the Gospel and
          win people to Christ rather than just entertain.  Is it wrong for
          Christians to be entertained?  [WARNING...THIN ICE!]

               Now  everyone knows an evangelistic  team, such as the Power
          Team, or any  missionary, pastor, and full  time Christian worker
          needs money.   I was very interested in  how the Power Team would
          approach  the subject  of  money  during  the performance.    The
          program, by the  way, was absolutely free.  They of course sold T
          shirts, tapes, books, baseball bats - replicas of those they snap
          in two during the performance -  and other related paraphernalia.
          In this  case, they were brought into Denver by a local Christian
          business which  was plugged  repeatedly  during the  performance.
          All  this was certainly acceptable  and I personally believe that
          if there is a place for such performances,  they indeed should be
          supported by Christian businesses rather than by local churches.

               When  John Jacobs announced  they would receive  an offering
          and began  discussing the  financial needs of  the Power  Team, I
          checked my watch.  He spoke for  thirty minutes before the ushers
          actually  moved down the rows to  pass the offering plates.  This
          did not include the amount of time he spent selling tickets  to a
          banquet which the Power Team was sponsoring the following day for
          Christian  business men  and  women.   What  do  you suppose  was
          eventually  talked about  at that  banquet?   Money  maybe?   The
          financial support of the Power Team?  I don't honestly know since
          I failed  to attend.  This form  of gathering the collections, to
          which  Paul referred  in  the epistles,  is  so unscriptural,  it
          shouldn't  even need  to  be  addressed...but  then  Paul  wasn't
          writing to the Power Team; he was writing to the church.

               I was, however,  mostly concerned about the  hype generated.
          Every performance of super human strength was preceded by several
          minutes  of  explanation.    For  example,  how  many  times  the
          performer had accomplished this feat,  how many times he had been
          injured, that he  had passed out once from the  exertion, or that
          bones  had been broken.   When the  feat was  then attempted, the
          "Christian rock" music was pumped out to and almost unbearable DB
          level  while the performer  struggled to attempt  the impossible.
          In was all done,  of course, in the name of Jesus...or so we were

               John Jacobs stood on the stage during  the remaining minutes
          of  the performance  and announced  that  he and  his Power  Team
          members were going to break police  hand cuffs.  He had a  police
          woman on  the stage who hand cuffed a  couple of the Team members
          and as  the music  pounded, John encouraged  the Team  members on
          over  the  loud   speaker  system.    The   emotional  excitement
          continually grew throughout the evening until it seemed as though
          something had to give.

               Finally, after  nearly two  hours of  excellent showmanship,
          John said he was  going to attempt to snap, not one, but two sets
          of hand  cuffs.  After  they were placed  on his rists,  he spoke
          until his hands turned blue  from the lack of circulation.   When
          he finally announced he was going to break the cuffs, he compared
          this to  snapping the chains of  darkness which held the  lost in
          bonds  which, he  said, was  what  Jesus did  on the  cross.   He
          furthermore requested that  no music be played in  order that the
          audience  could hear  the snap  of the  chains when  they finally
          broke.   He  informed  the  audience he  might  faint from  hyper
          ventilation which, he confessed, had happened to him once before.
          By the way,  this entire  part of  the show  took perhaps  twenty
          minutes  by  itself.   His  labored  breathing,  as he  built  up
          physically, emotionally, psychologically, and perhaps spiritually
          - he  said this  would be  done in  the name  of Jesus  for those
          chained by the Devil  - filled the auditorium as it was amplified
          by the  public address system.   It  was captivating!   You could
          feel the  tension in the  fourteen thousand attendees;  you could
          sense the secret  desire in everyone that indeed  John would snap
          those  chains; you  could almost tangibly  feel the  power build.
          Seconds ticked  as the huge  auditorium speakers bulged  with the
          heavy  breathing -  inhaling  and exhaling  -  of the  performer.
          Suddenly a  man, overcome  with emotion, leaped  to his  feet and
          cried,  "Jesus!"  The chains snapped  and the crowd exploded!  He
          had done  it!  He  had done the  impossible!   The lost were  set

               Immediately  following  the  bursting  of  the  chains, John
          Jacobs began his altar call.  He  asked each Power Team member to
          step from the  platform and to stand  in the aisles to  meet with
          those  who came.   He made it  very clear the altar  call was for
          those who wanted  to be born again  and for those  Christians not
          right  with God.   In  seconds the  aisles were  filled.   People
          crawled over the  seats to get closer.   Children crawled on  the
          floor between legs.  Everybody wanted to get to Jesus...or was it
          the Power Team?


               I have expressed my concern about the improper music played.
          I am also bothered by  the commercialism; the buying and selling;
          the advertising; the commercialization of Christ.  I am concerned
          about John Jacobs  opening statement: "We don't care  what church
          you go to, we  just hope you have a  good time."  I am  concerned
          about the plea for money and the fund raising techniques employed
          to support the  Team's activities.  I am  greatly disturbed about
          the hype employed.   Are all these  things necessary in order  to
          get people  to hear the  Gospel of Jesus  Christ?  Has  the plain
          preaching of  the Gospel of Jesus Christ lost  its power?  Is not
          Christ our example?  Did He  employe any such techniques in order
          that people might listen to His preaching?  If you say He in fact
          healed the  sick which drew crowds, that  would be correct but He
          did not do so in  order to attract the crowds; He did  so because
          He  was  the Messiah  and He had  the power to  heal.   In  other
          words, He preached the Gospel  first; the healings were a natural
          consequence of His Messiahship.   I am suggesting we do  not need
          the Power Team nor any other para-church ministry to  do the work
          the  Church - the Body of Christ  - should be doing.  Every radio
          or  television show,  every traveling  evangelistic  team of  any
          kind,  every special entertainment  group not supported  fully by
          local church ministries  should disband and go back  to the local
          church ministry where they belong.  Christians do not need  to be
          entertained, they need the preaching  of God's eternal Word which
          changes lives for eternity.

               A  friend of  mine pastoring  in western Colorado  had moved
          into a  small town of  about fifteen  hundred people  to start  a
          church.  The church  now runs about one hundred fifty.   He heard
          of an  old dying  pastor in the  small town and  went to  pay his
          respects.   They visited for some time as the  old man lay in his
          bed waiting for his home going.  My friend asked the old preacher
          if he had  any advice for him  concerning the church he  had just
          started.  "Son," he said, "whatever it takes to bring them  in is
          what  it'll take  to keep  them."  I  have never  forgotten those
          words.   How  can  the man  of  God who  stands  before his  tiny
          congragation in a small rented  store front building; the man who
          has  prayed and  cried all  week and  studied the  Scriptures and
          prepared  the message God has laid  upon his heart for his little
          flock; how  can this man  possibly top the performances  of super
          human strength of  the Power  Team the  night before?   It is  my
          opinion that the Power Team  and all such Christian entertainment
          groups are robbing God's house and short  changing the Christians
          of God's true blessings for His people.  Stop it now!  Go back to
          Church and spend  your time walking the streets  with your pastor
          and  knocking on  doors and  winning  the lost  to Jesus  Christ.
          That's the true "POWER TEAM!"

                            End Of Document
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