Justin Berry: The Risk of Redemptive Reward

Justin Berry: The Risk of Redemptive Reward

Yesterday my blog stats tripled. Nay: quadrupled. With six new random comments on my previous Justin Berry post (“Justin Berry: From ‘camwhore’ to water-baptized witness for the State”), I figured there’d been another major media piece on Berry’s recent lifestyle change and cooperation with the Feds. Little did I know that both Justin Berry and Kurt Eichenwald had appeared on the local media-diva’s talk show: Oprah. And I didn’t even Tivo it.

The links to the Oprah show content follow my comments.

“She can not take it any more, Captain!”
One thing concerns me, even more now that I’ve seen Justin’s hollow-eyed, thousand-yard stare in the Oprah.com screenshots: Justin is ripe for a meltdown-burnout-crisis. There’s a scriptural injunction against “laying hands” on anybody suddenly—it’s not a proscription against Pentecostals praying for strangers, and it’s not advice about not fighting. That injunction in 1 Timothy 5:22 is intended to protect new converts to faith, to prevent them from being pressed into ministry and service before they’re ready. New converts, like anybody undergoing a major, dramatic life-change and worldview shift, are in shock. They’re literally newborns—albeit spiritual newborns. Putting babes into highly visible positions of ministry and service is potentially disastrous. You might as well put a straight-razor in a blind epilectic’s hands. There is risk to the ministry itself, of course, when newly minted Christians and ministers are still doctrinally unformed and liable to go off on wild tangents (that’s not really the risk with Berry, I think—that’s not his gig), but there is even greater risk to the vulnerable, new “star” himself. The pressure is Herculean, and many buckle.

I fear that if Jason doesn’t get out of the limelight and stay out, soon, he will crumble as well. If that happens we may not hear about it—ever—unless Oprah gets miffed and figures she better not publicly support Berry any longer (think “A Million Little Pieces,” ex-addict James Frey, and Oprah’s supportive misstep).

By way of illustration:
A few years ago World Magazine and Focus on the Family’s Citizen Magazine ran a moving story about abortionist and homosexual activist Eric Craig Harrah who came to Christ on November 4, 1997, after being prayed for by his family for years and gently witnessed to by Penn State College jock Steve Stupar—an Assemblies of God believer. The story is well worth the read, and it is a moving account of how to embrace sinners with love. Harrah’s conversion is a dramatic story of conversion and life-change. Harrah later went on the lecture circuit and became a popular pro-life speaker with invitations too numerous to fulfill. From World Magazine:

[W]ithin a week, [Harrah] testified of his conversion in an Assembly of God church. Within two weeks, he was giving his testimony in other churches. Within three months, he was giving interviews to reporters. Within six months, he was on the pro-life speaking circuit, giving talks at fundraising banquets put on by crisis pregnancy centers. Soon the media divisions of some major Christian organizations were interviewing Mr. Harrah and running his conversion story. Rejoice, print and broadcast stories proclaimed: Mr. Harrah believes the Bible is true, and that Jesus Christ has saved him.

But the story wasn’t complete. By 2000, within three years of his made-for-TV conversion, Harrah explosively decompressed in a cloud of suspected theft, lies, and drug abuse, fled the church and went home to live with his mom. He “renounced Christianity and returned to homosexuality.”

What happened?

Fame happened. And the respected A/G pastor at the church that embraced him admits it. See the graf quoting Rev. Paul Grabill:

As for Grabill, the pastor told World he made some mistakes, thinking he could protect Harrah from the spotlight’s heat. Grabill admitted he tried to accelerate Eric’s discipleship process and encouraged his public speaking.

And now? Grabill said he sees no value in further analyzing the situation. “We continue to love and pray for Eric,” he told Citizen. “Love hopes all things.”

The same, too, could easily happen to Justin Berry. I pray it doesn’t, and I pray Berry’s “handlers” and friends realize it too and work to prevent this from happening.

For your viewing and reading pleasure here are the Oprah show links:

Read Harrah’s story here:

[tags]BlogRodent, Pentecostal, camwhore, conversion, Eric-Craig-Harrah, Eric-Harrah, Justin-Berry, Kurt-Eichenwald, media, ministry, Oprah, Oprah-Show, pedophilia, porn, pornography, redemption, salvation, webcam, webcams[/tags]

2 thoughts on “Justin Berry: The Risk of Redemptive Reward

  1. Pingback: BlogRodent turns one: top 10 posts, plus top ten lessons. « BlogRodent: Pentecostal Rumination & Review

  2. Eric Craig Harrah

    Its amazing to me how you people never have spoken to me directly, and yet still don’t have my story straight…lol no pun intended. The truth of the matter is of do have a story to tell…one that would blow the roof fff

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