Michael Reid and the Peniel Church

I wonder how many of you, like me, often watch What God Can Do for You (Revelation TV, Sky channel 765 Mon-Fri 10:30 pm)?  Michael Reid and his wife Ruth present the programme and it can be very entertaining.  For a start, Mr. Reid (or Bishop as he is known at his church in Brentwood, Essex) has a very up-front, confrontational style which is quite unusual in a preacher today. I admire him for the way he defends the Gospel, for his stance on family values and his fearlessness in speaking out against every kind of wickedness and injustice which plagues this country and the rest of the world.  But most of all, I admire him because he’s deliciously un-politically correct.  Moreover, Bishop Reid believes that people need to be confronted with the gospel, not given a watered down invitation in the context of a ‘seeker friendly’ church. I agree with him! Most of his theology seems quite orthodox, and I’m sure most MBC students would agree with a great deal of what he has to say and declare him ‘sound’. So far, so good.

Why then, does Mr. Reid worry me?  Well, for one thing, he has a bad habit of calling people he disagrees with ‘idiots’. He calls bible translations other than the AV ‘perversions’.  He sometimes ridicules forms of music which he doesn’t happen to like.  He insists either overtly or by implication that his own theological stance is correct and beyond dispute.  Occasionally, a viewer who has called in with a criticism will elicit Mr. Reid’s eagle-eye and a pointing finger from the screen as he’s told of the error of his ways.

Sometimes Bishop Reid’s theology is a bit dodgy too. For example, he frequently asserts that human beings are not, since the Fall, in the image of God (despite later texts to the contrary, such as Genesis 9:6; 1 Cor 11:7; Col 3:10 and James 3:9).  He tells people that God is not interested in whether or not they were abused as a child.  He tells us:  ‘God doesn’t want your stinking heart; he wants to give you his!’

Although other ‘quirky’ bits of teaching sometimes surface, the thing which really worries me is the possibility that he may be causing unnecessary worry for some Christians, and possibly even helping to break up churches.  For one thing, he continually tells his viewers that if they aren’t seeing healing miracles in their church, then Jesus is not there and they should leave and find somewhere where he is.  He also tells people to do this if they think the gospel isn’t being preached properly.  In fact, we could be forgiven for getting the idea that the only really good church is Peniel Church, Brentwood, as we are all (the whole world!) constantly invited to descend on Essex where we will presumably see how it should be done and ‘get our miracle.’

Once or twice, on occasions where questions are read out from viewers, I’ve felt a great sadness.  Last night for example (20th Nov 2006) a man who was very happy in his church, who respected his pastor and his teaching and ministry, had written in with deep concern that he wasn’t seeing the miracles as described by Mr. Reid.  He was clearly wondering whether he should leave the church and people whom he loved, basically because he’d been unsettled and made to feel that he was missing out.  Maybe he is.  Maybe I am! But nevertheless, I feel uncomfortable somehow.

Chris Lazenby is Tutor in Theology at the Midlands Bible College and Divinity School.

© Chris Lazenby 2006.

  1. You are right to feel uncomfortable. There have been a lot of problems with people who have left over the last five years. There have been lot of problems, quite disguised by the ‘profession’ tv shows and church meetings.

    Now Reid appears to have split from peniel for reasons that will become much more public in the near future.

    All the michaelreid ministry websites are currently offline and we look for interest with what will replace them. We are led to understand that everything is reverting back to the peniel name.
    Checkout http://www.michaelreidmiSeries.org for what is going on.


  2. He’s gone now. But really, how could you be okay with his attitude? He was an objectionable and hateful character that was just about as distasteful to the public as it was possible to be. While I agree that confrontation is needed to face some of our problems in today’s society, I do not agree that commanding oneself in the way he did, being belligerent and bigoted, is simply counterproductive.

    I wrote about this issue on my blog in a post titled Hypocrisy is the greatest luxury.

  3. While Michael Reid has resigned from his ministry there are fears that he may return. This, however, will be resisted by many in the Brentwood area who are now aware of his unacceptable behaviour.

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