What to do with Mike Warnke

June 5, 2010
What to do about Mike Warnke?
Mike Warnke was a major force in the late Jesus movement. His book the Satan Seller sold millions and I even read it. In some ways I felt a kinship with Mike as I also dabbled a bit in the black arts. While I was never close to being as Mike Warnke stated he was, to hear the story of a man that deep in Satanism make it out by the grace of God inspired me and embolden me. I finally had a chance to see Mike Warnke in concert in the mid 80s… I was deeply moved by his message of grace and hope to the freaks and weirdos that most people would not reach out to.
Then it happened.
Mike was exposed as a fraud and I was crushed. Even his book the Satan Seller took on an ironic and yet cryptic new meaning. I wondered how someone could lie so boldly and so many would eat it up as I did. I wondered at why no one had stepped up and confronted Mike Warnke to help him see his error. I marveled at the integrity that those at Cornerstone Magazine had to have and the hard decision to make in exposing Mike Warnke. In my mind these people are heroes….
However, many years have passed and I rather forgot about Mike Warnke. I then become friends with Jon Trott who was one of the journalists who uncovered the story of Mike Warnke and Laura Stratford (who I hear is now claiming she was a concentration camp victim under the Nazi’s… she seemed to just moved on from one lie to another, but that is another story).
Since coming to know and love Jon, I looked over the expose’ on Mike Warnke and see how it all unraveled and how they tried many times to get to the truth… I believe they did. Mike Warnke was called out and then put under supervision of his church (or whatever it was… maybe board?) and after a time of being counseled he would be restored to ministry… and oh what to do with Mike Warnke.
While I admit I do have some bitterness still against the con Mike committed against me and others personally I am conflicted with the truth of Grace and forgiveness. I, in my own mind and heart do forgive Mike, bit do I see him fit for ministry as he once was? I read the paperwork that shows Mike did all he was supposed to and still wonder… is it all a con… again?
I am at a point were I am like Paul and Markus. Markus ran away from Paul at a crucial time in his ministry and Paul did not trust Markus after that. Barnabas who also traveled with Paul took Markus under his wing and restored Markus. Many miss that later, Paul mentions Markus in a loving way as if stating all is now well between him an Markus. I am only at the point of not trusting Mike Warnke and do not want anything to do with him… but I pray for a Barnabas to be able to love and work with Mike and maybe, I also will accept Mike Warnke with open arms.
But, I think that will still take time for me…



  1. I was there, at the Adam's Apple in Fort Wayne Indiana, when Mike's first album "Mike Warnke Alive" was recorded. I passed out so many copies of that LP, and felt honored to be a part of that. When the shtick hit the fan…well, yes it was very disappointing. More disappointing than Mike's deceptions was the tendency of the "Christian" world to just accept and pass on anything they think promotes their ideals, without doing any research or checking things out. Today, that same mentality causes countless emails, horror stories, and lies to be spread unchecked. Shame on Mike, of course. But shame on Christians for mistaking ignorance for faith.

  2. While I agree with Dave's assessment of the Christian world blindly accepting that which they think promotes their ideals, it doesn't really have any relevance to Warnke. The emails/lies/etc that get passed around are always about Christianity's perceived enemies (Obama, Democrats, Hollywood, etc).In significant contrast, when one of their own (Warnke) fell, everyone went into a feeding frenzy the likes of which had the piranhas saying, "Dude! Chill!"Maybe it was because he wasn't talking as much about Satanism by the time I got into him (1986), or maybe it was reaction to the stupidity of the feeding frenzy, or maybe it was Cornerstone's asinine record on Satanism before Warnke's crucifixion, but this was one time that I had no trouble extending forgiveness."Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me" is nowhere in the Bible. I honestly don't think the restoration is all just another con, but who cares if it is? I don't think we'd be violating the "wise as serpents" command to give Mike the benefit of the doubt any more than giving Piper the benefit of the doubt over his inviting Warren to the DG conference or Francis Chan for stepping out in faith despite the fact that the Pyro gang notes that there's not a Scripture verse that says "Chan shall leave Simi in 2010".—-I realize that I shouldn't use the word "asinine" about such a fine, upstanding Christian journal with such brave writers, without some kind of reasoning behind it. 16 years ago, while commenting on the whole debacle, I wrote this:… the last time I saw [Cornerstone] involved in the issue of Satanism, their representative was arguing vehemently with someone on TV, claiming that “Satanic crimes” did not exist, but were merely a concoction of paranoid Christians.At the risk of blog pimping, you can see a post I wrote 4 years ago about Billy Graham, paralleling some of his treatment at that time to that of Warnke's many years prior. It quotes extensively from what I had written 12 year prior about Mike.As a bonus, there's a guest appearance in the comment thread by Silva. 😉

  3. Thank you for this post. The discussion of Mike Warnke brought back so many memories. I attended some of his early meetings and read his book the Satan Seller.

  4. Perhaps an angle to take a look at, concerning Paul and Mark, is 2ti 4:6-4:11grauer

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