On his website, Bob Larson refers to himself as "the world's foremost expert on cults, the occult, and supernatural phenomena."
Yet you would be hard-pressed to find any Christian apologist, cult expert, or theologian familiar with these fields who would take those claims seriously.
Bob Larson is known as a sensationalistic and (deservedly) controversial "evangelist," notorious for attacking rock music, alleged demons, wallets and critics (real or perceived).
Statements made by Bob Larson should not be considered representative of mainstream Christian beliefs and/or practices.
The publishers of Apologetics Index advice Christians against getting involved with Larson and his ministry.
To many, he is the Bad Boy of Christian broadcasting - a cynical con artist exploiting gullible Christians.
To many others, he is a courageous man of God, fearlessly waging his own unique brand of spiritual warfare.
Bob Larson is best known for his radio broadcast, Talk- Back, and books like Dead Air and In the Name of Satan. His abrasive, sometimes belligerent style, ultra-conservative politics, and aggressive fund-raising tactics have drawn both vociferous support and condemnation. Bob Larson Ministries (BLM) has branched out into television, and Larson is now giving workshops, with ads promoting him as "the world's foremost authority on the supernatural."
As his profile has increased, so have his critics; they have made a variety of damaging allegations, involving financial fraud and adultery. Larson soldiers on, supported by a loyal following.
Theological concerns, questionable financial practices and allegations of adultery were covered in last month's BCCN feature on Bob Larson, but a number of issues were omitted, due to space restrictions, time constraints (deadline), and a perhaps ill-advised tendency to follow the paper's mandate to foster unity among Christians rather than critique errant teachers. Moreover, several of Larson's responses to our questions went unchallenged, raising the misleading impression that the charges against him are as he claimed: lies, half-truths, and exaggerations. This update hopes to rectify any confusion.
Some of Larson's claims are so fantastic as to sound fictitious, including statements blaming the Columbine massacre on all those who have opposed him, that satanists are more to be trusted than Christians in the media, that he's been impersonated by demons on several occasions and that the Larson expose is part of a satanic plot that has already brought down Jim Bakker, Mike Warnke and Jimmy Swaggart. All these claims are verified through audio tapes.
Currently included on his rally schedule internet page is this statement: "For example, demons which manifested at recent rallies and workshops set off fire alarms and generated earthquakes."
Larson critics have long questioned whether the 'exorcisms' he performs are real, and suspected that 'marks'--persons set up to fake the whole thing -- were employed.
In late May, KCBD-TV, the NBC affiliate in Lubbock, Texas ran a report on Larson, which included interviews with a number of audience members who admitted to having been exorcised more than once by Larson, at different cities.
Locally, Burnaby resident Ken Hamer was able to correctly predict where the first 'demons' would manifest during the March rally. At Larson's workshop here in June, the same individual was the final exorcism of the day.
While these episodes do not prove a set-up, they suggest only two possibilities: either they were orchestrated by Larson, or they were not bona fide exorcisms, in which case Larson should have known he was being set up.
Some, pointing to "Larson's Book of Cults," (or, currently, Larson's New Book of Cults
) think Larson is a cult expert. He certainly considers himself to be one. The META "description" tag at his website reads "Bob Larson is the foremost authority of occult, cults and the supernatural"
(It used to read, "Bob Larson -- The world's foremost Christian authority on cults and the occults."
However, those familiar with the field of countercult
ministry know that his claim is patently false.
It should be noted that the information in "Larson's Book of Cults" was provided by two researchers from the Christian Research Institute
(CRI), and put together by Larson. [Source: the late Walter Martin (fouder of the Christian Research Institute), at Bible Class, March 11, 1984
» Christian countercult ministries and secular anticult organizations recommended by Apologetics Index
Do What Jesus Did (DWJD) - but at a fee
Bob Larson offers Christians a "Do What Jesus Did" (DWJD) club. According to his official website, this program is meant for those "who want to be part of a special core group personally trained by Bob Larson to wage spiritual warfare. "
. Larson claims that 'belonging' brings the following benefits:
- Uncovering the keys to unlimited spiritual success.
- Transforming your understanding of the Bible and the supernatural.
- Discovering the missing link to the victorious Christian life by mastering the miraculous.
However, while Jesus trained his disciples free of charge, one can only join Larson's program for a year after "an initial gift of $199 and a monthly pledge of $150 over a 12-month period"
"Certain individuals" can "join at a Charter Member introductory gift level of just $1,999,"
while a "tax-deductible gift of $4,000 qualifies you immediately as a Charter Member Elite of the DWJD core group"
Clearly, this is not what Jesus did. He told his disciples:
"Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons. Freely you received, freely give.
The purpose of the DWJD club is described at the official Bob Larson Ministries website:
In 1999, God laid it
upon Bob Larson's heart to establish DWJD teams to carry on the work of healing and deliverance that grew out of the Spiritual Freedom Conference. Since that time teams have been raised up in more than 40 cities around the world. This movement is rapidly changing the face of Christianity and mainstreaming the ministry of inner healing
Bob's vision is to have a DWJD team actively ministering deliverance in every major city in the world, so that everyone is no more than one day's drive or one short flight from a DWJD team.
Source: DWJD Club!
(Links to additional information added by Apologetics Index)
Bob Larson battles Satan, and legions of critics
Published in BC Christian News, June 1999. A follow-up piece
(July, 1999) is harder-hitting, no doubt because the folks at the magazine learned by experience what Larson's tactics are like...
Bob Larson's public image
doesn't square with reality, says World
'This is me, this is real': Ex-employees dispute broadcaster Bob Larson's public image.
, by Jay Grelen and Doug LeBlanc. World Magazine, January 23, 1993, v. 7, n.23 [copied to a discussion group. Scroll down to note '265.11']
Bob Larson Fanclub
Let's just say it's the "unoffical" (as in definitely not approved by Bob Larson) fanclub. Not for the timid, this is an entirely un-Christian (alright, anti-Christian) site. That said, the site does address some serious issues that tend to be "overlooked" by those who should
be calling Larson to order. Er... see AI's official disclaimer
, OK? (Note, the link now points to an archived version at the WayBack Machine)
Bob Larson Ministries
The official site... Not for the timid either. Not recommended (regardless of the fact that the source code for the site's home page for some odd reason states that Larson is "the foremost authority of occult, cults and the supernatural.")
Shy David's Bob Larson page
Collection of Ken Smith's exposes on Larson.