Monday, March 4, 2013

Foreclosing On The Prosperity Gospelers: Are They Really Christian?

The Good News: Financial problems are plaguing America's prosperity megachurches.
The Bad News: It's not happening fast enough.
     MUNSTER | While the Family Christian Center was spending millions of dollars annually on leadership compensation, travel, meals and jet fuel, it was falling behind on its mortgage payments and racking up a list of past-due bills, a Times investigation found.
We could forgive prosperity gospel ministries if it weren't for the awful architecture. And the gaudy showmanship. And the cult-like congregations. 

And the un-Christianlike greed.

There are millions of Americans who are in need of money, struggling Americans who still manage to help their friends as best they can, still helping others to survive. They do not gamble on the Lord providing future wealth or prosperity. For flights of fantasy, they occasionally buy lottery tickets. After all, the results are just as good as any prosperity cult, maybe even better, since prosperity preachers take in everything and return very, very little. 
       According to, Pastor Munsey only informed his congregation of the 2011 lawsuit last summer, explaining that he never told them earlier because he "really didn't know what to do but trust God."
Foreclosing On The Prosperity Gospel

Although Senator Chuck Grassley (IA - R) helped focus on the excesses of prosperity gospel preachers in 2007, he didn't go far enough:
       According to the report, only two of the six ministries – Joyce Meyer Ministries and Benny Hinn's World Healing Center Church – fully cooperated with the investigation and even implemented financial reforms.
The other four ministries, meanwhile, did not provide responses or provided incomplete ones to inquiries made by the Senate Finance Committee. These groups include Creflo Dollar's World Changers Church International, Eddie Long's New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, and Without Walls International Church – formerly pastored by both Randy and Paula White, who are now divorced. The Florida megachurch is currently being led by Paula White.
Despite their lack of cooperation, no penalties were handed out.
And why not? 

Capitalism Is As Capitalism Does

America, as a capitalist society, must come to terms with capitalist leaders of capitalist religious cults. We have the freedom of religion - religion that panders to the greed of the 1%. Although his political positions have been helter-skelter (to say the least) on many issues, Grassley's dedication to capitalism cannot be stressed enough. Then there is his link to The Family, the controversial, covert quasi-religious operation, and his 100% approval rating by such organizations as the Family Research Council. In order to keep those good graces, it may have been necessary for him to back off on the prosperity preachers.

Meanwhile, Back At the Scandal Trough...

There is no denying that Eddie Long has a cult on his hands: despite financial and sexual scandals, people still keep going to his church and witnessing a outpouring of ego which is over-the-top, even by today's televangelist standards. Now Long is embroiled in a new lawsuit:

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
        Bishop Eddie Long has been sued by former New Birth Missionary Baptist members who say the megachurch pastor encouraged them to invest money with a company despite being told the investor was running a $3 million capital deficit.
Too Big To Fail?

While not a prosperity megachurch per se, the enabler of prosperity churches nationwide is Trinity Broadcasting Network, owned almost exclusively by Paul and Jan Crouch. With revenues of over $95 million per year and proposed expansion of satellite venues into countries such as Russia complementing its formidable presence in Latin and South America, Trinity Broadcasting Network is the largest Christian media in existence today. 

According to a whistleblower granddaughter, however, the entire media empire of the Crouches could come tumbling down because of the Crouches' lavish lifestyle and the diversion of as much as $50 million into their private accounts in the last ten years.

Catholic Online:
       The Trinity Broadcasting Network, self-proclaimed as the world's largest Christian network is currently embroiled in a legal battle. Some of allegations of massive financial involve the purported purchase of a $100,000 motor home for dogs.
How much does Trinity Broadcasting Network actually donate to other charitable causes? Actually, no one knows: the network lacks transparency. Additional ministries that lack transparency: Creflo Dollar Ministries, "Bishop" T.D. Jakes Ministries, Benny Hinn, Paul White, Ken Copeland, and, of course, "Bishop" Eddie Long.

From Ministry Watch:
       However, how can a “Christian Ministry” “glorify God” if they are not open? Are not organizations that hide things characterized as cults? Should not Christian ministries lead by example? Besides being characterized as a steward, Christians can be characterized as ambassadors and as light because God is light. Just these few summary ideas indicate that Christian ministries should be open and transparent. In addition, responsibility to God is linked to responsibility to government and mankind.
The Final Judgment

Prosperity megachurches will definitely be the products of their own undoing: the excesses are toppling ministries and their lack of social justice are eroding their reputations. In effect, they are forcing their own foreclosures. The question that remains, however, is how long will it take them to fade into the abyss of religious cults? It can be argued that as long as their are people desperate and gullible enough to rely on false promises, prosperity gospel churches will always exist, but we can only hope that they will be recognized for the facetious cults they really are. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Blessed ones! I supported 700 club for years...About 4 months ago I heard him say,"Ladies and Gentlemen, If a person Identifies as one of the opposite sex...I see no problem with someone having surgery to [correct this!? W-H-A-T???] He had just given permission too possibly 100's of thousands of people "permission?" Too GET SEX CHANGES!????
    So, In that single statement