christianity

Prosperity and Christianity

I’ve attempted posts on this topic occasionally, generally trying to point out that while many criticisms of the prosperity movement are valid, the teachings are sound.

Cerulean Sanctum has an excellent post up on just that topic.

To sum it up from my point of view, God can and does bless those who follow after him.  The problem with many followers of the prosperity message is, they’re following after the not-so-almighty dollar. . . not God.  Having been through quite a few hardships (including financial) in my life, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’ve seen God prosper me, and work financial miracles for me (which I will detail soon) that were beyond the scope of natural occurence, or me getting a just reward for hard work.  As Dan eloquently points out…that’s scriptural.  However, those victories came after I submitted myself to serving God in the midst of terribly trying times, and I was joyful, no matter my situation.  Once I had stopped begging God for more money, and quit trying to make things happen for myself, like stressing out all day trying to find a better job, and more ways to provide for my family, and I started submitting my life to prayer, witnessing, and living to serve God, his purposes, and his kingdom, I saw an equally dramatic shift in my financial situation.

Am I rich?  Far from it…but my situation today is drastically different than it was even 1 year ago.  And as I learn to submit to God in other areas of my life . . . I see God continuing to bless me financially.  Perhaps, as I’ve heard a preacher put it, God is seeing that he can “trust” me with his money.  Meaning that I don’t hold any back from Him during offerings, or from people in need.  Why wouldn’t God prosper you if you were sharing that prosperity with the rest of his people?

christianity

Televangelist Shake-down by Government

It seems a government sponsored crackdown is coming to televangelists.
Listen, I don’t know most of these preachers, but I do know some of them.  I don’t know if they are right or wrong in their finances, but can we consider their ministry, their mega-ministries, as a corporate entity, and see if these expenditures are unreasonable?
I do know of one televangelist, Jesse Duplantis, who was given a brand new convertible corvette.  Not a Rolls Royce, but a pricey car, nonetheless.  Another large ministry that I’m very close to, had 2 mercedes given to the preacher and his wife, as gifts.  And what is wrong with that?  They were gifts!  I give my pastor gifts often, as I’m sure many of you do.  I can’t afford to give a mercedes, but if I could, I’m sure I would.  This particular preacher, while he is wealthy because of personally owned businesses and book deals, does not take 1 penny from the ministry, or donations to the ministry.  I have no problem treating his book royalties as a personal income source, and therefore cannot find fault in him becoming fabulously wealthy from them.
The fact of the matter is, these aren’t local churches…they are international giant ministries with literally millions and millions of dollars coming through them.  If a minister took even 1% of contributions as his income, some of these would have ample money to buy a Rolls Royce and live in palatial estates. 
I will use Jesse Duplantis as an example again.  His ministry owns a jet.  He is sometimes in 2 or 3 conferences a day, in different states.  He could not meet that demanding timeline on US Airways.  It simply couldn’t be done.  There are financially responsible and ethical reasons for mega-ministries to own a private jet. 
Back to just the sheer amount of money some of these people make…quite a bit comes from their books.  If I wrote a book about serving God, and published it, I’d expect to take home the money from it…and would thank God for giving me the understanding it took to write the book to begin with.  Should they not keep their book money, minus tithes of course?  It’s not from donations or anything to do with the work of the ministry.  I think this is just fine. 
I’m not saying that some or many of these mega-ministry preachers don’t mismanage the ministry’s money, but I think if you consider the size and girth of the money coming into the ministry, the number of people buying their books and videos, that you will find this large income is not unethical…it’s simply a derivative of the vastness of the ministry.
I think that Scott Adams actually may have explained this best.  It’s part of our human nature, that if we find people better off than us, to malign and abuse them back into only a normal level of happiness.  And that’s just sad.