The man set atop of a hill has belonged to the same church for more than 50 years – First Baptist of Dallas.

I KNOW! Billy Graham has always been known for his Tar Heel ties, so who knew his home church was in the Lone Star State. (PR, anyone? IJS.)

Well, all that is about to change according to the Dallas Morning News.

Mr. Graham joined First Baptist Dallas during his first crusade in the city, held at the Cotton Bowl in 1953. First Baptist Dallas was then led by the Rev. W.A. Criswell, and was widely considered the preeminent church in the Southern Baptist Convention. But the globe-trotting evangelist has never lived in Dallas, and visited the church only rarely through the years.

And there you have the ubiquitous rub.

Sure, Dr. Jeffress (Dallas pastor) is sorry to see his most notable member uproot his church ties closer to home. And yes, Rev. Don Wilton (Carolina pastor) is humbled and honored to accept Billy Graham’s church membership in his twilight years.

But the story behind the story is this is a church has claimed a member who never attended for more than five decades!?

prosperity-gospel-for-dummiesNot that I am going to name any names, but you think this is the mystery behind all those outrageous numbers behind megachurches that claim tens of 1000s of members, all in an effort to keep up with the Osteens… er, the Joneses.

The modus operandi of these miniskries is typically, “If someone attends, fills out a card then they are ‘member emeritus’.Seriously?

What’s the shame in havng 9,500 REAL members of your church? But no! It has to be 25,000 because… why again? You expecting a federal grant and have member requirements? I can go for that, maybe. But if this sheep-on-steroids-counting is for the sheer awe of it all and to validate your fake ecumenical title, then I call B.S.

Just because you are among the privileged to have a prosperous megachurch, doesn’t mean the Gospel is spread any more effectively if you blatantly fudge who is warming your pews.

Which proves the moral of this quaint story: Once again, Billy Graham is teaching us the mysteries of the Church. Well done, sir.

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