Posts Tagged ‘prosperity gospel’

Megachurches are no longer “Mega” these days. Unless, of course, you consider the megalomaniacs building these ornate and appalling edifices.

Sure, some of them are huge because they have to be – see Willow Creek, The Potter’s House or Second Baptist Church for example. Huge congregations demand a huge facility.

They do not demand statues that get struck down but mythological figureheads. Nor do they have to feature life-size cherubs bedazzled and blinged out greeting you lowly sinners at the door. However, I truly thought I had seen it all. That is until I was reading the New York Times a couple of weeks ago and saw something from Sao Paulo, Brazil that would make that big Jesus statue hide his head in shame.

Meet a group of saints that think it’s a snazzy idea to rebuild Solomon’s Temple for $200 million (and carry 10,000 seats). Yes, that Solomon’s Temple!

According to a post on the blog of Bishop Edir Macedo, the founder of Brazil’s evangelical Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, which is building the replica, the structure will be 180 feet high, making it nearly twice as tall as the Christ the Redeemer statue that towers over Rio de Janeiro. Mr. Macedo also said that stones of the same type used by Solomon had been ordered from Jerusalem to be used in a complex which will also house 36 Bible schools, television and radio studios and a 1,000-space parking lot.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse, the Church comes through in splendid fashion. Keep it classy, folks.

Are you kidding me?! What purpose does this serve? Moreover, how does this honor God. Solomon built that amazing structure because he had something amazing to put in the Holy of Holies. Oh yeah, and he could.

What do you have, you narcissistic, over-compensating twit? Other than an obvious little-man complex.

And whose high-tone behind are you planning to park in seats of gold. Better yet, marble toilets? I realize Solomon probably peed in a trough, but this is the 21st century, baby. You got to represent, right? While you are at it, make sure you throw in one of “order while you watch” areas like the big stadia has. I mean, if your followers are going to watch a game, they may as well be entertained with dollar hot-dog Sundays and Salty Pretzel Wednesdays.

Here’s more lovely pictures, in case you enjoy the taste of throw up in your mouth.

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It was only a matter of time… and that lasted all of a few hours before both Benny Hinn and Paula White denounced the National Enquirer story about those two practicing confidentiality in a confessional and brushing it off as “We just friends.”

Benny Hinn and faith healing

Would be cool if these were outside a Benny Hinn crusade though?

First, let’s take Brother Benny from his website. Wait… I’m sorry? You say he took the response down from his site? Oh, that’s a shame! It’s almost as if he wants us to forget how he dropped the monogrammed Nehru for an open-collared, silk button down freshly exposing his tuft of love and gold chains.

Come on, man! It’s the Internet:

The publication, which is known for its bias against religious figures, misleads readers regarding the ministerial friendship I have had with Paula White for over 20 years… Although I had not seen her for years, she was an encouragement to me and shared helpful advice out of her own painful experience. As a result, I will not deny that the friendship has strengthened, and, while it has remained morally pure at all times, I have enjoyed the company of someone who has also gone through the trauma of a painful and public divorce.

Let’s break this down the preacher-speak for the kids scoring at home:

  1. “The ministerial friendship.” So, let me just tell you that had it not been for TBN, I wouldn’t have dropped two bits of government cheese on her plate. Since she is in my ilk, I’ll let her hang with me.
  2. “While it has remained morally pure at all times.” She’s not my type. I likes my women chubby and really dumb (Exhibit A here). And Paula is nowhere close to being chubby (Exhibit B here).
  3. “The trauma of a painful and public divorce.” Let’s not let the smooth taste fool you, brother. Public, yes. She wanted it that way. Painful, not so much. She dumped Randy’s behind for life coaching. And while he was sick.

And for more from Brother Benny:

And so I am writing to tell you today that I forcefully, categorically, and absolutely renounce the lies that have been spread about me and want to set the record straight with you. There is nothing inappropriate or morally improper about my friendship with Paula White… Paula and I also recognize that being seen in such settings is unwise, and we have independently determined that we will have no further social relationship until such time as my divorce has concluded and only if we feel direction from the Lord to do so.

  1. “Forcefully, categorically and absolutely.” I love it when people put strong superlatives in a written statement, as if the oafs like me who read will put any different tense on the poppycock we are reading. “Oh, he said categorically. I guess I need to grit my teeth.”
  2. “Being seen in such settings is unwise.” You mean, in public, holding hands? Then yes, you’re right. That spirit of discernment is strong.
  3. “We have independently determined that we will have no further social relationship.” Don’t let the scrupulous masses who want more out of their preachers than shady Roman getaways get in your way. You are your own people as you can ‘independently determine’ to do anything. You know, like post statements of apoplexy on the same day, around the same hour. Tell me, do you make a sound when you back up that fast? BEEP. BEEP. BEEP.
See Paula White's defintion of marriage

I always tell women, "Till death do us... oh, nevermind!"

Now that we have discussed slapping someone’s weave, Sister Paula, what say you?

The National Enquirer released the misguided and untruthful article, which falsely characterized my friendship with Pastor Benny as being something that is morally and spiritually inappropriate. The article goes on to suggest that we were having an improper intimate relationship, which is categorically false… As someone who also endured a painful and public divorce, I was able to offer him insight and spiritual encouragement.

  1. “My friendship… intimate relationship.” If they ‘falsely characterized’ your friendship, then saying they ‘suggested an intimate relationship’ goes without saying. But hey, thanks for saying it anyway.
  2. “Painful and public divorce”. Hmmm… where have I have ‘independently determined’ that I heard that before?!

Next?

I publicly profess and forcefully renounce assertions that the recent trip to Italy to meet with Vatican officials suggests that the friendship is in any way improper or morally impure. We traveled independently to the region for respective ministry duties and, while there, spent time together along with others. We were never alone and were in the constant company of staff and other associates.

  1. “Publicly profess and forcefully renounce.” Seriously? Speak simple. You want to sound smart? How about “Brevity is the soul of wit”? A guy named Shakespeare said that. Just sayin’.
  2. “To meet with Vatican officials.” Um, Benny Hinn? I can believe that. In fact, I have no problem believing that. The dude holds global crusades everywhere! Paula White on the other hand? The lady who has a hard time debating a theologian about real biblical issues goes to the Vatican at the Pope’s behest?! Pat, I’d like to buy a clue please.

Anyone can lie about the Word of God. Anyone. To most who don’t read their Bible faithfully (and regretfully), the Scriptures become subjective. In fact, people have become so detached from the Bible that they live vicariously through faith… and through their pastor.

For them, anyone saying “Touch not mine anointed” will cause people to scurry. However, if you read the second part of that verse, “or cause my prophets any harm.”

Here’s the thing: We – the bloggers and journalists that expect way too much out of those manning a pulpit – are not causing them any harm. Their actions do it. Their mouths do it. Their “independent determinations” do it.

This blog was birthed on the premise of the Church needing to read the “writing on the wall.” And if you want more voices to echo that sentiment, may I introduce you to the “Another Brick in the Wall,” “The Acme Arena” and “WOW News” contributors.

There would not be sentinels screaming in the darkness if there were not shady people doing shady things in the name of God. May the ones full of light shine bright, dear Lord Jesus. And may the ones who are just shady stay in the dark. Too many people are hurting because of clandestine preachers who think they can get away with anything.

Those times need to stop. And if you don’t believe me, ask the cracked crew at the National Enquirer. Believe me, there are more of us than you think. How’s that for categorical weave slapping?

Maybe he can add a baptismal to give it credibility?

So, aside from his regular global telecasts, annual believers’ conventions and running his ministry from high atop a hill in North Texas, it seems Kenneth Copeland has been wheelin’ and dealin’ with his local government.

And that always makes for a salty headline when discussing a “mand of Gawd.”

According to the AP, the Tarrant County tax appraisal district has agreed to exempt the $3.3 million jet owned by Kenneth Copeland Ministries from property taxes. Get that? “Agreed” to do it. There was kissing up and shilling done under the table here.

Again, always good to hear when discussing a televangelist.

The Tarrant Appraisal District’s concession is at the heart of a settlement reached with the Newark-based television evangelist’s ministry last week. KTVT-TV of Fort Worth and Dallas reports the district also agreed to drop its requirement of salary information on the ministries’ directors.

See there? While little man here is in his staff meeting thanking God for his faithfulness, what lies at the heart of this matter is he had to rob Peter to pay Paul. How shady… and oh yeah, un-televangelistic like… is that?!

Essentially, Kenneth Copeland has been at the center of a vicious mudslinging federal investigation led by Sen. Charles Grassley where he wanted to know what was being used for God and how these six televangelists could bling like a New York City rapper.  A good metric for his suspicions would be to discover what he is paying his top executives (because you know his rank-and-file is making minimum wage or anointed food stamps).

Tarrant County thought that was a good idea so they took Grassley’s hand off and ran for the end zone. And, of course, they wanted to spike said ball down Copeland’s gullet. And wouldn’t  you know it, an agreement was made.

KCM agrees that the plane isn’t “totally” used for ministry activities and his triple-figure board of directors can be kept in seclusion – for now. Classy, and completely reeking of spirituality.

I suppose it’s a good thing that he made the jet his – and his alone. Why? Because when the cops come barreling down his door for tax evasion or some other ballyhooed IRS activity, he’ll be “leave-ing on a jet plane… and don’t know when [he’ll] be coming back again.”

Ah, I love the classics.

According to the generically entitled “theologian” Sam Storms, it is.

And to his credit, he brought up some salient points at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Okla. about man’s plight into this eternal quest for a payday and the pablum that necessitates it.

“For most professing believers if God is love he must promise to minimize my struggles and maximize my pleasure,” he lamented. “Many believe it’s their spiritual birthright to experience comfort and prosperity and that it’s God divine obligation to provide it.

See, regretfully, this entire doxology has created a distorted view of the love of God. To some who attend certain megachurches or follow particular global ministries, that love is a credit card with no limit allowing God’s children to be footloose and fancy free because whatever happens, “God loves me.”

(NOTE: There is no generalization here. Many big churches and ministries are fulfilling God’s purpose, but it’s the snake oil salesmen that ruin it for everybody.)

It’s a brainwashing tactic, not a biblical exhortation, of which we have become all too familiar thanks to many misanthrope swindlers who have used it to their advantage and not for the benefit of their sheep (i.e. Kenneth Copeland, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn and now entering the fold, Ed Young).

People give, give and give believing they are doing the right thing (admirable) and that God must give it back so “that I may lack nothing” because he loves me. See, it’s twisted because of three reasons:

  1. God does love us more than can we ever comprehend
  2. We are his children and because of that, why would he ever want us to suffer
  3. There is an enemy and “our Daddy can kick your Daddy’s tail in a minute”

All that is very true. However, what the sheep are not told before they are sheered is they may experience heartache despite the checks they donate. Essentially, God is the mighty purveyor of “Opposite Day” – if Satan wants me to experience lack, then God will cause me to experience abundance.

Yes… and a big no.

The so-called prosperity gospel that teaches wealth and good health is a sign of God’s favor and blessing is prevalent in the church, Storm lamented. Underlining the seriousness of the problematic theology many preachers have picked up, the Oklahoma City pastor called it a “corrosive and disintegrative pox” on the church and “a disease far more infectious and ultimately fatal to the soul than the worst bubonic plague and the affects it might have on the human body.”

Man, and I just want God to help me pay my light bill… now this?!

I see what he is saying. People are becoming sorely irresponsible with accountability, not just the malefactors exhorting but also the men and women experiencing. Aside from having favor, blessing, abundance or whatever words fit from the slimy televangelist thesaurus there, 2 Timothy 2:3 reminds us we still have an enemy because “you therefore endure hardship, as a good soldier in Christ.

The only check that isn’t unveiled at one of these pep rally for Jesus crusades is the reality check.

If you want to sum up this walk with the Lord in one sentence, try this: God hates sin and has provided Jesus to escape it, while Satan hates you and will do everything to make you leave God.

Help us to see what you have for us, oh God.

Raise your hand if you have suffered at all this last year. Well, joy comes in the morning and for many of us, it’s been one long night. We could all use a break, and thanks to God’s grace and mercy, we got more of those than we realize.

The suffering is the clue that a blessing is coming because God works to get stuff to us and the enemy fights it every time. Sometimes the fight is so quick, it doesn’t phase you. Other times, the fight is long because the enemy is real and he fights to win.

It’s a losing battle, praise God, but a battle nonetheless.

I once heard a stoic pastor say, “Good is the worst enemy of best, because anyone can provide good but only God can give you his best.”

The prosperity gospel shows us that you shouldn’t have to wait for that filet mignon God has intended for you because if you eat all that fat-induced ground beef, you still feel full… and isn’t that satisfying? Sometimes Wall Watchers, we have to wait… but it is so worth it.

We will endure hardship while still being favored of God. We will experience a rough patch before things get smooth. We will walk through the valley of the shadow of death… but at least we are walking. We will go through hell to get to heaven.

Use whatever axiom you wish. God is real and you aren’t him, so rejoice that there is a plan and when you give money to a church or a minister, do it not to buy God’s grace but because you have some grace to give to others.

Still don’t believe me? Take it from Peter who incurred a ton of heartache and he walked next to Jesus.

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.

If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!

It’s judgment time for God’s own family. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message!

If good people barely make it,
What’s in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it. (1 Peter 4:12-19 MSG)