Has another Charismatic prosperity preacher bitten the dust? In a wave of scandals involving high profile Charismatic/Pentecostal leaders like Ted Haggard, Paula White, Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, Clint Brown, Rick Hawkins, and Creflo Dollar, Bishop Eddie L. Long is now the latest prosperity preacher to get bogged down in the mire. Over the course of the past week, two different lawsuits have been filed against Bishop Eddie Long. Both of the lawsuits allege that Bishop Long used his pastoral influence to coerce the male plaintiffs into having sexual relations with him.
Of course Bishop Long is innocent until proven guilty, but many of us who have first hand experience with mega church pastors who preach the prosperity gospel are not surprised to see another one of the Charismatic church’s shining stars getting caught up in a scandal.
When is the Charismatic/Pentecostal church going to stop being victimized and begin taking a stand against mega church pastors who are getting rich off of their hard earned money? Seriously folks, it’s time to stop supporting these mega church con-artists. It’s time for congregations to stop being enablers to these money hungry addicts who use the church’s money to buy their Rolexes, thousand dollar suits, and to fund their private jet fuel expenses. Yes, the church is responsible because we keep letting these guys and gals take advantage of us.
And if you think I’m just being a critical outsider, let me just say that I was next in line to become one of these guys. I bought into the prosperity movement hook, line, and sinker. Until I deliberately gave them up, I had connections to the inside of the mega church prosperity movement that many people would covet. Nothing stood in the way of my building a personal mega ministry empire just like the ones these cash hungry pastors have built. I could tell you stories about people whom you respect and admire that would make you shake your head in disbelief. I know of one famous “Christian” recording artist who preys on churches for the sole purpose of making money. Those who know this person intimately have suspicions that he’s engaged in homosexual relations. And having been personally acquainted with this person myself, I have to say that I share their suspicions. You would be shocked if I told you who this person is because you’ve likely attended one of his concerts at some point during your Christian life.
I’m tired of turning on the television only to hear another mega church pastor begging people for money as he promises blessing and prosperity in return. When is the Charismatic/Pentecostal church going to learn from church history that the word of God alone is the standard of truth? When will we learn to stop basing our faith on the charisma and eloquence of gifted men and women, but instead to base it upon the word of God alone? These preachers are able to pull the wool over our eyes because we don’t take what they’re saying to the word of God. If we went to the Bible we would learn that the Bible doesn’t teach unending prosperity and “overflow” as they like to call it. In fact, the Bible teaches that the Christian will have to endure hardship, persecution, and will have to forsake everything for the life of the cross. Christianity is not about making money. These preachers preach prosperity because this is the only way they can con you into giving them money. They preach a dynamic sermon replete with promises of financial blessing for the sole purpose of taking an offering at the end (if you don’t believe me, listen closely to the content of the sermon the next time you hear one of these preachers and you’ll notice how it’s often a setup for the offering). I know of another well known fallen evangelist–whose name I’ll leave unidentified–who went back out to the church and asked for a second offering after he and the senior pastor counted the offering in a back room and found out that they didn’t collect the amount that they wanted to collect. Do you realize what kind of speaking fees these mega church pastors require in order for them to speak at your church? Let me just say that you would be very happy to collect just one of the offerings that some these pastors collect on a weekly basis.
I’m honestly so sick of these pastors taking advantage of innocent people that at the risk of alienating myself from some of my friends, I’m posting a list of preachers who I think it would be wise for you not to give money to. In addition to those already mentioned, I would avoid giving to the following ministries:
1. Jesse Duplantis
2. Morris Cerullo (Do some research on Morris Cerullo and you’ll find that he’s been embattled by a variety of lawsuits involving finances)
3. Rod Parsley (Every time I turn on his show he’s asking for money. On one occasion I watched him set up his sermon for the sole purpose of making a manipulative appeal for money. I recognize that ministries need money, but when I see television ministries that never preach the gospel and are only asking for money, it gives me cause for concern)
4. Joel Osteen
5. Mike Murdock (I specifically heard Mike Murdock bragging to Rod Parsley one day about how nice his house is and how Christians should have such nice things that it causes other people to want what they have)
6. DayStar Television Network (DayStar supports many of the ministries on this list and provides the airtime for them to make their appeals)
7. T.D. Jakes (I think T.D. Jakes is a gifted man, but there’s no doubt that he’s a prosperity preacher. I’ve been a part of meetings in which he’s used the typical appeal for money by promising favor and prosperity. On one occasion in particular he asked people to give $252 dollars so that they would be in agreement with Luke 2:52 and so that people would grow in favor with God and with man. This is a gross misuse of this Scripture passage.)
Most of these ministries have also been flagged by MinistryWatch.com, an organization that attempts to keep Christian ministries accountable with their finances. It should be noted that the people I chose for the list were chosen before I noticed that most of them were already on the Donor Alert list on MinistryWatch.com’s website. I find it interesting that I’m not the only one who is warning people to be aware of these ministries. It should also be noted that I have at one time been a huge fan of most of these ministries. However, I can no longer stomach the manipulation of innocent people all because preachers choose to have a bad theology of money.