Friday, December 28, 2007

Gospel of wealth

~from the Associated Press

The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor's living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches.

And so the 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Fla., area pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer, the evangelist whose frank talk about recovering from childhood sexual abuse was so inspirational. She wrote checks to flamboyant faith healer Benny Hinn and a local preacher-made-good, Paula White.

Only the blessings didn't come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn't strong enough.

"I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them," she said. "I'm angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don't watch anyone on TV hardly."

All three of the groups Fleenor supported are among six major Christian television ministries under scrutiny by a senator who is asking questions about the evangelists' lavish spending and possible abuses of their tax-exempt status.

The probe by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has brought new scrutiny to the underlying belief that brings in millions of dollars and fills churches from Atlanta to Los Angeles — the "Gospel of Prosperity," or the notion that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.

All six ministries under investigation preach the prosperity gospel to varying degrees.

Proponents call it a biblically sound message of hope. Others say it is a distortion that makes evangelists rich and preys on the vulnerable. They say it has evolved from "it's all right to make money" to it's all right for the pastor to drive a Bentley, live in an oceanside home and travel by private jet.



Tito said...


That link at the end of your posting doesn't work.

Adrienne said...

Joyce Meyer is very popular with a bunch of CINO type ladies at our parish. Bleh!!!

Anonymous said...

Joel OSteen does not preach a "Gospel of wealth." Joel says that "God rewards those who seek after Him." Isn't that in the Bible somewhere? I have never seen a video clip of Joel OSteen asking for money... and neither has anyone else!!!

The Epiphany Artist said...

I am not for any of these preachers that obviously live lives that do not follow Jesus and encourage people to follow a false Gospel.

Tom in Vegas said...

My heart goes out to Cindy.

I find it incomprehensible how some individuals fall for their line of crap (Meyer, Hinn, and White). Topping the list of irrevocably insane is a man (I believe in Florida) who claims to be Jesus Christ. The problem with this particular flake is that there are people who DO BELIEVE he is Jesus Christ and have made him wealthy with donations. I can fool these people into thinking the earth is flat.

"Sigh." The world we live in.


Tito said...


My heart goes out to you.


Tom in Vegas said...

Happy and Blessed New Year's Day to you and to those close to you!!