Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Lavish Lifestyles

The Gospel has its detractors. Most of them outside the church. But increasingly the greatest threat to the successful reaching of the US is not found outside the church. It is, instead, the revelations of lavish lifestyles of the evangelists/pastors/and 'Christian' TV personalities. For instance, the US senate is looking into the fact that private jets, Rolls Royces, cosmetic surgery and, even legal bills for a divorce have been paid for out of some of the Mega Church and Celebrity Churches. Add to that the mansions and 6 and 7 figure salaries, and you have the brewing of the next evangelical scandal. I say bring it on. It is time that some of these guys (and gals) have to face the music. It will utterly wreck the faith of many in this generation- but perhaps it will drive out the money grubbing charlatans who taint the message of the gospel currently and maybe, just maybe, people who want to help people will come back into the ministry of the gospel of Jesus. What do you think?

Most people think that pastoral ministry is a 1 or 2 day a week job- ha! In reality pastoral ministry can be very trying. I rarely am able to spend less than 50 hours a week working. However, it isn't shoveling stone-either. Much of what I do I love to do- study the scriptures, talk with people about their spiritual walk, connect and network with other minsitry leaders, etc. But there is a great deal of adminstrative stuff than needs to be done as well. People are generally clueless as to the amount of work. It helps when the deacons and staff take seriously their calling.

There is a biblical imperative to live circumspectly isn't there? Where do we draw the line? How much is too much? Can a church provide a car for their pastor? If not a Rolls- what a Yugo? At CLC we publish the pastor's salary annually in a public meeting. Why isn't there accountability in so many ministries?

And what about the prominent carnality scandals- The Randy and Paula White divorce - both are linked to other people including ex-pornstar personal trainers (!), and the domestic violence accusations against Bynums pastor husband (!), and the marital failures of significant denominational leaders, etc.

Doesn't it seem like it is time to do some house cleaning in God's house?

1 comment:

Paul M. Harrison said...

I am in the process of making a very long and involved series on televangelism and faith healing on youtube. I literally have 20 hours of footage to go through, but it will cover the history of faith healing and televangelism and go through the methods, tactics, culture, and business of selling false and hope, false miracles, and prosperity to American Christians in the name of Jesus, then exporting this American gospel all over the world.

They have the law on their side, unfortunately, and as long as they can make a theology supporting their lifestyles and qualifications as to why their promises never work when the poor are fleeced, their own victims will protect them.

The harshest exposes and critics should come from within Christian circles I think and not from outside of it, because most believers don't trust the "liberal secular media" when televangelists are exposed on national TV. They see this as an attack of Satan on the anointed.

I have done a series giving my thoughts on the Pentecostal Movemernt and tongues, am now finishing a series on the faith movement, will then move on to televangelism and faith healing, then and with the prophetic movement and holy laughter revivals. Of course I come from a skeptical viewpoint, but smart believers can discern what they will and benefit where they can without having to agree with my conclusions.

It is a very dark and burdensome subculture to document.