PHILADELPHIA — The lobbying entity of the nation's largest Protestant denomination has made it clear that it is against predatory practices that take advantage of the poor, having joined a broad coalition earlier this year organized to "raise awareness about families in financial crisis and how high-cost lending negatively impacts them." But what is the high-profile Christian ethics advocacy organization doing to protect vulnerable believers from preying prosperity preachers?
The question was posed to Russell Moore, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention that represents more than 15 million Southern Baptists in the public square. The outspoken ERLC president has been vocal about everything from abortion and gay marriage to racial reconciliation and Christian political engagement.
Moore, who has said that "payday lending is a form of economic predation and grinds the faces of the poor into the ground," told The Christian Post in an aside at the 2015 Religion Newswriters Association Conference in Philadelphia this past week that his SBC organization has long taken a stance against prosperity preaching. more >>
From Creflo Dollar to Kenneth Copeland, late night comedian John Oliver delivered a brutal takedown Sunday of a group of televangelists and related churches known for preaching "the prosperity gospel" on his HBO program "Last Week Tonight" that has now gone viral.
Calling the majority of the roughly 350,000 churches nationwide a "cornerstone of American life" which do good work, Oliver quickly took dead aim at "churches that exploit people's faith for monetary gain," citing televangelist Creflo Dollar who asked his donors this year to help him purchase a $65 million luxury jet among his prime targets.
Also making the list in Oliver's 20-minute takedown was televangelist Mike Murdock who bragged in front of his congregation about purchasing two private jets with cash as well as Kenneth Copeland who calls his private jet a "preaching machine" used only for church activities but was found to be using it for trips to luxury ski resorts and gaming trips to India. more >>
After the big hoopla over his public appeal for his donors to fund a $65 million luxury jet for his ministry, televangelist Creflo Dollar has dialed things down a bit by refocusing his efforts on touching lives with the Gospel through a project to reach a "billion souls for Jesus," and no donation toward this endeavor is too small.
"How much would you give to change the world and reach a billion souls? For less than $1 a day, $5 a week, or $20 a month, you can impact billions of people!" announces a description on the Creflo Dollar Ministries website for the 2020 Vision Partner project.
"As a 2020 Vision Partner, you have the opportunity to get 2020 vision of God's grace going into places removing burdens and destroying yokes, freeing people from shame and guilt. Get a vision of grace being preached on every continent! Get a vision of your $20 a month working every day," the appeal continued. more >>
Using Creflo Dollar's $65 million Gulfstream jet as one example of exploiting the poor, NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed prosperity gospel advocates, comparing them to indulgence peddlers made famous during the Church's Reformation era.
"Like the professional pardoners of the Middle Ages who pedaled indulgences to the highest bidders, they pervert teachings for profit. These are the people that the word shame was invented to describe," Abdul-Jabbar asserted.
Popular televangelist and founder of World Changers Church International, Creflo Dollar, says the world's perception of God is twisted, particularly when it comes to His treatment of sin.
"The world has gone to extremes to twist and distort our perception of what we think God is like, and many people have been afraid of Him their entire lives," began Dollar in an article posted on his website on Sunday examining the difference between God's correction and punishment.
"A popular notion among many is that He's an angry, vengeful God, ready to strike us down when we sin and make mistakes. Because of that mindset, they attribute to God the bad, painful things that happen to them in life, erroneously assuming that those are His ways of punishing them for something they did wrong. Nothing could be further from the truth," he continued. more >>
The board of World Changers Church International, which was founded by popular televangelist Creflo Dollar and conducts business as Creflo Dollar Ministries, said in a strongly worded statement that the organization will acquire the luxury multimillion dollar Gulfstream G650 jet they tried to raise $65 million to purchase through a short-lived crowdfunding campaign that sparked public outcry in March.
The ministry shut down the crowdfunding campaign asking 200,000 of its international supporters to donate $300 each in March to purchase the aircraft that reportedly had billionaires waiting in line to purchase one last year.
"It is our belief that this ministry is called to serve people globally — to literally change the world according to the Great Commission — and our infrastructure and operational plan reflect the worldwide nature of that assignment. Our pastors share the gospel of Jesus more than 300 times per year — in churches, arenas, venues, convention centers, stadiums and other facilities across the entire planet — and are committed to aggressive travel schedules that cannot be fulfilled via any means other than private aircraft," said the WCCI board in a statement posted on the website of Creflo Dollar Ministries. more >>