Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Rolls Royces, private jets, jewlery, generous salaries and gifts


Well it appears that the Government is stepping in to investigate the finances of six well-known TV ministers. This was announced yesterday by Sen. Chuck Grassley the top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee. You can read the news article to get the full story. There have been many like; Ministry Watch, Trinity Foundation, and newspapers, who have tried to keep an eye on these televangelist and others, and tried to get them to disclose their financial situations fully. But this is different because it is the first time the Government has stepped in to investigate. Sen. Grassley, said he is doing this in response to complaints and tips he has gotten. The ministries have until Dec. 6 to submit audited financial statements, compensation reports, records for ministry jet travel, and other documents.

Who are the Six? faith healer Benny Hinn, Georgia mega church pastor Creflo Dollar and one of the nation's best known female preachers, Joyce Meyer, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland of Kenneth Copeland Ministries of Newark, Texas, Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga., and Bishop Eddie Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Bishop Eddie Long Ministries of Lithonia, Ga., and Randy and Paula White of the multiracial Without Walls International Church and Paula White Ministries of Tampa, Fla.

Ken Behr, president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability, called the request "quite unusual" and "almost unprecedented." He said none of the six ministries targeted are members of his Winchester, Va., organization, but he expects it will prompt others to get their houses in order."I think it's a wake-up call for everybody that financial accountability, transparency, proper accounting processes are important," said Behr.

What do these ministries have in common? They preach and teach a prosperity gospel. I guess the other thing they have in common is that they live it, and live it to the fullest. CBN contacted the 6 and got responses from 3 of them.
I just don't get it how you can read the scriptures and come to the conclusion of the prosperity gospel and how you as a minister can even live like that.
But I will admit to you this, I like having enough money to pay my bills and then some, to have some nice things, nice car, go out to eat and have a date night with my hubby, now and then. I like not worrying about paying the bills or worrying if there is going to be enough money from paycheck to paycheck. But I got to tell you since Bob's retirement, the lower mount of money from his retirement is catching up with us now. It is causing us to re budget, rethink our spending, rethink our wants and rethink what extra things our kids get to do. None of this is a bad thing to rethink our out go. I don't think my salary anywhere matches what these ministers make. My car is a 6year old, over the 100,000 mile mark, but paid for. My home is a nice parsonage. We have enough to meet our needs, and I am grateful.
Prosperity gospel sells obviously, but its a false gospel. And you cannot make these or any ministers above reproach, and "Idols". Nor are ministers to set themselves up as above reproach or as "Idols". We are just not bigger than Jesus, and exempt from his teachings. It taints our witness to those who think we are hypocrites anyway.
I don't glory in this happening to them and say "look they are getting theirs." I pray for them and for God's grace and mercy for them. And ask God to show me and work in me the places that are not of him.
I will admit, that how I spend my money and what I like; has been something that God has been working on me for a long time. I grew up not having much and I think sometimes I try to make up for it. And now that I have kids, I don't want them to be without like I was. You know my parents were like this too, they didn't have, they grew up in the depression, and as they earned more money, the more they bought, especially my father. He did not deny himself anything. It has been a struggle for me not to be like him, and often I have failed miserably at this. God please help me with my "idols" and making an idol of myself and the almighty dollar and what it represents.
Image is from CBN and is actually a video report that I didn't know how to copy and imbed into my post.


Elizabeth said...

Thanks for this good post. I'm with you - trying to make sure I'm not more like this than I think - it's easy to see how I'm *not* like this, but harder to see how I'm creeping towards it, you know? (Something about specks and planks in the eye, right?)

Diane said...

very interesting!!!

revhipchick said...

great post.

i can relate to the growing up with little part and now as an adult having the tendency to "splurge" so i can have what i want. it's very diffiuclt, no matter how you grow up. it seems some folks grow up with lots and then expect lots thinking its normal. part of me thinks it's simply that we live in a consumeristic age.

i wonder what really sparked the investigation--is the government po'd that they aren't getting a cut of these big chunks of money?

your comments on theprosperity gospel are right on. you are also gracious. thanks for being a great example. i know that's not your aim but i find your humbleness and graciousness inspiring and i hope i am growing towards those things.