It seems as though this whole exploration of pulpit pimps & spiritual fatherhood is getting some attention. While no one is publicly commenting to my thoughts, I am getting feedback in my email – and I’m starting to see visitors stop by from across the web. To God be the glory – I hope that some of you are starting to rethink your relationship with your “spiritual father”…if you have one.
Let’s take a moment to review the nature of the pulpit pimp:
He attracts you with his charisma
He tells you of your “potential in the Lord”
He breaks you down
He builds you back up as a reflection of and in submission to him
He convinces you that you need him so that he can tell you what God is saying to you (I guess Jesus’ intercession on our behalf is unnecessary – Romans 8:34)
Got all that? Good, let’s move on…
Now that you understand how much you need the pimp, you’ve got to submit to his “spiritual covering” so that he can “pray for you” and you can be “accountable to him in ministry”. Of course, your submission is going to cost you something.
Call it a love offering (can you find the phrase “love offering” in the bible?), first fruits (another scam where you pay the pimp your first day, week, or months salary so that they can pray over it, causing your “crops” to be blessed for the rest of the year), or any other creatively titled “offering” – you gotta “pay to play”.
Even the pimps themselves are encouraged to submit to “super pimps”. This allows the pimp to flaunt their own “spiritual daddies” and claim a portion of the “anointing” that rests on the superpimp. This perverse thinking is why many of today’s pimps have such disdain for formal biblical education. They call seminaries “cemeteries”, and brag about how they were ordained by their “spiritual fathers”.
My former pimp used to love to say how he was “sent” (by his superpimp) while others “just went“. The implication, of course, is that you can’t possibly be called into the Gospel ministry by God Himself. No, you’ve got to have the superpimp lay his hands on you to “stir up the gifts in you” (another bastardized butchering of Paul’s relationship with Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:6).
Now that they’ve convinced you that formal seminary education is a waste of time, you accept their tainted “covering”, as well as the tainted “covering” of their superpimp. Here are a few of the the “covering” ministries out there:
Dr. I.V. Hilliard of New Light Church of Houston, TX – Association of Independent Ministries
Bishop Eddie L. Long of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church of Lithonia, GA – BELL Ministries/The Father’s House
Bishop T.D. Jakes of The Potters House of Dallas, TX – Potters House International Pastoral Alliance
There are many others out there, even “spiritual mothers” that are willing to “cover” you as well. The men listed above represent the most popular “covering” ministries in operation today.
These ministries were formed to “establish, encourage, and cultivate others to God through the personal touch of our Bishop” (according to Long’s website) and to “provide for those member ministries wise counsel and oversight upon their request” (according to Hilliard).
Innocent enough right? All these fellows want to do is help you by giving you wise counsel and oversight – nothing wrong with that, right? Well, you didn’t think you’d get all this covering and counseling for free did you? No, no, no – remember, you’ve got to “pay to play…
Want to be a “son” of Eddie Long? No problem. He’ll give you a subscription to his magazine, access to his quarterly conferences, prayer, and lots of other “ministry resources”. Just fill out the application, get a couple of letters of recommendation (you didn’t think he’d “lay hands” on you, did you?) and send in your annual “membership fee” of $250, and you’re on your way!
Don’t want Long to be your daddy? OK, how about I.V.? He only charges $50 for the application fee and $100 for the annual membership(what a bargain), but I.V. is a bit more demanding. He wants to bill you for monthly administrative costs, he wants you to honor him and accept correction from him, you have to make a “public confession of sonship/daughtership” (huh? do you get a special decoder ring too?) and much much more.
As a side note, I had the pleasure of “encountering” a few of I.V.’s local sons when he spoke at my former church. They wanted to get access to their “daddy” after service, but we were instructed to “keep them away”. Now I know why they were so anxious to meet their daddy – they paid enough!
Anyway, not content with Eddie or I.V.? How about the king alpha pimp – T.D.? No problem…T.D. could always use a new son or two. Besides, he doesn’t require as much as old I.V. does. You only have to be senior pastor with a church that’s larger than the pastor’s immediate family (I know, I had to read that twice myself), fill out the application, and PAY A TITHE FROM YOUR PERSONAL PASTORAL INCOME (I had to read that one a few times).
A I’ve stated before, the concept of spiritual fathering (or mentoring) is not unbiblical. It is incumbent upon a pastor to mentor those who are new and immature in the faith by exemplifying a Christ-like lifestyle, and pointing them to God as their ultimate Father.
Spiritual covering is now simply portrayed as your allegiance to your pulpit pimp, his philosophy, and his band of cronies. Your real spiritual covering is God your Father (1 Corinthians 11:3). As long as you align yourself with God, you’ll never be uncovered. Besides, God was covering you long before you ever crossed paths with your pimp!
It’s easy to see how your pimp can prey upon you week after week – he’s being sanctioned by his own “spiritual father” and practicing what he learns – and aspires to be himself. To drive his point home, the pimp will “invite” (i.e. pay an honorarium or speakers fee) for the superpimp to come to his church so that you can see how close he is to his “daddy” – and thereby legitimizing his hustle.
Meanwhile, the Gospel gets lost in the midst of all of this phony “fathering and covering”. The lost and bound never experience the true liberty of Jesus Christ, and the devil is laughing because he doesn’t have to do anything but stay out of the pimps way.
This “pimpology” will end when you stop allowing your pimp to satisfy your flesh and start allowing your Heavenly Father to satisfy you completely. Like the old preachers used to say: “that old devil will starve if you stop feeding it”.
There I go again, getting myself all worked up. I’m going to reintroduce myself to the Christ to make me feel better…