Don’t Blame God, Blame The Greedy Pastor!

After a slight delay in posting recently, I’m back with a story that has already been covered by Kwesi over at the blog My Scream. Nevertheless, it’s worth repeating. On October 3, 2008, Time Magazine posted this story on their website:

Maybe We Should Blame God for the Subprime Mess

Has the so-called Prosperity gospel turned its followers into some of the most willing participants — and hence, victims — of the current financial crisis? That’s what a scholar of the fast-growing brand of Pentecostal Christianity believes. While researching a book on black televangelism, says Jonathan Walton, a religion professor at the University of California at Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God will “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, dangerous expression during the subprime-lending boom. Walton says that this encouraged congregants who got dicey mortgages to believe “God caused the bank to ignore my credit score and blessed me with my first house.” The results, he says, “were disastrous, because they pretty much turned parishioners into prey for greedy brokers.”

I emphasised the last part of that quote because I have seen it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears. Back in 1997 when I was a faithful servant to Pimp Eddie L. Long, I brought my bills and mortgage note to a “debt burning service”. Eddie whipped us up into a frenzy by saying that “1997 is the year of jubilee and God was going to cancel your debt if you believe Him to do it!”. As a dutiful drone at the time, of course I wanted God to excuse my Visa bill (never mind the fact that I ran it up without asking Him for any guidance) – oh, and my mortgage too.

Needless to say, as I walked away from the smoldering tin can that contained the ashes of my bills, I hoped that when I called my creditors to confirm that I was debt free (as we were instructed to do), that I would hear the magic words: “Thanks for calling sir, but we don’t show that you have a balance”. Like a fool, I called…and I still had the proper balances.

*** As a side note, Eddie Long also whipped us into a frenzy in 1999 by saying that when the computers across the globe went haywire at midnight because of the Y2K debacle, our debts would be wiped out too. That’s another story for another day…moving along…***

Anyway, the next Sunday at church, the congregation was told of a man who was months behind on his mortgage. This man brought his paperwork to the debt burning service and believed that “God would move”. The man later called his mortgage company and they told him that his balance was $0! That’s right, he didn’t owe anything on his mortgage! Hallelujah! Glory to God! Praise G…

Oh, wait – because I had friends who worked in the Finance office, I later learned the rest of the story. The mortgage company foreclosed on the man’s house – because he hadn’t paid his mortgage for a few months. The man didn’t try to work out a plan with the bank because he believed that “God would move” at the behest of Eddie Long. Needless to say, when he called to get his balance he learned that he didn’t have a balance. Maybe he started shouting and praising God and hanging up the phone before he learned the reason why his balance was $0.

I have lamented the danger of the Word of Faith/Name it and claim it heresy of the pulpit pimps (and others) for some time now. Not only is that nonsense in direct opposition to the Word of God, it breeds greed and lust for material wealth among the Body of Christ. It also divides congregations into “haves and have nots”, and lines the pockets of greedy pulpit pimps. The Time article goes on to say:

“The pastor’s not gonna say, ‘Go down to Wachovia and get a loan,’ but I have heard, ‘Even if you have a poor credit rating, God can still bless you — if you put some faith out there [that is, make a big donation to the church], you’ll get that house or that car or that apartment.’ ” Adds J. Lee Grady, editor of the magazine Charisma: “It definitely goes on, that a preacher might say, ‘If you give this offering, God will give you a house.’ And if they did get the house, people did think that it was an answer to prayer, when in fact it was really bad banking policy.”

I have also heard the “go down to the car dealer and lay hands on the car you want”garbage. Gullible people go to the car dealership with no money for a down payment – and a credit score of 430. They end up getting a car loan at 20% interest and they “thank God for blessing” them? Are the words of Proverbs 10:21-22 rendered impotent?

Folks, these pulpit pimps are taking a hit in their wallets, and they don’t like it. No matter how many phone calls you avoid from your creditors, you can expect to sit in the pews under a pimp who still bellows from the pulpit that you should “ignore the current economic downturn because God is still doing something. When the world is experiencing financial trouble – now is the time to sow into God’s economy!”. The article goes on to strike an ominous tone – especially for those who pray that the sheep come to their senses and stop buying into the just pay God and your troubles will go away heresy”:

With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that Prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and they are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks some of the flashier ministries will shrink along with their congregants’ fortunes. Says Walton: “You would think that the current economic conditions would undercut their theology.” But he predicts they will persevere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.

The bottom line is this – God is not the problem, greed (prompted by the lascivious pulpit pimp and our selfish desires) is the real problem. We’ve been warned before:

2 Peter 2:1-3 (New American Standard Bible)

1But (A)false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be (B)false teachers (C)among you, who will (D)secretly introduce (E)destructive heresies, even (F)denying the (G)Master who (H)bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves.

 2Many will follow their (I)sensuality, and because of them (J)the way of the truth will be (K)maligned;

 3and in their (L)greed they will (M)exploit you with (N)false words; (O)their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

So, don’t blame God…

11 Responses to “Don’t Blame God, Blame The Greedy Pastor!”

  1. 1 Brian Foulks October 18, 2008 at 9:55 am

    I am often remissed at how many people fell prey to this garbage like myself. When I first say this for what it was a bunch of lies, I rmember thinking what about those of are still stuck in this destructive stronghold. It was and is like being Morpheus in the Matrix. You are always trying to free others from the the lies that you were caught up in.

    Good post as usual.

  2. 2 Pastor Jim October 18, 2008 at 10:54 am

    I am tempted to say, ‘You have GOT to be kidding!’ but I know you are not. I can not believe what people get away with in the name of God.

    No wonder people who have been de-churched or are unchurched look sideways at me as a pastor…

  3. 3 Kayla October 18, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    interesting article. thanks for sharing.

  4. 4 Ann Brock October 18, 2008 at 1:37 pm

    Hello great article. I believe some churches and pastors who preach the Prosperity Gospel have played a large role in the recent mortgage crisis, especially in the A.A community. Paula White have always pimp the A.A community with that foolishness. She’s not the only one but she has been very helpful in this false teaching.

    Having said that, if only Christians would no Holy God for themselves. Maybe they won’t be laying hands on cars and walking around houses they can’t afford. His blessing are not measure according to our faith or how much faith. I can have mustard seed faith and the Bible says is enough.

    There are biblical texts that, when taken out of context, seem to support the name it and claim it. Pastors who proclaim the Prosperity Gospel ignores a lot of the Bible. What about Job? a righteous man who suffered yet, he had great faith.

    There is Stephen who had so much faith in God that he was killed. Then, of course, there is Jesus. You can’t have anymore faith than in the Father than Jesus had. Yet, he had no place to lay his head and was crucified. Fullness of faith does not often lead to wealth and financial prosperity in the Bible.

    The delusion that faith will bring financial prosperity can be very harmful.

  5. 5 gcmwatch October 18, 2008 at 4:35 pm

    We need a church pimp deprogramming ministry. But then on second thought, your blog comes very close to that. Come on folks listen up and be free. And plus it costs nothing but your attention and will to do whats right.

  6. 6 Caught Thinking October 18, 2008 at 5:32 pm

    You have me in stitches and tears! Thank you. Seriously you know that I am outraged at the foolishness. However you tell it with so much passion.

    Love it!

  7. 7 rascoe1 October 19, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    Amazing, I can hardly believe that I was once a follower of these pimps. I even remember some years ago “sowing” my last $300+ to TBN prais-a-thon, expecting a 100 fold return. I remember John Avancine and Paul Crouch telling us to sow, expecting the return. For a long time I looked in anticipation for that money, but it never came, and I still believed in them. At that time greed for “financial prosperity” was overwhelmingly important to me, not being greatful for what I had. All thanks go to the Lord for opening my eyes or I would still be there. My friends are still there, I do warn them, but they think I am an heretic for going against what they have being taught.

    ST, recently I had the misfortune of hearing a pastor telling the congregation that if they dont tithe, the Lord would allow their pockets to get holes. Is this lowering the Lord to a pick-pocket status or what. Just amazing

  8. 8 Bro Peter October 20, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    This is just CRAZY too me how they are still getting by with that faulty message.

    They put so much on money and things that it takes away from GOD. God is bigger than money he is bigger than cars he is the biggest and best thing going but people seem to make the dollar bill more important than God.

    Oh and on a side note some church folks think that God will just walk to the door and ring the door bell and hand you a bag full of money not gonna happen. In order to have money you should GET a JOB, see people want the money but nobody wants to roll up the sleves and work for it.

    My prayer is that people’s eyes are opened so that these churches would have to shut down so that these goats that think they are sheep can be led to a real Shephard.

    Peace and Blessings to you all

  9. 9 Kayla October 22, 2008 at 1:16 pm

    Thanks for posting about this! I hadn’t seen that article.

    I compiled a summary of the links from your posts and others into one article:

  10. 10 Roselyn April 1, 2009 at 10:12 am

    Bless you for setting me free. Its happening even here in Malawi. We have plenty of these self-styled Apostles and men of God, who are fleecing the already poor community with the so called prosperity or favour gospel. They teach that for God to protect our families, children from danger or death itself one must give, otherwise without money one’s life is in danger and we will die poor for disobeying God’s voice. Shame indeed

  11. 11 CW April 1, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Great article! God bless you and open doors to keep this message going!
    I’ve thought about why the sheep seem so gullible to these types people. It may be because sheep naturally gravitate to someone who will lead them. Unfortunately – sheep haven’t done their homework and trult sought the “Manual” that describes what a Godly shepherd is like. Jesus said that the good shepherd GIVES his life for the sheep. Sadly, many sheep are being are seduced and deceived as they blindly go to the “pimp’s” slaughter-house.

    My observation:
    Psalm 23 was not intended to be read at funerals! Yes, it describes our Great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls, the Lord Jesus Christ – but since God “provides” shepherds after His heart – then the sheep should study, meditate and measure their pastor by the truth in this great Psalm. It describes a hard-working, caring, disciplined, self-sacrificing shepherd that is actually focused on “providing” good pasture & drink (sheep eat tender grass – goats eat anything); good leadership in the midst of hardship (the shepherd GOES with the sheep through the valley); and comfort and spiritual restoration, among other things.

    May the Lord help us to be spiritually alert – STOP being faithful to a “vision” a “mission” a “calling” or “the called” – turn and run towards the True Shepherd and judge (yes, judge) the undershepherd by His standards. It is your God-given right and responsibility!

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