Posts Tagged 'Pulpit Pimps'

First Rotten Fruit

rotten-fruit

Every year between January and Easter, pulpit pimps begin to lick their chops as they look forward to flogging the sheep into giving to their absolute favorite pyramid scheme of the year – the “First Fruit offering.”

Unlike the tithe scam (where the pimp puts a gun to the back of your head every Sunday and Wednesday by threatening holy wrath upon you and your descendants for “robbing God”), the “First Fruit” scam is a 1 day cash windfall for the pimps. Before I go any further, I invite you to watch two brief videos (courtesy of  spirituallysound) featuring “Pretty” Paula White – the original Florida Gator – pimping with wreckless abandon. These videos are from 2008, but you can surely believe that the same hollow lie is being perpetuated in churches across the country today:

Paula White’s “First Fruit” Scam!

(breathe in…breathe out…breathe in the good…breathe out the bad)

Like Pretty Paula, many pimps want you to give them “your increase” (a day’s salary, a week’s salary, or a month’s salary) so that God will “protect your crops for the remainder of the year” – and they always start off with a poor exegesis of Proverbs 3:9 as justification. However (and, as always) when you read Proverbs 1, 23, 4 and so on, you’ll see that the proverbs are (essentially) the letters of a father to a son extolling the virtue of knowledge, wisdom, insight into his royal court, instructions on relationship and correction. The Proverbs were written as “wisdom literature”, designed to produce meditation on God, and they should be read thoroughly and in context in order to see the deeper truth contained therein.

The Proverbs (in particular) are not “legal guarantees” from God (e.g “honor the Lord with the first fruit…so shall your barns be filled…) – they are written in hyperbolic language, based on the whole truth of the Old Testament. The entire Proverbs (all 31 chapters) are a very interesting read, but they are challenging, particularly because of the nature of wisdom literature (veiled understanding that must be studied thoroughly, hyperbole, etc). Further, the Proverbs are essentially “sayings” as opposed to direct Law given by God to Moses and the children of Israel. 

Having said that, let’s start at the very beginning (where the pimps don’t dare tread)…the first fruit offering was initiated in Leviticus:

Leviticus 23:9-14 (New American Standard Bible)

9Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 10“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and (A)reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

 11‘He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

 12‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD.

 13‘Its (B)grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a [a]hin of wine.

 14‘Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, (C)you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

…and further detailed in Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 26:1-10 (New American Standard Bible)

 1“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it,

 2that you shall take some of (A)the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and (B)go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.

 3“You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’

 4“Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

 5“You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, ‘(C)My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, (D)few in number; but there he became a (E)great, mighty and populous nation.

 6‘And the (F)Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us.

 7‘Then (G)we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression;

 8(H)and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;

 9and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, (I)a land flowing with milk and honey.

 10‘Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground (J)which You, O LORD have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;

First fruits are mentioned in the New Testament, but only symbolically; new converts were referred to as “first fruits” in the early Church because they were often the first followers of Christ in their communities (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15). However, Paul and James made it explicitly clear that Christ was a type of first fruit for those of us in the faith (1 Corinthians 15:20; James 1:18).  There is no mention of cash or money in regards to the biblical principle of first fruit (see every reference to “first fruit” or “first fruits” in Nave’s Topical Bible). Under the Law, sacrifices (animal, grain, burnt offerings, etc.) were required by God for the forgiveness of sin and for “covering” or “blessing” (Genesis 3:21; Genesis 4:4-5; Genesis 8:20-21; Genesis 22:10-13; Leviticus 4:35; Leviticus 5:10).

Jesus Christ became the final Passover Lamb when He shed His Reedeming Blood for His elect, rendering these ceremonial sacrifices moot, null, and void (John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). There is no need or reason for ANY CHRISTIAN to “sacrifice” or present “sacrificial offerings” in a mock ceremony. The sad reality is that these hirelings  (who have already spiritually molested you with the tithe, convincing you that God is moved by your money) now tell you that your “crops” need to be “blessed”, otherwise you’ll meet all manner of financial calamity and the “devourer” will wreak havoc over your finances.

“So, passa, bishop, apostle, evangelist Smith…how can I be assured that God is going to make my crops reap a huge harvest this year” you ask? They can barely hide their delight when they reply “You have to give a first fruit offering  – the first and best of your harvest – so that God will cover you for the remainder of the year!”. Next thing you know, the hireling is standing before the congregation in his best ceremonial frock with a huge basket (full of your money), declaring that he’s going to “wave the heave offering (another sacrifice of grain that was rendered moot) over the congregation so that God will be pleased with our sacrifice”.

What you don’t know is that your “special offering” to (essentially) get God off your back is actually a windfall cash payment to your hireling – a payment that he’s been waiting for since he took it from you the previous year. Sure, you may be told that “this offering is going to programs in the church”, and you don’t even question it when those same “programs” require a payment from you if you want to participate in them (sound familiar, lemmings of the Pimp of Hampton’s club?). Your pimps love of cash and material things has created an insatiable lust for stuff that is no longer satisfied by the consumption of even more cash:

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 (New American Standard Bible)

10(A)He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

 11(B)When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?

I know for a fact that the “first fruit offering” goes directly to the pimp as a love offering, so don’t attempt to defend your pimp’s money grab here. And even if the “first fruit offering” was used for “benevolence”, it was taken from you in the guise of a lie because (yet again) your hireling doesn’t trust you to give from your heart (2 Corinthians 9:7) – you must be threatened and cajoled. Further, some churches even move the date of the collection of the “first fruit” during the months of January through April. If this was a mandatory offering (mandated and honored by God), then don’t you think God would clearly say so (in His Word), something like: “My Bishops/Apostles/Pastors/Shepherds et al shall collect a first fruit offering on My behalf on the 3rd Sunday of January”.

Even further, I find it curious that these vipers will put a pistol to your head for (at least) two Old Testament customs (that NEVER EVER EVER APPLIED TO YOU), yet they overlook every other animal sacrifice, (real) grain offering, etc. The next time your pimp wants a “sacrificial first fruit offering”, then throw a New York strip steak or a bushel of oranges on his “altar” – and see what he does then.

Folks, I implore you from the bottom of my heart to flee these lying, wicked, vile, covetous, desperate pulpit pimps and degenerate hustlers. They wouldn’t get within spitting distance of you were it not for their profane lust for your money – that’s why they can dismiss you with no impunity when you remove their hands from your pockets.

Those of you who have paid (or are paying) into these money scams because your pimp has convinced you that God doesn’t even see you unless you have money in your hand, you need to repent of your fleshly desire to gain favor and material things from God. Jesus paid the sacrifice for you already, and God is not a slot machine.

If you truly love the Lord and are earnestly seeking to be transformed into the Image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2), then please get away from these money-grubbing thieves before they cause you to question your faith when you see that you (and them) aren’t prospering as they promised you would.

If you are a hireling that knowingly participates in and perpetuates this first fruit scam (among other parlor tricks) then you still have time to repent before the Lord, renounce your wickedness, and seek restoration through Jesus Christ. Now is the hour, because you do not know what tomorrow holds for you.

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Pimps – The Gathering

Eddie Long is an egomaniac.

Besides being a false bishop, he is obsessed with anything that carries his name, advances his church club, and shines the light of worldy admiration on him. He loves to throw parties every spring, “give” publicly so that others can shout of his good works and he can break his arm patting himself on the back.

Eddie usually throws a few “conventions” every year to grease change from the pockets of those who chase “the anointing”, and to teach gullible pastors about how to be a degenerate pimp like he is. The advertisement that landed in my inbox today heralds the near arrival of one of Eddie’s “call for the pimps to gather”:

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I apologize for the size of this photo (and I know how uncomfortable it is to have Pimp Eddie “mean mugging” at you), but I had to enlarge the flier in order to highlight the shear ignorance of this event. Allow me to draw your attention to the highlighted areas above:

  • The purpose of the event is for Senior Pastors Pimps to “develop a kingdom strategy for changing times”. That’s just corporate Christianity talk for “let’s come up with more creative ways to steal/intimidate/beg/threaten/cajole cash from our ho..uh…followers during a recession.”
  • Like any other effective multi-level marketing event, even the visiting pimps have to pay $500 to get in (but it’s worth it to learn how to fleece others out of at least 10 times as much, right?)
  • Eddie is scowling at you while holding a sword (symbolizing his comittment to continually butchering the Word of God), and the reference to Matthew 11:12. Of course,  Matthew 11 (in context) is NOT an appeal to loot for the sake of the Kingdom, but who cares, right? We know that Eddie seeks to advance the kingdom of this world (and unrighteous mammon), not the Kingdom of God.

And let’s not overlook the “prestigious mend of gawd” who are helping Pimp Eddie to facilitate this Pimp-A-Palooza:

Just in case you thought these “mend of gawd” actually studied scripture in order to soberly preach salvation through Christ alone, this is proof-positive that they simply gather to compare notes – and devise new ways to separate you from your hard-earned money.

You KNOW You’re In A Cult If…

I was once a member of a cult. It was difficult for me to finally admit, but looking back I now realize that I was a water carrying, pulpit pimp protecting, twisted-scripture repeating drone.

Oh, and don’t laugh and shake your head at me. If your “pastor” wears reptile-skinned shoes, mandates that you call him your “spiritual daddy”, and has you repeating phrases like “money cometh from the four winds”, “sow into this good ground”, “I declare increase over your life”, and “I’ll receive a pressed-down shaken together blessing!”, then you’re likely in a pulpit pimp’s charismatic cult also.

It has come to my attention that this blog is getting lots of publicity in the church club of a certain pimp (and son of Eddie “the Alpha pimp” Long) here in Metro-Atlanta. This pimp is quite concerned that his name is being dragged “all over the internet” – I guess he wanted his heresies to stay within the walls of his club.

Anyway, since many of the club-goers are Googling to see what all the fuss is about, I thought I’d take a moment to share why I believe that they belong to a cult – and to implore them to flee their pimp as soon as possible. Therefore, I present:

Signs Of Cult Behavior:

  1. Cult members are focused on a living leader to whom members seem to display excessively zealous, unquestioning commitment. The leader is a strong-willed, domineering character who rules the group with tight control. He lets it be known in subtle ways that he is “in charge” of the movement. He makes the plans, he orchestrates the movements of the group or groups (sometimes he exercises his sway over several groups). Frequently, they even begin to imitate his mannerisms in terms of dress, voice inflection, language patterns, aggressive attitudes, etc. They become “clones” of their esteemed leader. It is not uncommon that the leader knows of weaknesses or past problems of people with his group and uses intimidation and fear to keep them under his control.
  2. Questioning, doubt, and dissent are discouraged, and there can be pressure or social punishment when there is disagreement with the “boss.” Those who disagree are made to feel as though they are stupid or inept. They are brainwashed with the notion that they do not have the knowledge or experience to question the leader. Younger people are particularly vulnerable to the leader’s “anointing.” No matter how radical the leader becomes in his decisions or actions, the cult members will not criticize him. Even if there should be mild disagreement, no specific expressions are voiced. The members feel that although he may be mistaken in some of his judgments, the overall good he accomplishes outweighs any minor flaws. Members are taught to “rationalize” the conduct of the leader.
  3. The leader is preoccupied with money. There is always a need for increasing finances. New projects are always “in the works.” Members are strongly encouraged to greatly sacrifice for the leader’s pet projects. There is always pressure to give; members of the group must be kept excited on a continual basis. The cult leader always takes the major credit for the movement’s accomplishments. Members become psychologically dependent upon him. “What would we ever do without our spiritual father?,” is the cult mentality.
  4. The cult leader generates within his members “a polarized” mentality. His people evolve an “us-versus-them” mentality. Little-by-little he criticizes other groups with which his members might tend to associate, undermining confidence in them, attempting to discredit anyone who could have influence over his “flock.” Cult members become suspicious. No one is really as “sound” as “we” are. We are an “elitist” group. And so, seeds of isolationism are sown. The movement leader discourages reading any material, examining any ideas that he does not initiate.
  5. The cult leader has a clearly defined “anti-authoritarian” disposition. Within the context of the church, for instance, he would have an “anti-elder accountability” attitude. Elders would be recipients of constant critical remarks. No cult leader would affiliate himself with a congregation having elders to whom he must be in submission. “Control” could not be maintained in such an environment, so Elders are rendered impotent. The cult leader would constantly criticize preachers, particularly those whose knowledge of the Scriptures eclipse his own. Members must be made to feel that he is the “chief authority” in spiritual matters.
  6. Cult members are seen occasionally to take on a new personality. They begin to act differently. They become increasingly antagonistic to family members and long-time friends. They may even boast that, “I am not the old [name] that you used to know; I am a new person now.” And indeed they are. They have become strangers to those who knew them well. They have been transformed into the image of their leader.

So there you have it, potential cult members. Take the time to climb through the Word of God as your pimp is twisting it from the pulpit. Read it in context – don’t just flip to the verses he tells you to read. If you still believe that your pimp descended from the right hand of the Father, then stay.

If you start to realize how far your pimp has wandered from the True and Living God – and how the pimp doesn’t even want to return to God – then run as quickly as you can.

There. That ought to give your pimp something to squeal about for the next few weeks…

Air Pimp One

Eddie Long has one.

So does “Apostle” K.C. Price, Creflo Dollar, TD Jakes, Ken Copeland, Benny Hinn, and many other wolves, apostates, heretics, vipers, pulpit pimps and wannabe’s.

The argument goes something like this:

“You know, Apostle Bishop Right Reverend Prophet Joneshas an anointing on his life – and that anointing isn’t on a convenient flight schedule. Apostle Bishop Right Reverend Prophet Jones has been called by God to minister to the nations, and he needs a ministry tool that will catapult him to the forefront of evangelical outreach, thus the need for a private jet”.

The problem, of course, is that these vipers don’t take their jets to Calcutta, India or the jungles of the Philippines to minister the Gospel to those who either (a) haven’t heard it or (b) have rejected it for Islam or another false gospel.

Nope, these wolves (and their families and “sons and daughters in the ministry”) always end up in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or some other tropical (and tourist-friendly locale) in order to “spread the Gospel” (as long as it doesn’t interfere with sun bathing, surfing, exotic dinner excursions, and the like).

You don’t expect these degenerates to fly Delta (even in the 1st class cabin) when they can load up a plane and go anywhere they want to on a whim, do you?

Our brother bezel333 reports on the latest happenings of the supreme airbone pimp Benny Hinn (Benny was flying in private planes while most of these pimps were still being tooled around in Rolls-Royce’s). It looks like old Benny needs a little more cheddar to upgrade his Air Pimp One – and pay for the rising cost of fuel to minister to the nations blow on people and expect them to fall over:

Attention: Benny Hinn Needs Money for Jet Fuel:

Now come on people, you don’t want old Benny to “plummet from the sky” in an “unsafe aircraft” (i.e. last year’s model), now do you? You know the drill – pay the Prophet Profit and he’ll make sure to put in a good word with God on your behalf.

Benny won’t give you a shout-out to God if you keep him in an “old” corporate jet!

These vipers have escalated the pimp game to a level that is unprecedented. Soon, they’ll be able to shake-you down like any other street-corner hustler instead of wrapping their “game” in religious jargon.

And sadly, the sheep will still throw hard-earned money at their feet.

Hebrews 13:5 (New American Standard Bible)

5Make sure that your character is (A)free from the love of money, (B)being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “(C)I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,”

Instead of spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ and reminding the sheep that the gift of salvation and right relationship with God through Jesus Christ trumps any financial reward that we can gain, old Benny keeps parroting the tired “you gotta pay to play” line.

And of course, it all starts with paying him.

Pray that Benny Hinn and his ilk repent before the Lord for their heresy before it’s too late for them. Either way, pray that the Lord’s will be done – and that the sheep avoid Benny and crew.

Run Pimps, Run!

Alright, now it’s getting even harder out here for a pimp!

Even MSNBC is getting in on the action.

Once the mainstream media starts to sniff out these pimps on a regular basis, you know that God is using them to expose these deceivers who use His name to steal from you!

 7(A)Do not be deceived, (B)God is not mocked; for (C)whatever a man sows, this he will also reap.

 8(D)For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap (E)corruption, but (F)the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. (Galations 6:7-8)

The pimps have twisted this scripture and used it to beat you over the head so that you’d give to their hair-brained schemes. Now, God is using His Word to remind you that He is not to be played with!

Maybe they should read Melvin Jones’ new book “Pulpit Pimping for Dummies” to “reposition themselves” in the game… 

Run Pimps, Run!

What If…?

I have a process-oriented mind, so I have a hard time thinking creatively. My mind logically flows from point A to point B and so on – I get nervous if I’m asked to jump from A to Z back to F and over to P…you get my point.

As a Christian, I understand that I have to have the mind of Christ (Philippians 2:5) – and that is my daily prayer – but I also understand that God gave me a sound mind to make wise decisions (2 Timothy 1:7).

Which brings me to the point of this post. What if the wolves and charlatans in the Body of Christ made it tougher for me to do my job (blogging to expose the truth to counter their lies about God)?

While this blog does allow me to channel my frustrations with pimps and their pimpery, I’d be happy to go read a book or play Wii if they just went away.

In the meantime…

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What If

  • …pastors aspired to preach God’s Word, instead of  aspiring pimpdom?

As I’ve stated in earlier posts, it seems as though most pastors are either pulpit pimps, pimps in training (who are “spiritual sons” to super or alpha pimps), or wannabe pimps (longingly waiting for their day to “shine”).

We know what a pimp is, and what he (or in some cases she) does, so who would want to emulate that?

I understand that this can be construed as a general statement, but my perception (and what I’ve seen up close for the past 11 years) is my reality.

I’m only in my mid-30’s, but when I was growing up, the pastor had a full-time job, and he preached on Sunday’s and Wednesday’s because he was led by the Holy Spirit. My mother can attest to the same from her childhood (and she’s in her early 70’s).

Now, pastoring has become a fulltime “racket” that could be confused with any pyramid scheme out there today – except the product that’s being exploited is the Word of God.

While many pastors do labor in the Word of God so that believers will be matured in Christ (and you don’t generally see them on TBN, The Word Network, Daystar, or BET), others take one verse of scripture (out of context) and distort, butcher, & hoop it until it’s dead – while imparting nothing.

  • …pastors preached without compromising God’s Word?

It seems as though many pastors preach the Word of God from a perspective that furthers their own agenda. Worse, they seek the scriptures that will “illustrate” their point (again, out of context of course).

Anyone who has ever taken a Hermeneutics course knows the difference between exegisis and eisegesis. Exegisis is an interpretation or understanding of scripture based on the text itself. In other words, when you exegete the bible, you read scripture with an open mind and asking the Lord to impart His wisdom about His Word in you. 

Eisegesis, however, is an interpretation of an existing text that introduces one’s own ideas. When you eisegete, you have an idea in mind, and YOU interpret scripture to suit YOUR purpose. God isn’t involved at all.

When pastors preach about how we should accept homosexuality (because they’re in the closet themselves), or when they preach the prosperity gospel (because they want more of your money), or when they preach about salvation apart from belief and acceptance in Christ (because they don’t want to offend society at large) – and they use scripture to make you believe it – then they are guilty of eisegesis.

There are many in the body of Christ today who’d rather eisegete than study the Word, and recite it verbatim. Even Paul had to encourage Timothy to stand flat-footed and preach the true Gospel:

2preach (A)the word; be ready in season and out of season; (B)reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great (C)patience and instruction. (2 Timothy 4:2)

I guess it’s easier to please the crowd than to please God.

  • …pastors didn’t “shake you down” for money?

7Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NIV)

If this is true (and I believe that it is), then why do pastors beat you over the head and drag you back into bondage by demanding that you tithe, give them a “love offering”, a “first fruit” offering, and birthday and anniversary money, etc. by distorting 2 Corinthians 9:6?

God commands that we care for the needs of those in our homes and communities, so why are you “cursed” if you focus on giving to the mission field vs. giving to the “man of God”?

Also, in 1 Corinthians 16:1-2 Paul clearly talks about putting aside some of your earnings to give to the saints.

We should practice what I call “grace giving” – giving what the Lord leads you to give to whom He leads you to give it to.

When we “pay God” because of the pimps extortion, then we begin to resent Him when He doesn’t give it back to us “30, 60, 100 fold).

Note: Melvin Jones over at Pulpit Pimps did an excellent thesis on the error of tithing, and Independent Conservative took a closer look at “first fruits” – one of the fastest growing scams in the church. You did know that the “first fruit” offering goes DIRECTLY to your pastor, didn’t you? 

  • …pastors didn’t intimidate you into staying under their “covering”?

As I’ve mentioned in earlier posts, the pulpit pimp is an expert at making you think that you need him in order to hear from God. You can’t possible seek God unless you’re “submitted to them” or “under their covering”.

I never understood how insecure people use their insecurity to try and convince you that you can be secure with them. It’s maddening. If your pimp was truly preaching God’s Word, then the Word would speak for itself.

He wouldn’t have to twist it to make sense to you. In fact, if he believed what he was preaching to you, then he would “allow” God to move your heart – he wouldn’t rely on threatning you so that you stay (“you’re cursed if you leave your covering”; “I’m God’s mouthpiece, you can’t hear from Him if you don’t listen to me”, etc.).

There are many more things that I can point out (and you’re welcome to leave your comments and add your own “what if’s”), but I could go on forever.

The bottom line is that Christ died on the cross to redeem us back to the Father. He didn’t die so that pimps could distort His image and sell His Gospel for earthly gain.

Listen to Peter describe the role of elders (pastors) in the church, and see if your leader is a pastor…or a pulpit pimp:

Serve God Willingly

 1(A)Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your (B)fellow elder and (C)witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a (D)partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed,

 2shepherd (E)the flock of God among you, exercising oversight (F)not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and (G)not for sordid gain, but with eagerness;

 3nor yet as (H)lording it over those allotted to your charge, but proving to be (I)examples to the flock.

 4And when the Chief (J)Shepherd appears, you will receive the (K)unfading (L)crown of glory.

 5(M)You younger men, likewise, (N)be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with (O)humility toward one another, for (P)GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.

 6Therefore (Q)humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time (1 Peter 5:1-6)  

Church Mafia…Forget About It?

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The picture above is a snapshot of some of the key characters in HBO’s award winning series “The Sopranos” – a drama series about the mafia. We see Tony Soprano and a few of his “enforcers” (or captains).

If you’re a member of a black mega church today, then you might as well substitute these characters with pictures of your Pastor, Elders, Ministers, and Deacons. They too take on the role of “enforcers” to help the “boss” keep you in line.

To the outsider, it’s absurd to even try to parallel life in the mafia with life in the mega church today. If you’ve “escaped” a mega church, then you know all to well how these two entities can be confused with one another. It may not sound polite to say, but the reality is this: the leadership in most mega churches operate like the mafia.

Take a look at a few of the parallels:

 

The Leadership

These days, there is a single authority in the church – and it’s not Jesus Christ. The Pastor has become the lone leader. Just like the mafia boss, he rules from the top down – not the bottom up.

He doesn’t like independent thought or dissension. He doesn’t like to speak with you directly – he’ll send an emissary to tell you if he’s pleased or dissatisfied with your work.

He doesn’t want to have his fingerprints on any “controversial” decisions, so he assigns some of his “captains” (or Elders, Ministers, or Deacons) as decision makers to insulate himself from any fallout – and his “captains” will gladly fall on their swords on his behalf.

 

The Oath of Loyalty

In the mafia, it’s called the omerta’. In the church, it’s called “submitting to authority” or “submitting to your covering”. Either way, it’s all the same – there is both an implied and expressly sanctioned code of silence. In the mafia, “made men” (or loyal members who ascend to leadership) swear allegiance to the boss and swiftly punish anyone that dares to speak of what happens behind closed doors.

In the church, Deacons or Ministers in training (or loyal members who are about to ascend to leadership) often swear that same allegiance and oath of silence. Secrecy and confidentiality is taught and expected.

When I was in training for ordained leadership, I was expressly told “don’t share any of this with your wife”, or “this is not pillow talk, this is highly confidential information”. Our names were kept confidential and we met in private. We were even told to directly deny if someone inquired about our participation in the training programs.

You would think we were becoming Masons or something similar. Of course, this runs completely counter to scripture (John 7:4):

“For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

Compensation

Mafia captains are required to share a percentage of their “spoils” (money they collect by “taxing” local business for protection) with the boss.

Church leaders (and members) are intimidated into paying tithes, offerings, love offerings, first fruit and any other contrived “offering” to the “man of God” to show your appreciation to him for his “work in the Lord”.

Leaders are chosen based on their giving records. Consistent givers are rewarded with luncheons and lapel pins.

 

Promotion

Mafia bosses reward their potential captains with promotion after witnessing the potential’s ability to “earn” and solve problems.

Pastors promote those in ministry for many of the same reasons. If you’re a good giver, then you’ll be a good deacon or minister. If you can keep “problems” away from the pastor, then you’re marked for promotion.

Many church leaders will throw each other “under the bus” if they think that the pastor will reward their loyalty. I’ve know many minstry leaders in mega churches who were promoted when they exposed someone who may not be “towing the company line” like they would do if they were in that same position.

 

“You’re Dead To Me”!

In the mafia, dissenters are considered enemies and disposed of at the word of the boss. In fact, they are never spoken of again, almost as though they never existed.

In the church, if you leave the fellowship, you are officially dead. If you leave some of your family behind, then they are encouraged to shun you. “The devil is using them” and “they’re being swayed by outside influence” they’re told. You’re even ridiculed for leaving your “covering” (learn more about the faux “spiritual father” and “covering” scam).

Before I fled the plantation, there had been several leaders who left before me. One even formed his own church and was ordained as a Pastor. My ministry colleagues and I were expressly forbidden to attend the ordination service of our former colleague – if we went then we would be sat down…no questions asked.

One of us defied the order and attended the ordination in support of our friend. He was summarily sat down without so much as a meeting from the boss – he left the assembly soon after.

His attempts to reach out to some of our ministry colleagues were thwarted and rebuffed. As I’ve said on previous posts, I’ve had to repent to the Lord for such blatant foolishness – especially in this regard.

 

Extravagant Lifestyles

Mafia bosses display their wealth in order to encourage their captains to “earn” (i.e extort) more so that they too can live like the boss. Church bosses display their wealth to “brag on God” and show you that their pyramid schemes actually work and God is blessing them with Bentley’s, mansions, jewelry, etc.

The pastor uses his wealth just like the mafia boss does – to encourage our lust of the flesh so that we’ll do what it takes to live the same lifestyle.

————————————————————————————-

This is just a short list of similarities. If you’re a former mega churcher, then I’m sure you could go deeper (feel free to comment if you’d like to expose your former boss to the world). This simply illustrates how much more prayer is needed in order for the people of God to know what the wolves look like, recognize their games, and avoid them at all costs.

Paul exhorted the elders whom he sent to preach the Gospel to remember the humilty with which he ministered – and that he didn’t preach to them for money or things. He reminded them that they were to guard against the wolves that would seek to destroy the faithful, and he commended them to the grace of God.

25“And now, behold, I know that all of you, among whom I went about (A)preaching the kingdom, will no longer see my face.

 26“Therefore, I testify to you this day that (B)I am innocent of the blood of all men.

 27“For I (C)did not shrink from declaring to you the whole (D)purpose of God.

 28“Be on guard for yourselves and for all (E)the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd (F)the church of God which (G)He purchased with His own blood.

 29“I know that after my departure (H)savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing (I)the flock;

 30and from among your own selves men will arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away (J)the disciples after them.

 31“Therefore be on the alert, remembering that night and day for a period of (K)three years I did not cease to admonish each one (L)with tears.

 32“And now I (M)commend you to God and to (N)the word of His grace, which is able to (O)build you up and to give you (P)the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

 33(Q)I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or clothes.

 34“You yourselves know that (R)these hands ministered to my own needs and to the (S)men who were with me.

 35“In everything I showed you that by working hard in this manner you must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.'”

 36When he had said these things, he (T)knelt down and prayed with them all. (Acts 20:25-36)

Seek God and His righteousness. Read the bible. Study what you don’t understand, and fellowship with a bible-based assembly (I know it’s tough, but they are out there). There’s so much more work that has to be done.


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