Fleecing the Flock of God

One of the most shocking passages in all of the Old Testament is Jeremiah 5:31: “The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Sadly, churches today are far too much like this.

They are filled with these false shepherds and false prophets. Why is that? Because the people in the pews just love it this way. They love to be told what they want to hear. They love to soak up false gospels. They love to have their ears tickled.

All that sure beats getting the real gospel message which commands us to renounce self, deny the flesh, and pick up our cross daily. Who wants to hear that sort of message? Hardly anyone, which is exactly why we so rarely hear it anymore. But what we do get by the bucketful are messages catering to our carnality and our flesh.

Tell people they can get rich and live the good life and you will have a megachurch overnight. People love the sham prosperity gospel because it speaks to everything the flesh desires. Indeed, it is no surprise that the most greedy, materialistic, selfish and consumeristic nation on earth – America – is the birthplace of this pernicious false gospel.

dollar 3And examples of just how bad it really is are so easy to come by. Consider this recent story about yet another American prosperity preacher who is again fleecing his people – and they seem to lap it up! The story begins:

Popular televangelist and founder of World Changers Church International, Creflo Dollar, is now hoping to get 200,000 people to donate $300 each so he can buy a brand new luxurious $65 million Gulfstream G650 airplane for his ministry, which last year had billionaires reportedly waiting in line to get one.
An appeal on his website to fund the purchase of the multimillion dollar airplane noted that the appeal was triggered by a recent engine failure on his current carrier that could have resulted in a tragedy had it not been for his skillful pilot.
“The ministry’s current airplane, was built in 1984, purchased by the ministry in 1999 and has since logged four million miles. Recently on an overseas trip to a global conference, one of the engines failed. By the grace of God, the expert pilot, who’s flown with Creflo for almost 20 years, landed the plane safely without injury or harm to any passengers,” said the appeal. Dollar insisted that he needs one of the most luxurious private jets made today in order to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Um, I don’t think so. He does not need a $65 million dollar jet to preach the gospel. He may well want one to stoke his love of the good life, and to impress gullible believers, and to live like a ‘King’s kid’. And it would look real nice alongside his mega-mansion and fancy cars. But he does not need this to share the gospel.

Indeed, if he took the millions raised and used it on feeding the starving, clothing the naked, and looking after the marginalised and the oppressed, while speaking about Jesus, he would be doing far more for the Kingdom than flying around in his fancy-smancy jet.

And if you think this is not biblical, try reading the Bible for a change; maybe begin with these passages:

Matthew 13:22 The one who received the seed that fell among the thorns is the man who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke it, making it unfruitful.

Luke 6:24-25 But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.

1 Timothy 6:9-10 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

James 5:1-3 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days.

There are plenty of these sorts of warnings about wealth in Scripture. Yet this guy must have taken a scissors and snipped them all out of his Bible. Now if this sounds like I am judging this guy, you are absolutely right I am. And you should be too. This is just a prime example of the very thing Jesus and the disciples warned about time and time again. So who ya gonna believe: the Son of God and the inspired writers of the New Testament, or some con artist who calls himself Dollar?

If you really believe this guy needs a 65 mil plane to preach the gospel, then I have refrigerators I want to sell you in Alaska. Um, news flash: the disciples did not have a luxury private jet to preach the gospel. They walked and talked, or used a dodgy old boat.

Some biblical preachers even hitched a ride in the belly of a whale. God was able to get them around, without living a life of luxury. And guess what? The disciples made far more converts on their feet than this charlatan will ever make with his fancy jets and lavish lifestyle.

The prosperity gospel is simply one of the biggest frauds and grossest deceptions ever inflicted upon the Western church. It is leading millions of people to hell. Jesus even warned about this in crystal clear terms, yet we act as if he never said such things.

When he said “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!” he actually meant it. Really. Yet these preachers and their duped disciples think that being stinking rich is actually the way to go. But the Bible makes it clear that we should not seek for riches and wealth.

Of course we do not need to seek for poverty either. As we read in Proverbs 30:8, “Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” And just think of all the daily bread masses of starving people around the world could have if this $65 million went to them and their needs, instead of the selfish and egotistical lusts of this get-rich-quick scammer.


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24 Replies to “Fleecing the Flock of God”

  1. I’m more impressed by John Stott who in spite of his fame in evangelical circles lived a simple life and regarded a couple of ice creams on his birthday as a luxury (as I think I recall reading in Timothy Dudley-Smith’s biography).

  2. He doesn’t need to understand anything about finance. After all, he is not using his own money – he is using ours: Clever dick this Creflo. His name (Dollar) says it all.?

    To his credit, he cancelled the appeal for 200,000 to donate $300 each, that may save a Dollar but will it save Jesus?

  3. Forget the purchase price. The annual operating costs of that aircraft would be more than most churches would see in a lifetime.
    I can see the usefulness of a corporate aircraft for certain types of evangelism, but there are some perfectly good ones for one-twentieth that price, which could also double for humanitarian and similar operations between times.

    This guy is just outrageous. How do people get so sucked in?

  4. Thanks David. If he simply divided the 65 mil into equal amounts for 650,000 evangelists, missionaries and workers already in the fields, that would of course go much further than him and his dumb plane and his dumb ego. Why do all these big cheeses televangelists think only they can preach the gospel to the whole world? God does not need Dollar and his fancy jet.

  5. You are right David about John Stott. He really was a very modest man, and he lived in his little flat with not too much in it. He could have been a very wealthy man, but chose a simple existence for sure. It is almost repugnant to see these guys living lives like the rich and famous, and claiming God’s hand in it, while we’ve got brothers and sisters starving. Crying out loud…

  6. Give 1200 people $50 000 and we could cover a lot more ground than 1 man with a Gulfstream.

  7. Thanks! That was really good. And I think us middle class Christians who go to non-prosperity doctrine preaching churches have heaps to learn as well! We still waste money and store it up for ourselves. I know I have far to go in this area. Have you written anything about Christians and debt?

  8. With these false teachers that preach prosperity, it’s as Paul Washer says. I don’t remember the exact words but it goes something like this: ‘The people are not the victims of the false teachers, the false teachers are God’s judgment on the people who lust after whatever the false preacher is peddling.’

    2 Titus 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    Here is what the Bible has to say about giving to the rich:

    Proverbs 22:16 He that oppresseth the poor to increase his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, shall surely come to want.

  9. Absolutely correct Bill.
    All real Christians have a common enemy. Satan is determined to throw as much muck as he can over us. We need to fight back in even more ways… so why not all Christians join together to work for the common good and join the parishioners at the Catholic Church in Gymea who have now forwarded their 150th shipping container (filled with basic needs) to Fiji and many other islands in the pacific to people who have been devastated by recent cyclones.

    The needs of the island people are simple: clean drinking-water facilities to be re-built, farming implements, barrows, hammers and nails, basic hospital equipment eg beds, linen, etc., basic school-room equipment, desks, chairs, books, pens and pencils, etc. etc. and of course household equipment which has been washed away by storm-surges.

    They tell us that they notice the sea is much warmer than ever before and generates more energy than every before and results in more intense cyclones than ever before.

    As these wonderful people are so poor, their needs must be continually considered in the future.

    After all, in teaching about the final judgement, Jesus himself makes salvation dependent on works of charity: “Then he will say to those on his left hand, “Depart from me you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels: for I was hungry and you gave me no food …” (Matt 25:41-42

  10. This sort of thing gives Christianity a bad name. The complete opposite of Luke 10:4 where the disciples were not to be cumbered with money matters but depend upon God.

    4 Carry neither purse, nor scrip, nor shoes: and salute no man by the way.

  11. I got sucked in by the prosperity doctrine when I was 16. Thankfully, I was cured of that affliction before I left my teens. I remember our pastor, generally a good man, preaching on it ONCE. He laughed when he told the story of a church business man who told him he didn’t believe in the prosperity doctrine, as that business man drove a (I think) “top(?)” of the range Ford and had an income of $40,000 (a lot more money in 1977-8 than it is now). A little later I spoke to a wise elder. The prosperity doctrine, he said, was about spiritual prosperity, not financial prosperity, directly contradicting the senior pastor. But thankfully, the senior pastor, never repeated his sermon. Several years later, another senior pastor in the same denomination, preached “if you don’t preach to PNG highlanders to have faith for a Mercedes Benz, don’t do it here.” That denomination, the AOG/ACC, has plenty of prosperity preachers in its big mega-churches, less so in the smaller churches.

  12. Having watched Creflo on a few occasions he seems to concentrate on African americans, and most of his messages seemed ‘healthy’ . He even mocks his own name.
    The plane seems an abnormal blip to me. Would there have been such a reaction, if say Billy Graham needed a jet?
    Priority to me, would put the needs of the Gospel , ahead of the poor. The poor are not the Church,- the persecuted Church should receive 99 dollars, the poor 1 dollar, as far as my giving goes. However, time will tell about Creflo,- anyone willing to tackle all the problems inherent in the Afro- America community is a brave man.

  13. Thanks Gerald. Sorry, but there is nothing in Dollar worth defending. Billy Graham of course never needed such a jet, never wanted such a jet, and never wasted money on such a jet. And Jesus told us repeatedly about looking after the poor and needy. The gospel is always about proclaiming the words and work of Christ, and helping people as well. It is not one or the other, but both.

  14. Is this guy going to be one of those people who hear those dreadful words “I never knew you”?

  15. People like Dollar, Hinn (real name Tofus Benedictus), duPlantis, Meyer, etc are pure snake-oil salespersons with God’s Name in their mouth. And this prosperity phenomenon has been morphing into the mainstream evangelical churches with the advent of the ‘Vision-Casters’, who proclaim themselves as unique recipients of God’s vision for their church. Thus they demand followers who must give sacrificially of their time and particularly their money to support ‘the Vision’ vested (naturally) in the ‘anointed one of God’. One of these scammers, Steven Furtick, has recently moved into a plush $1.5 million mansion not very far from his obliging “church’. He is surrounded by acolyte fan-boys who know better than to question him and who hang on his every word as spoken from God. Protestant churches in America are sprinkled nowadays with these mini popes.

  16. Thanks John. Yes one thing I have found to be true is when you dare to question any of these big cheese Christians, their groupies will attack you and defend the guy as if he were Jesus Christ – mini popes as you say. Just yesterday I read this in my daily reading and it is rather appropriate here:

    Judges 8:22-23 The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The Lord will rule over you.”

  17. Dollar is anointed by God and should not be criticized. Period. We need to love him like he loves the church. He can get more places in his lifetime if he has his own jets and avoid delays. He is a son of the king and needs all his jets to spread the gospel. Did you note my sarcasm?

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