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.
And 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.