Did The Pentecostal Prosperity Doctrine And TBN Cause The Financial Crisis?
Posted by Job on October 3, 2008
Foreward: please note that the Bible DOES NOT PROMOTE reckless financial behavior, but quite the contrary promotes hard work, frugality, and conscientiousness. Contrast the ostentatious wealth of King Solomon – who left God for syncretism – with Jesus Christ, who was born in a manger and lived the life of a pauper. And as for you prosperity preacher adherents, well, you wanted to be world changers, right? To take authority and dominion? Well, it looks like you did it. Your doctrines helped cause the international banking crisis that just may set the stage for the anti – Christ to come to power. By the way, sorry for picking on Palin, because TONS of black prosperity doctrine preachers have gotten behind Obama as well. You know, it makes for the perfect conspiracy theory.
All of these Council on Foreign Relations – backed preachers get on TV – especially if they own networks like TBN – or dominate the book publishing market (Left Behind) or even get mainstream publicity (like TD Jakes on the cover of Time Magazine – which ironically published this article ) which exploit the poor with false promises of wealth. Then have the same Council on Foreign Relations – connected politicians (Bush Sr., Bush Jr., Clinton, Gingrich at minimum) change the banking laws, requiring/forcing banks to lend to these people. And when the inevitable economic collapse occurs (which by the way was just the result of terrible economic policy dating back to at least Reagan … remember how the Democrats AND Republicans exhorted you to go buy an SUV and invest your retirement accounts in Pets.com in the 1990s … and that speaks nothing of deficit spending and free trade deals with third world countries where people will gladly work for $5 a day) then use it as an excuse to practically nationalize the banking sector and promote economic globalism. If this WASN’T a conspiracy, it certainly played out like one. In any event, now you see how massively evil false doctrines are, and the prosperity doctrine is both false and evil.
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 Riverside, he realized that Prosperity’s central promise — that God would “make a way” for poor people to enjoy the better things in life — had developed an additional, toxic expression during sub-prime 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.”
Others think he may be right. Says Anthea Butler, an expert in pentecostalism at the University of Rochester in New York state, “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.” If so, the situation offers a look at how an native-born faith built partially on American econoic optimism entered into a toxic symbiosis with a pathological market.
Although a type of Pentecostalism, Prosperity theology adds a distinctive layer of supernatural positive thinking. Adherents will reap rewards if they prove their faith to God by contributing heavily to their churches, remaining mentally and verbally upbeat, and concentrating on divine promises of worldly bounty supposedly strewn throughout the bible. Critics call it a thinly disguised pastor-enrichment scam. Other experts, like Walton, note that for all its faults, it can empower people who have been taught to see themselves as financially or even culturally useless to feel they are “worthy of having more and doing more and being more.” (Sure, if you forget about the Bible says that the Holy Spirit, God the Father,and Jesus Christ are supposed to comfort and reassure us. Blessed are the poor for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.) In some cases the philosophy has matured with its practitioners, encouraging good financial habits and entrepreneurship.
But Walton suggests that a decade’s worth of ever-easier credit acted like drug in Prosperity’s bloodstream. “The economic boom 90’s and financial over-extensions of the new millennium contributed to the success of the prosperity message,” he wrote recently. And not positively. “Narratives of how ‘God blessed me with my first house despite my credit’ were common. Sermons declaring ‘it’s your season to overflow’ supplanted messages of economic sobriety,” and “little attention was paid to.. the dangers of using one’s home equity as an ATM to subsidize cars, clothes and vacations.”
With the bubble burst, Walton and Butler assume that prosperity congregants have taken a disproportionate hit, and are curious as to how their churches will respond. Butler thinks that 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 perservere, since God’s earthly largesse is just as attractive when one is behind the economic eight ball.
A recently posted testimony by a congregant at the Brownsville Assembly of God near Pensacola, Fla., seems to confirm his intuition. Brownsville is not even a classic Prosperity congregation — it relies more on the anointing of its pastors than on scriptural promises of God. But the believer’s note to his minister illustrates how magical thinking can prevail even after the mortgage blade has dropped. “Last Sunday,” it read, “You said if anyone needed a miracle to come up. So I did. I was receiving foreclosure papers, so I asked you to anoint a picture of my home and you did and your wife joined with you in prayer as I cried. I went home feeling something good was going to happen. On Friday the 5th of September I got a phone call from my mortgage company and they came up with a new payment for the next 3 months of only $200. My mortgage is usually $1020. Praise God for his Mercy & Grace.”
And pray that the credit market doesn’t tighten any further.
Some videos that speak of the error of these doctrines.