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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Grassley’

CNN: Believer Bitter Over Prosperity Teachings

Posted by Job on July 5, 2008

See this story which Slice of Laodicea directed me to. 

The message flickered into Cindy Fleenor’s living room each night: Be faithful in how you live and how you give, the television preachers said, and God will shower you with material riches. And so the 53-year-old accountant from the Tampa, Florida, area pledged $500 a year to Joyce Meyer, the evangelist whose frank talk about recovering from childhood sexual abuse was so inspirational. She wrote checks to flamboyant faith healer Benny Hinn and a local preacher-made-good, Paula White.

Only the blessings didn’t come. Fleenor ended up borrowing money from friends and payday loan companies just to buy groceries. At first she believed the explanation given on television: Her faith wasn’t strong enough.

“I wanted to believe God wanted to do something great with me like he was doing with them,” she said. “I’m angry and bitter about it. Right now, I don’t watch anyone on TV hardly.”

All three of the groups Fleenor supported are among six major Christian television ministries under scrutiny by a senator who is asking questions about the evangelists’ lavish spending and possible abuses of their tax-exempt status.

The probe by Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, has brought new scrutiny to the underlying belief that brings in millions of dollars and fills churches from Atlanta to Los Angeles — the “Gospel of Prosperity,” or the notion that God wants to bless the faithful with earthly riches.

All six ministries under investigation preach the prosperity gospel to varying degrees.

Proponents call it a biblically sound message of hope. Others say it is a distortion that makes evangelists rich and preys on the vulnerable. They say it has evolved from “it’s all right to make money” to it’s all right for the pastor to drive a Bentley, live in an oceanside home and travel by private jet. “More and more people are desperate and grasping at straws and want something that will alleviate their pain or financial crisis,” said Michael Palmer, dean of the divinity school at Regent University, founded by Pat Robertson. “It’s a growing problem.”

The modern-day prosperity movement can largely be traced back to evangelist Oral Roberts’ teachings. Roberts’ disciples have spread his theology and vocabulary (Roberts and other evangelists, such as Meyer, call their donors “partners.”) And several popular prosperity preachers, including some now under investigation, have served on the Oral Roberts University board.

Grassley is asking the ministries for financial records on salaries, spending practices, private jets and other perks. The investigation, coupled with a financial scandal at ORU that forced out Roberts’ son and heir, Richard, has some wondering whether the prosperity gospel is facing a day of reckoning.

While few expect the movement to disappear, the scrutiny could force greater financial transparency and oversight in a movement known for secrecy.

Most scholars trace the origins of prosperity theology to E.W. Kenyon, an evangelical pastor from the first half of the 20th century.

But it wasn’t until the postwar era — and a pair of evangelists from Tulsa, Oklahoma — that “health and wealth” theology became a fixture in Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

Oral Roberts and Kenneth Hagin — and later, Kenneth Copeland — trained tens of thousands of evangelists with a message that resonated with an emerging middle class, said David Edwin Harrell Jr., a Roberts biographer. Copeland is among those now being investigated.

“What Oral did was develop a theology that made it OK to prosper,” Harrell said. “He let Pentecostals be faithful to the old-time truths their grandparents embraced and be part of the modern world, where they could have good jobs and make money.”

The teachings took on various names — “Name It and Claim It,” “Word of Faith,” the prosperity gospel.

Prosperity preachers say that it isn’t all about money — that God’s blessings extend to health, relationships and being well-off enough to help others.

They have Bible verses at the ready to make their case. One oft-cited verse, in Paul’s Second Epistle to the Corinthians, reads: “Yet for your sakes he became poor, that you by his poverty might become rich.”

Critics acknowledge the idea that God wants to bless his followers has a Biblical basis, but say prosperity preachers take verses out of context. The prosperity crowd also fails to acknowledge Biblical accounts that show God doesn’t always reward faithful believers, Palmer said.

The Book of Job is a case study in piety unrewarded, and a chapter in the Book of Hebrews includes a litany of believers who were tortured and martyred, Palmer said.

Yet the prosperity gospel continues to draw crowds, particularly lower- and middle-income people who, critics say, have the greatest motivation and the most to lose. The prosperity message is spreading to black churches, attracting elderly people with disposable incomes, and reaching huge churches in Africa and other developing parts of the world.

One of the teaching’s attractions is that it doesn’t dwell on traditional Christian themes of heaven and hell but on answering pressing concerns of the here and now, said Brian McLaren, a liberal evangelical author and pastor.

But the prosperity gospel, McLaren said, not only preys on the hope of the vulnerable, it puts too much emphasis on individual success and happiness.

“We’ve pretty much ignored what the Bible says about systemic injustice,” he said.

The checks and balances central to Christian denominations are largely lacking in prosperity churches. One of the pastors in the Grassley probe, Bishop Eddie Long of suburban Atlanta, has written that God told him to get rid of the “ungodly governmental structure” of a deacon board.

Some ministers hold up their own wealth as evidence that the teaching works. Atlanta-area pastor Creflo Dollar, who is fighting Grassley’s inquiry, owns a Rolls Royce and multimillion-dollar homes and travels in a church-owned Learjet.

In a letter to Grassley, Dollar’s attorney calls the prosperity gospel a “deeply held religious belief” grounded in Scripture and therefore a protected religious freedom. Grassley has said his probe is not about theology.

But even some prosperity gospel critics — like the Rev. Adam Hamilton of 15,000-member United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in suburban Kansas City, Missouri — say that the investigation is entering a minefield.

“How do you determine how much money a minister like this is able to make when the basic theology is that wealth is OK?” said Hamilton, an Oral Roberts graduate who later left the charismatic movement. “That gets into theological questions.”

There is evidence of change. Joyce Meyer Ministries, for one, enacted financial reforms in recent years, including making audited financial statements public.

Meyer, who has promised to cooperate fully with Grassley, issued a statement emphasizing that a prosperity gospel “that solely equates blessing with financial gain is out of balance and could damage a person’s walk with God.”

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Posted in Christianity | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments »

Kenneth Copeland Video: Jesus Christ Had To Be Born Again

Posted by Job on December 15, 2007

This heresy that Kenneth Copeland, Fred Price, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, (all of whom just happen to be under investigation by Senator Charles Grassley, who incidentally supports Mitt Romney) and other famous Word of Faith teachers, Jesus Christ being born again, is called adoptionism, that Jesus Christ progressed to godhood. Mormons, if you might recall, have a very aggressive version of this doctrine that was rejected by the church in 268 AD when Paul of Samosata introduced it out of his belief that Jesus Christ could not have incarnated as flesh because of the dominant Greek pagan (Plato) doctrine in the culture of the time that spirit was good and matter was evil, and so the two cannot mix. Interestingly enough, that is the same reason why Roman Catholics claim that “Virgin” Mary had to have been immaculately conceived and never sinned … that Jesus Christ could not have been carried by the womb of a woman born in sin. That, incidentally, was the same position of Paul of Samosata.

Back to Mormonism, since Copeland, Price, Meyer, Dollar, and many others – in addition to claiming to be “little gods” through their perversion Psalm 82:6 of out of context (I am grateful for Bob George of Realanswers.net answering my email regarding this question back when I was still a Word of Faither), all that is required is to claim that God the Father also was a man who became God and the concept of pre – existence, which was given to us by Origen (who fans of Joseph Smith the prophet with 33 wives, some of them already married to other men, lived long after the time that the church supposedly fell into complete apostasy and took the teachings on pre – existence with it).

Courtesy of The Heresy Hunter.

From Crackle: Kenneth Copeland Jesus Christ Had To Be Born Again

Posted in apostasy, blasphemy, charismatic, false doctrine, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, heresy, Jesus Christ, Kenneth Copeland, Mormon, mormonism, prosperity doctrine, Word of Faith | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Mike Huckabee Defends Kenneth Copeland!

Posted by Job on November 20, 2007

One false preacher (Huckabee is part of the Rick Warren Purpose Driven cult) to another. Speaking of the Council on Foreign Relations – appointed promoter of the Global Peace Plan, Hillary Clinton is going to speak at his Saddleback Church. Pat Robertson’s CBN endorsed Warren allowing Barack Obama to speak there over the summer if you recall. Boy these false preachers get around! See link below: desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20071117/NEWS09/711170337/-1/SPORTS01

In another twist, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is a friend of Copeland and his wife, Gloria. Time magazine reported this week that Huckabee is standing by them despite the investigation by Grassley, the senior Republican in the first-in-the-nation caucus state where Huckabee has been surging in the polls.

“Kenneth and Gloria Copeland are about the most gracious, authentic, and humble people I know and I consider them dear friends,” Huckabee told Time. “They have brought hope to millions and have operated with the utmost integrity as far as I know.”

I am not as big a fan of this Charles Grassley investigation as is brother IndependentConservative (see here as well), but it at least bore this fruit if nothing else. And oh yes, I think that I will be contacting Stephen Winzenburg of Grandview College, who “has for 20 years studied televangelists, taping broadcasts and analyzing content” to see if he has a Youtube page.

Update: another link on the evil of Copeland: http://absolutedominion.blogspot.com/2007/10/god-and-man-are-not-on-par.html 

Posted in AIDS, Barack Hussein Obama, Barack Obama, Council on Foreign Relations, false preacher, false preachers, false prophet, false religion, false teachers, false teaching, GOP, Hillary Clinton, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Huckabee, Pat Robertson, Republican, Rick Warren | Tagged: , , , , | 13 Comments »

 
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