Posted by: Captain Howdy | March 9, 2009

An Un-American Prosperity Gospel

An Un-American Prosperity Gospel

I heard a preacher on television address his critics about his nice car and luxurious lifestyle. “I don’t need to take a vow of poverty to be poor, I can be poor without a vow. But what I’ve done is take a vow of prosperity, ‘cause when you’re right with the Lord you can have the treasures of the wicked.”

No ****in’ joke. I heard it myself with my own ears.

Ok, check this out: I went to this big church conference at a mega church in my city a few years ago. One of the speakers was a well-coiffed man from the United Kingdom. He was introduced with a lot of accolades, his ministry accomplishments listed like the business dealings of a successful corporate executive about to give a motivational speech, and in some ways it was.

I listened in earnest as he described how when he took the helm of leadership at a fledgling congregation, that he turned everything around and brought it up into one of the hottest, most vibrant churches in all of the UK.

Ok, wow, amazing. I was impressed.

And then, he took a turn in his talk.

He suddenly began to tell us how he trains his people to think about church and attracting more church is to think about it in terms of branding. Branding. Huh?

He began to use business language to describe how to create a loyal customer base. He told us, a room full of mostly white evangelical middle-class and upper middle-class people, how he did not want his church people talking about Jesus. “Tell them about our church,” he said.

He was not interested in church planting at that time. Some people drove more than two hours each week to attend service at his mega congregation. He thought this was great…and then he described, going back and forth from business lingo to spiritual vocabulary, how because of his success at obtaining and fleshing out the vision of God, that he could now drive the nicest sports car money could buy in his city that he could get the most expensive hair cut from the best hair dresser in town.

He did look successful. He was very handsome with his hair slicked back and wearing an impeccable outfit of well-made clothes. He looked like he could have been on the cover of GQ.

Good looks and style are not a big deal. That’s not the point. That this pastor, this spiritual leader would openly and blatantly say, “I tell my people,’ don’t talk about Jesus. Tell them about our church,'” it was obscene.

I sat in my chair fuming at the distortion of the kingdom of God. Is this what Jesus meant for us?

Is this what He gave his life for?

If the guy had not have been British I would have thought he was a duped American who substituted the American dream for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Apparently the American dream is not unique to America.


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