Money and The Christian Press

Joyce Meyer says God has made her rich.

Everything she has came from Him: the $10 million corporate jet, her husband's $107,000 silver-gray Mercedes sedan, her $2 million home and houses worth another $2 million for her four children — all blessings, she says, straight from the hand of God.

That's the lead from the St. Louis Post Dispatch's investigation of Joyce Meyer's spending habit.

Then there's this doozy from Bishop Clarence McClendon, as found in William Lobdell's two part series on the Trinity Broadcasting Network and the prosperity Gospel.

'Some of you are wrestling with debt that you cannot pay off. God told me this morning to tell you to … sow a seed on the credit card that you want God to pay off…. Get Jesus on that credit card! Make a pledge on that credit card!'

For me, TBN's prospertity gospel, and the lifestyle of founders Paul and Jan Crouch , more than $750,000 in salaries, a jet, 30 homes--is much more disturbing than allegations that Paul Crouch had sex with a male former employee.

Here's an interesting theogical statement from Crouch (apparently he missed the "sell all you have and give to the poor" "store up treasures in heaven" sections of the gospel.

"If my heart really, honestly desires a nice Cadillac … would there be something terribly wrong with me saying, 'Lord, it is the desire of my heart to have a nice car … and I'll use it for your glory?' " Crouch asked. "I think I could do that and in time, as I walked in obedience with God, I believe I'd have it."

Here's the thing that bugs me most--both of these stories were broken by the secular media. Now I write for both the secular and religious media,.so that's not meant as a dig against those publications. But outside of Christianity Today's reporting on the questionable bookkeeping and spending pactices at the the Christian Research Institute run by Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, I can't think of another financial scandal broken by the religious media.

We need to do better. Let's forget about the theological infighting and debates over sexuality, at least for a few months, and take a look at the way the love of money has been used to distort the faith.


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