What I just discussed in part 1was only the first issue I have with this cult. Without a doubt what they are teaching is indeed another gospel. The next issue I would not be able to say is another gospel but is a very serious offense, which could certainly be considered anathema. It could also just be considered part of the other problem. I would like to show my evidence by referring to Acts 5:1. A couple named Ananias and his wife Sapphira sold a piece of property and promised the sale of this property would go to the church. Ananias showed up alone and only gave part of the money received and laid it at the feet of Peter. Peter told Ananias that he had lied not to man but to God. At this point the Holy Spirit struck Ananias dead. Three hours later the wife Sapphira showed up and told the same lie to Peter. Peter asked Sapphira how she could tempt the Holy Spirit. At that moment the Holy Spirit also struck Sapphira dead.
The question is what should a ministry do when they receive a collection? I think we must first realize the ministry is receiving money because of the works of Jesus Christ. This would include his excruciating painful crucifixion. When we give money to a church we would think it’s used for the poor, for missionaries, maintenance of their buildings and grounds and reasonable salaries for the staff. This unfortunately is not the mindset of the prosperity ‘cult’ preachers. We can see above what happened to Ananias and Sapphire when they misused money to be given in the name of the Lord. Don’t read too much into this incident. This doesn’t say they went to hell. It could have just been to show others what happens when you lie to God.
Carol Brooks said it best, "Christianity began as a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. When it went to Athens, it became a philosophy. When it went to Rome, it became an organization. When it went to Europe, it became a culture. When it came to America, it became a business."
These prosperity preachers have no fear of God. I believe it was Jesus who said that the love of money was the root of all evil. He didn’t say money was the root of all evil. These preachers fly around in jets more expensive than the jets the GM executives flew are got criticized. I know of one instance of a woman telling me her aunt gave money to a television preacher to the point she barely had money to eat. These preachers prey on the widows and the poor. A former employee of Benny Hinn said, “Hinn once received $5 from an elderly lady who claimed it was her last $5 she had. Hinn made light of a $5 donation saying, “Ha I got her last $5 guys.” (Corporate narc) The Apostle Paul told us, “for you know by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
L. Ron Hubbard (Founder of Scientology) once said "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wanted to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." Carol Brooks says, “While our modern day evangelists have not started their own religion, they have unquestionably improved on Hubbard’s idea. Capitalizing on Christianity has proved too far more lucrative than starting a new religion.
The recognized leader of the prosperity ‘cult’ pack is Kenneth Copeland along with his wife Gloria Copeland. In a report commissioned by the Senate Mr. And Mrs. Copeland have a $6 million mansion the size of a hotel and acquired a Cessna Citation for $20 million. He already had three other planes. Now let’s just think for a minute. Suppose Ananias and Sapphira told Peter this is the money left after we bought a mansion and Cessna Citation. I’m sure they would have gotten the same treatment Ananias and Sapphire received. I had the personal experience of knowing someone who worked at a bank in Texas and he told me they had to use dollies to bring in all the cash that the Copeland’s collected.
Kenneth Copeland told the taxman that the money was not his (the taxman’s) and that it is God’s and he wasn’t going to get it. This was said by Copeland when asked to submit the ministry’s private financial records. Of course if any of the money was left after the Copelands’ fed their lavish lifestyle their might a few pennies left for the poor. Copeland doesn’t seem to understand that is God’s money when one contributes to what they feel is a Christian Church.
Copeland has a 1500 acre campus outside Fort Worth, Texas. He has an airport on this land for jet landings. He leases the land to his family that it can operate oil and gas wells. The last records available from years back show the Copelands making $650,000/yr.
Independent tax experts who reviewed obtained information call the ministries integrity into question. There are red flags all over their relationships with relatives and friends. Copeland insists he complies with the law.
The most surprising to me of the cult connection is Joyce Meyer. To begin with the ministry’s personal property such as furniture, equipment and artwork is valued at $5.7 million. Joyce Meyer drives a $53,000 Lexus. Her son also drives a Lexus and her husband drives a Mercedes Benz. Joyce Meyers’ jet is worth $10 million and she employs two full-time pilots.
Meyer lives on a family compound. It is valued at $4 million. The ministry pays for all the utility and maintenance bills. They pay their daughter’s property taxes on her home with ministry funds. Meyer says that she should not have to show how she spends the ministry’s money that God wants to bless people who serve him.
Meyer and her board refuse to divulge the amount of money paid to Joyce, her husband and her children. I believe later she did give information for an investigation. Meyer had actually made the statement that she is not paid any more than she is worth. Without Jesus’ works she is not worth a cent.
Creflo Dollar has a $5 million jet and drives a black Rolls Royce. That is a lot different than the donkey Jesus rode on entering Jerusalem. Creflo owns a $1 million home behind iron gates. In addition the ministry also purchased another $1 million house nearby. Of course his income is unavailable.
Benny Hinn is definitely the most dynamic preacher of all. He miraculously heals people and simply blows on someone and they fall over. As much as $30 million has been collected for a ‘World Healing Center’ after God himself told Hinn to build it. That healing center wasn’t built at that time.
I just wonder why Hinn needed a healing center when he could heal people by touching them. He later did build a World Healing Church after his expenses of course. His ministry did start building a 58,000 square-foot office building during that period. He also began building a parsonage worth $3 million oceanfront home in California.
It has been reported that Hinn earns $1.325 million/yr. Hinn also solicited donations for a new orphanage to built outside of Mexico City. He started soliciting funds in February of 2001. In an investigation by NBC News it was found that Hinn did not even get a building permit as of Dec. 27, 2002.
There are a set of financial practices set forth by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. This council was set up after the problems in the 80’s of course with Jim and Tammy Baker. One of the standards set by the council is to have at least five board members that are fully independent of the ministry. Hinn as well as Joyce Meyer failed this test. Take a look at how independent Meyer’s Board of Trustees is. Her board consists of herself, her husband, all four of her children, and six of her closest friends. Meyer says of her board that our family is a big help and we couldn’t do this if we didn’t have someone we trusted. Of course ‘this’ is amassing her fortune.
Hinn has a great gimmick called the two minute blessing. Hinn would bless your credit card for only $1000. This was at a miracle crusade at Johannesburg, South Africa. Hinn told the congregation that the blessing would create 500 churchgoing millionaires and billionaires and all they had to do was present their credit cards for the $1,000 donation. The blessing would only last for two minutes which resulted in the congregation scrambling to give their $1000. Pastor Tommie Ferreira of the AGS Church in Johannesburg several weeks later asked his congregation how many had become millionaires and there were none.
Fred Price lives in a 22 room mansion and owns two Bentley’s. The ministry owns a Gulfstream IISP and it is crewed by two pilots and a flight attendant. Commenting on his expensive jet Price said we stuck with the Cadillac.
We can take a look at some of what the Lord had to say about the poor. As you will see He had a differing opinion than what the prosperity preachers have.
1. And he who gives to the rich, will surely come to poverty. (Proverbs 22:16)
2. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. (1 Timothy 6:6)
3. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses. (Matthew 23:14) Benny Hinn would even take their last penny.
4. And I will come near you for judgment; I will be a swift witness against sorcerers, against adulterers, against perjurers, against those who exploit wage earners and widows and orphans, And against those who turn away an alien-Because they do not fear Me,” Says the Lord of hosts. (Malachi 3:5)
5. Come now, you rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you! Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver are corroded, and their corrosion be a witness against you and will eat your flesh like fire.
6. You have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you have kept by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on earth in pleasure and luxury, you have fattened your hearts. And to take what is right from the poor of My people. That widows may be their prey. And that they rob from the fatherless. What will you do in the day of punishment? And in desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory? Without Me they shall bow down among prisoners, And they shall fall among the slain. (James 5:1-5)
I believe it comes down to not fearing God. These ‘prosperity preachers’ have no shame. Everybody’s judgment day is coming. To be honest I’d rather be poor. I believe the dishonest politicians will fare better than the prosperity preachers who benefit from the sufferings of Christ. If you have an older relative and have the opportunity to see if they’re sending money to these prosperity preachers instead of using it for food or even medicine. May God bring justice to this situation and protect the innocent.