A recent article in the LA Times asked the question "Is Prosperity a Blessing from God, or a Crime?" In it the writer talks about mega-church ministries where the pastor drives a Rolls-Royce, lives in a mansion, and owns a private jet.
Having come from that world of Evangelical media ministries and having seen close up the challenges this lifestyle can bring, I was mesmerized by the writer's reporting on what was really the problem - Accountability!
Interestingly enough a US Senate oversight committee has asked several mega-church ministries to respond to a questionnaire sent to them by the committee to investigate whether these ministries are violating tax law and their non-profit status.
Of course some are arguing that this can portend an increase in governmental scrutiny of non-profits, but I think that's good too.
Why, you may ask? Well, because God loves His creation too much to allow theological sickness to continue forever unchecked, and if the Church won't stand up and exercise oversight then the "other deacon" of God will have to - the State. The lack of accountability, the abandoning of historic Christian theology, the absolute denial of a Christian view of poverty and possessions cannot be allowed to continue harming unlearned souls who fall prey to these broken theologies and spiritually poverty-stricken preachers. It has to be confronted and it has to be judged!
God loves us. This truth alone is enough to make even the most ardent "small government, States Rights, conservative, non-regulatory, free market" idealogical purest (yes, I'm talking about me) stand up and cheer when the Church has become so impotent that it can no longer prophetically shut the mouths of the gainsayers and heretics with a firm stand. When the Church's voice has become so marginalized by culture, cowardice, and ignorance, I rejoice that there is at least the godless government to shout "Hey that ain't Jesus!"
Now before you begin to think that seminary has pushed me over the deep end (a possibility that has occurred to me) I want you to know that I have no intentions of abandoning the philosophical and political mindset you all have come to know and love about me. However, I cannot simply sit by and continue to pretend that the "Christianity" being promoted by the "Prosperity Gospel" preachers I have known to continue to be passed of as a legitimate form of the Faith of Jesus Christ. Even if this brings some hardship on legitimate ministries, it is worth the price to speak very clearly to this culture that the rampant reduction of Christianity to just one more American commodity to be "bought" and consumed cannot be allowed to continue.
I prefer persecution to heresy!
Glad to be back! :-)
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