One of the most popular doctrines of Word-Faith theology is the so-called, "Prosperity Gospel" (aptly referred to by some as, "Blab-it, and Grab-it").
The prosperity teaching works like this: a proponent will tell you that if you want God to bless you (with money, of course), you will first have to 'sow a seed of faith' (translation: send money to the prosperity teacher). God will then (have to, according to some of these cons) send you as much as a hundred-fold in return. Alternatively, or in addition, God will also owe you physical healing...
Of course this begs a question: If you can get money - up to a hundred-fold of what you give to someone else, why do prosperity teachers always ask for more money? If a prosperity teacher puts his money where his mouth is, he would be sending you money.
But there is a variation to the scam. The bottom line of Word-Faith theology is that if you want something, you have to speak or 'proclaim' it. According to Word-Faith teachers, Christians are not just God's children, but have by accepting Jesus Christ become like Adam who, af all, was created in God's likeness and was to have dominion over the earth.
In other words, according to this teaching, they have become 'little gods,' and just like God Himself they should now be able to speak things into existence. (Those who teach this also warn that speaking things into existence can be dangerous. In Word-Faith circles, saying that you have a headache is considered to be a 'negative confession.' In order to get what you want, you must make a 'positive confession.')
Again, if this trick really worked, those who teach it should never again have to ask for money...
In November, 2003, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Joyce Meyer's hometown newspaper - published a special report on Joyce Meyer. The following is quoted from the report's introduction:
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.
It's been an amazing run, nothing short of a miracle, says Meyer, a one-time bookkeeper who heads one of the world's largest television ministries. Her Life in the Word organization expects to take in $95 million this year.
Just look around, she told reporters last month from behind her desk on the third floor of the ministry's corporate offices in Jefferson County.
``Here I am, an ex-housewife from Fenton, with a 12th-grade education,'' she said. ``How could anybody look at this and see anything other than God?''
In many ways, Joyce Meyer is an American Cinderella.
Describing herself as sexually abused when she was a girl and neglected and abandoned as a young wife, Meyer has remade herself into one of the nation's best-known and best-paid TV preachers. She has taken her
``prosperity through faith'' message to millions.
``If you stay in your faith, you are going to get paid,'' Meyer told an audience in Detroit in September. ``I'm living now in my reward.''
Meyer, 60 and a grandmother, runs the ministry with her husband, Dave, and the couple's four children. All of the family, including the children's spouses, draw paychecks from the ministry.
But the way Meyer spends her ministry's money on herself and her family may violate federal law, legal and tax experts say. That law bars leaders of non-profits -- religious groups and other charities -- from privately benefiting from the tax-free money they raise.
Last month, Wall Watchers
, a watchdog group that monitors the finances of large Christian groups, called on the Internal Revenue Service to investigate Meyer and six other TV preachers to find out whether their tax-exempt status should be revoked.
Meyer and her lawyer say she scrupulously abides by all federal laws.
Among other things, Wall Watchers notes:
By most measures, Joyce Meyer
has arrived. The course from Fenton and inauspicious small-time radio ministry to international marquee status, plush appointments and extensive entourage has been skillfully navigated. In Meyer’s words, she is now “living in |her| reward.” Many however see no connection between the abundance amassed by her family run ministry – and that of many other prosperity prophets – and that promised by Christ (John 10:10
While few would raise faint criticism of a legitimate family business venture returning monetary profit to its investors, it is mystifying to contemplate a ministry enjoying eight and nine figure annual donor revenues and then soberly asking for additional financial help in order to continue its 10 percent funding of charitable outreach.
Reputable, non-religious charities draw broad public ire when it is found that they are injudicious with donor revenues. Similar scrutiny of ministry-for-profit is not unreasonable.
In a day in which the true historical Christianity is becoming more and more diffused by the clamor of commerce and culture, the Apostolic admonition has never resonated more clearly – “This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” (James 1:27 NASB
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