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"Get Rich" Gospel Imperils Christianity

"God wants you wealthy" message from Pentecostal televangelists could backfire in persecution of Christians

by Rev. Ted Pike

In 1517, Martin Luther heard Tetzel, representative of the Pope, telling the German people that if they paid money to the church, the souls of their loved ones would be released from purgatory. He was outraged. He wrote 95 theses, which protested "simony" - the promise of spiritual and material benefit in exchange for giving money to the church.

Well, simony is back with a vengeance. Three times a year, Trinity Broadcasting Network, the globe spanning Pentecostal "Christian" TV network with an audience of billions worldwide, raises approximately 50 million dollars per "Praisethon" with the following message: "Give money to TBN and God will give back to you one hundred times as much money or material benefit. Jesus guarantees it!"

It's working - at least for the bank account of Trinity broadcasting. Praisethon lights glow as believers, ranging from the elderly on Social Security and mothers on welfare to wealthy business people, swell TBN's budget - funding 21 satellites and 2,117 TV stations internationally.

Yes, it brings in big bucks, as it did when Luther was outraged by it nearly 500 years ago. Yet it is still simony - a practice as wicked today as when Simon Magus, a Jewish magician in the Book of Acts, offered to pay money to the Apostle Peter in exchange for spiritual and material blessing, and barely escaped Peter's curse by repenting on the spot (Acts 8:9-24).

Where does simony lead? To the creation of rich religious leaders as it did in the Middle Ages, but also to eventual disillusionment of a disappointed and impoverished laity - and to cynicism by a skeptical world. Yet curiously, the simony practiced by Trinity, Oral Roberts, Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copland, etc., and most big time Pentecostal televangelists, has escaped serious criticism by the popular media. Why?

I believe our humanistic, anti-Christian media is biding its time; allowing a cult of Christianity to wax so fat and brazen that it will be ripe for scandal and slaughter when the moment comes for the axe to fall on Christianity worldwide.

When "anti-hate laws" have been passed and the evangelical church is even more materialistic and compromised than it is today, suddenly the full spotlight of the media will focus on the shameless victimization which Pentecostal con-artists have visited on the poor, the elderly, the struggling, by extorting from them their meager subsistence. It will dramatize how such were told that they are "faithless" and failing God if they do not give their rent and food money as "seeds" to the charismatic ministries.

The world will rise up in justified anger at this abuse by "Christianity" (it won't know the difference between Pentecostal simony and authentic Christianity) creating a firestorm of worldwide revulsion against the church in general. Such outrage, along with heightened belief that Christianity is hateful, judgmental, and persecution engendering, may well provide the catalyst for the worldwide persecution, which the Bible foretells.

Trinity claims to be preaching the gospel of Christ to billions. Increasingly, it is clear that it is actually a "cargo cult" of Christianity, preaching a "gospel of gain" (I Tim. 6:5) day and night, to the shame and anger of the church's founder, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, we should remember, although creator of all things, chose a life of such poverty that at times He was without the comfort which the foxes and birds enjoyed in their dens and nests. (Matt. 8:20) He said: "Blessed are the poor" (Luke 6:20), and "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven." (Matt. 19:24)

The "seed tithes" of faith, which simonist leaders require in order for the gullible to be blessed materially, are actually the seeds of the church's own destruction.

NATIONAL PRAYER NETWORK, P.O. Box 828, Clackamas, OR 97015 www.truthtellers.org


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