Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and received his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller. He is the author of Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus, and Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith.

When Pastors Live In Multimillion Dollar Mansions, It’s Not A Sign Of God’s Blessing– But Our Sinfulness

Is the phenomenon of rich American pastors a sign of God's blessing? In this post about my work in India and the association between American Christianity and wealth, I ask some hard questions about what it means to actually follow Jesus.
(click to enlarge)

A year ago this week I took these images while working in slums of Mumbai, India. As I was walking along with the local pastor I was spending the day with, he cautioned me saying:

“Be careful where you step, Pastor Benjamin, this is where the children make their shit”.

It took me a moment to get past the fact that a pastor had just said “shit” before I realized that there were human feces almost everywhere.

Such is life in the slums where there are no bathrooms, running water, and where homes look like American storage lockers.

Even with a level of poverty that most Americans could hardly imagine, the people of Mumbai– the people of India in general– are some of the happiest and most generous people I’ve ever been blessed to spend time with. It is one of the many reasons I continue to go back and why part of my heart is always somewhere on a dusty road in India.

While I would desire that all Americans be able to spend some time in the slums of Mumbai or other international traveling geared towards experiencing poverty instead of Club Med, the truth is most Americans probably couldn’t handle it. The reality of global poverty to many, would simply be too disgusting. However, it isn’t to me. The poor and oppressed of this world are my people– because they’re Jesus’ people– and I love being with them.

However, if you take a 16 hour flight from Mumbai back here to the United States, you’ll find some things that I actually do find disgusting: the association between Christianity and wealth.

This unholy matrimony between Jesus and cash is becoming especially true with many Christian leaders. It’s not just televangelists who are about Jesus + bling– this is a poison that is sickening churches of all sizes in America.

We have Pastor Steven Furtick from Elevation Church who just built a multimillion dollar mansion.

Jan Crouch from TBN who has a 50 Million dollar jet, 13 mansions, and a $100,000 mobile home for her dogs.

We have fear-peddlers such as John Hagee who was reported to be making over $1 Million a year before making his salary secret, guys like Kenneth Copeland who have their own fleet of jets, and folks like Ed Young who receives a $240,ooo PER YEAR housing allowance in addition to a $1 Million dollar salary.

Even in small towns like mine, you have churches of African refugees without enough money to care for themselves or even purchase Bibles for the church while two miles down the road, one can find a mega church with multimillion dollar building campaigns.

In the past, this gross association between wealth and Jesus was largely a thing for slimey televangelists, but sadly it isn’t anymore– this illness has permeated into much of American Christian culture, and it’s making all of us sick. With new mega churches cropping up every few days, the Christian idolatry of buildings, bodies, and bucks combined with secular idolatry that promotes the God of “me”,  we have been polluted by money to the point that it is hindering the Kingdom and keeping us from following Jesus.

However, it’s easy for us to stand back and point our finger at these rich poster children for American Christianity as somehow we’re off the hook and innocent parties in all this. We’re not! These folks get their money from…. us.

Let me be prophetically clear: rich pastors and mega church budgets are not a sign of God’s blessing but of our own (corporate) sinfulness.

The body of Christ in America, is guilty. Sure, not all of us use our money to make pastors rich– but we do spend most of our money on ourselves which is even worse. As a result, we are among the richest people in the world while we’re often oblivious to the way the rest of the world lives.

Oblivious to slums. Oblivious to communities where girls are such a financial burden that they’re killed on the day they’re born. Oblivious to a world where a leading cause of death is lack of access to clean water. We– rich, American Christians, are often oblivious to the world around us.

This association with wealth is inappropriate for those who wish to follow Jesus. Jesus is not the one who said “let me show you how to live your best life now” or “Come, let me show you eight steps to having the life you want”.

Instead, Jesus was the man who said: “Want to be perfect? Sell all your possessions and give them to the poor.” (Mt 19:21)

Jesus is the one who said: “If you want to follow me, you should first remember that I am a homeless person.” (Mt 8:20)

Jesus is the one who said: “If you want to follow me, grab a shovel and start digging your grave now.” (Lk 9:23)

Jesus is the one who said: “If money is what motivates you, it’s impossible for you to follow God.” (Mt 6:24)

Admittedly, I tricked you with the title of this post– because it’s not so much about calling rich Christian pastors to repent, as it is about calling me and you to repent.

Instead of the rich, American version of Christianity we must reclaim the truth:

Having an over abundance of wealth kept for ourselves is not a sign of God’s blessing, but damning evidence of our own sinfulness.

So the question becomes: how are we supposed to show solidarity with our poor and hungry brothers and sisters in the world when we’re driving in cars that have televisions and surround sound?

How are we suppose to bring healing to the nations when as Christians we’re spending almost all of our money on ourselves?

Today, I’m remembering the time I had to dodge a field of human feces in the slums of Mumbai. I’m also thinking about the association between American Christianity and wealth.

And to be honest, only one of those two things disgusts me.

Please, Christians of America– let us reject this sinful association with wealth and let us return to the call to follow Jesus by living and giving radically.

 

(Follow-up post: here’s 5 practices that will help you start living a more radical, Christian life. These 5 things will change your life if you try them!)

 
 
Benjamin L. Corey

Benjamin L. Corey

BLC is an author, speaker, scholar, and global traveler, who holds graduate degrees in Theology & Intercultural Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and earned his doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller.

He is the author of Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, and Undiluted: Rediscovering the Radical Message of Jesus.

It's not the end of the world, but it's pretty #@&% close. Trump's America & Franklin Graham's Christianity must be resisted.

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  • I am a disabled woman in a powerchair, and in the last few years gave a man in “ministry” about $15,000, thinking he was barely scraping along–only to find out a few days ago that he just moved into a MANSION–and his gigantic bedroom even has a gas fireplace (I saw the interior on a realtor site). One of the 5 bathrooms looks larger than my apartment! I cried when I saw the 37 pictures featured of the luxury he is living in.

    Then it occurred to me to research his “ministry’s” Form 990’s, and just a few years ago his net PROFIT was about 2 million (and he paid no taxes on his income!), yet he actually took money from ME, someone with major health problems, and he knew it. I must say, however, that God has been good to me, and I know He promised in Psalm 112 that “it is well with him who deals generously,” so I will look to the Lord for a blessing, as I know the intents of MY heart were right; I thought this man was really serving God.

  • Nobody chooses to remember certain Biblical personalities who God richly blessed like Abraham, David, Solomon, Job. People seem to forget that Jesus himself had to have a treasurer. Poor people do not need treasurers. In Deuteronomy 8 the Bible tells us that it is God Himself who gives us the ability to get wealth. In 3 John 1 the great Apostle John said he prayed that the person he wrote the message to would “prosper and be in health even as their soul prospered”. Proverbs 13 says “A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children; and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just. Being wealthy is not a sin. A broke person has nothing to help someone else with. A wealthy person does. The wealthy Christians of this country have nice homes and world wide ministries that work to help the poor and needy around the world and spread the Gospel to all the world. The preachers that feed the people with the Word of God get fed. It is also overlooked that many of these preachers started out dirt poor with absolutely nothing but learned how to become prosperous through believing and preaching what the Bible says. I would much rather learn from someone who knows something than listen to someone who does not bellyache about not having what someone else has.
    We don’t complain about actors being rich and it is us who makes them rich also. How hard is that to do?

    • Wealth is a blessing from God. The Word of God is filled with that. Why do people think its ok for people to chose to serve idols or not even believe in God but when they are struck with poverty its the Christian’s responsibility to take the blessings God has given them and give it all to the same people that would not serve Him. Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these blessings shall be added to you. Yes we have compassion for the poor and give but that does not mean you must not enjoy the blessings God has given you for serving Him. When Judus was complaining of the expensive oil being poured out instead of being sold and the money given to the poor, Jesus rebuked him and said the poor we always have with us. It’s hypocritical to say don’t enjoy the wealth from God because you don’t want to enjoy or serve the God who gave the wealth. God is not moved by need (which is many times caused by sin). He is moved by your faith (in Him) which will supply all your needs!

    • Rose Mary Abbott keep lying and defending the indefensible. Because your view is immoral. These pastors do nothing for Christ they put everything into their own pockets or the direct all of the church’s financial resources into building bigger buildings. They do nothing to honor Christ. This is specifically, true where American churches are concerned. Why? Because in America under our system of government, the church plays a vital and important role as the moral gate keeper in America. The moral decline in America is directly related to greedy, corrupt, unbelieving church leaders who refuse to call out sin. They pander to the lowest common denominator, all in the name of money. Their god and idol is the “all mighty dollar.” They do not honor Jesus Christ with their greed. God also makes the poor, which is why we are not to be condescending to them but help them. (Proverbs 31:9, Proverbs 22:22-23, Proverbs 14:21, Psalm 9:17-18, Psalm 9:9, Psalm 146:5-9, and there are too many other scriptures to list. Instead, these pastors and many of their followers preach sermons condemning the poor and the oppressed. Reviling them and blaming them for their troubles lacking all manner of compassion. Where is the compassion in the America church? Where is the justice in the American church? The money is always spent on partying, traveling socializing, conferences, meeting and programs which help no one. Most American churches are rife with partiality and these people are on the “broad road to hell. So ke ep making excuses, proving your heart is not with Christ. Most American churches refuse to conform with the Biblical model that was commanded by Christ. I will not allow the great unbelief of the church stop me from serving our Lord. Judgement starts first in the church so there is no reason to make up excuses as you are doing. Too much unbelief and heresy permeates the American church and they keep their heads in the sand. God will allow the church to be persecuted in order to rid it of all the parasites which have infected the bride of Christ.

    • Good point. We don’t complain about actors being rich, and these heretic mega church prosperity preachers are nothing but actors. And where does it say in the Bible that Jesus had a treasurer? It doesn’t. You twist that around. The one who kept the money was Judas the thief and Jesus told him to take it and give it all to the poor. There were some rich people in the Bible of course. That is no excuse for what is going on with the millionaire preachers of today. You are a sheep being led to the slaughter. Turn off the TV and pick up a Bible. You will find the truth.

      • John 12:6 states that Judas carried the bag and stole from it. He was in charge of the money. He was the treasurer. Televised evangelism has indeed done the greater part of carrying out the great commission of taking the gospel across the world and also in the living rooms of the handicapped who can’t make it to a church. I am one of those. I appreciate what these people are doing. I do read my Bible. I don’t have money to send them but I support them with my prayers and words just like now. These people do perform a service and I am thankful for it.

      • I do read my Bible. I also listen to preachers on TV because I have been paralyzed for 17 years and local churches don’t really care about their shut ins. It took me a year just to get someone to help me get a communion service. So I changed churches and got the same problem. But I can get a TV preacher to get me some free Bible study materials in a heartbeat. I worked before I was hurt at a post office for many years and saw multiple thousands of dollars worth of free ministry materials coming to prisoners in the prison and county jail there. I’m not saying that smaller ministries aren’t doing their job. I’m saying there is a genuine need for television ministries who can afford to help people who cannot provide that help for themselves. There are two sides to a coin. It is not always easy to see both sides.

  • I agree with you but don’t call all of us sick! Esp. when there are tons of families paying our bills and buying food to feed our family! Hand to mouth and that is why you won’t find me in church on Sunday! Doesn’t mean I don’t love the Lord, just that I cannot worship with a group of people called Christians! Whom sit in church on Sunday and act like they love the gospel but all through the week they act and treat people like they are inferior (small town). I will always stop and give the person begging on the side of the road, what I can spare and help any elderly I see with yard work or what have you, help neighbors and etc. Not all of us live so selfishly and if we had to give then we would but when we can hardly feed our own family through the month, that is not always probable! I agree with your message though and it’s sickening that any church or preacher make that kind of money and then preach about Jesus Christ!

  • We are all trapped in the same system. It is really hard to tell the sheep from the wolves. I believe that most of the giving in a local church, should go right back into the local community, like it did in the book or Acts, along with some going to missions to reach places where the gospel has not been preached, and utilities and upkeep of the building. Too often as a church grows, they start hiring more and more staff, trying to appeal to more and more people, and just keep preaching the good news to the same people over and over again. Then comes pride, and sin, and the flock falls away looking for a better church. I’ve seen this happen in my own church, but I’ve stayed because I believe it’s not what you get from a church, it’s what you put in, that strengthens your relationship with God.. We should not be consumers, but community, working together for the greater good. There are so many organizations looking to profit from local churches, in the name of supporting their ministry, when the giving should be put to better use. We don’t need to spend our money on seminars with celebrity speakers who have written best selling books, or go to celebrity concerts and buy the latest hip worship music. We shouldn’t be envious of the mega church in town, and lament on why we are not as popular, these things are of the world. One of my favorite verses is from the book of James, where he said the only acceptable religion is to care for widows and orphans, and not conform to the world, or when Jesus told His disciples to beware of the teachers of the law, they devour widows houses, sadly that is the truth. Most of the giving in a church goes to staff, with very little getting to the poor.I’m sure all of the religious leaders in Jesus day thought they were doing a great job and deserved a pay check. The money changers in the temple thought they were providing a greatly needed service. Those selling animals for sacrifice were working for God, what was Jesus thinking, driving them out? We live in a fallen world, and the church, no matter what denomination, is affected by it. The only way to purify it would be to take away all financial incentive, but that will never happen because those in power will not bite the hand that feeds them. Jesus said the road to destruction is wide, and the road to salvation is narrow, and not many will find it. Among those are the wolves in sheep’s clothing that He talked about, who cry out Lord! Lord! but He says “I never knew you”

    • Agree with your honest, forthright and truthful post Frank Osborne. Continue speaking the truth in His Holy name. May the Lord God increase you mightily.

  • I am from India and living in the U.S. My vacations were mainly to visit the slums and poor villages of India and help them some way. The U.S. prosperity gospel is totally a business using the gospel. God doesn’t want the ministers to live in hunger and sleep in the streets, but the way they build multimillion homes while people are fighting for a piece of bread in many parts of the world is totally a paradox. How I can drive in the most expensive cars after watching these hungry children? I wonder, what kind of conscience these prosperity preachers have?

    They are all building a religious empire for their children, thus the show is going on for ever. I thank GOD for the very few dedicated men and women of GOD.

    How Mother Teresa lived? What kind of an impact she has created in the world? Her funeral was attended by the kings-queens-Presidents-Prime Ministers etc, watched by billions of people around the world.

    How Dr. Billy Graham is living? What kind of a mansion he has? The modern preachers selling very high priced books of prosperity and making millions of dollars through book marketing may say that ” I made the money, so let me enjoy”.

    None of them invented a new invention, but through marketing gospel, mainly prosperity and prophecy. Why none of them got a revelation from GOD before 2007 about this prolonged recession? They were constantly bombarding everybody with the perpetual prosperity.

  • I liked it better when you were telling the megachurch pastors to repent. ha. Great points. I was just In Mumbai last October and all I did was visit slums — had no interest in anything else in Mumbai. The stat our friend gave us was one bathroom to 1500 persons. Nonetheless, they were quite clean in most places – not like our standards, but I thought it would be worse. We went to Daravi. I haven’t written on my money blog for quite some time, but I’ve explored similar topics here: http://throw-away-your-401k.blogspot.com/
    I don’t want my neglect of that site to in any way convey those issues are no longer as important to me. They are, and in fact, I’ve spent a good deal of effort trimming down my monthly budget in these last years and learning to live on less. It is disturbing how little the American church is concerned about their opulence in light of how scripture speaks of the rich. Good stuff.

  • Luke 18:25
    For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

  • James 5:1-6
    Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, are crying out against you, and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in self-indulgence. You have fattened your hearts in a day of slaughter.

  • Matthew 6:24

    “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

  • Matthew 7:23
    Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22″Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23″And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

  • Do you think people live in Mumbai slum are unhappy? Long time ago India/Mumbai Government build apartment for them but they don’t want to move to the apartment and they were rent out the apartment and still living in the slum. They just love their life style..there is no private or common rest rooms, no running water, no electricity. no medical insurance but they are used to this life style. I know there are few well educated people like Advocates and Government officers are still live in the slum. Don’t spend our money on India. Indian government have more than enough money to get rid of the slum and give a better life style to their people. Just look on India’s annual budget and military budget. Do you have any idea how much they are spending for their 2014 elections. It’s more than Obama’s last presidential election budget.

  • This isn’t going to be a meaningful comment, but a personal comment none the less. Recently God has really spoken to me on the idea of generosity, I used to think it was about helping the worthy (and by that I mean those who we’re trying to help themselves) I didn’t believe in hand outs. I still don’t, but I do believe that giving to those who are needy (and money obviously isn’t what everyone needs) or just strictly giving as God sees fit should be a sacrifice, possibly to the point where it hurts a little. We as Americans (maybe people in general) are consumed by what we have, and when you give until it hurts (willingly and with love) it frees us from that obsession and opens our eyes to God’s amazing generosity.

  • Why does everyone believe that Americans have to be the keepers of the world. Americans earn their wealth which is more than I can say for those in the 3rd world waiting for handouts. I came from a 3rd world country and the dependency syndrome that Americans like you create is irresponsible. You do this because in some way it gives you a biblical purpose. I watched volunteer foreign nurses who came to provide medical help. They had to mix concrete and mortar while fathers and young men watched, did not help, but instead made the most demeaning sexual remarks. So don’t begin to tell me what it is like, I was born and spent the first 23 years of my life there.

  • First of all if a christian pastor is poor, no car, no motorcycles, lives in a wreckage house, people will judge badly n say “where is ur so called God that bless u ? Who wants to embrace a religion that instead of bringing good health n wealth, He brings hardship n sickness ?” then if a christian pastor is rich n living in a luxurious mansion, people still judge badly n say “How can u live in such richness, look at ur God, He was born on a dirty farm, don’t be so cocky, u got no heart ah ?” anyway God nvr even judge those rich christian Pastor, so why must u ? The rich nvr even once judge the poor badly “why u so poor, so bad luck, no blessing, go get a job u lazy fools” no the rich nvr did that ! So why must u instead of blessing their works in God, u keep adding bad ingredients to their menu ? Anyway lastly, if a christian Pastor is very2 poor, how can he help the others ? How can he bless others ? He’s not setting a good example by being poor, his poorness tells the world that his God is poor, his God is not capable of helping his own life, his God brings bad things, his God is so fake. For u urself bring the image of God n His light to the world. So if ur image is already bad n ur light is dark, who wants to embrace the God that u r worshipping ?

  • Though I am not a christian but please allow me to pen down and share my sentiments too. Many years ago when I was still an event organizer, I was inspired to do something big for the less fortunate. I wanted to organize an event where all religions leaders can come together for one common objective. To help the less fortunate.

    Imagine one day,Pope Francis, Dalai Lama and other religions leaders come together and urge their believers all around the world to contribute in any way, be it in cash of $2 only or cash in kind like labor or donations of stuffs or food. Well… lets do a simple math summation now: Number of Christians in the world + Number of Catholics in the world + Numbers of Buddhists in the world + Numbers of Muslims in the world + + +…….. the figure should come close to 6 billions and lets take only 25% of the believers took part in this and contribute only $2…..Yes. I do agree that $3 billions may not be able to help all the less fortunate immediately because there are too many of them but we have to start somewhere. And if we can carry on this event annually, $3 billions a year will definitely help to improve their lives bit by bit every year. But why none have step forward to help? I strongly believe when these leaders urge their believers to contribute, it will definitely strikes more impact and deliver more fruitful results than any other organizations or any other people who are genuinely trying to help too.

    Anyway, not everyone share my point. Back then, my fellow colleague and I had tried talking to some religious leaders from temples, churches etc and even some low level government officials etc because I know I need someone or some organization to start off and also to back this event and most importantly I need some kind of network good enough to get to know those religions leaders. Well…they took me as a small fry and didnt really bother what I am trying to say. And one even told me that he has not done any kind of event together with other religions.

    They had probably lived in their comfort zone too much and tends to neglect what they dont see daily or maybe…. my dream is too big for them to see.

    Anyway, I am not good at words but if there is anyone down here who can see what I am seeing and agrees to what I dream, please share it. Maybe one day, my this comment may reach someone who agrees with me and highly authorized enough to make the first step together and materialize this dream.

    This dream maybe big but it will never die. Even i may die trying but i know one day, someone better than me can do the job.

    Until the day when all religions leaders can put a side their differences in belief and come together for a greater human cause, will I then recognize World Religion Day.

    ……We have A Dream and You can be Part of It

    • Why does everyone believe that Americans have to be the keepers of the world. I came from a 3rd world country, where I saw first hand the irresponsibility of parents having children they could not feed. I saw nurses from America who came to help, mixing concrete and mortar as unemployed young men and fathers watched, did not lift a finger but made sexual remarks. Americans are having less and less children to make ends meet, these people are having more and more children so that people like you can feel like you have a biblical purpose and feel useful in helping them.

  • From a Asian youth worker on fire for the Lord in Asia.

    God is
    never against us having wealth but wealth having us. There is nothing
    wrong proclaiming how our heavenly father would like to bless us. For He
    has given us an abundance for every good work… Our righteousness must
    be of one above the scribes and the pharisees as Jesus points out.
    Instead of reporting on just the personal net worth VS how poor these
    kids are in India. Why not an article of these so called “high-net
    worth” pastors and multimillion dollar home owning Pastors VS their
    fruits in their ministry?

    For each one of us are called to
    different areas of ministry and to lay down our lives in different
    measures and we should not judge others base on our intention and others
    solely by their actions. It’s not only people in the 3rd world nations
    we should reach but there are as many souls which are “lost” in the 1st
    world nations we have to reach as well. The only reason why the Gospel
    is so well spread today, is because this Gospel was preached and
    penetrated into Rome and then to the whole of Europe and today all
    around the world. While people in 1st world nations might not need to
    worry about what they will eat nor where they will lie their head when
    they go to sleep. But is is of utmost important that we all learn how to
    be all things to all men. Yes the problems in a 3rd world nation is
    very very urgent and heart-wrenching but we must also come to a place
    where we learn how to use 1st world nation glasses to look at 1st world
    nation people.

    When Paul went into Athens in the book of Acts,
    and seeing a signboard saying “To The Unknown God”, Paul didn’t just
    shake his head in disappointment and walk away, saying these people are
    such a bunch of idolatrous people (many of us would have done this if we
    would have been in Paul shoes in his time – including myself), but he
    was able to “Be All Things To All Men”. He made used of that situation
    and used that opportunity to share with the people then of Athens, and
    many people with high-level of influences in Athens in those day came to
    the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    What kind of a gospel
    should we then present to the citizens of America? Is it one that
    constantly put on guilt and condemnation and focus just on how
    self-centered Americans are or should it be one, that shows how Jesus do
    not just only care for the poor and needy, but also for each and every
    single one of them (including these so called self-centered
    individuals)? With such a gospel would this in turn cause many others to
    be saved and many others to be moved and step out of the four walls of
    the church to find a need and meet it and find a hurt and heal it? If we
    as believers fail to communicate the true meaning of the gospel and
    learning how to do it tastefully, then won’t we become salt that loses
    it’s flavor and light that fails to fully shine? We are not only called
    to flavor one part of something nor provide light to one part of an
    area. But real salt has the ability to flavor something in it’s totality
    and like wise true light permeates all kinds and types of darkness.

    God
    is more focused in us having a heart of compassion not just to those
    who are down and out but even to the tax collectors, the prostitutes and
    even to those who we deem as hopeless. He is sovereign in all things
    and will deal with all things in His timing and in His standards.

    For we know, ALL things work together for the good to those who love Him and those who are called according to His purpose.

    It might seem like something that is against the very nature of God
    himself, but we as Christians should be confident that ALL things (good
    or bad) work together for the good.

    To conclude, “A man who fears God avoids all extreme.”

    My
    apologies if I have sound a little harsh as I just feel we should never
    swing to an extreme and as Christians it is by our love for one another
    that the world may know we are His disciples.

    In love.

  • You have shared the hard truth not many willing nor have the courage to share. It is not popular. It will not go well with some. But it goes well with those who understand the heart’s of God for His children – to feed the hungry and take care of the poor. Thank you Benjamin. You are a blessing.

  • Thank you for this message. I work with homeless people in the streets of São Paulo, Brazil and I used to be a Pastor in the States. There is a lack of criticism in the Church on how we use our wealth. People assume that to be rich is a blessing but in reality the gospel teaches us that the blessing depends on how we use our wealth. When we use without concern for the poor then our wealth will be a root of evil in our lives. Thank you for being a voice in the wilderness. God bless.

  • The bible says it is God who helps us attain wealth. The gospel would set people in India free from sin and poverty, if they would turn to him. The third world suffers from Adhering to false religions. America will soon dace the same fate for turning from the living God to idols.

      • Righteousness exhaults a nation. The only reason America has been blessed is due to the Christians’ who founded this nation and were devout in their lives and founded this nation to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. As we can clearly see, God is withdrawing his blessings on this nation as we have become idol worshippers and wicked.

          • I realize that that is the current myth. Study them and you will see from their writings, that Thomas Jefferson was an iternerant preacher who preached three sermons on Sundays in the rotunda of the Congress, and traveled to churches preaching the gospel. The fact that our laws and government came from scripture. That all of our major universities were founded by Christians, Washington was a very devout Christian, and so on, all of our founders were believers.

            • I have. I’ve even held a Jeffersonian Bible in my hands. The faith of the founding fathers was one of the areas of church history I studied while at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. A tree can also be known by it’s fruit- and the fact that we committed genocide while enslaving Africans shows that the God of the New Testament had no role in America’s founding.

    • My homeland was extremely Christian when I was growing up. Even now it is the overwhelmingly dominant religion and the Church is linked to our government in our Constitution. In the past several decades, the blessings of your god and his people on my home included:

      – The slaughter of an estimated 5,000 of my people at the hands of extremist Christian militias.
      -The enslavement of 30,000 women and girls as young as nine in the Magdalene Laundries, where they were beaten, raped, abused, forced into labour without pay, and buried in unmarked graves.
      -The rape of unknown thousands of children at the hands of the clergy and the church governments that protected them.
      – Hundreds of violent attacks and injuries with weapons funded by the Vatican, the Church of England, and American Christian congregations.
      – Several conservative Christian American senators advocating support for the Christian militias.
      -More personally, the murder of several of my family members by Christian terrorists in the decade before I was born.
      – An economy reminiscient of the 19th Century.
      All of this in a nation the size of Ohio with a population of a paltry 5 million.

      In the two most recent decades Ireland has become increasingly secularised. The result is 16 years of peace, an economic boom, and the slow healing of thee generations of people traumatised and terrorised by your brothers and sisters in Christ, both Catholic and Protestant. Are there problems? Certainly. But nothing to what it was like when your people held sway. The very existence of my home is a slap in the face to your ‘prosperity gospel.’ I saw what your religion gave to my people. Blood in the gutters and empty beds in our homes.

      Meanwhile, you sit comfortable in an armchair in America, whining about how your idol is removing his blessing from America because people don’t like him any more. You want to lament about the ‘good old days’ in America when Christianity reigned supreme and men and women were traded as chattel, go ahead. You can give Christianity credit for America’s success, and I will likewise hold it accountable for the genocide of one race and the enslavement of another.

      But don’t you dare suggest that a country will only prosper if its citizens bow before your particular favoured deity. Your people prayed, and it was my home that burned.

  • perhaps it would be better to say I do not like it when we live in homes of such value when others have no roof at all …

  • We are all entitled to spend most or even all our money on ourselves. However, should we? It is just as immoral for corporate America ( I include mega rich pastors here) to do it as it is for Christian America as it is for atheist America to do it…etc.. I don’t advocate giving it all away even though Jesus did, but being fat while someone else dies of hunger is a sin. It just is.

  • People, this is a concept. I seriously doubt the author is going to define this to the point of being legalism. We know in our hearts, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, when our priorities are off. Ultimately, the people of Mumbai will not experience real contentment with money anymore than we will. However, the concept of being generous and caring for the needy is throughout Scripture. Church leaders, some wolves, some just misguided, are accountable for the message they send with their money and they should certainly be careful. The author reminds us that we are not excluded as our wealth dwarfs most of the world.

  • It’s not about money at all! God’s blessing is participation in the Kingdom. He doesn’t bless us with”things” but with opportunities; to see as He does and respond as Jesus would.

  • What nonsense. So your telling everyone that we should not try to make a better living for ourselves and our families because there are poor people? I’m sorry, but that’s a load of “shit”. God tells us in His word time and again that He wants to bless His kids & give us good gifts. So we should turn them down? Walk away from God’s blessing because He’s chosen to bless us. Are you new?

    How many millions of dollars do these mega ministries pay out yearly for these poor people. They pay for everything, they support thousands of people who work for these ministries all over the world but that’s not what you see, all you see is their homes and planes. Well too bad that you limit God with your human limitations. I hope you do realize that there are no trailer parks in heaven! We all get mansions. We will all walk on streets of gold.

    Friends don’t pass up a chance for God’s blessings!

    • Nope, work hard and make a better living all you want– the article deals with how we use and associate with money. If you spend it all on yourself and live immodestly, that’s a sin according to scripture.

    • You really missed the point here and I’m not surprised because according to your statement, you don’t often think past yourself and yours and your family’s needs. Do those pastors NEED multi-million dollar mansions? No, they don’t. Do they NEED a private jet? Nope. That is disposable income that could be used to make a REAL impact in an area like Mumbai. Do you know how many orphanages, homeless shelters, supplies, etc can be built and bought with the kind of money that is spent on a freaking private jet? Perhaps it isn’t a blessing at all. Perhaps it is God’s way of testing those who preach in his name by giving the money and seeing if they do selfish things with it.

      But of course you never thought of that, did you? You just thought that they’re American, God-fearing Christians and are therefore ENTITLED to being blessed by God. Jesus would weep at the self-centered attitudes of American Christians. Jesus would never say, “Well, I know people overseas have trouble, but we’ve got to take care of our own first.” Jesus would have given his last crumb of bread, the last stitch of clothing on his back to help the poor. And *gasp* maybe, just MAYBE he expects his followers to do the same.

  • Really good blog, thought provoking and challenging…I’ve wrestled with these thoughts for years as I’m sure a lot of believers have. The main problem I have with this thinking though is that where do we draw the line for wealth and hoarding. Is 250K a year for a pastor and driving a Range Rover okay? Is 500K a year and living in a upscale gated community okay? See the problem is there is no clear cut definitive line for pastors…So it forces you to make one up thats okay with you. On top of that for the most part we have absolutely no idea what those pastors do with their money…what if John Haggee gave away 5million dollars of personnel money last yr to charity but did it anonymously…Is it okay then that he has a 1mil dollar jet?

    I absolutely believe that a bunch of pastors are sinfully hoarding their money and they will Rightfully give an account to God for that …but i think in the end nowhere does it say in scripture that having great wealth is sinful…making it an idol is! So i think we get in dangerous territory when we start lumping in all the wealthy ministers in the same bag… It’s about the heart and God cares as much about my 50,000 dollars this year as he des a pastors 10mil….God doesn’t need my money to accomplish his purposes he lets me be a minister of his reconciliation if I choose to be

    • Good questions– and you’re correct, there isn’t a definitive line. However, the NT calls us to live modestly– even going as far as saying women shouldn’t wear “costly apparel”. So, the biblical ethic is modesty– I would argue that when so many in the world don’t have access to clean water or even housing, it would be immodest for us to live in upscale, gated communities. Would it be okay for John Haggee to keep a million to buy a private jet? I can’t imagine Jesus being excited about us using money that way.

      And, not lumping all wealthy ministers in the same bag– Rick Warren is a notable exception. Drives a modest car, and gives 90% of his money away to help people because his 10% is more than enough for a modest life.

  • There are MANY places in the Bible advocating riches and blessings. The “talents” gained through investment. The “love” of money as being the root of evil, not money by itself, is the key.

    Living “poorly” to show how religious you are is a sin. It is boasting, like the man praying loudly in the street. Humility is applicable to richness and poorness.

    Did you know the poorest in America are still the richest among the world population?

    Now that being said, I do not believe the “prosperity gospel” that is being spread. You are not going to be financially “rewarded” just from accepting to follow Christ. Live will be hard, trials will come. Richness and blessings in life are there for us, but richness and belssings are not necessarily monetay.

    • In the parable of the talents, they are entrusted the King’s money, not their own. It’s the King’s money and ultimately for his purposes.

      And, correct– living poorly to prove one is religious is foolish. However, living generously as proof that one is a Jesus follower is not.

  • I am an Indian, I know I am not poor but maybe its better to not look at people as “poverty” stricken because we think they are “needy” and we have it all and in a way think we are better off than them but yes there is needless suffering but the path of Jesus is that of becoming poor for the sake of God ! I think that is a challenge ! We are poor because it is the only way to know God in Christ, the truth is that the rich man in the gospel was sent away empty-handed. It is only through losing everything that we gain Christ. From this perspective a rich Christian is an oxymoron ! The bible calls these people “wolves in sheep’s clothing”, when did we start calling them mega-churches? These are personality cults which finds the cross of Christ a scandal. Only those who accept the scandal of the cross as the power and wisdom of God are called by God to be his children !

  • So Its wrong to spend all are hard-earned money to better are lives? Explain to me how I em going to bless some one else if i lack ecess resourses.

    • Is it wrong to spend ALL of our money on ourselves? Yes, if your standard is following Jesus. If you don’t want to follow Jesus, fine by me. But his followers are generous and don’t spend all of their money on themselves.

  • I could not agree with you more. I have been watching this move toward sanctioned materialism for years. I am by no means perfect, but I know the feeling of conviction when I ignore my moral compass. As we see in some of the “comments” people are quick to defend their rights to indulge. But, when you come right down to it, our choice to love one another as Christ loves us should be clear. We either care or we don’t. God bless you for this message.

  • How did Jesus live – he did not have lavish “things,” he did not have a fleet of jets, a big mansion to live in, he did not incite fear in his followers to give, give, and give even more, no he lived simply and without reproof.

    Many churches pastors and other leaders live well above those following them – what example does that set? I do not agree with those pastor’s who “name it and claim it.” So if you name it and claim it and God does not give it to you – your faith is not big or strong enough? What a bunch of rubbish! I would say that God did not want you to have it ever or for now because it is not in His will for you. I just do not think this is how God would want His people led – there is no basis for this in the Bible – it does talk about humbling ourselves though and have a fleet of jets, big fancy mansions, and inciting fear into your followers is not humbling – it all smacks GREED and the Bible talks against that also!

  • There seems to be a fallacy in this article (at least how it read to me) that too much money is inherently indicative of evil. The oft misquoted phrase “money is the root of all evil” really should read “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” The fact is that God says he “knows the plans I have for you… Plans to prosper us and not to harm you.” Financial well being isn’t, of itself, indicative of evil. Was King Solomon evil when he wished for wisdom and God blessed him with not only wisdom, but financial wealth as well? A blessing should not be deemed a curse simply because it is temporal. The difference is, we need to have an attentive ear and obedient heart with ALL the resources God gives us, whether it be financial, a talent God has given us, an encouraging word, or anything else that we can offer.

    • Nope… article doesn’t say that, and the verse you mentioned isn’t even quoted in the piece. The article simply argues: “Having an over abundance of wealth kept for ourselves is not a sign of God’s blessing, but damning evidence of our own sinfulness.”

      It’s not the existence of wealth that is evil, but the hoarding and selfish use of money that is sinful.

    • While you make some good points, my question to you is; why do you think that when God says He will “prosper” us, that He meant financially?

  • I will promise you something: every time a Christian monument goes up, every time a Ten Commandments idol gets proposed (or worse yet, illegally placed) on public land, every time some new ostentatious mansion gets bought, every time a private plane gets gloated about, every time some crazy over-zealous display gets made, a bunch of non-Christians are watching, and we are wondering aloud how many poor people and widows would have been fed and clothed with the money spent on that frivolous display. Christian leaders–who themselves should know better than anybody else what their religion’s sourcebook says about wealth–are themselves one of the best arguments there is against Christianity’s validity. I’m glad to see a Christian moving past that sickening delusion and more toward something that actually benefits humanity. Thank you.

  • You didn’t have to swear. I know you were explaining what the pastor or “pastor” said and how you were surprised at what he said, but did you need to say it? Couldn’t you have put something like **** instead? Although I agree with the rest of the article, maybe you should take your own advice.

    • Oh, I just saw how you come from a denomination that is openly anti-Israel and just ordained a lesbian “pastor”. No wonder you swore. Yea, you might want to take your own advice and repent.

      • I can’t remember how it goes exactly, but I once read a story about a pastor who began a sermon like this:

        “I’m going to tell you three deeply disturbing facts. One: Over six thousand people in the world died of starvation yesterday. Two: Most of the people living in our society don’t give a shit. Three: Most of you sitting here are more horrified at my saying the word ‘shit’ than at the fact that six thousand people have died.”

        I think you belong in category three, mike.

        • So, I don’t give to the hungry? Hmm, I thought I did.
          1) That “pastor” is a whitewashed wall.
          2) You are obviously unrepentant, declaring I don’t care about the poor when you know NOTHING about me and you try to justify swearing.

          • There’s nothing sinful about saying “shit”. Especially in his context– it wasn’t a “swear” to him. You are imposing your own personal convictions on slang and trying to make it a moral issue for everyone else. It’s not. Blasphemy is sinful, but slang– especially when used appropriately– is not.

            And, the original commenter had a profound point– if one word was the one part of the article that outraged you, we have a bigger problem to deal with.

            • Ephesians 4:29
              1 Peter 3:10
              James 3:9-12
              You’re the first “pastor” I’ve ever heard that tried to justify swearing… Wow!

              • And you aren’t the first Christian I’ve seen that feels they can dictate their morals and beliefs to the world at large. Live peacefully, enjoy you faith, and quit trying to FORCE it on to others.

                • You might want to look up the definition of “force”. I would think that I was reasoning with others. Also, you might want to go ahead and look up Matthew 28:19.

                  • Again, maybe “shit” is a swear in your house, but you’re imposing that moral standard on cultures and homes where slang isn’t a big deal. FYI, there’s a swear in the Bible too, used by God himself.

                    • 1 Kings 14:10: “Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off from Jeroboam him that pisseth
                      against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will
                      take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away
                      dung, till it be all gone.”

                      See, even God uses slang.

              • A brief history of Jesus Christ and shit:

                In the first century C.E., Jesus of Nazareth preached throughout the Judean region. Several accounts of his life were later written in both Aramaic and Greek.

                In the fourth century C.E., the 66 books of the Bible were assembled, written in Hebrew, Greek, and later translated to Latin. These early copies included several references to solid human fecal matter, most often translated to the vulgar equivalents of ‘dung,’ which were later seen as less vulgar because they were in the Bible.

                Starting around 250 years ago, it became highly fashionable for wealthy European aristocrats to use exotic manure in their gardens. The dung of lions, elephants, ostriches, tigers, and other rare creatures were shipped from around the world to bustling Europe, where merchants received top shilling for them.

                Due to the smell, the boxes of dung were initially placed in the lowest holds of the wooden merchant ships. Unfortunately, the ever-present bilge water seeped through the boxes and into the manure, releasing a deadly build up of methane gases. When sailors would come to the hold with a lantern or pipe, the gases would explode, causing devastation and death.

                When the problem came to light, the dung merchants started stamping Ship High In Transit, or simply S.H.I.T. on the boxes of manure to warn captains to ship the boxes on a higher deck. Understandably, the world shit quickly entered the common vocabulary as a euphamism for manure. Since the original users were sailors and dockhands, the lowest of society, the word gained a reputation for being ‘low class’ and ‘not proper.’

                In 2014, the LORD Jesus Christ descended from the heavens on rays of the burning sun, carrying stars in one hand and a sword in another, and personally appeared to his devoted follower, ‘mike’ from Disqus. He assured ‘mike’ that even though the Bible was written in Aramaic and Greek, long before the word ‘shit’ or even English existed, that ‘shit’ was in fact a very, very naughty word and that the Bible had specifically forbade its use even before it existed. And, although swearing was defined as ‘making a claim by invoking the authourity of a higher power,’ Jesus Christ promised him that ‘shit’ was in fact swearing as well, not a vulgarity or colloquialism as every English language scholar foolishly claimed.

                He then patted ‘mike’ on the head, assured him that Ben Corey would be in hell for saying ‘shit,’ and ascended back unto his heavenly throne.

          • 1) Not your call to make.

            2) I’m glad that you give to the hungry. I’m glad that you care about the poor. I never meant to suggest that you didn’t. My point was that you seem more scandalized by the use of profanity than at the problems of worldwide poverty.

            And for the record, I don’t think profanity is always wrong. It can be overdone, certainly. But it can also be used to good rhetorical effect. Even when it’s used wrongly, there are infinitely worse problems in the world.

            If thinking this way makes me “unrepentant” in your eyes, so be it. (BTW, is that code for “unbeliever” or “heretic”? I can’t tell.) Again, you don’t get to judge my heart. I didn’t judge your heart, just your comments.

      • I have every confidence that Mr. Corey will cast off his raiment and don himself in sackcloth and ashes, sit out at the city gates, and renounce his convictions with wailing and gnashing of teeth now that ‘mike’ from Disqus has called him out.

  • You make some good points – but you don’t get any for tearing down the family in public. Go have a chat to them in person as scripture says

    • I’m calling that out for what it is. Complete and utter bullshite.

      When a Christian says ‘Talk to them in private, don’t denounce them in public, because Scripture,’ what he really means is ‘Don’t let other people see how embarrassing and corrupt our religion really is. Keep it hush hush or people might stop worshipping us without question.’

      • You’re incorrect in judging me that way TIA, but I’m ok with your feeling like you need to do that. When your brother or sister upsets you at home, walk out into the street and call them what you want, shout and scream your anger around the neighborhood and abuse and denigrate and… oh no I guess you wouldn’t do that. Take care.

        • Well, no, I wouldn’t do that, but that’s because I love my brother and sister and I also love not having a domestic disturbance misdemeanour on my record.

          However, the Christian Church doesn’t respond to such. Anger and a bit of public humiliation are all that it understands and far more than it deserves.

  • I love that you are showing the world a glimpse true poverty!! I worked in Hyderabad, India for three months and was able to understand that even the poorest person in America is no where near poor to people in third world countries. We have resources and wouldn’t have to resort to eating our dog or starving. It’s been 10 years since I’ve last been there, and my heart aches for it. I hate that I want things that I don’t need. I hate that I have envy and jealousy.I hate that my house has yet again filled up with worthless items. I hate the selfishness in my heart. Thank you for the great reminder. I wish everyone in a first world country would go and see a third world country. It’s life changing in the best way possible!

  • Hi Ben, thanks for the thought-provoking article. I have a question for you that is genuine and not said with any malice and I am interested in hearing your answer. I noticed in your bio that you have two seminary degrees and are working on a third. The cost of seminary is very expensive, whether you or someone else is paying for it. How would you justify that the money spent on your degrees is better spent on you than on helping kids in the slums in Mumbai? After all, you don’t need a seminary degree (or 3 degrees) to preach the gospel or help people in need around the world. Why can’t I have a $30k car with surround sound while you have your $30k seminary degree? I’m just wondering where do we, as Americans, “draw the line” on what we spend on ourselves and our education rather than on giving it away?

    • Rayni– in principle, I’d agree with you. I don’t need this many degrees. However, mine were all paid for by the GI bill from my military service and I am unable to spend that money on anything other than education. If I didn’t go to school, the money would simply be forfeited to the government. For me, using my GI bill instead of giving it back to the department of defense became and issue of good stewardship. If they’d let me cash it out so I could build a day care center in Mumbai, I would do it in a heart beat.

  • so, you are saying, “Jan Couch from TBN who has a 50 Million dollar jet, 13 mansions, and a $100,000 mobile home for her dogs.” and you are also saying to me that here is where our donations are going? For their crazy life-style? And me and millions of other christians, trying to meet ends meet? That’s beautiful. Beautiful indeed. Now i Know, thank you

  • Benjamin,
    Thank you for this post as it brought tears to my eyes but also reinforced all the more my decision in being obedient in following Gods calling me to Mumbai for a year. Hoping to change the world one person at a time.

  • Wishing you would have added the most dangerous of them, though. The ones whose sermons are …nearly biblical. The ones who build us up with self-help positive thinking, the ones most quoted on FB: Joyce Meyers and Joel Olstein.

  • And He said to them, “It is written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer,’ but you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’ “Matthew 21:13

  • Interesting read. I’ve also found that many in poorer regions of the world seem to be full of joy. It seems when you have nothing to lose, your perspective changes.

    It seems to me that one cannot truly claim to be a Christ follower without being a giver. The two go hand in hand. But in Christ we are transformed into His likeness. I don’t know that I agree with everything you said. I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with providing for one’s family. Paul actually writes about how a married man must concern himself with the well-being of his wife and children (I Cor 7:33). Since corporations have driven prices up for most all commodities, it takes a good salary, sometimes two, just to live in a home and keep one’s family fed.

    But greed within the church is not a new thing. It’s been around since the beginning. Judas was the treasurer (John 13.29). Ananias and Saphirra dropped dead after stealing money from God (Acts 5). And Paul says in Philippians 2:19 that the only man he had that was qualified to minister to that church was Timothy, because everyone else was focused on their own interests.

    It seems to me that God is calling you personally into a deeper level of sacrifice. That’s a beautiful thing. The likelihood that this blog will change others is small, simply because most Pastors in America are barely getting by as it is. Those who you described are a rare breed indeed. And they are probably not choosing their own salaries. If a church wants their Pastor to live in a luxurious mansion, who are we to argue? Abraham was wealthy, Joseph was made wealthy, the people of Israel left Egypt with massive amounts of wealth. Clearly having plenty of money is not a sin. The sin is when that money becomes something you are unwilling to surrender to Christ’s lordship. The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. But it takes money to provide clean water, and one multi millionaire Christian can provide way more clean water for the communities you spoke of than a million broke Christians can. Something to consider.

    • I don’t disagree. I don’t think it is wrong to be wealthy– I think it is wrong to spend most of our money on ourselves, and that was the point I was driving at. We spend nearly 97% of our money on ourselves– rich and middle class alike, and this was the change I’m advocating.

      I’d love to be wealthy, because I’d use it to start all kinds of fun programs for the poor, trafficking victims, and all kinds of stuff. So, I don’t have a problem with rich people– just greedy people and that’s something that affects ALL of us.

        • I only have control over my own home, and we work hard to give away as much as possible. I don’t pick the percentages for the rest of the world, but certainly when we, Americans, have such a high percentage of wealth and resources while the rest of the world doesn’t have clean water to drink… whatever our percentage is, it’s not enough. Like Shane Claiborne said the other day: “it’s not like God made a mistake and didn’t make enough stuff”. I’m inviting people to live radically and give generously.

      • Benjamin,
        I agree with you completely on this issue. I think that wealth can be a powerful tool for the good of the Kingdom… if and only if we can get our greedy fingers off of it. To quote a recently read KP Yohannon book; “It isn’t how much you give, its how much is left sticking to your fingers.” We, and I mean as American Christians, want to have our cake and eat it too. We want the abundant life in heaven and on earth, and our interpretation of abundant is “lots of money.”

  • Interesting read. I’ve also found that many in poorer regions of the world seem to be full of joy. It seems when you have nothing to lose, your perspective changes.

    It seems to me that one cannot truly claim to be a Christ follower without being a giver. The two go hand in hand. But in Christ we are transformed into His likeness. I don’t think I agree with everyone you said. I don’t believe there’s Anyang wrong with providing for ones family. Paul actually writes about how a married man must concern himself with the well-being of his wife and children. Since corporations have driven prices up for most all commodities, it takes a good salary, sometimes two, just to live in a home and keep one’s family fed.

    But greed within the church is not a new thing. It’s been around from the beginning. Judas was the treasurer (John 13.29). Ananias and Saphirra dropped dead after stealing money from God in Acts 5. And Paul says in Philippians 2:19 that the only man he had that was qualified to minister to their church was Timothy, because everyone else was focused on their own interests.

    It seems to me that God is calling you to a deeper level of sacrifice. That’s a beautiful thing. The likelihood that this blog will change others is small, simply because most Pastors in America are barely getting by as it is. Those who you described are a rare breed indeed. And they are probably not choosing their own salaries. If one churches want their Pastor to live in a luxurious mansion, who are we to argue? Abraham was wealthy, Joseph was made wealthy, the people of Israel left Egypt with massive amounts of wealth. Clearly having plenty of money is not a sin. The sin is when that money becomes something you are unwilling to surrender to Christ’s lordship. The love of money is the root of all sorts of evil. But it takes money to provide clean water, and one multi millionaire will provide way more clean water for the communities you spoke of that a million broke Christians will.

  • We will all stand before God one day and give an account for what we have done. Somehow, I think there will be great shame on that day from those who consider themselves righteous and “rewarded” for their seemingly good works. Gold melts and money burns in the purifying fires of God’s judgment but love and sacrafice will stand forever in His presence.

  • The judgementel tone sickens me the most! You showed who you are when you attack pastors you call fear peddlers! What would you have ministers do put their families in the street? I’m not talking televangelist who you lump with all ministers. The pastor you mentioned built a church with thousands who tithe and he makes a good honest living. All you can do is hate monger, Instead of attacking Americans try instead to get us to help. Their tithes and offerings would help a lot. But all you do is make any Christian change the page. Show me where Jesus treated people like you did? I know ministers who give 30% or more but you hate all capitalism so unless we all give away our houses you won’t be happy. Who would help then? I am not talking televangelist that you lump together with all ministers.

    • Critiquing pastors who make a million dollars a year warning people about Muslims and WWIII is quite different from advocating pastors and their families be “put in the street”. Interesting connection that critiquing greed (the second most mentioned sin in the Bible) somehow makes me “hate all capitalism”.

      And, when did Jesus call religious leaders to repent? Have you read any of the 4 Gospels? He did it so much that they had him killed.

      • Mat 8:20 And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air [have] nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay [his] head.

        And didn’t until the day they crucified him for exposing their ( the religious leaders) greed and avarice, which made them so mad they forced the Roman Governor with a threat of insurrection to murder him.

    • Does it hurt to listen to a message that speaks harsh truth? I agree that this is not an easy message. I’m not a millionaire, but have a townhouse and 2 cars and felt guilty reading this message. This message should humble you and make you take a deep look at what you are doing and where you are heading following our Lord.

      I don’t think all pastors should be starving to death living in the street, although my father showed excellent example of living frugal for God. But all followers of Christ, especially so-called leaders should consider giving away excessive wealth once their wealth reaches a considerable luxury level.

      AND I take a great offense that you said these “pastors” build churches with tithes. GOD built these churches and these pastors were blessed to be His instruments. And did any of church congregation tithe TO pastors? No they tithe to GOD and the church. Pastors are allowed to take what they need from those tithe and entitled to a degree of material comfort and luxury. But ultimately they will be held accountable before God and the congregation, be it during their lifetime or the judgement day.

      Since your name contains “Bishop”, I presume you are a person who supposedly devoted your life in servitude of God. If messages like this does not cause you to humble, but drive you rage, then perhaps it’s time YOU should take a good, cold look at yourself to see if where you have been and heading is where God is leading. Do you have the resolution to follow God even if all your possession and everything you cherish in this world is taken away, Just like Jobs?

    • oh boy! A reply like this from a *Bishop* just reinforces my vehemence not to attend church. I don’t need to be in a rich church or any church to speak to HIM. Churches are built on strong pillars and one of them is HUMILITY. I am having difficulty to sense any *humility* in your reply.

      The pillars of churches have nothing to do with how beautiful or large a building/church is. And tithe to the churches of today is like me giving money to a *beggar* who uses my donation to smoke or do more drugs. So now I tithe with food or clothing – directly to the source of need and do away with the *middle man* who might take my tithe to build a bigger *better* church.

      May the person who just said: *your judgemental tone sickens me* reflect on his own reply, a reply tinged with rage and vindication. Wise words coming out from a *servant* of God? Thanks but no
      thanks.

      To me, many churches and priests/pastors of today are like false idols. And I do not worship false idols. Amen.

      • Don’t worry your vehemence of all the attacks shows your hearts. I was in no way in a rage but it seems only a select few can disagree. Why don’t you humble your hearts, Oh don’t worry I know you would not like that.

  • If I ever get the chance I’d ask these multimillionaire “pastors” if they’d still do the job if they had to accept what the average denominational church can offer and live in a parsonage (if they still had one.) I’m not taking bets on the answer.

  • Thanks for the article, I really loved it. Benjamin, don’t you think that the word ‘Abundant’ could be highly objective??? For instance, my wife and I are saving to start a business as well as for a home.
    Our goal is to put enough money down on a home to enable us to pay it off by 45 years old. The reason is that once you go over a 15 year mortgage, you are paying an insane amount of interest and become a slave to your own home.
    We are also trying to save money for a business. All told, our goal is to save a year of our salary. Most people would say that that’s a huge abundance, but we look at it as money that has a purpose….

    Now I know that is not the situation you are describing but when you say an abundance of wealth is sinful, I don’t believe it’s accurate. I really loved the article, my wife and I read it last night and it’s always good to have a reminder about what is important. Thanks

    • Good points, Joshua. Yes, the word “abundant” could mean various things. My goal of the post was to provoke people to reconsider our roots of radical giving compared to the posh lives we live today, and encourage a change. I think saving for a house is great– just make sure you don’t hoard all your wealth for yourself, and that you’re still living generously. Saving is great, but saving instead or without generous giving, I would argue, wouldn’t be the right path. I have a feeling however, that you’re probably on the right path.

      • Thanks for the quick reply! I shared the article on my FB page as well. I try to share with my friends and family what is really important.

        I live abroad and my wife is from the Philippines and we always remind each other about how fortunate we are to have good educations, good family and to be in a good position. Our hope is to start an international business that not only helps us, but the people in whichever country we decide to put up shop.

        Anyways, it’s always good to read another story to help us stay grounded. Even though we are generous we still have some weaknesses, such as our love for nice shoes! Thanks again

  • Homosexuality is a deal breaker because of a few verses with questionable translations.

    Wealth is chill and all even though Jesus himself had some very not nice things to say about the rich.

    • Please give me the correct translations on homosexuality and the Bible versions they are found in. Please do not send me Book Titles by defrocked priest who got caught diddling little boys. I want to research these “translators” credentials from an Apologetic stance as a Theologian.

      • FWIW- (Can’t speak for the commenter) But, it’s not about the translation, it’s about the exegesis/interpretation. A lot of Christians believe the NT verses are less than clear on the matter since they were likely addressing a different cultural phenomenon compared to the modern world. There is also considerable debate on the exact meaning of some of the Greek words, one of which is “soft” but started being translated as “homosexual” after 1946. It’s an area where Christians have room to disagree on the matter.

        • But the original texts are not soft on these issues and certainly the scriptures from the Torah are not in question. Why would a practice set forth as sin, be different in modern society? Analyzing a text does not change the intention or meaning of the original, Greek Orthodoxy notwithstanding. There is no place that the Bible says God’s law would change based on cultural changes, only our outlook on any such part. Can’t take out the parts that hit us where we live or that we find distasteful or throw in with items or issues that were specific to ta foundling nation entrusted with not only the program for the belief in One God, Jehovah, and the necessity to preserve pure Adamic genetic stock to fulfill the prophecy of Gen 3:15, for the Messiah had to come directly from the first Adam to become the second Adam.

          • >But the original texts are not soft

            Alrighty then! Let us know when you’ve sold all your possessions and given them to the poor. With what you have left being able to fit through the eye of a needle.

            kthnks

  • I especially love our pastors Chad Hovind & Peter Grant..the best that made me what I am today. I am not very familiar with this stuff, but know that it happens. Peter Grant started in a basement with 4 people, and the calling began for him to bring people to Christ.

  • Almost as disgusting as the reality you’ve described is the belief in a supernatural afterlife with even more ostentatious display of riches, and an even worse disparity of well-being between the “chosen ones” and the “damned.”

    I simply can’t abide thinking that this life is all about getting some gaudy Tammy Faye Edition of a heavenly mansion in a pearly gated community with gold-plated streets. If I do get stuck with such an unwanted “reward,” I’m going to bust down those pearly gates and seek alternative eternity. Someplace like a happy hunting ground where my son’s therapy pony who is buried in the south pasture gets to go.

    Ecclesiastes promises it’s the same place, anyway. “Surely the fate of human beings is like that of the animals; the same fate awaits them both: As one dies, so dies the other. All have the same breath; humans have no advantage over animals.”

    • P.S. Max Weber demonstrated in his text The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (1905) that the “chosen ones” of Capitalism are the same “chosen ones” getting the gaudy Tammy Faye Edition mansion in heaven.

      And anthropologist Marvin Harris goes into how societies create superstitions about the afterlife to justify behaviors on earth. If one can justify heavenly wealth and a disparity of hell as God ordained, why not the same arrangement on earth?

      on earth as it is in heaven

      Does any religion have a better paradigm of the afterlife that doesn’t mirror the hell we already have on earth between the “chosen ones” and the “damned?”

    • I don’t understand why this was voted down. I agree. I never did understand the paradox that we were to live simply, humbly, and generously on Earth when our reward was a materialist’s dream – a mansion in heaven on a street paved with gold. If it’s a metaphor, sure, but I’m not sure everyone gets it.

      • That vision of the afterlife doesn’t do anything for me, either, but I assume it’s an attempt to appeal to people who value riches above everything else.

        • I think a more biblical version of the afterlife is a resurrection along with the earth being made whole again. Heaven becomes not a place we go with pearly gates, but an endless life here, in a perfect world. That, is far more appealing to me, because I quite like it here.

            • What most people forget, is that at the end of Revelation, the “new Jerusalem” comes HERE. So, here, is our final destiny– which I think is awesome. I love earth, and would be content spending eternity here, less death and suffering.

              • Sorry, I didn’t realize you had already covered that. The measurements of that city interpret to: 1500 miles wide, 1500 miles long (4 sides) and 1500 miles- well into space. I make no assumptions or comments on that fact, except to say that for everyone who has, or will, live on the earth that would be 100 each 100 sq ft rooms in such a city.

              • > I love earth

                For God so loved the Cosmos…~John 3:16

                Carl Sagan knows more about what God loves than most theologians.

                That’s because God’s Word is THE ‘VERSE. The one ‘Verse. The uni-Verse.

                Best tool ever devised to understand God’s ‘Verse is science.

                • I’m sure you mean Satan….Satin is a fabric. And Satan doesn’t run the earth. He does, however, influence an awful lot of people who live here. God made the heavens and the earth. Satan only has power over what God allows him to have power over. Remember Job? Satan had to get permission to mess with Job. People have chosen to live by Satan’s guidelines instead of God’s and that has led to the mess we are in today.

          • Benjamin, most people in churches, let alone these apostates and heretics, have no idea about heaven. They only mimic old wive’s tales and urban legends. They have no idea what the transformation will or the socio-economic design that’s already in place to bring it about. American’s are so arrogant and haughty that they have lost their sense of morality and decency. They think it’s all about them. They (even Mega-Church Gurus) think it’s all about them. The final conflict (the last 7 of Daniel’s Weeks of Years aka the Time of Judah’s trouble) deals exclusively with the Jewish people. God has unfinished business with them. And you are correct about the fear mongers making zillions of dollars over unclear Sanskrit writings like Four Blood Moon (sorry Johnny). Already as a nation we have begun to embrace the Satanic practice of Ecumenicalism. And head farther down that path, oblivious of the state of Socialism that exists in our nation, by plan not accident. Heaven, or the City of God, or the Bride of Christ will exist on Earth after the horrendous final war to end the ages.

            Rev 21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,

            Rev 21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light [was] like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;

            Rev 21:12 And had a wall great and high, [and] had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are [the names] of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:

            Rev 21:13 On the east three gates; on the north three gates; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.

            Rev 21:14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

            Rev 21:15 And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof.

            Rev 21:16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

            Rev 21:17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred [and] forty [and] four cubits, [according to] the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

            Rev 21:18 And the building of the wall of it was [of] jasper: and the city [was] pure gold, like unto clear glass.

            Rev 21:19 And the foundations of the wall of the city [were] garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation [was] jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

            Rev 21:20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

            Rev 21:21 And the twelve gates [were] twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city [was] pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

            Rev 21:22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

            Rev 21:23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb [is] the light thereof.

            Rev 21:24 And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.

            Rev 21:25 And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there.

            Rev 21:26 And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

            Rev 21:27 And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither [whatsoever] worketh abomination, or [maketh] a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

            • Socialism? What means of production are owned by the State here in the United States?

              “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.” ~Inigo Montoya (The Princess Bride, 1987)

      • I thought the Book of Revelation made it clear that the greatest reward in Heaven is to live face-to-face with God in His radiance. All the gold and jewels stuff are either metaphor or minor details.

    • That scripture is not in Ecclesiastes. You either made it up or are listening to some heretic. But it is not in the Bible. However, you won’t have to abide w/ “Tammy Faye Heaven”. Her heresy and apostasy remains open too. Unless you repent of this fallacy and disbelief, you’ll most likely end up, as Jim Morrison once sang- on the “Other Side”.

      • Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verse 19, I think. It is in the Bible. Yep, NIV version. http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Ecclesiastes+3

        Looks like I’m going where my pony is buried in the pasture. Suits me.

        Are you afraid I’m going to Hell? Well, Hell is a pagan Nordic goddess inserted into the Bible, rather dishonestly, for other words. Gehenna? Gehenna is a tourist attraction nowadays. (There are still some smoldering garbage pits in India, however.) Or are you referring to when Jesus mentioned Zeus’ brother Hades? How many other Greek gods do you believe in? Do you imagine Hades’ three-headed dog Cerberus will greet me too?

        As far as that Revelation stuff, I concur with both Martin Luther and Thomas Jefferson on that book:

        • “neither apostolic nor prophetic” “Christ is neither taught nor known in it” ~Martin Luther en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Revelation

        • It is between fifty and sixty years since I read it [the Apocalypse],
        and I then considered it merely the ravings of a maniac, no more
        worthy nor capable of explanation than the incoherences of our
        own nightly dreams. ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to General Alexander Smyth, Jan.
        17, 1825

        And I definitely don’t want to go and be with people who are awed by glitzy city life. I’m a country boy, through and through.

        “I view great cities as pestilential to the morals, the health and the liberties of man.” ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to Dr. Benjamin Rush, September 23, 1800

        I wouldn’t last a week in Heaven without making a break for it and trying to find some happy hunting ground.

        • Your words define you to be a heretic and atheist, so why do you even bother have a blog concerning issues which clearly cramp your style and value systems. I suppose to reach others that share such ideology.

          2Pe 2:15 Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam [the son] of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;

          2Pe 2:16 But was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

          2Pe 2:17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.

          2Pe 2:18 For when they speak great swelling [words] of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, [through much] wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

          2Pe 2:19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

        • What you are confusing is that the point of view of Ecclesiastes in from the view things “under the sun”, basically how they are here on earth, so to use that scripture for talking about spiritual afterlife is very unwise, since that is not the purpose of that book. SO while one earth our bodies go to the grave and return to dust, like other animals, but it isn’t concerned about the afterlife, but many other books of the Bible do discuss that aspect.

        • If that is the way you want to live your life and it makes you happy that is good.However if it means to surrender every cent to the church while your kids go hungry or lack like I have witnessed with my own eyes,then i disagree.There are people who will hate you the moment you stop coming out of pocket.Besides being generous to a large extent does not empower anybody.Churches should build people financially for our time and inform members on how to manage their finances.Hand outs can actually perpetuate dependancy and poverty.That said I believe generosity must start at home first before it can transcend the borders of family.

          • Oh, I’ve never advocated surrendering every cent to the church– that concept goes against the aim of the article. I also agree we need to teach people how to manage money, care for our families, etc. My argument is simply that when we are using all of our gifts from God for our own selves, we are missing that God blesses us for the purpose of blessing others. If we’re not blessing others, we’re not being God’s people.

            • i agree with you..I also believe that those you bless must also bless others in return as life becomes awkward when one individual become the “answer” to everyones problems…I remember my father a Christian man was very generous and self less ..he helped many but when he became disabled and fell on hard times he was largely abandoned.Things are back where they were as my siblings and I who are blessed with good jobs invested a couple of years each putting the broken pieces together for our folks.I dont believe i can be radically generous like my father was, I used to believe in that however over time my attitude has somehow changed…

              • My friend the Bible says not to grow weary in well doing. There is a difference in a “hand up” than giving a “hand out”. Giving something to someone who really does not need it bur is just taking advantage i.e. able bodied adults who refuse to work and want parents to pay bills, is considered a “handout”. Helping a poverty stricken individual reach towards a better life through selfless giving whether through time or money on as needed basis, is considered a “hand up”. I say follow your dads Godly example and pray for wisdom to guide to those truly in need and then give according to your ability to bless others, whether it be at home or abroad.

            • Does “others” mean people on the other side of the world only? You as an merican should help youre own people. such examples is non-Christians in merica. A lot of merica is so hardened against God and what he is because of horrible family situations. Fix youre owne people first. Consider our national debt situation. Repaire our own economic situation. Pay back our debt. Once we have fixed our own sick and wunded in the mind, and in the flesh, then procceed to repair others outside our own community/country

              • Others to him obviously means people in need. And if it is people in need in his neighbourhood, do you think that Benjamin will be stingy in rendering his help?

                But then you tried to twist his main message that many of us in a wealthy country (which btw includes more than just America) have forgotten our brothers on other parts of earth who are in much much much greater need than we can ever imagined,

                Yes by all means start with your backyard, then your town .. but soon you will realised that compared to the misery others are suffering in third world country, few in our own country can really compare to that level of misery. In that context, can we STILL just keep the help within our own backyard? Or can we divert just a dollar or two to them, especially knowing that a dollar or two is nothing even to the beggar on the street in our country (if your street have such beggars in the first place) while it can mean a whole week wage in some poor country.

                • Relating to your second paragraph; Our country is in Extreme need of help. Corruption of the church and corruption of America’s Core beliefs need attention first. If America continues in it’s path against God, we will be punished.

                  Giving money to a man in a poverty ridden country is going to lead to a couple scenarios. First scenario: the man is wise with the money given to him. Therefore saves it to build himself and his neighbors. Second scenario: He will be stolen from.

                  Asking for other peoples money from a church standpoint looks like suspicious to me. In my church we have offering boxes on the back wall. The pastor makes a notice of them and moves on with his teaching.

                  Building up a poorer country I find more effective yet intrusive. The minute we give them a little of our wealth they will be infected by greed. Simply because they go from empty to filled.

                  • @Dustin Ryerson Ah! You just revealed yourself to be a self centered, bigoted Pharisee with this horrible comment. They will go from empty to being filled? They will turn greedy?On a few dollars? WTH? These people are borderline starving and virtually homeless and stay sick all the time. What has turned you into such a dispassionate troll? It makes me wander. Besides: Your weak argument is one of the most smelly piles of slippery slope polemics I have encountered in quiet awhile!

              • @Dustin Ryerson your making excuses and twisting things too. Your argument is another straw man that is just blowin’ in the wind. The National deficit has nothing to do with personal charity. That is a secular business agreement that the church should not ANY part of. If a church is worried about the National debt then they need to surrender their non profit tax-exempt status. Pay up all you want my friend.

            • The nature in which one blesses another individual is not dependent on financial assistance. Repairing a peoples way of life is a different topic.

          • What a red herring. You are just putting up a straw man argument. Who on EARTH is saying that you must surrender every cent to the church while YOUR Kids go hungry?

            Sounds more like those of a cult …. or yes some of those cultist prosperity gospel pastor who is trying to get you to part with everything so that you will gain more …

            And really .. you really think that one of the main purpose of Church is to build people financially .. and teach them how to manage their finances?

            Good stewardship is always needed and learning how to manage our assets can always be ONE of the message that we learn in church and even one of the workshop organised.

            But from the way you say it, you seems instead to be saying that it should be the core of the church’s message and so is the building up of the believer’s wealth … basically this mark you as someone who have bought in to the prosperity gospel line hook and sinker …

            All good and well, but did you realised that this message in fact goes against the multiple example and the main messages preached by Jesus?

            • You will be surprised there are people who give up everything to the church while their children starve in Africa…

          • @disqus_a5GX3k1DP4:disqus Dude you are twisting this. You have your justifications practiced down pat. You sound like every tight fisted excuse maker I have ever met. He did not say “give til you bleed”. Stop bearing false witness my brother.

            • I am actually not as tight fisted as you assume, but I can tell you when hard times befell us we were largely abandoned and shunned…my dad passed away last week and I was humbled by the many people who came to mourn him whose lives he touched …i will endeavour to be an extension of his good will for fellow men , i would never find happiness revelling in my own success without caring about others..however what I now realise is I can only depend on the mercies of God ..not money, or people only Jesus in them…to those who treated me bad I have no ill to return to them….Africa where I come from is full of problems because people only think of themselves……..I will however not be a “nice guy”, I will help where I can….

        • The ability to thrive should not be taken from Mericans. The ability should also not be demonized. Perfect example is King Sampson, he lived in wealth, if one is blessed with wealth then let that man keep his blessing. Remember the seventeen churches also, Each has their own cheif sin. You can’t change it. Writing articles about how greedy Americans are isn’t going to help your cause.

          • You do realize that King Solomon doesn’t end up being a positive example in the Bible, right?

            And, no one demonized the ability to thrive, just hoarding wealth for ourselves. It’s Jesus stuff, and I get its not popular.

            • Define hoarding. You should also consider the wisdom derived from the book of proverbs, written by King Salmon. Whether he was a “positive example” or not, he is still a very wise individual.

              • While you ask Benjamin to define ‘hoarding’ I would ask you to define ‘thriving’ I consider myself to be thriving yet I do not know where my next rent payment is coming from. We get confused about what we need to thrive and what we want to thrive. These are two very separate ideas yet they become corrupted and intertwined by the media pressures of an ideal lifestyle. I spent time in India last year and the people I met there were thriving and that in no way was because of wealth. And as a Christian giving should NEVER be about what is given back to you. Jesus gave everything yet he was rejected, beaten to the ground and killed. But hey maybe I am just a naive 21 year old girl from Australia so what would I know. This article is not asking us to give up the ability to get by each day. It’s simply allowing us to reflect on and consider where and what we use our money on with the hope of one person at a time changing this corrupted money driven world we live in. If that’s not you then move on. But I believe God can use articles and blogs like this to speak to the hearts of many people. I would ask you to consider your criticism on someone sharing what God has so passionately placed on their heart.

              • Now you are just playing with words. Hoarding is to keep things to yourself when you don’t even need it .. and when others is in need. Note .. the difference between need and want.

                Btw it is Solomon … not Salmon or Sampson .. it is just a little thing but it just makes you sound weird, even if you are not doing it purposely.

          • @Dustin Ryerson It is pointing out how greedy some American CHURCHES have become. He is confronting a greivous sin in our midst and from the sound of it is that some hearts are being pricked with this good preaching. The Holy Spirit will convict so don’t shoot the messenger LoL

      • Very true, in Christianity today we see too extremes, one being wealth and the other poverty we should be in neither of these – there is nothing wrong with working hard and being paid money for it (the poverty ‘gospel’ would have you believe otherwise), there is nothing wrong with spending your money on yourself and your family, the problem is when you spend ALL of it on yourself. The tithe is another way churches today coax money out of people in the name of God it’s disgusting, Jesus did not say give 10% to your local church, he said give as you have been given to, give freely.

        • I remember a pastor I once had who worked against my own personal aspirations to the point of not wanting to give me a letter of reference for a job I wanted to apply for, he even ended up infuriated when I did still land the job but being devious about it.This guy aspired to surrender his personal talents and will to marry as some type of down payment on heaven.Unfortunately he is now on the run for sexually abusing a 14yr old orphan he was helping teach mathematics.

          • We are to support our local church, our pastor, our missionaries, and those in our community who have need. Those who will not work, shall not eat, by the labor of the members.

      • You know .. no ONE is ever proposing that Christian MUST be poor. Not even Benjamin. However, he is saying that too many of us in rich and develop country has forgotten about the core message of Christianity and the bible and have forgotten our neighbours from all over the world. Instead we have become too self centred and self focused.

        And you flippant and non sequitur response just sort of prove his point about the lack of understanding and empathy.

        • My brother you approach my position from a know all perspective ..i say the things I say because I felt betrayed…my dad helped many but in his time of need only his kids helped him…he actually did not imagine that we would be committed to be there for him like we did….he would give money to relatives that he would be hesitant to give to us…The reason why our fathers house still stands and stands tall is because of Jesus who has worked within us ..its not because we are good ..our works are filthy rags …however of the multitudes he helped most got what they could get and forgot about the old man…….

      • And what has that got to do with her response? No where in proverb does it says that it is a Christian’s God given right to get rich and prosper EVERYTHING and DESPITE EVERYTHING as long as we ASK GOD FOR IT.

        It teaches wisdom, not greed.

  • This piece you have written goes nicely with the one on “stuff”. I refuse to go to a church that has a pastor that lives that way or has buildings built like monuments. For me personally I am more sure than ever since getting back from serving in Haiti. So many starving babies. One ten day old baby died in my arms after hours of trying to save him. Life is never the same. Simple life, that is my motto and I am trying to live that way. Shoes, I need two pairs period. Dresses I have a total of six. I dont need to spend any more money of clothes or shoes when I can live simply. The same goes for my apartment, simple. I can’t wait to get back serving in Haiti. Living by serving others in such a real way wipes out any desire for “stuff”
    It also gives a new definition to the poor. We have very few truly poor in America.
    Blessings to you Ben.
    Your covered sister

    • Sorry Jill, but you might want to make a recount of the very “few” poor. Millions of People live either on the streets, in their cars and have barely enough food to eat. More and more People lose their housing, because their income has either been reduced or lost all-together. Their safety net is getting cut out from underneath them and they have to depend on Churches and Volunteers to feed them. I have been one of them. I now have a place to live, but I’m still struggling to get food on the Table.

      • I live in a state where poverty as we know it as Americans is rampant. Our church has a ministry that feeds the homeless and poor on the streets and gives them clothes. It has been my experience that alot of these people suffer from mental illnesses, drug addictions and bad choices. Now before you throw stones please remember I didn’t say all these people. WHen the doors to the mental hospitals were opened up in the 70’s it created a much bigger problem. I have worked a long time with people who suffer such things and my heart goes out to them and do all we can to help. That being said, the poverty overseas is so much different. Alot of them have no table to put food on. They are lucky to get one meal a day and there are no programs like our church or food stamps to help. I also know that when my husband went from being a pastor of a small church to being disabled all in the same week I understand how we can all easily fall through the cracks. We lost our home after 6 months of paying the mortgage but ran out of money. We were considered homeless but had adult children to house us while we found. I different housing. In Haiti there is no family to fill in the gap, they are all homeless or dead from disease. Just some random thoughts. I hope this helps see where I am coming from. Blessings to you. May you find the help you need to fill your table with food.
        Your covered sister

        • I do know what you are talking about and you are right. I find it disgusting that Politicians, Bankers and Corporate Billionaires living in luxury and have more Money then they could spend in 100 life times, while People allover the world are homeless, unable to get medical treatment for illnesses and are unable to get enough to eat for themselves and their Family’s.

      • … she said “truly poor” .. obviously in comparison to the abject poverty that she witness in Haiti and other places … read in context man.

  • I think its not how much money we do have, its about what we do with it. It makes me feel sick knowing people are building mansions when there are children out there living like this. I think ‘To whom much has been given, much will be required’ fits here. Most of us give what we can by supporting overseas missions and kids etc… but those with the bulk of money can do amazing things if they only would. It was pointed out to me once that Jesus was in fact very wealthy, but you would never know that fact because it wasn’t his focus. And I don’t think it should be ours. Money is a means to an end, and I loved the fact that you show the difference between ‘rich’ Christians, and those who actually follow Jesus.

  • Thank you for speaking out on this critical issue. When people who act as representatives of the Christian faith idolize possessions, power and privilege over the poor and the marginalized it is time for some deep soul searching in the faith. I have felt for many years these so-called leaders are just pretenders, while promoting their brand of institutional sin, seeding themselves into the political process while deceiving millions of needy people out of the few dollars they have. I have seen how the elderly are regularly targeted by questionable non-profits set up to look holier than now, but in reality they are lining the pockets of the few over the many. I think Jesus had some harsher words for this. TBN has become a a huge institution, acting as they are the leaders and representatives of the faith, when at the same time the leaders practice greed and envy in their personal lives. I would venture to say that Jesus would turn over more than just the tables of the money changers at CBN headquarters! Shalom to all.

    • I couldn’t agree more on your points on TBN. Some of the fake preachers on TBN are an abomination to watch and will lead many astray sadly

  • Books from BLC:

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