Too Many Televangelist Phonies and Cronies Prove Tares Exist
In this day and age, there seems to be more self-aggrandizement, chicanery, and full-blown charlatanism in the area of “professional Christianity” than in days past. That might not necessarily be true, but since the advent of the Internet as well as cable television with hundreds and hundreds of channels, it seems anyone can stake their claim to the fortune that awaits them if they have the “gift” of salesmanship with a bit of charisma thrown in for good measure.
I recently highlighted the Parable of the Wheat and the Tares (Matthew 13), in which we learn that, metaphorically, no sooner had God birthed His Church when Satan came along and planted counterfeit Christians right alongside. Of course, the parable is presented in terms of wheat and tares, in which both plants look very similar in early stages, but in reality, you can only eat one plant: wheat. A tare is actually a weed that will strangle other plants, which is essentially what weeds do. That is their sole purpose – to kill other living things by draining nutrients away from them. Sometimes, they will physically strangle other plants as well. Do you know people like that?
Sometimes, when I look around this world, I find it appallingly unloving. Millions of babies are killed yearly in places that purport to care about women’s health, but in reality, they just want to make a buck. I see animals who are dumped in neighborhoods or simply released into the wild because the owners don’t care about them anymore and don’t have enough sense to have their animals spayed/neutered. You see these folks in big box parking lots trying to sell the offspring. These people don’t deserve to own pets.
People are always trying to step over or on top of someone else in order to obtain what they want in this world. Many seem intent on getting whatever they want and it really doesn’t matter to them how many people are hurt in the process. We normally call these people con artists, but many are not professionals. You might work with one or two. Others you might pass by or have to deal with in stores. In short, the truth seems to be that people tend to often be very self-centered and self-aggrandizing, to the point of seeing only their needs/wants as being the most important thing in the world.
This is made exceptionally worse when it involves religion in any form. Wherever there are people who want to get ahead, become famous, and make a ton of money, the area of religion is the door many try to force open. Legend has it that Scientology founder, L. Ron Hubbard had the same thought, knowing that to create a new religion would bring untold millions of dollars his way. He set to work on that goal and one day, voila! Scientology was born.
But what about those who use and abuse Christianity, stretching it, reworking it, and conforming it to their image, their purposes, and ultimately, their get-rich quick schemes? This has happened for too long and it will only end when Jesus Himself returns to this planet and does “clean-up.” Paul dealt with this issue in his life and even wrote about it to a group of believers (Philippians 1:15).
Some, to be sure, are preaching Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from goodwill.
It is likely that those who preached Christ out of envy and rivalry were doing so to make a name for themselves. Though God’s Word never returns to Him void, people use it and abuse it as often as possible so that they can gain something from it, usually in the monetary realm.
Over the years, there have been many televangelists who have made a name for themselves because they have deliberately co-opted Christianity for their own benefit. Certainly, not all televangelists are guilty of this, but too many of them are and it is aggravating to say the least. I’m really not sure that the average non-Christian actually sees the difference, yet it some ways, it’s very clear that these non-Christians have far more common sense than many who call themselves Christians and get sucked up into the morass created by con artist televangelists. Let’s discuss just a few of them, all right? Feel free to pass the word as well because the lost need to know that you do not associate yourself or agree with these particular individuals – at least I hope you don’t. If you do, then you might want to stop reading the articles here on my blog because I not agree with these individuals or their messages.
One person has a “hall of shame” and these people are on it and for good reason.
- Robert Tilton
- Bob Larson
- Terry Smith
- Pat Robertson
- Jim Bakker
- Oral Roberts
- Mike Warnke
- Jimmy Swaggart
- Billy James Hargis
- W. V. Grant
- Paul Crouch
Each one has a story. Each one has made a name for himself, by co-opting Christianity for their own personal gain. There are many others that can and should be added to the above list, who have made Christianity their profession allowing them to rake in hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars.
In today’s world, Christianity is often big business, rivaling many Fortune 500 companies. I recall doing some research years ago and came across a website for pastors and churches looking for available positions. One large church, which happened to be in Texas, was looking for a senior pastor. In the ad, they talked about being able to offer a six-figure salary, complete 401k retirement package, housing allowance, and more. Let’s not forget that pastors do not have their salaries taxed like the rest of us so when they make – as an example – $600,000 per year – they actually bring home $600,000 per year. That’s not even including their housing and car allowance or their retirement package.
Why are some churches so large that they can afford to pay anyone that amount of money? It’s obscene and unscriptural, but that doesn’t seem to bother people. The other question is how does a church manage to become that large without offending people away from that church? Either they’re spending their time simply scratching people’s ears, telling them what they want to hear, or people really aren’t paying attention and enjoy being part of something that big.
My experience tells me that churches that large are often (not always) part of the Emergent Church arena. In that situation, the most important thing to do is make church exciting. This is done by creating a circus atmosphere where there’s something for everyone, constantly. The energy, the excitement, the potential, the programs – all of it – is designed to cater to people’s interests and emotions. In light of that, it’s very important that things never get really “serious.” That puts a damper on things. When things are dampened, people will get bored. When people get bored, they look for greener pastures. When they look for greener pastures, they’ll likely find a few and head over there. When they head over there, they will normally take their wallets with them. When they take their wallets with them, that means the money they used to give to their former exciting church now goes to their new exciting church.
The list of people noted above all – to some extent – cater to people like a variety show used to cater to folks. People are excited to “tune” in and are just waiting for the next or newest “move of God” because that’s what they want to see.
In light of the fact that all Christians are supposed to be involved in some aspect of the Great Commission (Matthew 28), it is appalling that there are individuals like those listed above who manage to totally miss the point while they’re attempting to distract people from what seems to really be going on in their lives.
At the top of the page I’ve linked to above – The Televangelists’ Hall of Shame! – the individual hosting that page has John 11:35 at the top of the page: “Jesus wept!”
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that’s accurate though I understand the sentiment being used. No, I don’t think Jesus is crying at all. I think He’s extremely angry but being God, He has the ability to put His anger aside because He knows the day is coming when He will make all things right. That most definitely includes taking care of the people who have been dragging His Name through the mud while enriching themselves.
People have asked me why I’m not in the pastorate. I’ve been there. I’ve done that. The politics in most churches is enough to sicken. I know this – if God ever leads me into the pastorate, I would only consider doing it if I received no pay for it (or on a love offering). I don’t know how pastors do it, frankly. Obviously, they’re called and gifted in that way, but the politics can be overwhelming and that’s not what the church should be about. Yet, it exists because of people who want to continually game the system.
Stay tuned for an announcement we hope to make in the next week or so. I have gotten so tired of people using Christianity to make a buck. I’m taking it to heart. Stay tuned.
Entry filed under: christianity, emergent church, eternity, Political Correctness, Politically Correct, Politics, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: charlatans, parable of wheat and tares, professional christian, televangelists.