MegaPastors and MegaChurches
Globalism - Ecumenism
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Is the megachurch of today the same as the church of yesterday? Does the megachurch teach the same message as the church of yesterday? Does having more members mean having a better church?
When I was in grade school, the classes were small. The student to teacher ratio made learning easy, which is why they did it for children. In high school the classes got larger but only a little. The big deal for private schools was the low teacher – student ratio. Apparently the larger the crowd, the lower the learning level. Everyone knows one-on-one teaching is the best teaching.
As a child, most churches were smaller in nature. There were the big churches, and there were the really big churches; but there were few megachurches. Everyone knew everyone, there were church socials and picnics; and the church was the focal point for social gatherings. It is difficult to socially gather with 15,000 people. It would be a heck of a picnic; it would be huuuge.
My how things have changed.
With megachurches and megapreachers, there also comes megabucks. A friend and I, a pastor, were discussing this subject a few months ago; and he said to me, “So do you think it’s wrong for preachers to make good money?”
Did Jesus make good money? Did Jesus live in a $2 million home? Did Jesus drive a Mercedes?
No, I explained to my friend; it doesn’t bother me how much an individual makes financially. What does bother me is the manner in which it’s made.
Jesus stressed humility, the meek will inherit the earth. When the rich man asked Jesus how he could make it to his kingdom, Jesus told him to sell everything he had, give the money to the poor and follow him. This was quite stressful for the man, because he was very wealthy.
What do we think Donald Trump or The Clintons would say if they were told the only way they could make it, and it was only a start, to God’s kingdom was to sell all their stuff and give the money to the poor and the needy and the suffering? Would they do so? Would they pick up their crosses and follow Jesus through the wilderness of mankind? I don’t think so, but it’s just a guess.
Following Jesus is not an easy thing. For one reason he followed Jewish law all 613 of them as did his followers, the first Christians. I have seen many Jesus movies and read many books about our Messiah; and he never lived in a one million-dollar home. He did not drive an expensive car but rode a colt. He was humble. Humility.
What did Jesus say?
Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
“Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
“Which ones?” he inquired.
Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Matthew 19:16–24 NIV
Growing up in High Point, North Carolina, I went to the First Presbyterian Church. I guess it was large church for 1957. I remember we had a wonderful preacher, and he drove a 1957 Oldsmobile. It was brand-new, and he lived in a nice but modest home. It was not a one million-dollar home.
Jesus had a lot to say about money. He told us to pay our taxes and take responsibility for our bills when he said give to Caesar that which is Caesar’s. Jesus also suggested, commanded, that we tithe our 10% to the temple (church), as commanded in the Bible.
In the United States, a megachurch is defined as any church with more than 2000 members. There are 1650 or more megachurches is in the United States. Of the 56 million Protestants who attend worship services regularly, nearly 14 million attend churches with 1000 members or more.
With the megachurch comes megapeople and megabucks for the megapreacher, especially for a megachurch of 15,000 or more members. Probably the Catholic Church is the largest of all megachurches, and one look at the pomp and circumstance in Vatican City and the Church is a clear indication of what megabucks can do.
Recently, in Atlanta. a megapreacher named Creflo Dollar decided that God wanted him to have a business jet. Not just any jet, but the best business jet, a $65 million business jet. Nothing else would work.
Like with Creflo and many megapreachers, the flock gave willingly; and Creflo got his $65 million jet. I wonder how many poor people, how many needy people, how many depressed and sick people could have been helped for $65 million. What’s wrong with a regular plane? Did Creflo not think there were souls to be saved in commercial aircraft transportation?
Then there is Joel Osteen, the current darling of megapreachers who readily says that he receives no salary from his church, that his income is based on other avenues, like book and video sales. He gave up his $200,000 a year salary. How generous.
When Joel moved into his $10 million home, a lot of eyebrows were raised. How many books and videos and whatevers was this man selling? Franklin Graham has a nice country estate but there’s acreage and farmland, and humility. The Osteen home is far from humble.
The church was not intended to be Entertainment Tonight or TMZ. It was intended to be a place where people that had little time for home study could learn about the Word of God. And God is not all lovey-dovey.
I watch Joel Osteen occasionally but my favorite is Dr. Michael Youssef. While Joel teaches how wonderful everything is and proclaims God’s love for almost anyone and everyone is grand, other messengers like Dr. Youssef actually teach the Word; and there are many who do teach the Word. They teach the prophets, they teach the prophecies that came true, they teach the prophecies that have yet come true and explain how close we are to the events that have yet come to fruition.
Money does not get us to Jesus; it is our belief that Jesus is who he said he was and that he will judge us by what is in our heart. I imagine that if Mr. Osteen would settle for a $1,000,000 home and give $9,000,000 to the Haitians, or to the poor in this country, or to a mother of three who works two jobs and has two autistic children… I think that would be a good heart. The heart is the key.
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad. 2 Corinthians 5:10 NIV
God is a good God, but he is not an anything goes God. No matter how they spin it, God has a conservative philosophy, not a liberal philosophy. One only has to read the Bible to know so.
About J.L. Robb
Last week: Great Men of Prophecy
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