Tax-Exempt Ministries Avoid New Regulation

Prosperity Gospel A three-year investigation into financial improprieties at six Christian ministries whose television preaching bankrolled leaders’ lavish lifestyles has concluded with the formation of an independent commission to look into the lack of accountability by tax-exempt religious groups.

The investigation report issued this week details the ministries’ luxury homes and cars, trips on private jets and expensive gifts, including two Rolls Royces that a third party reported was given to the Dollars as a gift from the church. [Read more...]

Court: California preacher Frederick Price can sue ABC for defamation

Frederick Price A federal appeals court on Tuesday reinstated televangelist Frederick Price‘s defamation lawsuit claiming ABC’s “20/20″ news program used a fictionalized sermon portraying himself as a wealthy braggart out of context.

The clip ABC aired of the prosperity preacher it aired was actually a sermon on greed in which the preacher slips into the role of a fictional character who is wealthy but unhappy. [Read more...]

Prosperity Gospel does not work for Benny Hinn

The so-called prosperity gospel preached by Benny Hinn does not work for the controversial evangelist.

Hinn has posted a plea for $2 million in donations on his website.

The televangelist says he accumulated the deficit in the past few months because offerings at some international appearances did not cover expenses.

Here’s how the prosperity scam is sold: God wants you to be rich (and/or healthy), but He can not bless you unless you first send money to whichever televangelist or teacher tells you about this scheme.

Such donations are often referred to as “seed-faith offerings” — which is why Benny Hinn is asking you to “sow the best seed you can, as quickly as you can.”

Our advice: If the prosperity gospel works as advertised, folks like Hinn should be sending you and me money so that God can bless him.

We’re not holding our breath. [See also: Hinn and money] [Read more...]

Watchdog: Jesse Duplantis’ ministry is big business

Jesse Duplantis Trinity Foundation, an evangelical watchdog led by Ole Anthony has been investigating evangelist Jesse Duplantis.

Investigator Pete Evans says ‘Donors expect the money they donate to the church to go to the poor and needy. Not to build mansions for the pastor.” Duplantis is building a mansion, owned by the ministry, that has 35-thousand square feet of covered space. [Read more...]

Prosperity gospel faces challenge: frugal savers

Prosperity Gospel Despite the economic downturn, the prosperity gospel remains alive and well. Pastors like Cowan or televangelists like the Rev. Creflo Dollar and the Rev. Kenneth Copeland continue to promise that financial blessings will follow donations to their ministries.

But it faces a challenge from a new austerity gospel, which says God blesses those who work hard, save their money and pay off their debts. [Read more...]

Prosperity Gospel: Did Christianity Cause the Crash?

Prosperity Gospel America’s mainstream religious denominations used to teach the faithful that they would be rewarded in the afterlife. But over the past generation, a different strain of Christian faith has proliferated—one that promises to make believers rich in the here and now.

Known as the prosperity gospel, and claiming tens of millions of adherents, it fosters risk-taking and intense material optimism. It pumped air into the housing bubble. And one year into the worst downturn since the Depression, it’s still going strong.

• In the same issue of The Atlantic: Lead us not into debt: Finance guru Dave Ramsey wins followers with a simple message: find God and lose your credit cards. [Read more...]