People get upset when they find out that certain television evangelists have a truckload of money. They get upset because television evangelists have a poor congregation and assume that they don’t spread that wealth around.
Do we really have the right to be angry with them for having a luxurious lifestyle? They work for a living like everyone else to make money. It’s just that television evangelists make more money preaching and selling products. Just like Nike makes more money selling shoes instead of selling mothballs. Television evangelists are examples of God’s prosperity. TV evangelist does the Lord’s work and they are compensated for it. Did we get made when Jerry Seinfeld made $1 million per episode?
There is this belief that preachers and ministers should be broke like their parishioners. The fact is that if a local minister in a town with the population of 12,000 makes $2 million a year, then we should be upset. The residents are struggling to pay their bills and the minister is driving a BMW and the church is the only job he has. That is a sign of fishy behavior.
However, television evangelists do more than preach one day a week. They sell CDs, DVDs, and hold conferences. Lets take a look at television evangelist Joyce Meyer. She has a $10 million jet, her husband drives a $107,000 Mercedes, and her home is worth at least $2 million. Yes, Joyce Meyer Ministries accepts donations, but no one is holding a gun to people’s heads screaming, “Donate!” Joyce also sells books, CDs, and DVDs. She doesn’t force people to buy them. Joyce provides a public service, which she gets paid for. The police provide a public service and no one cries about paying them.
Joyce is not the only television evangelist who makes lots of money ministering. In early 2010, there was a public backlash concerning Ed Young owning a private plane. Critics chastised Bishop Eddie Long for owning a $300,000 Bentley. Marcus and Joni Lamb are accused of letting money lead their lives instead of the Lord. Come on, they are co-founders of a television station. If your not making money running a television station, then something is definitely wrong. If you don’t want to watch a telethon or listen about tithing for 15 minutes then change the channel.
For the sake of argument, lets assume that television evangelists are in it for the money. The truth is that’s between them and God. Not 20/20, The New York Times, and the entire Western world. If they are truly religious con artists who are out to suck poor Christians dry, then they will get what they deserve in the end. Without proof of illegal fraud or embezzling, critics and accusers don’t have a leg to stand on. No matter how much money television evangelists make, they are operating within the law.
During the past few weeks, I’ve enjoyed watching a few television evangelists because of the message they give about God and making it through life as a good Christian. They have inspired me. Yes, I am shocked when I learn about a certain television evangelist luxurious lifestyles. In the end, I can’t judge them or assume they are con artists because there is no legal proof. Only God knows for sure.
Bottom line is that television evangelists are not twisting anyone’s arm to buy their products or donate money to them. What they earn is what the public gives them. You have a choice, which gives you the power. It is yours to use as you see fit.
Phil Cooke “20/20 on TV Evangelist Salaries and Perks,” PhilCooke.com
Timothy Frazier, “Grapevine Texas Fellowship Church Pastor Ed Young Responds to Accusations,” Associated Content.
Carolyn Tuft and Bill Smith, “From Fenton to Fortune in the Name of God,” Trinity Foundation.
Hugh Hession, “Macon Native Marcus Lamb Living His Dream with Daystar Television Network,” Examiner.com
Bob Wise, “Marcus Lamb-Daystar Television,” ForgottenWordMinistries.org
Bode Adeboyejo, “Does it Take Money to Spread the Gospel?” The Lord’s Quill.