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prisonchaplain

Sometimes the Big Name Preachers are just what we need

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In some circles of Christianity criticizing  big-name TV preachers seems to be an art form. I've seen some depict these celebrity as anti-Christs, false prophets, only-about-the-$$$, etc. BTW, do some of these criticisms sound familiar? The realization that most of these folk serve a godly purpose hit me awhile back. An inmate asked me what I thought about Joel Osteen. I paused--always a wise move when asked a question that seems to have more to it--and responded with, "Why do you ask? What are your thoughts?"

The answer? "Oh, I love his teaching. I was so discouraged, and reading that God wants me to have my best life now helped me realized that the LORD never intended me to wallow in misery."

Amen.

In reality, I suspect that most who tune in to ministers, like Rev. Olsteen, are not weekly parishioners who get all their wisdom from him. Rather, they are believers in God, sometimes church-goers, who need an uplifting word. They're starving for God's smile and a sense of His peace and presence. I might not recommend their churches as places to grow and flourish. However, a sermon or book from such folk can often help us to see the Heavenly Father who truly desires our blessing and wellness.

Thoughts?

Edited by prisonchaplain

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With some big-name TV preachers "only-about-the-$$$" is a good description for their actions, but not all. Some of the messages from Rev. Olsteen are inspired through the Spirit of God. One of my favorite TV preachers was/is Joyce Meyer. There have been some symbolic teachings from the New Testament from Ms. Meyer that I found to be also inspired by the Holy Ghost as it provided a different perspective.

If a teaching draws a person closer to God, then that in and of itself is "good" and worth sharing. Christ is the "way, truth, and life," and that means all truth. I would place Joyce Meyer and Rev. Olsteen in a similar light I find with Jiddu Krishnamurti who wrote a good book titled "To Be Human." 

The Spirit of God flows through many people, and the Lord will work through many people to bring about his purposes (i.e. even a harlot).        

Edited by Anddenex

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48 minutes ago, Ironhold said:

The problem likely stems from the 1980s and early 1990s, when many of the big "televangelists" went down in flames due to scandal after scandal. 

It reminds me to that old song from Genesis "Jesus He knows me".

@prisonchaplain not sure how I feel about the example you gave, but it disturbs me deeply (good message or not) if desperate people are used in the process, if they are asked to show their 'gratitude' through financial "gifts" or donations in order to support a lavish lifestyle.

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2 hours ago, Suzie said:

It reminds me to that old song from Genesis "Jesus He knows me".

@prisonchaplain not sure how I feel about the example you gave, but it disturbs me deeply (good message or not) if desperate people are used in the process, if they are asked to show their 'gratitude' through financial "gifts" or donations in order to support a lavish lifestyle.

Or there's Ozzy's "Miracle Man", which was specifically about Jimmy Swaggert. 

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3 hours ago, Suzie said:

 

@prisonchaplain not sure how I feel about the example you gave, but it disturbs me deeply (good message or not) if desperate people are used in the process, if they are asked to show their 'gratitude' through financial "gifts" or donations in order to support a lavish lifestyle.

I distinguish between "prosperity preachers"--the get rich through God quickly folk--and the hugely successful God-is-always-positive ones. Again, the latter might not be good as a long, steady theological diet, but they usually stick to simple truths and can offer up some much needed short-term spiritual sunshine to folks that are in dark, difficult and lonely places.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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I don't know.  I tend to think about what Jesus would do and what he did do.  I don't think he got rich from teaching or preaching or healing anyone.

Ironically, one of the best preachers I ever met was not a rich preacher or even one with a big church.  They were actually more of a pentecostal church and he was a pastor with a small family in the hills of Virginia.  They had two children and would go around the small towns inviting people to go to their church during the week.  He lived in a trailer and obviously did not seem to be in it for the money.  He did not have a big church, but he seemed so earnest and honest in what he was trying to do, and instead of trying to glorify himself, he always tried to have it about the Lord.

Another one I knew had been a Pastor of a Baptist Church in Oklahoma and North Texas.  He was recalled back into the Military if I recall, but he felt his true calling was still to be a pastor for the Lord.  When he was home he was the pastor of a small congregation of around 30 individuals.  He didn't make any money off of it, any money made was reinvested into the Chapel and trying to keep the grounds in order.  He lived off his military pay instead.  It was not about the money, but trying to fulfill what he felt was his calling from the Lord. 

When I see these guys with these mega churches, and their televised broadcasts...it may help some, but I have to wonder if that's really what the Lord thinks is the best way to do things, or if instead it is more the smaller things where people try to help each other in a more personalized and individual manner.

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I think the Lord works with people on whatever level they are at. If televangelism is the only way he can reach certain individuals then I think he will work through televangelists to do just that. But I'm pretty certain the Lord is not happy with those who grow rich teaching His word. So while they may be doing some good in this world I fear their reward in the next will not be what they hope it is.

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9 hours ago, JohnsonJones said:

When I see these guys with these mega churches, and their televised broadcasts...it may help some, but I have to wonder if that's really what the Lord thinks is the best way to do things, or if instead it is more the smaller things where people try to help each other in a more personalized and individual manner.

Oh, definitely not. I wouldn't do it they way they do, teach it the way they teach, or steer the church in the directions they tend to go. On the other hand, I've learned that some are gleaning blessing from them. I suspect that there are quite a few unrighteous souls that manage to be used by God ...

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20 hours ago, prisonchaplain said:

In some circles of Christianity criticizing  big-name TV preachers seems to be an art form. I've seen some depict these celebrity as anti-Christs, false prophets, only-about-the-$$$, etc. BTW, do some of these criticisms sound familiar? The realization that most of these folk serve a godly purpose hit me awhile back. An inmate asked me what I thought about Joel Osteen. I paused--always a wise move when asked a question that seems to have more to it--and responded with, "Why do you ask? What are your thoughts?"

The answer? "Oh, I love his teaching. I was so discouraged, and reading that God wants me to have my best life now helped me realized that the LORD never intended me to wallow in misery."

Amen.

In reality, I suspect that most who tune in to ministers, like Rev. Olsteen, are not weekly parishioners who get all their wisdom from him. Rather, they are believers in God, sometimes church-goers, who need an uplifting word. They're starving for God's smile and a sense of His peace and presence. I might not recommend their churches as places to grow and flourish. However, a sermon or book from such folk can often help us to see the Heavenly Father who truly desires our blessing and wellness.

Thoughts?

I believe that G-d can and does use a variety of people to bring about good things.  I also believe that the better a persons is - and when I say better, I intend it to mean that they are willing to covenant with G-d and make great sacrifice - that G-d can bring about greater things than those that do not abide divine counsels. 

I also believe that as a seeker of truth - I ought to recognize it wherever I can find it.  I do not know Rev. Olsteen so I should not comment about him.  Of all ministers outside of the LDS faith there are few that stand out to me personally.  One is the Zen Master - here in Salt Lake City - even though I do not remember his name.  The other is our forum's beloved @prisonchaplain.  Beyond these two I have also interfaced with several Jewish Rabbis, a fellow minister in the Reorganized LDS church and an imam of the Muslim faith.

However, most ministers outside my own faith, I have dealt with - I have not felt good of it.

 

The Traveler

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I've met some awesome clergy of other faiths, as well. My interactions with a United Church of Christ (very liberal) minister, with an Orthodox rabbi, with a Sunni Muslim imam, and with a Buddhist monk have all been fascinating. Of course, like @Traveler, I believe these men would be even more compelling if they had the abiding presence of Christ within them.

That said, I've also seen forms of Christianity that sucked the life out of people. One friend of my older brother's became a Christian, and he seemed to be almost running on auto-pilot. His humor was gone, his perspectives calcified, and sadly, I doubt many would have been compelled by his changes. Yes, he behaved better. However, our faith should make us more alive, not less. It should bring out the positive aspects of our individual personalities, not suppress them. So, while there is not doubt that wealthy, celebrity preachers suffer from some flaws (we can discuss the errors without condemning the persons, imho), I suspect that they often provide desperately needed positivity to those who have become downcast, despite their faith.

Edited by prisonchaplain

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2 minutes ago, prisonchaplain said:

I've met some awesome clergy of other faiths, as well. My interactions with a United Church of Christ (very liberal) minister, with an Orthodox rabbi, with a Sunni Muslim imam, and with a Buddhist monk have all been fascinating. Of course, like @Traveler, I believe these men would be even more compelling if they had the abiding presence of Christ within them. That said, I've also seen forms of Christianity that sucked the life out of people. One friend of my older brother's became a Christian, and he seemed to be almost running on auto-pilot. His humor was gone, his perspectives calcified, and sadly, I doubt many would have been compelled by his changes. Yes, he behaved better. However, our faith should make us more alive, not less. It should bring out the positive aspects of our individual personalities, not suppress them.

So, while there is not doubt that wealthy, celebrity preachers suffer from some flaws (we can discuss the errors without condemning the persons, imho), I suspect that they often provide desperately needed positivity to those who have become downcast, despite their faith.

I do believe if we want to learn to love our enemies - somehow we must find some good in them.

 

The Traveler

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On 12/1/2020 at 5:53 PM, prisonchaplain said:

Thoughts?

There seems to be 2 opposing views among the members of our church (and it seems it is in Christianity in general) and that it is righteous to be poor and it is righteous to be rich. There are many scriptures that seemingly back both views and everyone has their own interpretation of it.

These views often are what drive the hate for wealthy religious leaders. I would argue that wealth has nothing to do with righteousness and that at its best, it only enhances what righteousness already exists in an individual.

here are two examples of what I see happening.

(1) Joseph Smith had multiple wives. Was it because he was a sex deviant or because God commanded him?

Though there is no real way to tell with facts, the vast majority of people will say he was a sex deviant

(2) Is Joel Olsteen wealthy because he loves wealth more than God and takes advantage of people? Or is he wealthy because he is a God fearing preacher that is also extremely talented in running a business and church?

Again, no real way to know for sure, but the majority of people would say he loves wealth more than God. 
 

why does this happen? Maybe we just assume the worst in people and that is just the natural man? Maybe we are jealous of the wealth or the amount of sex being had. In order to make ourselves feel better, we make up stories in our mind.

Edited by Fether

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28 minutes ago, Fether said:

There seems to be 2 opposing views among the members of our church (and it seems it is in Christianity in general) and that it is righteous to be poor and it is righteous to be rich. There are many scriptures that seemingly back both views and everyone has their own interpretation of it.

These views often are what drive the hate for wealthy religious leaders. I would argue that wealth has nothing to do with righteousness and that at its best, it only enhances what righteousness already exists in an individual.

here are two examples of what I see happening.

(1) Joseph Smith had multiple wives. Was it because he was a sex deviant or because God commanded him?

Though there is no real way to tell with facts, the vast majority of people will say he was a sex deviant

(2) Is Joel Olsteen wealthy because he loves wealth more than God and takes advantage of people? It is we wealthy because he is a god fearing preacher that is also extremely talented in running a business?

Again, no real way to know for sure, but the majority of people would say he loves wealth more than God. 
 

why does this happen? Maybe we just assume the worst in people and that is just the natural man? Maybe we are jealous of the wealth or the amount of sex being had and in order to make ourselves feel better, we make up stories in our mind.

Being wealthy is not evil in and of itself.  It is not a sin to have money and goods, but in general there is an attitude that goes with it, or that one has when one is wealthy that may make it harder to be a righteous individual depending on how one reads the scriptures and interprets them.  Look to the Lord in all things as an example of how to be, and it will guide us in righteousness.

Many who feel that being rich indicates (not that it is, but that it indicates that someone is putting love of riches over that of the Lord) an attitude of unrighteousness is found in the New Testament. 

 

Matthew 6:24

Quote

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Or, if we take another translation (ESV) to be clearer regarding wealth to a certain degree...

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4 “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.[a]

Luke 12:23

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33 Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

Mark 12: 41-44

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41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.

42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.

43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:

44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.

Matthew 6: 19 - 21

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19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:

21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 6:20

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20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.

Luke 6: 24

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24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.

Luke 12:15

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15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

And it goes on and on and on...I've just listed some (not all) of the verses found in the Gospels.  There are many more found throughout the Bible.  It  packs a pretty big picture for people's views regarding the attitudes which adjoin many of the Rich.  In fact, I have not listed even close to all the scriptures that condemn riches in this way...

HOWEVER...it also indicates that it is more of a attitude in some parts than merely having riches...but if one actually HAS the attitude ascribed..one might no longer be rich...

Luke 14:12-14

Quote

12 Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee.

13 But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:

14 And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.

We find that this teaching is also found in the Book of Mormon to a degree

Jacob 2:19 says

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Think of your brethren like unto yourselves, and be familiar with all and free with your substance, that they may be rich like unto you.

18 But before ye seek for riches, seek ye for the kingdom of God.

19 And after ye have obtained a hope in Christ ye shall obtain riches, if ye seek them; and ye will seek them for the intent to do good—to clothe the naked, and to feed the hungry, and to liberate the captive, and administer relief to the sick and the afflicted.

And King Benjamin also states

Quote

21 And now, if God, who has created you, on whom you are dependent for your lives and for all that ye have and are, doth grant unto you whatsoever ye ask that is right, in faith, believing that ye shall receive, O then, how ye ought to impart of the substance that ye have one to another.

22 And if ye judge the man who putteth up his petition to you for your substance that he perish not, and condemn him, how much more just will be your condemnation for withholding your substance, which doth not belong to you but to God, to whom also your life belongeth; and yet ye put up no petition, nor repent of the thing which thou hast done.

23 I say unto you, wo be unto that man, for his substance shall perish with him; and now, I say these things unto those who are rich as pertaining to the things of this world.

24 And again, I say unto the poor, ye who have not and yet have sufficient, that ye remain from day to day; I mean all you who deny the beggar, because ye have not; I would that ye say in your hearts that: I give not because I have not, but if I had I would give.

25 And now, if ye say this in your hearts ye remain guiltless, otherwise ye are condemned; and your condemnation is just for ye covet that which ye have not received.

The question then is how many of us who gain riches actually spend those riches on others instead of retaining that wealth for ourselves?  How many of the wealthy give away most of what they get to help those in need.  The ideal society of the Lord as represented in Nephi 4

Quote

2 And it came to pass in the thirty and sixth year, the people were all converted unto the Lord, upon all the face of the land, both Nephites and Lamanites, and there were no contentions and disputations among them, and every man did deal justly one with another.

3 And they had all things common among them; therefore there were not rich and poor, bond and free, but they were all made free, and partakers of the heavenly gift.

We no longer have this, even in the Church (though during Brigham Young's days there were a few places that were very close to this or even had this...but they also practiced a form of the Law of Consecration that members today would never accept.

I see that we glorify riches today, even in our Church, and it is the RICH and powerful that become even more powerful in religious matters in many instances than those who were poor and humble.  It should not be surprising that in the rest of the world, many also follow after this rather than the examples of the Lord.

You may think I am being overly harsh against those with wealth, but I also can look at myself (I am not rich like Bill Gates, but comparatively to the rest of the World I have more than many, and I tend to horde money in savings and such because I am fearful that I won't have enough to subsist upon in the future if I spent it all or gave it away).

Edited by JohnsonJones

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