I can’t think of a man with a more fitting name than Creflo Dollar. Though maybe the plural “Dollar$” would be even more appropriate. Yes, the televangelist and mega-pastor of the World Changers Church International made news with his desire to retire his current jet and purchase a new Gulfstream G650 for a cool $65 million. He is asking for 200,000 people to pony up $300 each to fund the purchase. Well, excuse me while I reach for my VISA card.
Dollar opines that his current jet has been in service since 1999 and needs replacement. I seem to remember that some of our Air Force pilots are flying planes twice their age. I guess Creflo is just tougher on his planes.
This desire for one of the most expensive private jets available, one fit for a Saudi prince, is really not out of character for Dollar. He is known to possess two Rolls Royce automobiles and million dollar mansions in Atlanta and New Jersey. It’s clear the Lord’s business has been very good to him.
I’m not one that begrudges anyone for being successful and becoming wealthy because of talent, skill, and ability to deliver value the public wants. However, in the case of pastors where they are to be a living example of scriptural truth, I find this unabashed pursuit of lavishness unseemly at best. When pastors like Dollar and the effervescent Joel Osteen rake in millions personally, it’s hard to differentiate them from secular Wall Street investment bankers.
While this profiting from Christianity confuses followers and presents a terrible image of the church to the secular world, of greater concern is the distorted rendering of Scripture these pastors teach. A rendering that has led them to such wealth. And more and more churches in America are turning to this teaching.
The message that is paying off is that God really wants you to be happy, healthy, and wealthy — in this life. You have an inner champion that is just waiting to be unleashed and win life’s battles. If you just turn to God, pray the right way, and tithe (definitely tithe) then you will get your heart’s desire – in this life. God purpose for you is for you to have a wondrous, miraculous existence on this planet and the church can help you get there.
This sort of preaching reduces God to little more than a force of nature like gravity. It’s cause and effect. You tithe, you prosper. You don’t tithe, you stay poor. Sorry, but this is false teaching.
This idea that God’s purpose for creating you is for you to be happy in this life is simply not scripturally correct. God is sovereign and His will be done, not ours. God’s purpose for creating you is that you would come to know Him and freely enter into a relationship with Him. And sometimes, to get us to turn to God we have to go through difficulties and suffering. I’ve yet to hear of a non-Christian win the Lotto and immediately exclaim “I must now seek the Lord!” No, it doesn’t work that way unfortunately.
C.S. Lewis puts this in perspective when he said, “Sometimes God has to put people on their back to get them to look up.”
Do you know where Christianity is growing the fastest? It’s not in the prosperous, comfortable, well fed West. Despite, all the toothy grins and extolling the idea that prosperity is yours for the taking, Christianity is waning rapidly in this country.
Christianity is growing the fastest where there is the most persecution and suffering. Countries like China and Ethiopia are seeing a great surge in those following Christianity despite great personal jeopardy in doing so.
God does want us to be happy but we have to remember that this life we are living now is not the totality of our existence. The Bible describes it as but a “wisp of smoke”. We all have eternity ahead of us when this life is finished.
God has a purpose for the human race and we each have a purposeful role to play. Some of us will meet much greater suffering than others but it is for God’s purpose and at some point in our existence we will understand.
By all means pursue happiness and comfort in this life. Just remember though that you will at some point meet difficulties and prosperity challenges. Use these to develop greater character and inner strength and grow closer to our Creator.