Saturday, February 28, 2009

Money Cometh...Out of Your Pocket...Into Mine

I was recently reading some sermon notes I had by a well-known faith preacher. We will call him Someone I Once Followed. The notes were on the topic of Faith (surprise!). As I was reading, I was reminded of some things I liked about the Word of Faith. What I was reading expressed a lot of commitment to the Bible as God’s Word. I had not heard that kind commitment to the Word of God in the denominations that I was familiar with. We had all believed that the Bible was inspired and inerrant but these Faith guys expressed reliance and dependence on the Bible in unequivocal terms. Their attitude was “This is God’s Word and I’ll do whatever it says, even if it seems to my own hurt.” The Bible was also given as a basis for communion with God and as the only way to find fulfillment. I was not hearing these concepts expressed with such fire and enthusiasm until I encountered the WOF. That was part of the attraction for me. This was communicated very clearly in the Faith movement. It was a contrast to what I had been used to hearing. When I could find a clear point being communicated, it was something like “be committed and don’t get your hopes up.”

(A little footnote: I know people have itching ears to hear convenient messages but of those of us with orthodox doctrine fail to clearly and aggressively articulate the basic messages of Christianity backed with moral character, we are going to continue to face problems like this in the Evangelical movement.)

Anyway these faith preachers were inspiring because of their example of commitment to God’s Word. While reflecting on the notes I was reading, I was reminded of one of the many disappointments I’ve had with the WOF: there was something that the leaders and preachers ultimately had a greater commitment to than faith.

That something was money.

I have observed symptoms of the Faith movement’s love affair with money. The church I attended for years usually gave a mini-sermon before tithes were taken up. I had friends who were going through a severe financial crisis and stopped tithing. The pastor told them that failing to tithe was the biggest mistake they could have made. This from a guy who was famous for preaching that if people gave money to him, they would be blessed and have what amounted to good luck. This was back when Leroy Thompson’s “Money Cometh” message was hot and people were stuffing the preacher’s coat pocket with cash. If it was going to damage this couple so bad, why didn’t he give them money to tithe from? It wasn’t like he didn’t have the money. We could also talk a long time about WOF ministries being investigated for inappropriate use of non-profit money. Financial transparency is unheard of in Faith churches because the leader has final say on all church matters.

I don’t see how a minister can be “A man of the Word” and ignore Biblical admonitions to ethical behavior. I guess they really are “favorite Word people.”


  1. hey, I agree with a lot of what you said. but what do you mean by "Financial transparency is unheard of in Faith churches because the leader has final say on all church matters." That's definitely untrue because I attend a WOF true Bible believing Bible teaching church whose about faith and righteousness and success instead of just money. We get a personal auditor every year and every quarter they sit us down(in a meeting w/ the entire congregation of 28,000+) and show us the uses of the money. So you can't speak in a sense of persecution towards the whole WOF movements though there are wolves in sheep's clothing that twist the message.

  2. Tristen, I appreciate your comments. First please understand that one of the things I have tried to point out on this blog is the corrupting nature of the prosperity and authority messages taught in the WOF. I and my family were in the Word of Faith for a little over 10 years and have watched 2 WOF churches (pastored by graduates of a well known Midwestern Bible College) within a 40-minute drive of my house crash and burn over these 2 issues.

    At the church I was actively involved in, we had annual reports detailing church finances, independent accounting and our pastor was accountable to a board of directors. The problem was that there was much the financial reports did not cover and it certainly was not information that was going to be aired in a 1 to 2 hour church service. And anyone who persisted in asking questions of the pastor regarding church finances would be blackballed by him, as it was considered disrespectful to God’s man. The year we left the church we discovered the board of directors had not met for 5 years! From my own personal knowledge of churches around the country plus information I have gathered through published testimonies and personal contacts, I can safely say that the Word of Faith institutionalizes corruption in their churches. If your church does not, then it is the exception to the rule.

    I would encourage you to make an appointment with your pastor to discuss financial matters when you have questions. If he pastors 28,000 people and is still willing to have that sort of relationship with his congregants, he’s an exceptional minister.

  3. My american church in Mannheim had financial meetings and a wonderful financial planning. We even got printouts of the budget, and could discuss (no one dared to protest) the subject. Everything looked so fine. Even church members told me the money is spent wisely. But days after I left the church, I met a former member by accident. She told me a totally different story, because she worked in the office for years. Our pastor had full control of the bank account, and used it. Sad. I regret my tithings over all these years.