'Christian Greed: The Lord died so they could be insanely wealthy' / PsiCop graphic, made at Despair, Inc & based on Jan Van Eyck diptychI guess the aptly-named megapastor Creflo Dollar is too good to fly commercial. At least, that’s a conclusion one might reach, on hearing that he expects his sheep to donate $60 million to him so he can buy himself an airplane. (To replace one he’s already had for over 15 years.) CNN reports on his ridiculously greedy demand (WebCite cached article):

Creflo Dollar is hoping a few folks will see fit to bless him.

The minister, known for being a prosperity preacher at his Atlanta-area World Changers Church International, is seeking “200,000 people committed to sow $300 or more (to) help achieve our goal to purchase the G650 airplane.”

The figures are presented in a nearly six-minute video on the Creflo Dollar Ministries website [cached] and total more than $60 million needed to buy the Gulfstream G650, which goes for a reported $65 million. The project isn’t limited to member donations, as the site states that “we are asking members, partners and supporters of this ministry to assist us in acquiring a Gulfstream G650.”

The request goes on to detail that the luxury jet will transport Pastors Creflo and Taffi Dollar and member of the Dollars’ church around the globe to help them spread the gospel.

I guess it’s not possible to “spread the gospel” when traveling by airline. Who knows, maybe I just don’t understand such important, sacred considerations, given I’m a cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen who hasn’t had the benefit of holy insights.

Note that the page on the ministry Web site that CNN linked to, above, is now returning an HTTP 404, or “page not found” error. Hmm. I wonder what might have happened to it?* Fortunately for me, the Internet never forgets, as they say. The Wayback Machine at Archive.Org happens to have preserved the page, which you can see here, and which I’ve doubly preserved at WebCite.

CNN points out that Dollar preaches the “prosperity gospel,” which claims that Jesus came to make his followers wealthy and didn’t want them to be poor. Yeah, I know, maybe my cynical, cold-hearted, godless agnostic heathen nature is getting in the way of understanding Jesus’ teachings — but the last time I looked, he taught the virtue of poverty:

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. … No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Matthew 6:19-21, 24)

Jesus said to him, “If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard this statement, he went away grieving; for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?” (Matthew 19:21-25)

Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, “How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!” The disciples were amazed at His words. But Jesus answered again and said to them, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They were even more astonished and said to Him, “Then who can be saved?” (Mark 10:21-26)

And He sat down opposite the treasury, and began observing how the people were putting money into the treasury; and many rich people were putting in large sums. A poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which amount to a cent. Calling His disciples to Him, He said to them, “Truly I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the contributors to the treasury; for they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44)

And turning His gaze toward His disciples, He began to say, “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.” (Luke 6:20)

“But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full.” (Luke 6:24)

“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33-34)

“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” (Luke 16:13)

When Jesus heard this, He said to him, “One thing you still lack; sell all that you possess and distribute it to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when he had heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich. And Jesus looked at him and said, “How hard it is for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” They who heard it said, “Then who can be saved?” (Luke 18:22-26)

Since being impoverished can be a major inconvenience, it’s little wonder that Christians devised this “theology” in the first place, and that there are so many of them eager to flock to hear that Jesus wants them to be wealthy, not poor.

My own guess … knowing as I do a number of Christians who subscribe to this “theology” … I suspect Dollar will get his many-million-dollar airplane. The followers of “prosperity” preachers rarely fail to live up to the demands made of them.

Update: It’s not just me who noticed the Dollar Ministries plea for airplane money has been pulled from their Web site; here’s a story by WXIA-TV in Atlanta on the matter (cached).

Photo credit: PsiCop graphic, made at Despair.Com & based on Jan van Eyck via Wikimedia Commons.

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