Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"Preachers of L.A." Reality Show: Are they Real?

Coming to Oxygen Network this Fall is  a reality show, Preachers of L.A., about 6 flamboyant prosperity preachers, known for fiery sermons and large living. Preachers of L.A. will explore the human side of their wealth-and-fame lifestyles both inside and outside the church.

The prosperity interpretation of their gospel is articulated by reality cast member Bishop Gibson, a former gang member now ministering to 4,500 parishioners: “P. Diddy and Jay-Z are not the only ones who should be driving Ferraris and living in large houses.” Unfortunately, this is not new. 50 years ago, DeVern Fromke wrote, “The great fallacy of our day is that we seek God for ‘what He can do for me’ rather than to know Him for Who He is.”

How will the Preachers of L.A. reality show affect the spiritual growth of TV viewers when their reality doesn't match that of these alleged men of faith? How many may leave the church discouraged, possibly embittered, probably poorer, and, undoubtedly confused about what is real?

1 comment:

  1. Good morning Greg,
    Timely post.

    This prosperity preaching is not new. There was Simon the magician in Acts who wanted to pay for the power of the Holy Spirit so that he could exploit it for his own gain. I remember allegations that Orel Roberts had the diamond jewelry air-brushed out of his formal portraits.

    Thinking about the speakers of God's word in the bible, just how many were prosperous? Isaiah? Jeremiah? Paul? These men did not take vows of poverty. They just spoke for God. And they dd not talk about prosperity. Instead, they talked about suffering, sometimes unjustly. The good news is not about stuff. Why would anyone pursue gold when eventually the use for gold will be asphalt in heaven? The abundant life is not made up of stuff. The abundant life is having the opportunity to experience God in every moment in our lives. Paraphrasing what Geffen (the "G" of DreamWorks SKG) once said, "those who think that wealth brings happiness have never been wealthy." Why do the bulk of lotto winners eventually lead miserable lives? Because wealth, or the pursuit of wealth (or dare I say, the love of money) does not bring inner peace and joy. I would assert that the love of money is merely trying to replace the power and faithfulness of God with something else.

    My bigger concern is that the gospel is a simple premise: Jesus lived, was crucified, has promised that his death atones for our sins, Jesus arose, with His ressurection being the evidence that Jesus can accomplish His promises, and His Holy Spirit is a down payment of what is to come.

    These prosperity preachers are preaching a different gospel (which should be real good news). And as Paul has noted, a different gospel is not the gospel at all.

    In the cases of those that hear this perverted gospel, the stumbling block will not be the cross of Christ, but something that is wrong with prosperity "name it and claim it" (blab it and grab it!) preaching. This is serious and the consequences are severe. As Jesus stated, "Better a millstone be hung around their neck..."

    Larry Q