Salvation is Supposed to be Free

Written by BG Howard

February 15, 2023

While recently probing the internet, I came across information that ultimately proved quite interesting, somewhat surprising and what I finally concluded was down right ridiculous. An article on one site: hooch, was entitled “Gilded Gods: How the Richest Religious Leaders Live” and another site called trendchaser featured another article: “Cashing in on Church: The Richest Mega Pastors in America.” These articles disclosed extensive information about a number of prominent pastors/evangelists in America and around the world.

Details about the backgrounds, salaries, and net worth of these self-proclaimed men and women of God left me, as a true Christian, wondering how the ideal of spirituality and Godliness has been run so far off into the ditch. Jesus teaches believers to be meek and humble; not given to pride and self-gratification.

Pastor Benjamin L. Corey, who has made many pilgrimages into the poorest regions of India and hosts a spiritual blog writes, “When pastors live in multi-million dollar mansions, it’s not a sign of god’s blessing but our sinfulness.” This, I find particularly convicting when one considers scripture as stated in Matthew 8:20 (NKJV): And Jesus said to him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay his head.

Surely the Lord didn’t disapprove of the concept of wealth for we know Solomon was, in fact, granted wealth that exceeded the amount possessed by any man from that day to the present. His financial status was a direct reward from the Lord and the Word declares that it is the Lord who grants a man real wealth.

There are simply too many people listed in the on-line articles to name them all. One account detailed more than thirty “pastors” whose net worth ranged from a poultry 1.5 million dollars to upwards of a billion. The world’s reportedly richest pastor is Brazilian Born, Edir Macedo, who has amassed a net worth of more than ten billion dollars. It is his assertion that he must maintain an exuberant lifestyle so as to sustain a large following. Do correct me if I’m out of line for saying, but that doesn’t sound very meek and humble to me.

Just some of the pastors identified on the various lists included names such as Jesse Jackson with a net worth of $10 million, Jack Van Impe who oversees a purse of over $12 million, Paula White and Kay Arthur both have fortunes that top $5 million dollars as well as Pastor John Hagee.

Peter Popoff is a televangelist originally from Berlin who has accumulated a meager net worth of $10 million dollars along with the likes of Joyce Meyer and Ed Young. Bishop T. D. Jakes and Ernest Angley are among many pastors of mega churches who have a “demonstrated need” for a private plane which also figures into their respective net worth of more than $15 million dollars.

The infamous Billy Graham, who passed away at the ripe old age of 99 years, had a son
named Franklin Graham who is, with good reason, following in his father’s footsteps. He also helped to accumulate a portion of the senior Graham’s $25 million dollar fortune. This is equaled by televangelists Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar who also skip around the country in private jets.

Though there are a number of others that I neither have the time nor allotted space to mention, the list is rounded out by Pastor Pat Robertson who reports a net worth of over $200 million dollars but sources speculate that amount could be closer to a billion.

In Matthew 19:24 (KJV) Jesus speaks to His disciples and explains, Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (a gate leading into Jerusalem) than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God. Though many mistakenly think this scripture speaks of a literal needle, it talks of a gate through which people entered the city that was shaped like the eye of a needle and was impossible for a loaded camel standing upright to enter.

My mind goes to accounts of an old country farmer by the name of the late Rev. Amos Henry, pastor of First Pleasant Hill Baptist Church on Appling County’s Ten Mile Highway. He was a simple man, content to drive an old Chevrolet truck and viewed the role of a pastor much like the Levites of biblical times who were commanded by the Lord to “have no possessions.” If salvation is free, why do pastors need to make so much money? I can only imagine, old school pastors like him must be turning cartwheels in their graves to see what the ministry has become. I could be wrong but it’s just something to consider.

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