On Schuller, Mac Hammond and the increasing list of falling Prosperity Gospel Ministries
BY Arthur Owiti
What made the early apostles happy and joyful ?
1.Persecution for the name of Jesus Christ..they saw their suffering good for the church’s growth – Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
2.Preaching the word of God ,the gospel of the grace of God ——— Phil 1:18What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.
3.The growth of the believers
4.The faith and the love the believers had in Jesus and for one another
5.Their walk in obedience and in the truth——— I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth 3 Jhn 1:4
Yet what makes Prosperity Pastors and Other Denomination Pastors happy?
1. The tithe money and offertory..thank the church very much for planting money seeds and sending the tithe to the church ..shed tears when the giving is low..not so for the early apostles.
2.the gigantic buildings falsely called churches, posh cars and fancy garments
4.Wide Media Coverage and top selling books
5.Faithful and growing congregation and growing influence and control…NUMBERS
What a big difference from the early church leadership which gave their lives for the sake of the church.
Now due to the Economic recession since many Prosperity Gurus have refused to give up their lives, they are now giving up their riches by force.I pray it leads them to repent of teaching such a false ,Antichrist gospel of money and the love of the world that demonizes the poor and sanctifies greed.
Some PROSPERITY ECONOMICS
BEFORE THE RECESSION
More Rich faithful= More Money= More Capital= More Buildings = more money; More books = more money = more TV appearances
NOW IN THE RECESSION /DEPRESSION
Diminishing Rich faithful = Diminishing Capital= More Debt= Less Books= Less Money=Less TV appearances= Diminshed Minstry
With things tightening who is going to pay for the
publishers and publications
This is not the end of the rich’s dominance it is just that God is dealing with the church that loved money and the world more than him and his word.IT is a call to repentance through bitter chastening
Mac Hammond’s Living Word Christian Center facing foreclosure
By Andy Birkey | 08.23.10 | 1:15 pm
Updated: Property owned by Living Word Christian Center has gone into foreclosure, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s office. On July 28, four parcels of land owned by the Brooklyn Park mega-church was bought at a sheriff’s sale for $5.1 million. Pastor Mac Hammond, who preaches a “prosperity gospel,” has been plagued by financial problems over the last few years. The church took millions from a man who was later convicted of fraud, and the IRS opened an investigation into the church’s finances stemming from favorable financial dealings between the church and Hammond.
County records show that TCF National Bank, which is also the mortgage lender to LWCC, bought the property. Per Minnesota law, Living Word has until July 28, 2011, to redeem the property by securing new financing. The church bought property in 1995 for $3.5 million. It’s unclear from county records whether the foreclosed property is the land on which the church itself sits; Living Word has not responded to the Minnesota Independent’s request for comment on the foreclosure or the church’s financial future.
Update: LWCC told the Minnesota Independent on Tuesday that they sold the property in 2006 and that Hennepin County records are misleading. Said Amy Rotenberg, “Living Word Christian Center actually sold that property to another entity and has had no continuing interest in it since 2006.” We’ll update this story should those records be modified.
Also, according to Rotenberg, “The church is not currently facing any financial issues.” She said, “We won our battle with the IRS” and that the church’s defense of the $2.2 million donated before Gerard Cellette was convicted of fraud should not be seen as a “financial problem.”
In early 2008, the church began to fall behind on its budget by $40,000 to $70,000, prompting Hammond to sell off his jet and forcing the church to cut its hour-long television broadcast to a half hour.
In May, the church was served with papers demanding the return of $2.2 million in money it received from Gerard Cellette, who had been convicted of fraud. Cellette ran a Ponzi scheme and lawyers for the victims were attempting to collect the money from Living Word for remuneration.
The church said in a statement in May that it felt it shouldn’t have to give the money back to the victims because of its status as a church. “This lawsuit, on behalf of Mr. Cellette’s investors, to take back the funds from LWCC and repay the investors is unfair. Our church is essentially being asked to be the guarantor to principally out-of-state, sophisticated investors that made bad investments with Mr. Cellette.”
It’s not the first time the church has invoked religious privilege following questions about its finances.
In 2007, the Minnesota Independent reported that Living Word had arranged favorable loans for Hammond and that Hammond had bought a stunt plane from the church and then leased it back to the church. That reporting led to an IRS investigation, and in 2008 the church sued to block the IRS from investigating.
The IRS wanted a look at Hammond’s and Living Word’s financial books, but Hammond invoked religious privilege.
“This case is about the First Amendment, the free exercise of religion and separation of church and state,” Walter Pickhardt, attorney for the church, said at the time. “Living Word did cooperate but the IRS didn’t follow correct procedures. It was an overbroad request.”
A judge ruled that the IRS did not follow the proper procedures in its investigation and the agency dropped its investigation.
In 2006, the church gained notoriety when Hammond took to the pulpit to endorse Rep. Michele Bachmann for her first election to Congress. Hammond’s backing prompted complaints to the IRS and raised eyebrows, since Hammond didn’t live in Bachmann’s district.
Hammond’s financial troubles come after years of financial growth for the church and for Hammond personally. The “prosperity gospel” Hammond preaches asserts that financial gain is a sign of God’s love. The church has several prayers about becoming debt-free.
“We, the body of Believers of Living Word Christian Center, declare we have been carved out for an end-time expression of El Shaddai, the God of abundance and no lack,” reads one such prayer on the church’s website. “We are taught how to live independent of this world system and how to have dominion over it, therefore, in Jesus’ name, we declare we are debt-free! The spirit of debt is destroyed over our lives and over this local church because of the anointing. We are the lender and not the borrower, the head and not the tail.”
Hammond isn’t the only prosperity preacher to have faced money troubles. As Christianity Today reporter Bobby Ross, Jr., notes, more than a few such figures are now struggling financially.