TV Evangelists' Lifestyles Explored on Inside Edition

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Inside Edition explored the opulent lifestyles of six different megachurch preachers.

In its airing on May 24, the television magazine Inside Edition explored the opulent lifestyles of six different megachurch preachers, all accused of mishandling the donations of their congregants and all under investigation of a special U.S. Senate committee. The show attempted to interview the pastors formally (all of whom declined), but an IE correspondent followed Creflo Dollar, founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International (WCCI) in College Park, Georgia, and asked him about his travels via private jet and his mansion in Atlanta. Dollar had no comment. The report said one of the pastors, Kenneth Copeland, owns a fleet of jets and a private airport in addition to his mansion and waterfront boathouse. When asked, Copeland said his life “follows Scripture” and he’s never asked anyone for money. “We give. We believe we’re open.” Kenneth Copeland’s ministry website includes a page explaining their financial accountability and their donation management process. IE interviewed a representative of the Trinity Foundation, a church watchdog group, about large, prosperity-oriented ministries like Dollar’s and Copeland’s: “Televangelism is a $2 to $3 billion industry, untaxed, unregulated,” they said.

What do you think? Does the media have it out for popular ministers, or is there a degree of truth to the unbalanced lifestyle of wealthy evangelists?

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  • Diana

    I dont think media has a right to investigate as long as financial records are in order. Have they looked into all the finances spent to aid the poor and have outreach ministries. Airplanes aid in world travel to spread the gospel. Would Jesus ride a donkey today? Have you flown today with the delays and red tape.  This is bypassed when you own your own plane. The world cannot judge adequately because they do not always understand spiritual matters or even take the time to investigate.  Sensationalism and false accusations sell papers and magazines and increase ratings on television.

    • Josh Gaudreau

      It certainly doesn’t sound like they’re denying themselves, and taking up the cross as Jesus calls all believers to do (Mark 8:34). I think the fact that many of these televangelists’ followers are poor and giving them their money which is being spent on jets and mansions says a lot. Seriously, who needs a mansion? or a whole fleet of jets? How is their lifestyles matching that of Jesus?

    • Rbherrera

      NOT!

      • Rbherrera

        The NOT is for Diana…

    • Rob Wriggle

      A Fleet of private jets though…

  • Drolandgs

    Copeland said he never asks for money? Lies. His magazine is all “give us money and God will give that amount back to you tenfold”. He says that people who send him money themselves will become wealthy.

  • BKRoberts

    I am not in favor of the ministers’ lifestyles of excess, and I truly believe their ‘health and wealth’ gospel is in error and detrimental to the true gospel message of “Christ and Him crucified.” 

    However, I would also note that most people’s definition of “excess” begins, where their own income ends.  In other words, opulence in their mind is relative to their own income – if the income is above mine, then it must be excess (“Seriously, who needs a mansion?”).  No one ‘needs’ a mansion – but then again, who really ‘needs’ a television, or a computer, or a cell phone, or more than a few sets of clothes, or all the ‘stuff’ of our life, or, or, or . . . .  Relative to a large number of countries in this world, EVERY American lives in ‘excess’ – EVERY one of us!  Does that mean we are wrong – no, not necessarily (by the way, Jesus didn’t have TOILET, so don’t get too holy now).  God has no problem with His people owning things – the problem comes when things own His people.

    If these ministers/ministries are ‘misappropriating’ funds – asking for one purpose, but spending on another – then they are guilty of fraud and should be disciplined.  If not, then I blame the FOOLS who are SENDING the money.  Oh, but the preacher told me I’d be rich if I did – find that in The Book; it’s not in there. If people are aware of the practices of the ministry (and they SHOULD be; if not, shame on THEM), then THEY are supporting both the message AND the minister.  These preachers are not printing money themselves; people GIVE it.  Again, if they are guilty of fraud, they should be corrected; if not, then the PEOPLE are to blame.  If a preacher preaches something unscriptural or lives a life contrary to the Word, I don’t support them.  I pray God corrects their error, but my wallet stays CLOSED.

    I WILL re-iterate – My PERSONAL belief is that these individual ministers preach a false gospel and are in error.  They are not in the Truth and should NOT be supported.  As much as I am frustrated with that and speak against it, they would fall flat on their face if people would READ their OWN Bibles, and be appropriate stewards of their God-given funds (i.e. NOT send to unscriptural ministries).

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