An advertisement for a trip to Hawaii in 2022

By John Pierce

Few things disgust me like slick TV preachers preying on the aging and the ignorant for their own financial gain. I try to avoid them but sometimes my channel surfing leads me there.

Most often I move ahead quickly — but other times I watch the shameful manipulation that takes place in the name of a faith that has no resemblance to the life and teachings of the One being claimed.

Unless it’s a rerun of “The Waltons,” I typically don’t pause the remote control on the Inspirational Channel because, well, it doesn’t inspire me. But it can provide fodder for my writing.

During a recent pause, “Campmeeting” was putting full-court pressure on viewers with their false promises of a give-to-get heresy: “Sow your seed gift of $1,000.”

Slick. Sick.

Time and time again surveys have shown that the elderly and less educated — often those with limited resources — are most susceptible to such hucksterism.  

In churches and other settings all around world, there are so many wonderful, gifted and committed clergy of the highest integrity. They are honest, caring and self-giving. Yet the reputations of them all get sullied every time some nattily-attired huckster on TV tries to sell this re-packaged, mislabeled gospel like a ShamWow, PedEgg or Slap-Chop.

We need to keep reminding all who have ears to hear that the so-called “prosperity gospel” is designed to make the seller rich, not bring divine blessings to the buyer. And while sending cash to slick TV preachers is certainly “good news” to them, it has absolutely nothing to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

The clear difference can be seen by turning off the TV showmanship and reading a first-hand account by either Mark, Matthew, Luke or John.

 

 

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