Fleecing the Flock: A Snapshot of America’s Richest Pastors

The Huffington Post’s Jaweed Kaleem ran an interesting article on the salaries of MegaChurch pastors. This makes me want to throw-up. I gathered the evidence here so you can see it at a glance. It’s so sad to see how these towers of the church have suffered for the gospel. Rick Warren stands alone – he’s the only one who can still look his church in the eye. These Christian leaders have lost the thread.

Kenneth Copeland – Copeland Ministries
Flies around in a $17.5 Jet, lives in a $6 million lakefront mansion with a 1,500 acre campus and a private airstrip. He and his wife make over $655,000 a year in salary alone. It’s not clear whether this includes speaking fees, book royalties, and “love offerings.”
Creflo Dollar – World Changers Church International
Drives a Rolls-Royce and lives in a Million dollar home in Atlanta, and a 2.5 million-dollar apartment in Manhattan. Dollar will not release his salary information.
John Hagee – Cornerstone Church
His last released salary was nearly $1 million per year (2004). Hagee does not release his earnings anymore. 
Charles Blake – West Angeles Church of God in Christ
Owns a 10,000 square foot mansion in Beverly Hills (btw his congregation hails mostly from impoverished South Central LA)
His year salary is $900,000 per year.
Benny Hinn – Miracle Worker
In 1997 he admitted to making between $500k & $1 million dollars per year
Joel Osteen – Lakewood Church
Stopped taking his $200,000 salary several years ago. Makes tens of millions off of his numerous books. Joel & family live in a $10.5 million – get this – 17,000 square foot mansion. Treasures in heaven people.
Bishop Eddie Long – New Birth Missionary Baptist Church
Long made over $3 million in a three year period from 1997 to 2000. He drives a Bentley, and lives in a 1.4 million dollar home on 20 acres. An investigation into his non profit showed he made more than $1 million dollars from them on top of his church income. No doubt some of that went toward his legal fees in 2011.
Ed Young – Fellowship Church Dot Com
Lives in a 10k square foot 1.5 million dollar home. He gets paid a cool $1 million dollars a year, plus a $240,000 parsonage allowance. That doesn’t count the royalties he makes off of his recent Sexperiment.
Franklin Graham – Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
In 2008 he reportedly made 1.2 million dollars. Your father should slap your face Franklin.
Rick Warren – Saddleback Church
Has made tens of millions off his book sales (it could be in the hundreds). However… Warrenhas made so much money that in 2005 he repaid all of his 25 years of salary to the church & stopped taking any new salary. He and his wife give away 91% of their income to charity. Rick is the only one doing it right – in my opinion.

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About Tim Suttle

Find out more about Tim at TimSuttle.com

Tim Suttle is the senior pastor of RedemptionChurchkc.com. He is the author of several books including his most recent - Shrink: Faithful Ministry in a Church Growth Culture (Zondervan 2014), Public Jesus (The House Studio, 2012), & An Evangelical Social Gospel? (Cascade, 2011). Tim's work has been featured at The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, Sojourners, and other magazines and journals.

Tim is also the founder and front-man of the popular Christian band Satellite Soul, with whom he toured for nearly a decade. The band's most recent album is "Straight Back to Kansas." He helped to plant three thriving churches over the past 13 years and is the Senior Pastor of Redemption Church in Olathe, Kan. Tim's blog, Paperback Theology, is hosted at Patheos.

  • Les

    I was thinking about becoming a preacher….now I KNOW God is "calling" me!

    • gary

      why does these preachers have to live in mansion and beg poor porple for their lasr dollar

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01790563090971858592 Sarah Groh

    I just left the church music business because after 15 years of praise band and choir directing, I still can't afford a pair of jeans that cost $150 and are ripped at the knees. I am not cool enough.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03698978231695842070 Den

    When I became a Christian (1996), the big thing was WWJD. Those letters appeared on bracelets, hats, tee-shirts, coffee mugs, a whole bunch of things. A CD came out with music about Jesus, and there was a copy of the NIV Bible on there for installation on a PC.

    The earnings of these servants of our Lord call all that into question, and Jesus' proclamation about the wealthy and where their hearts truly are. May g-d have mercy on their souls…

  • Bill Morini

    The full article this came from showed several pastors in the same category. But, it also pointed the vast majority of pastors make only about $40K/yr.

    Regardless of what you think of Rick Warren, they should all follow his example.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    Hear, Hear, Bill. Warren seems to be working on a completely different assumption about what God is doing in the world & what the gospel requires of each of us. Warren is extremely faithful with his finances & is an example of what to do when you get rich almost accidentally.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15949039922480710935 Bobby Shaw

    There are some folks doing it right, but this post calls a lot of the big pastors into question. I wonder how many others are doing it right; there is a point where the money is enough. More should be diverted sooner if God has chosen to bless someone in ministry in a big way, instead of choosing to enjoy more than what is needed to support their families. There's also several visible leaders not sharing their income levels. Transparency is king.

    Rick Warren is doing it right and my guess is that all of the success of Purpose Driven Life scared the crap out of him and he got some wise counsel and unloaded as much of his wealth as fast as he could! Smart man.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    That's a good way to put it, Bobby. When I've heard Warren talk about the success of the book in the past I really think it was scary for him. It was a challenge to try and keep his integrity through that. I think he came through it alright.

    You are also right to point out that there are probably a lot more pastors doing it right than wrong. However, MegaChurch pastors do make a ton of money as a rule.

    Should we pay a pastor more if the church is bigger?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15949039922480710935 Bobby Shaw

    You are spot on Tim. Mega church pastors should not make mega salaries. Great post. Love the blog and always been a big fan of Satellite Soul. Grammatology is in heavy rotation on the iPhone. Keep up the great work!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/16479712737448056001 thejovan

    Tims!

    Hey bud, I've been thinking about this post on and off for a while. I might be missing your point, but it sounds like you're saying that Papa is unhappy when preachers make loads of money (though I don't remember him ever saying so).

    If a vow of poverty was central to Jesus' example for us, shouldn't we all live in the 'hood on 10% of what we make? It's not impossible. As a teenager I supported my family of seven in the costly, dirty city of Chicago on just 30K a year. I sure hope I never have to do that again. Poverty is no curse, but it sure ain't easy.

    It's so convenient to point fingers at the rich, but whenever I do, I remember that 90% of the world could point that same finger at me, demanding that I as a Jesus-follower give away my "grossly inflated" income.

    In the end, what can I say? Every man is accountable to God for how he handles the finances entrusted to him. I hope one day my giving reaches 20%. If it doesn't, will you condemn me? (I trust you will not :-)

    piece of toast,
    ~ jables

    • rusureuwant2know

      Well, we know the Lord had a lot to say about those who “devoured widows’ houses” don’t we?

      “Beware of the scribes, who love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.” Mark 12:38-40
      Lord knows these tv preachers take plenty from the poor. If you’re giving to one of them you need to consider the following:
      “He that oppresss the poor to increase his riches, and he that gives to the rich, shall surely come to want.” Prov. 22:16

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10974397437648079481 Tim Suttle

    Hey J… good point. Let me clarify what I'm saying/not saying. I don't think God is displeased w/wealth, or that we should all take a vow of poverty. I'm not trying to point fingers at the rich.

    I do believe God is displeased with the opulent lifestyles of these ministers. I am trying to expose those who have gotten rich off of tithes and offerings of the church – you don't get to do that.

    Jesus was very hard on the Sanhedrin who got rich via temple taxes, selling sheep/doves for sacrifices, changing money, etc. Jesus opposes those who got rich via religious power & exposes this as wrong. We can't forget that it was those who profited from religion monetarily and politically who ended up turning Jesus over to Pilate to be executed.

    I think you are right to point out that most of us are rich compared to the rest of the world. Ronald Sider says this is one of the most insidious realities of American culture: we compare ourselves not to the 2/3's of the world who live on less that $2 a day, but to our affluent neighbors.

    Maybe, financially speaking in particular, our sins are all a matter of degrees. But as a pastor, I feel an obligation to speak up about the million dollar salaries, luxury mansions, vacation homes, hundred thousand dollar cars, etc., which are the norm for TV preachers & religious rock stars.

    Yes? No? I'm Crazy? :-)

    • rusureuwant2know

      Tim, the reality is that the cost of living is relevant to where one lives, not somewhere else on the planet. $2 in a third world country might get you enough for one day – here, you would be hard pressed to find a single meal for that much. Do people in grass huts have to pay rent or property taxes? Even here, the cost of living isn’t uniform – $2 in Mississippi or Alabama spends a lot differently than it does in NY. There really are poor in the U.S. too.

      • sewaneepat

        A 10,000 square foot mansion and a Bentley are not required by the cost of living anywhere on earth.

  • Anonymous

    The Holiest and the wisest being owns the world and its fullness; His name is God. It will be quite wicked of Him if all His wealth is set aside for the wicked or nonbelievers.
    These rich pastors only take after their Father. So what is the big deal? Job, in the Bible was the richest and most God-fearing person in his time; even God was so pleased with him that He bragged about him. Likewise Isaac, I mean Isaac was so rich that a whole nation envied and feared him (Gen.12 and 13).
    The silver and the gold are mine is what the Lord said. So wake up guys. Find out the secrets to Kingdom wealth and begin to enjoy the best of God, our Father. Jesus paid the price. Stop living like a bastard.

  • ProphetessB.33

    @Anonymous: I CONCUR!!! God would be pleased…I hope and pray God blesses you and me lol and increase our finances for his glory and to be a blessing to the poor, orphans, and widows in Jesus name:).

  • Anonymous

    I would suggest the book Radical by David Platt!!!

  • Pastor Pmc

    I would love to see more Pastors do the right thing by helping more people in need, instead of feeding themselves to the wealth of the Church. In my opinion, why do we need a Bently. Get a Honda and why do we need a multi-million dollar house? What about a nice apartment and an affordable house. Shame on you Pastors who are fleecing the Church for your personal gain. God is heaven is looking at what you are doing to promote the kingdom of God. Pastor Pmc Love always do the right thing.

  • http://blog.chron.com/thepeacepastor/ Marty Troyer

    Marty Troyer: Pastors the slowest growing church in the South. Under $50,000. Minus over $400 every month for seminary loans I hope to have paid off after my kids get out of college. I drive a 15 year old car that's gonna drop dead any day now.

    And love absolutely everything about my life!

  • Pastor Christian Ernest

    I dont see anytin wrong in getin reward 4 ur labor. Howeva,its important 2 bear in mind dat dis reward shuld b a shared one; if much,extend d share 2 others rather than eatin it alone.

  • Martin Ebubeogu(Nigeria)

    IF GODS MINISTERS CANT BE RICH,WHO SHOULD..ARE THESE NOT THE CHILDREN OF GOD WHYO HAVE BEEN CALLED TO INHERIT A BLESSING..ARE THEY NOT THE SEEDS OF ABRAHAM TO WHOM THE WHOLE WORLD BELONGS…

    • W. John Young

      Tiny little camels and giant needles…right?

    • rusureuwant2know

      I guarantee you those are not God’s “ministers”.

    • Brian Tarbill

      Mathew 19:24

      And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

    • jayjay4142

      hen please explain to me just how Benny Hinn who clams he can heal people for money does not go to every children’s hospital in the US and other countries and heal all of those sick children???

  • debbedenbaugh

    HE brings our reward with HIM at HIS return…
    HE (JESUS) our example,
    not sure which jesus some are following

  • JD Straw

    Let me add just a few more. TD Jakes, the Whites, Joyce Meyers, Robert Tilton, Paul Crouch, and that Peter Popoff person.

    • Andy

      You mean this Robert Tilton? He’s a winner, alright.

  • Moses-Uganda

    Bible says souls are more precious and important than money; in fact, there is no price to a soul-Scripture! That means there is no salary too big to a pastor who is winning and nurturing God’s people through the Word of God. No wonder Paul the great apostle says ‘whether for selfish reasons or genuine, as long as Christ is preached’.. Better know your bible before criticizing pastors!

    • 4TimesAYear

      They preach “another gospel”

    • DinIndy

      No, there is no price to a soul. Meaning you are not to sell your soul because there is nothing worthy of it. LOVE how the greedy and the hypocritical flip the script to justify venal ways. Would you have been driven out of the temple by Jesus? I think we know the answer.

    • jayjay4142

      No !!!! You had better read the Bible. These preachers are not following the teachings of Jesus. I have called these Mega churches when I was working with Abused women and children and then those addicted in some way or another to see if any of them supported a shelter for any of these people and they support none, Zero , nada, nothing. They have no food banks or anything else to help the people that they should be helping according to Jesus. They enrich themselves and are no better than the money changers that Jesus so put in their place!!!

      • jayjay4142

        My Mother sent these people the money she needed to buy her medicine to keep her alive, because they told her she had to give 1% of her money if she wanted to go t heaven., Since she knew she was an older woman she did this. And did without her medicine, while they live in million dollar mansions. Then she died for lack o her medicine.

    • Diana Frey

      Paul as translated by Kings and greedy religious Leaders. Jesus had a hissie fit with those money changers. Know thine own Bible

  • temple2u

    You say Rick is the only one doing it right, in your opinion – BUT the man is preaching a false gospel . . .

  • Joshua Ciresoli

    In the rush to the money bag/offering plate, we have forgotten as a people the MANY words of Jesus that contradict the idea of prosperity. Matt 10:25, 24:8-10; John 16:1-4, 32-33. Here are some more verses about how we are called and marked as believers by suffering for His name, unlike what the money-preachers teach: Romans 5:3-5, 8:17-23,26; 1 Cor 4:12-13; 2 Cor 1:7, 4:1, Phil 1:29, 3:7-11; 1 Thes 3:1-8; 2 Thes 1:3-8; 2 Tim 1:8, 2:3-7, 3:10-12; James 1:2-4. Here’s a great passage from James about preferrential treatment of the rich vs. the poor. “My brethren, do not hold yoru faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ with an attitude of personal favoritism. For if a man comes into your assembly with a gold ring and fine clothes and there also comes a poor man in dirty clothes, and you pay special attention to the one who is wearing the fine clothes, and say, “You sit here in a good place,” and you say to the poor man, “You stand over there, or sit down by my footstool,” have you not made distinctions among yourselves, and become judges with evil motives? Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him? But you have dishonored the poor man. Is it not the rich who oppress you and personally drag you into court?”-James 2:1-7

  • Gayla Reed Wingate

    Could selling sheep be associated with a parable like getting rich at the expense of your members; selling doves, possibly prostituting The Holy Spirit??? This would be sin regardless of amount of money. Prostituting The Word for personal gain is less than a Godly idea anyway you look at it. The churches or Pastors that make the millions, we would probably be surprised how much most of them give away. I know my Senior Pastor makes nothing like the mega churches and he gives much more than he gets. We could not pay anyone enough to do what he does for the body. He does not require it even though he is well worth millions. Perhaps the Pastors that require millions do so because of the expense of their global influence with Kings and Nations, feeding the hungry, minister travel…Surely, we are not getting the whole story. I believe the ones that operate with integrity will be an open book for all to read. Some will understand and continue to pray for them and support them while others may prefer to pay their water and electric bill on time. If we are making greedy people greedier then we are not hearing from God. We cannot place all the responsibility on their shoulders. Which one of you nay sayers would not accept a million dollars if someone came up to you and said, “God told me to give this to you.” What each of us do with our widows mite or our millions is between us and God. We all answer to the same God. Besides, look at the ministries that have been chopped down…It will happen to all of us large or small, individually and corporately. Our God is a God of Grace and He is a God of second and many more chances. He is also a just God. The fear of The Lord is The beginning of wisdom. I pray that everyone who is in sin receives conviction, forgives debt and gets forgiven. Practicing II Chronicles 7:14… and He will forgive us and heal our land.

  • Brian Reeves

    Huge salaries and cushy living set a deadly bad example. Anybody streetsmart enough to cheat believers out of this kind of coin is smart enough to know that… They surround themselves with friendly elder boards happy to go along, for the scraps from pastors table, and business introductions. The denom church I used to belong to provided homes in million dollar neighborhoods to the pastor to keep. One of them worked the church for his mansion, and made a pile off his other, Newport Beach home. Another one got fired for a morals matter. He loved his church-given mansion so much, he just stayed there the rest of his life with his ministry in an early grave.

    • LAW

      LOL. I agree brother. These big Pastors surrond themselves with family members who are basically all YES people, they will never argue with the Pastor or pull him/her up on issues they may think are incorrect.

      I can’t believe that i was hooked up into tithing, all that money, when Paul the apostle writes in Corinthians to give what feels right in your heart and not begrudgingly. We are meant to be following Pauls epistles, which are blue prints on how to setup a NT church, but instead they (Oral Roberts) have gone to Malachi(NT), to get a scripture which was all about supporting the Levite priests, to use in the NT church. The duties of the Levites was to do the morning and eve sacrifices at the temple, we no longer have a temple! Then the pastors say they are the new levite priest, which is nonsense. How did they trick us all into this? Greed my friend, they appealled to man’ greed for money. The biggest slap in the face is they preach you can’t worship mammon, so give up mammon and you will recieve mammon 100x over! Err that sonds like George Orwell 1984 double speak! And the biggest larf, is the Pastor lives like a rock n roll superstar.
      I do belvie we should give to our church, as Paul does state in corinthians. Paul also goes onto to say if you give small you recieve small but if you give big you will recieve big, obviously to the Pentecostals that mean recieve money. But one could recieve favour, mercy, love, spiritual gifts, anything.
      How did we all get conned!

  • Gary Hall

    In a documentary about Jimmy Swaggert, the narrator said, “God plus greed equals corruption.”

  • Ghostdreams

    Rick Warren is only giving money away because he’s come under scrutiny due to his involvement in getting LGBT criminalized and killed in Uganda. http://76crimes.com/2014/03/07/rewriting-history-of-anti-gay-rick-warren-in-uganda/

  • LAW

    Do these Pastors honestly believe in their wildest imagination that Jesus would be happy with the way they live? Would the great apostle Paul be pleased?

    We are meant to be following Pauls instructions in the epistles to setup churchs, daily living etc, no where in the epistles does Paul mention tithing?

    Paul mentions giving in Corinthians, but give what feels right in your heart and not begrudgingly, as God loves a cheerful give. But that is not cryptic for giving! Paul also mentions if you give small you receieve small, give big and you will recieve big. However Paul i still not mentioning tithing here, tithing was a command from the OT, in the NT Paul states that giving is now under grace.
    How did these Pastors use an OT scripture to conn us all? These Pastor’s continually say you can’t worship mammon and God, so they say tithe and you recieve mammon 100x over, Goerge Orwell 1984 double speak. Then the biggest boon is these Pastor’s are living not rich, but super rich rocknroll life styles, yet they preach we cannot serve Mammon.
    My wife and her firend went to see Dr Mike Murdoch at Heathrow(London), and he came into this room and started showing the people there his rolex, gold mobile, jewellery! He then went onto to say that God wants him to have all these things and if everyone there gives him a £1000 they too can have all these blessings. And sure enough all these people gave hime a £1000, except my smart wife who saw right thru him.
    These kinds of things should be banned or made illegal but the problem is they are aregistered as non profit organisations.
    Again if you say something about Dr ike Murdoch , you are accused of touching Gods anointed. This is a how a Daivd Koresh cult works!
    Again when did Paul the apostle write such things in the epistles? These epistles are blue prints on how to setup and run a NT church, THEN, YESTERDAY & TODAY!

  • LibelFreeZone

    Every one of you commentators are coveting. Shame…shame.

    • jayjay4142

      Stop Judging!!! When did God appoint you to regulate what we say and do???? You who is without sin, cast the first stone.

  • Citizen48

    Sounds like a mixture on petty or high jealousy and unbelief of scripture! Jesus said 100 times now in this present age! God was Abram’s shield and sure reward!

  • G. W. Markle

    ~ JESUS THE COMMODITY ~
    ~ As Seen On TV ~ Televangelists, selling Jesus by the gram. Mega-churches
    ministered by evil men seeking wealth and power, deceiving those seeking
    spiritual guidance. Stealing their wages, stealing their souls and telling them
    how they want them to vote. All in the name of Jesus. ~ Anti-Christians ~ The
    scriptures flow as sweet as honey from their lips, seducing and robbing in the
    name of God. These are the ones Jesus spoke of that would come in the End Times and deceive many in His name. Anti-Christians: You will know them by their
    bigotry, their hatred, and their contempt for “others”.

    • Bruce Mathwig

      Not trying to defend the whole lot here. Some have very questionable theology. On the other hand a preacher/pastor is not evil merely because they are on tv or merely because they have a large church. You can be a heretic and pastor a church of 50. The bigger point is you don’t know for certain about the hearts of these men, only God does. What sin in your life is God wanting to deal with? What are you going to do if God extends mercy to one of these men and forgives there sin? Also, I believe individual believers have some responsibility to know the word and use discernment as to what ministries to support.

      • The Other Weirdo

        Whatever sin I may be guilty of, it is definitely not the sin of fleecing vulnerable poor people and living large on their largesse. Then again, I’m an atheist, so I’m probably bound for hell anyway.

        • shakespeare turner

          It would not be so bad if these people lived in a $300,000 to $400,000 house and had a nice couple vehicles that cost $30,000 each. In most places that is a huge nice house and very nice cars. I may be a.little bit more lenient in more expensive areas like New York and California. No they have to $1,000,000+ homes and drive vehicles that are valued in the 6 digits. I could not afford a $300,000 house and a couple.$30,000 cars. I might be able to afford a $200,000 house and maybe a new vehicle around $20,000. What I find so sad are most people couldn’t afford to even buy what I might be able to. It is people like these crooks who make my blood boil. I am also an agnostic/atheist as well.

        • Lorie Hollins

          Of all your bodily organs and functions, of all you see around you and all that is in the world and going on in the world, how can you say there is no God ?????

          • The Other Weirdo

            I open my mouth and speak the words, unlike the fool in the Bible who only says it in his heart. Really, it’s not that hard; go ahead and give it a go.

      • shakespeare turner

        These rich televangelists believe they can have it both ways. They get to be filthy rich here on earth and will also have treasures in the kingdom of heaven in an afterlife. A poor person who refuses to accept Jesus or does not accept Jesus will burn in a lake of fire for all eternity tormented day in and day out. That is not fair.

  • G. W. Markle

    The Christian Dilemma:

    The greatest threat to America, and indeed to the rest of world, at this point in history, comes from the staunch advocates of right wing ideology, and I must submit this warning to you: There is a grave problem with the right wing movement, in that; they seem to possess a distorted sense of entitlement. They’ve set themselves apart, and seem to think that their faith gives them the right to view the world from a platitude of conceit, through condescending eyes, and with a false sense of superiority. They actually believe themselves to be superior beings, with a manifest destiny and some strange notion that God is on their side. A people with a desire to conquer, under the false guise of Christianity, seeking to dominate in the name of Christ, their view of humanity being reduced to nothing more than a matter of “us” and “them”.

    What they fail to realize is; if the Christ you believe in leads you to view other humans as lesser beings, then you are a follower of the anti-Christ. The plain truth is; God doesn’t have a religion and God doesn’t discriminate. Any religion that professes to be the only true religion,or that they‘re special in the eyes of God preaches false doctrine. If the Spirit of God is truly with you, it will only be known by acts of “unconditional” love and charity. No religion can claim exclusive rights to God. He belongs to all that He has created, and to foster a belief in “us” and“them” is to divide humanity, not unite it.

    And so it will be, in The End, that those who have set themselves apart from their fellow man will find that they have set themselves apart from God. The worth of a soul will only be measured by how much it has loved, nothing more, nothing less. Woe to those who have taken the widow’s mite and built castles and empires in His name. They have incurred a great accountability, their suffering will be unending.

    Even Jesus will not claim to be Christian, but will only proclaim the glory of the Father. And when He returns they will shout: “Here we are Lord!” And He will respond: “I never knew you”. They have forsaken the Word and have become prisoners of the Numbers.

    Those who have put themselves first will be last.

    • Bruce Mathwig

      Well many left wingers are arrogant and look there nose down upon all who don’t agree as well. Pride is an equal opportunity employer. I do agree that many Christian groups get out of balance between reaching out in loving service to there fellow man and being a prophetic voice in society. Jesus did say, “I am the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the father but, by me.” In contrast to the all roads lead to the One concept that is popular today.

      • G. W. Markle

        Eventually you have to look up from your Bible and encounter humanity, that’s where salvation lies, in the interaction of life. One must teach by example, not by placing oneself on a pedestal and spouting scripture in an effort to appear holy, thus preaching with the intention of spiritual gain and to glorify oneself.

        Live the Word and the Spirit will be with you.Those who live in the Spirit do not boast or seek rewards in Heaven, nor do they fear the punishment of Hell. Their hearts, their minds and their Souls have expanded, matured beyond the prejudice, beyond the confines of religious discrimination, beyond all labels. They live the Word, they live in Awareness, their Souls are free to share God’s love unconditionally.

        ~”Above all else, I command you love one another”~ Would the water taste any sweeter or quench the thirst any better if given in the name of Jesus, or simply in the name of human kindness? Where there is love they will follow. When it is done with love, it is done in the Lord’s name, and that name is “Love”.

  • http://voice4america.com/author/markbear#axzz2UlmFeFy1 Dr. Mark Bear

    While I most certainly do struggle understanding why a man of God would need such a large sum of money, I am also mindful of the scripture which tells me, “take the beam out of your own eye, so you can see the speck in your brother’s.”

    It seems more productive if we, rather than stereotype all pastors as though they need to take a vow of poverty, to look at each case.

    Case in point: my first church earned me a total of $11,000 compensation, including my benefits and this was in 1993. Not a very large sum of money, but then again I did not enter ministry for money, but to serve others. In a similar vein there came a point, after three years, where I had no choice but to move onto another church because my earnings were capped, and I most certainly did not have the time nor energy to embark on any separate journey. That is, the church required my full-time service but only was able to pay me a part-time salary.

    When I took the next church however, earning a ‘respectable’ salary, one deacon was so obsessed with what I earned that he made it his personal habit of calling me each morning at 6:00 AM regardless of how late I was working with others the previous night. His rationale? If we pay you this amount of money (and trust me folks it was not but $31,000 plus my benefits and home provided) then you need to be up at least as early as I am. Needless to say, this man and I never got along and as a result he made it his mission, successfully to ensure I would not be the pastor at that church come the next year (only five months from the time I accepted).

    I say all of the above for one reason; Yes, there are obvious abuses of people earning way too much, but who am I to question and if my belief in God is what I say it is, I trust Him to take care of the problem because He will be much more effective than I ever could be.

    • VeggieTart

      I don’t expect them to take vows of poverty, but it bothers me that you have evangelists and megachurch leaders living in lavish mansions, with private planes, taken from people who believe their promises of redemption. Anyone remember Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker’s air-conditioned dog house?

      How much of the money taken in by these “pastors” goes to help others?

      • jayjay4142

        None that I could find. Not one shelter for the homeless, the abused or teens or those with addictions.

    • jayjay4142

      Maybe a tittle off subject, but do you approve of helping the poor, the homeless or those people with pre-existing conditions getting healthcare. If you do not, then you do not follow the teachings of Jesus. Matthew chapter 25 VS. 31 thru 46. The parable of he Sheep and Goats. Whatever you have done unto the least of these.

    • MamaNanaJane63

      You won’t condemn those evil people because you see your self becoming one of them….famous quote by John Steinbeck ~ “Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.” and dude read your Bible Jesus was a socialist.

      • http://voice4america.com/author/markbear#axzz2UlmFeFy1 Dr. Mark Bear

        Thanks for the encouragement to read my Bible! I very well know that Jesus was a socialist, thank you!

  • Mary St. George

    Organized churches have always been about power and money. If you want someone to pass the knowledge that is there for the giving, then I guess it is up to you to keep them in their millions or not. That has always been one of the issues with the Catholic Church. They have so much money and it is not always put to the best use. Bless the new Pope for trying to live a more modest life. But to your question…yes churches should pay taxes because in essence they are money makers just like the NFL.

    • Diana Frey

      does the NFL pay taxes? i know they build the stadiums with tax and bond money

    • jharper

      Mary, are you not aware that the NFL is a “Not For Profit”? And I hardly think that the current pope is living a more modest life style. A visit to the Vatican will show you that. And the Catholic Church would beg to differ with you on the money going to good use. They are paying off lawsuits as a result of the pedophile priest savagely raping little boys and pesky “relocation” cost of the same priests. BTW…Did you know that you can now rent the Sistine Chapel for your next big commercial event? If I am not mistaken, Porsche recently did so.

  • Brian Tarbill

    Mathew 19:24

    And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.

  • Brian Tarbill

    Jesus didn’t preach the gospel from some enormous cathedral style edifice. He preached from the side of the road, on hilltops, in valleys, wherever he found listeners.

  • tralfazwatson

    Hey you forgot Reverend Ike…

  • VeggieTart

    The name Creflo Dollar just SCREAMS con man.

  • https://www.facebook.com/CaptainBMoney913 Captain B-Money [B$]

    Jesus Christ. Where the money is made.

  • Mark Davis

    Billy Graham was worth $25 million dollars. This leaves me wondering why the author thinks he would smack his son? They are both just fleecing a flock.

    • MamaNanaJane63

      Billy Graham spent his career as a pastor actually doing good and he was a (gasp) Liberal like his good friend Johnny Cash…his son has perverted his message and Billy hasn’t been in charge for at least a decade as his last Crusade was in 2005….so he wasn’t worth 25 mil his son Franklin does NOT teach the gospel but Billy did.

  • https://www.facebook.com/stacy.turner Stacy Turner

    This is where those with really bad cognitive dissonance will type phrases like, “I am spiritual and not religious.” They are hilarious!

  • The Tin Man

    inplainesight.org;
    ” Fleecing The Flock “

  • Doc

    “The first thing I learned about god was that He needs money; He always needs money!” George Carlin

  • Rob Brown

    I wouldn’t guess about Franklin Graham and his daddy. In a time when ordinary people were earning about $5,000 per year, Billy Graham was getting $20,000.

  • David

    Seems to me the richest pastors lead the richest congregations, which are flocks that dress well on Sunday to soak up the prosperity “gospel”, but don’t stray too far out of their comfortable neighborhoods to where the rabble are housed

  • Bruce Mathwig

    Not for pastors fleecing there flock. However in two examples there money comes from book sales. Why is it wrong to profit from book sales? I see your an author. Do you not want your books to sell? You also don’t know how much they give to charities. Living in a large luxury home and driving a luxury auto doesn’t tell the whole story. Not saying they are innocent just saying we don’t have enough facts to convict.

    • Susan Foley

      I think the size of the home plus the car plus the private airplane is pretty convincing.

  • G. W. Markle

    ~ JESUS THE COMMODITY ~
    ~ As Seen On TV ~ Televangelists, selling Jesus by the gram. Mega-churches
    ministered by evil men seeking wealth and power, deceiving those seeking
    spiritual guidance. Stealing their wages, stealing their souls and telling them
    how they want them to vote. All in the name of Jesus. ~ Anti-Christians ~ The
    scriptures flow as sweet as honey from their lips, seducing and robbing in the
    name of God. These are the ones Jesus spoke of that would come in the End Times and deceive many in His name. Anti-Christians: You will know them by their
    bigotry, their hatred, and their contempt for “others”.

  • Mag Ster

    it does shock me how much money they do make, makes me wonder if it is a business for them. I also have a Christian blog of my own can you please check it out: http://spiritual-disciplines.com thanks!

    • http://anonsam.wordpress.com/ AnonymousSam

      Last I heard, internal documentation for the Southern Baptist Convention referred to their leader as a Chief Executive Officer.

      When the head of your church is called a CEO, then yes, it is a business.

  • Susan Foley

    Just frankly does not look good. If these people had internalized the gospel they would give all this money away, not fly around in private jets and live in mansions. As some have pointed out, this crosses denominational lines too. The Catholic Church has way to much money. But “it’s ok because all the other kids are doing it” as an excuse should have gone out with high school.

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  • Ronald Woolever

    Looks to me like maybe P.T. Barnum was under estimating when he said there was a sucker born every minute. I would think it is more like ten per minute and they all tune in to the mega churches.

  • Eruanion Nolaquen

    Apparently, according to some, Osteen earned his money by writing books. I could put a couple platitudes on paper, support them with bible quotes, and make it all look and sound nice too. That doesn’t mean I earned anything, heck, I could rip off a bunch of other books that do the same thing!


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