“Nobody is going to follow a broke man..”

In the Atlanta Journal-Consitution today, an article was produced taking a look at the prosperity gospel that is becoming more and more prevalent today. After reading the article, I am furious! I’ve long held great disdain for the innacurate exegesis (or more correctly, the biased eisegesis) imposed on biblical texts by “teachers” like Creflo Dollar. However, until tonight I had not been moved to outright anger. The following quote is taken from today’s article.

However, if Jesus and his disciples weren’t poor — because God had blessed them — what does that say about the millions of faithful Christians who live throughout the world in brutal poverty?

Is that due to a failure of their character?

When asked this, Dollar says: “Part of it may be, first of all, a lack of understanding. You cannot do better until you know better. I used to be broke and poor just like all of those other people. I had to first change the way I think.”

Rick Hayes, a 14-year member of Dollar’s church, agrees.

He says he was “homeless and hopeless” until he attended World Changers. He learned there that Jesus preached to the poor so they wouldn’t be poor anymore. Today he is a medical supply salesman.

Hayes says he believes Jesus was rich because some biblical translations suggest Jesus — as a baby — was visited by a caravan of about 200 kings bearing gold, not three wise men. Jesus also needed wealth to pay travel expenses for his 12 disciples as they took the Gospel from city to city.

Hayes, quoting the ninth chapter of Ecclesiastes (“The words of a poor man are soon forgotten”), also says Jesus could not have attracted a devoted following if he was poor.

“Nobody is going to follow a broke man,” Hayes says.

If Dollar wants to spout his heretical doctrine, that’s one thing. As he rolls through Atlanta in his Rolls-Royce (and yes, that is his vehicle of choice) I’m sure he’s comforted by his $3,000 suits. However, to claim that the millions of persecuted, impoverished believers who are suffering around the world are doing so because of their inability to grasp biblical truth is tantamount to the demonic in my opinion. I think about my Burkinabe friends who chose to lose everything they have, even at times their families, if they chose to reject their traditions and follow after Christ and I am filled with indignation that Dollar would even insinuate anything other than admiration for the depth of their commitment.

It is difficult for me right now to even attempt to be civil towards this misdirected theology. God have mercy on men like Dollar, who are leading thousands, if not millions, astray.

HT: Kevin Bussey

**I apologize to those who previsouly read this article. The language I used to describe men like Creflo Dollar was intentionally inflamatory and unecessary. I’ve edited the article accordingly.**

Micah is a husband to Tracy & a daddy to Grace, Kessed & Haddon. He’s Senior Pastor at Brainerd Baptist Church in Chattanooga, TN. Most of all, he’s a debtor to grace.

14 thoughts on ““Nobody is going to follow a broke man..”

  1. It is my humble opinion (one which I tell my kids when I read the Christmas story to them) that the wise men brought gold in order to provides funds for Joseph and his family as they fled to Egypt. I don’t think it was any great fortune, but instead provided for them a place to stay and money to keep them afloat while they were hiding out from Herod.

    In my opinion, God gives us what we need; our great fortune awaits us in Heaven. Although perhaps not like some us may be expecting. I think folks who are leading other folks astray under properity teachings will have their “reward” on this side of Heaven. As preachers and teachers, we will be held to a higher standard. I am afraid of what I will had to answer for myself.

  2. Brother Micah,

    I know the frustration. I feel it on a personal level as my sister is in a church that advocates Dollar’s teaching. She and I go round and round about this junk. We have come to the point that for us to remain on speaking terms we do not visit this theological position in our conversations.

    I would like for Creflo Dollar to go into Africa and try to teach this doctrine to the tribes there. Maybe he can to to China and teach it to the underground church there. It just will not cross cultural barriers. The Gospel, on the other hand, crosses any cultural barrier. Thus doctrine tied directly to the truth of God’s Word will easily cross cultures.


  3. Most of the godly men and women that we work with on the mission field live by faith from day to day. It is an insult to equate poverty with lack of faith. I would simply invite those who advocate such false doctrines to “trade places” for six months with any of these our brethren, and see if their prosperity gospel mentality can pull them out of the woes of poverty that most of the world’s Christians live in.

  4. The secretary at my last church was a wonderfully godly woman whose first husband died from cancer at 39 years old. She had three children, all boys under 15 at the time (this was around 1970). The pastor of a local pentecostal church came to her home at some point between her husband’s death and his funeral to inform her that, had she prayed with more faith, her husband would have been healed.

    Obviously, it took here quite some time to overcome being told this by a “man of God.” It is sad to think about how many never overcome this sick theology.

  5. I believe that noted Author, Holy Ghost, addressed this issue in His book, Bible. It was something about itching ears being tickled, I think.

    In the long run, I guess Pilate was necessary in the scheme of things. Maybe the prosperity preachers are, too.

  6. And this is the great problem among people who love the Lord. To be rich, or poor?
    Someone said, “I have been rich, and I have been poor. I prefer rich.”
    We have to understand that it is okay to be rich. It takes rich people to support the work of the ministry. Missions, churches, feeding the poor, etc. Paul said to instruct those who are rich, not to give away their riches, but to not fix their hope on riches.
    The reason nut jobs like Dollar say the things they do is that it supports their lavish lifestyle. To get more, give more. And be sure to give it to a wealthy televangelist, like…ME.

  7. Jasonk-

    I’m in complete agreement with you. I have no problem with obtaining and maintaining wealth. Their seems to be much in the biblical record that points to God’s blessing in some lives evidenced by financial gain.

    However, to equate spiritual depth with financial statements is tantamount to heresy, in my opinion.

  8. Agreed. 100%.
    Spiritual depth does not equal wealth, nor does wealth equal spiritual depth.
    And I agree that it is heresy to say otherwise, because to teach that the two are equal would be the same as saying that the rich young ruler, for example, was right with God, simply because he was rich. Or that the widow was not right with God, simply because she was poor. It is heresy because it causes people to focus on the wrong things.
    Great post.

  9. It was Sophie Tucker who said that. I think I remember when it happened.

    I’m rich by most of the world’s standards, and by virtue of the fact that most comments are from folks who own computers……. so are you.

    My first mission trip was to Haiti (1970 and 1974). Mothers there, who had twins, would take the smaller or weaker looking one out into the woods and leave it behind as they couldn’t feed two babies. People ate what fruit they found on the ground as they couldn’t buy food. If they had an egg or two they would trade it for a gallon of corn. They could eat longer on corn, even if it was mostly just starch. We were told never to say, in adoration of a baby, that we’d like to take it home with us. Mothers would try to give it to you.

    I’ve seen a homeless man lie down in a gutter to drink the only water he could find.

    The “prosperity preachers” not only tickle greedy ears with their “preaching’, but by their very acts, they deny that our very existence, and the very food and clothes we do have, are gifts from God and more than we deserve.

  10. My earliest Christian experience (the 1st two months or so) after conversion involved a Charismatic church that believed such things. I’m glad they introduced me to the power of God. I reject their view that wealth and spirituality are connected.

    – Joseph and Mary sacrified a dove or two for their 1stborn son. Pidgeons were the sacrifice when you can’t afford something better.
    – “The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.”
    – Elijah’s widow in the OT was always almost out of oil. She just never ran out. Not quite the picture of abundance promised by prosperity.
    – Paul said “I know how to be in want” as well as in plenty. Will Mr. Dollar (what a name!) claim Paul lacked the knowledge?

    Sad truth: in “on fire” churches, only about 25% of the church members tithe. This may be a better explanation of the poverty of our missions organizations than their lack of faith.

    Wow, I’m cranky today. Back to work.



  11. Clueless and cruel advice isn’t limited only the faith/wealth preachers. My mom and my aunt both lost babies (late miscarries and/or allergic reaction to medicine) when they were young mothers. People they only describe as a “fundamentalists” told them their babies would not have died if they’d been attending church. Similarly, a Catholic neighbor told my mom that my baby sister was in purgatory because she’d not been baptized before she died from penicillin.

    Not exactly healthy spiritual input.

    When I taught on healing prayers at the Vineyard church in Champaign Illinois (nearly 20 years ago now), we let our praying team members know that they’d get kicked off the team in no time if such spiritual abuses occurred. God gives the blessings according to his will and timing. Our job is to bring stand alongside those who suffer and help as best we can, whether in prayer, encouragement, finances, or what my sister calls “that Good Baptist Food.”

    Put another way, a Vineyard missionary in central Mexico told me one day as we handed out hot food to people suffering a rare winter snowstorm, “People get excited about signs and wonders, but this [caring for the poor] is the nitty-gritty of being a missionary.” That’s stuck with me ever since.

  12. Your quote made me remember one of my favorite quotes attributed to African missionaries. It says:
    A missionary in Africa was once asked if he really liked what he was doing. His response was shocking. “Do I like this work?” he said. “No. My wife and I do not like dirt. We have reasonably refined sensibilities. We do not like crawling into vile huts through goat refuse…But is a man to do nothing for Christ he does not like? God pity him, if not. Liking or disliking has nothing to do with it. We have orders to ‘Go,’ and we go. Love constrains us.”

    That kind of commitment and love is authentic prosperity.

  13. I’ve got no beef with wealth. I wish I had some! 🙂 My problem is saying that God wants us to be wealthy. I don’t know where they find that in the Bible. John 10:10 doesn’t promise wealth, it just says we will have abundant life. That can be with or without money.

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