American televangelist and pastor Jesse Duplantis released a video to members of his church that sent shockwaves all around the country. He asked his congregation for donations to buy himself a $54 million private jet. He said remarks such as, “I believe that if Jesus was roaming around the Earth today, he wouldn’t be riding around in a donkey.”
Let’s see why the world thinks so harshly against these pastors. Why do they criticize preachers that live wealthy lifestyles? Why do they attempt to defame them? Why do they have a negative perspective of them? These are some things I can probably think about:
1. They see churches like a business.
Sadly, several pastors have taken advantage of thousands of innocent lives throughout history. One of the most memorable examples was Jim Jones, who in the 70s, led over 900 of his flock to Jonestown to commit suicide. He created his own cult that followers believed.
False preachers aren’t the only problem that has made people think church is a business. Tensions between members, or matters regarding tithes and offerings, also influence people to think that church isn’t different from any Walmart or Target out there.
The problem in this is that we forget that we are imperfect beings serving a perfect God. A great man of God once told me, “the church was perfect until humans entered it.”
The world’s perspective of church is something small, meek, weak, humble, tiny, and old school. I think those days are changing. In the Bible, every day there were thousands and thousands of members added. We are seeing those days happen again on a weekly basis throughout the world. This can’t be confused with thinking that churches are meant to resemble companies that make money at the expense of believers.
2. They think that the lifestyle of preachers doesn’t resemble the life of Jesus.
Their perspective of the humility of Jesus is living a humbled life without seeking riches, fame, or a territory. If this was the case, then Solomon was probably in that class of rich preachers or kings, as well. His wisdom and his gift brought him wealth. The same could be said about David, Joseph, and Job, who lived lifestyles of abundance, according to the word.
How come we don’t criticize Lebraun James, and the millions that he makes as a basketball player? He doesn’t change anyone’s life by playing a sport. How come when we go to big events and big festivals, no one says anything? The world praises events like the Ultra Festival, the Halloween events, or any major concert. No one criticizes the money used to invest in that.
So why can’t a pastor that ministers to people and changes their lives be blessed by God? Is it stereotypical to think that all pastors with mega churches deceive people to donate more money to the congregation? Is it also stereotypical to think that every pastor should live in a beaten-up home?
3. The world condemns the idea of tithes and offerings.
Tithes started in the Old Testament and it has been a pillar to keep the church breathing and standing. This helps preach the gospel to every living creature. A church can’t stand without the tithes and offerings of the people.
Do we complain about giving taxes? Yes, we do, but that doesn’t erase the fact we must pay them. It is our duty as a citizen of this nation. We benefit from resources, land, and agriculture of our country. Paying taxes is the least we can do to give back.
A church is the same! How can we complain about giving to a church that has blessed us, empowered us, and encourage us to prosper in life? The Bible teaches us the importance of tithes and giving to God what belongs to God. We have been blessed in a congregation. God has filled us up spiritually. Our tithes are like our spiritual taxes to God. Therefore, we should give. This doesn’t mean millions, it means according to our status and what the Bible says about giving.
4. They think that it is absurd that money can buy God’s favor and healing.
Every time we sow a seed we will always see the breakthrough, whether or not we get to see it on the Earth. The problem is that some people give expecting for God to bless them right away. It doesn’t work like that! He is God Almighty, and He surprises us in ways that go beyond our natural senses. God promised Abraham descendants as numerous as the stars of the sky. I’m sure Abraham never knew that God was referring to us, the seed of his faith!
So money doesn’t buy God’s favor or healing. The preacher isn’t telling believers to buy God’s favor. He’s simply teaching them to apply a principle, that according to the measure that they sow, they will reap.
Seeds always produce a miracle, whether or not we get to see the result in heaven. God is sovereign, meaning that He can do whatever He wants whenever He wants.
Why are the critics wrong?
1. A man is still a man.
Sometimes we are too tough on preachers and we categorize them at the level of God. They have to be humble, meek, weak, etc. But what testimony is that to the poor? What testimony can a person that is ill give to someone that needs healing?
2. They want to believe in God but they don’t want to believe in pastors.
I’ve heard this expression so many times! “I believe in a God, but I don’t believe in pastors. They steal money, they preach lies, and they don’t care about people.”
It’s not our job to condemn preachers. God will hold them accountable. Not every televangelist isn’t walking in righteousness. Some probably have the fear of God, but those are intentions and motives that only God will know.
Our responsibility as a Christian is to congregate in a church where we feel at home, and where we feel that we are growing spiritually.
3. They call it a prosperity theology, but if it were fake, then no one would be blessed.
In the church that I gladly serve, I have seen countless of documented testimonies of people that have sown and receive their breakthrough! So if it doesn’t work for someone else, does that substitute that it didn’t happen for those people? Sometimes, I, myself, have experienced those miracles in my finances, because of my faith and obedience to God when it comes to giving.
A lot of secular news organizations call it the prosperity theology. However, Jesus always lived by abundance because he walked by faith. People use the stereotype that Jesus wasn’t walking with expensive watches, or nice shoes, or nice car, but we forget that none of those things existed back in his time period.
They criticize a church from the outside and not by the inside. Jesus walked in miracles and they criticized him regardless. So what is it ? If you’re a poor pastor, you will be criticized. If you’re a wealthy pastor, you will be criticized. Which one is better?
4. Nothing in life is free, even when it comes to God.
This world wants everything for free, and this is the stronghold that we must break. If we want our miracle, it’s going to cost us to believe. If we want God to visit us, it requires a sacrifice.
Regardless of every opinion people have, I’ve learned one thing in life… people criticize what they cannot produce. They criticize big things because they are afraid of them, and they are upset at the fact that it’s not them. Rather than judge the person being blessed, maybe we should put into motion what they preach about, and we will see a change over our lives.
So about Pastor Duplantis and all the televangelists, I believe that God put them there for a reason, and there are always people that are being touched by their sermons. But I think we should stop being critics and be listeners first. Seriously guys.
God bless you! I hope that this article was a blessing to you!