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Source: (consider it) Thread: Well if the mountain won't come to Mohammed...
Karl: Liberal Backslider
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# 76

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https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/12/kicc-kingsway-christian-centre-fraud-inquiry-richard-rufus

We'll start this one in here, albeit I can imagine it ending up in Hell.

Where does honest falling into questionable practices end and intentional fraud begin, I wonder? I often wonder this about the whole Prosperity, Word of Faith, Name it and Claim it scene - simple life experience must show that It Doesn't Work - does it carry on through sheer bloodymindedness, naive faith that it will work eventually, or deliberate falsehoods sold to the faithful?

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Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17595 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Kwesi
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# 10274

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Fact is, Karl, as everyone knows there's a lot of money to be made out of God in Ghana, Nigeria and such places by a variety of self-styled prophets, bishops. archbishops, pastors, snake-oil salesmen, and God knows what. They are thriving businesses, ranging from the corner kiosk variety to the corporate mega clip-joint, and they are all "international'. And the spirit blesses their ministries mightily, much of it from desperate people struggling with health costs, school fees, and the poorly educated. Private consultations can be arranged with pastors, (in hotels if one is an attractive female), at a generous fee. The people who run them are the foci of worship and are ravenous wolves. It's the downside of a huge pentecostal outpouring. Ananias and Sapphire, your time has come! [As it were. Hopefully].
Posts: 1499 | From: South Ofankor | Registered: Sep 2005  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
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# 3330

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Is it not possible to imagine that these people actually believe their own professed theology; that they believe that the stuff is a blessing from God for their faithfulness, and that the usual rules (about tax, charity law etc) don't apply to them?

And, without wanting to go too fine on this point, I'd say that the prosperity gospel goes far wider than most churches want to admit. It isn't solely in African-majority churches, those are just the ones which are easy to identify.

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arse

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Brenda Clough
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# 18061

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The capacity in humanity for self-deception is just about infinite. On some level deep down both pastors and flock must realize it's a scam -- at least that's what we have to hope. But you may never get down to that level; they need to believe and so they do.

And this is putting aside those victims who are genuinely deceived, or have a lessened ability to know better -- elderly people, for instance. My parents were always the type who would watch the plumber like a hawk -- suppose he pocketed some of the silverware? But even this ingrained wariness didn't save them in latter years, from nearly being taken to the cleaners by a phone scam.

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Science fiction and fantasy writer with a Patreon page

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chris stiles
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# 12641

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quote:
Originally posted by mr cheesy:

And, without wanting to go too fine on this point, I'd say that the prosperity gospel goes far wider than most churches want to admit. It isn't solely in African-majority churches, those are just the ones which are easy to identify.

Absolutely. Many megachurches are effectively run as family businesses for all intents and purposes, with jobs created to employ the wife of the founding pastor (it's usually a man), his children, his sons-in-law and so on.

and there are various ways of extracting more money from the church via the provision of lavish housing allowances, cars and so on, not to mention drawing a salary while simultaneously working on a book - copyright to be owned by the pastor - assisted by pastoral assistants hired by the church. Then pushing the books via captive circuit of rotating conferences to which the pastor and his buddies invite each other in a reciprocal manner.

Posts: 3814 | From: Berkshire | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Sipech
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# 16870

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Whenever I read of such affairs, I'm tempted to play cognitive bias bingo. Almost always, one will have confirmation bias, seeing any material gain as reward for faithfulness. This will usually be coupled with survivorship bias, aided through the power of testimony from those saying how God has been good to them.

Am always incredibly wary of any church where the pastor is described in terms such as "an acclaimed teacher, prophet, author and investor" (taken from a Pentecostal church near me).

The bizarre thing is that some mega churches are accused of being run like large businesses. Now I work in a large business, and I know that if anyone promised a 55% return on investment, they'd be laughed out of the room. Where was the oversight?

Yes, there's are lacunae the size of the great rift valley in the theology, but one really has to look at the leadership culture and ask about accountability. What scrutiny are the leaders subject to, or do they hide behind "touch not the Lord's anointed"?

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I try to be self-deprecating; I'm just not very good at it.
Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheAlethiophile

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lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:

Where does honest falling into questionable practices end and intentional fraud begin, I wonder? I often wonder this about the whole Prosperity, Word of Faith, Name it and Claim it scene - simple life experience must show that It Doesn't Work - does it carry on through sheer bloodymindedness, naive faith that it will work eventually, or deliberate falsehoods sold to the faithful?

If humans employed reason, lotteries and other forms of gambling would not exist. Add God into it and rationality has no chance.
Although not exclusively, many prosperity type churches have their base among the poor and downtrodden. When you have nothing, anything seems to offer a chance.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16913 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Enoch
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# 14322

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Is it just that my mind is contaminated by nasty unregenerate thoughts, but I'd be immediately suspicious of a tv evangelist called Creflo Dollar?

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Brexit wrexit - Sir Graham Watson

Posts: 7312 | From: Bristol UK(was European Green Capital 2015, now Ljubljana) | Registered: Nov 2008  |  IP: Logged
lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:

The bizarre thing is that some mega churches are accused of being run like large businesses. Now I work in a large business, and I know that if anyone promised a 55% return on investment, they'd be laughed out of the room. Where was the oversight?

Hello? 2008. Ponzi. Sale of the Roman Empire in 293AD. Business is littered with financial BS that everyone after wonders how it happened. Fuck, every single stock market these days really. People and businesses invest in fiction as much as reality. Crashes and recession are that reality occasionally clearing its throat.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16913 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Beeswax Altar
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# 11644

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I don't get the connection between the church in the article and the prosperity gospel. Churches have endowments. The money needs to be invested. Kingsway International Christian Centre had idiots making investment decisions for them.

Unfortunately, the same principle applies to the prosperity gospel. Charities, including churches, solicit donations all the time. Not everybody wants to give money to the same charity. My mother used to send the child support check she got from my dad to Robert Tilton. Even at 10,I thought that was batshit crazy. Still, I've heard mainline clergy quoting Malachi and calling for sacrificial giving just like the prosperity preachers. Do any charities seriously question the wherewithal of the people making the donations?

I suck at stewardship campaigns.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

Posts: 8411 | From: By a large lake | Registered: Jul 2006  |  IP: Logged
MrsBeaky
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# 17663

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This morning I was horrified to read in my Twitter feed that a famous/ infamous American evangelist of the health and wealth school of thought was here in this town in Kenya [Ultra confused]

I find the irony exquisite: here are my Kenyan colleagues who have not been paid for two months because there is no money in the organisation, turning up to work regardless as this week we are giving wheelchairs to one of the most marginalised groups on people in the country.

Down the road people are parting with their cash for very dubious reasons.

I could weep, I really could weep.

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"It is better to be kind than right."

http://davidandlizacooke.wordpress.com

Posts: 663 | From: UK/ Kenya | Registered: Apr 2013  |  IP: Logged
lilBuddha
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# 14333

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quote:
Originally posted by Beeswax Altar:
I don't get the connection between the church in the article and the prosperity gospel.

Ummm...
quote:
Rufus was a leading member of the KICC whose “founder, visionary and senior pastor” is Matthew Ashimolowo, a Nigerian evangelist who preaches a “health and wealth” gospel to a congregation of thousands
quote:

Unfortunately, the same principle applies to the prosperity gospel.

Well, no. If the prosperity gospel were true, their investments would be protected.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

Posts: 16913 | From: the round earth's imagined corners | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged
Baptist Trainfan
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# 15128

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You might or might not argue that the Trustees' decision to invest was swayed by the church's theology - after all, lots of people have been draw into "too good to be true" Ponzi schemes. However, the fact that this man offering the returns was famous and apparently rich may have led the church into thinking that he was "blessed by God" - if so, then this definitely does mean that they were influenced by the theology.

Having read the Charity Commission's report (well, scanned it!), it appears that the Trustees were negligent, over-optimistic and - above all - too trustful of the person who was promising the wonderful return. There seems to have been too much of a "we know this guy, he's one of us, of course he's kosher" culture which led the church up the garden path. Although the CC report concludes that the trustees may be personally liable for the loss of money, it is presumably not them who are being accused of possible fraud.

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Beeswax Altar
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# 11644

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At least Ashimowolo practices what he preaches.

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Losing sleep is something you want to avoid, if possible.
-Og: King of Bashan

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la vie en rouge
Parisienne
# 10688

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For reasons I don’t want to get into here, a while back I found myself (very uncomfortably) in the company of an old-school Pentie “healing minister” who does crusades in Africa. While he didn’t specifically mention prosperity at any point, I couldn’t help noticing that his wife was wearing a diamond ring that looked a lot like that thing that got nicked off Kim Kardashian a while back…

Don’t ask how, but the conversation got onto Scientology. Mrs. Diamonds asked how anyone could be foolish enough to believe in all that stuff about space aliens. Simples, says I. They separate people from lots of money before they tell them about that. Nonsense is more convincing when it’s expensive, because you don’t want to admit that you spent all that money for nothing. Needless to say, the full ramifications of this point were somewhat lost on her.

I didn’t like them very much.

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Rent my holiday home in the South of France

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molopata

The Ship's jack
# 9933

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Enter prosperity gospel and I get high blood pressure. Essentially, it's quite like a ponzi scheme. Get in early, get a position in the rapidly growing church, reap the fruits and get rich before the penny drops and the poor punters in the congregation who joined last realise they've been taken for a ride.

Anyone who feels the same might enjoy John Oliver's analysis and satire:

John Oliver on the prosperity gospel (youtube)

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... The Respectable

Posts: 1713 | From: the abode of my w@ndering mind | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged


 
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