Contributor: Rick McGimpsey
[NOTE: This post reflects the personal opinions of the author and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the contributors at Rebels Consciousness as a whole. Some of the views expressed in this post may offend or anger some readers.]
I typically do not write on topics of this sort since I find myself more comfortable writing film reviews, film analyses, and other such things that I have better skill at. If the reader may forgive my intrusion into a subject I have little experience discussing I hope to convey my intent in writing this piece. People that write negative critiques of Joyce Meyer’s or Joel Osteen’s luxuriant lifestyles are often members of the skeptic or atheist community. This has led to the notion that such criticisms are only a product of atheist antagonism and liberal bias which means most Christians do not heed them. Thus, I attempt as a Christian man to write my own critique from a spiritual standpoint in the hope that my stance as a fellow believer may aid in any “credibility” the Christian community may allot to me who dares to accuse Osteen or Meyer of being charlatans.
The most common defense I have heard for the wealth of Joyce Meyer and popular preachers like her is that their money and earnings are a blessing from God thanks to their service in the ministry. A blessing, of course, is a manifestation of God’s favour in a spiritual or physical way; in a sense, a gracious gift.
It is my opinion, however, that God grants prosperity to those who would use such blessings to further the ministering of the Gospel and supporting the growth and spread of the Church (i.e. the Body of Christ). Taking that view in account I should point the reader’s attention to where these “blessings” Joyce Meyer has been awarded have gone.
Joyce Meyer lives in a $795,000, 10,000 sq. ft. home with a practical fleet of vehicles worth $440,000 including a $53,000 Lexus. There is also $10 Million Canadair jet which the Meyer family owns at the St. Louis airport. Their home also has a pool and a pool house with a bathroom added at the cost of $10,000. In addition to these she also owns an $11,000 French clock, a $105,000 boat, a $19,000 pair of vases, French crystal valued at $18,500, two $5,700 cabinets, a $30,000 table, and a $20 Million headquarters as well. And that is, by no means, a complete list of her collection.
Now, tell me, reader, what exactly are those blessings used for in furthering the Kingdom of God? I can concede that there are ministerial uses for jet planes (travel after all is a major concern for reaching others), but what about the vases and clocks? Or the crystal and cabinets? Or the table and pool? I think such frivolous luxury is a misuse of any blessing God could possibly give.
Imagine, if you will, what would happen if Joyce Meyer instead chose to live in a moderate, middle-class type home while she pooled her mass income into growing the Church, planting Churches, funding missionaries, supporting ministry activities and needs, and donated large sums of her money to various charitable organisations around the globe. I know she has, in part, done many of these things already; but imagine if she didn’t live the multi-million dollar lifestyle. If she lived more humbly I think a lot of the poverty and financial crises we see in the world today would be aided more efficiently. And this also goes to other preachers like Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and the like.
I highly doubt this luxury and wealth is a product of God’s blessings. I would rather call it charisma. The books they publish are easy to read and do not challenge Christians a great deal. Their televised sermons are funny, charming, clever, and easy to swallow without all those pesky convictions getting in the way. Preachers like Osteen, Meyer, Hinn, and Rob Bell appeal to the Western Christian. The Christian who can pick and choose which Biblical principles to live by and which to ignore. Anything “controversial” to modern Western Christians such as the Bible’s teachings on homosexuality, for example, are passed in silence by those who would not give up their luxuries and book sales. They are sellouts and charlatans. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing luring Christians from the truth and into the comforts of relativism and selfishness.
If Joyce Meyer wants to spend her wealth on vases and boats she may do so, but attributing those activities to the blessings of God is, in my opinion, insulting and shows a poor reflection of who God is. The believers here in the West need to grow up and see that this application of prosperity is not godly at all.