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Dr. Billy Ingram, a guy I’ve never heard of before, was a guest on a TBN program this evening, and he went on an anti-prosperity rant (he’s against prosperity as taught by the con artists and greedy rats one typically sees on TBN).
If I understood correctly, Ingram is a pastor at a church in Los Angeles, but spends the rest of his time working as a photographer.
Ingram said that too many people in the church today who are preaching and listening to the prosperity message are too greedy, and he mentioned that one word frequently translated in our Bibles as “prosperity” is not always referring to financial prosperity.
Ingram made an excellent point when he said (paraphrasing),
“Why is it that in the churches where the pastors preach the prosperity gospel that the pastors and the other ‘top guys’ in the churches are the only ones driving the expensive cars? If the prosperity message they teach is true, shouldn’t more people in their churches also be driving the fancy cars?”
Ingram also earned my respect when he mentioned that some guy from his church wanted to give him a brand new Rolls Royce car recently, but he turned the offer down.
Ingram turned him down and told the audience (paraphrasing),
“There’s nothing wrong with Rolls Royces or owning one. But I don’t ‘need’ one. And how can I take a Rolls Royce when I know people are going through difficult financial times, and there are people at my church who have lost their jobs? Some of the people at my church don’t have enough money to buy bus fare to go to a new job.”
The funny thing is, I was watching an episode of pastor Bayless Conley’s (spelling?) television show a week or two ago (I believe it’s called “Answers”), and Conley mentioned that some time ago (I don’t know how long) that he felt God lead him to give away all his money, even though he needed and wanted a new car and had been saving up for one.
So Conley said he gave all his money to his church so that they could send missionairies overseas.
Then Conley said a few weeks after giving all his money “to God” that some guy he didn’t even know gave him a brand new Lexus vehicle.
I’m not sure, but I think Conley is the same preacher who said in a sermon over a year ago that a woman he knew who was praying and trusting God to “give her” a new house she wanted was unrealistic, delusional, foolish, or idiotic, because, Conley said, this woman had no money and was not employed.
Conley figured if this woman wanted a new house that she should get a job and save her pay checks and earn it.
Maybe this Conley guy is mostly trustworthy and a sincere Christian, but some of his teachings bother me none-the-less.
That Conley would take a brand new expensive car and then use this as an example in a sermon (and this is a sermon airing during a massive recession in this nation when millions are out of jobs and can’t find new ones) rubs me the wrong way.
Why didn’t he sell the Lexus, use part of the profit for a cheaper car, and donate the rest of the money?
What really bugs me though is that Conley would sit there on the one hand and criticize a poor, unemployed woman for having faith that God would grant her a new house but then later accept a free Lexus for himself (one which he did not work or save for) seems a little hypocritical, and he seems to suggest that one can “buy favors” from God.
So Conley thinks that faith only works for him but not for poor, unemployed women who want a new house? Is he saying God delights only in giving him material rewards but not a poor woman who wants a house?
At any rate, the anti-prosperity message from Dr. Ingram was a very refreshing change of pace from the usual “send us your money and God will bless you, and if you don’t God will curse you” dreck one normally hears on TBN.