To the discerned, all it would require is one sighting to identify the entity as a sinister, conscious fraud. Those who consider themselves to be more perceptive than the average 10 – year old may take a little longer. The congenitally disadvantaged could be helped by honest introspection and the counsel of relevant authorities. It is simply not possible, scientifically, biologically, morally or aesthetically that Benny Hinn can be anything other than a cretinous fraud. There is no need to elaborate further regarding Hinn.
I wish to focus on another syndicate in the identical scheme, the greasy peddler, Joel Osteen. Joel inherited the family business of Churchianity from his late father, succeeding him to the pulpit of Lakewood. (There is something unsettling about the hereditary nature of the business). Joel is the slick and shiny poster boy of the prosperity gospel and likes to take your money with a permanently fixed smile. The collection buckets are passed down the aisles while Joel champions the blessed life of due abundance to all those willing to believe.
Joel affirms Gods full co-operation and relentless commitment to bestow financial miracles upon the faithful. Also guaranteed is Gods intervention on all matters of comfort and convenience, to the guiding of believers to empty parking spaces and prioritized seating at restaurants. Joel consummates the runaway success of the spiritual ponzi scheme that boasts an arena with some 40 000 filled seats, easily the largest church in Houston, Texas. Joel has managed to package beaming positive mind science, pep talk/motivational speak and life coaching and somehow integrate this concoction of solipsism into mainstream Christianity, and all without anybody noticing.
Here reads an official list of sermons
- Enlarge your vision
- Holding onto your dreams
- Financial property
- How valuable you are in God’s eyes
- Overcoming the greatest hindrance to healing
- Developing miracle-working faith
- Faith to change your world
- Believe God for the greater works
- Do all you can do to make your dreams come true
- Living a life of excellence
- Developing your potential
To further investigate this firm departure from intellectual integrity, there is a need to understand the allure of Word/Faith doctrines to spiritual peasants. One must understand that Joel and likened syndicates, in addition to health and wealth entitlements, make certain metaphysical claims: one being that faith is a transcendent force or power. The believer is within his rights to utilize this force and literally speak into being, the desired reality –
“I believe one of the main ways that we grow in favor is by declaring it. It’s not enough to just read it, it’s not enough to just believe it. You’ve got to speak it out. Your words have creative power. And one of the primary ways we release our faith is through our words. And there is a divine connection between you declaring God’s favor and you seeing God’s favor manifest in your life. You’ve got to give life to your faith by speaking it out.”
Whats more, God is constrained by this force of faith to act accordingly. What we have here is a familiar trick. If the thing desired fails to materialize, then it can be put down to lack of faith, or if some positive event occurs, just by accident, then the believer can be reassured.( I am not the first to notice that this is a duplication of the farcical book, The Secret). These metaphysical absurdities are therefore un – falsifiable, and this is why it works.
The man to kick start the cult of mammon worship appears to be a very ordinary crook, Oral Roberts. One fateful day in 1947, Oral picked up his bible which fell open to Johns third epistle “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” – and a franchise was born! All along Oral had it all wrong – God’s most earnest desire was to make him gorgeously rich. Precisely what John needed to impart, by this sentiment to the elder, ‘beloved Gaius’ is that every believer should own a private jet, and of course the rest of all scripture be immediately annulled. Enter seed-faith, and by 1981 Oral headed a $120 000000 a year organization.
In 1977 a 900- foot-tall Jesus appeared to Roberts and required of him to build a hospital, City of Faith Medical Research Center and reassuringly promised its success. But Alas, the City of faith lasted only 8 years. In 1987 Oral announced to a television audience that unless they came up with 8 million dollars within 4 weeks, his time on Earth was certainly over – he had discussed this with Jesus and it was mutually agreed ‘he would be called home’ – during one of many house calls Oral had with Jesus. This is the foundation of the Word/Faith movement – one of unquestionable integrity.
How does Joel pack a 40,000 seat arena? We can immediately discard the notion that scriptural edification or the profundities of theology are any incentive. Joel has openly dismissed these pursuits:
“I’m not called to explain every minute facet of Scripture or to expound on deep theological doctrines or disputes that don’t touch where people live”
Having heard an entire ‘sermon’, or rather excursion into a Tony Robins styled yes festival of sycophantic crowd pleasing, I don’t think bible preaching is even a feature in the scheme. No, Joel can hardly believe his luck, what Joel extends to his assembly of salivating, materialist junkies is a soothing balm or if you will a church – based license for chronic narcissism.