8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.
9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
With the coming of television, came Oral Roberts – healing the sick every Sunday Morning. A friend and I gathered to watch faithfully – not as religion, but as entertainment – rolling on the floor in laughter as Oral would put on his show shouting "Heal!". It wasn’t lost on us that he would quote Galations 6 at the end in his appeal for donations, but it didn’t register on me that he was implying that if you "sowed" to his ministry, you would "specifically" "reap." I missed that part.
While my family was not "religious," it was sensibly moral, and those verses up there obviously informed the morality – all parts. How you behave towards the world is how the world will behave towards you. And "good things come to he who waits." It was a good morality, one that I still adhere to. I remember those verses from my bible days. They impressed me and articulated the very morality I was being taught.
- Tilton was particularly influenced by Dave Del Dotto, a real estate promoter who produced hour-long infomercials showing his glamorous life in Hawaii [which he constantly stressed anyone could achieve just by following the principles set up in his many "get rich quick" books], as well as "interviews" with students who were brought out to his Hawaiian villa for said interviews, specifically for their on-camera testimonials about the success in life they were now enjoying thanks to his teachings. Upon his return from Hawaii in 1981, Tilton — with the help of a US$1.3M loan from Dallas banker Herman Beebe — revamped Daystar into an hour-long "religious infomercial" with the title Success-N-Life.
Bishop Eddie Long’s long reach
The global network of prosperity preachers Long has built up has turned the gospel into a capitalist endeavour
by Anthea Butler
30 September 2010
… Long’s troubles are not simply about his potential hypocrisy in preaching against homosexuality while allegedly engaging in same-sex acts; it is also about money. Theologically, Long and his church are rooted in the prosperity gospel, a belief that promotes giving tithes and offerings to God in a covenantal relationship. A church member gives, and God enters into a covenant with the believer that prospers them financially, physically and spiritually…
For Long’s members, financial blessings are a sign of God’s favour. So it should come as no surprise then, that the bishop lives a lavish lifestyle, replete with a private jet, a mansion on the church property and flashy jewellery accentuating his form-fitting clothing. Long’s conspicuous prosperity garnered the attention of a US senator, Chuck Grassley, who attempted to scrutinise Long and other prosperity televangelists with a summons to show their financial records. Long refused. Now that lawsuits have been filed outlining how Long spent money on these men, Long finds himself as he phrased it in his Sunday sermon, "like David against Goliath"…
Long’s story, however it may turn out, has implications for not only American Christianity, but Christianity worldwide. The prosperity gospel and its purveyors are worldwide, and account for the rapid growth of Pentecostalism, the global religious movement prosperity preachers come from. Long has associates in the UK such as Matthew Ashimolowo, pastor of Kingsway International Christian Centre. Ashimolowo hosts a conference called the International Gathering of Champions, a conference for prosperity preachers, and Long spoke at the gathering this year. Long also is associated with a controversial New Zealand pastor, Brian Tamaki, who considers Long to be his spiritual father. One of the claimants in the case stated that Long took him to New Zealand and had sexual relations with him there. Tamaki is also anti-gay and his emphasis on male headship and leadership comes from Long’s belief system.Conferences and technology link these preachers, and their members not only gain access to their pastor but to a network of pastors who espouse the same teachings and offer a myriad of study materials and media that support the prosperity gospel. Long’s story may be a local nightmare, but it lights up a global religious movement that has turned the gospel into a capitalist endeavour. I am not quite sure that is what Max Weber [The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism] had in mind, but even in the midst of a potentially ministry-ending scandal, Long is generating media attention and making money for advertisers…
Robert Tilton speaking in tongues