Since about 1997, we have noticed expensive conferences popping up all over the place in the United States. These conferences are run by many of the same people with similar speakers attending, most of the time. The fact that these people would charge like this without batting an eye was extremely distressing to me. The Bible simply does not support the obvious merchandising of 'revelations,' 'mentoring' or worse, 'passing the anointing'.
I was not the only one who noticed this. Personal complaints poured in from seasoned Christians and yes, I would even say some 'prophets' (in the sense of those who understand the spiritual state of today and the dynamics involved) who refused to participate or nod to this offensive practice. I was moved to post an outcry over American Conferences, as well as many other pages on this site, in preparation for this development and in answer to it.
For instance, I have noticed that ministers who have been connected with certain people based in Colorado have changed their practices. Rick Joyner as an example, increased his prices to $175 per head for beginning prophetic conferences (meals included, this time) —up from $25 only a few years ago. Back in 1999, one person in New Zealand wrote to me in shock over what Joyner and his troop were charging for the New Zealand conference to welcome the new millenium. I believe it was approximately $200 per person-- and for this the people got to sit out on a grassy lawn in front of a large worship tent/stage! I joked with her that perhaps Joyner and friends wanted to be sure to survive the Y2k computer glitch, should it occur.
Not that long ago, someone told me that John Paul Jackson (loosely related to Paul Cain and others in the past, but became independent of them, so I heard) no longer charges a mere $25 per conference to learn how to be a prophet. Now, it is a whopping $250 per person, per conference. I could hardly believe it, since I had heard testimony before from folks on how humble and unconcerned JPJ was regarding money only a year ago. So, I checked out his website of Stream Ministries, International. Yes indeed, every conference for the summer of 2000 carries this new hefty price. That's a ten-fold increase!
How many of the these 'prophets' are going to follow the pied-piper to riches and glory on the American 'prophetic' and 'apostolic' scene? They are making the Jim Bakker scandal a decade ago look like child's play. Just think of all the money you'd spend if you actually took their 'basic' courses, 'advanced' courses, and 'super-advanced' courses on your way to becoming the prophet of your dreams!
I remember with some amount of shame how naive I was many years ago when I heard ministers like David Wilkerson, Keith Green, and others complain about the 'Jesus junk' sold in tents by the Jesus Festivals and in Christian bookstores. I thought they were over-reacting, BUT THEY WERE RIGHT. Thanks to the seeds of complacency and compromise sown twenty-five years ago, I see what depravity we have today. Now, the items up for sale are not even as useful as 'Jesus junk', which could at least serve as a conversation piece for unbelievers you come in contact with. Now, we are selling esoterical things such as the 'anointing,' 'revelation,' how to pray or prayer meetings, revival, deliverance ministry, or the new (old?) way of doing church--which after all needs to be financed. Do we really think the suffering Christians of the nations are impressed by the lavish money we spend for our own spiritual advancement and power-encounters, or would they rather have a cup of rice? And I'm not even mentioning the unbelievers!
Certain secular news T.V. shows have segments
they call, "The Fleecing of America" Well, to be honest, every time
I see some advertisement for American conferences and religious hype that
'justifies' the cost, I can't help but want to shout that this is our 'Christianized'
FLEECING OF AMERICA. Therefore, I've posted the following as just a
few examples of the expensive religious conferences that were advertised
on the internet. To post them all would be way too many!
The identity of the authors of internet e-mails who expressed outrage were
held for privacy purposes.
Multiple recipients of list netchurch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Send reply to: email@example.com
Date sent: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 10:13:59 -0400
Subject: [NETchurch]: Join The Prayer Meeting For $200
Brothers and sisters,
Now you, yes you, can join together in prayer for our nation and for the coming great revival! Excerpt from Bill Bright's Campus Crusade sponsored site dedicated to the conference:
* * *
Becoming a satellite site for Fasting & Prayer '98 will mean so much to your community, this nation, and the world! This information is provided so that you can make a confident, informed decision, knowing that the Lord will be honored in this event!
Here are the "vital statistics"-- everything you need to know concerning Fasting & Prayer '98 and how to get set up as a satellite site. As you will see, you can be totally set up for around $200!
* * *
Well jolly, what a deal! Just think what the apostles could have done if they had had access to this technology!
This conference is open to "any believer who wants to pray and fast for our nation and the world!". Of course, what they meant to say is any believer who wants to pray and fast for our nation and the world and has a spare $200 to invest, or who goes to a church that has $200 to blow.
Do I sound cynical?
Below is taken from the original URL of http://www.glory-of-zion.org/conf_040899.htm. It is portions of an announcement of a meeting that was held at World Prayer Center and New Life Church Colorado Springs, CO on April 8 - 10, 1999:
On the THIRD DAY, Esther put on her royal robes and
stood in the inner court of the king. He asked her what did she want --
her people were delivered!!
As THIRD DAY people, we must:
1. Deal with our greatest fear.
2. Understand authority
3. Increase your discernment.
4. Know who co-labors among you.
5. Be in the world, but not of the world -- be wiser than the world 6.
Don't reject the messengers God sends to you.
The new church structure emerged in October, 1997.
The New Apostolic Reformation
"The New Apostolic Reformation is an extraordinary work of the Holy Spirit that is changing the shape of Christianity globally. It is truly a new day! The Church is changing. New names! New worship expressions! The Lord is establishing the foundation of the Church for the next millennium. This foundation is built upon apostles and prophets. Apostles execute and establish God's plan on the earth. The time to convene a summit of the different apostolic streams across this nation is now! This meeting will cause the Body to understand God's 'new' order for this coming era. I look forward to having you with us in Colorado Springs." -- Peter Wagner
(snipped itinerary. Speakers and leaders included many of the usual players in this group: Peter Wagner, John Kelly (he has an interesting 'tithing' scheme to finance the traveling apostles, last I heard at a conference), Chuck Pierce, Ted Haggard, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, and Mike Bickle)
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
Team members and leaders, Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Teacherss,
Pastors, lay leaders and all those interested in the
New Apostolic Reformation
By March 19, 1999
$125 per person, spouse $75
After March 19, 1999 $175 per person, spouse $75
Call for special group rates!
Thru April 1, cancellation fee is $25. No refunds after April 2. Substitutions may be made through March 31.
"NETchurch Mailing List" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [netchurch] Deliverance Ministries incl. costs
Date sent: Tue, 18 Jul 2000 17:59:04 -0700
Send reply to: "NETchurch Mailing List" <email@example.com>
[ Double-click this line for list subscription options ]
Just thought that all particularly Teri may want to add some of these
people to your list of those you must hear from (haha).
From: "THE ELIJAH LIST" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 14 Jul 2000 15:49:47 -0700
INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON DELIVERANCE
(Your opportunity to attend the conference that will activate deliverance ministry in the Church)
Speakers: Peter and Doris Wagner - Conveners, Kimberly Daniels, John
Eckhardt, Frank Hammond, Chris Hayward, Chuck
Kraft, Cindy Jacobs, Alice Smith, Selwyn Stevens, Peter Horrobin, and Chuck Pierce
When: July 27-29, 2000
Conference starts on the 27th @ 8:00 a.m. and ends on the 29th @ 2:00 p.m.
Where: New Life Church, 11025 State Hwy 83 N., Colorado Springs, CO
About this Conference: This 2nd Congress on Deliverance will bring together
international experts in the field of deliverance for a
one-of-a-kind training opportunity. Come and be equipped!
Rates: Individual--$145 Individual with spouse--$215
Call 888-965-1099 for special Group Rates!
Registration: Use the Web! http://www.wpccs.org/conferences or contact
Glory of Zion
P.O. Box 1601
Denton, TX 76202-1601
Call Toll Free: 888-965-1099 or Direct: 940-382-7231 Fax: 940-565-9264;
September 21-23, 2000
APOSTOLIC CHURCH ARISING:
Building the Church of the 21st Century
Location: Jubilee Church, 1169 Calle Suerte, Camarillo, CA 93010 God is creating a new wineskin for the church called the New Apostolic Reformation. Come and receive your marching orders! Speakers: Peter Wagner - Convener, Chuck Pierce, Cindy Jacobs, John Eckhardt, Barbara Wentroble, and Dutch Sheets Worship Leader: John Dickson
Early Registration by September 1, 2000: Individual $85
Individual with Spouse $145
Regular Registration Dated After September 1, 2000: Individual $95
Individual with Spouse $155
For ADDITIONAL INFORMATION or to REGISTER 1. Use the Web! www.GlobalHarvest.org
Available) 2. Contact Glory of Zion: Phone Toll Free: 888-965-1099 Call Direct: 940-382-7231
Fax: 940-565-9264 Email: email@example.com
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1601, Denton, TX 76202-1601
"NETchurch Mailing List" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: [netchurch] Re: Toronto Darkness?
Date sent: Fri, 24 Mar 2000 09:25:50 -0800
Send reply to: "NETchurch Mailing List" <email@example.com>
Well, I guess it is time for me to comment even though it may be in ignorence. I have not been to Toronto or Brownsville; yet I am a student of Christian History. First, I want to say that I do believe that the move of God there and other places similar is no doubt of God; yet not because of manifestations but rather from the fruit of souls saved and planted. Next, all of the "Awakenings" that occurred in America caused wide-spread conversions and discipling that were not limited to particular "hot-spots" or cities. The Pentecostal (also known as Latter Rain) Movement at the turn of the century was wide-spread and went around the world. The 40's Latter Rain Movement (restoration of 5-fold ministry) went sour and led into what is known as the Discipling Movement. No fruit resulted in retrospect. The Charasmatic Movement resulted in the gifts being believed in main-line churches and reviving many Pentecostal churches. Unfortunately there has sometimes been more fanfaire and publicity to this than actual conversions and discipling. As Teri Earl and I discussed recently, Watchman Nee saw a move of God with manifestations in China during the initial move of God prior &/or to the Communist take-over. His final consensus was that it did more harm than good in the long run. My problem with the Torontos and Brownsvilles concerns the publicity and fanfaire incl. costs associated with seminars associated with these. I also have a problem when So. Baptists charge and have big seminars given by their famous "church-growth" people. If you grow a mega-church of sufficient size you are famous and God is moving; therefore copy their methods and you can also have a "move of God." Neither mansifestations or seminars in themselves produce fruit. It is the Lord Jesus Christ that saves hungry souls. When God does move in small churches without fanfaire or mansifestations and souls are saved and discipled without publicity, it does not seem to be important. When simple Christians that are adverse to worldly publicity and methods just want to seek and pray to Jesus all the time. Does anyone care? If you've read "Praying Hyde (a classic)", this generation of American Christians would no doubt critisize him because he had no "results" in his ministry. God raises up many Apostles today such as Bill Bright and others, that may not even believe in the 5-fold ministry. I have known those I consider Prophets (male & female) that God reveals the future; yet do not believe in Prophets for today or are just disgusted with the famous Apostle and Prophet movement of today.
In closing, we need more of a hunger for God in this nation. We need to stop glorifying people, offices, churches and movements. Rather humbly seek Jesus only and pray for revival such that the Lord alone is glorified. Let God do His work and do not charge or publicize what the Lord has said or done freely. Just publicize our need to repent, humble ourselves, and pray without ceasing. Some thoughts on this matter being discussed.
|American Conferences||Renewal||Truth page|
|Money||About Apostolic Summits||Spiritual Abuse page|
If you are an older Christian, you may already be aware of the following things:
In spite of the occasional testimony you'll hear about a financial miracle equated with 'seed money' or other such extra-Biblical promises, there are numerous, quiet testimonies by thousands of ordinary Christians who have experienced the opposite. They have suffered spiritual AND financial devastation as a result of manipulative, guilt-tripping tithing teachings and money collecting practices. However, like most victims of scams, they are too ashamed to tell about it.
Yet even if you don't experience personal devastation as a result of an emphasis on money, any favoritism practiced by salaried pastors and elders toward the rich who tithe more, as well as the horrendous behind the scenes spiritual abuse practiced in order 'cull out' those who don't or can't give as much, is shocking and anti-Biblical. Not to mention the fact that 'secular' people, are vocally and thoroughly disgusted with the emphasis placed on money, by money-grabbing preachers. If you've noticed any of that, you should be thoroughly amazed at the following ad, shamelessly published in a popular Christian magazine.
Date sent: Sun, 23 Jul 2000 00:24:07
Subject: [netchurch] financial seminar ad
To: "NETchurch Mailing List" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
* * *
From a 2-page ad in CHARISMA Magazine, August 2000
Pastor, are you ready for the biggest Financial day of your life?
The Secrets of What Others Just Won't Tell You.
THE CHURCH FINANCIAL SEMINAR
The most Extraordinary event pastors and church leaders will ever experience
To Register, or for more information call 800-344-0076
The best financial seminar in America for pastors and churches
H. Michael Chitwood
Who should attend:
- Associate Pastors
- Church Treasurers
- Financial Secretaries
- Board Members
"A prudent man foresees the difficulties ahead and prepares for them;
simpleton goes blindly and suffers the consequences." Proverbs 22:3 LB
This is what you will learn:
- How to prove tithing is in the New Testament
- How to double and triple your tithes
- How to double the Pastor's salary
- How to deal with delinquent tithers
- How to get your church out of debt
- How to build your new church debt-free
- The secrets of what others just won't tell you about fulfilling pledges
- How to complete your pledges in 120 days
- How to setup a tax-free housing allowance
- Consequences of being a non-tither
- How to get sinners to come to your church
- How to setup a love offering program LEGALLY
- How to prove to your church what you are worth
- How to advance your tithes above and beyond
- Why tithing doesn't work
- How to prove that non-tithers are robbers
- How to master your finances
- How to keep the I.R.S. off your back
- How to make the Pastor's salary more tax-free
- How to setup a deferred housing and equity sharing
- How to discern wolves in sheep's clothing
- How to know who is with you or against you
- How a wolf is really a non-tither
Rev. Al Brice, Covenant Family Church: "After attending the Church Financial Seminar in Raleigh, NC, what I heard on tithing has increased the tithe of our church - the increase was over 77% and has remained at that level."
Rev. John Avanzini, John Avanzini Ministries: "Every pastor needs to hear what Donnie and Michael are saying about this subject. Some of the best information I have ever heard!"
Rev. Randy White, Without Walls International Church: "This seminar was just awesome! This is just what I needed. God bless you!"
Rev. Hezekiah Walker, Love Fellowship Tabernacle: "I attended the seminar in New York. It was fabulous! Even during a building program, our tithe was increased more that 70 percent and is still going up every month."
Bishop Clarence McClendon, Church of the Harvest: "Don Meares and Micheal Chitwood did a fabulous job. Master Your Finances has had a lasting impact on me and my church. You should hear the testimonies of people getting financially free."
Rev. Shirley Caesar, Mount Calvary Holy Church: "I came to the seminar very skeptical. You have made a believer out of me and I purchased the entire system."
Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, Faithful Central Missionary Baptist Church: "I was amazed at the information presented. Financial freedom is exactly what my church needed. Not only did you teach the message, but you also gave us the method."
Bishop Larry Trotter, Sweet Holy Spirit Full Gospel Baptist Church: "I heard and saw something I had never heard before. After leaving the seminar I can't put the system down."
Bishop Dennis Leonard, Heritage Christian Center: "Even though I was in the Holy Land at the time the seminar took place, my church leaders are still giving me rave reviews."
Bishop Jimmie Ellis, Victory Christian Center: "I did not realize how underpaid I was on my salary and housing allowance. I am now making three times what I was making. This seminar opened my eyes."
[There is a long list of seminar locations and (1-day) dates, from August
through December, from Hawaii to New York]
Informative reactions to this posting that were on our Netchurch e-mail list:
This is incredible....
Oh, and Church Without Walls church which is listed on that ad. Gee, I remember that church starting out TOTALLY on faith. They didn't even ask for money from their members, and were able to build or occupy two buildings on PRAYER alone. I heard this testimony with my own two ears at a RHB conference. My, how things have changed in just several years!
Hopefully Randy White's "endorsement"/comments have been taken out of
context. I read Randy's book about Church Without Walls and thought they
were doing an amazing work, one that was focused on Jesus and people, not
religous empire building. I was saddened to see his name here.
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