Saturday, October 13, 2007

Following up on the whole Oral Roberts University mess, as a graduate, I am disgusted with what looks like an orgy of self-indulgence by Richard and Lindsay Roberts. This is nothing new, though, since Oral was gold-plating his personal faucets when I was a student there. Something is seriously wrong when people who claim to be ministers of the gospel lavishly spend the Lord's money on themselves.

A 2,000 square foot closet just for Lindsay Roberts' clothes? Flying by private jet to the Bahamas on a "ministry trip" and staying at the Atlantis resort--one of the premier resort hotels in the world? This is ministry?

Not by any stretch of the imagination. It's people like this that give Christianity a bad name.

This is nothing but self-indulgence, theft of the Lord's money, and just plain sin. Paul warned us about this in Galatians: "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love . . . . Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life." Galatians 5:13; 6:7-9

Charisma Magazine's Lee Grady made an interesting comparison of the ORU mess to ENRON:

E is for entitlement. Do leaders in your church or organization feel they deserve to be treated like kings? That style may work OK in a monarchy, but Jesus said that in His kingdom leaders must behave like servants. Those with a spirit of entitlement should be disqualified.

N is for nepotism. When leaders show favoritism to family members, they create arbitrary double standards. Christian organizations must stop building spiritual dynasties.

R is for robbery. If a Christian leader is using donor funds to purchase lavish perks for himself, he is stealing from God. Let’s call it what it is. Though the Bible makes it clear that a Christian worker is worthy of his hire, it also condemns ministers who have their hands in the coffer. When the prophet Malachi asked the probing question, “Will a man rob God?” (Mal. 3:8 NASB) he was not just addressing people who didn’t tithe. He was pointing to greedy priests who stole part of the offerings meant for the poor.

O is for overinflated egos. Too many leaders today are drunk with power. Like Nebuchadnezzar, their pride has caused them to go insane. When an egomaniac drives an organization, you can be sure he will eventually crash—and hurt a lot of people in the process.

N is for negligence. God looks for integrity in the little things. He judges leaders not by the size of the crowd or the volume of their preaching but by the way they conduct themselves when no one is looking. In this hour when our enemies are ready to pounce on our every mistake, we must be faithful in the smallest things. That means we must get our houses in order financially.

Christianity isn't about money or power or position. Christianity is about knowing and loving Jesus Christ--a relationship that produces the fruit of the Spirit, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." Galatians 5:22-24

Why should any of us have more than Jesus had on this earth? Why are we entitled to a life of privilege when He showed us a life of humility?

To Oral, Richard, Lindsay and assorted spoiled offspring . . . all I can say is, you just don't get it.



JohnD said...

I am more concerned about the erroneous doctrines taught than the things (like the extravagances and indulgences you mention) which they will have to account for to the Lord.

If memory serves, O. R. types subscribe to blab it and grab it theology. So if the leaders of the name it and claim it doctrine did not live extravagantly the suckers, er, followers would realize something was up and would stop sending their money hoping to strike it rich like the Roberts clan.

An aside, I would be extremely cautious using any comparisons to the sacrifices Christ made in contrast to anyone else's slothfulness... to some degree, we all are guilty of neglecting our spiritual gifts (which God gave us expecting a return). Chiefest among them is our time. What did we [do] with the time God graciously gave us?

I learned the hard way about making such comparisons. We all have it better and easier than we think. And there's nothing like losing what we have to prove it.

A word of advice from a brother to a sister nothing more.

God bless.

9:11 PM  
JohnD said...

My last comment was not criticizing you or your posts in any way. It was more or less a reminder how we all forget just how well we are living.

This was one of the points I believe the parables of the workers in the field was about. Those who bore the heat of the day spent that entire day assured they were going to receive a wage. Those who were paid for only an hour's work spend 85% of the day in dread thinking they were not going to make any money for their families that day.

But they hung in there. The vineyard owner even asked them why they were not working yet. They had hope and they hung in there.

Believe me, I also begrudge shysters like the Roberts clan and HHH and Copeland, Crouchs, Tilton, and the rest of the crew...

but I have to say a lot of churches / denominations are guilty of the same thing... (which is one of many reasons I left the Southern Baptist Convention 18 years ago).

The San Diego Catholic diocese was recently hammered for several millions of dollars for harboring pedophile priests (which taps into their multi-million dollar reserves). So, after the court maneuvers to try to stop it did not work, they started crying poor mouth again to get the parishioners to restock their reserves, only this time the laity ain't buying it.

God bless all that mother Theresa did with her life. But she died with over six million in her funds. Now she dutifully led the life of poverty like the priests and nuns do in San Diego, ever aware of having access to that multi million dollar reserve fund... in San Diego the land holdings alone are in the hundreds of millions.

With the SBC it when the roll is called up yonder... in the monthly budget meeting... you'd better be there or at least meeting the minimum requirement or your congregation will get published in the newsletter as "behind in expectations" and then they'll send out an officer to egg on more membership for more money. They call it increasing the Sunday school rolls. I am dead serious.

So my point in all of this, Jill, is certainly NOT to imply anything nor wag a finger at you whatsoever. I know for a fact you come from genuine Christian stock. You yourself have posted how your father did without and put the ministry above all. He lived as a shining example for us all!

I do know from my own past experience when I get to singling out a religious huckster's extravagances the Lord humbles me by showing me just how blessed I am to have a job and a home and a car.

And if it takes putting any of the above in jeopardy because of my stubbornness, he will do so and has done so. And all I was trying to do was warn a dear sister ahead of time.

God will deal with those who live the good life at the expense of the poor how much more so those who misuse the funds sweet-hearted donors for the Gospel gave to further God's truth and honor God's Son. Those so-n-sos are guilty of the blood of Christ.

I also wanted to point out in my last comment that we all are guilty to some degree of being able to do more than we do to spread the Gospel, serve the Lord, serve our fellow man. And I have (pretty much) learned to stop being like the Apostle Peter who asked the Lord about the Apostle John "What about him?"

"If I want him to remain till I come, what is that to you?"

In other words, Jesus was saying, I will deal with everyone, Peter. Mind your own business and your own household.

And for me, I have to say "yes Lord. I finally got it."

Hope everything now comes across as intended (even if poorly communicated).

Your brother in Christ

5:24 AM  

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