Let me just read to you, this is the opening sentence you wrote in the first article on the subject. You said, “Somebody needs to say this plainly. The faith healers and health and wealth preachers who dominate religious television are shameless frauds.”
Tell us what happened recently to get you so exercised about this subject and then I want to go through some of the things you’ve written and get you to elaborate for us even more.
JOHN: Well, Phil, as you know, back in the end of the summer I faced a surgery to replace my right knee, so I went into surgery. There were some complications that have now been resolved, but it kept me sort of flat on my back and I was months like that, several months, and going through therapy but unable to do my normal duties. So while I was stuck very often watching television, I often couldn’t get into a configuration where I could read a book and take notes, which I like to do, so I wound up watching Christian television and I was continually horrified. And my anger over what I was seeing escalated day after day, after day and eventually I had more pain in my brain than I had in my knee. And it was that kind of pain that caused me to come to you and say, “Look, this is going on every day and maybe we didn’t know this, maybe we didn’t understand this but it is absolutely everywhere on Christian television. I guess the common name for this is The Prosperity Gospel. It’s the...the sale’s pitch is, “You give me your money...me the evangelist, me the preacher...and you’ll get rich.” And the truth is, you give him your money and you’ll get poor and he’ll get really rich. And it’s a Ponzi scheme and I saw it everywhere and no critique of it, no analysis of it, no evaluation, no exposure, to expose of it at all. It’s as if it’s benign when in fact it’s toxic and deadly. And even from the standpoint of the world, the average non-Christian that would turn that on...that is a good reason not to buy into Christianity. That is maybe the best reason.
If I was a non-Christian, I would say, “That is so obviously a scam, that is so obviously phony, why would anybody have anything to do with that? It is so counterproductive to the proclamation of the true gospel.
So, you’ve got the charlatans, the frauds, people who literally divest the weak, the poor, the sick, the desperate of their money to make them rich and do it in the name of Jesus.
PHIL: So it not only corrupts the gospel, it inoculates people against the true gospel.