Perhaps you've read about the investigation being conducted by the Senate Finance Committee into the alleged financial irregularities of some high-profile Christian ministries. If not, check out the two articles posted by some Conversant users (see User Submitted News). Hopefully you won't get as sick to your stomach as I am. Or perhaps you are so jaded that this kind of stuff doesn't surprise you.
Anyone who's followed the so-called prosperity gospel teachers knows that these ministry leaders have taken full advantage of two gigantic "loopholes" that allow them to collect and keep vast amounts of money. The first loophole is found in Scripture, and it's a doozy. The typical gospel huckster takes a few verses completely out of context and basically twists them to conclude that God wants every one of His followers to be filthy, stinking rich. But not until they give money to the particular ministry that's sharing this valuable information with them. So millions of dollars roll in, which leads us to the second loophole.
Because these ministries are "non-profit," they don't have to abide by the same IRS rules the rest of us poor schmucks have to follow. They aren't even obligated to open their financial records. Consequently, many of the ministry leaders and their families live in the lap of luxury, with mansions, exotic cars, airplanes, and high-priced hair stylists at their disposal. Hey, this is one sweet deal. Prosperity gospel preachers can pick and choose their favorite verses from the Bible, tell their followers that they will get rich only after they send in their checks, and then keep most off the money for themselves.
Now some members of the Senate are catching on to what the rest of us have known all along, so they are asking a few ministries to voluntarily explain where the money goes. There's no guarantee that the six ministries under question will open their financial records, and it's not clear which of the ministries--if any--are truly misusing donations. Regardless of the outcome, just the appearance of this kind of chicanery is enough to turn my stomach. Surprisingly, it's not the ministry leaders that make me sick. If any of them are doing wrong in His name, God will deal with them in His time. No, what gets to me is the fact that the stupid actions of a few high-profile Christians are misleading millions of people. Some are being deterred from seeing the real God, while others are seeking the wrong god--the god of prosperity. That god may exist in the mind of the prosperity preachers, but He's not in the Bible. At least not in any place I've been able to find.