Many were angered by prosperity gospel guru Creflo Dollar’s recent online campaign to raise $65 million to buy himself new private jet — in the name of spreading the gospel around the world.
Others considered the source and simply let it go.
“That’s ridiculous, but that’s Creflo,” said Trey Lyon, a Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel in Atlanta. “I look at that and I sort of roll my eyes.”
That’s because Dollar, the multi-millionaire pastor of Atlanta’s World Changers Church International has a reputation for extravagance and flamboyance in both his ministry and personal life.
According to an Atlanta blog site, Dollar is worth $27 million — which is more than 200 times that of the community in which his World Changers Church International is located.
But while it may not have bothered Lyon, who works with impoverished communities in downtown Atlanta, but it rubbed a lot of other people the wrong way.
Social media lit up with scathing criticisms of Dollar and his ministry when they took to the Internet asking 200,000 followers to donate $300 each toward the purchase of a Gulfstream G650. Dollar’s previous plane had been damaged in an accident.
‘Some sort of a sham’
His church in Atlanta did not disclose how much “Project G650” raised before it was taken offline.
But it may not have ended soon enough to stop collateral damage from occurring in a society increasingly skeptical of Christianity, said Eric Minton, minister of youth and young adults at Monte Vista Baptist Church in Maryville, Tenn.
Dollar is just one of many wealthy megapastors who have become easy targets in the press and social media, Minton said.
“It’s funny to make fun of that,” he said. “It’s ripe for commentary.”
But the implications can be more serious in a culture where respect for churches is waning.
“People … who are antagonistic toward the faith will discuss this along with a long litany” of church failures, including child sexual abuse, Minton said.
“This will be thrown out there as an example that what we believe is some sort of sham. It will be held up as the worst elements of what it is to be human and a person of faith.”
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SOURCE: Baptist News Global