All week TBN has been doing their semi-annual Praise-a-Thon, utilizing the slickest pitch men they can find to twist scripture and bully people to donate money. TBN must be having some difficult times during this economic crisis in America -- enough so to ask one of the worst con-men on television to perform his money-raising magic: Mike Murdock. Murdock preached on the necessity to give in order to get and lifted up the desire to get rich as something godly, when such a desire is evil according to Scripture.
"But they that will be rich fall into is a temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." - 1 Tim. 6:9
Murdock told his mostly African-American audience in TBN's studio to stand if they want to be millionaires and instructed them to give $58 per month and double it for those wanting millions. He also told them to stroke and kiss their Bibles as if doing so would make their greed a reality: a very superstitious act.
On my radio show today I played a clip of TBN's former pitch man, John Avanzini, conducting a similar superstitious trick, instructing people to rub a black stone he gave them and to activate it with the American Express or Visa.
TBN also used their regular money preacher, Clarence McClendon, an adulterous womanizer who left his Christian wife, trading her in for a younger model, to pump the people up to part with their cash. He told them he had created the atmosphere needed if they call right now that would multiply their seed to receive more money back. He cautioned them not to think before they call, just act, because thinking destroys the anointing. At that moment of the 206 phone lines available, all of them became busy.
It appears that TBN has lost most of its former donors who have tried this give-to-get scheme and have seen that indeed it is a scam. Only new believers or people who want to get-rich-quick without having to work for their money still fall for the seed-faith heresy. People who buy lottery tickets or look for government hand-outs might be compelled to try it, but they won't stick around long. TBN's in big trouble. Murdock gave one empty testimony after another about how God sent him people buying him clothes and cars as he preached his lust for money message. The subtle message to his victims is that they too can get riches for nothing as long as they too find some angle they can preach on and start their own non-profit enterprise. After all, who's going to give them handouts if they are making an honest living, working a 9 to 5 job?
I love the way the late Walter Martin used to put it: "Vote with your checkbook." Quit supporting crooks and con-men! But don't go to the opposite extreme and fail to support worthy ministries or to lend a hand to the poor - especially if they are brothers and sisters in Christ. That would be an equal error.