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Brazil's billionaire prosperity preacher

Discussion in 'Spirit-Filled / Charismatic' started by hopeinGod, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. hopeinGod

    hopeinGod A voice crying in the wilderness

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    LinK: Edir Macedo, Brazil's Billionaire Bishop - Businessweek

    Edir Macedo is 5-foot-6, slight, and 68 years old. He has deformed fingers, a sparse crown of graying hair, and more than 5 million followers, whose donations over the last 36 years have made him a billionaire. In Brazil, where he was born and raised, he is a major national figure, the subject of dozens of criminal inquiries, and the owner of Rádio & Televisão Record, a media conglomerate that runs the country’s second-largest television network. He is known to most everyone by the title he created for himself: He is O Bispo—“The Bishop.” Macedo is the founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, a Pentecostal denomination specializing in prosperity theology, which links faith to financial success. He preaches twice a week, often in two different cities, and the sermons are fervently watched on church websites, his Facebook page, and the miniature TV sets that Brazilian taxi drivers like to keep on their dashboard. Now and then he holds outdoor events that draw crowds of half a million. In February he addressed 5,000 of his parishioners at one of his churches in Belo Horizonte, in southeastern Brazil. High overhead, a stained-glass cross lit by fluorescent bulbs took up most of the ceiling while a theater-size screen blew him up for the pews in the back. He paced back and forth on the stage, explaining the intersection of God and money. “Which is the largest country in the world, economically speaking? It’s America, the United States. Do you know why? Because way back—this is history, you can look it up on the Internet—the colonization was done by men who believed in the word of God. And they were tithers,” he said. “That’s why you see on the dollar bill: ‘In God we trust.’ ”

    In Macedo’s teaching, tithing, or giving 10 percent of your income to the church, is a mandate from God. Tithing was never part of Brazil’s Catholic tradition, and, for Macedo, that explains many of the country’s problems. In Belo Horizonte that day, he quoted Malachi, a favorite of prosperity theologians, pointing to 3:10, where the Lord promises to the faithful tither that He will “pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” A man of humble beginnings, Macedo offered his own success as proof. “Our culture is retrograde, a stingy culture, a culture with no view of the future,” he said. “Only you can change this situation. Tithing is you on God’s altar, just as Jesus was God’s tithe for humanity.”
    Silvio Luís Martins de Oliveira, a prosecutor in São Paulo, says that Macedo’s promise of riches amounts to fraud. In a 2009 case that is just now being tried, he accuses Macedo and three high-ranking church members of conspiracy, money laundering, and undeclared international cash transfers. “The preachers make use of the faith, desperation, or ambition of [their followers] to sell the idea that God and Jesus Christ only look upon those who contribute financially to the church,” Oliveira wrote in a criminal complaint. In his description, the Universal Church enriches its leaders far more than its faithful.

    Macedo is proud of his success, but turns questions about his wealth into questions of the spirit. He declined an in-person interview; in an e-mail, he writes: “From the point of view of my faith in Jesus Christ, I am the richest man in the world.”
    Story: Brazil's Domestic Servants Get Work Equality
    Whatever the semantics, he has prospered. The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimates his wealth at $1.2 billion, entirely because of his ownership of Rádio & Televisão Record. The conglomerate’s namesake TV network produces standard commercial fare: telenovelas (sometimes Biblical), sex-infused reality shows, and journalism that dwells on grisly crimes. Record also runs a cable news channel, a handful of radio stations, three newspapers, a film-production company, and even a small bank, as well as cable and satellite units scattered around the world.
    Macedo purchased Record, then just a debt-ridden TV network, in 1989 for $45 million. The transaction led to an investigation by Brazil’s tax agency, which found that he’d used interest-free loans from the Universal Church to fund it, and fined him for failing to declare the loans as income. In his defense, Macedo said he’d bought Record on behalf of the church to create the country’s first evangelical TV network. The argument failed to convince tax inspectors and led prosecutors to file suit in 1997, seeking to strip Record’s broadcasting license on the grounds that Brazil’s constitution forbids religious institutions from owning radio or TV stations. In testimony for that case, Macedo acknowledged the loans, while changing tack to say that he had acquired Record for himself. The case dragged on for more than a decade until a federal judge, Leonel Ferreira, ruled in Macedo’s favor in 2011. In his decision, Ferreira wrote that the church’s transfer of cash to Macedo could imply that, far from being frontmen for the church, he and his deputies “control the church absolutely and use it for their own benefit.” But, he said, such speculation fell outside the limits of the case at hand.
    Record grossed $1.1 billion in 2011, a good chunk of which came from the Universal Church. The church buys up to six hours of airtime each day, almost always after midnight, when advertising sales are scarce; during Record’s more profitable hours, the church runs its sermons on other networks. Silas Malafaia, one of Brazil’s best-known televangelists (and the wealthy leader of a different Pentecostal denomination), says he used to buy time at the going market rate in the 1990s, until one day the network raised its price tenfold. “The church pays millions to Record, way more than the programming is worth, so that he can expand his TV network,” Malafaia says. “He uses a legal artifice for something unjust.” Neither party has disclosed how much their arrangement is worth today, but in 1999, Record’s then-chief executive officer, Demerval Gonçalves, told the Folha de S.Paulo newspaper that the church provided 15 percent of the company’s overall revenue. The church also pays Record’s publishing arm to print most of the 2.5 million copies of its weekly newspaper.
     
  2. hopeinGod

    hopeinGod A voice crying in the wilderness

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  3. Yitzchak

    Yitzchak יצחק

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    I have never heard of him until now. I think though that this is probably a world wide trend in the sense that there are several places in the world where very large churches have sprung up very quickly and there is very little oversight over the leaders. Which can be both good and bad.

    Thanks for the post. When I have a little time , I will look this guy up and do some research.
     
  4. K2K

    K2K Newbie

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    Interesting article.

    To me, it points out the fact that we should not be preaching the tithe, but rather the Lord!

    Isn't there a problem if your message is, 'bring your money to the church', instead of 'bring your heart to the Lord'?

    God has put in place spiritual principles, but we are not supposed to be living by spiritual principles, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of the Lord. That requires listening to the Great I Am.

    So the problem with prosperity preachers is that they a preaching prosperity by living according to spiritual principles instead of living by a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. And that creates problems.

    It is not that the spiritual principles of God should not be taught to people! Knowing the principles of God shows us where He heart stands. He is for giving! Yet, Jesus said something about not building up for yourself treasures here on earth, but in heaven.

    What has a billionare done, if not built up treasures here on earth? And if he has done that by preaching spiritual principles as opposed to a relationship with God, then what will God do to him?

    Still God knows what he has done and not done. And the article, as interesting as it is, does not tells us what God knows. If he has built himself treasures here on earth by preaching tithing instead of preaching the Lord, then I wouldn't want to be him. But if he was simply following the instructions of the Lord, and he isn't actually preaching tithing, but teaches it, and preaching salvation through knowing Jesus Christ, so that the Lord our God has greatly blessed him; then congratulations to him. God blessed king Solomon like that.

    As for me, I rejoice if Jesus Christ is preached, no matter what the reasons. Of course that doesn't mean I rejoice if tithing is preached.

    The principle of giving and receiving is from God, but we don't live by that, we live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God, who is always with us.
     
  5. BenAdam

    BenAdam Pirate King Supporter

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    Mark 10:17 As He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and asked Him, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments, ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to Him, “Teacher, I have kept all these things from my youth up.” 21 Looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him and said to him, “One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” 22 But at these words he was saddened, and he went away grieving, for he was one who owned much property.


    Notice that Jesus didn't say, give it to Me.

    'nuff said
     
  6. Ajax 777

    Ajax 777 God is the Truth, not an opinion. Supporter

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    ROFLMHO!!! ^_^

    Aye, Cap'n. Boo-fully put. :thumbsup:
     
  7. abysmul

    abysmul Board Game Hobbyist

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    :thumbsup:
     
  8. Yitzchak

    Yitzchak יצחק

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    I don't think that the tithe is mandatory. I have known a lot of Christians over the years who testify that God has honored it when they tithed. It seems like the older generation had a higher percentage that believed in the tithe.


    The statistics of those who tithe today are quite low. I tried to find statistics for the previous generation , but was not able to find them. I would venture to say that the majority of those who currently tithe are the older people who are still living from the last generation.



    Barna poll: Tithing stable in 2012; evangelicals content with their personal financial status | Church Executive


     
  9. K2K

    K2K Newbie

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    Yeah - also note that Jesus didn't tell the man to tithe, but to give all.

    If Jesus gave all, then what do we owe Him? We owe Him all, not only 10%.

    That said, we need to find out from Him personally what He wants and where. We don't find it that our from others, but from listening to Him. We also don't live by the Law, which is rules, but through a relationship with Him. And if a relationship, communication back a forth.

    So perhaps He tells one man to give all he has to the poor, and perhaps he tells another man like Abramham to give 10%, and perhaps He gives the law of giving 10% to those not willing to listen Him, like the ones Moses brought to the foot of the mountain. So we don't preach properity, we preach Jesus Christ and Him crucified by those unwilling to listen to Him.
     
  10. Alive_Again

    Alive_Again Resident Alien

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    The tithing thing is not objectionable by itself. Although we're "loosed" from the requirement to do so, God exceeds every requirement of the Law, and His intent for our use of money is probably in the works.

    If you can't be established by grace though, you'll always be working in some respect to earn your approval by God.
    If you give to get blessed, it takes the grace element of it it. It's a mixed message preached in many churches. They're not evil for doing it, by it's not perfect.

    At the same time, if we don't give, where is our heart? Is it the love of money?
    Tithing is really just a place to start, although do it by grace freely. If God had His way freely, we'd be dropping our paychecks all over the place to needs only God knew, and we'd receive supernaturally too. It would be a grand witness and surely nothing would be impossible.

    We're still learning to live by every Word that proceeds from the mouth of God (and grace). A big issue is, is the ministry being good stewards of the money. It's not about empire building, although it takes money to do kingdom business. God is not offended by money.

    Some preach tithing for the wrong motive and they profit from it directly. Only God knows who is who. I don't think it is wrong to live in a big house. God can set you up in one. If you're faithful, He can set you up in a nice car too, if you're not covetous. If you're asking God to make you in the image of Jesus and you have a root of being covetous in you (and you drive a luxury car), it would be no surprise that one day you'll be called upon to lose it (or even have it taken from you).

    The higher call is to be like Jesus with a pure heart. If you pass His test, you can enjoy abundance and steward great things for God. God also uses those along the way who are still a ways off in these matters, but He's got a plan for them too and it is not for us to say (without receiving His judgment) where the man is. If he's truly God's servant, you can bet He will deal with him as needed.

    Tack this on: As far as the gospel is concerned, what is he preaching?
     
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