I have already expressed my disdain for a lot of so-called Christian TV these days especially when it comes to the Praise Tel Beg Fleece-A-Thons. I have talked especialy how biblical numerology is abused to manipulate the minds. I for one will continue to talk about these things that a lot of Christians want to sweep underneath the carpet at the expense of the poor and the desperate. These things are nothing more than a spiritual pyramid scheme where those at the bottom never really benefit but those at the top do. They add ‘testimonies’ on their website to show you that these principles ‘work’. They promote things such as prayer shawls and prosperity shawls but funny enough, these things never seem to work when they need money themselves, so who do they come to? The same gullible christians. J Lee Grady who also wrote the article, Say Goodbye to the Untouchable Preachers, exposes some of the gimmicks that are used.

Let’s stop the hypnotism, the guilt manipulation and the high-pressure gimmicks. It’s time to reclaim our lost credibility.

Normally I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal than watch a telethon. But while channel surfing a few nights ago I tuned into PBS and discovered that Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, was hosting a fundraiser for the network. Seated at a piano, she was offering a 5-CD collection of classic rhythm and blues hits in exchange for a donation to public television.

It was simple. There were no gimmicks, no games and no strings attached in Aretha’s offer. If you gave the suggested gift, she explained, PBS would mail you a big slice of American pop culture—including songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, Al Green and Aretha herself, singing her classic “Respect.”

My respect for PBS was still intact when the telethon ended, thanks to this low-key, no-pressure approach to fundraising. I can’t say that for some Christian networks, which have shamelessly extorted money from viewers over the years using heavy-handed guilt manipulation, hypnotic control and bizarre Scripture-twisting.

During the PBS telethon I wondered why Christian networks couldn’t simply offer music, books or other premiums instead of resorting to the typical arm-twisting and tear-jerking that we’ve come to expect. We need an overhaul in this area. Somebody needs to lead the way in pioneering a new style of on-air fundraising that doesn’t treat people like brainless zombies.

Here are five of my least favorite fundraising tactics. I wish all of them could be banned from the airwaves.

Gimmick #1: The magic Bible verse. You know the drill. The evangelist quotes Psalm 37:37 and then announces that if you will send $37.37 (“No more, no less!”) God will unleash all the blessings of King David upon you. (Hint: The phones seem to ring more frequently when the number seven is included in the Bible reference.)

Gimmick #2: The urgent, time-is-running-out plea. Before the preacher asks you to reach for your wallet, dramatic music is piped in. Then “Reverend Cheatem” talks about how the crippled man waited by the pool of Siloam, hoping that the angel would trouble the waters so he could be healed. “God is troubling the waters right now, my dear friend,” the preacher says with his eyes closed. “Go to the phones now, before it is too late. Only those who give in this holy, anointed moment will receive a supernatural blessing in return.”

Gimmick #3: The memorialized gift. One popular evangelist announced on-air that she needed thousands of dollars to build a prayer room. She promised that those who funded this noble effort would receive recognition with special brass nameplates that would be mounted on the wall of the facility. The implication was that people could buy prayer coverage, sort of like a spiritual insurance policy. (I’m not surprised—since this woman offered her loyal followers the status of “spiritual son” or “spiritual daughter” if they paid a $1,000 annual fee.)

Gimmick #4: The debt-breaking anointing. One preacher who specializes in telethons has raised millions by telling audiences that they are just one donation away from eliminating all red ink. All they have to do is give a sacrificial gift (usually four figures) to the TV network in the next few minutes. If they do this, God will wipe out their debts, no questions asked. No lifestyle changes necessary. (This technique was especially popular before the mortgage crisis.)

See how many times you hear the buzz word ‘anointing’ in the video below

Gimmick #5: The Day of Atonement offering. This particularly odd strategy has been popular in the last couple of years, especially among gullible Christians who believe God blesses anything and everything that has the word “Israel” attached to it. The preacher announces that if you write a check to their network, and wave it in the air before you mail it (preferably while wearing a Jewish prayer shawl), God will forgive your sins, restore your health, bring back your wayward children, provide angelic protection and bless you with more than a dozen other special favors.

I still don’t know what is more outrageous: That programmers allow such insanity on Christian television, or that gullible Christians fall for it year after year. Hopefully, emerging leaders in the religious broadcasting industry will restore our lost credibility by insisting on integrity, authenticity and good taste.

  1. Andy says:

    In many cases TV and radio “evangelists” are simply modern-day snake oil salesmen preying on the gullible, often when they are at their most vulnerable. Religion has to be the biggest pyramid scheme going.

  2. Tony says:

    I would agree with Andy – virtually all Christian TV is about making money and building a business empire.

    The irony of this article is that it was published in Charisma magazine, which promotes many preachers who are guilty of the above scams. There’s been numerous other excellent articles by Lee Grady along similar lines, but little has changed.

    Perhaps Charisma is no different to the TV stations – it’s compromised by money.

  3. Pastor D says:

    The more unfortunate thing is that we [pastors] now have to almost validate offering, because PIMPS have PIMPEd the people to death [literally]. Thanks for being brave enough to post this.

  4. Only an object for extortion!!!Cruel , false,fraudulent charasmatic leaders fully aware of a promise of Gods greatness on a person life, will go onto a wilful pathway to crucify this person with corruption and torture using evil mastermanipulation to extort the treasure, the seat, the shoes, the crown, the throne,the blood diamond zealously coverted for blood related relatives .Spiritual predator, spiritual vultures,spiritual wolves,had the ability to infiltrate the home on whom the would prey and the sheep they would lead to the slaughter for diabolical purposes. When they are exposed, would want the world to see it as just a mistake. I am busy authoring the true life journey of our family robbed of its spiritual legacy and heritage by highly sophisticated , organised cime within the ranks of high ranking officials in the place of false churches.Gods judgement on these type of attrocities now so severe that the world has been left a desolate place.Title of my book,( tHE GREATEST SPIRITUAL LEADER THAT THE WORLD WOULD EVER HAVE HAD.)MY EMAIL ADDRESS fsgbsn@gmail.com Please comment or enquire about this

  5. yemi says:

    Hello Alan, great website only just stumbled across it while i was looking for info on Pastor Albert Odulele. I remember back in 2003/4 i was in my room praying and i had one of the christian channels on, volume down low, and i heard the lord say in my spirit that many preachers on tele will not see my face. I was quite shocked becuase at the time i thought everyone on christian tele was holy. but as time went on situations began to unfold. Here are a few exposures for you. There was pastor Goodman of victory, done for fraud and sexual assult, Dr Mike Reid exposed for having an adulturous affair with the churches choir leader for a number of years. Bishop Eddie Long taken to court over abuse allegations (not admitting it though), there has been a lot of talk about Benny Hinn (not sure how that’s all going to end. Then there is Gospel Artist Tonex who is gay and is talking about inclusion of homosexuals in the church. These are just a few there are many many more that i’m sure you know about. Christianity has gone mad, but you see i now understand what God meant when he said many of them will not see my face. i have a strange feeling that heaven is going to be empty and hell is going to be full.
    Take care

  6. Alan Higgins says:

    Yemi, we are on he same page and you will probably find that when you speak about these things, you will be in the minority and thats among christians but we are commanded to speak the truth in love

  7. Denise Smith says:

    The most terrifying realization to me, is the complete lack of Biblical Discernment in the “church;” that insists on supporting, and therefore perpetuating this abomination. I weep for God. He wants us to KNOW HIM… but He is being misrepresented , as tho He is a god who delights in our adherence to “techniques” and manipulations of Him, in our persuit of our will, our way. These “preachers” do not know God; neither can they encourage others to know Him. Anyone who truly Knows and Fears the Living, Holy GOD, would Tremble, at the thought of performing OR supporting this blasphemy. Lord, draw your people away from this deception, that they may truly serve YOU, The True and Living GOD.

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