November 03, 2006 -- Posted at 4:55 p.m. CST
JONESBORO -- You've seen them on television, and they've probably preached in an arena near you.
Their charisma gets your attention, but it's their message that draws you, and so many others in.
Pastors like Houston's Joel Osteen, and Atlanta's Creflo Dollar are preaching what is being called the "Prosperity Gospel."
They are preaching that it's okay to have worldly riches--a big house, a nice car, the finest clothes......as long as you give thanks to God, and have a positive attitude.
"Jesus speaks to the issue of possessions, and he says life does not exist on the abundance of things a man possess'," said First Assembly of God Pastor, Mike Glover.
Glover says the prosperity teachings at these mega churches, and by these tele-evangelists aren't necessarily wrong.
He believes these preachers are well meaning, and agrees they do love God--but, he says, his concern would be perhaps, there is a wrong focus.
"The Bible does teach us that God does meet our needs. He blesses us and that there are material possessions that can come our way. There needs to be a healthy balance between the spiritual and materialistic for us to understand that the emphasis on the gospel never was, and never has been, and never should be upon the materialistic things. It really should be upon the spiritual aspect, and our relationship with God rather than what we own and what we possess," said Glover.
Pastor Joel Osteen says positive thinking is a very powerful thing.
Osteen believes that if you believe whole heartedly that riches will come....then indeed they will.
"I think it's one of the things that his positive gospel has done for people is to encourage them to be lifted, and to reach for something more than what they already have....but I think the gospel in general does that if it is preached correctly. It will help people move away from the failure mentality," said Glover.
"God wants us to be enriched," said Walnut Street Baptist Church Pastor, Dr. Glen Putman.
"It was in early theology even with the disciples that if a person is blessed of God then they have riches. Jesus turned their world upside down about that. He said sell all you have, and come follow after me," said Dr. Putman.
Putman says the problem arising with the "Prosperity Gospel" is that people start to make comparisons with each other.
They ask, who does God love more the rich man or the poor.?
"God loves them both equally. There are those that are given riches by God, but I have seen many people who are not satisfied, who are not content. The message of the gospel is to find a life, and a life that is truly abundant, that is not measured in the things of this world," said Dr. Putman.
Dr. Putman says by teaching and preaching the idea that everyone can be rich and wealthy... brings up the question, can everyone handle that wealth?
"The problem with that is that money becomes your God, and you trust that instead of trusting in him," said Dr. Putman.
"Money doesn't have to rule us, we need to rule over our money. If you can handle it, it's probably going to be okay, if you can't, it's probably not a good thing," said Mike Glover.
Most agree it's not that having money is bad--rather, it's the greed that is the problem.
Pastors like Joel Osteen and Creflo Dollar don't hide the fact they are wealthy because they say it's their positive belief, and God's will.
"The real question is are they getting the real message that Jesus gave? My answer to that is I fear not," said Dr. Putman.