(an update – the Scotsman carried this story on the 4th of May -You can read it HERE )
Forgive me for calling you by your first name but since we both profess to be Christian brothers I think it is appropriate. We have other things in common – we were both born in 1962 and we are both pastors in the Christian church. But there I guess the similarities end. You have a church of some 30,000 members, I have one with 125. You have two Rolls Royce’s and a private jet; I have a leased car and pushbike! To you that might sound like jealousy, to me it just indicates the different worlds we live in and the different theologies we have. You of course are a world famous tele-evangelist, with your own ministry and TV show; I am an unknown Scottish Presbyterian minister. So why am I writing you? Why should you listen to me?
Because you are coming to my country in a few weeks and I have been challenged by the church that is inviting you after I gave a somewhat critical response to a question I was asked from a Scottish newspaper about your forthcoming visit. I then wrote this blog – Why Creflo Dollar is not Welcome in Scotland There was as you might expect quite a response. I understand that it even made it into your local Atlanta paper, where one of your staff indicated that it was just a little local difficulty, with the implication being that this was some kind of turf war where we were a bit jealous about your coming to another church.
I met with the leaders of that church who invoked Matthew 18 and asked why I had not consulted you first, before writing in public. I told them that I did not think you would even read my letter, never mind respond, but they did not agree and suggested that I was still in the wrong not to do so. I don’t agree with their application of Matthew 18 (see Don Carson on the misapplication of Matthew 18) but nonetheless I want to respect their desire and write to you.
Firstly I want to apologise if I was wrong in my assumption about your willingness to listen and also if I have misunderstood your teaching and theology.
Secondly I want to ask you about that theology. I have listened to several of your sermons and it seems clear to me that you specifically teach what is understood as the prosperity gospel, of the ‘name it and claim it variety’. I listened to your latest series on ‘taking authority’ and it seemed to me that you believe Christians have only to ‘take authority’ and claim wealth and health. Could you let me know if my understanding is correct? Did you ask your congregation to finance a $65 million jet for your ministry?
Thirdly, if you do teach this Prosperity Gospel, I would issue a plea to you as a Scottish pastor, who is seeking to communicate the Good News in a society which is increasingly ignorant of Christ, or hostile to him. Please don’t come. Your visit will only cause harm – to the Church, to the culture and to those of us who have to stay and work here. The name of God will be ‘blasphemed amongst the Gentiles because of you’. (Romans 2:24).
Fourthly, if you do come then I would simply ask that you be prepared to discuss/dialogue with myself in public about what the Lord really says and wants. You know how when Peter came to Antioch Paul publicly rebuked him to his face (Galatians 2:11)? Lets meet and discuss in public. If I am wrong you can show the church and the world and I will be corrected and taught the way of God more perfectly. If you are wrong then the same applies to you. What is there for either of us to lose? The God who answers by fire, let him be God.
I would also like to invite you on your way to Aberdeen to pop in for a wee cup of tea and we could have that same discussion in our own small studios here in Dundee at the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.
If you have a heart for the cause of the Gospel here in Scotland, or for the name and honour of Jesus Christ, then I would urge you to listen to my plea. If you refuse to do so then I feel bound by my love for Christ and his gospel to do everything that I possibly can to resist the cancerous poison of a false theology which assaults the poor, the weak and the sick; and which makes a mockery of the cross of Christ. I have no interest in church politics, ‘turf wars’ or any other such examples of the worldly spirit that so often invades the churches. I seek only the glory of Christ and the good of his church.
You are clearly a man with considerable communication gifts – imagine the good that could be done if you used them to preach the Gospel (and yes I am suggesting that if you add to the gospel the whole prosperity doctrine it is not the Good News to the poor that you are preaching)? I look forward to hearing from you ASAP.
Yours in Christ
David A. Robertson
Pastor of St Peters Free Church
Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland (a small denomination in Scotland with about 15,000 people in 100 churches).
Dundee, Scotland 30th April 2016
Gospel of Greed: Creflo Dollar arrives in Kenya on a private jet, to host Sh12,000 per person dinner at Safari Park
A "Gospel" that Almost Killed Me? How Christ can save some one from the Prosperity Gospel Heresy
Why Creflo Won't Be Getting My Dollars : After $65 Million Jet Flap, Kirk Franklin Questions Creflo Dollar's Character : 5 Reasons Creflo Dollar Shouldn’t Buy a New Jet
Dear Pastor Dr. Creflo $$$$, Since you broke the curse of Poverty from Uganda in 2007, inflation has risen to over 18%
The National carried the following report in its Saturday edition. There have been some Christians who are unhappy with my comments (whats new?!). But their criticisms at first sight appear reasonable and therefore I would like to do them the courtesy of answering:
- Why speak so strongly against a Christian brother in the secular press? Indeed. It is appalling that in this day and age we have to warn in the public press about a false teacher in the church. It is depressing and heart breaking that such exists. But when it does we have to warn. The prosperity gospel is not the good news. The last thing that the Church in Scotland needs is a visit from an American multi-millionaire telly-evangelist who drives a Rolls, has a mansion in Atlanta, a Penthouse in New York and a salary of millions. The trouble is that so many Christian leaders in Scotland agree with what I said but don’t think they should say it. I note here a trend amongst good evangelicals who are concerned (rightly) that they might come across as harsh, unloving or disrespectful, to be silent – at least in public. My problem is that this would condemn Elijah, Jesus and Paul. Paul wrote a public letter wishing that false teachers on the subject of circumcision would go all the way and castrate themselves – that was hardly circumspect!
2) Isn’t this an attack on Destiny Church who are doing a great work? – In one sense yes. They should not be inviting a false teacher to come and preach in their churches – if so they are associated with that false teaching. Of course God can use Creflo Dollar – he can use a donkey and he can use a pagan king. But we are not to allow God’s sovereignty to justify human sin/stupidity and our own inaction. I would plead with Destiny to uninvite Creflo Dollar.
3) Don’t you believe in Free Speech? Of course I believe in free speech. I am using it! I am not arguing for Creflo Dollar to be banned or to have his passport taken away. I am using my free speech to point out his false teaching and to ask churches not to invite and people not to support him.
4) Don’t you believe in God’s blessing? When I got this one I wanted to pull out the last remaining bits of my hair! Of course I believe in God’s blessing. I just don’t make a direct equation between the richer you are, the more it shows how you are blessed. Blessed are the poor. It is not a sin to be a millionaire. It is a sin to teach that the gospel is a way to make yourself a millionaire and it is a sin for a pastor to take the tithes of the poor and turn them into a private jet for himself.
This is the article below. (Incidentally it was the National’s most popular article online over the weekend). Note how the Humanist Society can’t resist the temptation to get a wee dig in about their Bad News….
You’re not welcome, Free Church tells American pastor Creflo Dollar
The National 9 Apr 2016
CONTROVERSIAL American pastor Creflo Dollar, who last year asked his followers to stump up $65 million for a new private jet, has been told he is not welcome in Glasgow, by the Free Church of Scotland.
The televangelist is set to appear at the SECC in June in a meeting organised by the Destiny Evangelical church.
Dollar is a proponent of the Prosperity Gospel that says being rich is God’s will and that a regular donation to the church can help a believer become more wealthy.
But yesterday, the Rev David Robertson, Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland said Dollar’s work was blasphemous and embarrassing, and told him to go elsewhere.
Robertson said: “Creflo Dollar coming here is appalling. He’s a multimillionaire, American, televangelist and we really do not need him here. The church doesn’t need him. It’s embarrassing to have somebody like that come. His prosperity gospel is blasphemous. It’s not what people in Scotland need to hear.
“He’s not welcome. Not with that message. It’s a horrendous message that he brings. It’s not the message of the gospel at all. He can keep his jet and use it to fly elsewhere.”Dollar is senior pastor at his own World Changers Church International, and has an estimated net worth of $27 million. The New York Times reported that he has mansion in Atlanta, a penthouse in New York, several cars, including a Rolls Royce.
When he was asked about the Rolls Royce is a rare media interview he replied: “It was a gift that my local church gave to me, you don’t turn down a gift that somebody gives to you”.
Last year Dollar appealed to his parishioners to each donate $300 towards the cost of a new G650 Gulfstream private jet, insisting it was necessary.
Chief executive of Humanist Society Scotland Gordon MacRae said: “Scotland is proudly a place where people are able to express their views, no matter how ridiculous people find then.
“This news is coming in the same week as the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey confirmed that a majority of people in Scotland are not religious.
“We trust that Destiny Church would not expose any of their vulnerable members to be to exploited by his voracious appetite for money. We don’t want Scotland to become the latest layover stop for wealthy televangelists seeking to rip people off.”
The Free Church website reports this Here