Televangelist Creflo Dollar is famous for his promises that God wants every aspect of life to prosper. Especially the family. His book series entitled The Successful Family tries show readers not only how to find domestic bliss, but how to build families that show God’s principles at work. But in this conservative religious world obsessed with “family values,” nothing seems harder on the family than the prosperity gospel.
Last week, charges were dismissed against Creflo Dollar for allegations that he choked his 15-year old-daughter during an argument over her attending a party. The famous televangelist and leader of the 30,000-member World Changers Church International, according to one court solicitor, must take anger management classes and pay the court fees associated with the charges of simply battery and cruelty to children.
From allegations that Eddie Long’s coerced sex with minors, to Paula and Randy White’s divorce, and Juanita Bynum’s assault by her husband and fellow prosperity pastor, it has been a tough few years for the families of prosperity preachers.
Millions of American Christians profess a form of pentecostalism that teaches that faith can unleash wealth, health, and total victory over life’s circumstances. My research has tracked the growth of over a hundred prosperity megachurches across the country.
One of the prosperity gospel’s key claims is that every believer should be living proof that God’s promises work. It is a religion of demonstrations, where faith can be measured by every Christian’s finances, health, happiness, and family togetherness. Only a few dozen pastors ever achieve the kind of supersized celebrity of Creflo Dollar or Eddie Long. And yet so many of those who preach a form of the prosperity gospel continue to find themselves at the center of a public domestic breakdown.
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