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Creflo Dollar and the $65 Million Jet
Living the High Life
Apparently God really wants Pastor Creflo Dollar to get a $65 million private jet, according to a representative of Creflo Dollar. The jet-setting preacher feels that a lesser jet simply will not do. He requires the newest, fastest model available so that he can “safely and swiftly share the Good News of the Gospel worldwide”. Creflo claims that the plane is essential for him to “reach a lost and dying world for the Lord Jesus Christ”.
But Creflo doesn't want just any jet, he needs a top of the line jet that is highly coveted by billionaires who are on a waiting list to buy one. He wants the ultra luxurious $65,000,000 GulfStream G650 has a top speed of Mach .925 (about 800 mph), has an 8,000 mile range and seats 8-18 people. His previous private jet was bought in 2007 and was valued at $5 million dollars in 2007 so the G650 will be quite an upgrade. But Creflo assures us that this new jet is absolutely necessary because God himself has personally mandated that Creflo must establish 500 satellite churches all over the world!
Dollar is already famous for his controversial teachings which promote the prosperity gospel. He has been often criticized for the extravagant and excessive lifestyle that he and his family live. For instance, he owns two Rolls Royces ( the church gave him one $300,000 Rolls Royce because “he deserves the best”), multiple homes/properties like his 1.5 million dollar mansion in Atlanta (that the church bought and gave him), a $2.8 million dollar home in Fayetteville, another home in New Jersey worth $2.5 million home, and the Manhattan apartment that he recently sold for 3.75 million. He is known for his expensive custom made pinstripe suits, crocodile shoes and other top of the line clothing.
Creflo and his Disturbing Remarks About Shooting his Church Members who do not Tithe
Pastor Creflo firmly believes in tithing. In fact, he is so insistent on his church getting 10% of every member's income, that if he had his way, he would shoot and kill the “crooks” who have not given to Creflo's church. Here are his thoughts on that matter, in his own words, from a sermon he gave to his congregation:
“I thought about when we first built “the Dome,” (his large megachurch) I wanted to put some of those little moving bars and give everybody a little card. They’d stick it in a little computer slot. If they were tithing, beautiful music would go off and, you know, ‘Welcome, welcome, welcome to the World Dome.
But ... if they were nontithers, the bar would lock up, the red and blue lights would start going, the siren would go off, and a voice would go out throughout the entire dome, “Crook, crook,crook,crook!”
Security would go and apprehend them, and once we got them all together, we’d line them up in the front and pass out Uzis by the ushers and point our Uzis right at all those non-tithing members ’cause we want God to come to church, and at the count of three Jesuses , WE WOULD SHOOT THEM ALL DEAD! And then we’d take them out the side door there, have a big hole, bury them and then go ahead and have church and have the anointing “
Chilling, isn't it? To want to kill an innocent person in cold blood over greed for money. It brings to mind mass executions such as the Holocaust or crazed cult killings that are called mass suicides but are in fact a massive execution of gullible people who have been brainwashed, bullied and threatened. Dollar’s wife, Taffi, warns that “every tongue that rises up against” her husband will “be struck down.” She introduces her husband as one who talks “face to face with God, like Moses.”
Inside the Dome
The “dome” Creflo refers to is the massive $18 million dollar church building that he demanded the congregation pay to build. He shamelessly campaigned and insisted that members give donations called “love gifts” or “seed money”. Those donations are in addition to their 10% tithing that he is so adamant about.
The congregation is often lectured that the only way they will attain financial security is by sacrificing and investing in Creflo's church. Those who are too poor to pay tithes are often told that the reason they are so poor is because they do not give enough. Their poverty is their own fault and God is refusing to bless them because they are not giving everything they can to the church.The message of the "Prosperity Gospel," Creflo preaches, is simple: "You can be rich, healthy and trouble free. Jesus was rich and God wants you to be rich."
Built upon a sprawling 81 acres "campus", Creflo's $18 million dollar dome has seating for 8500 people and has all of features that you would expect in a modern concert arena. Instead of pews, the audience is seated in plush theater-style seats that are usually found in the more luxurious theaters. Ushers are on hand to seat members and to assure that they don't get lost in the cavernous space. Collection buckets are thoughtfully placed at both ends of each row of seats.
All of the special effects that you may find in a concert or a Broadway play are part of the elaborately staged sermons, choirs, church bands, praise dancers and even a big screen so that all can behold him, bigger than life, in his preaching glory. Background music subtly sets the tone of the speech, while special lighting sets the mood. Special effects and even smoke is available for particularly dramatic moments.
Accountable to No One
Dollar has consistently refused to disclose his salary. He also declines to give figures on how much money his church pulls in each year but a conservative estimate puts it at $80 million. Much of the offerings given in church service are cash, which as we all know, can easily be diverted or hidden without a trace. His salary as well as any oversight of him is done by a church board that he created using other prosperity gospel preachers who live similar lives or people who receive ample compensation from the church. The names of the board members are kept secret. Other prosperity gospel mega-churches are run the same way. They usually serve on each others board and conspire together to further their own wealth.
If one of these preacher commits an offense (such as Dollar's arrest a few years back for abusing his teenage daughter), it is the “church board” who decides if there will be any consequences for their sins within the church. It should come as no surprise that there is usually no consequences for outrageous behaviors. He won't be fired, suspended or shunned. The offender usually acts remorseful in an overly dramatic speech to the congregation and all is forgiven. After all, it's not like the church board really has any real power over the preacher since the preacher basically owns and controls the church and the board. Of course, board members receive quite generous salaries for being church board members.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
The flamboyant pastors of the high profile, prosperity gospel based mega-churches are often friends and will pay each other exorbitant "speaking fees" to make guest appearances at each others churches. They promote each other , shower each other with expensive gifts and perks for speaking at their friend's church. Creflo has said that he gets paid about $100,000 for his speaking engagements. The pastors also work together to hawk their books, albums and other such private venture products that personally benefit the preacher (and not the church). Taffi Dollar runs her own recording studio that records and markets gospel music and other church related recordings which are also peddled at these gatherings.
Many of these global conferences, retreats, workshops and such are created by a group of prosperity preachers and others in their circle. What a coincidence that these get-togethers often happen in some of the most popular and expensive locations known for vacationing. They show up and get an all expense paid trip, are given expensive gifts, receive generous stipends for food and expenses, and stay in expensive luxury accommodations for a week or two even though the conference is only for 2-3 days. It's like getting paid to go on vacation with your best buddies. They may give a speech (for which they are paid), or appear for a lucrative “meet and greet” event or meet with others for a few hours and do some publicity. They usually also promote hawk their products such as books, DVDs and other such things.
With all of the above practices in place, it is no wonder that such secrecy and conspiracy are rampant in the world of mega-churches. It should not surprise you at all to hear that the church watchdog group called Ministry Watch has awarded the Creflo Dollar Ministries a well-deserved and consistent grade of "F" for its complete lack financial transparency. It is no mystery that Creflo Dollar thinks very highly of himself. Perhaps since his $65 million dollar jet dream has crashed and burned, his career might take a nosedive too.