Leading their sheep astray

The image of sheep is a popular metaphor in Christianity. Jesus is portrayed as a shepherd, leading his flock into paradise. Believers are encouraged to be generous, kind, and meek, all qualities of good sheep. At the time the Bible was written, the profession of shepherd was common, and it’s easy to understand how the romanticism of this job would appeal to the people of that period. But there is something disturbing about this metaphor. The slavish devotion of believers is far too easy to exploit, and few can manage the responsibilities of the shepherd. Take, for example, this article on Prosperity Ministries:

As Pentecostals tend to be the least well-educated group of believers they make a prime target for would-be millionaire pastors…the scammed believers have more faith in their little finger than I will probably ever know in my lifetime. They would give the shirt off their backs if they believed God wanted them to, and many of them have. These people have the purest of Christian hearts, trusting the intentions of their Shepherd as they’re led as lambs to the slaughter.
…few if any Christians have plainly spoken against the Prosperity Gospel, or raised awareness that measures any merit…this prominent and aberrant theology has been allowed to wreak destruction on a mass of people who are grasping at economic straws.
Prosperity Gospel theology is bankrupt. The debate raged for years about how much sense coveting money made in the context of biblical principles, but now the fruit has been borne and the numbers don’t lie: those who attend Prosperity Gospel churches are in fact worse off for it.”

Prosperity ministries are the sweetest scams in the world: pastors are able to rake in millions from poorly educated and desperate people, all without having to pay a penny of it in taxes. It’s the only legal way to scam people out of their money, so it would be stupid for any scammer NOT to try this out.

The article was based on a survey that found members of these kinds of churches have the lowest income of any church. It’s an irony not lost on everyone, though it will simply fall of deaf ears. These churchgoers are sheep, and their shepherds are wolves, slowly bleeding them to death. It is in examples like this we learn the hard truth: we cannot continue to teach any ideology that weakens a person’s capacity to defend themselves from the wolves of this world.

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