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Is church a place to gain wealth?

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October 1, 2006

Albany - - The concept is making national headlines. Is church a place to gain wealth? Prosperity preachers teach being a Christian means being taken care of in all aspects of life - including financially. 

Soul-stirring music, hand-clapping, and praise. A few of the things that make a church service appealing to many church-goers.  But recently, some have raised questions about the tactics of Georgia preacher, Creflo Dollar. He teachers prosperity - serve God and acquire wealth.

"You don't blame Creflo Dollar? Absolutely not." Stan Glass, Pastor of Life Christian Center International calls himself a prosperity preacher.

"Prosperity message has gotten a bad rep because people look at it from the outside and think it's all about money and it's not."

He says its also about propserity of one's soul...elevating one's emotions and mind. A message that sticks to his growing membership, his church just acquired a new, larger location on Stuart Avenue and sees more and more visitors each service.

Stephen Stallworth, Pastor of Greater Grace Church doesn't knock this concept, but he doesn't use it as his approach for ministry.

"Its up to God. The God that made and created us. Its totally up to him whether he allows me to be wealthy or not wealthy. Its his choice. I'll serve him wherever he puts me. I learned whatever state I'm in to be content."

His ministry is also expanding. They've laid the grown work for a new building on Westover and expect to hold services at the beginning of the new year. Stallworth says he doesn't plan to change his message.

 "Materilistic things are not necesarily a definiton of what your religion is all about. As you serve God, then he will provide your daily needs. He said he will give us our daily bread, that's the necessities of life."

Glass agrees but he also adds that people who live for God should be blessed so that others can see it and want to come to God as a result.

"The bible says that He came that we might have life and have it more abundantly and you can't really have it more abundantly if you're struggling to keep your electricity turned on."

Two Albany churches that continue to prosper...according to their leaders' individual methods of ministering to those who worship when the church doors open.

Prosperity Gospel's central doctrine is that health and prosperity are promised to all believers, and are available through faith. Other terms for this theology are "Health and Wealth", "Name it and claim it", and "Positive Confession".

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