March 3, 2008

Prophets For Profit

While serving as a pastor for American servicemen in Aschaffenburg, Germany in 1985, T. L. Lowery preached our annual Campmeeting in Kaiserslautern, Germany. Within a week after the Campmeeting I received a personal letter from Dr. Lowery on National Church of God letterhead. He had not even spoken to me personally at the meeting but his personal message stated how much he enjoyed fellowshipping with me. He had a good time.

He had a personal request. "Would I try to find a Mercedes for a friend of his." He would send the money to me for the car and the shipping cost. I did not take the letter seriously and in fact laughed to my self about it. In a few days I heard from another pastor and he was so excited about a letter he had received. I replied, "don't tell me I already know, it was T. L Lowery" He said, "How did you know?" I said, "I received the same letter!" Several days latter all the pastors I talked to had received the letter also.
One of the pastors actually went out and found a car and notified Dr Lowery. He sent the money for the car and shipping. However with the fluctuating exchange rate on the dollar the pastor lost several hundred dollars that came from his own pocket. The last I heard from the pastor he never received the correction from Lowery. Now what was he going to do with all the cars he could have received? Give them to his friends!

When I was pastoring in Memphis, 1988/89, Dr Lowery came to preach one of three tri-citywide crusades (Knoxville, Chattanooga and Memphis). It was a shameful disgraceful representation of the denomination for Memphis. He tried to see how many he could slay in the Spirit in a pile-on of bodies. My sister, the wife of the district overseer walked out of the service in humiliation.
But the real humiliation came when a prayer breakfast invitation was given to the pastors in Memphis. We got a free breakfast at a nice hotel. T. L. read a written sermon hastily in his 'anointed voice'. A hasty prayer was offered with equal 'anointing'. Then the real business began. He introduced a man from his church who presented a pyramid multi-marketing scheme having to do with automotive products! I wondered if the breakfast was paid from the crusade budget.

This is the stuff of semi-pelagian Christianity which pervades American fundamentalism. Struggling small church pastors are easy mark for con artist eager to make a buck. T.L. Lowery is such a man. But he is not alone in this industry.

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