What does the Roman church of Martin Luther’s day have to do with the televangelical church of today? The love of $$$$$!

The message: "Give, and you will be blessed.  Don't give, and you won't!"

The message: “Give, and you will be blessed. Don’t give, and you won’t!”

I heard it Tuesday while listening to Sonlife radio on a business trip. The televangelical media outreach of the Jimmy Swaggart organization was on the air doing a fundraiser. Here’s a simulated transcript of the proceedings I heard on air:

Commentator 1: “Here’s $100 from Gene in Indiana, with a request for prayer for recovery from a difficult knee replacement surgery.”
Commentator 2: “And here’s $50 from a donor who wishes to be anonymous, requesting prayer for a son’s troubled marriage.”
Commentator 1: “And look at this one: $500 from Marvette in Baton Rouge! She asks for prayer for her husband’s heart condition.”
Commentator 2: “That’s marvelous, _____. And I have here a donation of $75 from Louis in Houston, asking for prayer for his daughter’s salvation.
Commentator 1: Do we have any donations for $1000? Or $1500? Oh, yes, here’s one from George and Suzette in Battle Creek, Michigan. They ask that we lift up their son who’s unemployed and needs a job.”
Commentator 2: “Let’s pray for these faithful donors, _____. Dear Lord, thank you for raising up these good people who care about your work through the work of this ministry. Be real to them, meet their needs, respond to these requests for which they’ve come before us and You with great faith. Amen, and amen!”

I was shocked that these men so blantantly and shamelessly associated their donors’ material generosity with God’s interest in the donors’ needs. Shameless!

Different from Martin Luther’s criticism of the Roman church fathers of his day for the selling of penance and forgiveness? Not really. It shows the corrupt appropriation of God’s work by self-serving, ambitious men.

Little has changed in the nature of the human beast in 500 years, n’est-ce pas?