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Ask Abbie: TV evangelists sicken letter-writer

Published 11:30am Saturday, January 19, 2013

Question: I am sickened by those so-called Christian preachers on television who always beg for money yet drive cars worth more than my house, fly private planes and drip with diamonds.

The members of my family who send them money don’t see how they are being scammed. They think the preachers are using the money to help people when in fact they are really using it to help themselves.

What should I do?


Answer: It’s time to practice what I preach. I will validate my response by applying biblical principles, which to a Christian provides the factual basis for his beliefs.

Fact 1—No Christian has the right to judge another person. If he does, he must be willing to be judged by God with the same amount of judgment he passed on.

I certainly do not care to have my multitude of shortcomings, which continue to exist despite my repetitive prayers, judged by God. Is it my tendency to judge others? Yes. Do I have to catch myself judging and ask for forgiveness? Yes.

God does not expect me to be perfect but instead to offer deep heartfelt effort for continuous improvement. Beware of the tendency to judge your family or TV evangelists. Relinquish that responsibility to God.

Fact 2—It is easy for a wealthy person’s focus to become diverted from God and toward luxuries. God is not willing to share the role of mastership with anyone or anything, including money, especially over the life of one of his teachers whom He already holds to a much higher standard. Preachers, like us, must be ready. Their day of highly scrutinized judgment is coming.

Fact 3—God works all things, even seemingly corrupt ones within the church, for the greater good because He desires for none of His children to perish. God knows what He is doing and should not be second guessed.

I was a young 23-year-old living a compromised life overwhelmed by anxiety and panic attacks and felt as if I was dying from the inside out. I was unable to enter any building or vehicle without fearing suffocation, fainting or public humiliation.

There was no person I could easily access to give me support because to them my attacks were “all in my mind.” Someone very close to me, yet far away by distance, gave me a pocket-size inspirational book she claimed to have helped her find strength.

Coincidentally this book was published by a well-known, yet often accused of corruption and misuse of funds TV evangelist. I was not a big fan of this pastor or any religious material, but felt bad if I didn’t graciously accept my friend’s attempt to help.

One day, amidst desperation, I remembered this book buried deep in my purse. I needed help.

The words within told me I needed to share my burden with someone; that someone was God. If what the book said was true, He was the only person that would always be there 24/7 and who would not tell me he didn’t have time for my silly made-up anxiety.

The more I read the book and attempted to follow its instruction to rely only on God, the impact of the attacks lessened. Once the majority of my attacks subsided, I passed that life-changing book to a friend in need who later told me it also gave her a glimmer of hope. The positive effect of that possibly corrupt TV evangelist’s ministry cannot be disputed.

One final consideration. A young soldier overseas not because he wanted to defend his country, but he saw the military as a great way to get the government to pay for his education.

He now lay in a hospital fighting for his life after using his body to shield 10 young innocent civilians from a brutal attack. Eight survived. Should we not thank him for his service regardless of his motive? Who are we to judge?

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to

  • Makalani

    RE: “… batsuit and rocket skates…”
    “HOLY Mephistopheles BATMAN!”
    My Acme asbestos suit is only good up to 10,000 degrees but the “batsuit” is good for 1mil degrees if I
    remember correctly. Good looking out! Thanx!

    In case I end up on the “down elevator” for judging/demonizing them scamming/huckster/money-grubbing TV evangelists/preachers — I may need the extra fire protection. As each charlatan/scammer/money-changing TV preacher/evangelist gets off the down elevator — the heat will probably increase exponentially!

    Before it gets too hot — I will zoom away on the rocket skates — unscathed/unsinged — get on them golden — Celestial stairs and “CLImmmmmmbbbbb!!!” my way to glory!
    THANX again!!

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  • Makalani

    “Meanwhile — back to the topic…” LOL

    I would have given the letter writer advice that my sagacious grandfather gave me:
    A. “Fools and their $$ are soon departed,” he would tell me!
    People give these huckster — shyster — wolves-in-sheep’s clothing TV preachers/evangelists $billions every year. Why? Because they fulfill some need their fleeced flock have (pun intended).
    B. “We can only control our own behaviors,” he would also often say.
    Adults will do as they please with their money despite others’ advice/warnings/angst.

    Bernie Madoff did not hold an AR-15 to peoples’ head to fleece them of $$billions. Thousands of people bought Edsels! LOL
    Millions of people lost $$billions investing in Enron and WorldCom!

    If adults are freely– happily giving their money to scamming men/women of the cloth to get some spiritual need fulfilled — we should be happy for them!

    If I am guilty of judging these preachers/evangelists — I am fully prepared. I ordered a full-body asbestos suit from Acme Supply (Wiley Coyote‘s apparatus supplier!)

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    • Sinoptik

      I ordered the batsuit and rocket skates instead, I figured you might as well go in style.

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  • Sinoptik

    “We don’t all sit around in atheistic misery finding fault with other’s opinions or advice.”

    You just sat around and found fault with my opinion and advice. You also judged me.

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  • Maxdoubt

    Alternate Advice: Take your family member to a local church or have a local minister with a charitable organization testify about using your money and donations on christian charities. There are many local christian charities in Tidewater. This way you will satisfy your need to be sure that your family member is not being duped and your family member will still be helping others in the way they understand. The advantage with local charitable giving is that often you get to see the actual results helping people nearby.

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  • Sinoptik

    “The positive effect of that possibly corrupt TV evangelist’s ministry cannot be disputed.”

    And that, friends, is a judgement. Not a negative one, but a judgement none-the-less. Hypocrisy wins again.

    Not nearly enough said.

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    • SandMan

      The way a person worships, be it in church, on T.V., on the radio, wherever, is their business. If they feel fulfilled, so be it.
      We don’t all sit around in atheistic misery finding fault with other’s opinions or advice.
      Good job Abbie Fox!

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  • SandMan

    “Who are we to judge”? Exactly, Abbie Fox! Enough said!

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  • Dakota01

    Religion is big business

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  • Sinoptik

    Did you really just advise someone who’s loved ones are being bled dry to stand by and allow it because it is “god’s” will? You have made yourself complicit in these charlatan’s immoral scam.

    To use a soldier’s sacrifice as a comparison to the deceitful acts these evangelists commit is simply reprehensible.

    Fortune tellers also give some sense of closure or have a calming effect to those that frequent them at $200 a pop, do you find their actions moral as well?

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