The gospel of Leroy

Came across an interesting piece in the New York Times last night.

It discusses an out of work Virginia barber who attended a conference sponsored by Dr. Leroy Thompson called “Money Cometh to You” earlier this summer. For over two decades, Dr. Thompson has traveled with a message of how God wants Christians to be financially blessed.

In reality, the only person who really gets rich from this message is Dr. Thompson himself. He has mastered getting people (many of whom facing financial hardships) to support him as a sign of faith in the hope that they too will be blessed.

The article quotes Thompson:

“My house is paid for,” Thompson continued. “And it’s over 20,000 square feet! Fireplace after fireplace after fireplace. I got so many fireplaces in my house, you’ll be walking through and call the fire truck!” The room exploded in laughter and praise.”

The New York Times article continues as Thompson and his staff work the crowd into a frenzy with the audience giving money to the ministry.

I’m torn, because people are struggling in these difficult economic times, and they are buying into the hope that this man is giving them. But they are being duped by their own greed. The individual who attended the conference that this article profiles came to see Thompson with $60 on him, and donated all of it to the Thompson ministry.

To think that donating money and having faith means that God will financially bless someone is idolatry. It’s not worshiping God. It’s the worship of material wealth.

The gospel is not about being promised health, or wealth, or a perfect family, or happiness. It’s about getting God. The hope in anything else implies that God is not sufficient. It is also highly egocentric, focusing less on God and more on “me” and what “I” get and what “I’m” promised.

So who is this Dr. Leroy Thompson?

First things first: he’s not a doctor. He received his bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees from the Christian Bible College of Louisiana, an institution who is not accredited by any major accrediting board of higher education in the country (or in the world, for that matter).

And all of his degrees are from there, so not only is it incorrect to think of him as a doctor, it’s not even accurate to think of him as a college graduate.