A few years one of my friends showed me a brochure that made mention of an End-Time Project. I then put up a post on Facebook critiquing this whole idea of building a new Temple/Training Center. I am not sure if this project is still on, but if it is, then this write up would make sense. Now, I am certainly not the kind that goes about criticizing ministries/leaders but this one certainly got me thinking. It still does. The reason I have decided to put this up on my blog is for four reasons: First, I know a lot of people in India (predominantly in South India) watch this channel and I hate to see people being conned into donating towards a project such as this. Second, I believe the ‘faith’ promoted and highlighted through this project (and this channel) stands in stark contrast to the gospel of Jesus. Third, I believe that God stands in solidarity with the poor and here the poor have become (and will continue to become) the victims of the religiosity of religious elites. Fourth, I am (still) disturbed.
Here’s a 250-crore project that has been apparently designed by God and given to one of the ministers in the country. It disturbs me that people are still so obsessed with erecting posh structures in the name of God and for God. I can only wonder where the ten acre land will be procured from. Certainly the rich are not going to give away their property. The ones who would be asked to ‘offer’ are the poor. The poor will be spiritually blackmailed and psychologically induced to give what they own to the Lord for it is “good to give to the Lord.” Ah! How easy it is to manipulate scripture! People (mis)interpret verses that talk about God dwelling in temples but conveniently ignore the omnipresence of God. If God was what this ministry preaches, God would’ve had Jesus born in some wealthy place and not in a stable. God does not pride in the riches of this world. So, how can anyone even preach this sort of a God to the masses? And people blindly believe. Talk of blind faith!
When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and asked, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus told him to give away all his possessions to the poor. Jesus was against the system of private ownership. We read in the book of Acts that the early disciples and followers of Jesus abandoned private property. Yet, today we have ministers taking the possessions of the poor and making themselves (and their organizations/churches) wealthy. How hypocritical! Contrary to what the bible teaches, right?
I believe that God wanted this project to involve the setting up of a new studio that would better (or equal) the quality of Hollywood. Wow! Here is a God that prides in competing with Hollywood. Ludicrous! In fact, this project also seems to undermine the ministry of other Christian broadcasters. The man behind this project claims that Chennai is Jerusalem and his channel, Angel TV, is Zion. Seriously? What about other gospel/evangelical tele-stations? Seems to me that God has had enough speaking through other people and ministries! (Believe me to some extent I’d be happy if its true). I also read that this project got its “approval from God” after the 2015 Chennai flood that seemingly caused “permanent damage” to the this ministries’ studio. Can someone remind this person that there were houses that were washed away? Can someone inform these people that the poor were made poorer? Can someone tell this ministry that there are people out there who are still in need of material help even after two and a half years? How can anyone use a flood-disaster event to justify the building of a 250-crore project when it had left thousands homeless? I am sure this ministry is sucking the life out of the poor. And sadly we Christians are contributing to it.
God is a “God of the poor and a God for the poor” and God would never ever command something to be done that puts the poor further down the socio-economic line. We need to beware of those who (mis)use scripture to justify their religio-economic ends. We need to discern. When the poor are at risk, we need to question. When the poor are spiritually exploited, we need to voice against such happenings. Today, one can go about building temples for God but every temple that was built was ultimately destroyed.
This is what it is to take the name of God in vain.
P.S. To know more about this project click here.