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Archive for May 9th, 2012

For the rest of this month I shall be busy elsewhere. My excuses to my regular readers if they do not find regular features.

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“We’re going to show you how to get wealth and use it for the building of his kingdom,” Ephren Taylor shouted to the congregation one morning in 2009. It was all part of what he called his “Building Wealth Tour,” which crisscrossed the country touting his investments and financial advice.
But according to the Securities and Exchange Commission, what Taylor was actually peddling was a giant Ponzi scheme, one aimed to “swindle over $11 million, primarily from African-American churchgoers,” that reached into churches nationwide, from Atlanta to Houston.
But Taylor has disappeared, hiding out from lawsuits, federal charges and angry, mostly African-American, investors in at least 40 states.
I mentioned Atlanta first. This is where Pastor Eddy Long was introducing Ephren Taylor to the congregation at the New Birth Baptist Church in Atlanta. This was Pastor Eddie Long’s home turf and he was selling him.
“Everything he says is based on the word of God,” Long pledged to the members of his megachurch. But Taylor wasn’t a visiting minister. He was a financial adviser, one who claimed to have made his first million before he turned 18. And he promised he could do the same for his fellow Christians.It would seem Pastor Long was an interested party either to fleece his own congregation or trying to make them all multimillionaires. Is the pulpit the place for hawking Mammon’s goons or goods? In the New Testament Jesus made whipcords and drove moneychangers out of the temple. Now that wealth has got into the hearts and mind of pastors they even hobnob with scammers and scalpers. I wonder what makes them think if one lays hands on the Word one ought not think anything less than the language of billions? How can they build a congregation? Here we see they have led their flock astray and driven them into desperate situations.

Taylor was busy in Houston where Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church was another hunting ground and there also he found souls whose life savings were for taking.
“He quoted scriptures,” said Lillian Wells, who met privately with Taylor in 2009 after hearing him speak at New Birth.
Wells said Taylor convinced her to invest her entire life savings in a North Carolina-based real estate venture called City Capital Corporation, which he claimed was turning around homes in inner cities. In exchange, she was promised a 20 percent return on her money.
But, Wells said, when she wanted to recoup her initial investment, Taylor disappeared. “I couldn’t get a hold of anybody,” Wells said. “You just can’t get them. That’s it. You just couldn’t get anybody.”
With her retirement savings gone, Wells is now trying to save her home from foreclosure. She said she’s not sure if she will ever get her money back, but she wants to see Taylor held accountable.
“We’re suffering because of what he did.
In God we trust. But don’t ever trust those who speak of building wealth in His name. God doesn’t need fools to create wealth for His children, least of all pastors who are not qualified for it.
benny

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