April 18, 2015

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Fried Chicken and Fleecin' Sheep

By Tony Dean
Moriah Ministries Australia © 2015

Last Updated: 18-04-2015

"This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it." - Titus 1:9

There is so much in the above passage addressing qualifications for ministry, what a pastor or elder must and must not be. For example he must be a HE (vs 6) and HE must be sound enough in the faith so as to be able to correct and even silence those who teach falsely. Why is this not happening? It never ceases to amaze me that, more and more, it appears to be the secular media and even women, rising up to do what genuine pastors are called to do as part of their office - expose the false teachers. Seems many are preoccupied with good standing within their communities, and of course growing their congregations, reputations, bank accounts and egos. There are a few voices crying out in the wilderness, but over all, the silence is deafening, particularly when it comes to Jane and Ashley Evans of the Influencer Global "church" (a Hillsong / C3 clone) and their now pandemic strain of theological effluent - a perpetually unchecked, unrestrained and unaccountable outbreak of prosperity heresy, and all manner of morphing "make-it-up-as-you-go-ism".

From its home base in Paradise, Adelaide South Australia, entrepreneur and self proclaimed visionary Ashley Evans and his pastrix wife Jane, have migrated a cutting of their psychologised version of word faithism to Atlanta, Georgia in the United States of America, with a little help from financial benefactor and fellow prosperity peddling heretic, Thomas Dexter (TD) Jakes. In the near future they are also set to infect Papua New Guinea, and the latest charismatic fleecing field, South Africa. Pray for these nations.

The article from Adelaide Now speaks for itself.

South Australian Pentecostal preachers Ashley Evans and Jane Evans expand their religious enterprise into the United States

By Matthew Benns - THE DAILY TELEGRAPH - April 10, 2015 - 9:00PM

“GIVE your earthly treasure into God’s Kingdom ... that way your heart will be safe.”
Australian Pastor Jane Evans has the 600-strong congregation in the Atlanta convention centre swaying to the music with their eyes closed.
“Can anyone feel the spirit of Jesus in the building right now? Raise your hand if you feel him move through you.”
Those that raise their hands are whisked through to the Influencers Church “Blue Room” where they are welcomed to the house of the Lord with a special gift.
Meanwhile Pastor Jane is explaining, with the help of stirring background organ music, how Jesus is “not saying I want your money”.

Rather, she explains: “Jesus is saying I don’t want you to be disappointed.”
According to the new Australian Influencers church in Atlanta, Georgia, that means putting your “treasure” into God’s Kingdom rather than following your own earthly desires.
“Treasure and invest in God’s Kingdom because that is eternal,” she says.
And special pastors are busy walking around the church to help you do just that. They have envelopes marked Building God’s House on the front with suggested offerings on the back beginning with the big one, tithing a 10 per cent slice of your salary to the church every month.

Religion is big business and two of Australia’s most successful Pentecostal preachers have moved to the heart of the Bible belt in the American south to open a church. It is the religious equivalent of taking coals to Newcastle.
Husband and wife team Ashley and Jane Evans are the driving force behind the hugely successful Influencers Church in South Australia, which is second in size only to Australian mega-church Hillsong. Pastor Jane said God had told them to also set up in Atlanta.
“It would take three hours to explain the miraculous circumstances that brought us here,” she said.
They spent six weeks visiting churches and said they realised there was a need for a relationship with God rather than religion.
“Even the evangelical churches were very conservative,” she said.

But critics point to another big reason for an Australian mega-church to move to Atlanta in the heart of the US bible belt — money.
Professor Marion Maddox, religious studies expert at Macquarie University, said: “If you are looking for a reason other than “God told us to move there” you would automatically think this is the church showing it has hit the big time.”
According to income returns filed in America, in its first year in Atlanta the Influencers Church had an income of $631,728 and – as is the case with churches in Australia – the money was all tax free.
Professor Maddox said Pentecostal churches preached a prosperity gospel that says you can have riches and wealth on earth as well as in heaven.
“It is certainly at odds with a lot of historical interpretation of the Christian message. Jesus said give your money to the poor but he didn’t say that you can expect to get rich yourself as a result,” she said.
“The prosperity gospel needs growth and money to show the material signs of success. It is the American business model applied to church.”

But she said the pastors themselves do not benefit. “No offerings go to us ever. We are paid a teacher’s salary set by the board of directors in Australia.”
The Influencers Church in Paradise South Australia could afford to be generous. The last accounts filed with the Australian Charities and Not for Profits Commission show the Evans’s Australian church had a total tax-free income last year of $6.2 million. It had assets of almost $20 million.
In 2011, the Church filed figures with the Office of Consumer and Business Affairs that showed churchgoers tithed about $2.5 million to the Church – which coincidentally was almost exactly the same amount the church paid to its employees.
The Church, which has a television studio, conference and childcare facilities, is one of the biggest in Australia. Singer Guy Sebastian is one of its more high profile members.
It was founded by Ashley Evans’ father Andrew, who left to start the Family First Party. When he moved into politics he left the church in the hands of his eldest son, which reportedly caused a two-year split between Ashley and his brother Russell.
Clearly that rift is well and truly healed. Russell moved to Melbourne and started the Planetshakers City Church, which is going from strength to strength. It has a strong musical pedigree, with Russell’s wife Sam taking front of stage in the Planetshakers band.

The band hit the headlines a few years ago when former bass player Michael Guglielmucci, who wrote the hit song Healer about his battle with cancer, was exposed as not suffering from cancer at all but rather an addiction to porn.
When The Advertiser visited the Influencers Church in Atlanta, the Planetshakers band was the star turn, rocking the 700 strong congregation as part of a three-week long American tour.
The links between Atlanta and Australia are not without their benefits.

“We have so many frequent flyer points. You just fly on a cheap fare because you can get an upgrade on points,” said Pastor Jane.

It is another example of success breeding success but Prof Maddox is unimpressed.
She said the constant quest for growth was vital to Pentecostal churches like Influencers because, when the chips are down, there is little in their message to sustain you.

“Pentecostal churches tend to have a high turnover. The message is very practical and is about victory, success and winning. It gives you a lift for a short time but it is not so sustainable when you are down and you have cancer or your marriage is breaking up. It tends to leave you feeling more on the outside than ever,” she said.

Source: South Australian Pentecostal preachers Ashley Evans and Jane Evans expand their religious enterprise into the United States - Adelaide Now