"85% of our state does not attend church"
"Between now and July 1st, I'm asking everyone in this church to do the best you can to make the largest financial contribution to a church you've ever made in your life. For some of you that might be twenty bucks. Amen and praise God. But for some of you that could be ten million." Perry Noble appealing for large contributions on "Take the Land" video
It is time for South Carolinians to contact the Federal Trade Commission to report deceptive fund raising practices of NewSpring Church. I'm not talking about the ridiculous "first fruits tithing" doctrine Perry Noble uses to scare people into forking over 10% of their income else God will bring curses on family and fortune. I'm talking about NewSpring making false claims in their latest fund raising video (see below) about church attendance in South Carolina to try to create an urgency in order to raise millions of dollars to "Take the Land".
Perry Noble and NewSpring church are trying to raise millions of dollars under the false claim that only 15% of people in South Carolina attend church. As you can see in the graphic above, this is absolutely false and misleading. According to Gallup, the actual figure is 56% - making South Carolina the state with the third highest church attendance! NewSpring's claim is so blatantly false that it defies and explanation. Kudos to Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio for being all over this story.
If only 15% of people attended church in South Carolina, that would put them well below Vermont, who Gallup says is the state with the lowest percentage of church attenders at 23%. Gosh, even people in California attend church at a 35% clip, Perry!
And the 56% statistic from Gallup is those who responded that they attend church "every week" or "almost every week" - we're talking regular church attenders here! Now it is true that Gallup lumps in those who say they attend synagogue or mosque in their "church attendance" figures. But U.S. Census numbers indicate that 93% of people in South Carolina consider themselves "Christian", and 84% are "Protestant". So this doesn't even come close to explaining the huge gap between NewSpring's 15% and Gallup's 56%.
It is not uncommon to see preachers purposely fib to their congregations. But here, Perry Noble takes it to a much higher level. Perry is looking straight into the camera and making an appeal for people to give millions of dollars, right after the video creates a false sense of urgency with the claim that only 15% of people in their state attend church.
Fact is, South Carolina is absolutely chock full of churches (go to Google Maps, and search "South Carolina churches" and you will see what I mean - you will be shocked). Not ones that Perry would approve of I'm sure. After all they are probably boring and dull churches, don't have rock bands, and some of the ministers wear robes instead of skinny jeans. And I'm certain that almost none of them have opened an Easter service with AC/DC's "Highway to Hell".
Too bad the Federal Trade Commission doesn't investigate churches and clergy for their false claims in efforts to get people to fork over their money to their ministries. If any other non-profit were to raise money using the tactics of many modern evangelicals, complaints would be filed with the FTC, an investigation would be done, and charges would be filed. While we long have accepted the prosperity TV preachers will lie about giving money to their ministry causing the "windows of heaven" to open and financial blessings to flow, we don't expect evangelical churches to lie about people in their state to raise money to build more churches in a saturated market.
But this is the trend - we are in the era of church marketing. These are no longer churches ministering to people - they are huge businesses run by CEO's with egos to match, who compete fiercely for market share. How else do mega churches in Jacksonville justify building "satellite" churches when there is one on nearly every corner?