“Church-goers bilked by ‘divine’ advice”

By Rick Hiebert. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission

Good catch by a local daily paper near Bill Johnson’s Bethel Church In Redding California.

Johnson’s church, noted by some for being a bit “out there” as a charismatic church attracted David Arnold Souza who, in late December’ was “was convicted of 21 felony counts and four related enhancements for committing theft by false pretenses by a Shasta County jury.”

The Red Bluff Daily News reports that the people who took Souza’s counsel lost over $600,000 US.

The newspaper adds:

He created marketing materials claiming he was guided by God in making investment decisions and used the slogan Where business is moral and the miraculous is routine.

Many of his victims were first year students and their relatives at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry.

Did they see it coming?

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6 Responses to “Church-goers bilked by ‘divine’ advice”

  1. fjc says:

    No surprise whatsoever. It is happening today in Alberta/BC and has happened in the recent past. Many,many people have been hurt.

    It continues to amaze my why some people seem willing to hand over their entire life savings and/or put their long term financial well being at risk simply by trusting the first so called Christian who comes along offering them a deal that is too good to be true.

    If it was offered by someone of a different faith these same people in all likelihood never consider it seriously. They might even call the ASC and report it. What is wrong with them? Are they living ins some sort of lala land? Are they blind to the real world?

    No one deserves this but you really have to wonder why people are so gullible or why they are so thick.

  2. AtheistAtBirth says:

    Excellent points FLC … In 1977 a wave of evangelical zeal swept though Calgary, catching many in it’s sticky web – myself included. Christians were “expected” to espouse excellent business ethics. 25 years later with Christian divorce rates exceeding atheist divorce rates, 1 pastor making off with the music minister, two suffering nervous breakdowns, and a fourth making off with most of the church funds, you really began to question the word “trust”. My closet friends secretly confided that they often ran the opposite way when it came down to a choice between doing business with church members. or simply selecting a pagan businessman with an excellent reputation. I made the mistake of selecting a Christian home builder with horrid results.

    It doesn’t take much imagination to watch con artists take up residence in church communities fleecing the new (and gullible old) believers. Evangelicals are remiss to admit that it can and often does happen in their backyard, with increasing frequency. Many don’t even come forward when they have been fleeced, preferring to walk in forgiveness. Close friends of mine lost their life’s savings to such a con artist, despite every warning we could muster. They never did complain to police.

    Over my years as a “believer” I often asked myself why the church behaved so badly. It seemed no one was really in control. When I eventually did my homework and spent 6 months in research, I had the answer. There isn’t anyone (or anything) in control.


  3. fjc says:

    Faith is faith. Business is business.

    You should never do business based on faith and you should never do faith based on business interests.

  4. Susan says:

    I’ve seen Morningstar Ministries in Charlotte N.C. use Investment Counselors. They discussed stocks, bonds & real-estate. They us graphs and seem to try and coach the listener. Ye,t they are big on wanting someone to invest in Morningstar Ministries. Bottom line, Rick Joyner is in control. I don’t think I’m wrong. One thing in this life if for sure, never put all your eggs in one basket.

    I’ve seen beautiful talented people there. Gifted young people. For some reason, for me, it just does not feel right.

  5. ronmac says:

    I’m starting to become a fan of the middle ages when churches were selling indulgences to people looking to fast track their way into heaven.

    A far cry from today’s hustlers selling “divine investment” advice masquerading as get rich quick schemes for this life.

    What would Jesus do? If he needed a few quick bucks, I picture him sitting down at a card table with the devil hiding a few trick aces up his sleeve.

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