An article published on March 19, 2007 in The New York Times reports that a Brazilian pastor and his wife we caught in Miami smuggling more than $56,000 into the USA. Pastor Hernandes is a pastor in the “prosperity gospel” movement. He and his wife preside over an empire worth millions of dollars.
The following is an excerpt of the article published in The New York Times:
SAO PAULO, Brazil - In their heyday, Estevam and Sônia Hernandes were the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker of Brazil, on television preaching a gospel of material success and living a life to match.
But that was before they were arrested in Miami in January and charged with illegally smuggling cash into the United States, including $9,000 concealed in a Bible.
All told, American authorities seized $56,467 that the couple and other family members had hidden on their bodies and in luggage, according to the United States indictment. Brazilian authorities, who have charged them with money laundering and fraud, are seeking their extradition.
Because the Hernandeses are so prominent and controversial in Brazil, their travails have focused new attention on not just their own church but also the growing wealth and power of the religious movement they are part of, the fastest-growing in Brazil: Pentecostalism.
Mr. Hernandes, originally a marketing executive, and his wife, formerly a boutique manager, founded the Rebirth in Christ Church in the mid-1980s. They now preside over a religious and business structure that includes more than 1,000 churches, a television and radio network, a recording company, real estate in Brazil and the United States and, according to Brazilian news reports, a horse-breeding ranch and the trademark on the word "gospel" in Brazil.
On television and at their home church here - which has been defaced with graffiti saying "You don't carry money in the Bible, thief!" and other insulting slogans - Mr. Hernandes, 52, and his wife, 48, preached a "theology of prosperity," often accompanied by her singing and sometimes by his saxophone playing.
Each year, the Rebirth in Christ Church also sponsored a March for Jesus down the main avenue of Sao Paulo, South America's largest city, mobilizing as many as three million people.
Read the entire article by clicking here.
Here is the truth people have to learn, the same truth expressed by an irate believer: “You can’t hide stolen money in the Bible.” People should always remember the words of Jesus:
“For there is nothing hidden that will not be disclosed, and nothing concealed that will not be known or brought out into the open” (Luke 8:17).
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
Tag: Prosperity Gospel