Almighty Debt,” the latest offering in CNN’s Black in America series with Soledad Obrien, which premieres on Oct. 21, is tackling a controversial phenomenon that has swept the black church.

The promoting of the prosperity gospel.

According to Bishop TD Jakes and DeForest Soaries, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens in Somerset, New Jersey, black churchgoers have been led down a destructive path of deception. And the notion that giving money in church with the sole purpose of reaping a financial reward from heaven, is an erroneous doctrine perpetuated to the detriment of those that buy into this type gimmickry.

And who can argue? When we see church leaders living opulent lifestyles while their members struggle just to make ends meet, it’s easy to begin to wonder, “Exactly who is reaping the harvest of all that sowing?” 

The long $20, $50, $100 lines. The prophetic words in exchange for the “seed” placed in the “prophet’s” hand, leads to skepticism—and rightfully so. Isn’t it time that pastors begin to teach economic empowerment through principled, sound advice like: live within your means, set a budget, or cut up some of those credit cards so you can finally get free of debt?

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