• First published in 2004 as Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion (BNOR).

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The Ugly American Preacher

Charisma editor J Lee Grady highlights resentment over the behaviour of some American neo-Pentecostal pastors abroad, in a report from the Netherlands (link added):

…while [an] influx of Africans, Asians and Middle Easterners is helping to revitalize Dutch churches, the influence of some Americans has not had the same effect. I was shocked and embarrassed to learn that charismatic evangelists from the United States have earned a dubious reputation on the other side of the Atlantic.

…One of Holland’s most respected charismatic pastors, Stanley Hofwijks, says some American ministers are no longer welcome in his country. Hofwijks’ 2,500-member Maranatha Ministries Church is predominantly Surinamese and is one of the largest congregations in Holland.

The main problem is that some American ministers insist on having their own offerings when they visit local churches, and call for rather steep contributions (up to $1,000). These ministers also demand excessive fees, as local Christian Arie Templeman tells Grady:

…On one occasion an American preacher who was speaking at a Dutch conference was asked if he could come to another city and address a group of pastors. Said Templeman: “[The evangelist] asked how much he would be paid for the ministry session. When he was told he would receive $1,000, he looked down at his shoes and said: ‘One of my shoes costs more than that. I will not go.’

Alas, no names are named…

Hofwijks’ biggest concern is that American arrogance is infecting some younger Dutch leaders. “They want to be like the preachers on American television,” the pastor said. “They are focused on a superstar mentality. It’s very negative for our country because they fall and many people fall with them.”