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William H. Curtis, senior pastor of the 10,000-member Mount Ararat Baptist Church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has drawn major criticism after his $230,000 Bentley Bentayga SUV was photographed outside the church.

“If ya pastor driving a Bentley truck … he’s sucking ur community dry with hope and tithes,” wrote Jarrell Taylor in a Facebook post sharing his photograph of the Bentayga in a parking space outside the church reserved for the pastor.

While the pastor’s assistant acknowledged that the church had received many reactions to the pastor’s vehicle, she reported to the Christian Post that a response would not be likely.

According to the church’s website, Curtis has served as the senior pastor at Mount Ararat Baptist Church since 1997 and is also an instructor at the United Theological Seminary in Ohio and co-owner of The Church Online, a technology and full-service marketing firm.

Under Curtis’ guidance, the church participates in a Community Tithe Program, which returns more than 10 percent of the congregation’s weekly offerings to other small churches, para-church ministries, and nonprofit organizations.

Samuel Cruz, associate professor of Religion & Society at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City, shared with The Christian Post on Friday that “the Gospel was good news to the poor and I don’t know how owning a Bentley that’s worth $230,000 contributes in any way to the furtherance of the Kingdom and also how that could be justified.”

“To own a car that expensive you have to be among the top 10 percent of income earners or even higher of these United States of America, and I can’t consider how preaching could lead someone to so much wealth,” Cruz continued.

Noting that Curtis also earns income from his marketing firm, Cruz added that “at a minimum, I think that for a pastor to go to his church in a car that is worth twice the median of what homes are worth in his neighborhood, it shows me that this person has no common sense.”

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Texas Megachurch Pastor Asks Congregation to Sow $52 ‘Favor Seeds’ to Upgrade Helicopter Blades

By Leonardo Blair , CP Reporter
June 19, 2013
Bishop I. V. Hilliard

(Photo: Screen Grab via Pimppreacher.com)
Bishop I. V. Hilliard of New Light Christian Center in Houston Texas, needs to upgrade his chopper blades.

A Texas megachurch pastor, whose ‘Aviation Department’ advised him that upgrading the blades on his helicopter would save his church $50,000, recently caused an uproar for asking his congregation to help finance the upgrade with $52 ‘favor seeds.’

Bishop, I.V. Hilliard, of the New Light Christian Center in Houston Texas, reportedly sent out acontroversial newsletter to his “Friends in Jesus” list, telling them that if they sow a $52 transportation seed toward the upgrade they would receive “breakthrough favor” within 52 days or 52 weeks.

“Does your car need repair or total replacement? Do you have a dream vehicle or luxury automobile you long to purchase?” noted Hilliard in the opening paragraph of the letter.

  • I.V. Hilliard
    (Photo: facebook/Bishop I.V. Hilliard)
    Bishop I.V. Hilliard of New Light Christian Center in Houston, Texas.

“Our Aviation Department has an opportunity that will save the ministry well over $50K if we will move on it right away. My Aviation Manager stated that while repairing our helicopter they discovered that if we upgrade our blades today, it will save thousands in the days to come,” he explained.

Then while pointing to various biblical scriptures, Hilliard noted: “We have an urgent transportation need that the Lord said can be an opportunity for you to see His favor and His wisdom released to help you.”

“Scripture teaches when you give to a Kingdom need, God will raise up someone to use their power, their ability and their influence to help you,” he added.

“As I pondered and looked at the situation, I heard that still small voice of the Holy Spirit say ‘tell your special partners who have special transportation needs’ and their obedience will release favor for their needs and desires. I got excited and set down to write you!” noted Hilliard.

The Bishop’s request however stirred a heated debate online as soon as it was made public.

“You sir, are proof that SUCKERS/SHEEPLE are born every day! Give that charlatan money $$? LOL Why? So he can buy more gold rings, bigger mansion, bigger cars, hire another maid, a Helicopter??? ? All under the guise of Gawd..LOL This atheist is glad he’s an atheist!” wrote John R Costello on the Bishop’s facebook page.

Apparently upset that some people think Hilliard’s request is unreasonable, Pastor Eddie Daniels responded supportively to the controversy on the Bishop’s facebook page.

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