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New Reality Show "Preachers of LA" Has Evangelical Christian Leaders Grinding Their Teeth

You can't avoid the impression that these men are preaching and pastoring for the money.

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Coming soon from Oxygen, the network that brings you "Bad Girls Club," "My Shopping Addiction," "Jersey Couture," and "Dance Your A** Off," is "Preachers of L.A.," and it might be the hottest new reality show to air this fall. Judging from the trailer, the show could just as well have been called "Preachers Driving Big Cars & Living in Big Houses," or "Pimped-out Preachers of La La Land."

"Preachers of L.A." is generating a huge amount of buzz. Since the program was announced, the Oxygen trailer has been viewed more than 475,000 times, its Facebook page has over 27,000 likes, and it has more than 950 Twitter followers, and garnered more than 13 million hits on Google.

It is also causing some in the evangelical community to express grave concerns about the show.

Some evangelicals are worried that the lavish lifestyles of the "Preachers of L.A." may lead to another round of Senate investigations of so-called prosperity preachers. Others are concerned that it will resurface memories of other tarnished preachers: the Rev. Jimmy Swaggart's dalliances with prostitutes; Jim and Tammy Bakker's bilking of its flock; Ted Haggard's drug and truthiness problems; Bishop Eddie Long's sexual shenanigans; and televangelist and faith-healer Benny Hinn's moral lapses.

The show has a colorful cast of compelling characters, including "the son of an evangelist who was shunned by his church after a divorce; a pastor whose church is 'full of celebrities'; a bishop whose weekly broadcast reaches 250 million homes worldwide; a pastor whose greatest obstacle comes from 'within his own family'; a bishop who was a gang member and drug addict before turning to God; and a pastor who was a pioneer of competitive skateboarding," according to ABC News.

According to Oxygen's website, the six preachers -- Pastor Jay Haizlip, Deitrick Haddon, Bishop Noel Jones, Pastor Wayne Chaney, Gibson and McClendon -- are:

 "Known for their fiery sermons, community outreach and passionate followings, pastors [and] have become iconic, beloved, and sometimes polarizing figures in modern culture. Yet, few people have access to these larger-than-life men away from the pulpit. Until now.

"We're thrilled to introduce 'Preachers of L.A,' a rare glimpse into the lives of six high-profile pastors from Los Angeles. From pro skateboarder Pastor Jay Haizlip to Grace Jones' brother Bishop Noel Jones to Bishop Clarence McClendon, who reaches 250 million homes via international broadcast each week, Preachers of L.A. will explore the human side of these ambitious and very powerful men of faith."

"The Bible says I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. I believe that," declares Bishop Clarence McClendon,  in the show's trailer. When challenged about this prosperity gospel, McClendon replies, "there is no other kind of Gospel." Cast member Bishop Ron Gibson, a former gang member who now ministers to 4,500 people each week at Life Church of God in Christ, says:
"P. Diddy, Jay-Z, they're not the only ones who should be driving Ferraris and living in large houses."

In early July, in a posting at, Joe Carter, editor of The Gospel Coalition and the co-author of "How to Argue Like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator," wrote "The heretical gospel of 'health and wealth' has been a staple of television for decades. But where it was once confined to obscure TV ministry channels like Trinity Broadcasting network, this new reality series will bring the prosperity gospel to a whole new audience. While it's tempting to think these gold-chain wearing, luxury car driving preachers can be easily dismissed, we shouldn't underestimate the powerful appeal of their message."

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