One of the central proponents of the prosperity gospel, Michael Dean “Mike” Murdock is a singer-songwriter, televangelist and pastor of the Texas-based so-called Wisdom Center ministry, where he also hosts the School of Wisdom with Mike Murdock television program. He is famous for various dubious money-raising and money-handling schemes, such as when he, in 2003, asked followers for money to help the poor but spent more than 60% of the donations on overhead, including his salary, and only “legal minimums of 1% to 3%” on actually helping the needy or any other “public interest” issues.
Well, Murdock is relatively transparent about how his prosperity stuff works (and he more or less summed up his theological creed when stating that he has never “seen a woman as good looking as a $100 dollar bill”): “You’ve got to have a breakthrough,” Murdock tells his followers. And the solution to all their problems? Give money to a man of God. That would be him. According to Murdock, it’s a matter of what he calls the Law of the Seed: Plant a seed and reap a harvest from God (more here). Planting a seed means sending money to him; if you do, God will ostensibly restore your relationships, heal your body and provide you with financial salvation. The reward will allegedly be 100 times the gift.
His most celebrated idea is the 1000-dollar seed: Donate $1,000 to him to “break the back of poverty” (Murdock says he despises poverty). Give sacrificially. “You say, 'Mike ... what if I don’t have it?'” Well, Murdock has an answer:Give the money anyway.” “Take a step of faith,” he says. The scheme has allowed Murdock to live a pretty lavish lifestyle of fast sports cars, expensive watches and exotic pets. In 2000, his ministry managed to collect some $3.9 million. There is a good expose of his ministry here. There is also this one, but it is not for the faint of heart.
Just to make sure, Murdock labels anyone who examines his ministry’s operations “satanic”, and those who question his extravagant lifestyle (or compare it with the rather humble means of some of the ministry’s staff members) will duly be accused of attacking his theology.
He has apparently written numerous books. That anyone can get themselves to purchase and actually read through such tripe is baffling.
It is presumably little surprise that Murdock, like most other prosperity gospel preachers, endorsed Trump for president in 2016.
Diagnosis: Ok, so calling Murdock a “loon” might be a stretch – he seems to know precisely what he is doing. But there is the possibility that he actually thinks that what he is doing is somehow morally justifiable, which would make him one of the more deranged lunatics in our Encyclopedia. We’ll include him just in case.