From the you-can’t-make-this-stuff-up department, Candi Holyfield, wife of Evander Holyfield, has been granted a temporary restraining order against the boxer for hitting her. Why? Because she would not prove to her husband that she was tithing. According to court documents, Mrs. Holyfield asserted that after complaining about being cold in their mansion (had heating bill been paid?), Holyfield told her that she “needed to put God first in her life” and asked to see her checkbook to see if she had been tithing. When she refused, Holyfield hit her several times.
This story is very disturbing on several levels. It is indicative of what I term the “brittle theology” of the prosperity gospel, which requires adherents to tithe, give extra monetary offerings, and believe God no matter what the person’s financial situation really is. Holyfield has been in the press for the last several years in part because of his financial problems, namely potential foreclosure, bankruptcy, and his insistence on tithing. His pastor, Creflo Dollar, a prominent prosperity gospel purveyor, was subpoenaed in Holyfield’s divorce from his second wife because of her allegations that Holyfield had donated seven million to Dollar’s ministry. Dollar refused, but escaped contempt of court charges when the divorce case was settled.
Dollar’s unyielding stance on tithing despite economic circumstances undoubtedly has had an effect upon Holyfield. In January, Holyfield filed to pay less child support to some of his eleven children, noting financial difficulties. I wonder if World Changers International, Dollar’s church, has received its January and February tithe check from Holyfield.
Many prosperity gospel adherents can’t pay their bills after paying tithes and offerings to prosperity preachers in the midst of a recession, yet their preachers still demand that they sow that seed. Holyfield’s violence against his wife is exhibit A of how the harsh, unyielding theology of prosperity requires total obedience and discipline of its members. Disobeying God’s rules on tithing and prosperity is a sign of weakness, a theme that Dollar harps upon constantly. Numerous blogs have derided Holyfield for his blind allegiance to Dollar, and Dollar’s own intransigent speech demands a blind obedience without questioning from followers, assuring that funds will come no matter what an individual circumstances are.
Since the temporary restraining order was filed, both Dollar and Holyfield have been silent on the matter, but Holyfield will appear in an Atlanta courtroom for a show cause hearing with regard to the temporary restraining order on February 18. I wonder if the pastor he would beat his wife for will be in attendance? Somehow, I doubt Dollar’s loyalty to Holyfield goes past his tithes and offerings.