'Prosperity Gospel': Give and You Shall Receive?

"Black churches love to honor their pastors," Dollar explained. "So how did we get a Rolls Royce? Ten dollars times 28,000 members. They decided to put their money in to surprise me with that car." Dollar says the car is actually the property of the Ministry.

But these televangelists are controversial not only because of their lavish lifestyles, but also because of their theology, which associates wealth with the blessings of God.

Prosperity: 'Not Just Your Finances'

Dollar's church actively solicits donations from its members as a show of their commitment to God. But what about people who can't afford to donate?

"I don't worry about it," Dollar said. "Again, I'm a Christian and I'm a believer and I believe that when people who are having hard times give, I believe that good things will start happening to them. I was one of those poor people that gave and couldn't afford it."

When "Nightline" visited Dollar's World Changers church in Atlanta this past Sunday, his followers defended their pastor's theology and lifestyle against the Senate investigation.

"Jesus said we were going to be persecuted. So you expect that to happen. It doesn't matter to us because whatever they find, they find. It doesn't matter because I know what he has done to my life and I know it has worked for me," churchgoer Tanya Hicks said.

"If you're deserving, you're deserving," congregation member Hervis Mitchell said. "If you do a good job, you expect to be rewarded, and it's not different for him, God rewards him."

"When I first came to this ministry, we're talking about 15 credit cards maxed out," Crystal Bennett said. "[He's] been able to show me exactly, step by step through the word of God, how to get out of debt and to be able to be financially independent, not having to feel the struggle and train of debt and then also being able to change my life in regards to my relationships with my family, my friends, how to just apply the word of God in a practical manner in my life without feeling like it was a complete struggle."

"If we [sic] gonna believe in prosperity and the truth of the word, we got to see it," said one congregant. "And we see it through him and we believe it can come to us." Another said, "God didn't bring us here in this world for us to be poor. I just don't believe that."

As for Dollar, he wants to make clear that when he talks about prosperity, he doesn't mean just money.

"Prosperity -- I define it as wholeness in every area of your life," he said. "Wholeness in your spirit, your soul, your body, your marriage, your family and your finances. But not just your finances."

But a quick search on YouTube might yield a different message from Dollar, including a rap video featuring the group Ziklag Boys called "Money Comin'."

"Sure, but that's just one incident, one video, one time," said Dollar, who says he focused on financial prosperity in "one season" of his ministry years ago, at a time when he was trying teach his followers about financial literacy.

"Of course I'm going to use everything available to try to get your attention to focus in on that message," he said. "Even sometimes going overboard to bring your attention here. You've got young blacks who don't even know how to balance a checkbook. We open a school up for entrepreneurship because we want to train and teach people how to do the everyday things that's going to make them successful in life.

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