Posted by: Damon Whitsell | January 30, 2009

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This GroupBlog has over 950 post on it,, from 8 different blogs. THE BEST WAY to use this GroupBlog is to click on the GroupBlog Authors avatars in the top part of the right hand sidebar. This will take you to a page where that GroupBlog Authors post are listed by title only. Since only 35 post are shown on each page., this is the best way to make the BEST USE of this MegaGroupBlog. Thank You for helping Us spread ***THE WORD on the Word of Faith***

The link below is a link to a great video series by Tim Martin from Watchman Fellowship. It is the best series on the Word of Faith Movement that I have ever seen. Done in a very irenic (peaceable) tone, this would be perfect for the WoFer who is starting to doubt the truthfulness of the WoF doctrine. It would also serve as a really good course to “deprogram” from WoF doctrine because it gives in depth refutation of WoF doctrine and WoF teachers mishandling of scripture.
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CLICK HERE TO SEE THIS AWESOME TEACHING SERIES ON

THE WORD OF FAITH MOVEMENT

**Best Refutation EVER of the Word of Faith Movements

Power of Words/Confession Teaching**

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We are very happy to now have Justin Peters 4 1/2 hour Seminar in 3 videos

A Call for Discernment

SOME MORE IMPORTANT VIDEOS

WHY WE teach AGAINST the Word of Faith!!!!!!!

***See the rest of Pastor Jeff’s video teaching series HERE***

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GREAT VIDEO: Dr. Steve Tsoukalas appraises the Word of Faith movement from a biblical perspective

Greg Koukl of StandToReason.org says Word of Faith/Power of Words teaching is Occultic

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SOURCE: I often talk about the Christ-less Gospel of Joel Osteen. Whenever people ask me what I mean by that, I always tell them this; Joel Osteen does not talk about the Christian Gospel. Joel does not follow in the footsteps of Paul and share this message.

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you,which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, and then to the Twelve… 1 Corinthians 15:1-5

Rather, the gospel of Joel Osteen, the “good news” that he brings is that “God loves you and wants to save you from  life of mediocrity and small dreams. Therefore, if you believe in God and be obedient to him, God will give you a plan for your life that includes big dreams,  self esteem, favor, health and wealth, influence, a better job, a positive self image and a fulfilled life free of negativity”. That’s it. That’s what it’s all about. That is the sum of just about every book, every sermon, every media appearance, and every tweet of Joel Osteen, condensed into a few sentences.

That being said, there is something very important to understand about Joel Osteen: He does talk about God. A lot. You cannot accuse the man of not mentioning Him because he’s all over that. Here’s the thing though- Its never really in a personal sense. Joel talks about God, but its always in a vague amorphous sense. There is certainly nothing distinctly Christian or Biblical about it. There’s nothing doctrinal or theological about the way he talks about God. Rather He is an ethereal, shapeless, formless, customizable, singular being thing that is out there called God that functions like a cosmic vending machine whose sole purpose is seemingly to bless you and make your life better. Even when he mentions God, it’s not ABOUT God, but it’s about what God can do for YOU.

Why do I say “singular being”?  Simple. While mention of a “God” may be plastered all over his twitter feed, Jesus is Not. Joel Osteen rarely, if ever, mentioned Jesus. He rarely, if every, mentions Christ. This is true when you listen to his sermons, read his tweets, and listen to him on whatever talk show he’s touring. Let me give you some basic numbers

Just for kicks I did a quick survey of all Joel Osteen tweets in the last year. I can’t go further back, so we’ll stick with going back to July 8, 2013, which is a little more than a year ago. Out of Joel Osteens 806 tweets, not including any of his replies to other people, he mentions “God” 334 time.

Want to guess how many times he mentioned “Jesus”?

Once.

One time.

I figured that number seemed a little low, so I exchanged the word “Jesus” for “Christ”? And know how many times Christ was mentioned?

Twice.

Two times.

In the spirit of generosity I though perhaps Joel was more comfortable using his real name “Yeshua” and searched accordingly.

No times.

How about “Lord?”

One time. And it was referring to God.

So this is where we’re at. This means that Americans most influential pastor, the guy with the biggest Church [43,000 members]. One of the most well-known and most recognized pastors with the biggest platform, out of 806 tweets this last year, in a Twitter feed that is not about his personal life, but rather serves to communicate his version of theological truths about Christianity and Faith for his 2.6 million followers…Joel Osteen mentioned Jesus in some capacity 3 times.

I don’t have access to the rest of his twitter account, but if you extrapolate the numbers, going back to 2009 when he joined, out of his 11300 tweets, he mentioned the name Jesus, God in human flesh, our great God and savior who was fully man and fully God who excruciatingly bore the wrath of the father on a cross and died and rose again in propitiation for our sins- yeah that guy… he likely only got mentioned 24 times. On a Twitter feed designed to share truth about the Christian life from a supposed Christian leader who tweets 2-4 times a day.

And know what? All three were at Easter. Nothing for the rest of the year. Which of course made me wonder “Didn’t he even mention Jesus at Christmas?” Nope.

Now of course if you look up to some of Joel’s favorite topics and main message he likes to communicate, he references to “dreams” as in to quote a recent tweet “You’re closer to seeing that dream come to pass than you think. You may not be able to see it, but it can see you.” 48 mentions.

How about “great/greatness?” as in “You have the seeds of greatness, don’t allow something small to keep you from God’s best” 365 mentions

Or how “favor” as in “Go get your favor, your dream, your victory. It has your name on it.” 32 mentions

And you can put any othe rof his favorite buzzwords in a search bar, and you’ll get scores of hits.

But talk of Jesus..and his death and resurrection…his salvation…his shed blood and sin….the forgiveness he offers….his grace and mercy…his loving kindness- there’s nothing even remotely like that there.

Like I said, Christ-less

[Contributed by Dustin Germain]

http://pulpitandpen.org/2014/07/18/joel-osteen-likes-god-he-just-doesnt-like-jesus-a-twitter-survey-of-joelosteen/

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 11, 2014

Kenneth Copeland Still Teaching Faith Is A Force

faith is a force copeland

Is FAITH a “FORCE?”

By David A. DePra

SOURCE: Faith is NOT a force. Faith is a relationship word. It is dependence and reliance upon God. It is ultimately unconditional surrender to God. It is trusting Him, which includes believing Him. As you can see, faith is to govern our entire lives. We are to WALK BY FAITH in Jesus Christ.

This is important to understand because today there is a false teaching which states that faith IS a force – indeed, a force which YOU generate towards God. What this leads to is a whole array of other false teaching. First of all, it means that you can and must generate the, “force of faith,” that will act upon God and get Him moving for you. In other words, if you pray for something, and have faith, the faith you generate is a force which acts upon God, indeed, which actually creates the thing you want. From this comes the, “name it and claim it,” heresies. It also ties into the error that if you SPEAK something, it will come into existence, as is taught in the, “positive confession” heresy. Likewise, if you speak negatively, this will supposedly bring bad things to pass in your life.

False teachers have likened faith to gravity. They even say that God has faith! Of course, this is utter nonsense. Nonsense, of course, unless you have no understanding of faith. If faith were a force, then I suppose God would have faith. But once we see that faith is trust, reliance, and dependence, we see that God needs no faith. He hasn’t anyone to rely upon!

Notice the root error here: Error says that faith is a force YOU generate which acts upon God. The Bible teaches that faith is a reliance upon God and a desire for His will. Can we see the implications of each as to who is in charge? Error puts US in charge, and we use our faith to act upon God. Truth puts God in charge, and tells us to surrender to Him for His will.

There are other ramifications as well. If faith is a force, then faith is the power. YOU generate it. And it does stuff, or gets God to do stuff. But Biblical faith does nothing. It opens things up for God’s will so that HE can do it. Thus, faith is not power. God is the power.

The fact is, we have NO POWER at all. Indeed, real faith is the result of seeing that we have no power, no merit, and nothing about ourselves which obligates God to do a thing for us. Faith is the trust and assurance that all of the promises of God find their YES IN HIM. Not in us. Not in our faith. And not because we said the right words.

In every generation, it seems that Christians come up with a new gimmic as to how to get God to do what we want Him to do – although it isn’t usually put that way. Instead, we are told that God has already willed us to tell Him what to do. So we come up with ways in which MAN can do this. Does anyone see Satan behind this? He is. It is classic Satan, using religious flesh, and men of corrupt minds, to foster heresy in the church.

Let me be frank: It simply is not possible to teach such error and know Jesus Christ. It just isn’t. This teaching is the very antithesis of the gospel of grace, skews the basic essential of faith, and leads people away from a grounded relationship with Christ. If the Holy Spirit were truly living in such people, and they were yielded, how could such heresy go unchecked, and how could the Holy Spirit not convict them? Furthermore, those well-known preachers who do teach these errors have been continually approached and appealed to with regards to this teaching. That is not a guess — THEY say so on TV. Thus, they not only teach error, but defend it.

Faith is not a force. Faith is a relationship word. By faith we abide in Christ and walk with Him. By faith we see that we have nothing to help ourselves. By faith we surrender our lives to Him for His will and purpose.

http://www.goodnewsarticles.com/Jan05-7.htm

HOW CAN ANYONE GET SAVED UNLESS THEY FIRST GET LOST?

Rom 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

joel say champion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 9, 2014

Can Christians live their best life now?

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SOURCE: Question: “Can Christians live their best life now?”

Answer: Joel Osteen’s book Your Best Life Now has caused many people to seek their “best life now.” Among the claims Mr. Osteen makes are “God wants to increase you financially” (page 5). He goes on to explain that this quest for financial and material increase is actually pleasing to God. No doubt, Osteen is sincere in what he says and believes that wealth and success really are the way to happiness. But is that what the Bible says? Does God want all His children to be wealthy, and does He tell us that is the way to find happiness? More importantly, is our best life now or is our best life in the world to come?

To say that life on this earth is the best you can have is absolutely true—if you’re not a Christian. The non-Christian lives his best life in the here and now because his next life is one of no hope, no joy, no meaning, no satisfaction and no relief from eternal suffering. Those who have rejected Jesus Christ will spend an eternity in “outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This phrase is used five times (Matthew 8:12, 22:13; 24:51; 25:30; Luke 13:28) to describe the miserable existence of those who are thrust into it at the moment of their deaths. So, seeking to enjoy life while they can makes perfect sense for them because they really are living their best life now. The next life will be truly dreadful.

For the Christian, however, life here, no matter how good it is, is nothing compared to the life that awaits us in heaven. The glories of heaven—eternal life, righteousness, joy, peace, perfection, God’s presence, Christ’s glorious companionship, rewards, and all else God has planned—is the Christian’s heavenly inheritance (1 Peter 1:3-5), and it will cause even the best life on earth to pale in comparison. Even the richest, most successful person on earth will eventually age, sicken, and die, and his wealth cannot prevent it, nor can his wealth follow him into the next life. So, why would we be encouraged to live our best lives now? “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

This verse brings us to the next difficulty with the “best life now” philosophy. Our hearts reside wherever our treasure resides. What we value in life permeates our hearts, our minds, our very existence, and it inevitably comes out in our speech and actions. If you’ve ever met someone whose life is bound up in pursuing wealth and pleasure, it is obvious immediately, because it’s all he talks about. His heart is filled with the things of this life, and out of the abundance of his heart, his mouth speaks (Luke 6:45). He has no time for the things of the Lord—His Word, His people, His work and the eternal life He offers—because he is so busy pursuing his best life now.

But the Bible tells us that the “kingdom of heaven,” not worldly wealth, is like a treasure hidden in a field—so valuable that we should sell everything we have to attain it (Matthew 13:44). There are no scriptural admonitions to pursue and store up wealth. In fact, we are encouraged to do just the opposite. Jesus urged the rich young ruler to sell all that he had and follow Him so that he would have treasure in heaven, but the young man went away sad because his wealth was his heart’s true treasure (Mark 10:17-23). No doubt the young man experienced his best life on earth, only to lose the hope of real life in the future. “For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?” (Mark 8:36).

But doesn’t God want us to live in comfort and financial security? We have only to look at the Lord Jesus and the apostles to know that the “best life now” philosophy is devoid of truth. Jesus certainly had no wealth, nor did those who followed Him. He didn’t even have a place to lay His head (Luke 9:58). The apostle Paul’s life would certainly not qualify as blessed by Osteen’s standards, either. Paul says, “From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:24-27). Does that sound like Paul was living his best life? Of course not. He was waiting for his best life in the future, his blessed hope, “an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven” for him and all who are in Christ. That is our best life, not this “vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (James 4:14).

How can we expect a world infected by sin to provide our best life now? How can we ignore scriptures like “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward” (Job 5:7) and “all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” (2 Timothy 3:12) and “count it all joy when you fall into various trials” (James 1:2), and tell people their best life is here and now? How can we count as meaningless the suffering of the early Christian martyrs who were hanged, burned at the stake, beheaded, and boiled in oil for their faith and their faithfulness to Christ, gladly suffering for the Savior they adored? Did they die these excruciating deaths because no one ever told them they could have experienced their best lives if only they pursued wealth and a healthy self-image, as Joel Osteen claims? The Lord never promised health, wealth, or success in this life. We can’t expect the promises He makes for heaven to be fulfilled now, and the Church dare not promise people the impossible illusion of their best life now. Such a promise encourages people to decide for themselves what will constitute their best lives and then reject Jesus when He doesn’t deliver.

The “your best life now” philosophy is nothing more than the old “power of positive thinking” lie repackaged to scratch the itching ears of the current generation. If we know Jesus Christ as our Savior, our best lives await us in heaven where we will spend eternity in joy and bliss, enjoying a life which is better than the “best” we could have now.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 9, 2014

A Call For Joel Osteen To Repent by Todd Pruitt

Even though this article is from 2007, because of Osteen’s continued rise in popularity, it is even more salient and appropriate than ever.

JOEL OSTEEN FEEL GOOD GOSPEL
SOURCE
: It is time for Joel Osteen to repent. His October 15th appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes was yet another reminder that this pastor preaches a message that can only be construed by the most generous of imaginations as the Gospel. Time and again on his many television appearances Osteen has admitted (smiling all the way, of course) his ignorance of sound doctrine and disdain for the careful exposition of Scripture. He once famously responded to Larry King’s question about the eternal fate of those who do not believe in Jesus that even though he doesn’t know much about what the people in India believe he knows that they are sincere in their love for God. King did not press Osteen about which one of Hinduism’s 300 million+ gods was he referring. It all begs the question: why is this man a pastor?

Joel Osteen, a drop out from Oral Roberts University, was the director of the television ministry for Lakewood Church which was founded by his father John, a former Southern Baptist pastor. When John died Joel stepped into the pulpit of Lakewood which then had an attendance between seven and nine thousand. Since then the growth has been nothing short of phenomenal. Current attendance is recorded at about 42,000 in weekend services. After a $100 million renovation Lakewood now meets in the former home of the Houston Rockets basketball team.

I have a copy of his first book “Your Best Life Now.” A friend sent it to me as a joke. It worked. I laughed. If listening to Joel Osteen “preach” is frustrating, reading him is downright maddening. If he were not the pastor of America’s largest church, there is no hope that anyone would publish his sophomoric drivel. He is a bad Robert Schuller impression. It is reported that his second book, “Become a Better You” earned him an advance of $13 million. Sadly, it is more of the same therapeutic, God is your genie, religious humanism that was peddled in his first book.

When it comes to his responsibility and qualifications as a teacher Joel seems to want it both ways. On the one hand he says of his books and teaching, “It’s all backed up by the Bible.” In other words, “I know the Bible so well that I can formulate an entire system of life improvement while rarely having to refer to specific Scriptures.” But as soon as someone begins to point out his many errors Osteen gives his best “awe shucks” look and says that theology and biblical precision aren’t his “giftings.”

If a surgeon at the local hospital were treating cancer patients by sprinkling chicken blood on them you can be assured that the outrage from the other physicians would be palpable. There would be no cries of, “But he is so nice and sincere!” Astonishingly, many ministers of the Gospel and leaders in the church approach Osteen and his ilk with a “Well, it’s not my cup of tea” kind of response. “As long as he is helping people, who am I to complain?”

Christians are impressed with Osteen’s beguiling smile and oozing sincerity. I have heard his errors excused by appeals to his seeming kindness as if distorting the Gospel of Jesus Christ is okay so long as you are nice about it. Osteen may indeed be sincere. He may be the nicest pastor in Houston. Frankly, I don’t really care. But his inability or unwillingness to clearly articulate the Gospel is a chasm too great for his pearly whites to bridge. Writing from prison, the apostle Paul made it clear that given a choice, he would prefer the scoundrel who preaches the Gospel right to the nice fellow who gets it wrong (Phil. 1:15-18).

The only reason I care about what Joel Osteen teaches and writes is because he does so under the auspices of the church of Jesus Christ. Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Choprah can spout all the Christ-less paganism they like. They are not my fellows in Christ. But Joel Osteen claims the name of Christ and has been given the role of pastor. His errors, and they are significant and many, must not be ignored by the church. He is, whether he knows it or not, accountable to the body of Christ. It is, therefore, the church’s responsibility to call him to repentance.

Scripture is clear that few should assume the role of teacher for they will receive a particularly strict judgment before God (James 3:1). Paul warns us in Galatians that anyone, whether man or angel, who preaches another gospel, that is, any Gospel that differs from what the apostles preached, is under God’s curse (Galatians 1:6-9). The call for Joel Osteen to repent is not only for the good of the church but for the good of his own soul. On that awesome and awful day will Joel Osteen grin, flutter his eyes, and say to God, “I left all that Bible stuff to other people. My calling was to help people”?

Lakewood Church and all of Joel Osteen’s millions of adherents are living embodiments of Paul’s warning in 2 Timothy: “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions” (4:3). When listening to Osteen it is impossible not to think of God’s chastising of the unfaithful shepherds of Israel. “Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the Lord…from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have healed the wound of my people lightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (8:7, 10b, 11). What Joel Osteen calls “lifting people up,” I fear God considers false cries of “peace, peace” when there is no peace. When we ignore sin under the pretense of being positive we are actually healing the wound of God’s people as if it were not serious. Osteen’s preaching does not point sinners to repentance by showing them the terror of God’s holy law. He therefore cannot rightly show them the true glory of Christ’s atoning work on the cross. The diminished view of sin he offers leads inevitably to a diminished salvation. The preacher who refuses to use the words sin, sinner, hell, and judgment can only produce happier pagans.

So, it is time for Joel Osteen to repent. I’m not kidding. I’m not trying to be ironic or funny. I am deadly serious. He regularly fills the minds of people with false gospels and happy delusions of God-sent success and “promotion.” He must turn away from his false teachings and step down from his position as pastor. He has not studied to show himself approved. Rather than proclaiming God’s word he has taught the inventions of man. But God is gracious. As long as there is breath in Joel Osteen’s lungs then God may still grant him repentance.

http://toddpruitt.blogspot.com/2007/10/call-for-joel-osteen-to-repent.html

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 9, 2014

3 Reasons You Should Not Try To Bind Satan by Clint Archer

Binding-of-Satan-The.002-564x272

SOURCE: Spiritual warfare is real. It might not make the news; but it ought to. Paul acknowledges this in Ephesians 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.

But the weapons of this warfare are often somewhat misunderstood. In some church circles, for example, it is commonplace to hear pastors and their people talk of “binding Satan” or “renouncing the devil’s presence” or some such display of confidence.

Here are three reasons I believe this is misguided.

1. Satan is (most probably) not in earshot

There is a pernicious paranoia that permeates churches today: folks think Satan can hear them speak. Some people unwittingly pad Satan’s résumé to include God’s unique attributes of omniscience and omnipresence. Yes, Satan certainly is ambulant (1 Pet 5:8 [2] [3]), but he is confined to one place at a time. He can’t read your mind, and he doesn’t perk his ears when he hears his name mentioned in your prayers.

I have heard a pastor who was praying to God, lapse into addressing Satan! “Lord we pray against the forces of evil in this place today, and Satan we bind you in the name of Jesus, we denounce your efforts to distract us by messing with the PowerPoint projector again, and we rebuke your presence here today. You are not welcome here!”

First, Christian should pray to God, and not Satan (even if what we are saying to Satan is meant to irk him). Second, I doubt Satan is loitering around your church anyway. So unless he has demons recording our prayers and then e-mailing him the transcript, Satan would have to be in the room.

As one who understands the very basics of time management (I have read Kevin DeYoung’s Crazy Busy) I am confident that fiddling with my church’s sound equipment has got to be a lower priority than say, what happens at the UN or a North Korean nuclear testing facility.

2. Binding Satan is above your pay grade

Satan can be bound, just not by you. The task of binding Satan is given to an angel. (Rev 20:1-3 [4] [5]). It’s a pretty important task, and a lot of eschatology depends in it being done properly.

Jude sternly warns precocious people who presume to venture above their pay grades and malign angelic beings.

Jude  8 Yet in like manner these people also, relying on their dreams, defile the flesh, reject authority, and blaspheme the glorious ones. 9 But when the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, was disputing about the body of Moses, he did not presume to pronounce a blasphemous judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you.” 10 But these people blaspheme all that they do not understand, and they are destroyed by all that they, like unreasoning animals, understand instinctively.

The archangel Michael himself didn’t pull rank on Satan the way many swaggering televangelists do.

Even invoking the name of Jesus is no guarantee that your exorcism would work. Sceva’s boys tested that hypothesis…

Acts 19:13 Then some of the itinerant Jewish exorcists undertook to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who had evil spirits, saying, “I adjure you by the Jesus whom Paul proclaims.” 14 Seven sons of a Jewish high priest named Sceva were doing this. 15 But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” 16 And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Next time you are tempted to start bossing an evil spirit around in the name of Jesus, make sure you have a change of clothes in the car.

3. God has a better idea

The Bible is not written in code. There are sections written as descriptive narrative, which record what happened in history. And there are other narrative sections written as prescriptive commands that apply to you and me.

The only instruction Christians are given about how to confront the spiritual forces of darkness is Ephesians 6. Note the conspicuous absence of what you’ve seen on TV.

Eph 6: 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. …13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

He then lists: the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, readiness given by the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and praying at all times in the Spirit.

No holy water required.

On an unrelated note, my apologies for any typos that crop up this week. The devil is in the details.

Read More…

I guess I am a spiritual racist. I am almost finished watching the video and my heart is sick, very sick.

To see Palmer falsely claim that the protestant protest is over and we are all now Catholic was bad. But for him to claim we are in the “post-protestant era” and we are spiritual racist if we don’t believe so,, is too much. So many people will be emotionally manipulated by this.

I have been following this. The RCC was supposed to have signed an agreement with the Lutherans saying the RCC now believes in justification by faith alone but Palmer won’t tell you that right after that the RCC issued a “clarification paper” saying that the RCC and the small liberal Lutheran group that they signed the agreement with are still “divergent” in their views of justification. They in effect recanted on their so called recantation on their doctrine of Justification. Also the RCC has not renounced the 33 ANATHEMAS contained in the Council of Trent documents concerning those who believe in justification by faith alone, ie. Protestants. Also another point of deception is that this is being framed as “Luther’s protest”. But in reality there where tens of tens of thousands that protested against Rome and split with her, many of them where killed for doing so. Also the protest was not just about justification, Luthers Thesis that he nailed on the Wittenburg door contained 95 points that Luther and the others stood against.

And all the bad talk about doctrine also makes me sick. The RCC has not given up it’s distinctive doctrines but it will demand that everyone else will do so.

HELLO ONE WORLD RELIGION – SEE YA SOON

Come Quickly Lord Jesus.
MARANATHA

 

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 30, 2014

Is FAITH a “FORCE?” by David A. DePra

got-faith_t

SOURCE: Faith is NOT a force. Faith is a relationship word. It is dependence and reliance upon God. It is ultimately unconditional surrender to God. It is trusting Him, which includes believing Him. As you can see, faith is to govern our entire lives. We are to WALK BY FAITH in Jesus Christ.

This is important to understand because today there is a false teaching which states that faith IS a force – indeed, a force which YOU generate towards God. What this leads to is a whole array of other false teaching. First of all, it means that you can and must generate the, “force of faith,” that will act upon God and get Him moving for you. In other words, if you pray for something, and have faith, the faith you generate is a force which acts upon God, indeed, which actually creates the thing you want. From this comes the, “name it and claim it,” heresies. It also ties into the error that if you SPEAK something, it will come into existence, as is taught in the, “positive confession” heresy. Likewise, if you speak negatively, this will supposedly bring bad things to pass in your life.

False teachers have likened faith to gravity. They even say that God has faith! Of course, this is utter nonsense. Nonsense, of course, unless you have no understanding of faith. If faith were a force, then I suppose God would have faith. But once we see that faith is trust, reliance, and dependence, we see that God needs no faith. He hasn’t anyone to rely upon!

Notice the root error here: Error says that faith is a force YOU generate which acts upon God. The Bible teaches that faith is a reliance upon God and a desire for His will. Can we see the implications of each as to who is in charge? Error puts US in charge, and we use our faith to act upon God. Truth puts God in charge, and tells us to surrender to Him for His will.

There are other ramifications as well. If faith is a force, then faith is the power. YOU generate it. And it does stuff, or gets God to do stuff. But Biblical faith does nothing. It opens things up for God’s will so that HE can do it. Thus, faith is not power. God is the power.

The fact is, we have NO POWER at all. Indeed, real faith is the result of seeing that we have no power, no merit, and nothing about ourselves which obligates God to do a thing for us. Faith is the trust and assurance that all of the promises of God find their YES IN HIM. Not in us. Not in our faith. And not because we said the right words.

In every generation, it seems that Christians come up with a new gimmic as to how to get God to do what we want Him to do – although it isn’t usually put that way. Instead, we are told that God has already willed us to tell Him what to do. So we come up with ways in which MAN can do this. Does anyone see Satan behind this? He is. It is classic Satan, using religious flesh, and men of corrupt minds, to foster heresy in the church.

Let me be frank: It simply is not possible to teach such error and know Jesus Christ. It just isn’t. This teaching is the very antithesis of the gospel of grace, skews the basic essential of faith, and leads people away from a grounded relationship with Christ. If the Holy Spirit were truly living in such people, and they were yielded, how could such heresy go unchecked, and how could the Holy Spirit not convict them? Furthermore, those well-known preachers who do teach these errors have been continually approached and appealed to with regards to this teaching. That is not a guess — THEY say so on TV. Thus, they not only teach error, but defend it.

Faith is not a force. Faith is a relationship word. By faith we abide in Christ and walk with Him. By faith we see that we have nothing to help ourselves. By faith we surrender our lives to Him for His will and purpose.

http://www.goodnewsarticles.com/Jan05-7.htm

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 30, 2014

VIDEO: Joel Osteen talks about his visit with the Pope

Joel Osteen recently went on an ecumenical trip to the Vatican to meet Pope Francis. This video shows Osteen talking to a local news reporter about that visit with the Pope.

 

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Right after Joel Osteen met with the Pope at the Vatican Kenneth Copeland is reporting at his site that he just returned from the Vatican and a visit with Pope Francis.  This comes less than two months after the Pope sent a video message to Copeland, and the leaders at his leadership conference, encouraging Charismatics everywhere and Charismatic Catholics to unite. But this was not typical ecumenical message. Liberal Episcopal Bishop Tony Palmer (pictured far right) introduced the Popes message by saying that the Protestant protest is over so now we are all Catholics.

CAN ANYONE SAY ONE WORLD RELIGION?

Here is the report from Copeland’s site. I will post the full report when it is posted there.

SOURCE: Here’s what he had to say about his meeting with the Pope:

“I am so Blessed!  What Jesus asked the Father for in John 17:21, “that we may all be one in Him”, is finally coming to pass.  Pope Francis is a man filled with the love of Jesus. All eight of us in our meeting together with him were moved by the strong presence of the Holy Spirit, and our love for one another was strengthened beyond measure.  Like I said, I am so BLESSED!  What a time to be a believer!” – Kenneth Copeland

A complete report from Brother Copeland about his visit to the Vatican will be posted soon!

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 27, 2014

Why Do Faith Healers Wear Glasses? by Peter Rosenberger

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SOURCE: Many living with chronic suffering know from experience that stepping into some churches can be hazardous to your faith. Admonishments such as, “if you had enough faith, Jesus would heal you,” are not uncommon directives from church folk who are not only poorly educated in what the Bible teaches, but also suffer themselves from a deplorable lack of humility and compassion. Hurting individuals seeking comfort in churches may often encounter spiritual “sweathogs” ( thank you, Mr. Kotter ) who, when faced with affliction in others, counter it by brandishing the “Sword of the Spirit” like an axe to bludgeon the already bruised and suffering. In days past, such doctrinal beliefs and behaviors remained somewhat contained to church circles. Today, however, that message blasts forth on 24-hour cable, social media, and every other type of communication method (some worldwide), and there seems to be no shortage in mass media messages promising the next “breakthrough” to those who subscribe to a particular ministry’s teachings.

Flipping channels one evening, I happened upon a broadcast of a prominent “television evangelist” who earned international fame with reported miraculous healings through his ministry. With an expectant group of suffering lined up in their wheelchairs hoping to reach the man in the spotlight, the whole thing had a circus-like feel as the audience looked on waiting to see something astonishing. Combine that with the rousing music played on “traditional Biblical instruments” such as a Hammond B-3 organ (preferably with the Leslie speaker) and the formulaic and campy performance, is a picture of the Church that cause many Christians to slide further down in their pews with embarrassment. Ignoring the carnival-esque atmosphere, my eyes immediately fixed upon the glasses perched on the preacher’s nose. “Wait a minute,” I thought to myself. “Doesn’t this guy believe that God will heal his poor vision?”

Do minor sufferings such as age-impacted eyesight not qualify for those who bill themselves as having an “anointing for healing” ministry? How much suffering is acceptable before traveling to a sawdust-floored tent to hear a man in a white suit pronounce a cure for maladies? To be fair, most of these high profiled individuals have upgraded to indoor arenas with state-of-the-art sound systems and lighting.

The topic of miraculous healing continues to be a flashpoint for many in and out of church. Whereas the Bible contains many statements of healing, prosperity, and comfort – it appears a segment of Christianity hijacked those verses and positioned themselves as authorities on God’s provision in relation to the sufferings of this world. The cartoonish behavior of some preachers who proclaim healing ministries often serves as fodder for comedians, and disdain for many Christians. For the suffering, the dangling carrot of healing and instant relief from misery is almost tortuous in itself. Hurting souls often twist themselves into emotional, spiritual, and financial pretzels to chase the rainbow of healing. When desperate for relief, sowing a pledge into that particular ministry might seem a small price to pay for the alluring offer of God’s healing and miraculous provisions. As recent as last week, I heard one well-known minister pronounce on national/international television when asking viewers to contribute, “God can’t work a miracle on our behalf unless we act on faith.”

Is that how God works? Is that how the King of Kings and Lord of Lords ministers to his followers? Should we offer an earnest prayer before plopping down “seed faith” or scratching a Powerball ticket?
Read More…

WELCOME TO HELL

SOURCE: Following is my critique of two of Joel Osteen’s Sermons on the resurrection from 1999 and 2000. A lot of what Joel Osteen says about what Christ did on the cross for sinners “appears” to be true at first glance but as I will show below he has a distorted view of God and how and where Christ paid for our sins.

Joel’s comments are in an indented box with my comments in plain text and scriptures in Teal.

What the Resurrection Means to us as believers

From: #CS_001 – 4/4/99 http://www.lakewood.cc/sermon_listing.htm#

Joel said:

But listen. Matthew 27:51 says that the very moment that Jesus died, the curtain in the temple that surrounded the presence of God was ripped in two from the top to the bottom. Now listen to this carefully because it’s very significant. Back in those days, God didn’t live in people like He does now. He lived in buildings. For a while, He lived in the Ark of the Covenant. But at this particular time, the people had built for Him a temple. And God lived in a sacred secluded area of the temple called the Holy of Holies.

The Holy Spirit lives in us when we become believers, that much is true. But notice this isn’t what Joel said. God may dwell in the hearts of those that believe, but it’s in a spiritual sense only. God’s throne is in heaven not on the earth.

“Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?” (Isaiah 66:1)

“Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest?” (Acts 7:49)

What Joel said above may not be much of a problem YET. But he needs to be watched closely to see if he follows the line of other WoF teachers like Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer and Kenneth Copeland who claim that we are not sinners and man is divine.

Joel continues:

So what was happening here? Well, in the book of John, John gives the account of Jesus when He just arose from the dead. And it’s in John, chapter 20. You don’t need to turn to it. Let me just tell you. Mary Magdalene was at the Garden tomb and she was sobbing. She’s looking in there and she can’t find the body of Jesus. And Jesus has appeared to her, behind her. Jesus says, “Woman, why are you weeping?” And she thought He was the gardener. She said, “Sir, if you’ve taken away His body, please tell me where and I’ll go get Him?” And Jesus said, “Mary.” No doubt she recognized Jesus’ voice at that point. And she turned around and she said, “Rabbi, Teacher, Master.” And no doubt she was going to hug Him or to grab Him. Maybe to embrace Him. In John 20:17, He said something that’s very significant also. He said, “Mary, touch me not. I have not yet ascended unto my Father and to your Father; unto your God and to my God.” See, there still had to be a blood sacrifice. And Jesus had shed His blood. And He had His holy blood on Him at that point. He had the precious blood of Jesus on Him. And it’s interesting because later when Jesus appeared to the disciples, He openly told them. He said, “Touch me, feel me, handle me.” You know the story. He told doubting Thomas, “Feel the nail scars in my hand.”

Please notice that Joel said the shedding of Christ’s blood was not completed on the Cross. Even after Christ appeared to Mary with his resurrected and bloodstained body Joel says “there still had to be a blood sacrifice.”

Joel continues:

Why did He tell Mary, “Don’t touch me”? Well, the reason He did is He had just arisen from the dead. He had the blood, the precious blood, the sacrifice for the sins of the whole world on Him. And what He was saying, He said, “Mary, I’m about to go.” And the Bible talks about in Hebrews how He went, He didn’t go to the Holy of Holies this time because God moved out of that. He went into the very heavens themselves and He placed His blood as a sacrifice for our sins in the high court of heaven. And He offered it to God. And the good news about Easter is that God accepted the sacrifice of the blood of Jesus Christ.

This almost sounds scriptural, except Joel seems to be implying that Mary’s touching him would negate what he did on the cross. If this is what he meant it doesn’t make sense when the next year in his resurrection speech Joel said Christ went to Hell to wrestle with Satan (see below).

Joel Osteen’s Sinners prayer at end of this sermon:

And I want you to just pray a simple prayer with me. Maybe you don’t know how to pray. But all you got to do is say this prayer and mean it with your heart. Say, Jesus, come into my heart. Save me. Be my Lord. Be my Savior. Jesus, I want to serve You all the days of my life. I’m not everything I want to be Jesus, but I know You’ll make me into what You want me to be. Jesus, I’ll serve You all the days. I’ll give you 100%.

Notice there is no mention of people acknowledging they are a sinner in this “sinner’s” prayer.

=================
THE TRUTH OF THE RESURRECTION

From: #CS_002 – 4-23-00 http://www.lakewood.cc/sermon_listing.htm#

Joel repeated almost the same identical message re the crucifixion and resurrection as the year before, i.e., he’s still saying God lives in man and “now we are the address of God” and Christ didn’t complete his work on the cross, he still had to go to Heaven to deliver his blood and this is why he didn’t want Mary to touch him. However, this year he goes a LOT farther with his message, re where Jesus went after the resurrection and before he went to heaven:

I can imagine when Jesus bowed His head and died on that cross, that Satan and all those demons they gathered in Hell for a great victory celebration. I can imagine it looked something like the victory party in the locker room after the Super Bowl. . . . But in the midst of that celebration, one of the demons notices a man coming from a long distance. . . .One of those demons finally recognizes who it is. And he screams in terror, Oh no, it’s our worst nightmare. He’s back. Here comes the Son of God. . . . Can’t you see Jesus looking right into Satan’s eyes and saying, “Satan, I hate to spoil your victory party, but I think you’re celebrating a little bit too soon”? You may have knocked me down, but you sure didn’t knock me out. And it’s not over until I say it’s over. Satan says, Listen, Jesus, you’re on my turf now. You don’t have a chance down here. You’re surrounded by my demons. We’re going to tear you apart. And Jesus just smiles and says, “Go ahead, Satan, make my day!” (Congregation applauds) Jesus says, “Look, Satan, I’m down here to take care of business. I’m ready to do battle. I don’t want to be here any longer than I have to be because it stinks down here. . . . The Bible indicates that for three days, Jesus went into the very depths of hell. Right into the enemy’s own territory. And He did battle with Satan face to face.

Joel doesn’t mention which verse he is referring to but it is probably the following:
Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 25, 2014

BEST EVER video series on the Word of Faith Movement

This is simply the best video or video series I have ever seen on the Word of Faith Movement. Tim Martin of Watchman Fellowship does an outstanding job of looking in depth into the teachings of the WoF. This series is long but is perfect for anyone wanting to really learn what the WoF teaches. And this would also be the best thing for Ex-WoFers who are trying to deprogram from the WoF teaching and lies. Tim looks at scripture and what makes the WoF tick. THIS IS A MUST SEE.

In this introductory class on the Word Faith Movement, I introduce the topic and layout my basic approach to the subject. A brief description of the Movement is given, and a brief overview of some of the major TV preachers such as: Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Frederick Price, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, John Hagee, Rod Parsley, Joyce Meyer, Paula White and Joel Osteen.

This class begins by giving a brief definition of prosperity as the abundance of wealth, health, self esteem, etc. Then, we used Mormonism’s use of James 1:5 as a case study in flawed Biblical interpretation. Now, with a better understanding of how to approach interpretation, we took these tools to the Word Faith’s use of 3 John 2, and found that they make the same interpretive mistakes as the Mormons. Video clips were utilized of Joel Osteen, Oprah Winfrey, Kenneth Copland, Jesse Duplantis and Rodd Parsley.

This class discusses the Word Faith teaching on John 10:10 and Jeremiah 29:11 and 2 Corinthians 1:20. Using some of the interpretive tools discussed in class 2, we see that the Word Faith teachers fail in their use of scripture. Video clips were utilized of John Hagee, Joyce Meyer, Fred Price, Joel Osteen and John Sheasby.

Now that we have a basic understanding of the Word Faith concept of prosperity, and how they misuse scripture, we now ask why we don’t have prosperity. If God wants us rich and completely healthy, how come we are not? First of all, the fall destroyed prosperity, and it is now up to us to cause our prosperity to materialize by utilizing “faith.” In class, we looked at their unconventional definition of faith, discussed who uses faith and saw how it functions in our lives. Next class we will look into the Bible to see what it says about this important topic.

This class begins a two part Biblical exploration of the subject of faith. Is faith a creative power that produces positive and negative effects like the Word Faith teachers claim? Or is it trusting in the promises of God? In this class, we take a deeper looking into Hebrews 11:1 to see how it uses “faith” in context to the verses around it. It is clear from this study that the author of Hebrews did not endorse Word Faith theology.

After finishing a look at the Bible’s use of the word “faith,” we continue by addressing the concept of the “power of words.” The Word Faith teachers claim that the Bible teaches that words are containers for power, and can be used to create wealth and health in our lives. In this class, we discuss what it means that God creates by speaking, and explore several key verses (Isaiah 55:11, Proverbs 18:21).

Now that we have a firm grasp of how they misuse the scriptures, and have explored their doctrine of words/faith, we are now ready to explore the issues of prosperity. In this class, we take a look at their teaching on financial prosperity. We will talk about what it means to WF folks that we are “released from the curse of the law,” and that we have a covenant with God to be rich. We will also look briefly at their claim that Jesus was rich.

Now that we have a firm grasp of how they misuse the scriptures, and have explored their doctrine of words/faith, we are now ready to explore the issues of prosperity. In this class, we take a look at their teaching on financial prosperity. We will talk about what it means to WF folks that we are “released from the curse of the law,” and that we have a covenant with God to be rich. We will also look briefly at their claim that Jesus was rich.

This class continues the theme from last week of exploring the Word Faith concept of prosperity. Last week we covered the financial aspect of prosperity, now we will look at health and eternal life. As with financial prosperity, we will see that the WF teachers say that we are guaranteed healing in this life through the atonement of Christ. So, if you do not have healing, then you do not have faith. Concerning the concept of “eternal life,” we will see some major WF teachers downplay the significance of this important Biblical concept.

What does the Word Faith teachers believe about “authority?” This is a very important concept in WF doctrine. We explore the concept and see how it undermines God’s ability to carry out His will in our lives. We also compare their teaching on authority to their concept of faith, and see that there are contradictions that cannot be reconciled.

In this final session of this series, I offer some theological criticisms of important principles that Word Faith teachers should know. I discuss God’s timing for healing, the “prayer of faith,” the purpose of life,” and the role of joy in the life of the believer.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 24, 2014

Lessons I’ve Learned From False Teachers by Tim Challies

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SOURCE
: A few months ago I began a short series called “The False Teachers.” I wanted to look back through church history to meet some of the people who have undermined the church at various points. We looked at historical figures like Joseph Smith who founded Mormonism and Ellen G. White who led the Seventh Day Adventists into prominence, and we looked at contemporary figures like Benny Hinn, the prominent faith healer, and T.D. Jakes, who has tampered with the doctrine of the Trinity.

I will soon be starting a new series looking at The Defenders, Christians known for defending the church against a certain theological challenge or a specific false teaching. I will be focusing on modern times and modern issues such as inerrancy and Open Theism. But before I do that, I wanted to reflect on some of what I’ve learned as I’ve spent time considering false teachers and false teaching. Here are a few lessons I’ve learned from false teachers.

False Teachers Are Common

The first and most fundamental thing I learned about false teachers is that we ought to expect them and be on the lookout for them. They are common in every era of church history. This should not surprise us, since the Bible warns that we are on war footing in this world, and that Satan is on full-out offensive against God and his people. And sure enough, history shows that whenever the gospel advances, error follows in its wake. When and where there are teachers of truth, there will necessarily be teachers of error. Perhaps the most surprising thing about false teachers is that we continue to be surprised by them.

False Teachers Are Deceptive

False teachers are deceptive. They do not announce themselves as false teachers, but proclaim themselves angels of light, people who have access to wisdom others have missed or misplaced. As Denny Burk says, “False teachers typically won’t show up to your church wearing a sandwich board saying, ‘I am a false teacher’.” Instead they begin within the bounds of orthodoxy and announce themselves only slowly and through their subtly-twisted doctrine. They turn away from orthodoxy one step at a time rather than all at once.

False Teachers Are Dangerous

False teachers are dangerous, and part of what makes them so dangerous is that they will affirm so much that is good and true. They will not deny all of the doctrines upon which the Christian faith stands or falls, but only select parts of it. They draw in the unsuspecting with all they affirm and only later destroy them with all they deny. There is an important lesson: We only know a person when he understand both what he affirms and what he denies.

False Teachers Are Divisive

False teachers cause division within the church and often cause division even among true Christians. Because false teachers tend to remain within the church, and because they claim to be honoring the Bible, they confuse true believers and drive wedges between them. Amazingly, it is often those who stand fast against falsehood who get labeled as divisive. The church often trusts a smiling false teacher ahead of a frowning defender.

False Teachers Give People What They Want

As Paul wrote his final letter to Timothy he warned that the time was coming when people would not endure sound teaching (and hence, sound teachers) but instead they would have itching ears and demand teachers who would satisfy this itch. False teachers do this very thing. Their concern is not for what people truly need, but for what people want. The concern of the Christian is the exact opposite—the gospel does not address what we want, but what we need!

False Teachers Are Not Innocent

False teachers know they are false teachers. This may not be true all the time, and perhaps some false teachers deceive themselves before they deceive others. But I believe most know who and what they are; in fact, I believe most know and delight in who and what they are. They are not naive people who have taken a wrong turn in their theology, but evil people who are out to destroy others. Their attack on truth is far more brazen than we may like to think.

False Teachers Cannot Tolerate the Gospel

False teachers simply cannot tolerate the gospel. At some level and in some way, they will always add to or subtract from the pure and sweet gospel of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. They may affirm the Trinity or inerrancy or the deity of Jesus Christ, but they will never fully affirm the gospel of the Bible.

http://www.challies.com/articles/lessons-ive-learned-from-false-teachers

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 21, 2014

Can Man Supernaturally Speak Things Into Existence?

"If we say it long enough eventually we're going to reap a harvest. We're going to get exactly what we're saying" - Joel Osteen (From BrainyQuotes)

“If we say it long enough eventually we’re going to reap a harvest. We’re going to get exactly what we’re saying” – Joel Osteen (From BrainyQuotes)

SOURCE: There is no question that the words we speak matter. They matter a lot. But do they have the power to create miracles?

I am not talking about the power of God’s Word to create miracles. That’s a given. I am not even talking about the miracle-working power of God in answer to prayer. That too is a given. Instead, I am talking about a special ability within man to speak things into reality.

Can man really speak miracles into existence simply by declaring whatever he wants to see happen?

At his recent stadium event in New York City, Joel Osteen invited a group of prominent pastors to speak “positive declarations” because he believes man’s declarations are able to create miracles. You know, the kind of miracles we tend to think only God can create.

One of the pastors on stage said, “We declare the supernatural favor of God over your finances.” Another said, “We declare a prosperity miracle upon your life and your pastor.” And other pastors made declarations covering a whole range of personal, family and community needs. But can “declaring” something you desire, no matter how noble, actually make it come true?

It’s a seductive thought. It’s like having your own little genie in a bottle, and you control the genie by the words you say. Speak words of health and wealth, and the genie magically grants you the specifics of your declaration. Actually, you are granting yourself the things you want by choosing to declare it in faith. Just believe it as you speak it into reality.

So I guess that makes you the genie. Hmm.

Too good to be true? Well, that assumes it is a “good” concept in the first place. Surely Jesus must have taught His disciples how to “declare” things into existence.

That is, if this special method of attaining health and wealth is really something the Lord wants us to be attempting.

The closest thing we see in the New Testament to believers “declaring miracles” might be when the disciples cast demons out of people. (see Luke 10:17 and Acts 5:16) Of course these miracles were only happening by the power of God in the name of Jesus. But nowhere does Jesus ever tell his disciples to “declare” their way to financial riches. Instead, Jesus warned His disciples about lusting for more money. Our Lord made it clear that man cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24-25)

Rather than teaching His disciples to “speak into existence” a boatload of material possessions for themselves, Jesus regularly told them just the opposite. That’s because true faith seeks first the kingdom of God, and the Lord provides for our needs as we rely upon Him to meet them. (Matthew 6:26-33)
Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 20, 2014

Occultic Origins of Joel Osteens Word of Faith Teaching

If you like Joel Osteen, you owe it to yourself to watch this video to learn where his teachings come from. His self help/thought power/word power teachings has been taught for hundreds of years in the occult. Going all the way back to the Theosophical Society, through the New Thought Movement and into what we now know as the New Age Movement, these teachings are not Christian and do not have their origins in the Bible or Christianity. This 13 minute clip shows quotes from occult literature to show the occultic origins of Osteen’s teaching.

In this video entitled “Joel Osteen on the Gospel” from the Joel Osteen Ministries Youtube channel, Joel really shows his disregard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He reduces the story of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection (for our sins) to an example for us to follow as to how to persevere. Joel states that in Jesus’s darkest moments He wanted to give up but decided to persevere like we must decide to persevere. And that in our Garden of Gethsemane moments we must remember that it is not over until God says it is over, so just hang in there.

But this should be scandalous. There is no mention of our sin and our salvation from the penalty of our sin.

gospel in a nutshell

There is no substitutionary atonement, there is no washing of sin by the shed blood of the Lamb to take away the sin of the world, in fact there is no mention of condemnation or salvation at all. Watch the following five minute video and I am sure you will agree that it is a disgrace for Osteen to belittle the work of Christ in the manner he does here.

And here in this three minute video from the Joel Osteen Youtube channel named “Joel Osteen – What kind of Gospel does he preach?”,, Osteen does it again. Is it not obvious that Joel Otseen does not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ?

FALSESOURCE: As the offering is about to be taken at the Compaq center, Joel Osteen’s wife and co-pastor Victoria urges generosity as a way of prompting God’s favor. “He not only wants to enrich you but do things for you you know nothing about,” she said. “Let him breathe the breath of life into your finances and he’ll give it back to you bigger than you could ever give it to him,” she said. To which the congregation, said, “Amen,” and the buckets went around. This paraphrased excerpt is but a part of a new article in today’s NY Times about the ministry and enormous success of Joel Osteen, and in particular his recent book ‘Your Best Life Now’. The whole article is worth reading. Here is the link.—-http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/30/books/30oste.html

With 20,000 peeople regularly showing up at his church in the Compaq center in Houston and bringing in revenues of millions on his bestseller book, it is not a surprise that many will wonder and ask— well what is wrong with a message that speaks about kindness, and generosity and success and prosperity? What could be wrong with this? What’s wrong with a message that hardly ever mentions Jesus by name, or sin, or suffering, or self-sacrifice? Of course this message of prosperity is not new in America, nor new to American Churches.

There used to be a TV preacher from New York called Reverend Ike. One of his core messages was on the supposed Scriptural topic— “The lack of money is the root of all evil”. He kept saying things like, if you have trouble handling money, send it to me. Osteen is far more slick than this, and in fact far more accountable. His ministry maintains public records and provides financial reports, and in fact he has not taken a salary since his book went mega-platinum. He has also reportedly signed an enormous contract for his second book with Simon and Schuster. He is then not a shister or a crook it would appear. His example seemsfar more beguiling than the obvious huckster. Wherein lies the problem then?

The problem is several fold, and it involves a fundamental replacement of what the Bible actually has to say about wealth, with what our culture says about wealth and prosperity. And of course when you preach a message that is heard as saying “God wants you rich” or is heard as saying “if you give generously to God (i.e. our ministry) he will repay you many times over”), then of course the implication is that the Gospel message is really all about us, and ways to get God to fulfill not merely our needs and desires but even our conspicuously consumptive dreams. But is God really a nurturer of a vision of life that says its all about me and my material success?

How very different indeed this message is from John Wesley’s Famous Sermon “On the Use of Money” in which he stresses that if you make all you can honestly and save all you can, but do not give all you can to relieve poverty, feed the hungry, make well the sick you may be a living person but you are a dead Christian. Wesley like the Bible warns of the enormous dangers of wealth, especially if it is used to provide one’s self with an opulent lifestyle while others have nothing to survive on. As Wesley suggests my luxuries should always come after someone else’s necessities, or I am living a selfish and self-centered life style. Wesley preached that Christians at the beginning of the industrial revolution should de-enculturate themselves, live simply, and have as their goal, giving so much to others during their lives that when they die they will have successfully given it all away. This sounds far less narcissitic and self-centered than the message of Osteen. And it comes from a different vision of God. God is not viewed as the grand sugar Daddy in the sky who exists to meet our every desire, and in particular our desire to live well, or even opulently. But forget the warnings of great church leaders of the past— what does the Bible say about such things?

First of all, I would stress that there are more warning about wealth in the New Testament, than about any other ethical subject with the possible exception of sexual and relational issues. And right off the bat this ought to seem odd to us, since only a small percentage of first century Christians had any prospect of getting wealthy. Why such a stress on a message that is the polar opposite to Osteen’s message in the NT when the audience was much poorer on the whole? It is a question worth asking. It has to do with fallen human nature and its desire to secure its own life on its own. But let’s start with some texts we will not likely be hearing preached from Osteen’s pulpit. Let’s start with Jesus.

The Sermon on the Mount would be Jesus’ version of “Your Best Life Now”. In it he says “Do not store up for yourselvss trasures on earth where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt. 6. 19-20.

This saying of course comes before the “do not worry about what you will eat, drink, or wear, because God will provide” message in 6.25-33. This text warns strongly against the accumulation of wealth, and in particular having and keeping for yourself more than you need. Jesus’ real concern is found at the end of vs. 21 in the saying about treasure. Human beings are acquistive by nature– consider how many Americans are addicted to shopping. Consider how our culture encourages us to think luxuries and necessities to the point that we can’t tell the difference between the two.

If you want to know where a person’s heart really is— follow the money. This could be said of all of us. And what happens to already self-centered acquistive persons when they are encouraged to be even more that way is that they commit idolatry. Their real center of existence is not God. They only relate to God for what they can get out of God. Their real center of existence is their own prosperity and life style— “God bless my standard of living”. we should have seen Osteen coming when the “Prayer of Jabez” became a run away best-seller and an excuse for continuing to think that God wants us all to be rich, even if it destroys our soul.

Notice as well that Jesus says quite clearly three things at the end of Mt. 6: 1) we should seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and the necessities of life will be added to us. Jesus does not say anything about wealth will be added to us. He says the necessities will be taken care of if we are God-focused and seeking his righteousness, not our profit. And while we are at it it is well to remember that when Jesus says “ask anything in my name…” this means “ask anything that is in accord with my will, in accord with all my other teaching about the dangers of money and wealth, the sorts of things I would ask for”. If you are praying prayers Jesus would not endorse, selfish and self-centered prayers, prayers about purely material success then you had best not sign Jesus’ name to them, nor should you expect him to answer yes to them. 2) Jesus’ teaching consistently tries to get us to focus on God and others, not our own desires or needs.

This is not in fact the character of Osteen’s preaching unfortunately. He is doing his best to make us feel comfortable and happy if we are wealthy, and to simply see it as a blessing from God. But even if on occasion God does bless someone with abundant material resources, the next question should be stewardship. The next question should be how should I use these resources so that God is glorified and others are helped. It should not lead to a “God bless my standard of living” and we give ourselves permission to live high off the hog. There should always be the thught that God has blessed you to be an abundant blessing to others, and I don’t just mean one’s own family.

Mt. 6. 24— “You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and wealth.” The issue is what is your object of ultimate concern? Where is your heart and treasure? When you take a human being who is acquisitive to begin with, and then take away all warnings about the dangers of wealth leading to idolatry, you are in trouble.

Someone should make a huge banner with this verse on it and hang it in front of the Compaq Center for all those entering to see. We could also hang up the Lukan beatitude “Blesssed are the poor” (Lk. 6.20). How about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16.19-31) which suggests that those who prosper in this life and do not help others will find the reverse is their condition in the life to come. So much for the slogan “he who dies with the most toys wins”. We could also focus on Jesus’ teaching about the fool who stockpiled his assests and of whom God required his life before he could get the full benefit from them. Have you notice that there is no theology of retirement, or pension accounts in the New Testament, no blessing of those who store things away just for themselves?

Jesus’ brother James is equally insistent about the dangers of wealth. Read James 2.1-7 where we hear among other things “God chose the poor of the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom.” He warns not to cozy up to the wealthy or give them preferential treatment not least because “Is it not the rich who oppress you?” You would have thought that after the Enron scandal the good Christian people of Houston would have become a little more wary of courting the rich and of lusting after the lifestyles of the rich.

Listen to what else James says “You covet something and cannot obtain it: so you engage in disputes and conflicts…You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God.” (James 4.2-6).

Paul in 1 Tim. 6.6-10 puts it this way “There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into this world, and we shall take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a rot of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” There could hardly be a much sterner warning against believing in the health and wealth Gospel than this one.

We need to stop listening to the siren song of our culture about the goodness of personal wealth and material prosperity. We need to advocate a theology of stewardship which puts other people’s necessities before our luxuries. We need to simplify our lifestyles and get a clear grasp on God’s prioirties including God’s especial concern for the poor and destitute of the world. We need to realize that what Jesus promised us if we seek the kingdom is not prosperity,but rather ‘just enough’ to take care of our basic needs. We need to remember that the Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray for daily bread, not for resources today that I could not possibly use in 10,000 lifetimes. We need to heed all the warnings about how wealth can destroy the soul of an inherently self centered and acquistive creature– namely any human being. We need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health— it is a disease of our American culture, it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.

Sometime ago when Donald Trump was riding high, he was interviewed on the subject of “how much is enough?” This was after he had assets totaling in the millions. His answer was very revealing— “a little bit more.” This is the truth about human nature, and what Paul says about that nature is that it needs to be crucified, not indulged, it needs to die not be pampered. The goal is this “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I wholive, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved mne and gave himsellf for me.” (Gal. 2.19-20). The model for the Christian life is not Donald Trump, it is that man who made the ultimate self-sacrifice, the man who lived simply, fed the hungry, hung out with the poor, and renounced conspicuous consumption— Jesus himself.

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/bibleandculture/2006/03/whats-wrong-with-prospering-the-gospel-according-to-joel-osteen.html

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 17, 2014

The Word-Faith Movement: Worldly Wealthy but Spiritually Poor

wealth-poverty-1702-20090322-1SOURCE: It is important to note that the bulk of the theology of the Word-Faith Movement can be traced directly to the cultic teachings of New Thought metaphysics. Thus, much of the theology of the Faith Movement can also be found in such clearly pseudo-Christian cults as Religious Science, Christian Science, and the Unity School of Christianity. Over a century before the Faith Movement became a powerful force within the Christian church, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866), the father of New Thought, was popularising the notion that sickness and suffering ultimately have their origin in incorrect thinking. Quimby’s followers believe that man can create his own reality through the power of positive affirmation (confession). Metaphysical practitioners have long taught adherents to visualise health and wealth, and then to affirm or confess them with their mouths so that the intangible images may be transformed into tangible realities.

Some of the teachings and practices of the movement can be traced to certain post-World War II faith healers and revivalists operating within Pentecostal circles. Both Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin point to T. L. Osborn and William Branham as true men of God who greatly influenced their lives and ministries. Of course, Osborn himself has consistently followed E. W. Kenyon’s Scripture-twisting antics, and Branham has denounced the doctrine of the Trinity as coming directly from the devil. Twisted texts, make-believe miracles, and a counterfeit Christ are all common denominators of the Faith Movement’s leading teachers. And, as all who look into the matter will clearly see, it all began with the metaphysical teachings of Essek William Kenyon.

Essek William Kenyon

Essek William Kenyon, whose life and ministry were enormously impacted by such cults as Science of Mind, the Unity School of Christianity, Christian Science, and New Thought metaphysics, is the true father of the modern-day Faith Movement. Many of the phrases popularised by present-day prosperity preachers, such as, “What I confess, I possess,” were originally coined by Kenyon. Kenneth Hagin, to whom we next turn our attention, plagiarised much of Kenyon’s work, including the statement, “Every man who has been ‘born again’ is an Incarnation … The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”

Kenneth E. Hagin

Kenneth Hagin takes Kenyon’s theology from bad to worse. Not only does he boast of alleged visits to heaven and hell, he recounts numerous out-of-body experiences (OBEs) on the earth as well. On one occasion, Hagin claims he was in the middle of a sermon when, suddenly, he was transported back in time. He ended up in the back seat of a car and watched as a young woman from his church committed adultery with the driver. The entire experience lasted about fifteen minutes, after which Hagin abruptly found himself back in church, summoning his parishioners to prayer. Despite his propensity for telling tall tales and describing false visions, virtually every major faith-movement teacher has been impacted by Hagin, including Frederick K. C. Price and Kenneth Copeland.

Kenneth Copeland

Kenneth Copeland started his ministry as a direct result of memorising Hagin’s messages. It wasn’t long before he had learned enough from Hagin to establish his own following. To say his teachings are heretical would be an understatement—blasphemous is more like it. Copeland brashly pronounces God to be the greatest failure of all time, boldly proclaims that “Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross” and describes Christ in hell as an “emaciated, poured out, little, wormy spirit.” Yet, despite such statements, Benny Hinn ominously warned that “those who attack Kenneth Copeland are attacking the very presence of God!”

Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 16, 2014

Word of Faith…Poison or Problematic?

Originally posted on Experience in the Word of Faith:

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Some will say the Word of Faith movement is okay as long as it’s taught with balance. Before I understood that I was involved in the word faith, I eventually came to see the teachings as very one-sided. I did not consider it an issue. But no matter how much divine health was preacher, it was never a reality for me or anyone around me. People continued to get sick. People continued to die. No matter how many times Pastor Breedlove referred to how people could be making negative confessions behind closed doors which could result in death, I viewed divine health as a promise for him alone.

I remember becoming angry when I learned what we were taught was taken from books written by other preachers. Many leaders in the word faith movement read books from written by Kenneth Hagin Sr., Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, T.L. Osborn, Fred…

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Joel-Osteen You-can-change-your-world__quotesSOURCE: Recently Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, came to our city to promote the new book, “Become A Better You”. The bookstore hosting his appearance reported selling roughly 600 of his books during the two and a half hour signing, attesting to the popularity of Osteen and his message.

That popularity does not come without controversy. Recently, CBS aired a report about Osteen on “60 Minutes” and included concerns raised by Osteen’s message, noting: “Many theologians from mainstream churches find Osteen’s message misleading and shallow.” But what are these concerns and, do they have any merit?

Primarily, they center on the belief his message, is at best, a very weak presentation of biblical principles and/or, at worst, a presentation of Word Faith teachings similar to those of his father. Recently, we asked Rob Bowman to research this and prepare a Profile for our Profile Notebook subscribers. Following is an edited excerpt of some of is findings regarding Osteen, his message, and some of the concerns being raised.

FINDINGS FROM THE JOEL OSTEEN PROFILE

Joel Osteen was born in 1963. His father, John Osteen, was a former Southern Baptist pastor, who in 1958 became a charismatic and dissociated himself from the Baptists. In 1959 he started Lakewood Church, an independent, nondenominational church in northeast Houston, Texas. In 1999 he died and Joel succeeded him as pastor, though he had preached his first sermon only the week before John’s death and his only formal training was one semester at Oral Roberts University.

When John died, Lakewood had about 6,000 members. The church now claims over 38,000 attend its services weekly, making it the largest church in America. Joel’s youth, understanding of television, and “positive” message are likely all factors in the explosive growth of Lakewood Church since he became its pastor.

Osteen’s book Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps To Living At Your Full Potential, published in November 2004, has sold between four and five million copies. According to Publishers Weekly, [the book] was to have a first printing of three million.

The January 2007 issue of The Church Report identified Joel Osteen as the “most influential Christian in America”, ahead of (for example) Billy Graham, Focus on the Family’s founder James Dobson, and U.S. President George W. Bush. In 2006, Barbara Walters profiled Osteen as one of her “10 Most Fascinating People in America”, describing him as “rich, famous, handsome, and adored by millions of fans on television each week”. Osteen’s popularity provoked Time magazine to run an article asking, “Does God Want You To Be Rich?” that highlighted Osteen’s controversial message.

Lakewood’s doctrinal statement: Lakewood Church’s doctrinal statement is for the most part theologically inoffensive. It affirms the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible; the Trinity (one God who exist in three distinct person: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”); the death, resurrection, and second coming of Jesus Christ; salvation “by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross”; the practices of Baptism and Communion; and the importance of growing in Christ. All of these affirmations are orthodox, and Osteen does not seem to contradict them in his teaching, although he rarely addresses these topics. Only Lakewood’s affirmation of growing in Christ is problematic, because of how it is interpreted in Osteen’s actual teaching: “We believe…as children of God, we are overcomers and more than conquerors and God intends for each of us to experience the abundant life He has in store for us.” The motto or slogan of the church, “Discover the Champion in You”, may actually be more informative of what the church teaches week by week than its doctrinal statement.

Osteen’s preaching: Before Osteen preaches, he leads his congregation every week (as did his father John) in reciting the following affirmation: “This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I’ll be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive. I’ll never be the same, in Jesus’ name.” Both in style and in substance, this affirmation or “positive confession” is a typical Word-Faith liturgy. The problem with the affirmation is not so much in what it says (we are, of course, what the Bible says we are), but in its focus (which is entirely on what the individual is, has, and can do) and in its implied meaning (that the individual is promised wealth and material success in this life).

The body of Osteen’s sermon (after an opening joke or story) typically focuses on a perceived negativity contemporary society – people are worried, or anxious, or lacking in confidence, or expecting failure – and the proposed solution of thinking and believing positively that God wants us to succeed, to be confident, to be at peace. Osteen backs up his prescription with a couple of biblical quotations and generous illustrations, typically drawn from his own life or from the recent successes of his church. The biblical quotations may be merely tacked on to the sermon at the end, as even Osteen admitted on Larry King Live; “I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon and I might feel bad about that.”

Osteen’s Word-Faith message: Osteen, like some other popular advocates of Word-Faith doctrine to emerge recently, rarely focuses on the doctrinally controversial elements of that doctrine. In fact, he rarely talks about doctrinal matters at all. His preaching and writing consist primarily of folksy illustrations of people succeeding in life through thinking positive thoughts. Nevertheless, he has explicitly taught various key elements of Word-Faith theology.

Words of faith: Osteen credits his wife Victoria with “speaking words of faith and victory” that led to their eventually building themselves a large, elegant home (Your Best Life Now, 7).

Positive and negative confession: According to Osteen, people “usually get what they expect; they become what they believe” (Your Best Life Now, 73). He says, “Our words have tremendous power, and whether we want to or not, we will give life to what we’re saying, either good or bad” (ibid., 122). “Words are life seeds. They have creative power…Our words tend to produce what we’re saying” (Become A Better You, 109). Therefore, we ought to speak “words of faith” and “faith-filled words” (ibid., 110, 111). “Something supernatural happens when we speak it out” (ibid., 115).

Faith as visualization: Right in the opening page of his book, Osteen asserts: “As long as you cant imagine it, as long as you cant’ see it, then it is not going to happen for you” (Your Best Life Now, 3, emphasis in original).

To live your best life now, you must start looking at your life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rise to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it’s possible if you ever hope to experience it (ibid., 4).

Positive conception: Some Word-Faith teachers claim that Mary conceived Jesus in her womb by her own act of positively confessing in faith that she would have a child. This doctrine appears to originate from Kenneth Copeland, and Osteen teaches it:

God is saying something similar to what he told the Virgin Mary and others throughout Scripture…My Question to you is: Will you believe? Will you allow that seed to take root? The angel told Mary that she would conceive with out knowing a man. In other words, God was saying it could happen through supernatural means. It can happen without the bank loaning you the money (Your Best Life Now, 10, 11).

Prosperity by faith: Prosperity or material success – in terms of career, finances, housing, and so forth – is a prominent aspect of Osteen’s teaching. The following statements are just a few examples. “God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas, and creativity:” (Your Best Life Now, 5). “God wants to give you your own house” (ibid., 35). “God wants to make your life easier” (ibid., 38).

Oddly, Osteen denies being a prosperity teacher. He told one interviewer, “I don’t in the least bit consider myself a prosperity-type preacher. I don’t think I’ve ever preacher a message on finances.” He made the same point to Larry King, stating, “As a matter of fact, I’ve never preacher a message on money.” Whether this is true or not, financial prosperity through faith is a theme that runs throughout his messages. Admitted, Osteen qualifies this teaching in some salutary ways, as when he says that he “can’t guarantee that you will become rich or famous” by following his teaching (Become A Better You, 14).

De-emphasis of sin and judgment: Osteen’s obsessive emphasis on the “positive” results in a neglect and even avoidance of the themes of sin and judgment. In his interview with King, Osteen admitted that he avoids calling people sinners: “But most people already know what they’re doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in you life. So I don’t go down the road of condemning.” In that same interview, Osteen was reticent even to suggest that non-Christians were under condemnation:

King: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?

Osteen: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know.

King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?

Osteen: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’ heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.

Reactions from evangelicals to these and similar comments by Osteen prompted him to post a clarification on his ministry web since (since removed): “I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t util I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.”

[End Edited Profile Excerpt]

Certainly, someone might ask, “What is the problem with being positive in the words we speak, or having a positive attitude? Nothing. The problem is not in having a good and positive outlook on life but, teaching or believing that having such an outlook and speaking positive words will actually bind God to provide whatever one speaks.

As Bowman points out in his Profile:

“Osteen’s primary message is to think positive thoughts, a message that is not specifically Christian at all. Consider the “7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential” in his book Your Best Life Now:

1. Enlarge your vision
2. Develop a healthy self-image
3. Discover the power of your thoughts and words
4. Let go of the past
5. Find strength through adversity
6. Live to give!
7. Choose to be happy

These seven steps would be at home just as much in Unity or Science of Mind as in the Word-Faith movement. There is nothing essentially Christian, or even particularly religious, about this message at all. In fact, a humanist would have no problem embracing these seven steps. Osteen sprinkles biblical quotations throughout the book (but so would a Unity publication) and relates these seven steps to a generic Christian belief, but these elements appear to be window dressing only. The “7 Keys to Improving Your Life” in Become A Better You are similarly generic advice that, for the most part, almost anyone could affirm (keep pressing forward, be positive toward yourself, and so forth).

“The Bible teaches neither positive thinking nor negativism, but rather a balanced realism that recognizes both negative and positive dimensions of human life in this age. Over and over again, it presents a balanced view of the righteous and the wicked (Ps. 1:6), the wise and the foolish (Prov. 10:1), human evil and human goodness (Matt. 7:11), and the future prospects of both eternal punishment and eternal life (Matt. 25:46). Paul was prepared to live or to die, expecting only to honor Christ whatever happened (Phil. 1:19-26). While he remained alive, he expected neither poverty nor prosperity, but learned to honor Christ and to be content in either case (Phil. 4:11-13).

Word-Faith theology is unbiblical. The doctrine that God expects human beings to be prosperous and healthy in this mortal life by speaking positive “words of faith” is a serious distortion of biblical theology. Our words cannot make things real (Prov. 14:23) except as we or others act on them (Prov. 18:21). God’s word, unlike ours, always produces results (Is. 55:6-11). Indeed, what we “confess” may be false (Rev 3:17). Perfect health and well-being are promised to Christians, but in the future resurrection life of the age to come (Rom. 8:10-11, 23; 1 Cor. 15:42-45).”

One of those who raised concerns about Osteen in the “60 Minutes” piece referred to his message as a “cotton candy gospel”. Maybe that is why so many find it appealing. After all, cotton candy sure does taste good; it is sugary sweet. However it also isn’t very filling and you certainly wouldn’t want a steady diet of it. In fact, it is filled with empty calories. Perhaps it also shouldn’t be lost on us that it is generally sold at carnivals, fairs, and other places of amusement.

Joel Osteen is, without question, energetic and motivating. His message is filled with hope and encouragement. But, is this consistent with Scripture, or is it more compatible with any of the many motivational speakers making the circuit these days, offering a “quick-fix”? Regardless of how Christians might feel about Osteen and his message, it certainly bears hearing with a discerning ear.

http://www.fmh-child.org/JoelOsteen.html

 

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 7, 2014

Joel Osteen Meets Pope Fransis at Vatican Ecumenical Event

Just months after the Pope sent an ecumenical message to Kenneth Copeland, a group of leaders from the Word of Faith movement, and Charismatics everywhere – Joel Osteen visits the Pope and says some very interesting things. Do you think Joel Osteen will agree with Angelican priest Tony Palmer – who is a personal freind of the Pope and delivered the Popes message to Copeland and other charismatics – that the Protestant Protest is over and we Protestants are all Catholics now. It seems that he would. Most Christians believe we are heading towards a one world government glued together by a one world religion. And it seems Osteen will be, wittingly or unwittingly, lending his smile and popularity to help that come about.

joel(SOURCE – HOUSTON CHRONICLE): On the same day his wife took 300 schoolchildren to the Bronx Zoo, Joel Osteen, the pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, was meeting Thursday with Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Osteen said Friday it was a great honor to represent the pastors of America in the meeting with the pontiff, whom he described as warm, personable and full of joy.

“I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller,” Osteen said. “He’s not pushing people out but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me.”

The unofficial meeting also included Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; former U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne; Tim Timmons, a pastor and author based in Newport Beach, Calif.; and Gayle D. Beebe, president of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., according to the Deseret News of Salt Lake City.

“We had very little time with him,” Osteen said. “We were going to have more time, but a cardinal died that morning.”

Pope Francis asked the group to pray for him and to pray for peace in the Middle East, Osteen said.

As part of a visit to promote interfaith understanding and ecumenical prayer, the meeting with Pope Francis was arranged by The International Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, Lee told the Deseret News.

Earlier in the week, the 15-member group met with Vatican staff members, toured the Vatican and attended the Convocation of Renewal at Olympic Stadium in Rome, according to a statement from Westmont College.

More than 50,000 charismatic Roman Catholics also attended the convocation, during which the pope knelt on the ground to pray, the Deseret News reported.

The day before the meeting with Pope Francis, Osteen said, he attended Mass in St. Peter’s Square with 100,000 people.

“Afterward, (the pope) spent an hour and a half going through the crowd with the Popemobile, greeting people,” he said. “It was very heartwarming to see him caring for people.”

Osteen said he met the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and had dinner with another cardinal in a stone house on the Vatican grounds. The small structure with magnificently painted ceilings served as the pope’s home 600 years ago, he said.

Osteen is scheduled to speak Saturday evening at Yankee Stadium as part of his “America’s Night of Hope” tour.

His flight from Rome arrived in New York Friday morning.

http://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Osteen-meets-with-Pope-Francis-at-Vatican-5533805.php?t=8e86d491ff7feb3516#/0

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 4, 2014

What Benny Hinn says about his Critics

BENNY HINNCOMPILED BY MICHAEL HOUKE: “Yes, Lord, I’ll do it. I place a curse on every man and every woman that will stretch his hand against this anointing. I curse that man who dares to speak a word against this ministry. But any man and any woman that raises his or her hand in blessing towards this ministry, I bless that man. I bless that home! I bless that family. Under this anointing, the words I speak cannot fall to the ground. Under this anointing, everything I say, happens.” (Benny Hinn, TBN September 10, 1999)

“I want to tell you why I believe people get sick…In 2 Chronicles 16, verse 10 – and I like to read this – verse 10 and 11 and 12, the bible says sickness comes when individuals attack preachers.” (Benny Hinn, Praise The Lord, TBN, June 8, 1998.)

“I want to use Holy Ghost machine gun to kill Heresy Hunters.” (Benny Hinn, Praise-a-thon TBN, November 8, 1990 )

“If you have attacked me, your children will pay for it.” (Benny Hinn, TBN “Heresy Hunters” October 23 1992)

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 3, 2014

Joel Osteen gets his own SiriusXM channel

osteen-politics
SOURCE
: NEW YORK (AP) – Texas pastor Joel Osteen is getting his own channel on SiriusXM satellite radio, which will air his sermon at Yankee Stadium this Saturday live nationally.

Osteen, who preaches to 40,000 people each week at Houston’s Lakewood megachurch, already shows his messages on the Trinity religious TV network and other television stations across the country. The new SiriusXM channel will feature live call-in shows hosted by Osteen and his wife, fellow Lakewood pastor Victoria Osteen, along with rebroadcasts of Osteen’s past sermons.

“It’s another way to get our message out,” Osteen said.

He said SiriusXM approached him about five years ago with the idea but the time wasn’t right.

“Five years ago we were still growing,” said Osteen, who studied television and radio at Oral Roberts University. “I didn’t think we could put the time and energy into it that we can now. We’re much more established and have a bigger library. It feels really right now.”

He said he’s considering Tuesday mornings as the best time for his call-in show. SiriusXM, which has 25.8 million subscribers worldwide, said Monday it will announce later when Osteen’s new channel will begin operation. Saturday’s broadcast of “America’s Night of Hope” at Yankee Stadium won’t be shown on television until later.

Scott Greenstein, president of SiriusXM, said people who aren’t inclined to watch one of Osteen’s television broadcasts may like the opportunity to check him out on their car radio. He said he was attracted to Osteen because he’s a charismatic figure with a wide following and a back catalog of material for programming.

“In the media business you tend to be New York- and L.A.-centric a little too much of the time, and there are a lot of things that are very important in the middle of the country,” he said.

Osteen took over his father’s ministry after his death and has built it to the point where Lakewood bought and renovated an arena that once housed the NBA’s Houston Rockets to hold its services.

http://www.khou.com/community/Joel-Osteen-gets-his-own-SiriusXM-channel-261532231.html

WALTER MARTINSOURCE: In 1980, on a cassette entitled “The Errors of Positive Confession,” and in subsequent tapes, which have been widely distributed nationally and internationally, I warned that the teachings of Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Earl Paulk, Charles Capps, and others of the so-called “faith teachers” were a perversion of biblical theology and could only lead to deeper heretical doctrines.

Since that time the doctrines of the born-again Jesus and of Christians being little gods have evolved from the original positive confession teachings. Christians are now being told that Jesus Christ not only needed to die on the cross for their sins but also suffered in hell for them, and then needed to be born again in order to become their Savior! People have been misled into believing that men are little gods since they were made in the image and likeness of God and are to take dominion over the earth because of their godhood.

It is an unchanging law that heresy begets heresy and error begets error when men depart from the objective authority of the Scripture.

This does not at all necessarily mean that individuals who fall into these errors are unbelievers. It need only mean that they are ignorant or sincerely mistaken. But those who refuse to repent of their heresies when shown the error of their ways must be classified as false teachers in the biblical sense.

Certainly, we at CRI are all for faith healing in its proper biblical sense. But to teach people that their faith is sovereign over the sovereignty of God is a gross perversion of the Bible. It is God who is on the throne of the universe, not the faith of His creatures. We are informed in 1 John 5:14 that if we ask anything “in accordance with His will” He hears us. It is axiomatic that if it is not in accordance with His will, He will not grant our petition no matter how sincerely we ask or how great the magnitude of our faith.

The faith movement has proven itself to be a divisive force splitting churches, dividing families, and leaving a trail of broken spirits and bodies belonging to those who believed that all they had to do was confess with their mouth and God was obligated to obediently perform. The God of the Bible is not some divine bellhop who jumps at the exercise of our faith. He is the sovereign Lord who works all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11), and, when it pleases Him, graciously takes into account the faith of His children.

The so-called positive confession movement has done a great disservice to the body of Christ by paving the way for the errors of the born-again Jesus, the little gods, and the dominion theology doctrines. In the end these things will come to nothing, because, as the Lord has reminded us, “Before Me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after Me … I am the first and I am the last, and apart from Me there is no God” (Isaiah 43:10, 44:6).

The Lord Jesus Christ died once for all, offering one sacrifice for sin forever. Nowhere does the Bible teach that He ever suffered in hell or that men may become gods. This is Mormon theology, cultic theology, and Christians should beware when they hear it. This theology divides and does not unite the body of Christ, and must be avoided at all costs (Romans 16:17; Titus 3:9-11).

 

http://www.gospeloutreach.net/growdanger.html

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | May 29, 2014

Is There Power in the Spoken Word?

Is There Power in the Spoken Word?

SOURCE: We live in a world of confusion, heresies, and blatant falsehood. A day doesn’t go by when I hear of churches accepting false teachings, or disowning certain Scriptures because they don’t believe they align with the teachings of Jesus. Some Christians will have courage to speak out against them, while others decide it’s best not to make waves.

False teachings creep into the Church easily, because believers trust their sincere Jesus-loving pastors. These teachers will lay God’s Word alongside a falsehood, making the principle appear to be true, thus giving continued life to a lie. It then grows and lures in others, and before you know it – they’ve created a monster.

The Word of Faith doctrine of “positive and negative confession” is one of these false teachings. By embracing a faulty view of faith, hundreds of thousands have been captivated by it. This teaching is inseparably linked to the belief that “faith is a force,” which maintains that words themselves actually contain the power to change reality (positively or negatively, depending on what kind of words are spoken) when coupled with the faith-force. So basically, “What you say is what you get.”

What most people don’t realize, is that the Word-Faith movement is one of the most subtle heretical systems to emerge during our lifetime. Their teachings dominate television ministries and make them appear like Biblical Christianity. Those involved in the movement have no idea of its cultic qualities and theology. The gospel of the Faith movement does produce results, but you will find that the gospel of metaphysics does as well.

Mary Baker Eddy

Some who have been in the movement may say that they have seen healing and miracles occur, but results can never be the criterion by which the truth of an idea is proven. If that were the case, Charismatics would have to claim Mary Baker Eddy as a prophetess, and Christian Science as the true Gospel. But Christian Science is not the true gospel and Word-Faith is deeply rooted in the metaphysical cult schools.[1]

Spiritual Laws and Formulas
New Agers follow a similar principal of the“Law of Attraction.” TheLaw of Attraction simply says that you attract into your life whatever you think about.  Your dominant thoughts will find a way to manifest. Sound familiar? This is the same kind of rhetoric heard in the Word-Faith movement. But what is actually taking place here? Is the occult world literally trying to offer mankind the “powers of creation and lordship?” These are powers that we as believers know belong to God alone. God never gave man the right to be his own master and live according to his own will. Yet, this is precisely what those promoting occult spiritual laws want. But you will find that it is what the vast majority of today’s Christian wants too.

It is, in fact, the exact same offer the serpent brought to Adam and Eve in the Garden — powers that will make you “like God.” “And the serpent said unto the woman, “You shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5). 

Essentially, faith teachers are recommending “formulas” that a person should follow in order to get whatever he/she wants from God. And, of course, Scripture verses are taken out of context and misused in order to try to justify these formulas. They demote God to make Him look more human than He is. They deify man to make us look more like God. 

Word-Faith theology’s view of spiritual laws and formulas can really only be understood in light of the doctrine of god in the metaphysical cults. The “god” that the metaphysical cults believe in is not a personal God who sovereignly governs the universe, but an impersonal force – “the Force,” “the Infinite Power,” “the Spirit of Infinite Life,” and “the Infinite Intelligence.” This infinite, but impersonal, force rules the universe indirectly through “immutable laws” rather than directly through His presence and wisdom. [2]

How are the Word-Faith and metaphysical cults similar?

Consider the similarities between the Word-Faith and the metaphysical teachings of New Thought, Christian Science,
Unity School of Christianity, Divine Science, the Church of Religious Science, and the Society of Healing Christ.

1. Metaphysical cults say: Faith is a force that both God and man can use 
 
Word-Faith says: “Faith is a force just like electricity or gravity” (Copeland), and it is the substance out of which God creates whatever is (Capps). God uses faith, and so may we in exactly the same way in order to produce the same results through obedience to the same “laws of faith” (Capps) that God applied in creation. “You have the same ability [as God has] dwelling or residing on the inside of you” (Capps). “We have all the capabilities of God. We have His faith” (Copeland).

2. Metaphysical cults say: Faith’s force is released by speaking words

Word-Faith says: “Words are the most powerful thing in the universe” because they “are containers” that “carry faith or fear and they produce after their kind” (Capps). God operates by these very same laws. “God had faith in His own words … God had faith in His faith, because He spoke words of faith and they came to pass. That faith force was transported by words … the God-kind-of-faith … is released by the words of your mouth” (Hagin). “Creative power was in God’s mouth. It is in your mouth also” (Capps).

3. Metaphysical cults say: Man is a “little god” in God’s class

Word-Faith says: “Man was designed or created by God to be the god of this world” (Tilton, Hagin, Capps). “Adam was the god of this world … [but he] sold out to Satan, and Satan became the god of this world” (Hagin). “We were created to be gods over the earth, but remember to spell it with a little ‘g’” (Tilton, Hagin, Capps). “Adam was created in God’s class … to rule as a god … by speaking words” (Copeland). “Man was created in the God class … We are a class of gods … God himself spawned us from His innermost being … We are in God; so that makes us part of God (2 Cor 5:17)” (Copeland).

4. Metaphysical cults say: Anyone — occultist or Christian — can use the faith-force

Word-Faith says: Because man is a little god “in God’s class: very capable of operating on the same level of faith as God” (Capps), and “because all men are spirit beings” (Hagin), therefore anyone, whether Christian or pagan, can release this “faith force” by speaking words if he only believes in his words as God believes in His (Hagin). “God is a faith God. God releases His faith in Words, [and we must do the same:] … Everything you say [positive or negative] will come to pass” (Capps). “Spiritual things are created by WORDS. Even natural, physical things are created by WORDS” (Hagin).

5. Metaphysical cults say: You get what you confess
 

Word-Faith says: The vital key is confessing, or speaking aloud, and thereby, releasing the force of faith. “You get what you say” (Hagin, Hunter). “Only by mouth confession can faith power be released, allowing tremendous things to happen” (Cho). “Remember, the key to receiving the desires of your heart is to make the words of your mouth agree with what you want” (Copeland). “Whatever comes out of your mouth shall be produced in your life” (Tilton). “They’re [his two children] 30-some years of age today, and I don’t believe I prayed more than half a dozen times for both of them in all these years. Why? Because you can have what you say — and I had already said it!” (Hagin).

6. Metaphysical cults say: Never make a negative confession   

Word-Faith says: The tongue “can kill you, or it can release the life of God within you … whether you believe right or wrong, it is still the law” (Capps). There is power in “the evil fourth dimension” (Cho). If you confess sickness you get it, if you confess health you get it; whatever you say you get” (Hagin). “Faith is as a seed … you plant it by speaking it” (Capps). “The spoken word … releases power — power for good or power for evil” (Bashan). Therefore, it is very important never to speak anything negative but only to make a positive confession — hence the name of the Positive Confession movement. [3]

The following metaphysical cults, which have ties to the Word of Faith, have said the following.

7. New Thought says: “This Infinite Power is creating, working, ruling through the agency of great immutable laws and forces that run all through the universe, that surround us on every side. Every act of our everyday lives is governed by these same great laws and forces . . . In a sense, there is nothing in all the great universe but law.”

8. Unity School of Christianity says: “The mental and spiritual world or realms are governed by laws that are just as real and unfailing as the laws that govern the natural world. Certain conditions of mind that are so connected with certain results that the two are inseparable. If we have one, we must have the other as surely as night follows day.”

In other words, “every thought of the human mind causes an effect in the universe through the operation of spiritual laws.” In such teachings, man does not have to deal with a personal God, but rather with impersonal laws that can be manipulated by anyone, regardless of their standing with God. Faith is merely a formula by which you manipulate the universe, by which you manipulate things.

Kenyon and Spiritual Laws

Kenyon
E.W. Kenyon (1867–1948), one of the first proponents of Word of Faith,  referred to “the great spiritual laws that govern the unseen forces of life,” in many of his writings. He espoused the metaphysical version of deism, a universe governed by spiritual laws, instead of by God. So, in practice, the Word of Faith “god” does not differ from the god of the metaphysical cults, and both must do the bidding of universal laws that are activated by human faith.

Therefore, the numerous healings and miracles occurring in the Word-Faith movement are not necessarily signs from God, and the Faith gospel may not be the Gospel of the New Testament. Charismatics who assume that healings vindicate truth are overlooking the fact that almost every major religion and cult the world has ever known, has produced healings. For every god there is a religion, and in every religion there are healings.

Smith Wigglesworth has also been given credit as an early proponent of the metaphysical. In 1944, the teaching that stated: “What you say will come to pass. Speak the word and the bound shall be free, the sick shall be healed,” was written by Pentecostal evangelist Smith Wigglesworth in a publication titled Pentecostal Evangel. It is viewed by some to be a significant point on the timeline of 20th century ecumenical apostasy.

Smith Wigglesworth

Granted, the Faith movement does claim to heal “in the name of Jesus,” but this proves nothing, because the New Thought movement does also. Both the Faith movement and metaphysical cults incessantly use the name of Jesus. Because of the historical connection between the two, the question that must be raised again is whether the Jesus of the Faith movement is the Jesus of the New Testament. Perhaps the Jesus of the Word-Faith movement is “another Jesus” (2 Cor. 11:4) and the gospel of the Faith movement is a “different gospel” (Gal. 1:6).

More Background on Kenyon and the Metaphysical Cults
E. W. Kenyon established his ministry in the late 1800s. Kenyon adopted the teachings of New Thought. New Thought is a spiritual movement which developed in the United States during the late 19th century and emphasizes metaphysical beliefs. It is a set of beliefs concerning the effects of positive thinking, the law of attraction, healing, life force, creative visualization, and personal power. The beliefs of New Thought are based in a variety of religious and philosophical sources, including Platonism (with its emphasis on the realm of Ideas), Swedenborgianism (biblical interpretation based on the view that the material realm has spiritual causes and divine purposes), Hegelianism (a philosophy identifying the nervous organism as the meeting ground of the body and the mind); spiritual teachings of Eastern religions like Hinduism, and especially the Transcendentalism of the 19th-century American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson.[4]

Emma Curtis Hopkins
There have been two people who have claimed to found New Thought – Phineas Quimby (1802-1866) and Emma Curtis Hopkins (1849-1925), a former student of Mary Baker Eddy of Christian Science. Hopkins wrote High Mysticism and Scientific Christian Mental Practice and founded the Emma Hopkins College of Metaphysical Science, where the vast majority of graduates were women. The two most commonly-held and fundamental beliefs in New Thought are: (1) the Divine is in all things and (2) the mind is much more real and powerful than matter.[5]
What most people don’t realize is that the New Age movement, with the help of Alice Bailey, articulated and enlarged the Spiritualism of the 19th century Helena Blavatsky, Phineas Quimby, and Mary Baker Eddy, and brought it to a new level of metaphysical sophistication into the 20th century. [6] As you watch the video, you will see how New Thought and Christian Science has been woven together. The video give credit to Phineas Quimby’s New Thought as the forerunner to the New Age movement.

Does a Christian compromise his faith if he uses the metaphysical faith-force?
Are there power in words? Yes, I believe there is. Is positive confession to be used as a tool to get what a Christian wants? No, I believe that by doing this, a believer has compromised, because it uses mystical practices.
The point of magic in Witchcraft is to make the “bendable” world bend to your will.[7] Christians are not to bend the world to our will. God has provided the Christian with prayer, and it is the only means by which we have communication with Him and convey our requests. We are given answers according to His will.

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

“I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me.” John 5:30

It’s plain and simple, with no formula required!

In Dave Hunt’s book Beyond Seduction, he said, “In the world of the occult, the metaphysical “mind power” of one’s belief is reinforced by speaking it aloud. This act releases what occultists call the “creative power of the spoken word” and brings into existence whatever one says or decrees. This occult idea forms the basis for mantras, incantations, and hexes. Nevertheless, the faith teachers continue to expound upon this unbiblical and occult thesis and represent it to be the teaching of Scripture through their ministry in the pulpit, radio, and television, and in books such as The Tongue – A Creative Force and You Can Have What You Say.

So you see, God provides boundaries, and they are for our benefit. Dabbling in the metaphysical is mysticism, and mysticism is the occult. The word “occult” means hidden, and when we hold that words have hidden powers in themselves, we are saying they have occultic powers. Contrary to what many Charismatic Christians believe about the power of their personal positive and negative confession, the practice has crossed the line. Their confessions become more like magical rituals, than an exercise of faith.

But, make no mistake, the Lord does not function through magic! It completely ignores His Sovereign Will for a person’s life as the individual attempts to operate within particular “laws” to bring about what he desires for his own life. Attempting to operate outside the Will of God and/or rebelling against His will is witchcraft (I Sam. 15:23).

Anton LaVey helps us see how Lucifer has manipulated his way at an attempt to reach the top. He wrote, “Satanic ritual is a blend of Gnostic, Cabbalistic, Hermetic, and Masonic elements, incorporating nomenclature [system of principles] and vibratory words of power from virtually every mythos ….”  In these rituals, the knowledge of the right words, appropriate phrases and the more highly developed forms of speech, gives man a power over and above his own limited field of personal action.”

Power and success are why so many people are willing to sell their soul to the devil!

The True Power of Words

In Biblical Christianity, we learn that the Word of God carries power to restrain (Psa. 119:9, 11), guide (Psa. 119:133), it is living and active (Heb. 4:12), it is a source of joy (Psa. 119: 47, 97, 162), of new life (1 Peter 1:23), and a source for spiritual food (1 Peter 2:2). The Word can deliver from troubles (Psa. 107:20), make free (John 8:32), illuminate (Psa. 119:130), bear witness (John 20:31), produce faith (Rom. 10:17), delight the heart (Jer. 15:16), and it has the ability to destroy the world in judgement (2 Peter 3:5-7).

God’s spoken Word produces a crop (Matt. 13:23). The “good seed,” the truths preached, have an affect by the Gospel being preached.

In Romans 10:8-10, the Bible says that our spoken confession of heartfelt belief has the power to bring salvation. “If you confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For man believes with his heart and so is justified, and he confesses with his lips and so is saved.”

On the negative side, we find that words alone have the ability to wound (Prov. 26:22), sustain (Isa. 50:4), determine destiny (Matt. 12:36, 37), and stir up anger (Prov. 15:1). They can invoke a blessing upon another (Gen. 24:60; Gen. Gen. 27:4, 27) and invoke a curse (Gen. 3:17; Gen. 4:11; Gen. 9:25; Gen.9:47; Deut. 28).

Definition of Faith

Conclusion
Biblical faith is not magic.Yes, God does send His power as a result of proper faith, but faith is not the power of God in and of itself. Neither does “speaking words of faith” exercise the power of God. God exercises His own power. No human can direct or command the power of God. Humans only receive what the Lord sovereignly supplies.Faith is not the power of the mind, nor an attitude of mind over matter. Faith is trust and rest, specifically in the work Jesus did at Calvary.

http://fanaticforjesus.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-there-power-in-spoken-word.html

moneySOURCE: The prosperity gospel goes by many names: Word of Faith, Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It. This “different gospel” teaches that God provides rewards, including personal happiness, financial wealth and physical health, for believers who have sufficient faith. Prosperity theology developed in America in the last century and has been called a “baptized form of capitalism.”

The preachers associated with the movement — including Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, and Creflo Dollar — have some of the largest congregations and best-selling books in the country, and they host television programs that seem to air at all hours of the night (and are some of the most-watched programming around the world).

But a number of prominent pastors, including John Piper, Albert Mohler, and Matt Chandler, have taken prosperity preachers to task, denouncing their teachings as a perversion of Christianity. As per a TIME cover story: “Prosperity soft-pedals the consequences of Adam’s fall — sin, pain and death — and their New Testament antidote: Jesus’ atoning sacrifice and the importance of repentance.”

Prosperity critics point out that in the Bible, Christians are assured persecution (2 Tim. 3:12) and suffering (Acts 9:16) and admonished toward self-denial (Mark 8:34). So which verses grant hope for new cars, job promotions and good health? Here are 10 verses prosperity preachers misuse to promise Christians health and wealth:

1. John 10:10 — “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

The signature verse of the prosperity gospel, John 10:10 is used to suggest that God loves his followers and wants them to have every good thing. But interpreting this verse to promise physical gain neglects the depth suggested by its context.

The preceding verses illustrate the parable of the sheep and their good shepherd, Jesus, who calls them by name. The sheep know the good shepherd’s voice and follow. Verse 10 contrasts Jesus with false shepherds who steal and kill and destroy. The abundance of life suggested here has to do with knowing and being known by Jesus, not material things. The Tyndale Commentary explains, “He does not offer them an extension of physical life nor an increase of material possessions, but the possibility, nay the certainty, of a life lived as a higher level of obedience to God’s will and reflecting his glory.”

2. James 4:2 — “You do not have because you do not ask God.”

This verse is used to bolster the “name it and claim it” part of the prosperity gospel — if you don’t “have,” it’s because you haven’t prayed enough. This interpretation ignores the verse that follows, in which James says, “When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.”

Creflo Dollar says this of prayer: “When we pray, believing that we have already received what we are praying, God has no choice but to make our prayers come to pass.”

While prayer (including intercessory prayer) is crucial to the life of a Christian, using it to force God into appeasing the believer’s desires also goes against the very prayer Jesus prayed on the eve of his crucifixion: “Yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42

 

3. Mark 10:29-30 — “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age.”

Prosperity preachers are known for their emphasis on giving, which on its face seems to line up with scripture. However, the motivation they teach — giving in order to get — distorts the biblical tradition.

In God’s Will Is Prosperity, Gloria Copeland writes of this verse, “Give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000 . . . in short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.” But of course, that’s not what this verse is promising. The reward indicated here is fellowship with hundreds and thousands of other believers. The following verse (10:31) provides further clarity: “But many who are first will be last, and the last first.” This verse encourages ordinary, obedient discipleship, not personal gain.

4. Galatians 3:14 — “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus.”

Prosperity preachers apply this verse to their misinterpretation of the Abrahamic covenant found in Genesis, which they read as God promising financial blessings to Abraham’s descendants. In Spreading the Flame, Edward Pousson writes, “This Abrahamic inheritance is unpacked primarily in terms of material entitlements.”

Again, an entire portion of the verse is neglected. The Apostle Paul concludes 3:14 by writing that Jesus sacrificed “so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.” David Jones, author of Health, Wealth and Happiness, writes that Paul is reminding the Galatians of the spiritual blessing that is salvation, not that of wealth in this life.

5. 2 Corinthians 8:9 — “Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.”

Prosperity teachers read this verse to suggest that Jesus’ sacrificial death affords us temporal wealth. Most Christians agree that when Paul says that Jesus was “rich,” he’s referring to his status as the Son of God. And his becoming poor was his voluntary act of stepping into humanity — the incarnation.

Indeed, Paul was telling early Christians that because of the grace afforded them, they should empty themselves. The goal was equality, and in verse 15, Paul recalls Exodus 16:18, saying, “as it is written: ‘The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.’”

6. 3 John 2 — “Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.”

In a prosperity gospel context, this verse is read to claim that physical health is inseparable from spiritual growth — if a believer were truly faithful enough, he would be experiencing bodily blessings.

However, 3 John 2 is simply a greeting — it’s how John begins his letter to Gaius, similar to how any polite person might begin a letter with well wishes. It was not a promise to Gaius, and certainly is not meant to be taken as a promise that none of God’s people will ever fall ill.

7. Malachi 3:10 — “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse . . . and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

This verse is a powerful fundraising tool for prosperity preachers, manipulating believers into tithing more by saying God will return the favor exponentially. But as D. A. Horton explains, this verse has nothing to do with individual riches; rather, it arises from a particular historical situation for Israel: “The Israelites were robbing God by not giving enough food to the national storehouse that was used to feed the priests of Israel. So the priests were having to leave their priestly duties and take up farming to survive (see Neh. 13:10-13). God therefore exhorts Israel to test him by giving obediently. If they did, he would reward them as he did in the past.”

8. Isaiah 53:5 — “The punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Whereas most Christian scholars see this verse as a prophecy that spiritual wounds (sin) are healed (overcome) by the atoning work of Jesus on the cross, prosperity gospel preachers interpret it to mean that abundant faith will result in physical healing.

Kenneth E. Hagin, one of prosperity gospel’s founders, writes, “It is the plan of Our Father God, in His great love and in His great mercy, that no believer should ever be sick; that every believer should live his full life span down here on this earth.”

9. Jeremiah 29:11 — “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’”

One of the most misunderstood verses by Christians more generally (see “Five Bible Verses You Need to Stop Misusing”), Jeremiah 29:11 is often used to promise good news, suggesting that God works every seemingly bad situation for our benefit in the not-so-distant future.

But this verse come amidst Jeremiah’s letter to the exiles in Babylon, and it would be 70 more years before they would return to home. The verse is not a promise to Christians today who lose jobs or experience heartbreak of any kind. It was a promise to the Israelites that God, on his own timetable and plan, would restore his people.

10. John 14:14 — “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”

Similar to James 4:2, prosperity preachers misinterpret this verse to suggest that God will answer the prayers of the faithful. But Christians praying for financial wealth should consider the words of Jesus from Matthew 19:24: “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”

Jesus speaks the words in John 14:14 as a way of encouraging his disciples to spread the gospel of his kingdom. The verses before and after provide useful context: “Whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do” (14:12); and, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (14:15).

http://www.faithstreet.com/onfaith/2014/05/09/ten-verses-prosperity-gospel-preachers-need-stop-misuising/32019

SOURCE: Virtually every morning I try to catch up on news and sports while running on my treadmill. Often the running (mostly walking) is accompanied by the vigorous exercise of my remote. Recently, I flipped into an interview involving Singaporean mega-pastor Joseph Prince. The more I tuned in, the faster my heart rate. Disregard for the meaning and context of Scripture was simply breathtaking. It all led up to taking a shower and beginning work on a book now titled The Osteenification of American Christianity.

Why Osteenification? Because Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation. And while a host of pretenders (including Prince) follow in his train, Osteen is clearly the biggest of the bunch—according to People magazine, “twice as big as the nearest competitor.” And his claim to America’s largest church is just a small part of the story. With one billion impressions per month on Facebook and Twitter, Osteen is the hip new personification of God-talk in America.

But here’s the problem. Behind Osteenian self-affirmations—“I am anointed,” “I am prosperous,” “My God is a ‘supersizing God’”—there lies a darker hue. Behind the smile is a robust emphasis on all that is negative. If you are healthy and wealthy, words created that reality. However, if you find yourself in dire financial straits, contract cancer, or, God forbid, die an early death, your words are the prime suspect. Says Osteen, “We’re going to get exactly what we’re saying. And this can be good or it can be bad” (Discover the Champion in You, May 3, 2004). In evidence, he cites one illustration after the other. One in particular caught my attention: the story of a “kind and friendly” worker at the church. He died at an early age, contends Osteen, “being snared by the words of his mouth” (I Declare [FaithWords, 2012], viii–ix).

This illustration serves to underscore a predictable trend; a trend now pandemic in American Christianity. Osteen and company simply use the Scriptures to communicate whatever they want. Again and again, Scripture is tortured in the process of deluding the faithful. As even the most cursory reading of Proverbs 6 makes plain, being “snared by the words of your mouth” has nothing to do with negatively professing death into one’s own life and everything to do with a divine warning against making rash pledges.

While in The Osteenification of American Christianity I highlight the Osteenian proclivity for Scriptorture, atonement atrocities, and obsession with anecdotes on generational curses and frequent use of urban legends, what Osteen has most popularized in Christian circles is a baptized version of New Thought Metaphysics. In essence, a version of “the law of attraction” popularized by Rhonda Byrne in her runaway bestseller The Secret (Atria Books, 2006). For Byrne, the genie is the “law of attraction,” which, for Osteen, is rejiggered “the Word of Faith.” As such, he is committed to the notion that faith is a force, that words are the containers of the force, and that through the force of faith people create their own realities. As he explains in his mega-bestseller, Your Best Life Now (Warner Faith, 2004), “You have to begin speaking words of faith over your life. Your words have enormous creative power. The moment you speak something out you give birth to it. This is a spiritual principle, and it works whether what you are saying is good or bad, positive or negative” (p. 129).

Byrne and her contributors are remarkably open to dangerous hues of “the secret’s” dark underbelly. As such, she points out events in history “where masses of lives were lost.” Says Byrne, “If people believe they can be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they have no control over outside circumstances, those thoughts of fear, separation, and powerlessness, if persistent, can attract them to being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” She emphatically concludes, “Nothingcan come into your experience unless you summon it through persistent thoughts” (The Secret, 28). Likewise, when Osteen describes the horrific genocide of nearly one million Rwandans, the implications are never far from the surface. Wherever tragedy strikes, thoughts and words are at the center of the narrative.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | April 9, 2014

VIDEO: Is lack of healing an indication of lack of faith?

This clip answers the question: Is lack of healing an indication of lack of faith? From The John Ankerberg Show series entitled, “God’s Comfort When You are Discouraged, Depressed, and Fear the Future”. Joni Erickson Tada responds wonderfully to this question.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | April 1, 2014

You cannot “speak things that are not as though they are”

SPEAK 3SOURCE: There are scads of beliefs I hear among Christians that just make me itch. I hear “verses” “quoted” with authority, but they are either taken wholly out of context, or simply not found in the bible at all! I have sat and percolated long enough, and can no longer just let them fly by. As Christians, we believe in an absolute truth, and as such we should have a higher standard. If not, we are worse than crazy people forwarding urban legends to everyone in our contact list.

I figured tonight I’d start with one that has bothered me for years, but I’ve heard it in passing a few times this past weekend. It is THE POWER OF THE TONGUE. Oooooooooooh. (Cue dramatic music.) This concept is most commonly found in the horribly disturbing (and heretical, btw) Word of Faith movement. It is also referred to as “positive confession”, “speaking life (or death)”, and other odd phrases. Besides being churchy jargon that sounds impressive in a testimony, it is also wholly baseless and unbiblical. There are no verses that state that we can bring literal life into existence. We are never instructed to “speak life into” a situation. There are also no examples of the disciples doing so. And perhaps most importantly, Jesus never told us to do so!

This doctrine is a very loose patchwork of verses that does not hold water. The phrase that I’m sure you have heard repeated on more than one occasion is that we should “call things that are not as though they were”. This sounds like faith, right? Actually – no. This appears one place in the bible. It is in Romans 4:17 when Paul is identifying God to a Roman audience. He wants to differentiate God from the other gods. Not Zeus. Not Apollo. Not any of the other gods Paul encountered on Mars Hill. The God of creation as recounted in the Jews’ books of Genesis. The God who spoke “let there be”, and there was. This is Paul being very clear with his listeners who knew LOTS of gods. He was making a point. “I’m talking about the God of Abraham. Heard of him? I am referring to the God who calls things which are not as though they were. Know the guy? Yeah – him.” Paul made his point. But the Word of Faith movement has cut the tail end of this verse and has pasted it into lots of other verses that mention the tongue. The trouble is – God didn’t do that. Jesus never made such a connection either. The only biblical references to speaking things into existence make it clear that this is God’s domain – not ours.

One of the cut-and-paste verses popularly associated with the Romans phrase is Psalms 37:4: “Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” This is not God instructing us how to get what we want. This is God instructing us how to want what we get. If we truly delight in the Lord, will we really desire anything selfish? No – if truly find our delight in the Lord, that means we are becoming more like him. And if we become like him, what grieves him grieves us. What brings him joy brings us joy. His desires become our desires. Then we will see the desires of our heart because we have a new heart. Jesus expanded on this same principle in Luke 12. In short – don’t worry about food, clothes, or even your very life, because God knows what you need. Seek God’s kingdom, and these things will be given to you. For wherever your treasure is, your heart will follow. Doesn’t that sound kind of like “delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart”? No speaking. No claiming. No positive confessions. Just good old Micah 6:8: “…act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

So does the bible say anything about the tongue having power? Absolutely! Not that kind of power though. Solomon was a wise man, so he wrote with a lot of metaphors. He described things with flowery language to make an impact. So rather than saying “what you say can make people feel good or bad”, he said “your tongue has the power of life and death!”. Sounds cooler, doesn’t it? And it gets the message across quite plainly. Too many people trying to build a doctrine around Romans 4:17 use tons of Proverbs (and other scriptures) in their cut-and-paste theology.

In case you still have doubts, look at another commonly used verse – Proverbs 18:21 … “The tongue has the power of life and death” Wow! Sounds powerful! Wait – read the rest of it too: “…and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Do you have fruit growing out of your tongue? If you have bananas and limes springing from your mouth, call me! Because to claim that this verse is to be taken literally, you had better be making fruit salad right out of your mouth.

The true meaning is better expressed in Prov 15:1-4:
“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouth of the fool gushes folly… The tongue that brings healing is a tree of life, but a deceitful tongue crushes the spirit.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it? How good do you feel after someone encourages you? Doesn’t that bring you life, in a sense? It is invigorating! It affirms us and motivates us to press on! Similarly, how deeply is our heart cut when we are criticized or shamed? Don’t you just feel like dying? It kills our hopes and dreams, and demoralizes us completely.

Yes, the tongue is incredibly powerful. Yes, it brings life or death, but to our souls and to our relationships. We are to make disciples of all nations. We are to encourage one another and care for one another. Doesn’t this require that we speak to one another? How important then is it that we think before we speak? Our prayer should be like David’s “Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD; keep watch over the door of my lips.” (Ps 141:3)

The power of the tongue lies in its ability to affirm and love in order to initiate and build relationships. The negative potential does not bring physical death to a person, but the end of relationship and the wounding of a heart. This reinforces the entire NT message of the importance of community.

If you think I’m just picking verses that reinforce my interpretation of the tongue’s power, try the following – or search for yourself. The bible is quite clear on the topic. I just didn’t want to take any more space than I already have! Pr. 10:31, Pr. 12:18, Ps. 34:13, Is. 50:4, Col. 4:6, Pr. 10:11, Pr. 18:4, Pr. 12:25, Pr. 13:3, Pr. 21:23.

This concept and teaching is yet another example of what Paul warned us to watch out for in 2 Timothy 4:3-4

“For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”

*** Addition ***

It occurred to me this morning that I missed another popular aspect of this teaching. Since I was a kid, I have encountered people who seemingly live in terror over getting sick. Oddly, they express this as faith. Here’s what I mean:

They take those same scriptures about the tongue having power of life and death, but read it as health and sickness. They use the phrases I mentioned before. They will say “I will not confess with my tongue that I am sick – that is agreeing with the enemy.” Or, “I do not have the flu. I merely have all the symptoms of the flu. I will not claim that.” Actually, you do have the flu. Also, you are silly. Sickness exists in a fallen world. It is not the evidence of having “let something into your life” or the result of a “negative confession”. It is the result of being in a place where viruses, bacteria, fungi and other nasties hang out – namely, earth.

http://sarcasticxtian.com/2010/02/you-cannot-speak-things-that-are-not-as-though-they-are/

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | April 1, 2014

So You Think You Can Speak Things Into Existence?

speakSOURCE: I got an ear infection a few months ago and it never really went away. Whenever I tell certain Christians how I’m feeling, their first response is, “Don’t speak that” or “Stop speaking death. You’re healed in the name of Jesus.”

I used to go along with it, thinking that if I simply spoke of and prayed for healing that it would come. Almost a year later, I’m still suffering from the same symptoms, finally understanding where the “name it and claim it” doctrine comes from and why it’s so problematic.

The Word of Faith teaches that God wants his people to be “healthy, wealthy, and happy all the time, and that speaking the right words, in faith, compels God to deliver on his part of the covenant.” (About.com) I, too, grew up believing that God was an omnipresent, all-powerful Santa Claus. I viewed hard times, sickness, and singleness as a curse and assumed that whenever my life wasn’t going according to plan, I had done something wrong.

It wasn’t until I started studying the Bible that I realized God never intended for us to live the “good life” in the American sense of the word. Not only does God guarantee suffering for Believers, He expects us to rejoice in the midst of it. (James 1) But it’s impossible to rejoice in something that you refuse to acknowledge.

The Word of Faith movement not only opposes the Gospel by encouraging denial and stressing prosperity, but also suggests that we as mere humans are just as powerful as God. By believing that we can speak things into existence, we’re essentially saying that we could create another earth if we wanted to. (It all started with a word, right?) The idea that our words have supernatural power may seem Biblically sound given scriptures like Proverbs 18:21 (Death and life is in the power of the tongue…) and Matthew 11:23 (“Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.”) But while Jesus invites us to submit our requests to God in prayer and in faith, the Bible makes it clear that our requests are granted only in accordance with God’s will, not our own.

James reinforces this point in James 4:2-3.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | April 1, 2014

VIDEO: Can We Speak Things Into Existence?

VIDEO DESCRIPTION: “….. a light-hearted but sincere approach to a very serious topic: Can We “Speak Things Into Existence?” Please take this video in the spirit of grace and love that it was intended for. Ultimately, it’s not about trying to outsmart or “out-Bible” you. It’s about pleading with you to carefully consider what you are being taught and turn to the Scriptures of God (in proper context) as your ultimate truth. Some people believe this doctrine of “speaking things into existence”, “decreeing and declaring” etc to different degrees; some more than others. Either way, it does find its roots in the unorthodox theology of Word of Faith, which is relatively new and not in agreement with historical Christianity.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 27, 2014

The Cult Of Do Not Judge by Phil

JUDGE NOTSOURCE: The premise is something that I’m sure we have all heard before, God tells us not to judge.  I know personally, I thought this was biblical truth for about the first 19 years of my life.  Even when I wasn’t living as a Christian, I would have told you that the bible says not judge each other.  But, does it really?

Judge not, that you be not judged. – Matthew 7:1

Well that was easy, see you later!  Actually, not so fast.  While it would appear that the bible clearly states not to judge, if you do then you will be judged as well.  Well for starters, we know that everyone will face judgement in the end (Revelation 20:11), so is Matthew saying “Don’t judge or you will you be judged as well!  But you’re going to be judged anyways, but still don’t!”.  I don’t think so.  If you continue on to read Matthew 7, we see that he then goes on to talk about the hypocrisy in condemning a brother for something that we also struggle with.  In other words, if we are struggling with Lust then we probably shouldn’t be berating others for the same sin.

However, the bible DOES tell us (in John 7:24) not to judge by our own opinions, but instead judge by the word of God, that is what it means to judge righteously.  God always encouraged his people to judge.  He told the prophets to judge the false prophets, and Israel reacted the same way people react today, “Your being negative oh you never have anything good to say”.  In 2 Thess. 3:14-15, Paul says things that many people would say is very “judgmental” and wrong by today’s unbiblical standards.  He tells us to admonish those as brothers who do not obey Paul’s epistle.

 

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 27, 2014

Whither the Prosperity Gospel? by Russell D. Moore

PROSERITYSOURCE: A few months ago, the American Scholar published a cover story on the collapse of Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral. The article, by Jim Hinch, used the Cathedral as a parable for evangelicalism itself.

I found myself just now shouting “Amen” to the comments of a letter-writer from Charlottesville, Virginia, responding to the piece in the latest issue of the journal. The writer, Tony Tian-Ren-Lin, takes the journal to task for not understanding the difference between Schuller’s “gospel” and, well, the Gospel.

The Crystal Cathedral wasn’t, he points, out, evangelical at all. Institutionally, it was part of the mainline Reformed Church in America (that’s how you say “Presbyterian Church (USA)” in Dutch), and Schuller’s mission was not to call people to repentance of sin but to higher self-esteem. “If anything, the fall of the Crystal Cathedral represents the decline of that branch of mainline Protestantism,” he writes.

So, the question remains, where are all the people who once thronged the Crystal Cathedral. The Charlottesville correspondent explains to the American scholars: “They are at home, having their self-esteem puffed up by a new breed of prosperity-Gospel preacher, including Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and T.D. Jakes.”

This is exactly right. The prosperity gospel isn’t just another brand of evangelicalism. It isn’t “evangelical” at all because it’s rooted in a different gospel from the one preached and embodied by Jesus Christ. The prosperity gospel is far more akin to the ancient Canaanite fertility religions than it is to anything announced by Jesus, the prophets before him, or the apostles after him.

We shouldn’t be that hard on the secular world for failing to see the difference between the prosperity gospel and the Gospel, but we should certainly expect the church to know the difference, and to say so.

http://www.russellmoore.com/2014/03/13/whither-the-prosperity-gospel/

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 27, 2014

Don’t Be Mislead By Prosperity Preachers by Dr Henderson Ward

prosperit gospel three stepsSOURCE: These are tough economic times and it is quite understandable for people to want a way out of their present difficulties. But “everything that glitters is not gold” and many of us are chasing bogus remedies and looking for that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow only to find ourselves bitterly disappointed. Alas, this peddling of bogus remedies is not confined to the secular world but has become an existential reality in some churches.

One thing that should stand out to all believers is the salient truth that the Church has been properly and soundly established on a foundation of settled doctrine, and there can be nothing added or taken away from it. All believers need to understand that all Christian sects and all deviant Christian groups all have one thing in common; they are guilty of distorting Christian theology and deliberately misinterpreting the Holy Scriptures as given to us in the Bible.

True believers know that the focus of their life is things spiritual and not material. True happiness is about being saved and having this special relationship where the complete body, soul and spirit is in harmony with the Creator and there is no condemnation or issues affecting our settled and profound joy.

It is necessary that believers understand that from the beginning of Christianity they were those who had no interest in the spiritual and divine aspects of the faith but wanted to exploit it for financial gain. When Simon Magus saw the Apostles Peter and John imparting the power of the Holy Spirit by laying their hands on believers he offered them money to buy that gift and was soundly rebuked, “But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” (Acts 8:20) Simon wanted the power of the Holy Spirit so he could fascinate people and make a lot of money.

So what are we to make of this Prosperity theology that goes under a variety of names, such as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, the name it and claim it gospel etc.

What we can say with absolute assurance is that the Bible doesn’t teach this prosperity gospel, at least not as understood and taught by the proponents of this theology and as preached in the American mega-churches and elsewhere.

Take note of this game-changing, and for the prosperity gospel proponents, embarrassing but undeniable fact that every believer should think about more carefully. Jesus Christ’s life and his ministry were the exact opposite to that taught by the prosperity gospel movement. Jesus was born poor and he died poor and if a person’s faith could merit material blessings, then he would have been the richest man in the universe.This above all else should sound the alarm bells for every believer.

Prosperity gospel teaches that God wants you to be wealthy and have lots of money and by faith and speaking positively you will make it happen. Perhaps they forgot to mention this to Jesus since the Bible declared, “And Jesus saith unto him, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:20)

If wealth and money were commendable pursuits for people of faith, then Jesus would have demonstrated it, for he was the greatest example ever for believers to emulate. But he did not pursue materialism, neither did his disciples, and his pronouncements on wealth and riches are frightening:

“And again I say unto you, It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24)

“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37)

It goes against the grain for me to criticise fellow workers, but the Prosperity gospel preachers are leading souls to perdition in that they are advocating a panacea by focusing the minds of the gullible away from the spiritual and the divine and towards material abundance through dubious measures.

Many people join their assemblies merely to get money and a bundle of luxuries, believing that by following the advice of the leadership they would be successful. Just like gambling, this creates the mindset that wealth and prosperity is just around the corner if you do this, or that, or as Gloria Copeland reportedly puts it, “Give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000;… in short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.” The Bible on the contrary teaches a very different expectation in giving, in that you give and lend not looking for earthly returns (Luke 6: 35).

Prosperity gospel teaches that if you are blessed and if you have faith then you have a covenant with God just like Abraham and you will be prosperous with riches; but such is not taught in the Bible. The Bible is very particular about riches and says, “…if riches increase, set not your heart upon them.” (Psalm 62:10)

And herein lies the crux of the whole matter, since it is the way Prosperity gospel proponents appeal to people by taking the Scriptures and deliberately distorting them to suit their theology.

The Bible teaches the opposite to the Prosperity gospel movement and no matter how they twist and misquote the scriptures, the truth is there nevertheless for all to see. The Bible tells us this: “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

Beware of pulpit racketeers since they are not interested in your spiritual well being but in your pocketbook. Peter warned, “These false teachers only want your money. So they will use you by telling you things that are not true. But the judgment against these false teachers has been ready for a long time. And they will not escape God who will destroy them.” (2 Peter 2:3 Easy-to-Read Version)

http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?more=letters&NewsID=35514

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joelSOURCE : Joel Osteen has acquired a bad reputation in some circles. He is known for teaching a prosperity gospel, for avoiding the wrath of God, and for being squishy on key subjects, like homosexuality. Nevertheless, there is one aspect of Joel Osteen’s ministry that I want to emulate: his constant emphasis on encouragement.

Life is really, really hard. Parents grow old, kids get sick, friends get cancer, sons get addicted to drugs, and daughters get pregnant out of wedlock. Our bodies get older and weaker and fatter. We struggle to raise our kids in an increasingly post-modern world. We are constantly aware of our shortcomings as Christians. We need to pray more, read our Bibles more, and evangelize more. We need to do better, try harder, be more productive, get more done. Every day we are reminded that we fall short on pretty much every account.

Because life is so hard and exhausting, every day is a battle. Every day I must fight to believe in the goodness and kindess of God. Everyday I must fight to believe that God is working all things for my good and his glory. Every day I must fight to believe that I serve a God who turns mourning into dancing. What I, and everyone else, desperately need every day, is encouragement. I need fresh hope, fresh faith, fresh strength.

There are enough critics, watch bloggers, angry prophets, protesters, and trolls in the church and in the world. We need more encouragers. We need more people like Barnabas. Acts 4:36 gives us a description of Barnabas:

Thus Joseph, who was also called by the apostles Barnabas (which means son of encouragement)…

His real name was Joseph, but the apostles called him “Barnabas”. Why? Because he was a constant encourager! Encouragement was so woven into his DNA that the apostles gave him a nickname which meant encouragement. Barnabas was constantly encouraging and building up and strengthening those around him. Encouragement oozed out of his pores.

Encouragement is a wonderful, healthy, biblical thing. Romans 15:4  says:

For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

The scriptures are written for our encouragement, that we might have hope for the daily grind of life. In 1 Thessalonians 4:18, Paul told the Thessalonians to, “…encourage one another with these words.” The Thessalonians were to encourage one another with the truths about the second coming of Christ and the final resurrection of our bodies.

Paul concluded his first letter to the Thessalonians by saying, “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”

We need encouragement every day. There are so many times when life is hard and awful and depressing and sad. Every day I need to be reminded of the rock-solid, unshakable truths about God’s ways and works. And every day, I need to encourage others with the wonderful truths found in God’s word.

Let’s not let Joel Osteen hijack the biblical practice of encouragement. Let’s be biblical versions of Joel Osteen. Let’s be sons of encouragement, like Barnabas. Is there a place for criticism and correction? Sure. But there are enough critics out there.

http://www.theblazingcenter.com/2014/03/i-want-to-be-the-biblical-version-of-joel-osteen.html

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 21, 2014

The Origins of the Word of Faith Movement by Roger L. Smalling

wordoffsaith

Chapter 4: The Origins of Word of Faith

Word of Faith has its roots in a pagan cult that rivaled Christianity during the first three centuries of the Christian era, known as Gnosticism. The early Church fathers, such as Iranaeus eventually refuted and destroyed it.

Various Gnostic cults existed, but all held to a form of Dualism. This meant matter is bad and spirit is good. The Bible, however, teaches God created both realms and called all creation, spiritual and material, ‘good’.

Some Gnostics even taught two gods: An evil one which governed the material realm and a good one, the spiritual. All, however, held that a series of spiritual laws exist between the two dimensions by which both realms could be controlled. Certain spiritually elite people were endowed with a special “gnosis” or “revelation knowledge” by which they could learn to manipulate these laws to their advantage … even to controlling their own spiritual destinies.

A Gnostic goal was to attain to divinity and become a kind of creative “god.” This was through the “releasing” of his spirit from the material realm through his special “knowledge” of the mystical forces governing the universe.

Iranaeus, one of the third century fathers who combated Gnosticism in his book Against Heresies, comments on the spiritual pride characteristic of Gnostics:

They consider themselves ‘mature’, so that no one can be compared with them in the greatness of their Knowledge, not even if you mention Peter or Paul or any of the other apostles…” (I, XIII, 6)

.”..such a person becomes so puffed up that he … walks with a strutting gait and a supercilious countenance, possessing all the pompous air of a cock! (III, XV, 2)

The parallels between ancient Gnosticism and Word of Faith are too striking to ignore. But how did Gnosticism get transported into the 20th Century?

For this information, we are deeply indebted to Judith Matta, author of The Christian Response to Gnostic Charismatic Heresies.[29]Judith is probably the foremost expert in the U.S. today on the Gnostic origins of Word of Faith. She is a graduate of Talbot Theological seminary and a first-class scholar.

In 1875, Mary Baker Eddy published Science and Health, thus launching the Christian Science sect. The First Church of Christ Scientist was founded in Boston in 1879. Eddy had adapted many of the early Gnostic concepts in her writings, which included the denial of the reality of illness and matter.

One of the early converts to Christian Science, and a member of the Mother Church from 1903 until his death in 1908, was Dr. C.W. Emerson. He founded a college in Boston around the turn of the century called Emerson School of Oratory. This was a prep school for boys, not a Bible school.

One of the early students of Emerson’s school was a young man by the name of E.W. Kenyon. Kenyon picked up some of the Gnostic concepts and incorporated them into his own writings later on.
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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 21, 2014

Paul Crouch says God kills anybody against TBN

And if you don’t like it……..

paul crouch flips off TBN cameras

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 21, 2014

Word of Faith Teachers claiming Christians are little gods

Video clips of multiple Word of Faith Teachers claiming Christians are little gods.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 16, 2014

How was Jesus “Made’ Sin by Ron Rhodes

the great exchange
SOURCE: A verse commonly misinterpreted by cultists is 2 Corinthians 5:21, where the apostle Paul tells us that God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (NASB, emphasis added). Based on this verse, for example, the Christadelphians argue that Jesus had to engage in self-redemption before seeking to redeem the rest of humanity: “He himself required a sin offering”; He “saved himself in order to save us.”

Word-Faith leaders take a different—though even more heretical—spin on the verse. Kenneth Copeland, for example, asserts that Jesus “had to give up His righteousness” and “accepted the sin nature of Satan.” Benny Hinn likewise declares that Jesus “did not take my sin; He became my sin….He became one with the nature of Satan.”

In what follows, I will demonstrate in brief fashion that there are five key hermeneutic principles that disallow such distorted understandings of Christ and His salvific mission. These principles, which guide our understanding of the apostle Paul’s intended meaning (the only correct meaning), are: (1) interpret Bible verses in context; (2) correctly understand, assess, and draw insights from Old Testament typology; (3) interpret verses in accordance with lexical insights gained from the original languages of the Bible; (4) interpret Scripture by Scripture, recognizing that Scripture is its own best interpreter; and (5) interpret difficult verses in light of the clear verses.

1. Interpret Bible Verses in Context. The immediate context of 2 Corinthians 5:21 centers on reconciliation to God (see vv. 18–20). The Greek word for reconciliation in these verses, katallages, refers to “the exchange of hostility for a friendly relationship.”6 The state of hostility exists because of human sin against a holy God, which, according to the apostle Paul, was dealt with at the cross of Christ (2 Cor. 5:14–15). In view of this, the friendly relationship that Adam and Eve lost can now be restored through faith in Christ. The basis of Paul’s reconciliatory message is then stated in verse 21: God “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

2. Correctly Understand, Assess, and Draw Insights from Old Testament Typology. A type is an Old Testament institution, event, person, object, or ceremony that has reality and purpose in biblical history, but that also—by divine design—foreshadows something yet to be revealed. The Passover lamb in the Old Testament (Exod. 12:21) was a “type” of Christ, who is Himself the Lamb of God (John 1:29, 36).

An understanding of the Passover Lamb in the Old Testament provides significant insight on the concept of substitution. For example, the sacrificial lamb had to be “unblemished” (Exod. 12:5; Lev. 4:3, 23, 32). At the time of the sacrifice, a hand would be laid on the unblemished sacrificial animal to symbolize a transfer of guilt (Lev. 4:4, 24, 33). Notice that the sacrificial lamb did not thereby actually become sinful by nature; rather, sin was imputed to the animal and the animal acted as a sacrificial substitute. In like manner, Christ the Lamb of God was utterly unblemished (1 Pet. 1:19), but our sin was imputed to Him and He was our sacrificial substitute on the cross of Calvary. Simply because our sin was imputed to Him does not mean He changed in nature or actually became sinful.

3. Interpret Verses in Accordance with Lexical Insights Gained from the Original Languages of the Bible. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, the phrase “on our behalf” (“He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf ”) derives from the Greek term huper. This word can bear a number of nuances, not all of them substitutionary in nature. As professor Daniel Wallace has noted in his Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, however, there are a number of factors that argue in favor of a substitutionary use of the word in New Testament times. For example, the substitutionary sense of huper is found in extra-New Testament Greek literature (see, e.g., Plato, Republic 590a; Xenophon, Anabasis 7.4.9–10), the Septuagint (e.g., Deut. 24:16; Isa. 43:3–4), and in the papyri (e.g., Oxyrhyn chus Papyrus 1281.11–12; Tebtunis Papyrus 380.43–44).7 One papyri example relates to a scribe who wrote a document on behalf of a person who did not know how to write. In all, Wallace counts 87 examples from the papyri in which huper is used in a substitutionary sense, and this by no means exhausts the extant papyri data. Wallace thus concludes that “this evidence is over whelming in favor of treating huper as bearing a substitutionary force in the NT era.”8 The Friberg Greek Lexicon likewise affirms that the word is used “with a component of representation or substitution in the place of, for, in the name of, instead of.”9

Christ’s death, as the Lamb of God, was “for” (huper) us in the sense that it was on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21). The word is used in this same on-behalf-of sense elsewhere in Scripture. Jesus at the Last Supper said: “This is My body which is given for you” (Luke 22:19, emphasis added here and in the verses that follow). Likewise, in John 10:15 Jesus affirmed, “I lay down My life for the sheep.” Paul thus exults that “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8; see also Gal. 3:13; 1 Tim. 2:6; Heb. 2:9). Jesus “gave Himself for us to redeem us” (Titus 2:14), “the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Pet. 3:18; see also 2:21). The idea of substitution richly permeates these verses.

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