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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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 13, 2014

Why I Hate Joel Osteen’s Preaching by Adam Smith

joel-osteen-quotes-sayings-make-your-dreams-true-great-quoteSOURCE: This piece is purely an opinion on my part about why I hate Joel Osteen’s preaching. You say “Whoa, hate is a little harsh isn’t it?” No, I do not believe it is because Joel Osteen is a false preacher and his preaching has the dangerous potential of leading people away from the God of the Bible. PLEASE don’t misunderstand what I am saying here. I do NOT hate Joel Osteen. That is not what I said. I said I hate his preaching. Now let me explain my point.

It is our responsibility to spread the gospel that Jesus Christ is the only way to true salvation, that we are all dead in sin. Salvation is about the glory of God. Joel Osteen doesn’t preach this. In my opinion, the thing that makes Joel Osteen a false preacher is the fact that he does not preach the true gospel – or I should say he does not preach the true purpose of the gospel.

According to Tim Challies, life is meant to glorify God, not to bring blessing and ease to the individual. I would agree with this statement. Osteen’s book, “Become a Better You” seems to emphasize bringing blessing and ease to the individual.

In case you haven’t read the book, it is divided into seven areas: 1) Keep pressing forward, 2) Be positive toward yourself, 3) Develop better relationships, 4) Form better habits, 5) Embrace the place where you are, 6) Develop your inner life, and 7) Stay passionate about life.

This is pretty much like all of the other “self-help” books out there, except for one glaring difference. This one is supposed to be built upon the Bible and it is publicized as such, and that is very dangerous.

Here is what Osteen is teaching in this book: “We’ve all sinned, failed, and made mistakes,” he says, “But many people don’t know they can receive God’s mercy and forgiveness.” That sounds reasonable right? Sure. But, he goes on to say, “As long as you’re doing your best and desire to do what’s right according to God’s Word, you can be assured God is pleased with you.” Now I ask, is it enough to just desire to do right? Is God really pleased with those who sin, but desire to do right? I would submit to you that He is not pleased with just that. God is so holy that He cannot even look upon a sin. I got this question from Paul Washer and it stands up to the Bible: How many times did Adam and Eve sin before they were cast out of the presence of God? The answer is once.

Wow, I kind of got off track a little bit there. Back to my original question: What makes Osteen’s preaching wrong?

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 13, 2014

Gods Simple Plan of Salvation by Pastor Mike Paulson

gods plan of salvation

SOURCE: Most people have heard such terms as being born again, converted, or saved. There are even many people who have had a personal experience of salvation through Jesus Christ. However, there are still multitudes of people who never have accepted this free gift from God. Often people do not understand the purpose of salvation or how it can be obtained. Hopefully the following will help answer some of the most commonly asked questions about salvation.

What is salvation?

Salvation is the free gift of eternal life that is made possible only through Jesus Christ. John 3:16-17 KJV states, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.” The apostle Paul tells us in Romans 6:23 KJV, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Salvation is not limited to any denomination, race, gender, or age, but it is available for everyone. “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13 KJV).

Why do you need salvation?

Mankind needs salvation because it is the only way to get to Heaven. Jesus said in John 3:3 KJV, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Everyone will stand before God after death has occurred. “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment”

(Hebrews 9:27 KJV). Those who have not been saved will spend eternity separated from God. “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15 KJV). The penalty of sin that is passed on to all of mankind is death. Jesus Christ became the atonement for all sin. He took our place and died on a cross. Those who accept this plan, which is made possible only by Jesus, will receive forgiveness for their sins and obtain salvation.

How do you obtain salvation?

In order to be saved you must first realise that you are a sinner and that you cannot make it to heaven on your own good merit. “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one” (Romans 3:10 KJV). “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 KJV). Secondly, you must recognize that salvation is made possible only by the grace of God. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast”

(Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV). Finally, you must believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins and that he was raised from the dead. In Romans 10:9-10 KJV, Paul gives specific instructions for salvation. “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” In the sixteenth chapter of Acts, the Philippian jailor asked Paul and Silas what he must do in order to be saved. Their response to him still applies today. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31 KJV).

Every Person Must Know That…

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 7, 2014

What is wrong the Joel Osteens message?

joel soteen purple shirtSOURCE: While on my road trip through the US I listened to Osteen preaching a message titled “Get Over It” and have since listened to another, “Take Control of Your Happiness”. Two, twenty-five minute, sermons could hardly be described as extensive research, but I think it is sufficient familiarity to give something of an opinion of Osteen’s teaching.

First of all, I did enjoy listening to Brother Joel. He, and wife Victoria, introduce each podcast with a wonderful folksy southern charm. If I were passing a bar where they were singing country tunes I’d definitely stop and listen! Their Texan sunshine and optimism is certainly attractive by comparison with grey British cynicism. There is no doubt that Osteen is an entertaining and uplifting communicator. I’m not sure I could cope with listening to him a lot though – his pattern seems to be to speak in axiom upon axiom. This makes his messages memorable, but I would imagine it would become wearying after a while.

So much for the style. What of the substance?

Let me illustrate this with an aside. Comedian Graham Norton runs an ‘agony aunt’ column in The Daily Telegraph once a fortnight and offers advice that I think is about as good as it can get, without reference to the gospel. Take this example

Dear Graham
Our mother died following a short illness. Before she died she had tried to make preparations, part of which involved cashing out her pension, and she instructed our father that the money was to be used for the education of her grandchildren.

Before she died, our father suffered a stroke and was diagnosed with dementia. His short-term memory has been affected, as has his interest in life. He has a good pension, owns a large house and is now sitting upon a very sizeable sum of our mother’s money.

He refuses to discuss carrying out our mother’s last wish, and gets into a rage when the subject is mentioned. He also refuses to plan for the future (e.g. setting up a lasting power of attorney) or do any inheritance tax planning.

We know we shouldn’t allow money to affect us in this way but both sides of the family are extremely angry about this. We feel let down and disappointed that he is not interested in investing in his grandchildren’s future. He never gets in touch, and it’s all we can do to call him. We can clearly see our inheritance evaporating in care home fees and inheritance tax.

Should we keep trying to engage him or just give up and leave him to himself, accepting that we mean nothing to him any more?
Richard, London

Dear Richard
Consider my gob smacked. Your mother dies suddenly and your father is recovering from a stroke after being diagnosed with dementia and you want to talk to me about school fees? If I find your concerns incomprehensible, imagine how your dad feels? He has lost his wife, his body is a stranger, he feels his mind slipping away. I really think he has enough on his plate without worrying about the fact you were too thick to realize you might have to pick up the tab for your kids yourself.

The bottom line is you are entitled to nothing. Your parents gave you life and brought you up – the rest is down to you. If your father decides to leave everything to a local cattery, then so be it.

If waiting for your parents to die is your idea of a get-rich-quick scheme then I feel very sorry for you. This is your only surviving parent and I really don’t think it is a case of you meaning nothing to him any more. This is an old man mourning his wife and coming to terms with the heartbreaking realisation that all he means to his children is school fees and a new bathroom suite.

In the end the only lasting legacy your father will leave is you. Make him proud, and pass those values on to your children. This was money you never had, so I suggest you kiss it goodbye and focus on what you do have.

If every pastor gave advice as good as this, our churches would be happier places. And Joel Osteen does. Osteen serves up practical, life-affirming, straight down the line advice, that is about as good as it gets, and the size of his church reflects the appeal of this.

But good advice is not enough. Certainly it is not enough for a Christian minister to offer. If all anyone needs is good advice, well they may as well stay at home and read Graham Norton as go to church.

What Osteens messages lack (and this is on the basis of only two sermons remember) is any real gospel explanation or application; and this despite Osteen beginning his messages by getting the entire congregation to recite,

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 will be taught the word of God. I boldly confess, my mind is alert, my heart is receptive, I will never be the same. In Jesus name.

In reality, any Bible references Osteen makes are passing ones. There is no working the message out of the text. There isn’t any real teaching of the word. Rather, texts are rarely used, and when they are serve merely as illustrations used to support the points he is already making. And this is a great pity, because the points Osteen makes are good ones, and he could easily make them great ones by applying the gospel.

For example, “Get Over It” is a memorable message, with great advice about not being stuck in the stuff that has happened to you. In this message Osteen even undermined normal ‘word of faith’ teaching by recognizing that bad stuff happens to good people and making no claim that this is due to a lack of faith. Instead, he urges his listeners to ‘get over it’ and get on with life. Some of the application is questionable (I’m not really convinced that every setback is always a setup for a greater comeback) but the main problem is the complete absence of the gospel. “Get Over It” could be summarized as, ‘Theism will work for you’ rather than, ‘Come to the cross’.

Osteen could so easily have preached what he preached, but then gone on to proclaim how Christ has dealt with our guilt and shame at the cross, which is the true reason we can get on with it. He could have gone on to describe an eschatology that speaks of the not yet as well as the now, and so offers us hope even when life is more setback than comeback. He could so easily have preached Christ, and offered something that was not only good advice but contained sufficient gospel seed for the salvation of those in need.

On the basis of two sermons that is what I think is wrong with Joel Osteen. What he says is good, but it is not sufficient. A lot like Graham Norton.

http://thinktheology.co.uk/blog/article/whats_wrong_with_joel_osteen

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 7, 2014

Open Letter To Joel Osteen by Greg Garret

joelSOURCE: Dear Joel Osteen,

For some years now I’ve stood back and looked the other way as you preached your message of optimism and faith rewarded to tens of thousands of worshipers and to the millions of people who have bought your best-selling books, as you’ve become perhaps America’s best-known preacher or inspirational speaker. Earlier this year The Guardian actually called you “America’s Pastor,” which forced me to sit up and take notice.

My attention during that time has been focused largely on those preachers and traditions obsessing with sin and suffering, on the death of Jesus on the cross as the only salvation for a wicked race. And so I kind of lost sight of you, a couple of hours down the road from me in Houston.

You have said that you don’t like to talk about sin—who does, really?—and that you want to dwell on the positive messages of God’s love. Those are nice antidotes to the mainstream American evangelical focus I abhor, and they may have given you a free pass until now. But I’ve come to believe that your nicey-nicey message and your God of infinite promises is as antithetical to genuine Christian faith as the always-dying and ever-angry Christ of conservative evangelicals.

Mr. Osteen, here’s the thing. I’ve realized that I’ve been writing, speaking, and preaching about you as well. I’ve realized that The Other Jesus was also written in response to your Jesus of handouts and new cars—I can’t hang with that Banker Jesus any more than with the Spiteful Jesus. I’ve realized that I’m also tired of cleaning up your messes, of trying to constantly reorient Christian faith back to something real and true to scripture, tradition, and reason.

You and other Prosperity Gospel preachers advance a vision of God that is transactional: if you do this, then God will do that. He has to, in fact. Because a verse here or there in the Bible says so, however little it reflects God’s actual redemptive work in the world.

And I’m here to tell you, Sir, in the same language I use with anyone who imagines we can be in a transactional relationship with God, that this isn’t what Christian faith is. Praying the right prayer often enough to get what you want, believing really hard in Jesus to get what you want are not true to the Christian story, or to logic. To imagine that you, or your followers, or the person out in the bookstore or TV land who is exposed to your message somehow influences the God of the Universe, the Creator of All That Is, by his or her personal actions is not belief in God.

It’s belief in magic. Put your hands together, say a few faithful words, and the Universe will give you what you ask.

Your life is lifted up as a shining example of God’s blessing, and well it might be. But Sir, I suspect that the money to buy a former NBA arena for your mammoth Lakewood Church didn’t just flow into your hands because God blesses you for your teachings. I suspect that you got that money because you draw a crowd, because you sell a product that is always more enticing than the hard and lifelong work of genuine Christian spirituality and authentic belief.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 6, 2014

Joel Osteen’s New Age Life Now? By Brannon Howse

Joel Osteen’s New Age Life Now? By Brannon Howse

joel_osteen1“Whatever you conceive you can achieve.”

With this favorite karma-changing promise, New Agers believe you need only use the “unlimited” power and consciousness of your mind to bring about all your dreams, desires and wishes.

Cloaked in a “Christian” package, Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, bears an uncomfortable and dangerous similarity to this most popular of New Age claims. Sample a few of the Osteen versions:

• “You will produce what you’re continually seeing in your mind. If you foster an image of defeat and failure, then you’re going to live that kind of life. But if you develop an image of victory, success, health, abundance, joy, peace, and happiness, nothing on earth will be able to hold those things from you.” (page 5)

• “You must conceive it in your heart and mind before you can receive it.” (page 6)

• “You must look through your ‘eyes of faith’ and start seeing yourself as happy, healthy and whole.” (page 15)

• “What you will receive is directly connected to how you believe.” (page 22)

• “We receive what we believe.” (page 72)

• “Learn how to conceive. Keep the image of what you want to become in front of you. You’re going to become what you believe.” (page 81)

Osteen now travels the country, packing out stadiums with his happy-talk. But I’d like to see Osteen pay a visit to China, preach his “your best life now” drivel, and see how Christians there respond. Let Osteen look into the eyes of Pastor Lei who has been repeatedly arrested and beaten for preaching the Word of God in his church-a church not licensed by the Chinese government. How would the American’s best life work out for Pastor Lei and his congregation? Perhaps their jail time for the Gospel would give them time to assess Rev. Osteen’s claims.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 5, 2014

Joyce Meyer still teaching “Faith is a Force”

faith as a force

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

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 5, 2014

Joel Osteen and the Jealousy Card

joel AND VIDTROIASOURCE: In political parlance there is often talk of someone playing the “race card” to shut down conversation.  A person is convicted of some crime and there is discussion about what the penalty should be.  Then the “race card” is played: the charge is made that the person is only being prosecuted because of their race.  Immediately all discussion must be stopped, or it must revolve around whether or not racial bias is in play.  Whether or not the person is guilty or should be charged is moot from that point on: when the “race card” is played, it’s all about race.  Discussion is effectively over when the “race card” is on the table; it is the nuclear bomb of rational discussion.

I’m noticing the same thing in regards to the discussion on Joel Osteen, but in his case it’s the “jealousy card” that is being played by his supporters.  Don’t know if you read the comments in regard to my IWJO post, but someone posted the charge that I’m just sadly, sinfully jealous.  Ironically, I didn’t even question Joel or his teaching in that comment or in my previous comment.  Yet, some Osteenista felt it necessary to come to my humble blog and condemn me for being sinfully jealous of the man.

If you read other blogs about Osteen, and now that his new book is out and he’s been on Larry King and 60 Minutes there is discussion aplenty, you will find a lot of lot of people questioning his message.  Immediately his supporters will come on and accuse the criticizer of being “jealous”.  Wham, the jealousy card is played and all discussion must end or the criticizer must defend against the charge that they are jealous.  The “jealousy card” is intended to shut down converation and discussion on whether or not Joel’s teaching is biblical or not.

So, if we question the theology of one of the best known preachers in America we are automatically jealous?  Give me a break.  I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be dissuaded from commenting on someone for fear of being called jealous, it’s a lame accusation and playing the “jealousy card” is nothing more than an attempt to shut down discussion.  I’ve had it played on me before when discussing some of the questionable gimmicks of other megachurches.  It’s a tactic meant to shift focus away from valid points and question the motive of the questioner.  “He’s questioning mega-guy, he must just be a jealous small-church minister.”

Yes, I’m sure that there are times when preachers get jealous– if you want to call it that– of those ministers and churches that are doing well by worldly standards.  But those pangs of envy are just momentary failings of the flesh which are quickly repented of in the light of reason.  Any minister worth his salt is going to be less concerned about being successful in the world’s eyes and more concerned about being faithful to God.

Questioning the methods and motives of megachurches, especially those whose theology and preaching is so blatantly suspect, is not a matter of jealousy; it’s called discernment.  To be honest, more of us ought to be exposing those who represent Christianity yet preach a gospel that is not biblical… which as Galatians says is no gospel at all.

So, go ahead, play the “jealousy card” all you want, but it’s not going to stop people from examining the preaching and teaching of those who claim to represent Christ… especially those in the public eye.  Any tactic that is meant to stifle discussion is simply cowardly.  If you can’t defend the teaching of your favorite preacher from the bible, at least refrain from playing the “jealousy card”.

http://insipidgarbage.wordpress.com/2007/10/18/playing-the-jealousy-card/

kenneth-copelandConsider Kenneth Copeland’s own words:

“You don’t have a god in you, you are one.” – ‘The Force of Love,’ audiotape Kenneth Copeland, 1987

“‘Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you are God … They crucified Me for claiming I was God. I didn’t claim that I was God; I just claimed that I walked with Him and that He was in Me. Hallelujah! That’s what you’re doing …'” – ‘Take Time to Pray,’ Believer’s Voice of Victory, February 1987, p. 9

“Now Peter said by exceeding great and precious promises you become partakers of the divine class. All right, are we gods? We are a class of gods!” – Kenneth Copeland, ‘Praise The Lord’ TV Show, Feb. 5, 1986

“You really cannot ever come to that place were you let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who thought it not robbery to be called equal with God. Let this mind be in Kenneth Copeland, Oh my goodness, Ah! that thinks its not robbery to be called equal with God.” – Kenneth Copeland, Believer’s Voice of Victory, Monday 29th January 2001, GOD TV

“You’re all God. You don’t have a God living in you; you are one! … When I read in the Bible where God tells Moses, ‘I AM,’ I say, ‘Yah, I am too!'” –  ‘The Force of Love,’ Kenneth Copeland, tape BBC-56

As a result of his claimed position as a god, Kenneth Copeland claims that he is a creator, just like the God of the Bible:

“Jesus existed only as an image in the heart of God, until such time as the prophets of the Old Testament could positively confess Jesus into existence through their constant prophecies.” – (Kenneth Copeland, The Power of the Tongue, pp. 8-10)

“God is injecting His Word into the earth to produce this Jesus.” “This [sic] faith-filled words that framed the image that’s in Him….” – Kenneth Copeland, ‘The Image of God in You III,’ side 2.

“Well, He created all those planets, how come you can’t create something? You don’t know as much about it as He does. He has a greater working knowledge of that faith than you do. But we’re learning. Our time is coming. And in some ways its already here.” – Kenneth Copeland, Cornerstone Church with John Hagee, San Antonio, Texas, August 18, 1999.

Kenneth Copeland is a false teacher and a heretic because:

1. He places himself in the position of God by claiming that he is a god.

2. He claims to have the same creative power as God – which he cannot demonstrate at any level.

3. He teaches the same claim that Satan made when he attempted to usurp the place of God.

4. He teaches the same message that Satan presented to Eve in the Garden of Eden.

5. He denies the deity of Jesus Christ.

6. He denies the uniqueness and power of the atonement by stating that he could have substituted for Jesus Christ and accomplished the atonement himself.

7. He gives false prophecies, demonstrating that he is a false prophet according to Deuteronomy 18:22.

Kenneth Copeland’s heretical and blasphemous claims are absolutely breathtaking in their scope, possibly going beyond any single heresy found in the church since its inception. If you claim to believe the Bible, then why do you not understand that Kenneth Copeland does not teach a biblical message? You accept Kenneth Copeland as a teacher of truth because you do not know what the Bible teaches and you do not know what Kenneth Copeland teaches.

(Article by Michael Houke)

When will Dr. Michael Brown call out Benny Hinn and Kenneth Hagin instead of defending and supporting them? Or will non-charismatics have to continue to do the job of discernment for him? This video has ample audio and video clips proving both Hinn’s and Hagin’s heresies. It is quite amazing if Brown is indeed ignorant of these men’s teachings. This video is posted to educate Brown and others of what these men have taught.

Thanks to Keith Thompson for letting me take this clip from his video entitled “Why I don’t support William Lane Craig or Michael Brown”

words have powerSOURCE: In the latter half of the 20th century with the blooming of the New Age Movement in its various forms, a new brand of philosophy has emerged which features P.M.A. (positive mental attitude) – positive thinking and positive confession. That philosophy has made its way into the church and affected the way certain portions of the Bible are interpreted, and has even altered our very outlook on life. Many prominent leaders in Christianity have embraced what is known as the Word of Faith movement. This article does not seek to refute the teachings of that movement, since this has been ably done elsewhere. Rather it examines the scriptures that allegedly promote positive thinking and seeks to determine whether the Bible really endorses positive thinking and positive confession.

First let it be said that the Bible has much to say about the mind and tongue. The tongue is one of the most difficult members of the body to control. The mind is critical in that it is never disengaged from our actions. We are influenced by what we see and hear and such is stored somewhere in our minds. When we entertain certain thoughts, our emotions develop an affinity toward them, and finally our volition is convinced that a relevant course of action is needed. This is the process of human decision making. So if we can renew our minds (Rom. 12:1, 2) or change our attitudes we can change our actions and the course of our lives.

Positive thinking however goes beyond this. It teaches that there is a creative aura associated with our thoughts and words. What we think and confess can even change our circumstances, bring prosperity and healing. Practices such as yoga and TM are thought to bring us into the mental state where we can realize our full power and potential. Quite frankly, New Agers can believe whatever they want. I am more interested in what the Bible says. We will analyze those scriptures that allegedly teach positive thinking and demonstrate that, properly interpreted, the Bible does no such thing.

Key Scriptures

On the surface, certain scriptures can appear to promote positive thinking if interpreted from the perspective of a 20th (or 21st) century culture which has been influenced by the New Age Movement. Questions that I will repeatedly ask are “what is the meaning originally intended by the authors of the Bible?”, and “what did the original hearers understand by these scriptures?” It is true that based on our culture, upbringing and religious background, we each have a lens through which we read the bible. It is important to be aware of what our biases are. This obviously affects how we read the bible. But because we see the Bible a certain way, that does not make us right. Peter made it clear that because Paul’s epistles were hard to understand, unstable men had twisted those scriptures (2 Peter 3:16). Essentially this means that not every interpretation of the scriptures is correct. Because you think it means something, does not mean that is the correct meaning. The correct meaning is the one originally intended by the authors.

Language is a tool used to communicate ideas. It is well known that words and expressions change meaning. For example the expression “What’s up?” means one thing to a 1970s African American, another thing to a 16th century Englishman. P.M.A. proponents see positive thinking and positive confession in any passage of scripture that mentions certain trigger words like mind, think, tongue, and speak. It is almost as if they are conditioned to read the Bible this way. I’ve even heard a preacher use Ex. 14:15 to teach that we must “speak to our circumstances” simply because the verse used the word “speak”. In fact God was telling Moses to speak to the children of Israel, not the Red Sea. With that said, let us consider a few scriptures.

Mark 11:22-24.

22 And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God. 23 For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.

Some people have overstressed the word “says” in vs. 23. It has even been taught that we are not to pray for mountains to be removed, but to simply speak to our circumstances. Vs. 24 denies such a notion. The “speaking” in vs. 23 is synonymous with the  “praying” in vs. 24. Thus the emphasis is not on speaking but on trusting God. The message here is that by trusting God, we can overcome any hurdle (mountain) in our Christian life.

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According to Kenneth Copeland, a “historic change” occurred at his most recent leadership conference. The Pope sent a special message to those leaders of the Word of Faith Movement in attendance, Kenneth Copeland and Charismatics everywhere – through an Episcopal Bishop.  This video from the Pope and message of unity is not all that surprising. It’s typical ecumenical talk. But the next video, I found simply amazing – in a bad way. Copeland said those in attendance and the rest of us would “talk about tonight for a long time”. It’s been about a week since I watched the long video and I am still kinda shocked.

Here is the longer version and Bishop Tony Palmer’s introduction to the Popes video message.

Just how did Kenneth Copeland get a message from the Pope delivered to him and his conference. Bishop Palmer, whom personally brought the video message from his personal freind and mentor the Pope, tells us that KCM (Kenneth Copeland Ministries) has sponsored his ecumenical ministry for a long time. Palmer even worked for KCM directly for 3 years. Palmer claims Copeland as one of his three spiritual mentors and his “sole partner” of his outreach ministry to Catholics. The problem is that Palmer is not calling people to come out of the catholic church, rather he is saying that “THE PROTEST IS OVER” and urging everyone that that makes us all Catholics already?

The Bishop claims that the Catholic Church signed an agreement with Lutheran church that ended Luther’s protest. While the agreement on Justification by Faith Alone on the surface seems to be a paradigm changing agreement that would in effect reconcile protestants to Catholicism, there is way more to the Protestant Protest than just the doctrine of justification. And also the Catholic church wrote a written response to their agreement with the Lutherans that also notes the two positions on Justification are still “divergent”: “The “Joint Declaration of the Catholic Church and the Lutheran World Federation on the Doctrine of Justification” represents a significant progress in mutual understanding and in the coming together in dialogue of the parties concerned; it shows that there are many points of convergence between the Catholic position and the Lutheran position on a question that has been for centuries so controversial. It can certainly be affirmed that a high degree of agreement has been reached, as regards both the approach to the question and the judgement it merits (1). It is rightly stated that there is “a consensus in basic truths of the doctrine of justification” (2). The Catholic Church is, however, of the opinion that we cannot yet speak of a consensus such as would eliminate every difference between Catholics and Lutherans in the understanding of justification. The Joint Declaration itself refers to certain of these differences. On some points the positions are, in fact, still divergent.”

And the Catholic church has never repudiated Council of Trent Session Six which list 33 anathemas (let them be damned) to those hold to the Protestant position on Justification. THE PROTEST IS NOT OVER!!! But this is one more small step toward an emerging one world religion.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 15, 2014

Ex-Word of Faith Testimony of Shawnice – MyExperienceInTheWordofFaith

Shawnice blogs at http://experiencesinwordoffaith.wordpress.com/. Several of her post have been re-blogged here on this blog and she has done really good work on her site. You can also read one of her written testimonies here at our Testimony Page.

Published on Apr 2, 2013 I was part of the word of faith movement for 11 years. I am here to share my testimony.

VISIT OUR EX-WoF

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 15, 2014

Examining Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer – Do Your Words Create Reality?

In this episode of Fighting For The Faith, Chris Rosebrough examines 2 sermons from Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer. Chris looks at Joel’s sermons entitled “The Power of I Am” that he talked about at Oprah Winfrey’s Life Class. Chris shows that despite Joel’s good ole boy demeanor, he and those who follow the Word of Faith doctrine of positive confession are the epitome of Narcissism and all about me, me, me. And the Joyce Meyers clips show how she answers such questions as “How do we talk to God honestly about our problems without speaking bad things into existence”. This is 42 minutes long but well worth the time to listen to or read.

Here is the transcript if you would rather read the show than listen to it.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 12, 2014

You Shouldn’t Express Negative Thoughts And Feelings

This video expresses allot of much needed truth in just 3 1/2 minutes.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 10, 2014

Ex-Word of Faith Testimony: Recovering From Word of Faith

The name of author of this testimony is unknown, but she blogs at http://abigailanddolley.blogspot.com

125202528632529SOURCE: Recovering From Word of Faith - Abigail and Dolley readers as a new believer I was starving for all things of God.  If you have followed this blog or are friends with me on facebook you know that I always have something I am passionate about.  I am almost always researching something and I try to find out as much as I can about a subject.  My Mom teased me about this trait this Summer and I realized that there are a couple major themes I usually adopt:  Faith, Gardening, Health/Weight Loss/Cooking, and some times Politics.  Thus, it is no surprise that when I recommitted my life to the Lord that I would dig in deep and I did!  Unfortunately, in my hunger to learn everything about this wonderful life in Christ I began watching Word of Faith preachers on INSP (pre-internet world!).

I was enthralled!  I could pray for healing and be healed.  I could invest in God’s kingdom and reap exponential awards.  I could confess and speak things into existence because God promises in His Word and He HAS to do it because that is who God is!  I read books, I taped shows, I confessed the Word, I prayed, I gave, I believed, I made terrible financial decisions based on “faith”…. I was sold out and so on fire for the Lord I was tough to be around.

Then, I got sick.  I prayed.  I believed God for healing.  I did not receive that sickness into my body.  I exercised incredible faith.  I did not get better.  Sitting in the Emergency Room one night about 6 weeks into this mysterious illness, I looked at my husband and complained that I was doing everything I was supposed to do and I was still sick!  Something was very wrong with this picture and I gave up on the Word of Faith movement in that moment.

What I did not realize was that I was now very spiritually damaged.  As a new believer, I indoctrinated my soul with lies.  I set up ways of thought, beliefs, and actions based on the words of greedy liars disguised as preachers.  In many ways, I had black highways paved through my soul.  My thoughts and prayers raced across the false roads.  When I abandoned the Word of Faith movement, I abandoned the Word and Faith and the Hope that comes with being a true believer.  Subconsciously, I embarked on the rest of my faith life where God’s promises were tainted.  Having Hope seemed like a Mountain Top Proclamations.  Expending my Faith was ruined.

It was 15 years after the fact that I realized that I still carried the damage.  Reciting scriptures of God’s promises ran over those dark highways in my soul and reached my heart with unbelief and no power.  I did not even realize it.  As I began to dig into it, I realized that only God can heal me of these spiritual scars.

How many walking wounded are there right now?  How many new believers are sucked into this false doctrine and scarred forever?  How many huge houses went into foreclosure because vulnerable Christians were believing God for the money to pay for their mortgages?  How many sick people are not seeking medical treatment because they are believing God for divine healing?  How many people completely fall away from the faith as seeds sown in shallow ground?

I have been a vehement critic of the Name it and Claim it movement.  I left a church home over a dispute about it and never looked back.  I hate the doctrine and what it does and there is a special place in Hell for the wolves in sheep’s clothing that deceive God’s people and line their pockets with the proceeds.  Beware.

http://abigailanddolley.blogspot.com/2014/02/recovering-from-word-of-faith.html

VISIT OUR EX-WoF

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 10, 2014

Did Jesus Become a Sinner on the Cross? by Nathan Busenitz

Did Jesus Become a Sinner on the Cross?

SOURCE: Did Jesus become the literal embodiment of sin, or take on a sin nature, or become a sinner when He died at Calvary? I was asked a variation of that question just last week, which prompted today’s post.

crown_of_thorns

The heart of the question centers on Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 5:21: ”He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

In what sense did Jesus become “sin on our behalf”? Does that phrase mean that Jesus literally became a sinner on the cross?

There are some today who teach that Jesus became a sinner (or took on a sin nature) at the cross. Benny Hinn is one such advocate. In a TBN broadcast, Hinn exclaimed:

“He [Jesus] who is righteous by choice said, ‘The only way I can stop sin is by me becoming it. I can’t just stop it by letting it touch me; I and it must become one.’ Hear this! He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan when he became sin!” (Benny Hinn, Trinity Broadcasting Network, December 1, 1990)

Prosperity-preacher Kenneth Copeland echoes those same teachings. In Copeland’s words:

“The righteousness of God was made to be sin. He accepted the sin nature of Satan in His own spirit. And at the moment that He did so, He cried, ‘My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?’ You don’t know what happened at the cross. Why do you think Moses, upon instruction of God, raised the serpent upon that pole instead of a lamb? That used to bug me. I said, ‘Why in the world would you want to put a snake up there; the sign of Satan? Why didn’t you put a lamb on that pole?’ And the Lord said, ‘Because it was a sign of Satan that was hanging on the cross.’ He said, ‘I accepted, in my own spirit, spiritual death; and the light was turned off.’” (Kenneth Copeland, “What Happened from the Cross to the Throne,” 1990, audiotape #02-0017, side 2)

On another occasion, Copeland reiterates that same teaching:

“How did Jesus then on the cross say, ‘My God’? Because God was not His Father any more. He took upon Himself the nature of Satan.” (Kenneth Copeland, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” Trinity Broadcasting Network, April 21, 1991)

But do assertions like these accurately reflect Paul’s teaching that “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf”?

To come back to the original question: “Did Jesus become the literal embodiment of sin, or take on a sin nature, or become a sinner when He died at Calvary?” My answer to that question is a resounding no.

Here are five reasons why:
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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | February 2, 2014

REVIEW of Joel Osteens book “Break Out”

REVIEW BY BOB JOHNSON: Detroit’s freeways are framed by dozens of billboards featuring happy, young, successful people enjoying a night of games and entertainment at one of the city’s casinos. The sleek, enticing images preach an alluring message: “Greatness awaits you in the casinos.” “You were born to be lucky.” On and on it goes. A closer look reveals the 1-800 number for Gambler’s Anonymous. And if you ever went to a casino, you would find that the reality does not quite match the billboard.

joel osteen break outFor years, potential casino operators attempted to get gambling legalized in Detroit. On three different occasions, they got an initiative on the ballot, but there was one pastor in the city who stood in their way. He knew what gambling would do to this city. He organized and educated, and each time the initiative was defeated. Then this pastor had a serious heart attack, and the initiative for casinos in Detroit was back in play. This time, the organizers did not have the pesky pastor to contend with. But they did something else. On this fourth attempt, the organizers gathered a number of pastors from Detroit together and offered them stock in the casinos in exchange for their support from the pulpits. They were told to sell this idea to the people as something that will be good for the economy and will save our city. The pastors did, and on the fourth try, the initiative passed.

Today you can visit the casinos. Go to the slot machines and watch the glazed-over faces of old people whose reverse mortgages freed up some money so they could buy tokens for the slot machines. Hour after hour, they pull the one-armed bandit, awaiting the glory the billboards promise. Fear sets in. They think, “If I get up from the machine, the next person will come and win.” So they sit, hour after hour, until their clothes are soiled and their tokens are gone. Next month, after the social security check arrives, some of them will be on the first bus back to try again.

And in case you haven’t heard, Detroit is bankrupt.

The promises of the prosperity gospel are like the billboards of Detroit’s casinos. It looks so good. It seems so appealing. One of its most influential voices is Joel Osteen, the pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas who recently released a new book called Break Out! If Disneyworld was a church, Joel Osteen would be the pastor. Break Out! is basically a combination of “When You Wish upon a Star” and “A Whole New World.”

The problem is, Joel is a pastor, and his sermons and books are presented as truth, not fairy tales, and thousands of people really believe what he says. Some may be in our churches.

THE MAIN MESSAGE

Break Out! is a collection of twenty-five chapters (presumably sermons) organized into five sections. I could not discern much difference between the first four sections: (1) Believe Bigger; (2) Consider God, Not Circumstances; (3) Pray God-sized Prayers; 4) Keep the Right Perspective. The chapters basically follow the formula of stating the principle, supporting it with a story, inserting a vague reference to the Bible, and closing with a few more stories and exhortations.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | January 18, 2014

VIDEO: Sound The Alarm: The Dangers of the Word of Faith Movement

This video, which is a expose documentary, is very good. It uses many audio/video clips I have never seen or heard before, and I have listened to and watched many in the years I have been the admin of this blog. The videos creator also shows where the Christian Music Industry has made many popular songs that espouse dangerous Word of Faith doctrines. It’s really good and well worth two hours if you want to know for sure what the WoF teaches and why the WoF movement is so dangerous.

VIDEO DESCRIPTION: Full-length documentary exposing the dangerous doctrines of the Word of Faith movement. Highlighted teachers include Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Fred Price, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Paula White, Eddie Long, Jesse Duplantis, and Myles Munroe.

****UPDATE**** It has come to my attention that Pastor Fred Price, Jr. may no longer embrace the views expressed in this video. God knows my heart in this matter, and I do not wish to cause any to stumble, least of all one with whom the Lord is dealing. While I have not spoken with him personally to verify this claim, I sincerely pray it is true and encourage all others to do likewise.

cccSOURCE:  I’m in a bathtub. I can’t get up. I feel like I’m about to die. Mercury poisoning.

The water in the tub has grown cold. Maybe that’s why I feel so cold. I’ve been marinating in my own soup stock for the past two hours. I’m floating in and out of consciousness. Whenever I can concentrate I begin to pray.

“Jesus, please, save me. Please, heal me. I repent, I put my whole heart into prayer right now, and I cast out any doubt or fear. I know you can heal me. Please heal me!”

My mom’s keys are rattling in the doorknob now, and I hear the door thud shut in the distance. I hear her purse sliding across the counter and her keys landing next to it. I barely recognize her figure as she tries with all of her wiry might to pull me out of the tub. I spend the next two days in the hospital. My mom wants to know why I didn’t let her know, why I didn’t want to go to the hospital, why I didn’t do something.

“Mom, Jesus is my doctor. I’m blessed, and I know that he would have healed me.” This is me trying to live out what I think is true Christianity.

I had just gotten saved two months prior. I’m fresh out of jail and I’m walking around the projects where I used to stomp like a tiny teenage giant. I’ve got a bare back, a few tattoos, and a Bible in my hand. I’m just praying for the opportunity to share the Christ with someone.

I meet a man named Roger who invites me into his home. He buys me lunch and we spend all day talking about the Bible. This guy knows way more than me. I’ve never heard anyone spout off so many Scriptures in such rapid-fire succession. “This guy is legit…” I say under my breath.

Over the course of the next six months, this man indoctrinates me with the prosperity gospel. Just a few months earlier, I’d never even opened a Bible. I have no idea that I’m being given arsenic in my kool aid. I take it all. I believe it all. I know it’s true. It has to be. It’s all right here in Scripture. Look, she touched the hem of his garment and was healed. Look, Jesus couldn’t heal them because they didn’t have enough faith. Look, all throughout the Old Testament you see curses for sins, and blessings for righteousness. Prosperity for the good, pain for the bad. It’s so plain. So obvious.

But stuff isn’t making sense. I’m still without a job. I can’t pay my rent. My mom isn’t getting saved, and I keep getting cold sores. None of these things should be happening. There must be sin hidden somewhere in my heart.

Now I have the flu, and I don’t have any money to buy groceries. I just need to claim it. I just need to rebuke Satan and his lies, and believe that what I have proclaimed in the name of Jesus will surely come to pass. Maybe I’m not tithing enough. Time to double up. I’ll get it back one hundred-fold. Maybe more. I just need to sow in faith.

But it’s still not happening. “Roger, hey man, I don’t understand. It seems like this stuff isn’t working. What am I doing wrong?”

“Dude, I don’t know exactly what it is, but I know the problem ain’t with God or his Word. It’s got to be something in your heart, or in your life. Let’s pray about it.”

Fast forward a year. I’m nineteen and married now. We’re struggling hard. I can’t pay the rent or the electricity bill, and I just lost another job. My wife wasn’t saved when we met. She gets saved during the course of our friendship, and somewhere in there, she starts listening to me and taking in all of the “truth” I’m giving her. She does wonder, though, where the disconnect is. When the ATM receipt says we’re negative forty dollars, I rebuke myself, the ATM, and the receipt. I claim my blessing even in the face of this lie from Satan. I know that Jesus is looking down on me, proud of my strength in the midst of such persecution and adversity. “In the name of Jesus!”—I keep claiming what he’s promised me.

The prosperity gospel and word of faith movement are basically the same thing, but I’ve never heard anything about any of those things before. All of the good Bible-loving Baptists around me are afraid of me because I probably robbed their sons, stole their cars, or vandalized their church. Yet because of my powerful testimony, scores of churches invite me to come and share. I preach a false gospel every time I go. Not once does anyone ever sit me down and talk with me about the danger that my soul is in. Not a word. Not a peep. Not to my face, anyway. I now know that they waited respectfully until I left, and then talked amongst themselves about how sad it is to see such passion so misdirected.
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(SOURCE: http://extraordinaryintelligence.com) In what seems like a previous life, I used to believe in a principle that states that you can have anything you desire, so long as you want it bad enough. This theory, touted as a Law by practitioners and believers, suggests that humans are divine; in fact, we’re creators. Everything that ever was and ever will be was created by a cosmic desire to make it so, thus we have the power to manifest our own reality in the here and now.

As a believer in Jesus Christ, I now hold a different view. I believe that everything that ever was and ever will be was brought into existence by a creator God, and any power a human being can manifest is only available through the Holy Spirit, and according to the perfect will of our God.

Which is why it is endlessly troubling as I witness the modern church embracing principles like the one I used to hold dear. Having studied it thoroughly previous to my being born again, I can recognize it with ease, and it is pretty prevalent, right under the noses of the faithful.

Before we explore precisely how this movement has made its way into Christendom, let’s have a look at exactly what this principle is, who promotes it, and why it is dangerous.

The Law of Attraction

The Law of Attraction, as it is now known, is not really the breakthrough that it claims to be. Magicians and Occult practitioners have been engaging in this philosophy for ages. In an effort to make it sound cutting edge, proponents of the Law of Attraction couch it in scientific terms. Specifically, the Law of Attraction can best be understood as the principle of “like attracts like”. If you put something positive into the universe, the universe (the catch all term for those who refuse to accept a singular deity) will send something positive back to you. Likewise, if you put only negativity into the universe, negativity is what you will attract. This is explained in a pseudo-scientific sense by claiming that since all matter, including human beings, are made of energy on a quantum level, like energy attracts like energy. If your thoughts have a measurable mass, then that means that they too are made of energy, hence your thoughts can and do manipulate the energy around you.

Through this principle, you can literally focus your thoughts to a specific outcome, and the “universe”, or the energy around you, simply has no choice but to comply with the specific energy output of your positive thoughts. If your positive thoughts are focused on a certain specific outcome, say you want a new shiny red bicycle, the energy around you will work to put events in place that will ultimately result in you receiving said bicycle. Kinda sounds like magic, doesn’t it?

While this principle has been available in varying forms for ages, the promotion of the Law of Attraction as scientific principle came into vogue around the early 1900’s as part of what was known as the “New Thought Movement.” The phrase “Law of Attraction” was used in the 1906 book by William Walker Atkinson titled Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World. Herein we see the term “like attracts like” presented as a provable theory. Soon thereafter, this “law” began to be applied in terms of prosperity, such as the book Prosperity Through Thought Force by Bruce MacLelland. As the term caught fire, more and more New Age practitioners began to co-opt the principle, and apply it to their own philosophies. Famous Theosophist Annie Besant, who was a follower of Madame Helena Blavatsky, adopted the term in 1919, claiming that it proved the reality of the mystical concept of karma.

This principle was widely known amongst gurus of the New Age for a long time, but began to gain a big foothold in mainstream pop culture with the release of the film and subsequent book The Secret. The Secret had an insidious rise to popularity. Touting itself as a “self help book”, the title is derived from the claim that the Law of Attraction is something so powerful and so completely successful; it has been hidden away from mainstream thought. The author and presenters claim that successful business owners and elite millionaires have known this “secret” for a long time, and have tried desperately to keep it out of the hands of average human beings, lest we all become mega-bazillionaires.

The Law of Attraction. The New Age.

Nothing “new” about the New Age.

When watching the film, one begins to see how this purportedly scientific principle is actually an esoteric form of divination, handed down from age to age. The film opens with the title screen reading “The Secret was Buried.” We then see an emerald tablet (which is a blatant shout out to the Emerald Tablet of Egyptian/Greek Hermetic lore) being transcribed onto a parchment scroll and handed to a priest. The emerald tablet is then buried by the pyramids of Giza. Next, we are taken on a journey through time as we witness alchemists like the darling of the New Age set St. Germain, who are studying and applying the principles of the Emerald Tablet. These texts are passed down from generation to generation until ultimately we see them being handed to a group of elite businessmen in a boardroom. Unlike the original intentions of the New Thought Movement, which filmmaker Rhonda Byrne claims as the source of inspiration for her film and book, The Secret adopts a very clear focus on materialism and wealth enhancement, packaged in slick esoterica, promoted as self help.

So, with the obvious occult implications of The Secret, how did it become so popular with Average Joes and soccer moms?

Enter Oprah Winfrey. In an article on her website, Oprah says of The Secret, “It has been marketed and packaged in such a way that people of our generation, of this time, can receive it in a way that perhaps they couldn’t have received it from other philosophers.”

Oprah was so moved by the contents of The Secret, that she invited a selection of gurus and New Age practitioners featured in the film to be guests on her show. It can be remarked that this was likely the beginning of Oprah’s burgeoning spiritual movement, which continues to this day on her website and her OWN network. Due to Oprah’s incredible visibility and popularity at that time, she influenced millions of unsavvy viewers to purchase The Secret and apply it to their lives.

The Law of Attraction - The SecretOnce the Law of Attraction gained a foothold in pop culture, it never really let go. Using basic ideas like visualization, it is easy for the gullible and misguided to practice. One of the most popular methods described by practitioners of The Secret is that of The Vision Board. Essentially, the reader/viewer is encouraged to get a big piece of cardboard and paste things to it that they want to draw into their lives. If you want a new car, a new home, money, a new dog, a new boyfriend/girlfriend… whatever the case is, you are to find pictures of these items and glue them to your Vision Board. Once the board is full of all of the STUFF that you want, you are encouraged to study the board regularly, imagining that all of these THINGS are yours. Eventually, the universe will give them to you. Isn’t that AMAZING!? Again, it sounds an awful lot like magic, doesn’t it? Occultists and wiccans use a similar philosophy with their sigils and signs that are meant to represent things that they’d like to manifest in their lives. They use visualization while focusing on their created sigil in an effort to bring those things to themselves.

Another popular concept from The Secret is the positive affirmation, or repetitive statement of intent. In this practice, you just say the things you want over and over and eventually you’ll get them. Easy peasy! Exactly like a magical incantation! Except not, because it is SCIENCE, right??

With all of the overtly occultic, Gnostic, and Hermetic pagan influences on The Law of Attraction, how do I boldly claim that it has found its way into Christian circles?

In recent decades, a movement has been spreading throughout Christian churches. Largely knows as the Prosperity movement or Word of Faith, these preachers make bold claims about how to achieve personal prosperity through abundant faith practices. Their skillful couching of The Law of Attraction in Christianese has led many millions of people unknowingly into New Age concepts. Many of the readers of this site are aware of the dangers of this movement, but perhaps not aware of how tightly woven the prosperity gospel is with the Law of Attraction, and how insidiously it twists true Christian principles of faith with deceptive occult practices.
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GREAT VIDEO: This video is a one hour summation of Justin Peters 4 1/2 hour seminar on the Word of Faith Movement, formally entitled A Call To Discernment. It would be perfect to give to some who are becoming skeptical of the WoF movement claims but yet are not willing to devote hours and hours to learn more about it.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | October 3, 2013

VIDEO: Kenneth Copeland brags about being a billionaire

This video should make your stomach turn.

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