In this video entitled “Joel Osteen on the Gospel” from the Joel Osteen Ministries Youtube channel, Joel really shows his disregard for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He reduces the story of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection (for our sins) to an example for us to follow as to how to persevere. Joel states that in Jesus’s darkest moments He wanted to give up but decided to persevere like we must decide to persevere. And that in our Garden of Gethsemane moments we must remember that it is not over until God says it is over, so just hang in there. But this should be scandalous. There is no mention of our sin and our salvation from the penalty of our sin. There is no substitutionary atonement, there is no washing of sin by the shed blood of the Lamb to take away the sin of the world, in fact there is no mention of condemnation or salvation at all. Watch the following five minute video and I am sure you will agree that it is a disgrace for Osteen to belittle the work of Christ in the manner he does here. And here in this three minute video from the Joel Osteen Youtube channel named “Joel Osteen – What kind of Gospel does he preach?”,, Osteen does it again. Is it not obvious that Joel Otseen does not preach the gospel of Jesus Christ?
SOURCE: As the offering is about to be taken at the Compaq center, Joel Osteen’s wife and co-pastor Victoria urges generosity as a way of prompting God’s favor. “He not only wants to enrich you but do things for you you know nothing about,” she said. “Let him breathe the breath of life into your finances and he’ll give it back to you bigger than you could ever give it to him,” she said. To which the congregation, said, “Amen,” and the buckets went around. This paraphrased excerpt is but a part of a new article in today’s NY Times about the ministry and enormous success of Joel Osteen, and in particular his recent book ‘Your Best Life Now’. The whole article is worth reading. Here is the link.—-http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/30/books/30oste.html
With 20,000 peeople regularly showing up at his church in the Compaq center in Houston and bringing in revenues of millions on his bestseller book, it is not a surprise that many will wonder and ask— well what is wrong with a message that speaks about kindness, and generosity and success and prosperity? What could be wrong with this? What’s wrong with a message that hardly ever mentions Jesus by name, or sin, or suffering, or self-sacrifice? Of course this message of prosperity is not new in America, nor new to American Churches.
There used to be a TV preacher from New York called Reverend Ike. One of his core messages was on the supposed Scriptural topic— “The lack of money is the root of all evil”. He kept saying things like, if you have trouble handling money, send it to me. Osteen is far more slick than this, and in fact far more accountable. His ministry maintains public records and provides financial reports, and in fact he has not taken a salary since his book went mega-platinum. He has also reportedly signed an enormous contract for his second book with Simon and Schuster. He is then not a shister or a crook it would appear. His example seemsfar more beguiling than the obvious huckster. Wherein lies the problem then?
The problem is several fold, and it involves a fundamental replacement of what the Bible actually has to say about wealth, with what our culture says about wealth and prosperity. And of course when you preach a message that is heard as saying “God wants you rich” or is heard as saying “if you give generously to God (i.e. our ministry) he will repay you many times over”), then of course the implication is that the Gospel message is really all about us, and ways to get God to fulfill not merely our needs and desires but even our conspicuously consumptive dreams. But is God really a nurturer of a vision of life that says its all about me and my material success?
How very different indeed this message is from John Wesley’s Famous Sermon “On the Use of Money” in which he stresses that if you make all you can honestly and save all you can, but do not give all you can to relieve poverty, feed the hungry, make well the sick you may be a living person but you are a dead Christian. Wesley like the Bible warns of the enormous dangers of wealth, especially if it is used to provide one’s self with an opulent lifestyle while others have nothing to survive on. As Wesley suggests my luxuries should always come after someone else’s necessities, or I am living a selfish and self-centered life style. Wesley preached that Christians at the beginning of the industrial revolution should de-enculturate themselves, live simply, and have as their goal, giving so much to others during their lives that when they die they will have successfully given it all away. This sounds far less narcissitic and self-centered than the message of Osteen. And it comes from a different vision of God. God is not viewed as the grand sugar Daddy in the sky who exists to meet our every desire, and in particular our desire to live well, or even opulently. But forget the warnings of great church leaders of the past— what does the Bible say about such things?
First of all, I would stress that there are more warning about wealth in the New Testament, than about any other ethical subject with the possible exception of sexual and relational issues. And right off the bat this ought to seem odd to us, since only a small percentage of first century Christians had any prospect of getting wealthy. Why such a stress on a message that is the polar opposite to Osteen’s message in the NT when the audience was much poorer on the whole? It is a question worth asking. It has to do with fallen human nature and its desire to secure its own life on its own. But let’s start with some texts we will not likely be hearing preached from Osteen’s pulpit. Let’s start with Jesus.
The Sermon on the Mount would be Jesus’ version of “Your Best Life Now”. In it he says “Do not store up for yourselvss trasures on earth where moth and rust consume and where thieves break in and steal; but store up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Mt. 6. 19-20.
This saying of course comes before the “do not worry about what you will eat, drink, or wear, because God will provide” message in 6.25-33. This text warns strongly against the accumulation of wealth, and in particular having and keeping for yourself more than you need. Jesus’ real concern is found at the end of vs. 21 in the saying about treasure. Human beings are acquistive by nature– consider how many Americans are addicted to shopping. Consider how our culture encourages us to think luxuries and necessities to the point that we can’t tell the difference between the two.
If you want to know where a person’s heart really is— follow the money. This could be said of all of us. And what happens to already self-centered acquistive persons when they are encouraged to be even more that way is that they commit idolatry. Their real center of existence is not God. They only relate to God for what they can get out of God. Their real center of existence is their own prosperity and life style— “God bless my standard of living”. we should have seen Osteen coming when the “Prayer of Jabez” became a run away best-seller and an excuse for continuing to think that God wants us all to be rich, even if it destroys our soul.
Notice as well that Jesus says quite clearly three things at the end of Mt. 6: 1) we should seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness, and the necessities of life will be added to us. Jesus does not say anything about wealth will be added to us. He says the necessities will be taken care of if we are God-focused and seeking his righteousness, not our profit. And while we are at it it is well to remember that when Jesus says “ask anything in my name…” this means “ask anything that is in accord with my will, in accord with all my other teaching about the dangers of money and wealth, the sorts of things I would ask for”. If you are praying prayers Jesus would not endorse, selfish and self-centered prayers, prayers about purely material success then you had best not sign Jesus’ name to them, nor should you expect him to answer yes to them. 2) Jesus’ teaching consistently tries to get us to focus on God and others, not our own desires or needs.
This is not in fact the character of Osteen’s preaching unfortunately. He is doing his best to make us feel comfortable and happy if we are wealthy, and to simply see it as a blessing from God. But even if on occasion God does bless someone with abundant material resources, the next question should be stewardship. The next question should be how should I use these resources so that God is glorified and others are helped. It should not lead to a “God bless my standard of living” and we give ourselves permission to live high off the hog. There should always be the thught that God has blessed you to be an abundant blessing to others, and I don’t just mean one’s own family.
Mt. 6. 24— “You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve God and wealth.” The issue is what is your object of ultimate concern? Where is your heart and treasure? When you take a human being who is acquisitive to begin with, and then take away all warnings about the dangers of wealth leading to idolatry, you are in trouble.
Someone should make a huge banner with this verse on it and hang it in front of the Compaq Center for all those entering to see. We could also hang up the Lukan beatitude “Blesssed are the poor” (Lk. 6.20). How about the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16.19-31) which suggests that those who prosper in this life and do not help others will find the reverse is their condition in the life to come. So much for the slogan “he who dies with the most toys wins”. We could also focus on Jesus’ teaching about the fool who stockpiled his assests and of whom God required his life before he could get the full benefit from them. Have you notice that there is no theology of retirement, or pension accounts in the New Testament, no blessing of those who store things away just for themselves?
Jesus’ brother James is equally insistent about the dangers of wealth. Read James 2.1-7 where we hear among other things “God chose the poor of the world to be rich in faith and to be heirs of the kingdom.” He warns not to cozy up to the wealthy or give them preferential treatment not least because “Is it not the rich who oppress you?” You would have thought that after the Enron scandal the good Christian people of Houston would have become a little more wary of courting the rich and of lusting after the lifestyles of the rich.
Listen to what else James says “You covet something and cannot obtain it: so you engage in disputes and conflicts…You ask and do not receive because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures. Adulterers! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God.” (James 4.2-6).
Paul in 1 Tim. 6.6-10 puts it this way “There is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into this world, and we shall take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing we will be content with these. But those who want to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a rot of all kinds of evil, and in their eagerness to be rich some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pains.” There could hardly be a much sterner warning against believing in the health and wealth Gospel than this one.
We need to stop listening to the siren song of our culture about the goodness of personal wealth and material prosperity. We need to advocate a theology of stewardship which puts other people’s necessities before our luxuries. We need to simplify our lifestyles and get a clear grasp on God’s prioirties including God’s especial concern for the poor and destitute of the world. We need to realize that what Jesus promised us if we seek the kingdom is not prosperity,but rather ‘just enough’ to take care of our basic needs. We need to remember that the Lord’s prayer teaches us to pray for daily bread, not for resources today that I could not possibly use in 10,000 lifetimes. We need to heed all the warnings about how wealth can destroy the soul of an inherently self centered and acquistive creature– namely any human being. We need to renounce the false gospel of wealth and health— it is a disease of our American culture, it is not a solution or answer to life’s problems.
Sometime ago when Donald Trump was riding high, he was interviewed on the subject of “how much is enough?” This was after he had assets totaling in the millions. His answer was very revealing— “a little bit more.” This is the truth about human nature, and what Paul says about that nature is that it needs to be crucified, not indulged, it needs to die not be pampered. The goal is this “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I wholive, but it is Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved mne and gave himsellf for me.” (Gal. 2.19-20). The model for the Christian life is not Donald Trump, it is that man who made the ultimate self-sacrifice, the man who lived simply, fed the hungry, hung out with the poor, and renounced conspicuous consumption— Jesus himself.
SOURCE: It is important to note that the bulk of the theology of the Word-Faith Movement can be traced directly to the cultic teachings of New Thought metaphysics. Thus, much of the theology of the Faith Movement can also be found in such clearly pseudo-Christian cults as Religious Science, Christian Science, and the Unity School of Christianity. Over a century before the Faith Movement became a powerful force within the Christian church, Phineas Parkhurst Quimby (1802-1866), the father of New Thought, was popularising the notion that sickness and suffering ultimately have their origin in incorrect thinking. Quimby’s followers believe that man can create his own reality through the power of positive affirmation (confession). Metaphysical practitioners have long taught adherents to visualise health and wealth, and then to affirm or confess them with their mouths so that the intangible images may be transformed into tangible realities.
Some of the teachings and practices of the movement can be traced to certain post-World War II faith healers and revivalists operating within Pentecostal circles. Both Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin point to T. L. Osborn and William Branham as true men of God who greatly influenced their lives and ministries. Of course, Osborn himself has consistently followed E. W. Kenyon’s Scripture-twisting antics, and Branham has denounced the doctrine of the Trinity as coming directly from the devil. Twisted texts, make-believe miracles, and a counterfeit Christ are all common denominators of the Faith Movement’s leading teachers. And, as all who look into the matter will clearly see, it all began with the metaphysical teachings of Essek William Kenyon.
Essek William Kenyon
Essek William Kenyon, whose life and ministry were enormously impacted by such cults as Science of Mind, the Unity School of Christianity, Christian Science, and New Thought metaphysics, is the true father of the modern-day Faith Movement. Many of the phrases popularised by present-day prosperity preachers, such as, “What I confess, I possess,” were originally coined by Kenyon. Kenneth Hagin, to whom we next turn our attention, plagiarised much of Kenyon’s work, including the statement, “Every man who has been ‘born again’ is an Incarnation … The believer is as much an Incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.”
Kenneth E. Hagin
Kenneth Hagin takes Kenyon’s theology from bad to worse. Not only does he boast of alleged visits to heaven and hell, he recounts numerous out-of-body experiences (OBEs) on the earth as well. On one occasion, Hagin claims he was in the middle of a sermon when, suddenly, he was transported back in time. He ended up in the back seat of a car and watched as a young woman from his church committed adultery with the driver. The entire experience lasted about fifteen minutes, after which Hagin abruptly found himself back in church, summoning his parishioners to prayer. Despite his propensity for telling tall tales and describing false visions, virtually every major faith-movement teacher has been impacted by Hagin, including Frederick K. C. Price and Kenneth Copeland.
Kenneth Copeland started his ministry as a direct result of memorising Hagin’s messages. It wasn’t long before he had learned enough from Hagin to establish his own following. To say his teachings are heretical would be an understatement—blasphemous is more like it. Copeland brashly pronounces God to be the greatest failure of all time, boldly proclaims that “Satan conquered Jesus on the Cross” and describes Christ in hell as an “emaciated, poured out, little, wormy spirit.” Yet, despite such statements, Benny Hinn ominously warned that “those who attack Kenneth Copeland are attacking the very presence of God!”
Originally posted on Experience in the Word of Faith:
Some will say the Word of Faith movement is okay as long as it’s taught with balance. Before I understood that I was involved in the word faith, I eventually came to see the teachings as very one-sided. I did not consider it an issue. But no matter how much divine health was preacher, it was never a reality for me or anyone around me. People continued to get sick. People continued to die. No matter how many times Pastor Breedlove referred to how people could be making negative confessions behind closed doors which could result in death, I viewed divine health as a promise for him alone.
I remember becoming angry when I learned what we were taught was taken from books written by other preachers. Many leaders in the word faith movement read books from written by Kenneth Hagin Sr., Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, T.L. Osborn, Fred…
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SOURCE: Recently Joel Osteen, pastor of Lakewood Church in Houston, came to our city to promote the new book, “Become A Better You”. The bookstore hosting his appearance reported selling roughly 600 of his books during the two and a half hour signing, attesting to the popularity of Osteen and his message.
That popularity does not come without controversy. Recently, CBS aired a report about Osteen on “60 Minutes” and included concerns raised by Osteen’s message, noting: “Many theologians from mainstream churches find Osteen’s message misleading and shallow.” But what are these concerns and, do they have any merit?
Primarily, they center on the belief his message, is at best, a very weak presentation of biblical principles and/or, at worst, a presentation of Word Faith teachings similar to those of his father. Recently, we asked Rob Bowman to research this and prepare a Profile for our Profile Notebook subscribers. Following is an edited excerpt of some of is findings regarding Osteen, his message, and some of the concerns being raised.
FINDINGS FROM THE JOEL OSTEEN PROFILE
Joel Osteen was born in 1963. His father, John Osteen, was a former Southern Baptist pastor, who in 1958 became a charismatic and dissociated himself from the Baptists. In 1959 he started Lakewood Church, an independent, nondenominational church in northeast Houston, Texas. In 1999 he died and Joel succeeded him as pastor, though he had preached his first sermon only the week before John’s death and his only formal training was one semester at Oral Roberts University.
When John died, Lakewood had about 6,000 members. The church now claims over 38,000 attend its services weekly, making it the largest church in America. Joel’s youth, understanding of television, and “positive” message are likely all factors in the explosive growth of Lakewood Church since he became its pastor.
Osteen’s book Your Best Life Now: 7 Steps To Living At Your Full Potential, published in November 2004, has sold between four and five million copies. According to Publishers Weekly, [the book] was to have a first printing of three million.
The January 2007 issue of The Church Report identified Joel Osteen as the “most influential Christian in America”, ahead of (for example) Billy Graham, Focus on the Family’s founder James Dobson, and U.S. President George W. Bush. In 2006, Barbara Walters profiled Osteen as one of her “10 Most Fascinating People in America”, describing him as “rich, famous, handsome, and adored by millions of fans on television each week”. Osteen’s popularity provoked Time magazine to run an article asking, “Does God Want You To Be Rich?” that highlighted Osteen’s controversial message.
Lakewood’s doctrinal statement: Lakewood Church’s doctrinal statement is for the most part theologically inoffensive. It affirms the inspiration and inerrancy of the Bible; the Trinity (one God who exist in three distinct person: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit”); the death, resurrection, and second coming of Jesus Christ; salvation “by placing our faith in what Jesus did for us on the cross”; the practices of Baptism and Communion; and the importance of growing in Christ. All of these affirmations are orthodox, and Osteen does not seem to contradict them in his teaching, although he rarely addresses these topics. Only Lakewood’s affirmation of growing in Christ is problematic, because of how it is interpreted in Osteen’s actual teaching: “We believe…as children of God, we are overcomers and more than conquerors and God intends for each of us to experience the abundant life He has in store for us.” The motto or slogan of the church, “Discover the Champion in You”, may actually be more informative of what the church teaches week by week than its doctrinal statement.
Osteen’s preaching: Before Osteen preaches, he leads his congregation every week (as did his father John) in reciting the following affirmation: “This is my Bible. I am what it says I am. I have what it says I have. I can do what it says I can do. Today I’ll be taught the Word of God. I boldly confess my mind is alert, my heart is receptive. I’ll never be the same, in Jesus’ name.” Both in style and in substance, this affirmation or “positive confession” is a typical Word-Faith liturgy. The problem with the affirmation is not so much in what it says (we are, of course, what the Bible says we are), but in its focus (which is entirely on what the individual is, has, and can do) and in its implied meaning (that the individual is promised wealth and material success in this life).
The body of Osteen’s sermon (after an opening joke or story) typically focuses on a perceived negativity contemporary society – people are worried, or anxious, or lacking in confidence, or expecting failure – and the proposed solution of thinking and believing positively that God wants us to succeed, to be confident, to be at peace. Osteen backs up his prescription with a couple of biblical quotations and generous illustrations, typically drawn from his own life or from the recent successes of his church. The biblical quotations may be merely tacked on to the sermon at the end, as even Osteen admitted on Larry King Live; “I may not bring the scripture in until the end of my sermon and I might feel bad about that.”
Osteen’s Word-Faith message: Osteen, like some other popular advocates of Word-Faith doctrine to emerge recently, rarely focuses on the doctrinally controversial elements of that doctrine. In fact, he rarely talks about doctrinal matters at all. His preaching and writing consist primarily of folksy illustrations of people succeeding in life through thinking positive thoughts. Nevertheless, he has explicitly taught various key elements of Word-Faith theology.
Words of faith: Osteen credits his wife Victoria with “speaking words of faith and victory” that led to their eventually building themselves a large, elegant home (Your Best Life Now, 7).
Positive and negative confession: According to Osteen, people “usually get what they expect; they become what they believe” (Your Best Life Now, 73). He says, “Our words have tremendous power, and whether we want to or not, we will give life to what we’re saying, either good or bad” (ibid., 122). “Words are life seeds. They have creative power…Our words tend to produce what we’re saying” (Become A Better You, 109). Therefore, we ought to speak “words of faith” and “faith-filled words” (ibid., 110, 111). “Something supernatural happens when we speak it out” (ibid., 115).
Faith as visualization: Right in the opening page of his book, Osteen asserts: “As long as you cant imagine it, as long as you cant’ see it, then it is not going to happen for you” (Your Best Life Now, 3, emphasis in original).
To live your best life now, you must start looking at your life through eyes of faith, seeing yourself rise to new levels. See your business taking off. See your marriage restored. See your family prospering. See your dreams coming to pass. You must conceive it and believe it’s possible if you ever hope to experience it (ibid., 4).
Positive conception: Some Word-Faith teachers claim that Mary conceived Jesus in her womb by her own act of positively confessing in faith that she would have a child. This doctrine appears to originate from Kenneth Copeland, and Osteen teaches it:
God is saying something similar to what he told the Virgin Mary and others throughout Scripture…My Question to you is: Will you believe? Will you allow that seed to take root? The angel told Mary that she would conceive with out knowing a man. In other words, God was saying it could happen through supernatural means. It can happen without the bank loaning you the money (Your Best Life Now, 10, 11).
Prosperity by faith: Prosperity or material success – in terms of career, finances, housing, and so forth – is a prominent aspect of Osteen’s teaching. The following statements are just a few examples. “God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions, fresh ideas, and creativity:” (Your Best Life Now, 5). “God wants to give you your own house” (ibid., 35). “God wants to make your life easier” (ibid., 38).
Oddly, Osteen denies being a prosperity teacher. He told one interviewer, “I don’t in the least bit consider myself a prosperity-type preacher. I don’t think I’ve ever preacher a message on finances.” He made the same point to Larry King, stating, “As a matter of fact, I’ve never preacher a message on money.” Whether this is true or not, financial prosperity through faith is a theme that runs throughout his messages. Admitted, Osteen qualifies this teaching in some salutary ways, as when he says that he “can’t guarantee that you will become rich or famous” by following his teaching (Become A Better You, 14).
De-emphasis of sin and judgment: Osteen’s obsessive emphasis on the “positive” results in a neglect and even avoidance of the themes of sin and judgment. In his interview with King, Osteen admitted that he avoids calling people sinners: “But most people already know what they’re doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in you life. So I don’t go down the road of condemning.” In that same interview, Osteen was reticent even to suggest that non-Christians were under condemnation:
King: What if you’re Jewish or Muslim, you don’t accept Christ at all?
Osteen: You know, I’m very careful about saying who would and wouldn’t go to heaven. I don’t know.
King: If you believe you have to believe in Christ? They’re wrong, aren’t they?
Osteen: Well, I don’t know if I believe they’re wrong. I believe here’s what the Bible teaches and from the Christian faith this is what I believe. But I just think that only God will judge a person’ heart. I spent a lot of time in India with my father. I don’t know all about their religion. But I know they love God. And I don’t know. I’ve seen their sincerity. So I don’t know. I know for me, and what the Bible teaches, I want to have a relationship with Jesus.
Reactions from evangelicals to these and similar comments by Osteen prompted him to post a clarification on his ministry web since (since removed): “I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t util I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.”
[End Edited Profile Excerpt]
Certainly, someone might ask, “What is the problem with being positive in the words we speak, or having a positive attitude? Nothing. The problem is not in having a good and positive outlook on life but, teaching or believing that having such an outlook and speaking positive words will actually bind God to provide whatever one speaks.
As Bowman points out in his Profile:
“Osteen’s primary message is to think positive thoughts, a message that is not specifically Christian at all. Consider the “7 Steps to Living at Your Full Potential” in his book Your Best Life Now:
1. Enlarge your vision
2. Develop a healthy self-image
3. Discover the power of your thoughts and words
4. Let go of the past
5. Find strength through adversity
6. Live to give!
7. Choose to be happy
These seven steps would be at home just as much in Unity or Science of Mind as in the Word-Faith movement. There is nothing essentially Christian, or even particularly religious, about this message at all. In fact, a humanist would have no problem embracing these seven steps. Osteen sprinkles biblical quotations throughout the book (but so would a Unity publication) and relates these seven steps to a generic Christian belief, but these elements appear to be window dressing only. The “7 Keys to Improving Your Life” in Become A Better You are similarly generic advice that, for the most part, almost anyone could affirm (keep pressing forward, be positive toward yourself, and so forth).
“The Bible teaches neither positive thinking nor negativism, but rather a balanced realism that recognizes both negative and positive dimensions of human life in this age. Over and over again, it presents a balanced view of the righteous and the wicked (Ps. 1:6), the wise and the foolish (Prov. 10:1), human evil and human goodness (Matt. 7:11), and the future prospects of both eternal punishment and eternal life (Matt. 25:46). Paul was prepared to live or to die, expecting only to honor Christ whatever happened (Phil. 1:19-26). While he remained alive, he expected neither poverty nor prosperity, but learned to honor Christ and to be content in either case (Phil. 4:11-13).
Word-Faith theology is unbiblical. The doctrine that God expects human beings to be prosperous and healthy in this mortal life by speaking positive “words of faith” is a serious distortion of biblical theology. Our words cannot make things real (Prov. 14:23) except as we or others act on them (Prov. 18:21). God’s word, unlike ours, always produces results (Is. 55:6-11). Indeed, what we “confess” may be false (Rev 3:17). Perfect health and well-being are promised to Christians, but in the future resurrection life of the age to come (Rom. 8:10-11, 23; 1 Cor. 15:42-45).”
One of those who raised concerns about Osteen in the “60 Minutes” piece referred to his message as a “cotton candy gospel”. Maybe that is why so many find it appealing. After all, cotton candy sure does taste good; it is sugary sweet. However it also isn’t very filling and you certainly wouldn’t want a steady diet of it. In fact, it is filled with empty calories. Perhaps it also shouldn’t be lost on us that it is generally sold at carnivals, fairs, and other places of amusement.
Joel Osteen is, without question, energetic and motivating. His message is filled with hope and encouragement. But, is this consistent with Scripture, or is it more compatible with any of the many motivational speakers making the circuit these days, offering a “quick-fix”? Regardless of how Christians might feel about Osteen and his message, it certainly bears hearing with a discerning ear.
Just months after the Pope sent an ecumenical message to Kenneth Copeland, a group of leaders from the Word of Faith movement, and Charismatics everywhere – Joel Osteen visits the Pope and says some very interesting things. Do you think Joel Osteen will agree with Angelican priest Tony Palmer – who is a personal freind of the Pope and delivered the Popes message to Copeland and other charismatics – that the Protestant Protest is over and we Protestants are all Catholics now. It seems that he would. Most Christians believe we are heading towards a one world government glued together by a one world religion. And it seems Osteen will be, wittingly or unwittingly, lending his smile and popularity to help that come about.
(SOURCE – HOUSTON CHRONICLE): On the same day his wife took 300 schoolchildren to the Bronx Zoo, Joel Osteen, the pastor of Houston’s Lakewood Church, was meeting Thursday with Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Osteen said Friday it was a great honor to represent the pastors of America in the meeting with the pontiff, whom he described as warm, personable and full of joy.
“I like the fact that this pope is trying to make the church larger, not smaller,” Osteen said. “He’s not pushing people out but making the church more inclusive. That resonated with me.”
The unofficial meeting also included Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah; former U.S. Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne; Tim Timmons, a pastor and author based in Newport Beach, Calif.; and Gayle D. Beebe, president of Westmont College in Santa Barbara, Calif., according to the Deseret News of Salt Lake City.
“We had very little time with him,” Osteen said. “We were going to have more time, but a cardinal died that morning.”
Pope Francis asked the group to pray for him and to pray for peace in the Middle East, Osteen said.
As part of a visit to promote interfaith understanding and ecumenical prayer, the meeting with Pope Francis was arranged by The International Foundation, a private nonprofit organization, Lee told the Deseret News.
Earlier in the week, the 15-member group met with Vatican staff members, toured the Vatican and attended the Convocation of Renewal at Olympic Stadium in Rome, according to a statement from Westmont College.
More than 50,000 charismatic Roman Catholics also attended the convocation, during which the pope knelt on the ground to pray, the Deseret News reported.
The day before the meeting with Pope Francis, Osteen said, he attended Mass in St. Peter’s Square with 100,000 people.
“Afterward, (the pope) spent an hour and a half going through the crowd with the Popemobile, greeting people,” he said. “It was very heartwarming to see him caring for people.”
Osteen said he met the Vatican’s secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, and had dinner with another cardinal in a stone house on the Vatican grounds. The small structure with magnificently painted ceilings served as the pope’s home 600 years ago, he said.
Osteen is scheduled to speak Saturday evening at Yankee Stadium as part of his “America’s Night of Hope” tour.
His flight from Rome arrived in New York Friday morning.
COMPILED 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)
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.
SOURCE: 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).
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.
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. 
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. 
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.
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.
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.
|Emma Curtis Hopkins|
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. 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
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.
SOURCE: 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).
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.
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.
SOURCE: 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.
SOURCE: 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.
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.
SOURCE: 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.
SOURCE: 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.
SOURCE: 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)
SOURCE : 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.
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.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.
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.
SOURCE: 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?
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…
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.
Joel Osteen’s New Age Life Now? By Brannon Howse
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.
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.
SOURCE: 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”.
“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”
SOURCE: 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The name of author of this testimony is unknown, but she blogs at http://abigailanddolley.blogspot.com
SOURCE: 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.
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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.
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:
- Benny Hinn
- Book Review
- Creflo Dollar
- Damon Whitsell
- Did Jesus go to Hell
- Did Jesus go to Hell?
- Ex-Word of Faith Testimony
- Fred Price
- Guest Writers
- Is Faith a Force?
- Jesse Duplantis
- Joel Osteen
- John Edwards
- Joseph Prince
- Joyce Meyer
- June Hunt
- Kenneth Copeland
- Kenneth Hagin
- Little gods
- Mark 11:22-23
- Mark Chironna
- Must See Post
- Papa Giorgio
- Paul Crouch
- Postive Thinking
- Power of Words
- Proverbs 18:21
- T.D. Jakes
- The Prosperity Gospel
- Trinity Broadcast Network
- Walter Martin
- Why Expose Error?
- Word of Faith
- Word of Faith Documentary
- Word of Faith In The News
- Word of Faith is Witchcraft
- Word of Faith Testimony
- Word of Faith VIDEO