Why DMI Does What It Does

27 07 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 7 – Why DMI Does What It Does

 Discernment Ministries International

 Why DMI Does What It Does

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

“We praise God that, despite the large amount of poison, He still saves so many people at the same time we remember our sacred duty to witness against every false doctrine whenever we can.”  CFW Walther, Essays for the Church, Volume 1, 178.

I was recently at Concordia seminary, Fort Wayne explaining to their Vicarage Department why I was no longer pursuing a position as a pastor within the LCMS. Instead I shared with Professor Pulse the great need to (1) educate God’s people of the dangers from within and without and (2) to the need to help equip the sheep with the biblical tools they need to give a defense for what they believe. I shared that my goal was to continue the fruitful ministry the Lord entrusted to me by hopefully starting a ‘Recognized Service Organization’ (RSO) within our Synod dedicated to warning, educating and equipping congregations within the LCMS about the dangers impacting the church. Professor Pulse agreed there was (1) currently no one doing this type of outreach and (2) there is indeed a great need for such work.

I was however disappointed to learn that the two Apologetics/counter-cult type courses that were offered to pastors in training are no longer offered at any Lutheran seminaries. What is more I have yet to work with any congregation that was well educated and equipped regarding the current trends sweeping away many souls.

For over sixteen years I have dedicated my meager abilities to “Teach Truth and Expose Error” and it has been at times exhilarating as well as very depressing. Exhilarating in that I have seen many people come out of doctrinal darkness and false practice by the grace of God. Depressing, because of the lack of support from local churches and individuals in battling the very things that are destroying them!

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore, watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:27-31

The Field of Battle Is Two-Fold

From Without-

Paul in his address to the Ephesian elders warned them of the battle to come when he departed. Nature abhors a vacuum, and evil spirits know how to make the most of a “clean and swept” house (see Matthew 12:45). One avenue to assault against the sheep is from outside of the Church that Paul designates as “grievous wolves” —

To begin with cultic activity is pandemic in the world. Christianity is no longer merely competing with the views of the major world religions (Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc.). Today, the Church is competing with literally 1,000’s of new belief systems, many of which are very sophisticated technologically and extremely evangelistic in delivering their message.

These non-Christian cults have multitudinous websites, Blogs, Public Access television programs, cable programs in the form of infomercials and a growing army of devotees actively spreading their version of salvation. A good example would be the church of Scientology. A highly published Christian Apologist was told by Zondervan Publishing House, the largest Christian book publisher in the world, to remove the chapter he had written about Scientology, simply because that cult is too powerful and they have the capability to sue organization into bankruptcy (this is what happened to the Cult Awareness Network, which is now owned and operated by Scientologists). Due to the many high profile musicians and movie actors in Scientology their cult is growing in popularity and power. What is your church doing to combat their false message? Ask yourself a simple question, “is my church equipping me to biblically and effectively challenge their beliefs”? When was the last time your church offered a course or seminar on the cults, their beliefs and how to refute them from a loving biblical perspective?

Do the brothers and sisters you worship with weekly understand what Islam believes? Do they know its history, why the Shiites fight the Sunni and both of them fight the Sufis. We may have a Latter Day Saint for a President of the nation. It might surprise you to learn that Christians have more in common with Islam than we do with Mormonism—is your church educated to know why this is true?

The church is currently under a massive attack from without. Not just the overt non-Christian cults, but also by our culture. The homosexual movement has been growing by leaps and bounds. It was not that long ago when being a homosexual was one of society’s darkest secrets. Not only was it a shameful secret, but was classified as a psychological ailment and a crime of sexual deviancy in most states. In less than twenty years (20) homosexuals are touted as ‘normal’ and thus should (and do) have the same rights as heterosexual citizens. Gay pride floods our parades, our military and virtually every television sitcom has at least one openly queer character.

Our own government has been moving in rapid fashion against the Church under the Obama regime. The church is going to be forced to pay for birth control pills and abortions. Bible believing Christians are now listed as potential terrorists by our government. Do not be surprised if/when they rescind tax breaks for Churches. Obviously, Hollywood television programs and movies, the music industry conspire to works against the cause of Christ. When was the last time you saw a Christian portrayed in a good light in a film or program? Ask yourself, are you, your church family and friends biblically prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you (see 1 Peter 3:15)?

From Within-

What is even more troubling is the rapid expansion of heresy and aberrant teachings within the Church. What’s worse is that the vast majority of this nonsense flows from America! Never in the history of the Church have the people of God suffered from such a massive infestation of false teachers, false prophets and false apostles.

The “Christian” bookstore has become one of the most spiritually dangerous places for the child of God to set foot in. The list of Christian best selling books include such titles as Good Morning Holy Spirit, The Divine Revelation of Hell, God Calling, The God Chasers, Heaven Is Real and other books filled with false teaching, blasphemy and in many cases outright lies.

“Christian” Television offers the world a perversion of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. TBN, a global network, serves up a regular diet of heresy and error through people such as Jessie Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Kim Clement and others. Televangelism is alive and well on the airwaves proclaiming a false gospel of health & wealth. Peter Popoff, Don Stewart, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey and Robert Tilton (to name just a few) are still broadcasting on a regular basis and raking in close to a combined BILLION dollars a year to support their lavish lifestyles (wonder why Senator Grassley was interested in some of these Gospel pimps?).

The televangelists do not provide any financial reports, but it is estimated based on what has been revealed that altogether they siphon off close to a billion dollars a year tax-free from legitimate Christian work. Where does this money go? It goes to pay for mansions, private jets (many televangelists own several), running their SINistry machines. Very little goes to feed the hungry, build orphanages, medical clinics, locally based outreach, etc. These people promise much, but they deliver nothing but false and unfulfilled promises.

The elderly, infirmed, work-at-home mom’s & dad’s represent the “mission” field of the televangelists. These Christian folks, who are lonely, want some “Christian” teaching & fellowship have no choice except to watch and be influenced by a myriad of false teachers, prophets, apostles, brethren and false evangelists. If such viewing comprises the majority of spiritual input, then it makes sense that these people would be deceived into believing what they see and hear — because the televangelists ALL preach the same errors on television, ergo they ‘confirm’ their own doctrines by pointing to one another as additional witness (see 2 Cor. 13:1). I have relatives who actually go to sleep with TBN on!

The problem with the people who have risen up among us speaking perverse things is that we live in a time when pointing this out is politically incorrect and this notion has crept over into the Church in a big way. The lambs of our Lord suffer under these blind guides because the leaders in the Church are very busy perfecting their place in the monkey line —” see no evil hear no evil speak no evil,” others are working on Oscar winning performances akin to “Sgt. Shultz” on television who was known for saying “I know nothing” when questioned about questionable activities.

Some swimming in the river of denial say “let the Lord handle it,” or “I’m taking the high ground and walking love towards them” — all-the-while people are being misled regarding who our Lord Jesus Christ is, what He did, what is our response to be to Him for His great gift, etc. By keeping silent error increases. The apostle Paul rightly said to the Galatians regarding the false teachers assaulting their faith:

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Gal. 5:7-9

These folks were hindered from obeying the Lord because they listened (how faith comes) to false teachers. Paul warns them that the little leaven (error) will infect the entire loaf unless dealt with.

 A few years back Tracy and I marveled at the ignorance of a leading charismatic pastor, John Arnott, who answered a question regarding spiritual deception in this manner, “I have more faith in God’s ability to bless than in Satan’s ability to deceive,” words to that effect. Arnott got many hearty ‘halleluiahs’ from the crowd for his pious sounding words. But what sayeth the Scripture?

The Satanic Six Fold-Ministry

When I start out as a young charismaniac the teaching of that day was about the “five-fold ministry.” This is taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and buttressed with a few other texts:

And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Eph. 4:11-12

Sign-gift people are restorationists and as such believe that today’s Church is supposed to operate exactly like the early Church but with more power in these last days. They believe that God has restored back to the Church the specific office of the (1) Apostle, and (2) Prophet. The other three (3) Evangelist, (4) Pastor and (5) Teacher have always been with the Church. This teaching goes as far as to declare that unless a local congregation receives spiritual input from all five ministry gifts they will remain deficient and non-effective in the last great outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and power. Many books have been written regarding the work of the restored five-fold ministry and this concept (which is wrong for many reasons) is widely held by countless sign-gift folks. They believe for example, that the apostle is one who operates in all the other four ‘offices.’ I would like to briefly mention the other side of the coin, which NONE of the charismatic luminaries has touched on to any great degree; that of the demonic counterfeits.

The False Apostle

Chief Apostle Dr. Eric vonAnderseck believes that the church needs living apostles today to bring the church into the unity of the faith. By his apostolic stewardship the church is again receiving one doctrine of Christ, one faith, and one restored blueprint of truth. Apostle Eric is establishing the true testimony of Jesus Christ as the record of faith to mature the church unto a perfect man, to bring the church to the fullness of Christ. (Eph.4:13)   (2)

God is changing the look and feel of Apostolic and Prophetic ministry as it is now functioning in the church. A new dynamic of the ministry of Apostles and Prophets will soon be revealed through Jesus Christ, the giver of the Five-Fold ministry gifts. Interestingly enough is that the new dynamic is the same pattern given for Apostles and Prophets in the Holy Scriptures. (3)

The ministry of the apostle is the latest act of restoration by the Holy Spirit according to the enthusiasts. My wife and I personally experienced the rise of the apostolic which was “birthed” by the proclamation of the restored prophets! We saw individuals who started out as street evangelists become pastors, who later became prophets and then were elevated to the role of apostle and others who jumped the ranks from pastor to apostle, including one of our former pastors, Ellis Smith. If you Google “prophetic movement” you will get a return of 4,670,000.

According to the enthusiasts the ministry of the apostle is the culmination of the restoration process. They believe that these men and women (although Jesus chose no female apostles, nor did the early church) are the ones through whom God will pour out new revelations, give directions for the Church both locally and globally. These people are the forerunners who will initiate the forthcoming manifestation the sons of God (see Romans 8:19)  by imparting spiritual gifts of power.

One of the most recent examples of this belief was the ‘elevation’ of Todd Bentley to the office of apostle. The whole debacle can be seen and heard on YouTube, simply input ‘Todd Bentley’ and you will get back over 3,800 videos. The fact is this: Mr. Bentley has no legitimate biblical education. He is a convicted child molester, (4), and shortly after his elevation it was discovered that the Church’s newly minted “apostle” was in the midst of a sexual affair with another female anointed vessel. Now a few months later Todd is divorced, remarried and back on the stage with the FULL BACKING of today’s so called restored apostles and prophets (many of whom can be seen on his elevation video prof-a-lying over Todd). (5) There is one good video of Todd where he is rebuked by 4 people during a meeting, which he ignores and belittles, if you get online you can go to the following address and see men rebuking Todd biblically – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_tRwgItUFo.

These roving wolves are nothing new to the Church. From its inception Satan raised up tares among the pure wheat o0f God to deceive and mislead the sheep; to lead them to hell and not to heaven.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Cor. 11:13-15

Paul is defending his genuine apostleship against those who were claiming that they were in fact the true apostles to the Corinthians. Three times Paul uses the Greek word

Paul lets us know that these pseudo apostles are people who disguise their true motives; they masquerade as Christians which should not surprise us because Satan and his demons always attempt to appear in an appealing and tempting form. So it is no big mystery that his servants will appear as ministers of righteousness — they will reap what they sow. Our Lord commanded the saints who did not simply “swallow-and-follow” whatever they were taught, but they checked out those who claimed to be apostles:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. Rev. 2:3

Discernment Ministries International has been putting these people to the test and we have found them to be false apostles and DMI is doing all it can to warn the body of Christ about the grave spiritual danger these frauds present to our spiritual wellbeing. Today’s crop of so-called apostles fails the biblical test set forth in Acts:

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts 1:21,22

What is more, Jesus and the early Church never chose a woman to be an apostle, ergo any women today who claims to hold such a position is obviously extremely deceived and thus deceiving all those who follow her, regardless of how well-intentioned she may be. (7)

This new crop fails the true seal of apostleship in the area of genuine signs and wonders. Paul, in defense of his ministry said:

I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you; for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Cor. 12:11,12

False Prophets

Today, there is no doubt that God is restoring the prophetic ministry to the church as never seen before. Prophets are springing up from everywhere and people are more than ever aware of the prophetic ministry as never before. (8)

The polemical aspect of the heresiologist’s work is decried by many in the church today. Many people think those of us involved in apologetics, polemics and counter-cult works are simply wasting our time. After all, if someone wants to call themselves a “prophet” what business is it of mine or yours? Christian love demands a response to (1) the lies told in the name of the Lord who saved them and (2) warn the undiscerning to the spiritual danger facing them if they warn the undiscerning to the spiritual danger facing them if they follow these blind guides.

False prophets are the frontline “battle tanks” in Satan’s arsenal. Through them Satan has sent more souls to eternal damnation than through almost any other means. Think a moment — Islam was started by a false prophet. Close to a billion souls, praying five times a day heading towards the pit of destruction. Today Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and the source of virtually all the world’s current problems. How about Joseph Smith? He convinced many that he was a prophet of our Lord. The result?  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a cult which is being rapidly accepted as a “sect” within Christianity! None less than Joel Osteen, America’s mega-church pastor, who speaks to millions weekly accepts Mormons as Christians. If Mitt Romney becomes President then expect to see a massive push to mainstream Mormonism into acceptance as part of the Church. Jim Jones took hundreds with him to hell, they died believing he was a prophet.

Today virtually all sign-gift believers (500 million, ¼ of the professing Church today — no small number) believe that God has restored true prophets back to the Church today. While there is no agreement on who is or is not a prophet and no unity regarding the function of today’s prophets they do seem to agree that this is a necessary ministry in order for Christ to return.

 This means that 500 million people believe that God has placed men and women in the Church to hear from God on their behalf, relate these revelations to the recipients and then empower them to fulfill the revelation by imparting ‘the anointing’ to devotee. This means that 1/4th of the Church today is not relying on the Scripture alone to give them guidance, instead they are placing their faith in the words spoken by the false prophets and prophetesses.

It boggles the mind that this many people can accept the word and direction of someone who is not necessarily expected to be 100% accurate (how one knows what to accept or reject is purely subjective). Below is an example of this unbiblical belief (the bible accepts nothing less than 100% accuracy for God’s prophets):

There is a creative realm to prophecy and the prophetic ministry. If you say ‘God, I don’t want to be making this stuff up.” That is doubt!” Now remember that without faith it is impossible to please God. Like any new thing you are trying to learn, it takes time. It takes time to become good at expressing what you see in the spirit. It is because you must sort through all the impressions and prophetic pictures that come to mind. You must take time to learn how to interpret them. If you are going to move in the prophetic ministry, then you must be willing to be made a fool for Christ. Does that sound familiar?  Have you ever done something that you thought you heard God tell you to do?  You must be willing to make mistakes You will learn what not to do through experience. That is the price. (8)

The Prophetic Movement is the hotbed of all forms of enthusiastic excess such as, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness and the other revivalism nonsense was birthed in prophetic congregations. Today the leaven has spread to now include things such as “prophetic dance.” Dancing certain dances are a form of prayer, will cast out evil spirits, as a form of worship. There is also prophetic prayer, prophetic worship, prophetic mantles and all sorts of pagan practices being accepted as part of legitimate Christian worship! The prophetic (pathetic) movement is a dangerous deception and it is a powerful force to contend with.

False Teachers

As with the other counterfeits that church has always been beset with false teachers. The Apostle Peter warned the church when he wrote:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And MANY WILL follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness THEY WILL EXPLOIT YOU with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 1:1-3

The only change today in the fulfillment of this text is that they no longer do it in “secret.” today the false teachers rove the globe spewing forth a myriad of deceptive teachings on physical healing, financial prosperity, the gifts of the Spirit, and redemption itself is twisted by these liars.

These tares are especially dangerous because God’s people have been taught to respect and believe the Bible. However, this is where the average believer often stumbles. Someone stands up and preaches something using biblical texts and says “its in the bible.” What is required on our part is to be well grounded in Christian doctrine. Most Christians are not adequately prepared to properly discern truth from error (what else explains the millions in spiritual bondage today?).

The major televised SINisters preach another Gospel, proclaim another Jesus and offer people another spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Out of a godly concern for the Church on a regular basis DMI exposes the false doctrines of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Marilyn Hickey, Creflo Dollar, TBN, Jesse Duplantis, Fred Price, Joel Osteen and a host of others who oppose Christ and themselves. DMI has contacted many of these individuals by registered mail documenting their errors and asking them to recant their false teachings. To date none of them have done so. Having followed Mathew 18 to some extent, DMI now takes the concern to the Church.

False Shepherds

The small letter to Titus gives us some insights into the motivation of the false minister in the following:

For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths MUST BE STOPPED, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. Titus 1:10-11

False shepherds care nothing for the souls that are under their “care.” The sheep on the other hand have a somewhat innate trust in their pastors by virtue of their office alone. They are motivated by greed and pride (which is why so many SINistries are named after their human leader(s). The majority of sign-gift leaders are self-taught and self-appointed; few have any legitimate theological education and training. Tracy and I experienced tremendous spiritual abuse under two Rhema graduate “pastors” ( one man was also a prophet and the other was elevated to role of apostle) and over the years have counseled numerous victims of wolves masquerading as pastors. Ezekiel reveals another key indicator of the false shepherd:

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?   The weak you have not strengthen, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. Eze. 34:1-5

Every charismatic pastor I have known personally have “fed” themselves at the expense of their flocks. This is very evident especially in urban ministries where the pastors all live in as close to a mansion as can be obtained, drive very expensive cars and wear fashionable clothing. However, the people they serve live at or below the poverty level. Due to being literally bewitched by these Gospel pimps the people accept this burden willingly.

False Christ’s

The word of Faith cult has redefined “Christ” to refer to the anointing that was upon Jesus, ergo the text “I can do all things through Christ…” (see Phil.4:13) is read “I can do all things through the anointing” —a BIG difference in meaning. They look to the power of God and not to the God who supplies the power.

We are warned that there would in fact be falsely anointed people who claim by virtue of the accompanying signs and wonders as verification that they speak and work for the Living God.’

For many will come in my name, claiming ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:5,24

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am he,’ and ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. Luke 21:8

Few Christians will be deceived into thinking that someone is in fact the Lord Himself (although DMI has covered a few of them out-front antichrists including Sun Myung Moon, the aging ‘Korean’ Jesus and the most recent ‘Hispanic’ Jesus name Jose Luis de Jesus), but they seem to have no problem believing the claims to possess the power of Christ’s Spirit.

Benny Hinn is probably the best known living purveyor of power. After twenty years of holding ’miracle crusades’ the only miracle he can prove is the miracle of people continuing to attend his lame meetings. I can prove under oath in court that more people have physically died during Hinn’s meetings than he has ever healed. In fact, Mr. Hinn who by now should have a Quonset hut full of medical testimonies to divine healing — but he cannot verify one miracle. What is more Hinn is on record as a false prophet, adulterer and a liar (I do not say these things lightly). Yet the multitudes still flock to his meetings. There are many others claiming to impart the power of God. DMI covered the latest crop of deceivers in the last two issues of Truth Matters.

False Brethren

And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: Gal. 2:4

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. Titus 3:10

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son if anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 2 John 1:11

The Church is filled with wheat and tares and while we are commanded to believe the best (1 Cor. 13:7) we are also commanded to be aware of those around us. Sometimes false brethren sit in the pews and after the service they pull individuals aside and begin to discuss what is wrong in that local congregation. Tracy and I have run into people who simply ‘flit’ from church to church causing problems and sometimes splitting congregations.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17

False brethren are probably best considered as the ‘little foxes that destry the vine” (see SoS 2:15) as opposed to the SINisters, who also fall into this category. These are the folks who invite congregation members to their house for a little ‘home Bible study’ apart from the knowledge and direction of the pastor with the goal of sowing discord among the brethren. This is especially true, sad to say, for many ‘sign-gift’ devotees who believe it is their mission to get as many people out of their former denominations by infiltrating their former churches and sheep steal. Perhaps you’ve encountered these people.

In closing this out, let me simple warn you to keep an eye on your youth groups. Why?  Because our youth are directly targeted by charismaniacs. Youth are vulnerable and thus susceptible to wanting anything other than what their parents offer. The enthusiasts know that their future lies with the youth and not their parents. A word to the wise: Keep a sharp eye on what is taking place in/with your youth at church.

We’re very briefly considered some of the main avenues of assaults by Satan and his demons against our Christian family. Probably everyone reading this issue has a relative or friend who is enmeshed in some form of charismatic extremism, some “bible-based” cult, or possibly just a plain ole secularist. Discernment Ministries International was created to help educate and equip the saints of God to make a stand for God’s Word and by Its power rescue those who oppose themselves (2 Tim. 2:25) and are in danger of eternal damnation.

By the grace of God good fruit has been produced by DMI and by His grace in the days ahead we will expand our outreach and continue to Teach Truth & Expose Error!

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

2. Obtained from http://www.apostleeric.com on 6-30-12.

3. Obtained from www.apostolicministry.org

4. Understand that I am not saying the Mr. Bentley has not repented of his former sins, or that Jesus has not forgiven him. I bring this up because it is part of the public record and sadly, pedophiles, according to research seldom change, may Christ have genuinely changed Bentley.

5. Prof-a-lie is a term I co8ined to describe the action of an enthusiast standing up and uttering some sweet sounding lies in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek New Testament, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, Logos Research).

7. Again, I am not making statements regarding anyone’s eternal state before our Lord. He knows, all you and all I can do is to examine their fruit and see if it meets biblical standards. If not they must be rebuked and hopefully restored to soundness.

8. Obtained from www.whatsnewintheprophetic.com/PropheticMinistry

9. Obtained from www.prophetic-ministry.com

10. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1 Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domain electronic ed. Of the 2nd edition (New York: United Bible Societies 1996), 415

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Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing the Will of God – Part Two

22 03 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 3 – Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part Two

Part Onehttps://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/charismatic-confusion-over-knowing-the-will-of-god-part-one/

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part Two

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Last month we began to consider a common belief that there are degrees of being in or out of God’s will. It is also commonly taught that God has His own unique personal “perfect” will for each of His children. This belief is held by thousands of sign-gift devotees and Christians of every evangelical stripe.

We specifically considered the false teaching that it is the will of god for all His children to be financially wealthy. However, we also learned that God’s will simply does not come to pass by His divine fiat. In order to enter into His will for one’s prosperity there are various laws which the believer must work in order to be blessed financially. The dirty little secret is this; these blind guides are promoting nothing less than a Ponzi scheme with their names at the top of the pyramid. People who have been donating to these frauds and their SINistries faithfully for years are not any more finically prosperous than the rest of us who do not work their laws.

Copeland has however (as the “top” of the Ponzi scheme) raked in an estimated one billion dollars over the last forty years because of televangelism, books, tapes, investments. When you add the financial take from Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, Benny Hinn it is billions of dollars. What have they done with the money they have siphoned off from the Church? Where are the schools, hospitals, the feeding & clothing programs, orphanages or other visible expressions of the love of Christ for a dying world? The reality is, these people suck in huge amounts of money and yet a very small percentage is ever given away (most ministries these folks support are run by volunteer staff with little overhead).

As a pastor I know this false belief about God’s will is very destructive to the spiritual wellbeing of Christ’s people. The very concept of law keeping and/or doing some works in order to receive (merit) something from our Lord is a horrid and retched belief which can, at its fullest foul flowering lead to the damnation of the individual due to a reliance upon their own works (pride) to merit salvation. Others are led to despair and some become destitute after giving their last farthing in “faith.” After being slavish workers of the various laws, principles and Kingdom rules for prosperity they believe they have failed to enter into God’s will and they fall away, discouraged and usually angry at the Church in any form. Thus Satan wins, he has gotten these deceived sheep to give sacrificially and pour their hard earned money into to these dry wells, wells that never produced the promised results.

It is not just this view on financial prosperity that is wrong, it is the faulty foundation of God having a specific will for each of our lives and that it is up to us to enter into it by our conscious efforts. The other insurmountable problem is that their endeavors are all attempts at uncovering the hidden will of God.

Because God is sovereign He does have an overarching plan for all of His creation, much of this plan is “hidden” from our knowledge. On the micro-level, how our individual lives exactly fit in to His macro plan is not revealed in Scripture to us.

This obvious fact (one only has to read) has not stopped people from teaching that we can and should know God’s hidden will for our lives in spite of the deafening silence of the Scripture. There are many methods people use to try to discern God’s hidden will for their lives. Some hidden areas that people commonly try to bring into the “light” are issues such as who should one marry, what school to attend, which job to take, where to work, buy a home, which local church to attend, etc. See if from time to time you have relied on the following techniques in the past (I admit I have).

Putting out a “fleece” we piously base this on the example of Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:33-40. The problem with us using Gideon as our example as we put out our “fleeces” of prayer, weather, circumstances or whatever we are using to divine what the Lord’s will is that this example was an unrepeatable event. Another instance of making an “event” a doctrine is seen in the example of the Apostle Paul use of prayer clothes (Acts 19:11). There is no biblical support for such a doctrine or practice in the Church.

I was guilty of doing this when I first met Tracy. After we met, had gone out a bit, I went before the Lord in prayer and said “Lord if You want her to be in my life have her call me.” that was my fleece, the phone call – – – I was dead serious about it, I was at the time one of a small group of self-named brethren “the intense brethren” and was one of “the bachelors till the rapture.” God had mercy on my foolish ways and Tracy did call me within fifteen minutes of my prayer and we have been very happily married for almost thirty years. This is an example of God’s mercy, not a method to determine His will! What if she had not called me? What if my phone went on the blink? I guess we will never know (but I do know this, I would have chased Tracy to the ends of the earth).

Inner-Witness of the Spirit

After a (short) period of time Tracy acquiesced to become engaged to be my wife. This caused no little ripple among the members of our congregation (not to mention my family), where I was serving as the Associate Pastor. Another sister was positive she had heard from God and that I was out of His will because I was supposed to marry her. She shared her belief among the congregation and so I was faced with a decision, had I missed God? This is no small charge when considering marriage coming from the strong belief that you only get one bite at the marriage apple. Was Tracy the one, or this other one? In all honesty I could have chosen either handmaiden of the Lord, but which one was God’s perfect will for my life and here? If I choose wisely then I will have a good life with a loving mate. Miss God and I am (1) out of His will, (2) thus out of His umbrella of protection and subject to demonic attack, (3) open to the possibility of divorce since I/she am out of His will, (3) open to the possibility of divorce since I/she am out of His will. Let me stress the divorce aspect, many evangelical Christians we know have sadly gotten divorced, some will blithely say “well he or she was not God’s will for my life.” So due to this false teaching, they actually believe that their divorce was pleasing to God since now they are united with His best choice for them!!

Faced with a decision like any good charismatic extremist I turned within. Is not my body a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and as such I am filled with “God” and I can thus expect that He will lead me (Romans 8:14). Since I am one of Jesus’ prized sheep I will hear His voice (John 10:27). Having already had my fleece answered previously, it was not too hard to discern His voice regarding who should become my smoking hot wife, giggity giggity giggity. Naturally the other sister was sure we had missed God, but she did attend the wedding and gave us a nice frying pan that Tracy and I have used for years.

When it comes to using our inner-witness as the means to determine the will of God is that 99% of the time the Spirit” seems to lead us in the direction we had already pretty much determined to go in. Also, is there anything more subjective than listening to a voice only you can hear? People end up with arguments going on in their minds, sort of like the cartoon figures with an angel and demon on each shoulder whispering in the ear of the listener. You respond one way and it is a path of blessing, go with the wrong voice and become cursed. The inner-witness of the Spirit is tricky at best and potentially fraught with danger. That still small voice (1 King 19:12) many rely upon is in no way representative of how God leads His people. Here is an example of how wrong people can be following that inner-voice:

The Findhorn Community was begun in 1962 by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. All three had followed disciplined spiritual paths for many years and had been specifically trained to follow God’s will. Eileen received guidance in her mediations from an inner divine source she called ‘the still small voice within’. Peter ran the hotel according to this guidance, following to the letter the instruction of the “voice” in complete faith. In this unorthodox way – and with many delightful and unlikely God-guided incidents – Cluny Hill swiftly became a thriving and successful four-star hotel.

Where did this inner-voice lead these people? Findhorn became one of the world’s leading centers of New Age occultism mixed in with some heretical esoteric form of pseudo-Christian concepts. This particular inner-voice did not lead them closer to Jesus Christ, but they are in fact are His enemies.

Open or Shut doors

God can open a door that no man can shut (Rev. 3:8). You got the job? Great, God opened the door!  Did not get hired, then He closed that door, look for an open one somewhere else! This is sort of a pragmatic approach to God’s will. Sometimes it is required of us to knock (Matthew 7:7) and keep knocking on a “door.” Work is something god has given man to do, it is honorable to work and whatever we do we are to do to the glory of God in Christ’s name (Col. 3:17). There is nothing in the bible which indicates that god has a specific dead-center of His will “job” for you or I. Sometimes persistence is required of the saint. Daniel’s answer to prayer was withheld by a demonic struggle in the heavenlies (Daniel 10:2) for three weeks, sometimes repeated knocking is required (Matthew 7:7). An example of this would be in my own life, I am still “knocking” at the Synod’s door for a call.

Dreams & Visions

Yes God revealed His will to Abraham, Joseph and Daniel and several others through dreams and visions. Is there any promise where God has said He will reveal His will for your life to you via dreams and visions (please don’t abuse poor Joel)? If you do have a dream or a vision how do you know it was from the Lord? Often the divine dream required someone else to interpret t for the dreamer (Genesis 41:8). Regarding important decisions there is nothing wrong with “sleeping on it,” as long as it is for simple mental quietude and refocusing versus seeking God’s will in a dream. Many cults have been founded on dreams, visions or apparitions of demons appearing as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:4). Any dynamic or seemingly prophetic dreams in/for your life demands a thorough biblical examination and virtually all of them can probably be traced back to some tainted mushrooms on that Domino’s extra meat pizza you ate the night before.

Personal Word from the Lord

One of the huge draws to the prophetic wing of the diffuse sign-gift movement is that these men and women claim emphatically to be in direct communication with the Ancient of Days. This is a “field” ready to be harvested financially by the wolves due to the endless stream of people seeking God’s hidden will.

We live in uncertain times politically, socially and economically things are not good and the future is unclear. People want to know the future and more specifically they want to know their own personal future and how it fits into God’s plan.

{An Aside} – It has always amazed me how the evangelicals decry the belief in the need for Mary or deceased saints to pray for the living (understandable) BUT they wholeheartedly believe in spiritual mediations in the form of the living, such as the need for Benny Hinn to lay his hands on you, an Oral Roberts to pray for you, or how you MUST be at the next meeting, etc.

Prophetic conferences are scheduled with the guaranteed promise that those who attend the prophetic breakfast or dinner (for an extra cost) at the conference will receive a word from the prophet or prophetic hosts who are there! Profit E. Bernard Jordan can be seen on cable television with his school of the prophets lying over people regarding their future marriage, jobs, income, family members, vocations, etc. Christians people pay BIG MONEY to hear from these blind guides. Although it would come as a shock to some of these Christians, but this is really nothing less than giving a fortune teller some money and having her read your palm.

The whole idea of “personal” prophecy being a means to determine where one works, whom one marries, what church to attend, how to “save” your loved ones is a fairly recent addition to the biblical concept of a prophetic utterance. It should come as no surprise in our “me” centered culture that the words flowing from darkened hearts and through the seared lips of these liars that their words would mirror our fallen culture (Luke 6:45). Great spiritual harm has come to many lives through following these revelations of God’s hidden will.

Perhaps all of us have fallen into using one of the methods in the past trying to distinguish what is and is not God’s will for your life. The problem again is in misunderstanding the concept of the will of God. As I have already alluded to earlier in this article first and foremost God’s will is sovereign. He is God and as God He is in control of all of His creation and He is under no obligation to explain His way to us. Nothing exists outside of His sustaining power. As a former Presbyterian I would cite question twelve from the Westminister Large Catechism:

Q. 12 What are the decrees of God? A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.

As a Lutheran I can say “this is most certainly true” regarding the tapestry of history I can attest that God is indeed in complete control, He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), nothing takes Him by surprise. This aspect of His overreaching will is often referred to as “the hidden will of God.” God has not revealed everything to us, but what He has revealed to us belongs to us and to our children (Deuteronomy 29:29) that we may fulfill His law, in the Christian’s case, fulfill His law of love (Romans 13:10). Examples of His sovereign will can be seen in Ephesians 1:11 and Job 42:2.

Before moving on in all fairness to our Reformed brethren an important distinction must be made regarding the Reformed catechism – – – it is not saying that God “causes” everything that happens to happen; if this were the case then God would indeed be the Author of sin, which he is not {James 1:13, 1 John 1:5} A succinct way to put it follows:

Rather, it acknowledges that because He is sovereign, He must at least permit or allow whatever happens to happen This aspect of God’s will acknowledges that even when God passively permits things to happen, He must choose to permit them, because He always has the power and right to intervene. God can always decide to either permit or stop the actions and events of this world. Therefore, as He allows things to happen, He has “willed” them in this sense of the word.

God has not called His people to grope about trying to determine what He has plainly hidden from us. God has revealed to us in the Bible what His will is for our lives and yet apparently this is not good enough for the Pharisees in our midst, they need to peer behind the veil. It is this type of seeking that has caused so many people great confusion in their Christian lives. Why not examine what the bible does teach is God’s will for our lives and seek His grace to enable us to be doers of what we have heard and not mere hearers only (James 1:22). In doing so what we will discover is that the false teachers proclamations, such as; “God’s will is prosperity” or “God’s will is healing” are not mentioned as part of God’s revealed will for all His children. One way to easily “spot” a false biblical teaching is when it declares a promise to only Christians who attain to it by their efforts; such a notion of a works based system is antithetical to the Gospel. Fundamentally people err in two ways regarding the will of God. First they teach that we can know and walk in the hidden will of God, others err in teaching things which are not God’s will for all His people, such as financial prosperity, physical healing and divine health.

The Revealed Will of God

I could start with the Ten Commandments (Deut. 10:4), as a revelation of God’s will, but for the sake of space, let’s accept them as a given. Any of the laws given by God in the Old Testament are examples of His will for His people. We know that the Israelites could not keep it, that in fact, no flesh will ever be justified in God’s eyes by working the law (Romans 3:20, Gal 2:16). We also know that our Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4). With this understanding we know that walking in the revealed will of God does not involve trying to fulfill various O.T. laws. Theologically speaking we always begin with the “plain” texts and use them to help determine the meaning of more “obscure” texts. In the case of God’s revealed will al the texts are “plain” texts, easily understood by anyone who can read. Let us focus on what we know for sure.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to posses his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not god; That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter; because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy spirit.

Here is a perfect example of an in-your-face truth – – – God’s will for ALL Christians is that we ABSTAIN from fornication. Fornication in the Greek is which we transliterate into from which we derive our word for pornography. Naturally, Christians should abstain from viewing pornography but the term has a wider meaning. It coves all manner of sexual activity outside of marriage, not just looking at sexual images. Abstaining from fornication entails all of the mental activity that precedes the actual sexual activity. It encompasses what we think about, what we read, what movies we watch, and our verbal conversations with others (Ephesians 4:29). “Christians are to avoid and abstain from any and every form of sexual practice that lies outside the circle of God’s revealed will; Christians are to avoid adultery, premarital and extramarital intercourse, homosexually, and other perversions.”

The walk that pleases God is first defined with the words, “the will of God,” and then as “your sanctification.” With the statement, “This is the will of God,” Paul brings into focus the constant battle and a key issue going on in the hearts of men. “Will” is thelema, “what is will.” It points to the sovereign will and plan of God for the Christian. But all men by nature tend to follow the desires, thelemata, of the flesh and mind which are opposed to the will of God (see Eph. 2:3) and which can never please God (Rom. 8:8). It is not that all of those desires are evil, for many of them are God given. Sex is not evil. From the beginning God created marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman and sex was to be a part of the union for the continuance of the race and for pleasure in marriage. What makes many of man’s desires (thelemata) evil is his self-centered commitment to follow those desires contrary to God’s will (as in adultery) and at the expense or exploitation of others. The specifics of God’s will are clearly set forth in many places in Scripture, even though Christians often seem to have a great deal of difficulty applying it in everyday decision-making (cf. 5:16-18; 1 Peter 2:15). Nevertheless, Paul describes this in general terms as “your sanctification.

In our sexually obsessed culture God’s will for His people is sexual purity before and during marriage period.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not ever be named among you, as is proper among saints. Ephesians 3:8

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you sexual-immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

How many para-church ministries are devoted to setting people free from pornography within the Church? Immortality among some of the best known televangelists and revivalists is scandalously well known in the world. The divorce rate within the Church mirrors that of the world, when we ought to have next to zero divorce among us if the love of Christ indeed rules and reigns in our lives. It is painfully obvious that this seemingly simply aspect of God’s revealed will takes great faith, patience and grace to walk out daily. The Holy Spirit via Paul given us further revelation of God’s will for our lives.

Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Chjrist Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:18

Sandwiched in between “pray without ceasing” and “quench not the Spirit” is the clarion call to give thanks in every thing. Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us! Note that the verse says “in” and not “for” everything which makes all the difference in our lives. Nowhere are we told to be thankful for the evil, wicked and sinful things that we bring on ourselves or that befall us. However, it does take faith true biblical faith to look up to the heavens and give thanks to God in the midst of the fiery furnace. It is easy to be thankful when things are going very well in our lives which is why I believe the Holy Spirit had Paul write in “every thing” knowing our tendency towards being only partially grateful some of the time. This is not “deep” present day truth received through praying in other tongues, but it is the stuff that sets us apart from the world; it is also a sign of spiritual maturity to exercise child-like-faith.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind; that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

As we saw last month, this is the text that is often cited as proof that God has three levels of His will. Without laboring the point again, the Greek simply does not support this assertion; it is an example of hyperbolic speech. One of the points of this pericope (there are several really) apart from presenting our bodies to God as a “living sacrifice” a conundrum in Paul’s day; we are as God’s people not to be conformed to this fallen world age. How? Through the practice of renewing our minds by the power of the word of God. As we feed regularly (hopefully daily) on God’s Word, hearing it proclaimed from the pulpit as well as personal study our minds begin the process of transformation. Our minds will not be fully “transformed” into the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) until we receive our glorified bodies, however we are to start the process now in this life as disciples.

The entrance of God’s Word gives us light (Psl. 119:130) and as God’s Word renews our thinking we are enabled to deal wisely (Matthew 10:16) in this fallen world. To know God’s Word is to know His will (but (but you have to know it before you can do it, right?). Obviously the bridge between “knowing” and “doing” is the grace of God, as our Lord said “apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) yet let your heart rest assured in the fact that Jesus also promised to “never leave or forsake you” (Deut. 31:8; Matthew 28:20).

In Christ Jesus we are now the children of God (1 John 3:2) and we have freedom in Christ, for it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) – – -you are free to make the choices you want to make. God has given us His Word and the Great Teacher (John 14:26) has come to dwell within each of our hearts and we are free in Christ to either deal wisely or unwisely in the affairs of this life. I suggest you take the path of wisdom which can only be gained through the fear of the Lord. (Psl. 110:11) this golly reverence will unavoidably lead to the study, contemplation, ingestion and incorporation of the Word studied.

Brothers and sisters God has not revealed to us in His Word the specifies for our individual lives, not because He does not “care” about you individually, but because we are free to choose. Out of His great love He has given us His Word and Spirit, what more do we need to walk in God’s will? Jesus had paid the price for our sins on the cross. Now through faith in Him, He is not ashamed to call us His brothers (Hebrews 2:11) and He ministers before our Father as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) ever living to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25) so we do not have to live in fear of making the “wrong” choice. It is not called a walk of faith for nothing (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Let me close with another personal example. Tracy and I just purchased our first home last month. Many people are having mortgage problems, losing their homes, loan money is tight etc. Buying a home is a big decision with a ton of variables, such as the neighborhood condition currently and potentially in the future; type of homes, distance ot our church and work, utility cost, monthly mortgage payment on and on. How did we decide?

First, we prayed and asked for God to grant us wisdom (James 1:5), we’ve never bought a home, what do we know? Secondly, we researched the different variables. How much house can we afford? What do we really need in our home? What style? Then we found a Realtor who then showed me over sixteen homes. Of those I narrowed it down to 2 or 3 possibilities. Next Tracy visited the homes selected and then we decided on the one we wanted.

God did not speak to us and say “thou shalt buy this home and not that one,” nor did we have any visions or dreams. We did not “fast” over our decision. We took it to the Lord in prayer and then we stepped our trusting our Lord and purchased our home.

There is tremendous liberty in Christ, don’t let the false teachers and false brethren place you back into bondage. Allow the principles for wise living as found in the bible to be incorporated into your study and live in the liberty of our Lord.

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow





The Birth of God the Son – According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics

11 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2008 – Vol. 13 Issue 12 – The Birth of God the Son – According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Birth of God the Son

According to Charles Capps & Word of Faith Heretics

Ah Christmas where we lower wattage Christians (i.e. non “Spirit-filled”) lower our heads in humility while contemplating the incarnation of Jesus Christ, God the Son and Redeemer of the lost from sin, death and the grave.

Meanwhile, millions of other professing Christians see no mystery at all regarding the incarnation. Quite the opposite, the birth of Jesus was simply a result of enacting the spiritual law that control the spiritual realm. After all, the birth of Jesus was merely the end product of over a thousand years of positive confession.

The Word of Faith cult teaches that the prophets began to form Christ through their words over a thousand years ago. They spoke about where He would be born (Micah 5:1-2); that He would be the Son of God (Psl. 2:7, Pro. 30:4); He would be anointed with the Holy Spirit (Isa. 11:2, 61:1, Psl. 45:7-8); He would serve as a Prophet (Deut. 18:15,18), a Priest (Psl. 110:4) and a King (Psl. 2:6). In fact, there are a little over 300 Old Testament prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His earthly ministry. All of these “faith-filled” words culminated in God being allowed to manifest what they said in the form of Jesus Christ, God the Son. Let me go on to allow Mr. Charles Capps explain it for us in the following article:

The exact process by which God the Son became flesh is not spelled out for us in the scriptures in any great detail. The most familiar passage of text regarding the incarnation is cited below:

Luke 1:35-38

And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee: and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord;

(KJV, bold type & underlining added for emphasis).

All that we know from the Bible is that the conception and birth of Jesus Christ were miraculous from start to finish. We know that Mary was a virgin at this time (read Isa. 7:14) and that the Person of the Holy Spirit was the divine “agent” in bringing this miraculous conception about.

After almost 2,000 years of theological silence on the actual mechanics on how this miracle occurred has been finally answered once and for all. Even though the Bible itself is silent, God, through His chosen vessel, Mr. Charles Capps, has chosen to reveal to the Church exactly how this miraculous event transpired. As we shall see, it really was not so miraculous at all!

It was an act of the God-kind of faith that caused the miraculous conception. It was the Word of God in her heart; then she went to Elisabeth’s house and told her, “He hath done great things.” (Luke 1:49). How did she know? Because the angel of the Lord had told her, and she receive that Word….She had conceived the Word of God in her spirit. Here is what the Spirit of God said to me about that situation: “Mary conceived the Word sent to her by the angel (God’s Word) and conceived it in the womb of her spirit, it manifested itself in her physical body. She received and conceived the Word of Go in her spirit.” (Authority, Charles Capps, Harrison House, 1984, pp. 76-80, bold & italicized type added)

All that took place was simply this: Mary used the “God-kind of faith” and through her use of this spiritual law, the law of faith, the miraculous conception took place. According to Faith teachers, there really was nothing so miraculous about the whole event. Mary merely put into action certain cosmic principles and received the desired results, in this case, God being born as a man.

Please do not skip over the importance of the claim Mr. Capps is setting forth in his statement. Note that it was the Holy Spirit Himself who revealed what happened to Mr. Charles. Capps even places His words in italics so the reader knows when God is addressing him. Immediately we all should clip out this statement and add it to the back of our Bibles. If God actually made these statements then they must be accepted as God-breathed by all the true Church. The Holy Spirit’s revelation can be broken down into 3 simple steps:

  • Mary conceived (or received) the Word brought to her by the angel.
  • She conceived the Word in the womb of her spirit;
  • 9 months later it manifested in her physical body.

As anyone can see, there is no big mystery as to how a virgin gave birth to God the Son….all that transpired was a simple application of the God-kind-of-faith or to state it another way—Mary used faith in the same way God uses it. Capps states “If she had said, ‘Forget it, it won’t work,’ God would have had to find another woman”  (pg. 82).  Mary was in control not God.

Never forget that the version of God the Faith movement presents is not the same God revealed in the Bible. God does not use or need “faith.” Only contingent beings need faith. God by definition knows everything, has all power and all wisdom to bring about whatsoever He has decreed. What does God need to believe in or for? Absolutely nothing! (See our books on page 12 to learn more about the Word of Faith Movement’s leaders). Capps continues to serve as a conduit for divine revelation:

The Lord said to me, “My Word will get people healed and filled with the Holy Ghost the same way that the miraculous conception took place! Any believer can conceive My Word concerning healing in their spirits, and healing will manifest in their physical bodies! They can conceive My Word concerning prosperity of finances, and prosperity will manifest itself in their business affairs. If they will conceive My Word concerning the baptism of the Holy Spirit, it will manifest itself in their spirits  (ibid. p. 83, italics added).

In this astounding statement we learn that “any believer can conceive My Word.” So we like Mary, need only to apply the steps divinely revealed to Mr. Capps (similar concepts have also been revealed to E.W. Kenyon, Ken Hagin, Copeland, Price, Cho, and others) and we too can have our own miraculous conceptions.

I must only wonder if what Capps says is true (remember to add this portion of text also to the back of your Bible, probably below the other portion, entitle it “First Capps”) then why isn’t it working in the lives of those who subscribe to such beliefs?

E.W. Kenyon died of a tumor. Buddy Harrison, the son-in-law of Ken Hagin and the Publisher of Charles’s book died of cancer in December of 1998. T.L. Osborn’s wife, Daisy, died of cancer. Capps own wife, Peggy, had cancer and received medical treatment for it. Betty Price, Fred Price’s wife also had cancer and was medically treated. Joyce Meyer admitted she had breast cancer and only received medical treatment because her family urged her to! How come Tammy-Faye Bakker Mesner didn’t conceive/receive her divine healing from the cancer that untimely killed her? Why on earth did Jan Crouch even get cancer in the first place? Why didn’t these people simply conceive the promises of divine health & healing in the “womb” of their spirits and receive the miraculous fruit of divine health in their bodies? (Consider buying our message “The Sick Healers”).

The answer is simple —- Mr. Capps received no such revelation from God. It is a false teaching which does not produce the results Capps and others promise. Their doctrine does not even work in their own lives. What is miraculous is that so many people willingly follow these cunningly devised fables and doctrines of demons. Please pray for Mr. Capps and those who follow him.

 





False Prophets Real Profit$

4 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 9 – False Prophets Real Profit$ – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

False Prophets Real Profit$

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

If it is true that history repeats itself, then the false prophets and false teachers of old must have also reaped great financial rewards. This much is certain with the advent of Pentecostalism in America all those who claimed to be prophets of our Lord had two indisputable things in common: (1) false prophets who delivered lying words that were generated from their own hearts or they were demonically inspired and (2) they all became very wealthy at the expense of those who followed them.

 

A Little Walk through American Prophetic History

Initially after the Azusa “revival of 1906 for the next several years no one came forward and declared they were a restored prophet or apostle. The fledgling Pentecostal movement did have pastors, Bible teachers and evangelists, both male and female.

Father Divine

Possibly the first individual who received the Spirit at Azusa and went off the spiritual rails in a devastating manner was a man named George Baker. The Azusa enthusiasm and the demonic spirit imparted to him led to his damnation.

This was a major turning point in his life. While he spoke in tongues, he felt a stirring, and suddenly, as Baker believed that he had reached a state of ultimate spiritual purification, a condition Fillmore described as the “consciousness of himself as a spiritual being, knowing himself to be the Christ of God, he is IAM, and ready to recreate the world….He had blended New Thought with Methodism, a little Catholicism, Pentecostalism, and African-American storefront theology, and had devised a syncretic belief system.   (1)

After his Azusa experience George Baker became internationally known as “Father Divine” and he and his man followers considered him to be literally god in the flesh. (2)

Sweet Daddy Grace

Once Father Divine (George Baker) got established and garnered quite a following another man jumped into this obvious lucrative pool of gullible folks. This liar went by the name of Sweet Daddy Grace and he formed The United House of Prayer For All People.

His first big success came five years later when he opened a church in Charlotte. The United House of Prayer for All People prided itself on an ecstatic worship style that included speaking in tongues. Grace claimed great powers and developed a line of products including “Daddy Grace” coffee, tea, soaps, and hand creams reputed to have healing properties. By the time of his death in 1960, the church he founded had become a denomination and Grace himself a rich man.   (2)

 

Please keep in mind that many mainline Pentecostals (such as they were back in the early 1900’s ) did not publicly endorse any of these men, yet their members did flock to hear them speak, prophecy, and give them “numbers” to play on the street. The next early false prophet came out of the ranks of the Pentecostal cult my wife and her family was raised in. It was called “Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ” (to separate it from its main contender “The Church of God in Christ.” Triumph people taught complete sanctification in this life. Proof of having attained this exalted level of holiness was simple, such a person would never die physically (naturally, they became know in a pejorative manner as the never die folk).

Prophet Jones Already recognized as a prophet, at the age of six he joined and began preaching sermons to a Birmingham sect known as Triumph the church and Kingdom of God in Christ, similar in character to the one he later founded in Detroit. At 11 he quit school to devote full time to preaching. In 1938 The Triumph sect sent the 21 year-old Jones to Detroit as a missionary where enthusiastic converts soon pressed expensive gifts upon him. The gifts, his superiors ruled, were rightfully the property of the church. Rather than give them up, Jones broke away to launch his own sect. Prophet Jones founded the Church of Universal Triumph, the Dominion of God Inc. in 1938 in Detroit. Originally headquartered in the old Oriole Theater at 8450 Linwood, the church later moved above the Fine Arts Theater at 2940 Woodward. He blessed his inner circle with royal and noble titles, such as “Sir,” “Prince” and “Princess,” “Lord” and “Lady” and other majestic appellations. His mother who died in 1951 was known as Grace Rev. Lady Catherine Jones. Jones reached his peak as a religious leader in the 1940’s and late ‘50s, and lived like a millionaire. He resided in an 18th century-style French castle at 75 Arden Park. The three-story, 54-room graystone chateau had been built in 1917 by Edmund A. Vier, a General Motors Corp. executive, at a cost of $100,000.  (4)

Like several of the more well know false prophet Jones was a homosexual. Another more recent example would be Paul Cain and some others recently “outted.” As an aside I believe the reason why homosexuality goes hand-in-hand with false prophets is simply because God gives them over to dark desires as a punishment for lying in His holy name (read Romans 1-2).

One of the more “flamboyant” false prophets who was an early arrival to the television ministry is Rev. Ike, Whose real name is Frederick Eikerenkoetter. I remember Ike on television as a young boy and is statement to this day is “you can’t lose with the stuff I use…mind science.” He also used to cajole his audiences by telling them he did not want to hear any change in the offering plates when they were passed because it made him nervous.

Rev. Ike formally the Right Reverend Dr. Fredrick J. Eikerenkoetter II stated that he owns a fleet of Rolls-Royces (a different color for every day of the week, appointed in mink), diamond rings, expensive suits, and multiple mansions – far from hiding his wealth, Reverend Ike makes it a point of his preaching. His theology centers around the “Science of Living” and “Thinkenomics,” his own version of economics based on the premise that poverty, a lack of luck, poor health, etc, are the results of incorrect attitudes, a lack of confidence, a lack of faith and a failure to get in touch with the “presence of God within each of us.” (5)

Frankly, I had thought that “Rev.” Ike had long since assumed room temperature but lo-and-behold, one morning a few years back I saw him on BET (6) standing beside a new breed of false prophet, Bishop E. Bernard Jordan whose SINistry is located in New York. Jordan learned his trade as a prophet by attending Dr. Bill Hamon’s “School of the Prophets.” Where anyone who feels led (I sent many of you a sample of felt lead) to become a spokesperson for the Ancient of Days can go and learn the techniques on how to hear from God and accurately deliver His message {for a price} to His paying people. Here is just a short squib on Mr. Jordan:

Bishop E. Bernard Jordan at the age of 15, where he was summoned to prophesy. By the age of 24, he was recognized nationally as a prophet. Rising from the obscurity of the ghetto to his present and current fame he is known to millions as God’s messenger, the Prophet. Bishop Elijah Bernard Jordan is the founder and Senior Pastor of Zoe Ministries since 1983 Bishop Jordan teaches biblical principles and ethics essential to successful living….Bishop Jordan is a modern-day prophet whose ministry is absolutely astounding! Like Nostradamus, Bishop Pike, and Edgar Cayce, the accuracy of the gift that operates in Bishop Jordan will astound you! He is known to predict exact names, dates, and times of events both individually and globally! His visual perception is so exact that he is able to give accurate descriptions of locations that are pertinent to the recipient of the prophecy!   (7)

I have watched and recorded Mr. Jordan many times and he is in fact one very creepy looking dude. Anyone he “speaks” over gives him money either directly or into a collection plate next to him as he prognosticates. Through his SINistry you can buy different kinds of soap which when used can give one dreams, revelations, peace, etc…Probably three of his best known followers are the former thug and rapper “Run DMC” – now known as “Rev.” Run (has his reality television show) and television judge Glenda Hatchett, and of course, Rev. Ike who speaks at Jordan’s meetings. Naturally Jordan is extremely wealthy. My wife and I ministered to a brother from Africa who upon coming to America for an advanced degree foolishly gave Jordan $5,000 (he knows the truth now, thanks be to God). At one point he was offering a fresh word from the Lord each day for a mere $365, sent to you personally. It only takes a couple of thousand dupes to send in their checks and pretty soon, like Ike, Jordan is riding in his own Bentley or Rolls Royce. Another problem with these self-proclaimed profit$ is that those who follow them never mature in their own spiritual walk with Christ. They are totally dependent upon the word of the Lord through their chosen mouthpiece. Not only that when a person has given themselves totally over to the spiritual authority of another sinful person they are prey to become victims of spiritual abuse. There are many recorded cases of “prophets” taking sexual advantage of those submitted to them, both male and female.

 

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland

In light of all of these ostentatious profit$ there are few who are seated at the zenith of prophetic pimpery (my own new word) and those residing at the summit are Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth & Gloria Copeland. Compared to their wealth all these others are just “piker’s” mere “wannabes” Kenneth Copeland Ministries {KCM} are so wealthy that no one outside their tight nepotistic inner circle knows for sure how wealthy they are. To guess close to or just over a billion dollars in probably not far off the mark. KCM is not telling, and they basically told Senator Grassy what he could do with his questions and have remained mum.

Keep in mind that I was a follower to Kenny’s ministry for years, gave to it, still have 100’s of hours of his teachings on cassette and their books in our archives. My wife and I distinctly remember Jerry Savelle speaking at a “Word” conference and how he marveled over all the antique cars that Kenneth had, including an old steam car! From what Savelle shard with us it seemed to be quite an extensive collection.

A few months ago Truth Matters wrote an article dealing with all the airplanes/jets that the various televangelist owned. Who had the most planes? Why Mr. Copeland and why not, some years ago he/KCM purchased Eagle Mountain Army/Air force base in the 1980’s. (8) This defunct airbase is over 1,500 acres and includes a mansion on a lake which only the Copeland’s are allowed to use. KCM’s main headquarters are on the property also.

A recent Associated Press article took the Copeland’s to task concerning their vast financial holdings, after al, KCM is a non-profit corporation yet strangely enough those associated directly with the running of the non-profit have all profited very handsomely.

Here are some excerpts of what Eric Gorski wrote in his July 27, 2008 piece for the AP.

NEWARK, Texas (AP) —Here in the gentle hills of north Texas, televangelist Kenneth Copeland has built a religious empire teaching that God wants his followers to prosper…Over the years, a circle of Copeland’s relatives and friends have done just that, The Associated Press has found. They include the brother-in-law with a lucrative deal to broker Copeland’s television time, the son who acquired church-owned land for his ranching business and saw it more than quadruple in value, and board members who together have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at church events…Kenneth Copland Ministries is organized under the tax code as a church, so it gets a layer of privacy not afforded large secular and religious nonprofit groups that must disclose budgets and salaries. Pastors’ pay must be “reasonable” under the federal tax code, a term that gives churches wide latitude. Copeland’s current salary is not made public by his ministry. However, the church disclosed in a property-tax exemption application that his wages were $364,577 in 1995; Copeland’s wife, Gloria earned $292,593. It’s not clear whether those figures include other earnings, such as special offerings for guest preaching or book royalties. Another 13 Copeland relatives were on the church’s payroll that year. (9)

Nothing like keeping the wealth in the family I suppose. But it does make one take pause to think about the coincidence that the church land sold to John Copeland (his son) turned out to have deposits of oil and natural gas on it! Not to mention that Board of Directors of non-profits are not to be paid any type of salary apart from being reimbursed for their expenses in traveling to board meetings or board related activities. Copeland’s board members rake in hundreds of thousands per year for merely speaking on his anointed behalf! Another thing, you can bet your sweet bippy that Gloria and Kenny earn far more than a paltry $657,170 per year.  Creflo Dollar just gave Kenny a personal check for one million dollars to celebrate his forty years in SINistry, not to mention all the other “love gifts” he receives and the money from his many books, cassettes, videos and dvd’s.

What I find particularly disturbing is that he and so many other televangelists transformed their organizations into “churches” many of them during the turbulent times of the 1980’s when scandal after scandal rocked their empires. Churches do not have to report any of their income to the government. Their annual “take”, peoples salaries, the budgets are never revealed. Copeland is not the only one incorporated as a church. Joyce Meyer’s organization is incorporated as a “church,” as is Benny Hinn’s and Marilyn Hickey and naturally Robert Tilton and the St. Matthew’s scam artists and many other well known evangelists.

None of these people serve as pastors, they do not hold regular church services where congregation members are baptized married and buried. They do not have deacons and /or elders. Most do not even have official separate sanctuaries. Although I will admit Copeland does have a church with a man he hired as a pastor, yet he himself is not a pastor. The dirty little secret is this: these folks became “churches” as a means to hide their excessive wealth, not because God has called them to serve their communities through legitimate church activities.

After all, if people knew exactly how much money these organizations had in their control it would be next to impossible for them to shear the sheep any longer. At the height of his empire Robert Tilton boasted of bringing in over 100 million dollars per year. Mr. Hinn is estimated to bring in around 80 million per year and Mr. Copeland seems to being doing better than either of these frauds.

Why Do People Support These People?

It is no secret that these folks are phenomenally wealthy. This is one of their primary messages and they point to themselves as proof that what they are teaching works. Part of the prosperity doctrine is that one must not speak negatively of their teachers because these negative words will kill the financial “seed” they have planted.

Another aspect of this false teaching is that – you must continue faithfully to give your very best to the false prophet/teacher if you expect to reap an abundant harvest. They teach that one must “cast your bread upon the water” (Ecc. 11:1) and it will return after many days…how many days, years, epochs is not revealed to the devotee. Only one thing is certain KEEP ON GIVING!

The message of financial prosperity, not just enough to meet your needs, but a message of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous is so widely poplar because it panders to the innate greed without our fallen hearts. These heretics simply tie a “biblical bow” around a teaching that God has never endorsed.

Another reason people give is because they believe their favorite heretic has paid their dues (every one of them tells sad stories of their initial poverty until they received the revelation of seed-faith) and now due to their faithfully acting on certain spiritual laws regarding giving and receiving God has blessed them and if the devotee will stay in “faith” and not doubt and keep giving their day will come too! What the poor dupe fails to realize is that very little of what comes into these blasphemous behemoths ever goes out into genuine charitable works. All any charismatic Word of Faith/Positive Confession believer has to do is simply take a step away from the hoopla and the occasional testimony and see that there are no more millionaires within their ranks than anywhere else. One would imagine that after thirty (30) years of proclaiming prosperity and people faithfully acting on these spiritual laws that there should be a plethora of millionaires….yet there are not. The acid test of any false teaching is that it does not produce the results promised.

Copeland, Hinn, Meyer, Tilton, Dollar, Savelle, Price, Osteen, Roberts, Hickey, Hagin, Duplantis and the Crouch’s annual take is estimated at around a billion dollars per year. Where are all the hospitals, orphanages, feeding programs, and clothing programs (see Matt. 25:36). How about helping rebuild farms in Nigeria, Africa’s breadbasket enabling farmers to grow crops and feed themselves. How abut building Christian schools and supplying teachers? The Saudi Muslims are building their Madras’s all over the world, including the United States with their money—-what are these “Christians” doing to actually expand the kingdom of God? NEXT TO NOTHING! Oh yes they preach the law when it comes to tithing, yet, they do not give away 10% off the gross from their offerings. Not to mention they excel at urging their devotees to not only to give tithes but also additional offerings. (Mal. 3:10).

Paul & Jan Crouch TBN

Paul & Jan Crouch love to show pictures of the “hospital” in Haiti and of Jan giving out little blond haired dolls (which look unfortunately like her) to the poor children. Let’s get real people it costs next to nothing to build a hospital and even less a Christian school in Egypt, Haiti, anywhere in Africa or the Philippines. TBN is documented to be worth in excess of billion dollars! To be sure all of these frauds will show some pictures of what great works they are doing with your money (remember Robert Tilton standing in front an orphanage, which was later proven to be a fake), but do not be deceived by their claims, like many politicians you know they are lying when they open their mouths.

The practice of GIVING sacrificially is highly touted by them all, the practice of sacrificial LIVING is a totally alien concept to them. According to their perverted doctrine it is God’s will for them to live in the best homes behind gated communities. As King’s kids they are to drive and own a fleet of the most luxurious cars and to wear nothing “off the rack” unless it comes off the rack on Rodeo Drive or Savile Row. Never forget that Mr. Hinn was documented taking the Concorde to Paris to purchase some ties several years ago. (11)

If these people were truly people of God they would be constantly building Christian schools, educating pastors (naturally since none of these deceivers has any biblical education themselves that might be a stretch), building medical clinics, distributing Bibles by the boatload.

Joyce Meyer

Instead, they buy huge plots of land for themselves and their families upon which they build mansions (remember the expose by the Saint Louis Post Dispatch on the Joyce Meyer compound and the multiple mansions on her land) (12)   They purchase newer and faster private jets (which no one else can use, even to take a kidney across the country I suppose), fleets of Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Bentley and Escalades for themselves, family members and board members. The cost of just one of any of these automobiles could purchase at least a thousand bicycles for Pastors in India, not to mention maybe going as far, GASP, as buying them motor scooters so these true men of God can promote the Gospel more effectively!

It sickens my spirit to see how these false prophets profit mainly off those on fixed income and those who are biblically ignorant. What troubles me is the question of when will God’s people wake up and join the likes of DMI and other apologetic ministries and begin to point their fingers at these people are boldly declare “the emperor has no clothes on!”

We need to organize and get militant when they come to our towns. We need to make signs and picket outside their venues in a peaceful and godly manner. We need to be equipped with solid information to hand out to the people being drawn in by the sirens song of success and excess. We must let these folks know that there are congregations they can attend who will not rape them spiritually and steal from them financially. Lastly, we must let thee false prophets and false teachers know that God has watchmen and we are on the wall crying out a warning to His people. I take comfort in the words of Asaph and underlined what was and is pertinent to me:

Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can god know? Does the Most High have knowledge? This is what the wicked are like–always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into gloryWhom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fall, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

When you’ve made a career out of studying every religious crook, spiritual abuser, false prophet, false teacher, false apostle and blasphemer and they seem to continue to “prosper” and grow in popularity it can be depressing IF you take your eyes off of Jesus and forget that our reward is truly in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6:19) Another text has always kept me centered in this work and I hope it is a comfort to you as well:

Proverbs 36:7-9

“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die; Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

My God has been faithful to manifest this (and other texts) in my life. I used to walk the floors and cry out to God “God I want to know the truth, I want to know the truth God” for hours some times. It took Him some years to break through my stubborn heart but He has finally brought me to the truth and He has delivered my wife and I from falsehood and keep lies far from us. We’ve always had our daily bread, been extremely close to poverty but not quite there. Well as to the riches, He has surely kept those from us for our own benefit. He has been teaching us the lesson the Apostle Paul learned Phil 4:11-13.    Selah 

Copyright ©  2008 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Watts, Jill God Harlem U.S.A. The Father Divine Story, University of California Press 1992, pp. 25-30.

2. The story about Father Divine and what his mission did is exceedingly amazing and you can either purchase the above book mentioned at http://www.abebooks.com or research his life on the internet, a fascinating false prophet.

3. Obtained from http://capeverde-islands.com/grace.html  on 08-07-08

4. Obtained from http://info.detnews.com/redeign/history/story/historytemplate.cfm?id=182&CFID=21077377&CFTOKEN=96371783   on 08-07-2008

5. Obtained from: http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverendike on 08-07-2008

BET is the Black entertainment Television which sells its time to any “Gospel” pimp who can afford it, much to their (BET’s) shame.

6. Obtained from: http://www.bishopjordan.com/whoweare/aboutjordan.htm on 08-07-2008. Underlining added; please note that the three individuals cited as comparisons to Jordan were all damnable heretics by any stretch of the imagination and NOT Christians!

7. http://endtimepropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/kenneth-copeland-eagle-mountain-kcm/

8. Obtained from: http://ap.google.com/article/AlegM5jhLNcxgGPktbbovb1kMFVwo7WK1wD92638KGO on 08-07-2008 underlining added, please note that the bold print was added for emphasis.

9. Obtained from: http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur38455.cfm on 08-12-08

10. Still the best book exposing Mr. Hinn for the liar he is The confusing world of Benny Hinn, Personal Freedom Outreach. www.pfo.org

11.Obtained from: http://www.stltoday.com/stitoday/news/special/joycemeyer.nsf/0/610CC8888098171886256256DDC0080820A? Open Document on 08-12-08





Words of the Profit

10 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 1 – Words of the Profit by Kyle Smith

Discernment Ministries International

Words of the Profit

By Kyle Smith

January 6, 2008 — A holy man in Chuck Palahniuk’s darkly funny 1999 novel “Survivor” sells 200 million copies of a self-help guide called “The Book of Very Common Prayer,” which includes The Prayer to Locate a Lost Contact Lens and The Prayer to Prevent Mildew Stains. The Prayer for a Parking Space goes:

Oh, divine and merciful God,

History is without equal for how much I will adore You,

When you give me today, a place to park…

In Your care will I find respite. With Your

Guidance, will I find peace.

To stop, to rest, to idle, to park

These are Yours to give me. This is what I ask.

Amen.

Just eight years later, the principal difference between Palahniuk’s satire and the most popular preacher in America today, Joel Osteen, is that Osteen’s message is more blasphemous. Osteen’s seven million Christian TV viewers might be interested to learn that Osteen, a college dropout with no formal training, is, literally, a heretic whose message is being called “Satanic,” “occult” and “antichrist” by respected evangelical ministers (See, for instance, the blog of Connecticut River Baptist Church pastor Ken Silva).

Osteen, who wears a deranged flash-frozen-smile – he looks like Martin Short playing the Joker – received a $13 million advance for his new book, “Become a Better You,” and collects $73 million a year in donations at the former home to the Houston Rockets that is now Lakewood “Church.” “Survivor,” not the Bible, seems to be the blueprint for Osteen’s life. Palahniuk’s character Tender Branson is born into a religious cult; Osteen inherited his ministry from his father John, a babbling freak who believed in faith healing and announced, at 77, that God had just given him the okay to keep preaching into his 90s. Two weeks later, Osteen Sr. was dead. Palahniuk’s Tender Branson gets a makeover from agents who pump him up with exercise and steroids; Osteen bench-presses 300 pounds. “People shopping for a Messiah want quality. Nobody is going to follow a loser,” writes Palahniuk. Tender Branson’s agent tells him, “Think of those young people out in the world struggling with outdated religious or with no religions, think of those people as your target market.” Osteen doesn’t stick to outdated religions – his church is non-denominational – or any religion at all. There are no crosses or other religious symbols in his church.

Even Palahniuk, though, doesn’t dare place Man over God on the Who’s Hot in the Cosmos List. Osteen has said, “You can cancel out God’s plan by speaking negative words.” Whoa, there, preacher boy. That ain’t Christianity. Christians don’t believe they can change the will of God, I hope I don’t win the lottery”). Even the Palahniukian prayer says, “These are yours to give me” and leaves the rest up to Him.

Osteen’s favorite code word is “increase,” because that gives a Biblicalish spin to materialist goals, as in “God wants to increase you financially, by giving you promotions.” When Osteen cites the Bible (note to TV interviewers: Try springing a little Scriptural quiz on Osteen the next time you get him in the chair) he doesn’t merely miss the point, He steers the opposite way. Osteen cites Colossians 3:2 (“Set your mind and keep it on the higher things”) in his book, “Your Best Life Now” (chapter two, page one – or 2:1) as applicable to the situation, “Perhaps you work in sales, and you are scheduled to give an important presentation.” God wants to help you “snag that big contract” if you set your mind to it.

Flip to Colossians 3:2 (King James Version) and you’ll find that the entire verse reads, “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Colossians 3:5 warns against “covetousness, which is idolatry.” Osteen’s books are all about covetousness and idolatry. He is a false prophet to whom God is a cosmic waiter. (“Hi! My name is God and I’ll be your deity this evening. Start you off with a bottle of water?”)

The Word-Faith Movement,” of which Osteen is a member, uses God as a Trojan horse to sell the ancient mystic rubbish – picture it and you’ll pocket it – that also drives “The Secret.” doesn’t pretend to be a tax-exempt religion.

If the IRS doesn’t nab Osteen, maybe Palahniuk should sue him for plagiarism. Osteen writes, “Perhaps you’re searching for a parking spot in a crowded lot. Say, ‘Father, I thank You for leading me and guiding me. Your favor will cause me to get a good spot.”

Osteen recalls the time he tasked God with being his personal parking aide, and lo: ‘Just as I steered our car past the front row of parked cars, another car backed out as I approached…it was the premier spot in that parking lot.”

Maybe Osteen didn’t learn all of the lessons of The Gospel According to Chuck, though: “Survivor” climaxes with Tender Branson being chased by an angry mod.





Kenny’s Birthday “Surprise”

5 10 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 1 – Kenny’s Birthday Surprise – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Kenny’s Birthday “Surprise”

On January 18, 2007 marks both forty (40) years of teaching heresy and by the mercy of our gracious God He has allowed Mr. Copeland to live to be 70 years old. Cashflow A. Dollar and John (son of Ken & Gloria Copeland) plan to surprise them on that evening with a small love offering from their devotees. Oh nothing big or elaborate, merely a token love gift of a —$2.5 million dollar check made out to the Copelands personally for their own use!

When DMI received this appeal letter, complete with DVD from Cashflow and his posse we were sickened beyond belief. The Copelands are among the wealthiest of all the televangelists and their SINistry just purchased at least 1 Citation X jet, KCM owns “Eagle Mountain” a defunct Air Force base they purchased some time back. What is more Kenny and his gang have never had to resort to the usual charismatic tactic of sending out a wide variety of gimmicks to raise funds. Why not? Because they did not and do not need the money.

DMI has no problem with giving a financial gift to ministers (gee wish we’d get more of them, guess I need a “beard” like Cashflow to beg for us), but 2.5 million dollars given to a couple of people who are filthy rich already, who have honestly done nothing but teach error and sow discord in the Body of Christ is a bit much.

Even though the letter is sent to us (and a million others on their mailing list) by their son John Copeland, the checks are to go to Cashflow’s Church until the big service!

A couple of things there to keep in mind: (1). DMI assumes Cashflow’s ministry will without a doubt keep the interest off the money given and (2) Cashflow knows that one day he will reap what he sows, I.e. his day is coming from the Copeland family to “bless” the Dollar family in Atlanta. It is kinda like the Cleveland mob, paying homage to the Chicago family, knowing that “one hand washes the other,” capice? DMI is sure (oh yeah) that Kenny will tithe to the poor from this largess, maybe make an additional payment on a condo, retreat cabin, home or two, possibly just purchase another antique car to add to his growing collection. Hey who said godliness is not gain? (Sorry to sound like a sour-puss, but nobody can spend a dime in hell which we pray is not Mr. Copeland’s ultimate destination).

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

See Related Articles:

The Jet Set http://discernmentministriesinternation.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/the-jet-set/

Benny HINN JOINS the Jet Set: https://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com/2009/10/04/benny-hinn-joins-the-jet-set/





Benny HINN JOINS the Jet Set

4 10 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 1 – Benny Hinn JOINS the Jet Set – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Benny HINN JOINS the Jet Set

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I guess it comes as no surprise, other than why did it take Benny such a long time to join the televangelist “jet set,” but that day has come. According to the Trinity Foundation Mr. Hinn’s SINistry are now the proud owners of a Gulstream private executive jet. His plane is bigger than Mr. Copeland’s new Citation X, but Copeland’s plane can fly higher and faster. Benny’s jet is not as big as Paul and Jan’s Canadaire, but it is newer.

In the minds of all these jet-setters, i.e. Mr. Copeland, Cashflow Dollar, the Crouches, Keith Butler, Benny Hinn and others… They are simply too important and their message or anointing are vital for the advancement of the Kingdom of God ergo that they cannot fly commercial. They must be able to leave at the drop of the hat as the Spirit leads them (or in case they have to blow town or a nation in a big hurry). Hinn’s plan was paid for, by the infirmed, poor and desperate people who think God will/can heal them through Hinn. What a shame. 

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

See Related Article: The Jet Set  https://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com/2009/09/08/the-jet-set/ 

 





Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

11 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – June 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 6 – Sacred Cow Number Five – It is God’s Will to Always Heal – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

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Throughout this series I have been focusing on the major beliefs of the Word of Faith (WOF) cult. It is appropriate to delve into this topic due to the fact that the cult is also known as the “Health and Wealth” movement. This month I will consider their views on divine healing as oppose to what the Bible teaches and next month I will close this series out by exposing their twisting of biblical texts concerning God’s will and financial prosperity. But what good is money if you don’t have your health, eh?

It is vitally important for you to understand Discernment Ministries International (DMI) position regarding divine healing. DMI does not doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ still heals His people. Where orthodox Christians diverge from the WOF cult is that we believe that God heals people according to His sovereign good pleasure which is based upon His will for us as individuals. The Lord is the Healer and frankly, it may or may not be within His plan to heal an individual physically. I have often taught that God answers 100% of my prayers (yours too), however, the answers are not always what I want.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or sinful for Christians to pray for physical healing for themselves, family members, friends or others. It is doctrinally correct for the elders of a congregation to anoint the sick with oil and pray for their physical restoration (read James 5:14,15). Our Lord can and does heal through the proper reception of His grace when we come to the altar and celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

Those guilty of unworthy communion through non-discernment of the body and/or failure to examine themselves commit sacrilege against the most holy things, for which reason they are weak or sick or have even died (1 Cor. 11:27-31)…In the Large Catechism Luther confesses the other side of the coin presented by the Apostle in these verses. ‘We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is healed as well’ (LCV.68). Positive bodily benefit may accrue, even in this life, to those who worthily (I.e.., contritely and with faith) partake of the Holy Supper. For it may please Almighty God to hold back the progress or even to drive back the depredations of bodily and mental disease through the life-giving body and blood of Him “by [whose] wounds we are healed (Is 53:5c; 1 Pt 2:24) (1)

It is with these texts in mind that we know that our Lord can and does heal His people. DMI is not anti-healing, we are against any teaching which takes something God may graciously do for one of His children and turn that grace into a work wrought by man and thus available to anyone who knows how to work the work, which is essentially what the WOF cult has done.

The WOF Teaching on Divine Healing

The problem with the WOF view of divine healing is that it is based on false premises, shoddy exegesis and is being propagated in many cases by wolves masquerading as genuine Christians. Their belief promises healing to all yet provides healing to none. The only ones who truly benefit from this deadly error are the so-called healing evangelists, all of whom have gotten extremely wealthy from presenting false hopes to the hopeless and desperate. Let’s drive a stake into this particular darkness.

 F.F. Bosworth, an early “healing” evangelist, made the following statement and as you can read Gloria Copeland’s comment echoes Bosworth’s and is now parroted by every WOF SINister on television and in pulpits today:

We see, from almost every conceivable angle throughout the Scripture, that there is no doctrine more clearly taught than it is God’s will to all who have need of healing, and that they may fulfill the number of their days, according to His promise. (2)

The Word of God will establish, without a doubt, that it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time who will agree with Him. Agreeing with God puts you in a position to receive from God. (3)

There you have it folks, it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time, end of story. Obviously people who are not healed are (1) out of the will of God for their lives and (2) not in agreement with God. Bosworth moved to Zion, IL a city founded by faith healer John Alexander Dowie (who later claimed he was Elijah returned and died of a stroke). His initial education and training came from his association with Dowie, Parham and E.W. Kenyon. In her healing school tape series Gloria goes on pontificating regarding the condition of the early Church:

In the early Church, they had this revelation. Sickness was no problem to them. They knew how to resist Satan and command disease to leave. They depended on the power of God to put them over in everything. Satan did not control the early Church, the believers kept him under control. (4)

The early Church she is referring to is the Church from its inception to the Dark Ages. The revelation they had was that it was God’s will to always heal people of everything every time. “Sickness was no problem to them.” Oh, really? What does she base that statement on? Paul in 1 Cor. 11 warned the Corinthians about abuses concerning the Lord’s Supper. That due to those abuses many were (1) weak; (2) sickly and (3) some had died. This seems like a bit of a problem to me. If people were not sick then James would not have written about the sick people calling for the church elders. Nothing is written in Acts about the rank and file believer “commanding disease to leave.” Both of Copeland’s statements are unwarranted and in fact, potentially quite dangerous a fact I will address later in this article. This much is certain, at least according to the WOF doctrine— healing is the will of God for all His people.

The fallacy behind their belief is that they teach that physical healing was also obtained for all of God’s children in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. “God heals today because healing is in the atonement.” Tilton is merely quoting Dr. T.J. McCrossan who attempted to write a scholarly apologetic for physical healing in the atonement in his book (read and cited by almost every WOF SINister) Bodily Healing and the Atonement:

Again, all Christians should expect God to heal their bodies today, because Christ died to atone for our sicknesses as well as for our diseases. (6)

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Gloria Copeland in her “healing school” echoes this sentiment as well:

When He paid the price for sin, He paid the price for sickness and the chastisement of our peace (mental torment) for us…Forgiveness of sin belongs to you now. Healing of your body belongs to you now. Freedom from mental torment belongs to you now…When Jesus came out of hell, He brought us with Him. We are not bound by sin, sickness or disease anymore. (7)

Some WOF extremists teach that the 39 “stripes” which Jesus was lashed with by the Roman soldiers actually represent categories of disease. Each lash was a disease which is why Peter says that “by His stripes we are healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24).

I continued and said, ‘How many of you believe that Jesus took all our diseases on himself at Calvary? Every one of those 39 stripes he had on his back was a different disease…Can you imagine all the brain damage in the world on him? Can you see all the crippling disease on him? Millions of all kinds of diseases, all on Jesus at one time? (8)

He suffered in our stead because He did not want us to suffer disease. He took our specific diseases and infirmities upon His own sinless, perfect body in complete payment of the penalty of our sin. (9)

The Bible says in Isaiah, that on Calvary He was so disfigured, His body was so bent out of shape, His Spirit was so twisted, that He didn’t even look like a man any more. Sin had crushed Him in His Spirit; sickness and disease had taken hold of His body. He had cancer, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and everything else all at one time. All of this from the whole world, came on Him, and He took everybody’s sickness, everybody’s disease upon His own body. (10)

The obvious error here stems from their belief that Jesus literally became a sinner. He did not bear the penalty for our sin, but He actually became sin. Even so regarding our sicknesses; He was not punished for sickness (which is a result of sin) but actually bore/became literally plagued with all the illnesses of humanity past, present and future during His scourging.

Jesus our Lamb suffered in two ways. He shed His blood on the cross for our salvation from sin, and He bore the stripes on His BODY for our healing from sickness. In the intense spiritual and physical agony of Calvary, which Jesus suffered principally in His spirit…But in the excruciating physical agony of the Praetorium, where Jesus suffered in His BODY from the terrible Roman lash, He bare our sicknesses; for it was there by His stripes that He was made sick for us (Isaiah 53:10), and by His stripes we are healed. (11)

When Jesus bore away our sins, He also bore away our diseases. The cross pronounced a double cure for the ills of mankind. The church of Jesus Christ has been made as free from sickness as it has been made free from sin. A Christian may continue to sin after he has been born again, but he does not have to…A Christian may continue to be sick after he has been born again but he does not have to. He has been redeemed from sickness. The price has been paid for his healing. Sickness can no longer exert dominion over him unless he allows it. (12)

When the Bible talks about suffering, that doesn’t mean ‘sickness.’ We have no business suffering sickness and disease, because Jesus redeemed us from that…Yes, there is suffering, but not sickness and disease. Thank God you don’t have to suffer with that, because Jesus bore our infirmities. (13)

The reason I cited all of the above individuals is to show you (and anyone you may share this with) how widely this error is taught. No one can claim that DMI is setting up a straw man argument. On the contrary, I have in fact only referenced a few examples and could have easily added an additional twenty quotes from our library concerning divine healing.

It is the WOF cult’s contention that divine healing is part-n-parcel of our redemption. I have heard Kenneth Copeland on numerous occasions say that it is as easy to get healed as it is to get saved. It simply requires an individual to use the same force of faith for both. This only shows their ignorance concerning salvation, but since they are at best semi-Pelagian and at worst full blown Pelagians (as was Charles Finney) it is understandable. Let me remind you of what Dr. Martin Luther said regarding salvation in the Third Article on Becoming Holy in his Small Catechism:

A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit call me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, He generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. Yes, this is true!

Salvation is not by our own efforts it is by grace alone through faith and the faith to believe in Christ Jesus is a gift from God (read Eph. 2:8). This is in direct opposition to their view where they have the lost man making a decision to receive Christ and in the same manner to make a decision to be healed as well. Yet if salvation is the gift of God and physical healing is indeed included in the atoning death of Christ, then divine healing would have to equally be a gift. Naturally, they do not see it this way. In answering their claim of divine healing being in the atonement I will cite Dr. Crenshaw:

Is there healing in the atonement? Certainly, and in exactly the way Matthew used the Isaiah passage. From Isaiah we learn that Jesus definitively and once for all removed the cause of sickness by atonement in bearing sin. From Matthew we learn that He occasionally removed the effects of sin during His earthly ministry by miracles. We have already seen that He did miracles to demonstrate Who He was, and once this was done, there was no reason to expect them to continue. The purpose had been completed. Since the healing aspect of the Isaiah passage was “fulfilled” in the life of the Lord, why should we look for it to be fulfilled again today? (14)

Christ died because we were sinners in need of redemption, not because we were sick in need of healing. The focus of the atonement is our being made righteous before the Father by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Crenshaw goes on to say:

The Word of Faith leaders, however, make one of the fruits of His death, healing disease, the essence of the atonement. They miss the whole point of sin, judgment, and Jesus’ death, for God has not charged us with diseases but with sin, with disobedience to His moral laws. Diseases are the result of sin, not the sin itself, and Jesus bore our sin, not the result…While in this life though, we shall always have some sin and thus some sickness. It is only when we are glorified that we shall no longer sin (1 John 3:2). Just as we do not expect sinlessness in this life, neither should we expect perfect health.

One day we shall be sinless and free of sickness, and one day the curse from the earth shall be removed, all as a result of the atonement, but not now. (15)

In the April, 2005 edition of Truth Matters the article dealt with the WOF heresy concerning the atonement of Jesus and it is obvious to any genuine Christian that the leaders of this cult are totally ignorant of the biblical Jesus and the biblical account of His death for us on the cross. So it is no wonder they are equally confused regarding healing and the atonement. They all teach that sickness comes from Satan, they do not teach that we live in a fallen world, thusly much of our woes stem from this fact. They give far too much credit to Satan while ignoring texts such as—

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor. 4:16,17

If one reads the prior verses and the following ones the meaning becomes clear. Our body is dying, yet spiritually we are growing daily by the grace of God. The WOF leaders and their followers are dying physically daily, as are we all. Those who propagate faith healing ministries are no less prone to disease than anyone else in the Body of Christ.

The danger of this specific error is that those who hear these leaders actually believe what they proclaim and follow their so-called spiritual laws and principles often at the cost of their own lives. Meanwhile, the faith healers keep their own physical ailments out of the spotlight as long as possible and when they are sick they make use of the best medical facilities money can buy.

How Do We Tap Into God’s Healing Power?

(All you Need is Faith, Everybody Now, All You Need is Faith)   (16)

 This is really the $64,000 question the WOF pundits claim to have the answer to. But first allow me to give you a short history lesson. Prior to the formation of this cult (17) belief in faith healing was around for many years. Individuals traveled under the aegis of “healing evangelists.” Some of the more notable characters include: John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and Aimee Semple McPherson. These and other people laid the foundation for the so-called “healing revival” of Post World War II. The healers of the late 40’s and 50’s took their cues from the healers which proceeded them. In the Post War days healing evangelists roved the nation. Names like William Branham, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, O.L. Jaggers and Franklin Hall were (and are) commonplace in Pentecostalism and the early Charismatic renewal movement. There was extreme competition (18) among these healers and each one claimed a stronger “anointing” or more dramatic miracles in their meetings. From Dowie up to the present day those seeking divine healing were led to believe that they needed to be in the presence of the man or women especially anointed by God to heal the sick. These charlatans (as history has proven) usually laid hands upon the sick and commanded evil spirits (the cause of sickness they claimed) to leave the infirmed. All of these former faith healers obtained both fame and great fortunes from those in need.

Due to the tremendous wealth which these fake-healers accumulated it caused many others to take their place when death or exposure ended their time in the spotlight. Today we have a host of individuals who teach that Christians need to come to them specifically for healing, that they (the healers) are the mediators of God’s power for those who will but “believe.” People such as Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman (deceased), Benny Hinn, R.W. Schambach, Leroy Jenkins, Peter Popoff, Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant Jr., Jim Whittington, Don Stewart and other healing evangelists can be seen regularly on television. Hagin and his clones took a different and less risky route then the healing evangelists. It was the WOF cult that began to write and teach about divine healing apart from needing to go to the big tent, traveling healing revivalists which have dotted the spiritual landscape. Divine healing began to become codified into a guarantee from God if people simply applied the correct spiritual laws or principles.

During the great healing revival, evangelists would hold short meetings, and I’d come along behind them with longer meetings. By the time I got there, I often found people who had been healed in those meetings already had lost their healing. This happened in my meetings, too, but I learned how to get them healed and keep them healed. (19)

Even though Hagin attempted to lump himself in with the “big” healing revivalist he never was seen as one of them. In fact, Hagin is not known for even having a divine healing ministry per se. Hagin would show up after the “big-boys” had left town and hold smaller meetings in which he would pray for those who had lost their healing and teach the attendees how to receive divine healing. The important point to remember is that Hagin states he ’learned how to get them healed and keep them healed.” In essence he is saying that he is really more powerful than the huge tent revivalists in that he had the needed revelation of how one can remain healed. Before considering how to keep divine healing, let’s get down to brass tacks and see what is taught on how to receive it in the first place!

Faith healing is exactly what it says it is: you are healed by faith, and you keep your healing by faith…Miracles and healing happen through faith: so if it happens through faith, then we need to find out about faith. (20)

Everything within the WOF cult is predicated by their concept of faith, (21) which as we studied last month does not mean a believer’s simple reliance and trust in God, the object of our faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. To these people faith is a mystical force which when properly use according to set spiritual laws will create and change spiritual and physical reality, including physical health and healing. So the initial piece to the healing puzzle is that people receive healing by releasing the force of faith within them for healing.

Your faith will cause the power of God to be manifested in your life. His power is always present. It will do what you need it to do. (22)

Notice how depersonalized Copeland’s statement is; “your faith will cause….it will do what you need it to do.” God’s power is separated from Himself (something the Bible does not teach). The power of our faith, i.e. our ability to conceive in our spirits what we desire will cause this power to be activated. God’s power is at our command and is only limited by the strength of our faith. If a person believes this way about God and faith, then when they fail to receive their healing by “faith” it can have some very dire implications for that individual, or their families.

“If Christ is our Passover lamb, His blood was most assuredly shed to save us from the wrath of God through the forgiveness of our sins, and His flesh was bruised and broken for our physical benefits.’ The logical conclusion to such reasoning is that if one gets sick, he really has not had his sins forgiven. To evade this logic, they make a distinction between forgiveness and healing, which is the Gnostic dualism… (23)

The Copelands assert that the faith that saves is the same faith that heals. It is only logical to believe if one is not healed, then one must not be saved either. Admittedly, the WOF cult does not make this distinction, but then logic is not their strong suit.

Let’s consider just a few of the biblical examples of people who received divine healing from God apart from exercising faith on their part. How do they explain the FACT that ten lepers were healed by Jesus, yet only ONE had faith (read Luke 17:12-19). How much faith did Lazarus exercise when Jesus raised him from the dead, death after all is a permanent result of sin & sickness (read the crippled beggar in Acts 3:3-8 ? The cripple asked for money, Peter and John had none, instead the man got physically healed, something he obviously did not believe for! I could mention the case where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:31. Nothing is mentioned of her faith in Christ, yet Jesus healed her. Most of you are familiar with the case of the man who was born blind. Jesus healed him and in this case the man had faith in Jesus AFTER he was healed, not before (read John 4:16).

Failure to Receive Divine Healing

All failure to receive the promised blessings falls squarely on the shoulders of the individual believer. It is never the fault of the healer. In closing I will cite seven of the most common excuses used to attempt to explain away the lack of success in the healing business. Space does not permit me to give direct citations, but I will list works which detail what I am sharing in the end notes. (24)

#1. The individual only had head knowledge of God’s will for healing and not a revelation from the Spirit to their spirit. The individual only had mental assent, which will not heal anyone. Remember the only way you can know if you have a spirit versus soul revelation is by the manifestation of what you have believed for.

#2. Hidden sin in a person’s life can block the flow of divine healing. Naturally this excuse does not explain why God allegedly heals unbelievers and admitted sinners in healing revivals. This mystery is attested to by Kuhlman and Hinn.

#3. A lack of tithing (off the gross vs. the net) will open the door for demonic attack. God will rebuke the devourer (I.e. Satan & demons in the WOF cult) on the behalf of the faithful tither (read Mal. 3:11). This is a frequently twisted text used by SINisters to bilk money from God’s gullible and often desperate sheep.

#4. A lack of knowledge concerning divine healing is a major cause of sickness in the Church. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” in Hosea 4:6? How can one exercise faith for healing when one does not know it is God’s will to heal them?

#5. Sicknesses that come form unknown causes. This is a major source of confusion and depression among WOF cultists. Marilyn Hickey is well known for teaching that “the curse causeless shall not come” from Proverbs 26:2. So when sickness attacks the WOF devotee they immediately begin to search their lives and see if thee is any hidden sin, lack of giving or strife with others. There is always a cause for sickness and its root is to be found in Satan and the believer who has left the door open for him to attack them.

#6. An attack from Satan to hold back God’s plan. This excuse is usually reserved for the leaders in the movement itself. If the sheep get a disease, then it is obviously their fault in some way. If a leader gets a disease it is an attack from the Enemy to hinder the expansion of the Kingdom of God. For example, when Jan Crouch gets cancer it is because Satan wanted to stop her from giving donated toys to poor children in Haiti.

#7. The individual was healed, but lost their healing. This is a common excuse favored by the healing evangelists. They claim people were healed in their meetings and when they die later on, it is because they “lost” their healing. This is why so many books have been written on how to Keep your healing.

When you read the books published by individuals cited in this article do not be deceived by the testimonies they share. No information is ever given that will enable the reader to verify the claims being made. Anyone can write “ten people, born blind were healed in my Calcutta crusade’ or “Mrs. M. wrote us and said that after she sent in her last $100 God delivered her completely from the demon of stomach cancer.” Also, realize that the level of sickness and disease is as high, if not actually higher among the WOF leaders. The rate of cancer among their international leadership and their families is off the scale. One would expect to see a large (and growing larger) group of extremely healthy individuals and yet they are no better off than anyone else in the Church.

They promise much but they deliver nothing but false hopes and empty promises. I believe Jude must have know people like this in his day:

Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 1:11-13 ¨ ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Copeland (*But were Afraid to Ask By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

This Booklet is Only  Available from DMI – $15.00

 

 

 

 

 

End Notes

1. Stephenson, John R. The Lord’s Supper (Northville, SD: The Luther Academy), 2003 p. 200. Bold type added for emphasis.

2. God’s Word for Your Healing (Tulsa, Ok: Harrison House) 1993, p. 9 This comment is attributed to F.F. Bosworth by the unknown author of this book. F.F. Bosworth is best known today for his book Christ the Healer. The following comments were obtained from http://www.christianheroes.com/ev/ev014.asp: “Little is known of the early life of F.F. Bosworth. His family moved to Zion city whilst he was young and both he and his brother BB were to become preachers. FF Bosworth strongly influenced many of the early healing evangelists. This list includes Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, J.G. Lake and many others. His book ‘Christ the Healer is a tremendous book on the principles of healing through the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary. Bosworth worked with John Alexander Dowie for a number of years before starting his own healing ministry. Bosworth embraced Pentecostalism as a result of being influenced by Charles Parham in 1906. Bosworth was also influenced by E.W. Kenyon and his teachings on divine healing…In 1948Bosworth met William Branham. Bosworth supported Branham until his death. (Bosworth’s) in 1958” The underlining and bold type has been added.

3. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries), 1988, p. 5.

4. Ibid. p. 10

5. Tilton, Robert How to Receive & Keep Your Healing (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries) 1987, p. 22 bold type added.

6. McCrossan, T.J. Bodily Healing and the Atonement (Tulsa, OK. Rhema Bible Church). 1982 p. 10.

7. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries 1988 pp. 28,29,30

8. Hunter, Charles and Francis, How to Heal the Sick, Kingwood, TX: Hunter Books), 1981, 9.85.

8. Roberts, Oral How I know God Wants to Heal You, (Tulsa, OK ; Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association) 1970 p. 3 Underlining added.

9. Price, Frederick K. Is Healing For All, (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House) 1976, p. 119. Underlining added.

10. Osborn, T.L. Healing the Sick and Casting Out Devils, (Tulsa, OK; The voice of Faith Ministry), 1950, pp. 179, 180.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will For Your Healing, (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1972, p. 30

12. Hagin Kenneth E. Must Christians Suffer?, (Tulsa, OK Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1990 pp. 2, 41.

13. Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN; Footstool Publications), 1994 p. 139

14. Ibid p. 133

15. Hum this to yourself using the Beatles tune ‘All you need is Love”

In saying ‘formation’ I am referring to the establishment of actual Word of Faith congregations. This did not really begin to occur until Kenneth Hagin had graduated his first class from Rhema Bible Training Center outside of Tulsa, OK. In the late 1940’s up to this day there have been many formerly Pentecostal congregations which separated themselves from their denominations and became independent charismatic churches, many of which began to teach WOF concepts as they became popular. One of the largest and most enduring WOF “denominations” was started by Buddy Harrison, Hagin’s son-in-law called Faith Christian Fellowship which has 100’s of congregations throughout America and overseas.

16. For many years there was an ongoing “battle” between A.A. Allen and Jack Coe over who had the largest healing revival tent. Branham claimed to see an angel feel demons in his right hand, Roberts said God had anointed his right hand with healing power. Jack Coe would inflate the results of his meetings and make outlandish claims. Each healer tried to find a “nitch” market among the sick seekers.

17. Hagin, Kenneth, How to Keep Your Healing (Tulsa, OK. Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1989, p. 19

18. Tilton, Robert, How To Receive & Keep Your Healing, (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries ) 1987, p. 18 Underlining added.

In Last month’s Truth Matters (May 2005) I delved into the WOF concept regarding faith and it would be redundant to devote much space re-explaining it in this issue.

19. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1988 p. 4 underlining added.

20 Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN. Footstool Publication) 1994 p. 143. In the beginning of this citation Crenshaw is quoting from McCrossan’s book on healing and the atonement. Bold type added.

21. Here are some titles which cover these excuses and many others: T.L. Osborn. One Hundred Divine Healing Facts; Gordon Lindsey Twenty-Five Objections to divine healing and Bible answers; K. Neill Foster Twenty-three Reasons Why Some Are Not Healed.

22. I have mentioned in many previous articles and on our website the fact that the rate of cancer among WOF leaders and their families far exceeds that of other international Christian leaders and their families.





Sacred Cow Number One – Jesus Was Very Wealthy

23 06 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – February 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 2 – Sacred Cow Number One – Jesus Was Very Wealthy – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number OneJesus Was Very Wealthy

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Over the next several months the Lord willing, DMI will be writing a series of articles designed to kick over several sacred cows within Charismania. (1) The term “sacred cow” has its origin from Hinduism where the cow is viewed as a sacred animal. (2)   Today it is an idiomatic term for a cherished idea that cannot be questioned or negated. One such major “sacred cow” is the doctrine that our Lord Jesus Christ was extremely wealthy. This false doctrine is accepted and taught by every major Word of Faith (WOF) teacher and televangelist.

The conviction that Jesus was very rich is not an ancillary teaching it is a central core dogma for literally hundreds of thousands of professing Christians. It is so central a concept that when it is demolished many other teachings can no longer be supported, which is why it qualifies as a sacred cow for many sign-gift extremists. After all, if Jesus was not wealthy then the rest of the various teachings on prosperity fall down like a house of card.

Through my research I cannot unequivocally say who originally came up with the wealthy Jesus idea, but it does seem to have taken root during the so-called “Healing Revival” of Post World War II. Earlier divine healers were well known for their personal wealth and riches. Aimee Semple McPherson was know for her opulent lifestyle. (3)   I personally remember Lester Sumrall commenting on how John Alexander Dowie used to have tubs of money and lived very well in his city, Zion, Illinois.

When the new batch of healers came around after WWII it seems they took their financial cues from those “giants” upon whose shoulders they humbly stood. Healers such as A.A. Alan, Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, William Branham were wealthy people. Those who followed them in the early 1960’s to this day such as Kathryn Kuhlman, R.. Schambach, Benny Hinn, W.V. Grant, Peter Popoff and Robert Tilton  are (or were in the case of Kuhlman who is dead) extremely wealthy individuals. Not to mention a host of WOF teachers, as opposed to those claiming healing ministries. These people too are extremely wealthy and openly display their wealth. This list would include people such as: Paul and Jan Crouch, T.D. Jakes, Leroy Tomkins, Ken & Gloria Copeland, Jesse Duplantis, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Fred Price, Jerry Savelle, Norvel Hayes, John Avanzini, etc.

Where Did the Doctrine of Wealthy Jesus Come From?

I believe this false teaching came about by necessity. Somehow, these phenomenally wealthy individuals who claim to be serving Christ and His sheep had to create some form of “biblical” support for their lavish lifestyle. Ergo, the teaching that Jesus and His disciples were wealthy developed.

Once the fake-healers and false teachers could show their followers, who by-in-large were and are biblical fundamentalists, a Wealthy Jesus by twisting biblical texts, then they could explain away their wealth as a natural by-product of following the Savior! As a result of creating a wealthy Jesus an entirely new, formerly untapped vein of revenue could now be mined by these unscrupulous preachers and what is commonly called the “Prosperity Gospel” was invented. (4)

The concept that Jesus was rich and that God wants you to be rich too,  proved to be so popular every sign-gift healer/preacher/teacher/pastor has written books on the topic. Here are a few  examples from the DMI archives: Attach You Lack by Oral Roberts; Financial Prosperity by Elbert Willis; The Blessing of Obedience by Norvel Hayes; Dare to Be A Success by Robert Tilton; The Power to Create Wealth by Robert Tilton; Sowing In Famine by Jerry Savelle; God’s Answer to Insufficient Funds by Rod Parsley; The Laws of Prosperity by Kenneth Copeland; God’s Debt Free Guarantee by John Avanzini; It’s Not Working Brother John by John Avanzizi; The Miracle of Seed Faith by Oral Roberts; Lifestyles of the Rich and Faithful by Fred Price.

How They Biblically “Prove” Jesus Was Rich

As the old saying goes “the best defense is a good offense” which is just what Mr. Avanzizi attempts to do in his attempt to counter the genuine version of the biblical Jesus when he stated:

“I don’t now where these goofy traditions creep in at, but one of the goofiest ones is that Jesus and His disciples were poor. Now there’s no Bible to substantiate that. (5) Let me explain from memory and my background as a former Word of Faith Pastor/Teacher how I was taught that Jesus and His followers were rich.

His Birth

We have to start with the birth of Jesus. Remember the wise men that came to worship Him and they brought Him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh (see Matt. 2:11) ? Forget the Christmas card images, there were not just three wise men, but a whole caravan and they brought a tremendous amount of riches with them that they gave to Jesus. Joseph was a carpenter. What we’d called a “skilled tradesman” today. He had enough money to buy a house and establish a carpentry business for two years before Herod sought to kill Jesus. Vs. 11 clearly says they were in a “house” not in the manger by the time the wise men got there. Obviously Jesus came from a fairly well off family. The only reason He was born in a manger was because Joseph could not rent a room, not because he could not afford one! When the angel appeared and warned Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt until Jesus returned after Herod’s death many years later. After that point Jesus took up the profitable trade of being a carpenter like Joseph. Jesus was rich from His very birth, given heaps of gold and extremely valuable incense. What is more, Jesus learned a valuable trade, carpentry (ever see how much a carpenter makes per hour these days?) and He worked at this trade for several years. What do you think Jesus did with the money He made from selling His works? He tithed, gave and God blessed Him for it! “

www@simpletruths.net

www@simpletruths.net

Keep in mind that 99.9% of what I am writing above is a pure reading into the text The facts are 1) we do not know how many wise men came to worship Jesus, any number given is pure speculation which has no place in biblical doctrine. 2) Nor do we know the amount of treasure they gave the Christ child. 3) We have little background on Joseph apart from his genealogy (see Matt.1:1) and we know Joseph was a carpenter. 4) There is nothing that says they lived off the treasure given to them while in Egypt. 5). Yet Jesus was viewed by others as the carpenter’s son (see Matt 13:55).  In that time it was traditional for sons to follow their father’s trade, so I will accept that Jesus did probably work as a carpenter for some period of time. However, to equate what carpenter’s were paid in Jesus’ day with what a “union” carpenter makes per hour today is the height of folly. 6) Jesus fulfilled every aspect of God’s law which would have included tithing, but that does not equate with being materially wealthy. (6)

His Ministry

Jesus began His official ministry after being baptized by John, coming out of the wilderness in the power of the Holy Spirit and choosing 12 disciples. In order for Him to do all this He had to have money, and a great deal of it. Elbert Willis (7) states the WOF view very specifically in the following citation:

Many people say, ‘Well, Jesus didn’t have prosperity. He didn’t have any money. He had twelve disciples and seventy others with Him. They were not working, but they were serving Him. That equate eighty-three men. And their families? Have you ever heard a pauper having a treasure? Do you have so much money that you need a treasurer to keep up with it? (8)

To begin with the Bible does not say that Jesus was a “pauper” nor does it say He had so much money that He covered all the living expenses of eighty-three men and their families. The Bible mentions nothing about Jesus financially providing for these men’s families. The families of these chosen disciples continued to work as they had before one of their sons was called to follow the Master. Then Elbert makes mention, as do all prosperity preachers, about the fact that Jesus had a “treasurer.” Here is a statement by the grandfather of greed, Oral Roberts:

Second, we know Jesus was not poor because He needed to have a treasurer. According to John 13:29, a disciple by the name of Judas Iscariot was Jesus’ treasurer. Now a treasurer is needed by a person who must deal with large sums of money that have to be accounted for, write checks, make purchases and pay bills, taxes and debts. You ask, “Did Jesus have that kind of money? Yes, or He wouldn’t have needed a treasurer. He had so much that later Judas stole from the treasury.   (9)

The problem with their concept stems around their reading more into the word “treasurer” than should be, it is an exegetical error on their part. They carry today’s concept and read it back into the text. They had no paper currency in those days, they had coins. It is hard to imagine that Jesus was so wealthy that Judas alone could have lugged around a very heavy bag of gold, silver and copper coins all day long (gold is rather heavy, or so I am told). All that is meant by the passage is that Jesus had appointed Judas to be in charge of whatever money they had. The Greek word for “bag” , which according to strong’s Concordance is defined as “a small box for other uses, a purse to keep money in”. (10) Hardly the impression today’s prosperity preachers give their followers. They like to make such a big deal out of the fact that Judas carried the money bag that Mr. Copeland gives the following “revelation” concerning Judas and the purse:

Jesus knew the spiritual law of giving and He operated it proficiently. He gave to the poor at such an astonishing rate that when Judas left the room during the Last Supper, some people thought that he must be going to give to the poor. Do you want a hundredfold return on your money? Give and let God multiply it back to you. No bank in the world offers this kind of return! Praise the Lord!”

It is beyond the scope of this article to deal with the WOF doctrine of spiritual laws, (prosperity is just one of them) but there is nothing stated in the Gospels that our Lord manipulated spiritual laws of any sort. I am sure that our Lord gave to the poor, but there is nothing that says that “He gave to the poor as such as astonishing rate” because if this were the case, then according to Copeland Jesus would have received 100 times back on every denarii’ He gave away. As an aside: if this spiritual law is biblical then why aren’t more televangelists giving money away at an astonishing rate. The only thing that is astonishing is that people are so biblically dull that they give millions to these shysters who keep far far more than they ever give away!

His Clothing

Jesus wore designer clothing. Naturally one must realize that Jesus as a man who fulfilled the Law walked in the blessings of Abraham (see Deut. 28:1-14) would only wear the best clothing available.

John 19:23 says “He had a seamless robe’ Roman soldiers gambled for it at the foot of the cross. It was a designer original. It was valuabe enough for them to want it…And then there are Christians that have a poverty complex that says “Well, I feel guilty about having nice things.’ Jesus didn’t. (12)

I’m telling you, Jesus wasn’t poor, and He didn’t wear no rags, either. Like we march in on these Easter little plays that we do at our church, with those raggedly sheets on. Jesus didn’t have no rags on.  He wore designer clothes, honey! (13) uniquely made and different from the ordinary. But Jesus clothes were even better than that. (14)

That is all Jesus said to them is, ’Come follow me and I’ll make you fishers of men’ They went ’Wooo right!’ And they followed him! Why? The boy was dressed in  an Armani Suit! He was wearing Berlini shoes!  Come on now! Why do we know that? Because He hung on the cross at Calvary they gambled for His clothes. They tossed dice for His underwear! You think anybody here would gamble for your underwear [Laughs]? You could have some pretty fine DNKY underwear, but you ain’t got anything that I’m gambling for [Laughs]! He was dressed fine! The rich will always follow the rich. The poor will follow the rich. But the rich will never follow the poor! So, how do we get these strange notions and these strange attitudes? Where does that come from except religious attitudes that kept the body of Christ poor! Amen? (15)

The above statements would be humorous (and such teachings are usually delivered in such a fashion to the devotees) if it were not so blatantly false and misleading. This concept is mouthed by every WOF preacher and televangelist.

Because Jesus wore the best, than that gives them license to wear Armani suits and spend over $1,000+ on a pair of shoes. In fact, Bishop T.D. Jakes buys his shoes in Detroit from another Bishop who owns a very upscale haberdashery. My wife and I personally witnessed Robert Tilton raise over $1,000 for a pastor so he could go and buy some “decent shoes to preach in.”

His Message

“Not only did Jesus come from a wealthy family and He no doubt was a member of the Galilean Amalgamated Carpenters Union, but He wore only the best clothes and much of what he taught centered around financial prosperity. I realize this may be new insights to many of you but hear the revelation knowledge from today’s anointed:

“The very first thing on Jesus’ agenda was to get rid of poverty! Would you like to know why some people, including ministries, never get out of poverty? Its not because they aren’t smart. Its because they don’t have windows of opportunity. It because they’re not anointed. If you’re not anointed, poverty will follow you all the days of your life. His first objective was to get rid of poverty. (16)

What Duplantis is referring to is the first message Jesus preached in Luke 4:18: “The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor… Jesse goes on to say that the Gospel message to the poor is that they do not have to be financially poor any longer. He and others teach that Jesus was not addressing spiritual poverty, but financial lack. What is good news to a poor person? That they can become rich! Jesse goes as far as to say that Jesus was more interested in preaching financial prosperity than opening the eyes of the blind because He mentions it first in His message!

Markus Bishop in his book, Our Covenant of Prosperity in the section entitled “Jesus Came To Reverse the Curse” writes this about the same text:

“Not only has God anointed Jesus, but He has appointed Him. He had commissioned and commanded Him to preach the Gospel, the Good News, to the poor. And Jesus wasn’t talking here about the ‘poor in spirit.” He was talking about preaching the Good News to those who were experiencing financial difficulty, poverty and lack. He was saying, ‘God has sent Me to preach the Good News to the poor.’ What is ‘good news’ to the poor? That they would be redeemed from financial poverty. (17)

All of the prosperity pimps twist this verse and make the central theme of the Gospel message of Christ redemption from the “curse” of poverty. There is not one reputable theologian, commentary writer or scholar who agrees with their aberrant abuse of the text. John Gill’s and Mathew Henry’s commentary say the following regarding Luke 4:18:

because he hath anointed me; or “that he might anoint me”; the Ethiopic version renders it, “by whom he hath anointed me”, for it was with the Holy Ghost he was anointed, as to be king and priest, so likewise to be a prophet: hence he has the name Messiah, which signifies anointed: and this unction he had, in order to preach the Gospel to the poor: in Isaiah it is, “to the meek”, which design the same persons, and mean such as are poor in spirit, and are sensible of their spiritual poverty; have low and humble thoughts of themselves, and of their own righteousness; and seek to Christ for durable riches and true righteousness, and frankly acknowledge that all they have and are, is owing to the grace of God: and generally speaking, these are the poor of this world, and poor in their intellectuals, who have but a small degree of natural wisdom and knowledge: to these the Gospel, or glad tidings of the love, grace, and mercy of God in Christ, of peace, pardon, righteousness, life and salvation by Christ, wre preached by him, and that in so clear a manner. (18)

Thirdly,  What his work was. He was qualified and commissioned, 1. To be a geat prophet. He was now entering upon Observe, (1) To whom he was to preach; to the poor; to those that were poor in the world, whom the Jewish doctors disdained to undertake the teaching of and spoke of with contempt; to those that were poor in spirit, to the need and humble, and to those that were truly sorrowful for sin; to them the gospel and the grace of it will be welcome, and they shall have it, Mt. 11:15   (19)

No commentary I researched agrees with the interpretation given by WOF movements’ sinisters. (20)  If Jesus’ message was really one of how to become financially wealthy why did He proclaim that “blessed are the poor in spirit because theirs is the kingdom of God” in Matthew 26:11? How could there be any poverty when Jesus fully preached the Gospel and equipped His ministry term to go out and do likewise?

I can imagine my conversation with Mr. Copeland regarding prosperity. It might go something like this: “Well, Mr. Heresy-hunter” how do you explain the encounter Jesus had with the rich, not poor, but RICH young ruler?” I’ll first allow Mr. Copeland to give us his insights:

“Whenever I read something that seem contradictory to this, I immediately stop and straighten my thinking. The truth is hidden in some way and I rely on the Holy Spirit to reveal it to me…Here is how the Lord revealed the truth to me: As I read Mark 10:20, And he answered and said unto him, Master, all these have I observed FROM MY YOUTH, the Lord spoke to me and said, “See this is why he was rich”….When the rich young ruler walked away, Jesus said; ‘How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!’ Then an interesting thing happened. The next verse says, ‘And the disciples were astonished at his words.’ We have taken it for granted that Jesus and His disciples didn’t have anything. But the Bible describes Peter, James, and John as professional fisherman. They owned more than one boat and they had household servants! When Jesus spoke those words, it shook them. (21)

According to Copeland “this was the biggest financial deal that young man had ever been offered, but he walked away from it because he didn’t know God’s system of finances.  (22)   In Copeland’s warped mind Jesus was really offering this man 100 times what he currently was worth. Copeland even says that Jesus was offering this man apostleship, but the man missed it because he had many possessions. Please do not lose sight of the fact that Copland claims to have obtained his insight into this text by divine personal revelation from the Holy Spirit.

If one takes time to read the entire discourse the true meaning becomes very plain. Jesus exposed where this man’s heart was. He loved his possessions more than Jesus. Hew was unwilling to part with them and he certainly was not willing to take up his cross and follow Jesus to be crucified.

This is why Jesus goes on to make the following comment: Mark 10:23 “And Jesus looked round about, and saith unto his disciples, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God!”  He repeats Himself in the next verse by saying”…how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!”   To make His point even stronger in vs. 25 over Master says “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.”

His disciples were astonished because in those days being wealthy was a sign of God’s approval and blessing and if the rich could not make it in, even one, like the rich young ruler who seemed to keep the Law, then what hope did they have?

In and of themselves they had no hope of salvation. Their wealth (or lack thereof), and their attempts at keeping all of God’s law perfectly would not grant them entrance into the kingdom of God. Jesus knowing their anxiety and concern tells them simply in vs. 27 “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men [it is] impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” Man cannot save himself, but with God all things are possible even the salvation of the rich! The rest of the chapter leads into the 100-fold nonsense commonly twisted by Copeland and others to mean if you give $10 then God will give you back $1,000 (talk about voodoo economics!).

The 12 Were Rich

You don’t think that Jesus would choose 12 poor men to be His representatives do you? What kind of kingdom ambassadors would penniless beggars be? Also, why would 12 rich men follow some poor guy? No, Jesus chose 12 highly successful businessmen, sort of the prototypical “Full Gospel Businessmen’s Association.” Think about it for a moment, Matthew was a tax collector, sort of like being a CPA today, a man use to handling large sums of money. Copeland just informed us that Peter, James and John were professional fishermen with several boats. Although nothing is ever actually stated about the personal wealth of any of the original 12 in the biblical text, that does not matter to these men because it bolsters their false teachings on personal financial wealth.

In summary we now understand according to the prosperity preachers that Jesus was born into a well to do family, was given a huge amount of treasure by a large caravan of wise men, that He was a professional carpenter and that he wore only the finest clothing. We see that His main message was how to break the curse of poverty off of poor people. Lastly, we also have learned that His original followers, hand-picked by Jesus, were also wealthy businessmen of various types.

This is the Rich Jesus which is presented on a regular basis on Christian television and radio. This is the version of Jesus taught about in national and international crusades, in hundreds of books, audio and video tapes series by men and women who hold sway over the spiritual lives of literally millions of professing Christians. Now, let’s consider what the Bible actually shows us concerning the biblical Jesus.

We must always have “sola Scriptura” as the overriding principle of our spiritual understanding. Everything we know for certain is found within the Bible. Any other non-biblical source is not to be considered authoritative and where the Bible is silent we too had best keep silent or at least be honest enough to admit that we have wandered into the realm of speculation, which at times may even seem to be logical, but it is still speculation, and non-authoritative. The vast majority of what the so-called prosperity preachers proclaim is either speculative in nature, outright invention or a twisting of the biblical texts they cite.

His Birth

We know little of Joseph and his family other than he came from Nazareth up to Jerusalem for the census and to pay his taxes. The fact he paid taxes does not mean he was wealthy, poor people to this day (including yours truly) pay taxes. What it does mean is that Joseph was an honest man and obeyed both God and the civil authorities.

We are not told of how much wealth/treasure the wise men gave to Jesus and his family. Nor do we know how many of them came to worship the Christ child. They were a small enough group to effectively slip away from King Herod’s grasp (see Mat.2:12). In the next verse we are told that the angel of the Lord told Joseph to take his family to Egypt. They stayed there until Herod died, which many commentators say was approximately two years after he slaughtered the children. We have no idea where in Egypt Jesus and His family went.

From historical records we do know something of the carpentry business of that day and even a bit about the area Jesus grew up in from archeology. Carpenters were not the highly paid “skilled craftsmen” in the same vein as our union member carpenters are today. To make such comparisons is sheer folly.

Archeological excavations of Nazareth from the 1950’s show the village of Jesus’ day were occupied by poor agricultural people. As Jesus grew up he worked in the trade of a carpenter not a trade know for its wealth. How did Jesus become rich with a step-dad who was only a carpenter? There is absolutely no indication anywhere that he was wealthy from his family or from traveling with His disciples. By the way, He took no tithes. (23)

Nothing in the biblical record states that Joseph was wealthy, or that they became wealthy from the gifts given to them by the wise men. Nothing is stated about Joseph having a thriving carpentry business which was profitable or that Jesus became wealthy as a carpenter.

His Ministry

Above I cited a quote from Elbert Willis who would have us believe that Jesus was so wealthy that He supported eighty-three (83) men and their family for the duration of His ministry! Nothing in the bible even remotely suggests this. It is pure fabrication on Elbert’s part to bolster his other teachings on why it is God’s will for the rest of His children to be wealthy like Jesus was. Read what Jesus had to say concerning His cousin John:

And when the messengers of John were departed, he began to speak unto the people concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness for to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they which are gorgeously appareled, and live delicately, are in kings’ courts. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and much more than a prophet. Luke 7:24-25

Doesn’t it strike you as more than a bit strange, in light of prosperity teachings, that John the cousin of Jesus would be poor? Yet by all accounts he was at best an ascetic. Didn’t Jesus give to the poor “at an astonishing rate” as Mr. Copeland teaches? The Bible says in Mark 1:6   And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey…”  This is hardly a prophetic picture of someone “wearing the best, eating the best and driving the best.”  Let’s very briefly consider the picture of the servants of God by the author of the book of Hebrews:

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and [of] Barak, and [of] Samson, and [of] Jephthae [of] David also, and Samuel, and [of] the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to fight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of [cruel] mockings and scourging, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: they were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy: ) they wandered in desserts, and [in] mountains, and [in] dens and caves of the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: Hebrews 11:32-39   (24)

Here is the famous “hall of faith” and in reading it what do we see? That the true servants of God were mocked; scourged, imprisoned; stoned (with real rocks); cut in half; killed by the sword; and they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins {a far cry from Armani and Gucchi}. We read what God’s opinion was — “of such the world was not worthy.” These prophets were destitute, afflicted and tormented. How is this possible with the scenario that the Gospel “pimps” have put forward? If anyone walked in covenant with God it had to be these O.T. believers. Yet, what was their reward? Far from blessing, it seemed that all the weight and curse of sinful mankind fell upon them. Any in-depth study of the Hebrew and Greek will demonstrate that these faithful servants of God were anything but operating in the “blessings” of Abraham!

Regarding His ministry if Jesus taught the “100-fold” return on one’s giving as is alleged by the opines of opulence then why do they restrict the flow to 100 times ones financial giving?  Our Lord mentioned families, houses, and lands (see Mark 10:30) in the same text, PLUS persecutions. These aspects of Jesus’ teaching they blithely skip over.

In Mark 15:41 we read that women followed Jesus and “ministered” to Him, in the Greek the word is from which we get our term deacon of deaconess. Robertson gives more grammatical insights regarding their ministry to our Lord:

Followed him and ministered unto him. Two imperfects describing the long Galilean ministry of these three women and many other women in Galilee (Lu 8:1-3) who came up with him to Jerusalem. (25)

Jesus had material support from these women and others who followed Him, He was not “supporting” His disciples and their families. What about His teaching concerning wealth and poverty? Let the Master answer for Himself:

Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3  Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest; go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me Mark 10:21. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed: for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just. Luke 14:13,14

Jesus did teach about giving and living sacrificially for the sake of others. He never taught that those who give will necessarily receive a return on their giving in this life. He did (and does) teach us to give to those who ask, (see Matt. 5:24) expecting nothing in return. He wars His followers concerning the various dangers which can creep into a life and choke the Word of God:

And these are they which are sown, among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful,. {lusts: or, inordinate desires}. Mark 4:18,19.

In Mark 10:24 again He reminds His disciples “how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter into the kingdom of God!” Jesus was not against the rich as some “liberation theologians” would have us believe, nor was He “pro” poverty either. He taught a balanced message that was predicated on the principle of seeking first the kingdom of God and His righteousness (see Matt. 6:33) and the things you have need of your heavenly Father will supply. If Jesus was rich then why didn’t He have enough funds in His treasury to feed the five thousand a simple meal?

When Jesus then lifted up his eyes, and saw a great company come unto him, he saith unto Phillip, Whence shall we buy bread, that these may eat? And his he said to prove him: for he himself knew what he would do. Phillip answered him, Two hundred pennyworth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every one of them may take a little. One of his disciples, Andrew, Jesus said, Make the men sit down. No there was much grass I Simon Peter’s brother, saith unto him. There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes; but what are they among so many? And in the place so the men sat down, in number about five thousand. John 6:5-10.

Apparently they did not even have 200 pennies in their treasury to feed these hungry folks. Jesus did not rely upon money, He looked to His Father in heaven, the real “Source” of all humanities needs and gave thanks and worked a miracle.

How do the gurus of greed deal with the account of Jesus and His disciples picking the kernels of wheat from the field to eat on the Sabbath?

And it came to pass on the second Sabbath after the first, that he went through the corn fields; and his disciples plunked the ears of corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands. And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the Sabbath day? Luke 6:1-2

Why weren’t Jesus and His “boyz” sitting down at the Four Seasons or The Stork Club, feasting on roasted lamb with mint jelly while knocking off a few bottles Judean Roederer Cristal Rose-Limited champagne? Instead we find Him wandering through a corn field eating the gleanings which were left for the poor (see Lev. 19:9). How do these masters of money parse the following teaching of Christ?

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matt 6:19-21

This image of Jesus is never taught by those who make merchandise of God’s greedy and gullible saints:

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies even denying the Lord that brought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction  And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of {pernicious ways: or, lascivious ways, as some copies read} And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you; whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

These false teachers exist to make the people of God nothing more than a means to provide for their very lavish lifestyles. The huge conventions, radio and television broadcasts are little more than means to sell their books, tapes, videos and of course ask for “seed-faith” gifts…all the while promising the people 100 times back on what they give or in some cases the promise divine healing, restored marriages, salvation of lost family and friends. They vary their “pitch” depending upon the audience and all of these people are MASTERS at zeroing in on precisely what hot button to push to open folks wallets.

His Clothing

I have never heard so much made out of so little. Matthew 27:35 “And they crucified him, and parted his garments, casting lots: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, They parted my garments among them, and upon my vesture did they cast lots.” There are several explanations why the Roman soldiers threw dice for His garments. The Bible itself gives us the main reason—to fulfill the prophecy in Psalms 22:18.

The Roman soldiers gambled for His garments because they were poor themselves, this is a historical fact and possibly they thought that since Jesus had the reputation of being a miracle worker possibly his clothes may have contained some form of magic power. They may have heard about the woman with the issue of blood who (in their minds) merely touched the hem of His garment and was healed instantly (see Mark 9:20-21).   Soldiers being poor are a well documented fact the other comments are my own mere suppositions.

This much is certain there is nothing stated about His clothing that set Him apart from others due to His fine duds, in fact, those who did not know Him could not pick Him out of a crowd (see John 18:4-5).

His 12 Disciples

Prosperity Pontificators teach that Jesus hand picked only wealthy men. What does the biblical record show us? If Peter owned a successful fishing business then why after the resurrection of our Lord did he say:

Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” This does not mean they had none on them at the time; they had NO money. These are words out of their own mouths recorded by the Holy Spirit through their hands as Scripture. Acts 3:6

Or prior to Jesus’ death when it came time to pay the temple tax, did Jesus call Judas over and reach into the very deep and heavy bag of gold, silver and copper coins?

Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money, that take, and give unto them for me and thee. {a piece….or a stater; it is half an ounce of silver, in value two shillings and six pence, sterling about fifty five cents}. Matthew 17:27

Not only didn’t Peter have the tax money neither did Jesus. Now if Jesus was so very wealthy, then why did this type of a miraculous provision have to be made? How do these pilfering profiteers answer James the brother of Jesus when he says:

“Listen, my beloved brethren: Has God not chosen the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?”   James 2:5

What about the Apostle Paul, true, he was not one of the original 12, but he was a genuine apostle and he was not wealthy. He says: as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed; as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.2 Cor. 6:9-10

To the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are poorly clothed, and beaten, and homeless. And we labor working with our own hands.” 1 Cor 4:11-12 But what things were gain to me these I have counted loss for Christ. Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death. If, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.” Paul a Pharisee was quite rich yet he gave it up for a life to follow Christ. Phil 3:7, 1:1

Paul wrote approximately two-thirds of the New Testament and yet he describes his life as a faithful servant of Christ as living with (1) hunger; (2) thirst; (3) poorly clothed; (4) beaten; (5) homeless; as (6) poor; and (7) having lost everything for the sake of gaining Christ Jesus. NONE of this matches up with the false teaching of a Rich Jesus and Wealthy Disciples.

These men and women are teaching lies either out of ignorance or out of sheer greed. In either case God’s people who buy into these lies in the end hurt themselves spiritually because they have been led further from the true Christ of the Bible. Many people end up shipwrecked in their walk, with Christ because of being taken by these religious con-men. DMI deals with people in both of these categories on a regular basis.

Like all pyramid schemes the only people the “law of prosperity” work for are those who are propagating them to an eager (and often greedy) audience who want to believe it is God’s will for them to be wealthy. How are they to arrive at that status? Simple—GIVE and GIVE and GIVE to these false teachers. Attend all their seminars, buy all their books and tapes, and “sow your biggest financial seed” into every appeal letter they have mechanically sent out to you via a huge computerized mass-mailing company. Oh yes, make sure and NEVER DOUBT the man/woman of God, if you do then you have “dug up your seed” and will have to start the whole process over again.

Now, being set free from such foolishness and darkness it amazes me that more people are not waking up to the FACT that this stuff just is not working in the lives of the rank-and-file. After 30+ years of teaching this, if it were true then the Church should be filled with thousands of multi-millionaires. Yet the only ones becoming millionaires are Benny Hinn; Kenneth Copland; Paul & Jan Crouch; Joyce Meyer; Bob Tilton; Peter Popoff; John Avanzini; Oral & Richard Roberts; Juanita Bynum; Paula White; T.D. Jakes; and Don Stewart to name just a few who teach these lies. ♦

Copyright © Rev. Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. “Charismania” refers to people who have given themselves over totally to the more extreme beliefs and practices on the fringe of the sign-gift/Pentecostal movement. Not all Pentecostal or Sign-gift Christians believe the sacred cows which will be dealt with over the next few months.

2. Some trace the cow’s sacred status back to Lord Krishna, one of the faith’s most important figures. He is said to have appeared 5,000 years ago as a cowhead, and is often described as bala-gopala, “the child who protects the cows” Another of Krishna’s holy names, Govinda, means “one who brings satisfaction to the cows.” Other scriptures identify the cow as the “mother” of all civilization its milk nurturing the population Obtained from http://www.uwec.edu/geography/Ivogeler/w111/articles/Hinduism’s%20Sacred%20Cow.htm  on 01-27-2005.

3. Bahr, Robert. The Least of All Saints, The Story of Aimee Semple McPherson. This is an insightful and fascinating book about one of Pentecostalism’s most prominent female evangelists and pastors.

4. I am well schooled in this particular sacred cow being a graduate from Robert Tilton’s Bible School in the mid-1980’s. Mr. Tilton, is still on television, bilking God’s ignorant and desperate sheep out of millions of dollars. Tilton has mastered this false doctrine and raised it to a literal art form of sorts.

5. Hanegraff, Hank, Christianity in Crisis, Harvest House, 1993, p. 187

6. Tithing was a law or a principle we had to follow if we wanted God to financially prosper us. 10% off the gross (not the net) was expected, along with offerings. If this law was carried out faithfully on every dime that came into our hands then and only then would the windows of heaven be opened and God would pour out so much money we would not have room enough to hold it all (see Mal. Ch. 3). Any biblical scholar will point out that there were several types of tithing required under the law and much of it had little to do with giving money.

7. A good book on this topic is entitled The Lie of the Tithe available at http://www.gotosimpletruth.com/Tithing/tithe4.html. ( added: See you tube video below)

8. Many people are not familiar with Ebert Willis. I have met him on a few occasions and have literally 100% of his tapes and books. He was one of the “purest” of the WOF teachers. He actually believes what he teaches and lives by it. Elbert was so hardcore that once he spoke at Rhema and delivered a famous sermon entitled “Wet Water Walkers or Dry Boat Sitters.” It was so tough on the Hagin crowd, he was never invited back to speak again.

9. Willis, Elbert Financial Prosperity Fill the Gap Ministries, Lafayette, La 1975, pp. 19-20

10. Oral Roberts. “How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor, page 16 Underlinging added for emphasis.

11. Obtained from http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=1101&version=kjv on 01-27-05

12. Copeland, Kenneth The Laws of Prosperity Kenneth Copeland Publication, 1974, pp. 66-67

13. John Hagee, Praise-A-Thon, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) November 5, 2004. Bold type added for emphasis.

14. Creflo Dollar Crusade, Feb 9, 1999. Information obtained from http://www.geocities.com/Bob_Hunter/dollar.html.

15. Oral Roberts. How I Learned Jesus Was Not Poor, page 24

16. Dr. Thomas C. Anderson, Praise The Lord, “TBN, August 21, 2004 Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

17. Jesse Duplantis, Voice of the Covenant Magazine, Pg. 5 Nov. 1997

18. Bishop, Marcus Our Covenant of Prosperity Harrison House Publishers 1997, pp. 47-48.

19. Obtained from http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/luke/gill/luke4.htm Underlining added for emphasis.

20. Obtained from http://www.gospelcom.net/eword/comments/luke/mh/luke4.htm Underlining added for emphasis.

21. My research included the Geneva Commentary, Jamison Fausett Brown, Darby, Johnson, McGarvey Pendleton, Wesley and Lightfoot.

22. Copeland, Kenneth The Laws of Prosperity Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974 pp. 63-65.

23. Ibid. p. 64

24. Obtained from http://www.letusreason.org/Wf15.htm on 02–2-05 Underlining and Bold type added for emphasis.

25. Robertson’s Word Pictures BibleWorks CD, ver. 4.0.0035p. 1998 Underlining added for emphasis.





The Leaven of Lakeland-

31 05 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – July 2004 Vol. 8 No. 7 – The Leaven of Lakewood – by Robert Liichow

scanjoelosteen0001I want to begin this article by giving credit where credit is due. When it comes to the Lakewood charismatic mega-church there are aspects of this ministry which must be cited as worthy. To begin with the church was originally started by John Osteen, who was a Southern Baptist pastor but after receiving the “baptism” in/with the Holy Spirit he became enamored with the charismatic renewal movement in its early stage and eventually became associated with the Word of Faith (WOF) cult. The following commentary was taken from the official web site of Lakeland Church.

The late John Osteen served the Lord Jesus Christ as pastor, evangelist, author, and teacher for sixty years. Ordained as a Southern Baptist he received the baptism in the Holy Ghost in 1958, an experience which revolutionized his ministry into a worldwide outreach…John Osteen began Lakewood Church in a dusty, abandoned feed store on Mother’s Day 1959…John Osteen was driven by an amazing love for people of all ages, races, nationalities and walks of life. (1)

One thing is certain in a time of racial division John Osteen opened wide the doors of his church to all people, and all shades and classes of people came. John, even though he had rejected his Baptist theology (he did actually earn a Masters degree from Northern Baptist Seminary) he never lost sight of the need for foreign missions and his congregation supported and still supports a great deal of foreign mission work. At the time of his death Lakewood Church has risen to 8,000 members.

However, I am under no illusion regarding the WOF “leaven” which John propagated and is unfortunately being further magnified through his son Joel Osteen who took over as Pastor when his father died in 1999. John was a big crusader for the error of positive confession.  This is a metaphysical belief that we can either create or change our reality by the power of our words, for example he stated the following:

When they say like they did to Smith Wigglesworth, “How are you feeling today?” He said “Listen, I don’t ask my body how it’s feeling; I tell it how to feel” And your words should not be to describe the situation; your words should be given to change the situation. And so, read it mediate upon it, and speak it (2)

I am the sum total of what I have been confessing through the years. My children are the best children that ever lived on the face of the earth. They are blessed of God. They are the sum total of what Dodie and I have confessed and loved them into being  (3)

Osteen is on record as fully endorsing the WOF errant concepts surrounding financial prosperity:  It’s God’s will for you to live in prosperity instead of poverty. It’s God’s will for you to pay your bills and not be in debt. It’s God’s will for you to live in health and not in sickness all the days of your life. (4)

In the above sermon we can see the Health & Wealth “gospel” summed up three sentences. So despite the good things that John Osteen did as a Pastor he got ensnared by the subtlety of false teaching and ended up misleading millions  before his death. Jesus in speaking to His disciples warned them about the leaven of the Pharisees in the following discussion:

Then Jesus said unto them, Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees…How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.  Mt. 16:6,11-12

Even though it seems to us that His disciples were a little slow on the “uptake” at times Jesus makes His point crystal clear to them — He was warning them to beware (6) to be on guard against the danger of their doctrinal errors, which Jesus likens to leaven in bread. Jesus knew that if left unchecked , like leaven in bread, their doctrinal error would spread.  The leaven of false doctrines which he instilled in his son are now expanding and misleading more people than John Osteen could have ever imagined.

The Concerns: John Osteen Master of Marketeering

Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor. Charismatic pulpits are filled with people who feel “called” to the pastorate and that is enough for them and those who follow them. They attempt to build congregations on the “strength of their calling. Some charismatic leaders may go on to an unaccredited “Bible School” for a year or two, such as Rhema Bible Training Center started by the late Kenny Hagin. None of the large group of ministers  that we were ever acquainted over the years attended any legitimate seminary.

Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt “called” to be a surgeon as a child, but never went on to medical school? Or would you allow someone to build your house who firmly believed God had called him to be an architect yet had never gone on to college to study architectural design? Of course not, it would be the height of foolishness!

Yet millions of professing Christians are more then willing to follow a man (or woman) who says “God” has called them and has supernaturally equipped them to be ministers. These especially anointed men and woman have no need to study Church History, hermeneutics, systematic theology and struggle through Greek and Hebrew as other ministers do. They hear directly from God (this is especially true for the sign-gift  (7)  pastors, most seeker-sensitive churches are lead by seminary educated individuals).

So my first main concern is that we have a man in the pulpit of the largest congregation in America, being beamed around the world that has no biblical education or training for the vocation he says he has! To me we have a clear case of the blind leading the blind (read Luke 6:39) with the end result being mases of people falling into the ditch of spiritual ignorance, abuse and/or extremism.

Joel Osteen made the following statement which ought to be enough to drive 1,000’s of people away from his church:

“Osteen’s upbeat style is deliberate and authentic. ’Make church relevant,” he says, ’Give them something to be able to take away. I find today people are not looking for theology. There’s a place for it, [But] in your every day life you need to know how to live.” (8)

That statement is loaded with seeker-sensitive “code”. My wife and I left a North American Baptist church of over 1,000 members which had as its acronym “GPARS” which stood for (1) Grace; (2) People; (3) Authenticity; (4) Relevance and (5) small groups.

Of course Osteen’s “style” is upbeat, would you expect negativity from a positive confession devotee? No! Deliberate, absolutely, he really believes much of the WOF nonsense his father taught him all his life, not to mention whatever offbeat spirituality he may have gleaned from his two years at Oral Roberts University. Authentic?  Without a doubt!  What you see is what you get. Joel Osteen is a man without any biblical education but an admitted talent for marketing.

To be a success in marketing you have to know where people itch and scratch it. Or, you have to create a desire in them by creating a hunger for something they currently do not have nor formerly knew they needed. All commercials can be condensed down to one of these two truths.

So to become a mega-church a pastor has to make church relevant. He has to give the people what they want, something that soothes that spiritual itch. In order to be a “success” ( i.e. large masses of people and money) pastors must preach unchallenging messages that uplift rather than convict. He must pander to the lowest common denominator and make sure that whatever is taught does not offend anyone at anytime. What we are seeing is really nothing new, it is simply a  fulfillment of Paul’s warning to Timothy in 1 Tim 4:3-4,

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 2 Tim 4:3-4

This is exactly where multitudes of people are spiritually today. The above text also helps explain the phenomena of people like Robert Schuller, Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and now, Joel Osteen.

Osteen goes on to say that “I find today that people are not looking for theology.” Well that is obvious because if they were they would not find any sound theology at Lakewood! Although he does not reveal to the readers where he found this astonishing fact out, it appears the folks he has talked to have no interest in theology.

Lest you think me a bit harsh let me remind you that theology simply means: “the knowledge of God.” In essence Osteen has said that people are really not interested in learning about God. Somehow (undoubtedly due to his lack of biblical education) he has made a distinction between knowing the God of the bible via sound biblical theology and “knowing how to live.”

Brothers and sisters, my wife and I can testify to you that the more accurately you understand God within the biblical context the better life you will live before Him. Tracy and I have a daughter, she does not like to eat certain vegetables, but we MAKE her eat them from time to time. Why? As her parents, even though somewhat distasteful to her we know that eating them will be beneficial.

The same is true for every man who mounts a pulpit! God does not tell us to feed the sheep what they want to eat. Jesus told Peter “feed My sheep,” (see John 21:16). Jesus said “feed” the sheep not “entertain” them! We are to give them the Word of God in its totality. Any pastor can fall into the trap of becoming a people pleaser. This is why Paul, through the Holy Ghost warned young Timothy in the verse just above the one I cited:

“I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his Kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 2 Tim. 4:2

Timothy is WARNED to be steadfast in his proclamation of the Gospel to be ready and in his preaching to (1) REPROVE; (2) REBUKE; (3) EXHORT the people according to the Scriptures. How? We are to preach with all longsuffering (because such preaching is unpleasant to people’s carnal nature) and with doctrine. GASP! Doctrine? I can hear the seeker-sensitive pundits saying “oh come now, Rev. Liichow, surely you know preaching doctrinal messages is passé ?”  Osteen would do well to heed the word of the Lord from a genuine prophet who stated:

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock. Ezek. 34:2-3

There are many biblical themes which are very “unpopular” and even politically “incorrect” yet the faithful pastor/teacher will expound on these topics as well so that the flock undr his care is receiving a balanced spiritual diet and is able to walk in the full light of God’s Word and not in the shadows.

What is Joel’s educational background and experience? Since we know his training is not theological what is it? He did attend Oral Roberts University for two years, but his area of study had to do with television production and marketing.

“Meanwhile, son Joel, one of six children, was learning the business of television…’Growing up, I knew what I wanted to do. I wanted to be involved in TV production, ‘ he says. “That was just my passion,’ In 1981 he came home from Oral Roberts University (ORU) to start the Lakeword TV ministry. (9)

For seventeen (17) years Joel was behind the scenes handling all the television and marketing of his father’s ministry. The next statement from the Charisma article is very revealing:

‘The younger Osteen’s television-marketing talents and his dad’s preaching skills resulted eventually in the church churches being aired on stations nationwide and in more then 100 countries. (10)

Joel Osteen had the ability to get his father’s heavily WOF influenced message out all over America and into 100 foreign markets. Due to this dynamic-duo of folksy preaching/teaching and highly visible presence on television Lakewood Church grew to close to 8,000 members at the time of John Osteen’s death in 1999.

With his father sick in the hospital, John asks his son, Joel, to preach for him that Sunday. Initially Joel balked at the idea and said “no,” He then relented and here are Joel’s own words concerning his preaching that day:

“I just got up there and told stories. I was so glad when it was over, I said, ‘I’ll never do this again in my life.’  (11)

That was the beginning of his public ministry; he just got up and told “stories,” Joel has been telling stories that have been tickling the ears of the multitudes ever since. Here is how the article describes Joel’s style of preaching:

“The appealing style of Osteen’s personality in the pulpit is unmistakable. It is part of the reason for the Lakewood’s current level of success. (12) Everyone agrees Osteen’s preaching is a key ingredient. Descriptions of his style include ‘simple,’ ‘down-to-earth,’ ‘practical’ ‘relatable,’ ‘easy,’ ‘folksy,’ ‘humble,’. (13)

It’s 10 a.m. when he began his sermon. The theme is practical as he gives example after example of the importance of following God’s timing rather then one’s own. He keeps the tone cheerful, optimistic, ‘God doesn’t want anybody walking out of here today heavy-hearted and downcast,” Osteen says. (14)

Joel Osteen is charismatic in his personality. He is not a bad looking man, his delivery is as non-threatening as the positive messages he delivers. Perhaps, I am reading in to much yet when I read “practical” it makes me think that he believes teaching theology is somehow “impractical.” The example after example simply means he tells a lot of stories and anecdotes that somehow relate to the message in which he may cite one or two proof texts to make his point.

It also concerns me what a pastor can make the statement that God does not want anybody walking out of here “heavy-hearted”. My Bible says “godly sorrow worketh repentance…” (see 2 Cor. 7:10).  At times God does want us to walk out of a service “heavy-hearted” if we have been sinning against His will. We should allow the Word (when properly expounded) and the Spirit (when genuinely present) to break us, to convict us of sinful attitudes and practices.

However, if all you hear is “upbeat,” “cheerful,” and “optimistic” messages there is little opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work conviction in the hearts of the hearers. This folksy down home non-confrontational type of message also goes a long way in explaining the huge crowds that gather to be entertained.

Entertained? Oh, yes, it is not only Joel’s preaching style but the music of Lakewood is an important ingredient in drawing large hoards of people. Once Joel took command of Lakewood’s already large congregation (between 6,000 to 8,000 members) he began to expand the musical talent as well.

Four years ago, when Cindy Cruse-Ratcliff—became Lakewood’s minister of music, the church had only one Sunday morning service….Soon after Cruse-Ratcliff arrived Lakwood expanded when two Sunday morning services were added…’The growth was extremely rapid,’ says Cruse-Ratcliff, who still serves on the 200-member Lakewood Staff. (15)

“Star power” brings people to churches as well, especially musical stars and Joel is not ignorant of this fact. As minister of music Ms. Ratcliff knows people in the contemporary music scene and she no doubt help add to the musical strength of this mega-church by helping bring in some more musical talent:

Helping to spice up the mix are two of the most prominent names in worship music. Maros Witt, who fills stadiums in Latin America for worship concerts was tapped in 2002 to pastor Lakewood’s 3,000 member Hispanic congregation. Also adding diversity to the Lakewood staff is Israel Houghton, whose soulful worship anthems are sung around the world. ( 16)

The music at Lakewood is contemporary. They have musical stars that appeal to Hispanic (Witt), African-American (Houghton) and Caucasian members (Ratcliff). The musical team writes many of their own songs and nothing in the article is ever mentioned about hymns.

This is not surprising when you consider that (to our knowledge) no seeker-sensitive or WOF congregation use hymnals at all, apart from the occasional singing of Amazing Grace. The charismatic movement’s brand of music has infiltrated almost all evangelical congregations that have forsaken the use of the historic hymns. At our former seeker-sensitive Baptist church we sang songs that originated from the Toronto “revival” and from the Vineyard movement, two examples of some of the wildest expressions within the renewal movement.

Musically speaking there is a method “to their madness” at Lakewood and other mega-churches. They have a strong emphasis to cut all ties with traditional Christianity. The classic, highly theological hymns and hymnals virtually scream out the dreaded word “TRADITIONAL.”

                    Out With the Old, In With the New

Lakewood an all seeker congregations do not want to be associated with any denominational trappings or any forms of liturgical worship. Many of these churches have even removed crosses from behind their pulpits lest they appear to be too churchy  to the seeker.

In all our time spent among both Pentecostal believers and seeker-sensitive groups we never recited the Lord’s prayer as part of our worship. We never recited any of the historic creeds of the orthodox Church. I doubt there are three people who attend Lakewood who could recite the Apostles or Nicene Creeds, probably few know the Lord’s Prayer. Catechism classes? You’ve got to be kidding! In it’s place some groups may offer a new member’s class, but these classes are usually just general introductions to what the church has to offer the “seeker.” Osteen being a sign-gift believer offers classes which promote the concept of a second baptism in/with/by the Holy Spirit, but this aspect seems to be soft-peddled as well. 

                  What Is the Key to Osteen’s Success?

Osteen I believe is probably the first of many WOF devotee’s who has melded the successful marketing techniques of the seeker-sensitive mega-churches with their positive confession health & wealth message. The blend becomes a potent hybrid that appeals to both sign-gift believers (sort of “charismatic lite”) and baby-boomer seekers.

The message that God wants to bless His children with complete physical health, to give them great financial wealth and to demand little of them regarding their spiritual life is a highly appealing message. When you combine this with well know Gospel singers, highly orchestrated praise and worship teams in a decidedly non-church atmosphere it will appeal to even a wider audience.

We cannot forget to mix in the vast television footprint that Lakewood Church promotes, along with its web site, daddy John Osteen’s books are still in almost all Christian bookstores so it is not difficult to understand how it can gather 30,000 people in Lakewood’s rented 16,000 seat arena, formerly the home of the Houston Rockets.

What Saddens me the most is that one hears little, if any, Law & Gospel proclaimed by Joel at Lakewood Church. To quote something I remember hearing “dad” Hagin say: “how do you poison a dog? You put the poison in with the good meat,” I do not want to press the analogy too far but the reality is that 30,000 people are not being biblically fed a balanced spiritual diet that will promote true growth in their lives. What you do hear is a synthesis of WOF concepts wrapped up in a seeker-friendly environment by a young man with a winsome smile.

Lastly, we cannot lose sight of the fact that a certain synergy builds with any church when it beings to reach such a size. People, who have no solid doctrinal foundation, will want to attend the place here “something” is happening (throw in a coffee bar, ice rink and gym does not hurt either). In America, bigger is better. After all, many posit, if Joel was not being used of the Lord then why would God allow all these people to come to Lakewood church?

Could it be a sign of God’s judgment on His people who have forsaken His ways? Often we think of God’s judgment as some divine catastrophe, yet often, and just as catastrophic, is when He simply allows people to have their own way. I believe the words of Jeremiah are applicable to many in the Church today;

Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the LORD. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters [and] hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Jer. 2:12-13

As much as Joel no doubt believes the growth they’ve experienced is due to the blessing of God it really boils down to three simple things, which have nothing to do with God at all:

1. His father’s legacy and an already existing mega-church;

2. Joel’s slick marketing abilities

3. A biblically errant, but hugely popular message which appeals to the masses seeking to have their ears tickled and experience a “good time” in church.

Please pray for Joel Osteen, like it or not, he currently has a tremendous impact on many people. Pray the Lord opens his eyes to biblical truth and may he take as bold a stand to expose error.  ♦

coperight © 2004 by Robert Liichow

End Notes

1. http://www.lakewood.cc/john_tribute.htm

2. Osteen, John Sermon entitled Developing Miracle Working Faith, FA-006. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from http://www.myfortress.org/JohnOsteen.html on 06-10-04

4. Osteen, John. Sermon, The Holy Spirit Part 1 HS-001

5. :to be in a continuous state of readiness to learn of any future danger, need, or error, and to respond appropriately -’to pay attention to, to keep on the lookout for, to be alert for, to be on one’s guard against.’ Taken from the Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon, Silver Mountain Software, ver 5.0

6. I purposefully use the term sign-gift in place of charismatic because all Christians are charismatic believers in that each one of us have been gifted with some gifts from the Holy Spirit (read 1 Cor. 12:7).

 7. Charisma, June 2004, pp. 44-45. Bold type added for emphasis.

8. Ibid., June 2004, p. 44

9. Ibid, p. 44.

10. Ibid p. 44. Underlining added for emphasis

11. Ibid p. 46.

12. Ibid. p. 45

13. Ibid, p. 49 Italics and underlining added for emphasis.

14. Ibid p. 44

15. Ibid. p. 46

16. It is interesting as hard as they have tried to distance themselves from established “traditional” forms of Christian worship they have created their own liturgies of a sort. They have banners which are marched around, they have praise dancers (we called them “Glory Dancers”). They have alter calls, and other aspects which have become standard practices and thus traditions.