Bad Theology Has Its Consequences

8 07 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 7 -Bad Theology Has Its Consequences An Updated Reprint – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Bad Theology Has Its Consequences

An Updated Reprint

 By Rev. Robert Liichow

One of the things DMI has stressed over the fifteen years we’ve been in this arena of ministry is that just as certainly as knowing the truth sets us free (John 8:32) when the Word of God is taken out of its proper context we will end up in bondage.

A recent example of this can be seen in the Wall street bailout debacle. Believe it or not many people who follow the Word of Faith cult’s false teaching on financial prosperity are finding themselves on the “short-end” of the stick when it comes to these subprime mortgage loans.

Some time ago I gave a short interview on Issues Etc. (10-08-08) talking with pastor Todd Wilkens about a recent article in Time magazine. The author, David Van Biema made the connection between the so called Gospel of prosperity and the Wall street crisis. Mr. Biema is correct when he wrote that many prosperity “pastors” told their congregations to “believe God” for a great interest rate and that God would bless them with great homes, etc. So many misled believers went to their banks and lo-and-behold they were offered either no money down mortgages or very low interest rates on more money than they would have ever received in the past. Naturally, the misled believers went “praise the Lord” and took the mortgages as proof of God answering their prayers and signed on the bottom line.

Now because of their following a false doctrine regarding financial wealth many are finding themselves facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. Worst of all there will be many people spiritually shipwrecked because God’s Word didn’t work for them.

Pastor Wilkens asked me how their pastors will respond to these peoples questions and needs. First of all never forget rule number one in the hyper-faith camp:

(1) It is never the pastor or teacher/prophet/apostles fault when what they taught does not work in the lives of their followers. This logically leads to rule number two:

(2) It is usually the fault of the devotee that the principle, rule or spiritual law did not work. After all, it is working I the lives of the leaders (or so they are told). So the devotee either is guilty of some hidden sin, or they only had mental assent verses spiritual faith. How can one know the difference? Only by the results, if it works, then it was “faith,” if it did not work then it was mental assent, presumption or sin on the devotees part. Lately,

(3) it could simply be the devil trying to steal the devotees “seed” (spoken confession) by tempting them to make bad confessions, ergo digging up all the good confessions they had previously made. Or the devil is engaging them in spiritual warfare, such as foreclosing on their mansions. The bottom line is this—these false shepherds always have an excuse. If the devotee gets foreclosed it is a lack of faith, if the pastor gets foreclosed it is a spiritual attack (usually solved by taking up enough offerings to pay off their shepherds debt).

Personally, I told Todd that these ill-advised loans may be a good thing in that it may be the instrument that God uses to wake these deluded sheep up. We all know the old adage “we learn more from our mistakes than our victories” carries some truth. Obviously these people were not walking in godly wisdom when they took out those loans.

People will but their heads up against a stone wall only so often and then they realize something is not working. My wife and I are prime examples. After years of confessing all the right things, going to all the seminars, running after various anointing being doled out by alleged prophets and apostles we awoke (by the grace of God) to the fact that we were chasing smoke. The prophesies spoken failed to come to pass. The miracles proclaimed were later proved to be false. The positive declarations we and others made created nothing but a false illusion that we could be our words change reality. Yes my friends we’ve been there/done that and more and I can tell you personally that bad doctrine produces bondage, misery, and takes people further from the Jesus of the Bible and not closer to Him which was our goal. I can attest in our own lives and no doubt the lives of many others, we had a sincere love for Jesus Christ. However, as I like to say “the roadmap to Cleveland will not get you to Akron,” meaning good intentions and desires do not excuse bad theology. The false teacher Norval Hayes is correct when he shouts “God don’t bless ignorance” and that is certainly true.

I began Discernment Ministries International fifteen years ago specifically to “teach truth & expose error.” We’ve personally experienced and seen the heartbreak and spiritual shipwreck of many people due to following the blind guides within charismania and by the grace of God and the help of His people we’ve been able to minister to many people via our web site, this newsletter, conferences, books, dvd’s, radio and one-on-one counseling.

DMI is very conscious of the fact that we would not be able to reach anyone without the faithful support we receive from you. We do not take any one of you for granted and we endeavor to be the best stewards of what God places in our endeavor to be the best stewards of what God places in our hands. Thank you for your support in enabling us to teach truth & expose error.

MAY THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHIRST, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH YOU ALL.

2 COR. 13:14

 

 





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.





7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

4 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

When Larry King mentions me as a “critic” of Joel Osteen our web site went down for 2 days due to excessive band-width use which told me that a lot of people were downloading my initial article concerning Joel. Next more negative e-mails berating me for simply pointing out the errors Joel had made in his interview began to flow in. I knew it would only be a matter of time before a Osteenite asked me “well have you even read Pastor Osteen’s book?” I can honestly answer in the affirmative and tell them “yes I have and here is the problem I have with it.”

Joel’s latest book is the largest printing ever published at one time by A Free Press, the publishers of his materials. They’ve printed an initial 3 million copies of his latest book based on how well his former book Your Best Life Now performed.

This book could easily be entitled “The Little Engine that Could” or possibly “Fake It Till You Make It,” and anyone who has been involved with the charismatic movement will be disappointed in the contents because it says absolutely nothing new. The entire premise of the book can be boiled down to the old aphorism “God helps those who help themselves.”

In the DMI archive we have several bookcases filled with titles such as: Super Brain Power: 6 keys to Unlocking Your Hidden Genius; God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World; Prayer, Power, and Prosperity: Three Keys to a Move of God; Biblical Keys to Financial Prosperity; seven Facts About Prevailing Prayer (John Osteen), You Can Change Your Destiny (another John Osteen)…and the list could go on.

Now just when we thought we might have gotten past the formulaic approach of laws, principles, and rules for spiritual development we are offered another set of 7 keys to self-improvement! Here is Joel’s list: 1). Keep pressing forward. 2) Be positive toward yourself, 3) Develop better relationships, 4). Form better habits 5). Embrace the place where you are 6). Develop your inner life and 7). Stay passionate about life!

Obviously, the book is divided into these 7 sections and we’ll take a quick trip through each (it will save you the price of buying the book)! The first chapter urges the reader to never be content with where they are in life. “He’s a progressive God and He wants every generation to be increasing in happiness, success and significances. (1)

The Apostle Paul said this about Contentment:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13

Paul’s source of contentment was found in Christ Jesus not in any material sources. Whether he had “plenty” or whether he was in need Paul was content because he had the correct focus knowing who was his source of strength.

Where does the Bible ever say that one of God’s purposes is for us to be happy? I’d be willing to grant He does not want us to be depressed or despondent but where does the Scripture teach that God wants each succeeding generation to increase in happiness, success and significance? I’ll give you a hint, the Bible never teaches such things.

In Joel’s reality our only limits are self-imposed. It does not matter if you live in the poorest ghetto in Haiti, or if you are horribly handicapped the only limits to life are those you place upon yourself. “If your thinking is limited, then your life is going to be limited.” (2) If that sounds like the old Norman Vincent Peale “power of positive thinking” you are correct!

At the start of each new day, remind yourself, ‘I am talented. I am creative. I am greatly favored by God. I am equipped. I am well able, I will see my dreams come to pass.’ Declare those statements by faith and before long, you will begin to see them in reality. (3)

Let me just briefly unpack this common thread through the entire book. This is also basic Word of Faith (WOF) cult doctrine “101.” It’s called “calling those things that be not as though they are, i.e. “fake it till you make it.” Hagin, Copeland, Capps, Savelle, Duplantis, Price and pappy Osteen all have taught this same error.

WOF dogma teaches that this world is ruled by spiritual laws and these laws will work for whoever will work them, child of God or child of the devil. Furthermore, the WOF cult teaches that faith is a force that we use to create our own reality. Understand — it is not faith in Jesus, it is faith in a spiritual force we wield and release by our words.

Joel is after all his father’s son, and all he has ever learned about the Bible has come through the lens of a Word of Faith heretic (John Osteen) which explains why his books are nothing more than warmed-over WOF dogma.

How can I say that? Simple! Joel begins with encouraging the readers to think positive thoughts. From here he will go in a few chapters to the next building- block of WOF error…positive confession. Once you have the image of what you want in your mind then you confess “faith-filled” words out of your mouth continually until you change your reality by the power of these faith-filled words. However, before getting to speaking the right words he has to deal with an uncomfortable fact, i.e. why does your life stink now? In Chapter 4 Joel teaches another bizarre WOF concept, that of generational curses. Again this a teaching I heard Marilyn Hickey teach at Robert Tilton’s church over 20 years ago, but Joel is reaching many folks who probably don’t know about generational curses.

This is the false teaching: that some believers problems stem from their family line passing a “curse” through the generations. Joel says” many times, you can look back and see the results of those choices somewhere in your family line.” (4) The proof texts these false teachers use are Ex. 20:5; 34:7 Num. 14:8; Deut. 5:9 and these texts basically say that God will curse the generation that hates Him to the third or fourth generation But let’s consider the rest of the context of these passages.

Notice that the curses are on those who hate God. It is not for those who love God, but make some mistakes in life. One might argue, however, that their father or grandfather might have hated God. This is irrelevant, but brings up the next point. Using a hyper-literalistic interpretation of this passage, if the Lord shows mercy for 1000’s of generations on the fathers who loved God, then all that would be necessary for us to be in the “mercy” rather than “cursed” category is to find one relative in the past thousand or so generations that loved and obeyed the Lord. Is it not probable that we have at least one distant relative in the last 1000 generations who loved the Lord and kept His commandments? The statistical probability is that we most certainly do. And if we do, then we are part of the 1000 generations the Lord promised to show mercy to, not curse. This notion is pure WOF heresy which Joel follows up by teaching in the next chapter on “Generational Blessing.” Joel says that we are to think of our good works in this fashion.

Think of it like this: Each of us has a spiritual bank account. By the way we live, we’re either storing up equity or storing up iniquity. Equity would be anything good: our integrity, our determination, our godliness. That’s storing up blessings…You have more of God’s favor, more of His blessing because of what they have done. (5)

Its almost like a Roman Catholic belief (Joel does not know that of course) of the storing up of meritorious favor by the saints that can be drawn upon by those on earth! If you come from godly parents and grandparents then they have been putting spiritual ducats into the family account, or as Oral Roberts might say “they’ve sown seeds and you’re reaping the harvest.” My father was a godly man but I doubt I can tap into some heavenly bank account and draw from his good work! Naturally Joel offers no contextual biblical proof for such a doctrine, but who cares, right? It sounds good and who doesn’t want a spiritual piggybank to draw upon?

In part two of the book Joel, having liberated the reader from negative self-talk marches on to encourage them to stop listening to accusing voices (negative words spoken to the reader). He says that it is imperative that you “learn to feel good about yourself.” (6) Anytime a criticism comes to you (or from your conscience) you are to cast it down immediately!

Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on that rubbish, not for a moment. Sometimes when I walk off the platform having spoken at Lakewood and around the world by means of television, the first thought that comes to my mind is, Joel that message just wasn’t good today. Nobody got anything out of that. You practically put them to sleep. I learned to shake that off. I turn it around and say, ‘No I believe it was good! I did my best…I thought it was good. (7)

Brothers and sisters one of the ways we grow is by receiving correction, by useful criticism. When we reject rebuke and correction then our spiritual growth is stunted. Proverbs clearly says:

Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. Prov. 1:30

He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Prov. 15:31

A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool. Prov. 17:10

Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge. Prov. 19:25

Personally I want someone I respect and trust to tell me the truth when I have finished teaching or preaching. Maybe my message fell way short of the mark. Maybe I didn’t properly distinguish between Law & Gospel or took certain passages out of context. If I immediately reject any “negative” input then I will not grow and worse yet may lead those who hear farther from Jesus and not closer to Him. Joel’s guidance in this chapter is simply “if it seems remotely negative don’t listen to it!”

Chapter 8  entitled “Learning to Like Yourself” is more nauseating pabulum. Joel does not seem to get a fundamental message in the New Testament — the problem is not that people do not love themselves or like themselves, just the opposite, we love ourselves far too much!

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Cor. 10:24

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:4

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Heb. 13:16

All of this psycho-babble about people not loving themselves is recent nonsense which the Bible does not even address…because 99.9% of humanity has no problem loving numero uno.

Another one of Joel‘s glaring theological inadequacies is his lack of any real sense of our sinful fallen nature.

Shake off guilt, condemnation, inadequacies, and a sense that you can’t measure up, and start feeling good about who you are. ‘Well Joel, I don’t know if I believe that,’ a dear, well-meaning man told me. ‘We’re just poor old sinners.’ No, we used to be poor old sinners, but when we came to Christ, He washed away our sins. He made us new creatures. Now, we are no longer poor old sinners. (8)

This too is a WOF cult and general charismatic extremist point of view. They teach that we were sinners prior to salvation. Now in Christ we are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and no longer sinners. They have no concept of the reality of being simil Justus et peccator which means we are simultaneously justified, and yet sinners. Both conditions are always true of us. We will fight against sinful inclinations our entire lives and by the means of grace God will be working in us progressive sanctification in this life. Joel is dangerously misleading his readers to encourage them to think they are no longer sinful.

Chapter 9 – is classic WOF/Positive Confession dogma and Joel has very subtly brought the reader from a place of thinking positive thoughts to now confessing these thoughts. What he says in this chapter is regularly proclaimed in any Ken Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis or Fred Price meeting.

As long as we have that poor self-image, we’re not going to experience God’s best. You will never rise above the image that you have of yourself. (9)

He restates the problem of humanity as he sees it but he fails to recognize one very salient point — God blesses us APART from what we do virtually all of the time! Grace, is the undeserved gift from God. We experienced God’s best (which by the way, Joel, is salvation by JESUS CHRIST alone) when we were haters of God.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Rom. 5:10

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, Col. 1:21-23a

In Joel’s warped view how are we supposed to overcome this self-image problem in order to experience God’s best? Simple! We speak positive words about ourselves!

One of the best ways that we can improve our self-image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power. Every day, we should make positive declarations over our lives. We should say things such as, ‘I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am wise.’ When we do that, we are building up our self-image. As those words permeate your heart and mind, and especially your subconscious mind, eventually they will begin to change that way you see yourself. (10)

Our words do not have creative power. We cannot change reality by what we say. To believe such things is simply occultism and not Christianity. I’ve buried folks who died from AIDS confessing they were totally healed by the stripes of Jesus.

Positively or negatively, creative power resides in your words because you believe your words more than you believe anybody else’s. (11)

The WOF/extremist universe words are the most powerful things in the universe. They teach that God Himself created the universe not out of “nothing” (ex nihilo) but out of words that contained the force of faith to bring to pass whatever He said. They teach that since we are in His image we too have been given this same power. Negative words will produce bad results in our lives, they carry a sort of negative-faith. Positive words carry the force of faith in a fruitful direction creating whatever the wizard wielding the magic wand desires.

The sad thing is that Joel probably has not thought it through enough to realize what bondage such a belief system puts people under. If Joel is correct, then humanity is in the condition it is in simply because of not speaking the right words necessary to create a better life. All of his congregation’s problems fall squarely on their shoulders. Whatever their situation it is their fault.  The only way out is to begin to confess positive “faith-filled” words until your situation changes, which may take years…Remember just a few negative statements can dig up years of positive confessions and then the poor soul, like Sisyphus, is back at the beginning. What a horrific weight to place on the shoulders of God’s people.

No matter how impossible something looks, no matter how you feel, start boldly declaring, ‘I am strong in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ. I am well able to fulfill my destiny. Call in what God has promised you…Don’t merely use your words to describe your situation; use your words to change your situation….With our words, we can prophesy our own future. (12)

Notice God active in any of this? Who is the agent of change? Who determines your situation? Who is in control of your future?  Obviously, you are! God set these so-called spiritual “laws” in place and now we eat the good or bitter fruit from them apart from God.

I think you can see why Joel’s book is so immensely popular. It is all about self and works righteousness. Which all people love (yes even Christians). People love spiritual legalism in all its varied forms and dislike the orthodox biblical view of sola Christus, by Christ alone and looking to Him to do what we cannot do. That is too easy, we want to know “where’s my part in the play?” The point is this — salvation and all its benefits are monergistic, which means that God did all the work and we passively receive what He has done on our behalf. We add nothing to our salvation but thanksgiving to God for His great grace and mercy which He richly pours out on us through the sacrifice of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

The genius behind Joel’s writing is that he has encapsulated the basic tenets of WOF heresy into a format which does not come across as either charismatic in nature nor as something that has been taught by WOF heretics for over fifty years now. He has “spun” old false doctrines a new set of “Dr. Phil” clothing and is marketing it as a self-help book. The problem is that people will not genuinely be helped, in fact, many may end up in some serious bondage due to his lightweight version leading some readers to seek heavier teachings on the same concepts.

In closing, I will leave you with some simple biblical texts that will show you how to truly become a better you.

And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt. 10:38,39

Then he said to them all; “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:23-25

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

You want to be a “better you” then take up your cross, follow Jesus (where) to Calvary and DIE to yourself. This dying (reckoning ourselves dead Rom. 6:11) is a daily process/struggle (we Lutherans like to urge one another to “remember your baptism”) that is how we become “better people” we become less SELF-INVOLVED and thus with ourselves off our hands we are freed up to love God and our neighbor more perfectly Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and ALL the things the Gentiles seek after will be added to you (Matt. 6:33), something Joel does not mention. Instead of seeking the sphere of God’s rule he has his readers trying to conjure up a better self-image instead of one buried in the waters of baptism. He has people confessing how good they are as opposed to saying “God have mercy on me a poor miserable sinner.” He inflates human pride by a system of works-righteousness to our account. Frankly, Joel is fundamentally wrong regarding the major premises of each of his chapters. His biblical/doctrinal ignorance is truly appalling and I sincerely urge all of us to pray for him (and I will be writing and sending him a registered letter soon, I’ll let you know if he responds) and more importantly the 100,000’s of people who watch him on television and buy his books. Lord have mercy upon us! ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Osteen Joel, Become a Better You New York: A Free Press, 2007, p. 3

 2. Ibid. p.21

3. Ibid pp. 22 -22

4. Ibid. p. 49

5. Ibid. pp.56,66

6. Ibid. p. 85

7. Ibid. p.86

8. Ibid. pp. 101-102

9. Ibid p. 109

10. Ibid pp. 109-110 underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

11. Ibid. p. 11

12. Ibid pp. 113-114 underlining and bolding added.

Anyone else notice a “theme”? 7 steps to living at your full potential & now 7 keys to improving your life every day. Is it possible that Joel is using a ghost writer to pen these novels? If I was already achieving my full potential why should I read his latest book? It simply does not make sense to me?

 





The Jet Set

8 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2006 Vol. 11 Issue 8 – The Jet Set – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Jet Set

copeland3

In the rough-n-tumble world of televangelism it seem that to be a “player” you must own your own private jet. Simply flying first class in a commercial jet is not good enough. These men and women of God are too important to stand in line and be searched like the rest of us. Here is a short list of those who need millions of dollars a year just to keep themselves in the air:

Copeland protégés Jesse Duplantis and Jerry Savelle, and Florida’s Mark Bishop, each fly their own Cessna Citation 500. They cruise at 400 mph with a range of 1,400 miles and carry a price tag of about $1.25 million each.

Fred Price, Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn all have their own Grumman Gulfstream II’s. With a two-man crew and 19 passengers, these babies cruise at 581 mph with a range of 4,275 miles. Used, they’re worth about $4.5 million each.

Paul Crouch owns the current Queen of the Flying-Televangelist Fleet – a Bombardier Challenger 604. Carrying a crew of two plus 19 passengers, she cruises at 529 mph with a range of 3,860 miles. She’s valued at $16.5 million, not including Paul’s “special interior remodeling.” The late Ken Hagin’s Challenger 601, about 10 years older than Paul’s is “only” worth about $9.6 million. Joyce Meyers has her own Challenger 600. A full 18 years older than Paul’s this one’s only worth a paltry $4.5 million.

Mr. Copeland owns a Cessna Citation 550 Bravo (valued at $3.4 million), PLUS his Grumman Gulfstream II (worth $4.5 million) AND his Cessna Golden Eagle AND his Beech E-55 AND his assorted less aircraft AND his own airport all add up to untold millions of poor folks’ dollars. But Kenny’s masterstroke is the fact that he’s now telling the faithful that God wants him and wife Gloria to EACH have their own Cessna Citation Ten super-jets.

Video – Kenneth Copeland: God told me to buy a Citation:

Flying just below the speed of sound, these state-of-the-art flying palaces carry a base sticker price of $20 million! That means when “God” has his way, the widows and orphans will have “invested” just about $50-60 million in Kenny’s Heavenly Air Force. Information obtained from http://www.wittenburgdoor.com.

Kenneth Copeland’s Jet Denied Tax Exemption:

 

Copyright  © 2006 Robert S. Liichow





Joel Repents!

14 07 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 8 – Joel Repents! by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 

Joel Repents!

Shortly after his television interview Osteen’s office was inundated with letters of concern and no doubt some anger over his lack of clarity regarding salvation through Jesus Christ alone. Due to the tremendous amount of negative responses Joel did put a short statement on his web site apologizing to his fans regarding what he said. Here are some excerpts of his “mia culpa” (the underlining is added).

It was never my desire or intention to leave any doubt as to what I believe and Whom I serve. I believe with all my heart that it is only through Christ that we have hope in eternal life. I regret and sincerely apologize that I was unclear on the very thing in which I have dedicated my life. Jesus declared in John 14:1  I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but by me. I believe that Jesus Christ alone is the only way to salvation. However, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to review the transcript of the interview that I realize I had not clearly stated that having a personal relationship with Jesus is the only way to heaven.  It’s about th individual’s choice to follow Him.

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks (see Matt. 12:34) Actually Joel was very clear in what he said on Larry King Live, he stated that Jesus was the way for him personally, but people in other religions loved God too which clearly implied that Jesus was not the only way. Anyone with half sense knew exactly what Joel said which is why he got so much mail.

God has given me a platform to present the Gospel to a very diverse audience. In my desire not to alienate the people that Jesus came to save. I did not clearly communicate the convictions that I hold so precious.

Joel still does not “get it.” Preaching Christ crucified is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles (read 1 Cor. 1:23). To those being saved we are an aroma of life and to others the stench of death. (read 2 Cor. 2:15,16) and if we are faithful to the Gospel message we will suffer persecution, it is inescapable.

Jesus did not worry about alienating people. After telling the crowd following Him one day that His flesh was food and His blood was drink and if they ate His flesh and drank His blood they would have eternal life, the crowd was upset at His words and Jesus said to them “Doth this offend you?” (John 6:60). The end result of His teaching was that those following Him left Him (John 6:66) and Jesus facing the twelve says “will ye also go away?” “Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life” (John 6:68).

Jesus spoke the truth in love and then He lets the “chips” fall where they may. Osteen needs to take a lesson from our Master and quit trying to please everyone because the result always ends in compromising the truth. I will try to believe the best concerning his apology and I do sincerely hope he does us this as a learning experience as he stated in the close of his letter. You can read his letter of apology at his web site: http://www.Joelosteen.com it was up there at the beginning of the month I do not know how long it will remain there. ♦

Copyright © 2005   Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 





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.