Sinister Ministers pt.2
Your attention is drawn to an instant market solution to your debt problems – this isn’t a secular ad on TV but a Christian method popularized on Christian TV stations. “Sow your seed” is promoted to the church as a solution to financial difficulties; it’s about as close to a ponzi scheme as one can get.
“The myth of the poor Jesus needs to be destroyed, because it’s holding people back.” (Kaylois Henry, “Bishop Jakes Is Ready. Are You?” The Dallas Observer magazine, June 20-26, 1996, pg. 31. source PFO Quartely Journal Article)
Built on the false premise of Jesus being rich and wanting everyone else to be rich like him, they have marketed the doctrine of “prosperity” to the church like advertisers do their products to consumers. And the church has been eating it up for years.
Nowhere in the Bible does it say that a pastor must be poor, but it certainly does say those who are appointed to oversee the church are not to pursue riches.
Titus 1:7: “To be a elder, not greedy for money” 1 Timothy 3:2-3: “A bishop then must be blameless, … temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach; not given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,…, not covetous." Even those who serve in the church as deacons is required “Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy for money” (1 Tim 3:7-8). When something is repeated numerous times we need to pay attention to it.
It is not a sin to be rich or poor. Certainly a pastor can drive a good car, have a decent home for his family, and have his NEEDS met. But when one justifies mansions with swimming pool, numerous expensive cars in the garage, traveling they expect to stay in five-star hotels and dine in the best of restaurants, there is something seriously wrong with their spiritual life; it is carnality. Peter writes, ”They have a heart trained in covetous practices, and are accursed children”(2 Peter 2:14). They are to be an a example of a shepherd who identifies with the sheep, they are to be leading to be nourished by the word. Instead we see them feeding the world to the church and what Jesus said to avoid.
The spirit of the world has been in the church so long that when people hear to give beyond what they have they think it is the Holy Spirit instructing them through the man at the pulpit.
Lets look at this teaching realistically, with common sense and let the final word be the Bible itself.
I realize for those brought up in these kind of churches its hard for them to see its wrong, no matter how much Bible proof is presented. Many go by experience and since it supposedly worked out for a few they think it works. We are not to be pragmatists but Biblicists, what does it actually say in the Scripture.
Jesus said to seek his kingdom first, not to serve mammon. To be in the world but not of it.
To die to self, we are to work to have riches in heaven not earth. We are told to do this we must
Walk in the spirit to not fulfill the desires of the flesh.
But the church has been invaded by consumer driven Christianity which has trained people to love money and things more than they do God (Heb.13:6)
This is carnality is preached as spirituality; a superior spirituality that claim faith will make these things (prosperity promises) happen.
There will always be a new inflow of naïve unknowledgeable recipients who are targeted by those who teach this insipid doctrine. And they will defend their teachers vigorously. As loyal soldiers who got a memo from their General (teachers/prophets) and repeat it like trained parrots. Unfortunately they do not know better and have learned a distorted view of the Scripture from what the Bible calls false teachers.
Promises of instantaneous results by the pronouncement of the hundredfold that will break the power of debt. Sweeter words of poison have never been uttered so well! Nor have so many rushed to eat of it. It is not God who uses these proclaimers of prosperity on TV but Satan, and too many in the church are caught up in their lies, they cannot determine the difference between truth and error. This is because of two reasons 1) they want to be rich as well so they support them. 2) they are ignorant of the correct meaning of the word in context, and instead believe these men’s teaching that lift the word out of its context.
Its not about a better life now but about eternity. Our life on earth is a blink of an eye compared to the length of time we will live after. Jesus commissioned the church to preach the gospel to the unsaved so they can live with him. If you are an evangelist this is what you should be about. Salvation works the same for everyone, you believe and you receive. But the prosperity teaching does not. It requires money and faith and more money and faith and then more, etc.
People are taught from the Old Testament (not the new) that the saints were all rich. Is this true? Hardly. There are few saints that were and we have to look closer to see WHY they had riches and what kind of riches they had to be accurate.
What was Abraham rich? “Abram was very rich in livestock, in silver, and in gold” (Gen. 13:2). He took these riches from when he was called by God to leave his country, at the time he had these riches when he was a pagan. Gen.26:12 Abraham was rich through his agriculture and flocks. God had made a covenant with him and his seed: Gen 12:2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name. His wealth had to do with his future provision for his offspring It is not a general blessing for all believers to be rich because Abraham was. No one in the New Testament refers to Abraham for being rich, in fact
When Jesus explains
Luke 16:13-14: "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they derided Him.”
Interesting, this is just how the prosperity teachers act toward those who are Bereans.
Jesus begins to tell the story that includes Abraham, and he is comforting the one who was poor, the one who was rich well ... V.19-27"There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. "But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate,"desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores."So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. "And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. "Then he cried and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.'"But Abraham said, 'Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.”
Abraham did not comfort or send help to the rich man even though the same station he had is desired and pursued by prosperity teachers. Abraham was spiritually rich in faith which led to obedience. Apparently the beggar was rich in faith as well, which completely goes against the prosperity teaching that poverty is always a curse.
What about Moses, he left with the riches of Egypt in the exodus. After the last plague Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron, Exodus 12:31-36 “Then he called for Moses and Aaron by night, and said, "Rise, go out from among my people, both you and the children of Israel. And go, serve the LORD as you have said. "Also take your flocks and your herds, as you have said, and be gone; and bless me also." And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, "We shall all be dead." So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders. Now the children of Israel had done according to the word of Moses, and they had asked from the Egyptians articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing. And the LORD had given the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they granted them what they requested. Thus they plundered the Egyptians.” The firstborn of Egypt (Exod.1:16-17, 22) was slain as payback for what the Egyptians did to the firstborn sons they killed of Israel; so the silver and gold and clothing given to them was payback for over 400 years of hard labor.
Exodus 3:19-22: "But I am sure that the king of Egypt will not let you go, no, not even by a mighty hand."So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My wonders which I will do in its midst; and after that he will let you go. "And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be, when you go, that you shall not go empty-handed. "But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, namely, of her who dwells near her house, articles of silver, articles of gold, and clothing; and you shall put them on your sons and on your daughters. So you shall plunder the Egyptians." This is further advanced in Exod. 11:1-3 where it says “And the LORD gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh's servants and in the sight of the people.”
How much do you think they carried if they left with barely any bread on their back weak and worn out from slavery? According the prosperity teachers they each had wagons full of gold. Hardly reality.
When Israel was given the riches of Egypt what did they use them for? To make the tabernacle.
The tabernacles items were all layered with gold (Read Exodus 25). It was payment for the over 400 years of slavery they endured, God was just.
When Moses was instructed to ask "Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring Me an offering. From everyone who gives it willingly with his heart you shall take My offering. "And this is the offering which you shall take from them: gold, silver, and bronze” (Exod 25:2-3).
Unfortunately people do not read the texts that are abused for their giving.
Exodus 36:3 “And they received from Moses all the offering which the children of Israel had brought for the work of the service of making the sanctuary. So they continued bringing to him freewill offerings every morning.” V. 5-7 and they spoke to Moses, saying, "The people bring much more than enough for the service of the work which the LORD commanded us to do." So Moses gave a commandment, and they caused it to be proclaimed throughout the camp, saying, "Let neither man nor woman do any more work for the offering of the sanctuary." And the people were restrained from bringing, for the material they had was sufficient for all the work to be done-- indeed too much.”
Ever hear a prosperity teacher say you have given enough? It is never enough, just as the Proverbs 30:15 states “The leech has two daughters-- give and Give! There are three things that are never satisfied, four never say, "Enough!”
As far as Moses being rich, that’s hardly true:
Heb. 11:26: “esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward.” He did not receive his reward on earth but had faith in what he would receive later.
Once Israel came into the land we read Joshua 22:7-9: “And indeed, when Joshua sent them away to their tents, he blessed them, and spoke to them, saying, "Return with much riches to your tents, with very much livestock, with silver, with gold, with bronze, with iron, and with very much clothing. Divide the spoil of your enemies with your brethren."
What does it say in the New Testament of the Old Testament saints…
Heb. 11:37-40: “They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented--
of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
They did not receive the promise, they were not prosperous while living on earth, they forsook the world believing God for what is to come is far better. Do you believe this? Because this is the very opposite of what the prosperity doctrine is about. If this scripture is true, then those who teach the prosperity doctrine do not have a good testimony (of faith).
Most rational people would not normally give anything to this kind of person appealing for money on TV but they are wiling to dispense with all common sense and give to them whatever they ask, even if it is beyond their means. Why? Because they are going to cash in with God. They think they are being obedient to God so He will bless them. When it doesn’t happen they are still convinced because they believe in hope and change. Hope that God will do this and change their circumstance, they will never admit it was wrong.
What of the apostles? Which one of them was rich. Nowhere can you find a passage in the New Testament were Jesus taught His Apostles, nor his apostles taught those they discipled how to be rich? The rich young ruler came to Jesus and he responded by telling to sell all that he had and give to the poor, come follow me and you will have treasure in Heaven! (Luke 18:22; 12:33-34) NOT give Jesus all his riches but give it to the poor and then follow him. Was Jesus telling him to do something He himself would not? He’s our example.
Jesus Christ taught the opposite of receiving – but giving, to those in real need. If the church would do this imagine the witness it would be to the world.
When was the last time you heard of a ministry that gathered millions of dollars they took in to help the poor and not themselves?
Can anyone show one example of Jesus making someone rich by their confession of Scripture, by tithing or by the Gospel itself? (preached the poor would be rich) Would not the apostles know of this? Acts 3:6 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.” These words are out of Peter’s own mouths recorded by the Holy Spirit as Scripture. Today the prosperity teachers say “Silver and gold I DO have, and you can too.
Why did Peter NOT have money? Jesus sent the disciples out without money ( Mt. 10:9-12) “ Provide neither gold nor silver nor copper in your money belts, nor bag for your journey, nor two tunics, nor sandals, nor staffs; for a worker is worthy of his food. Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out.” They did not rent the best room in the city but depended on others hospitality and the Lord for their provision of bread each day.
The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Cor. 4:11-12: “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.” They were NOT rich, they did not solicit money from the congregations to promote themselves. Which apostle named his ministry after himself, there’s your hint of what these prosperity ministries are about.
Paul wrote Acts 20:33-35: “I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. “Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. “I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Paul did not desire to be or make others millionaires, he said it was good to work with his hands, he showed by example to help those less fortunate by hard work. These TV teachers of prosperity live a opulent lifestyle off the sacrificial giving of widows and those who are desperate for help. They are the ones who should be on the receiving end not these men who wear thousand dollar suits and pay enormous amounts of money to keep their TV programming going so they can appeal for the church to support them. This is a vicious circle of deception. Its like appointing Judas to be in charge of the money and saying he has done a good job after you know he is robbing the people. Would you do this knowing now what Judas is about? Judas cared for himself, not the poor, though he had all the other apostles convinced how sincere he was. Why would you give a penny to men who are like Judas?
The apostles were no different than Jesus or John the Baptist. “Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: "What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?" But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed those who are gorgeously appareled and live in luxury are in kings' courts.” Matt 11:7-8, LK 7:25) Apparently John does not fit in the prosperity teaching of today and is ignored for good reason.
No Apostle ever instructed the church to sow a seed of money for a hundredfold harvest to come in. Jesus said the seed is the word Lk.8:11, the prosperity teachers say it is money. Who are you going to believe? The soil is a receptive heart that the word is to enter in to bring fruit, but if you change the seed to money then what is entering the heart of man is coveting. It is not the word of God but a worldly replacement that will have them focus on the things of the world.
The followers are trained to believe, what you sow is what you receive:
The bible teaches Gal 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life. And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”
Sowing to get more money, riches is to the flesh, not to things that will be eternal and be found in heaven (things of the Spirit). Do you think your money or things acquired is going to meet you in heaven? These eternal things spoken of, Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” If you are pursuing riches on earth then your heart ands spirit is of this world. Its not God blessing because you have become are an enemy of God to pursue this. Yes we all have certain necessities of which God promises to meet. He does not ask of money from us to meet our basic needs.
A good work is something profitable for God, something done in Christ’s nature that involved the fruit of the spirit. It something that you will be rewarded for later in heaven. Your treasure is found in the people you helped.
Making seed into money shows one does not understand the very basics of Scripture and should not be teaching. God does not use false teachers to teach true doctrine.
Mk.4:18-19 “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, “and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. When the cares of the world become priority, what suffers? They distract us from the heavenly calling. Eventually people who pursue the riches of the world lose interest in the spiritual matters that God has called us to. Like Esau they trade it for their temporal appetite to be fulfilled. What you have now you will not have later.
Like those who climb the ladder of success in the world they are out for themselves when Jesus said to die to self. Its time for the church to stand up and directly and openly challenge those who teach contrary to the Scripture and the nature of Christ, whom we are to follow and be conformed to. Jesus lived a life of sacrifice, not opulence. Their man made theology is conformed to gaining money, not Jesus and His nature.
You don’t think if Jesus came back today He would have the same thing to say to these Christian enterprises that He said to the money changers in the temple when he first came? They are offenders that Jesus warned of. Mt. 11:2-7: John in prison heard about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples to ask Him, "Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?" Jesus answered …. and the poor have the gospel preached to them. "And blessed is he who is not offended because of me."
The wealth teachers are quite offended by his message of denying self. Luke 14:33: “So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” His point is to not trust in the world but God alone, your possessions are not for self use but at God’s disposal to help others. You will never get the teaching God wants you to prosper from Paul’s testimony he hungry, thirsty, homeless, in rags, poorly treated, beaten and in chains. Paul taught of “Share in the fellowship of His sufferings.” The fact that they mock those who suffer and have trials as a lack of faith shows how bankrupt they are in genuine faith.
Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor;” ..., is this about making the poor rich as the prosperity teachers say? This is how they see the Scripture and interpret it by being wealthy and poor. How bad of a distortion is this. There is no mention of the poor becoming rich, it actually says the gospel was preached to the poor. Just as the sermon on the mount explains (Mt.5:3-6).
Luke 6:20-21: “Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.” James 2:5: “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?
If Jesus were rich and came to make us rich it would change the way we understand everything He said - Even the gospel. It is important to learn of the correct Jesus. The Bibles Jesus told us in no uncertain terms that we are NOT to pursue riches, because they destroy our faith.
Do a study on the do’s and especially the do NOT’s in Scripture and you will find clarity. Here is Jesus’ own words
Mt. 6:19-21: “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.”
They prosperity teachers ignore Jesus telling us specifically to store up our treasures in heaven because that is not where there heart is – the treasures Jesus speaks of is not money or things but people, souls. We are to give the gospel to get them saved and disciple them to grow. Jesus posed this question to those who pursue wealth and prominence: “What does it profit you to gain the whole world and lose your own SOUL?”
If you hear them teaching of money as the gospel message they are not teaching the word of God.
The bible tells the rich to help the poor, not the poor should pursue becoming rich by giving their money to the rich (prosperity teachers).
pt.3 Sinister ministers