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Friday, January 22, 2010 | Comments (55)

First, listen to this 5-minute clip:

Launch Player  |  Download  |  Full Sermon

Here's the topic for today's discussion:

Prosperity preachers have exploited inherent weaknesses in charismatic theology, and many people—Christian and non-Christian alike—are left poor and disillusioned in their wake.

Before Christ, what responsibilities do Christians and Christian organizations have with regard to the Prosperity/Word of Faith Movement?


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#1  Posted by Markus Seppälä  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 4:18 PM

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#2  Posted by Markus Seppälä  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 4:19 PM

I´m right this moment in a situation where I try to make people understand that the Bible is all and all got to be tested with it. So I´m thankfull for this audioblog.

Bless your heart.

#3  Posted by Shaun Forsett  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 4:21 PM

It's very interesting that this kind of thing still exists. I have tried to explain many of times to other believers what the dangers are. Experience cannot supercede scripture. Thank you JMAC

#4  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 4:31 PM

As Pastor MacArthur said, we have the responsability to evangelize people involved in these cults/heresies, always in love, with kindness and meakness.

I am almost done listening to the series below, it has been a great blessing for me:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermon+Series/260_Delivered-by-God

You know, sometimes I feel very alone. I pray that God leads me, within my church, to people who have the same passion for the Word of God that I have. I am in this church since September, so I don't really know a lot of the people, but whenever I talk to someone I ask questions about their beliefs, and a lot of what they believe surprises me.

It is tough. And it doesn't get better. My own husband told me I must be on drugs.

May our Lord Jesus Christ bless each one of you,

E.

#5  Posted by Lisa Robinson  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 5:57 PM

E. I FEEL THE SAME WAY AS IF IM ALL ALONE TOO, IM NOT EVEN ATTENDING A CHURCH RIGHT

NOW BECAUSE OF SO MUCH ERROR,BUT KEEP HOLDING ON AND TRUSTING IN GOD. GRACE

TO YOU HAS BEEN MY SOURCE OF STRENGTH FOR AWHILE AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

TEACHING THE TRUTH.

#6  Posted by Michael Bogart  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 6:43 PM

God bless you both Lisa and Elaine. I understand the feeling of being alone with our beliefs. It's hard to believe what many believe. John and GTY has been a constant source of strength for me as well. What a blessing. A church home though is so important for many reasons. May I suggest you go to The Master's Seminary web site, www.tms.org and click Alumni. You may find a church near you with a Pastor(s) from TMS. I did! What a blessing! God bless you all. Discernment has never been more important has it?! John, thank you again for being that lone voice crying out from the wilderness. Praise Jesus! Thank you so much for loving us Lord. You truly deserve all the glory!

#7  Posted by Carl Frederick  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 7:55 PM

I left the Church because of the same error spoken about here. But after spending so much time away from the church I long to be back in the fellowship of true believers. its said to say they are far and few between. I try to inlighten some of my misguided bretherin, but they reject the truth like its from the devil himself. My own church turned against me because I dared to challenge my pastor on truths he claim to believe in himself. After much prayer I have decided to Pastor, and disciple those who seek after true Christianty. Right now I am giving myself a reboot through the study of Gods Word. Keep me in prayer, and God bless John Macarthur.

#8  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Friday, January 22, 2010at 9:28 PM

Wow! I'm glad to see John MacArthur give Pastor Chuck Smith some credit on his stand against the charismania that exists in the Pentecostal/Charismatic Church. I always wondered what MacArthur thought about Calvary Chapel? Does anyone know whay his stand is with Calvary Chapel?

#9  Posted by Jeremy Deforrest  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 12:56 AM

This is really such an important issue. I have often thought recently that the Word of Faith movement is one of the greatest threats to "real" Christianity today. Their message seems "Christian" enough to new and young believers. It definitely sounds good in a world obsessed with prosperity. It looks good for people who want to be wealthy, healthy and happy.

I used to attend a Word of Faith church in my home state of Washington. Something happened in the last few years. The senior pastor came down with a vocal problem and wasn't able to speak for some time and now when he does speak... it's hard to sit and listen to him. What happened? This church teaches us that God wants us to have TOTAL victory. In our finances, relationships and our health! And that if we name it and claim it... we will have all of these things. Then why isn't he healthy? Why are people losing their jobs? They aren't prosperous right now in their finances. They're struggling and can't make ends meet. And if you belong to this camp... something happens before too long. You say to yourself... God let me down. God didn't fulfill his end of the bargain. And this is what makes this message so dangerous. John Piper is right in saying that the prosperity gospel is ----. Because that's exactly what it is. Thanks J-Mac for bringing this to the forefront.

#10  Posted by Laneisa Jackson  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 7:06 AM

Those of blessed to know of this sound doctrine and better than that to understand and agree have a responsibility, as John challenged us, to be in the firght for the Church. I, too, have felt alone and resisted committing to a church with even the most sound doctrine I could find. One of the reasons these errors flourish is because of our absence. I am recently reconnected and trusting God to provide the opportunity and the wisdom to help snatch some out of the fire.

This is a difficult charge. Maybe even more difficult than evangelizing heathen.

#11  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 7:48 AM

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#12  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 7:52 AM

# 8 - Steve,

I have mentioned before, I come from another country and only recently have been exposed to the truth about the Gospel (although I've been a "Christian" since 1993). That's to say that I had never heard (at least that I remember of) about the Calvary Chapel. So I did what I always do, I googled it so I could learn more about what they teach, etc. A lot of times I learn about an organization or person by watching whom they associate with. I feel that any kind of relantionship between organizations or peoples mean they must share something in common.

I read some information and visited their website (read their "what we believe page", should give you some interesting insights - http://www.calvarychapel.com/what_we_believe.cfm). I also read excerpts of some of Chuck Smith's books (interesting info on how his church was formed and evolved - he believes that the church needs to be relevant with the culture), I found out that he had some kind of association with Lonnie Frisbee (whom I also didn't know until now). This is of course no news to you, but Lonnie was gay.

The following is from a video at Frisbee's memorial service (why am I not surprised to learn that it was held at the Crystal Cathedral?) "At his funeral, Calvary Chapel's Chuck Smith eulogized Frisbee as a Samson-like figure; that being a man through whom God did many great works, but was the victim of his own struggles and temptations." (quoted from wikipedia on Frisbee, link to the video can be found on the same page).

Interesting to note that John Wimber (one of the founders of the Vineyard Movement) was also Chuck Smith's friend.

Pastor MacArthur quotes a couple of Calvary Chapel's pastors in one of his sermons about the doctrine of election. Here's my quote:"A Calvary Chapel pastor writes, "Five-point Calvinism," which of course would include the doctrine of election, "makes God a monster who eternally tortures innocent children. It removes the hope of consolation from the gospel. It limits the atoning work of Christ. It resists evangelism. It stirs up argumentation and division and promotes a small angry judgmental God rather than the large-hearted God of the Bible." Another says, "To say that God sovereignly chooses who will be saved is the most twisted thing I have ever read that makes God a monster, no better than a pagan idol."

I see that you have mentioned Chuck Smith in one of your replies on this blog (more specifically the "Prosperity Potpourri), and that you find Chuck Smith to be an excellent preacher. If that's your opinion, it must mean that you've listened to a lot of his sermons. If you have any biblical foundation (sound doctrine) you'll find the errors.

E.

(note: sorry I had to delete the first reply, I typed my reply on notepad and somehow after pasting it here it lost all its format, so I had to manually re-do it.)

#13  Posted by Rick White  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 7:55 AM

Christians and Christian organizations have a God given responsibility to expose these false teachers for who they are and to stand firm in the faith Jude 3;Ephesians 6:11;I Corinthians 16:13.And we are not to do it half-heartedly but earnestly.I'm just thankful that there are a few like John MacArthur out there doing just that.

#14  Posted by Nena Jones  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 10:30 AM

Jeremy,

Would be interested in your statement, "John Piper is right in saying that the prosperity gospel is ----." And by the way, love reading the comments and stand with all of you in being so grateful to Dr. MacArthur for Truth.

#15  Posted by Jeremy Deforrest  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 10:37 AM

Nena.

If you go over to YouTube.com and search "John Piper Prosperity Gospel", there is a three minute video from where I took the quote from. It's a very good video and very powerful.

#16  Posted by Nena Jones  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 11:10 AM

Thanks Jeremy...I will do that.

#17  Posted by Mary Ann Barton  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 8:40 PM

My dearest Christian sister is from the Pentecostal movement..I am discovering we are worlds apart in our thoughts and ideas...I praise God for my eyes being opened to the truth by John MacArthur, John Piper and my NEW home Pastor.

#18  Posted by Caron Strong  |  Saturday, January 23, 2010at 11:26 PM

Justin Peters also does a thorough job biblically exposing false teachers. He presented a seminar at Grace in the LOGOS class entitled "A Call for Discernment." He also gave an abbreviated version at TMS chapel. You can see a short overview of the seminar at his web site on the media page - www.justinpeters.org - As well as being a gifted theologian, Justin has cerebral palsy and comes from an interesting perspective... Blessings!

#19  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 4:17 AM

I just want to add to the comment of Lisa R and Elaine above, yes sometimes if not most times I encounter myself alone as if I was the only person that believes the Bible is the very word of God and ought to be treated as the very God talking and we ought to listen to his whole counsel.

There is this one person I love like my own brother-sister that has been bombarded by these Purpose Driven Fallacies, me-centered Gospel, declare it, call it, claim it, etc. views. Not to mention the mystical-ism and metaphysical reaching that is going on at the place he says he worships Jesus. It is heart breaking seeing this king of teaching going on, but we must press on, continually in the love of Jesus, with compassion, boldness, and plenty of discernment, fighting with the Word and praying for these people whom are being led astray, that the Holy Spirit of God would open their eyes.

#20  Posted by Stéphane Gauthier  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 5:10 AM

E. I FEEL THE SAME WAY AS IF IM ALL ALONE TOO, IM NOT EVEN ATTENDING A CHURCH RIGHT

NOW BECAUSE OF SO MUCH ERROR,BUT KEEP HOLDING ON AND TRUSTING IN GOD. GRACE

TO YOU HAS BEEN MY SOURCE OF STRENGTH FOR AWHILE AND THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR

TEACHING THE TRUTH. thank you very much grace to you i learn my english with you !

#21  Posted by Glen Rounds  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 11:07 AM

I personally agree with the majority of John MacArthur's teaching and perspectives concerning biblical doctrines. Concerning the "Word Of Faith" movement that appeals to the greed of a large portion of society, it is no wonder that it is so rampant. I believe it would be safe to say that it could be compared to the JW's in respect that they too take the scriptures of God's Holy Word out of context, twisting and perverting the "Truth" to accomplish their agenda. I would like to mention that Jimmy Swaggart has for a long time taken a stand against the "Word Of Faith" movement and as well been doing his best to expose it for what it truly is. I know that just the mention of his name stirs up alot of "emotions" for a majority of people, but remember this: Jimmy Swaggart is a human being the same as the rest of us, and is capable of sin the same as the rest of us as well. We cannot, nor should we expect God to forgive us if we cannot forgive others. I personally believe God is and has been raising JSM back up as an example to the world and because they preach Christ and Him crucified as the apostle Paul did. There are several God fearing men, whom I believe are sincere in their desire to preach the Gospel Truth as accurately and truthfully as possible. John MacArthur, Charles Stanley, Jimmy Swaggart, John Hagee, etc.; HOWEVER no two people will ever agree 100 percent of the time on every biblical doctrine, truth, or teaching. As long as they can see eye to eye on the doctrines that are pertinent to upholding the "Truth" of God's Word and those issues relevant to the salvation of man's soul, then ultimately that is what matters. Don't misunderstand me, I am not excusing the preaching and teaching of false doctrine, those who do such will be held accountable!

#22  Posted by Regis Cordeiro  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 1:42 PM

God converted me in a pentecostal church back in Brazil, but over time became clear to me that several of the doctrines didn't match with what God reveals in the Bible to us. I hope that other brothers in Christ who have the same path come to recognize this sooner than later. I believed in many things before converted, that focused a lot on exceptional experiences, knowledge, hard work so it was easier to me to identify those doctrines, they look the same. Basically everything that takes the power from God's Word and puts it in other places, makes your beliefs weak and ever changing. The enemy has many agendas but the main one comes with many facets: Trying to keep us from knowing and worshipping the only real God and make us worship something else (money, ourselves, a club, friends, some of them even "look" legitmate, anything else, doesn't matter) and trust me our flesh tends towards this and enjoys. I thought one time how amazing would be if God sent an angel to tell me what He wants from me and thought that I would never forget, but then realized that the Bible is not only God Himself sending the message to me, but over a 1500 year period...All Glory to our Lord...God bless...

#23  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 4:15 PM

Lol! It seems like alot of people in this blog received Christ in a Pentecostal Church. Praise the Lord for the discernment he gave us to see what is biblical and not biblical. My take on Calvary Chapel is that they are a sound church. When I have attended they have not expressed any of the craziness i have seen at other Charismatic churches. They preach nothing but the Word and don't practice divisiveness and do point out the false teachings of 7th Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormonism, Christian Science and type of cultic churches.

At my home church, First Baptist Church of Downey, I was very encouraged by the missionary report from Kenya. This is a Reformed Baptist Church so there is no craziness here either. They did report how the Lord used them in Kiisi, Kenya where a deaf mute villager received Christ and was able to hear and receive the message preached. The Holy Spirit is still active and uses whoever He will to bring God all the glory and praise.

To God all the glory and praise,

Steve

#24  Posted by Ann Dalon  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 5:46 PM

What a great blessing you are to me Pastor and to so many . I often share your books and other materials with others. Thank you for being valiant for The truth. The Study Bible is wonderful! God bless you I pray daily for you and grace to you. My son asks for your books and resources for his upcoming birthday. I praise and thank God for you, you have been the cause of us being revived and delivered from erroneous teachings. Thank you so much for being a clear voice for Truth. May God bless you and gty very much. Agape, Ann

#25  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 7:47 PM

I just wanted to add one more thing about how twisted some of these churches have the truth. No more than a year ago, a very prominent Pentecostal Church in Irving Texas was sponsoring an event without precedence. The event was a re-encounter with Ted Haggard celebrating his coming back with new energies to “preach the Gospel.” In reality I do not care what he does with his life or whatever.

Ted had been lying to God, his church, family, need I go on, for a long period of time. As the Great Apostle Paul puts it on his second letter to Timothy 2:14-19, there are qualifications for the man of God. Ted is disqualified. But this church was encouraging people to go because, listen, “he had repented in the show of Oprah Winfrey.” For those of you that do not know, Oprah founded her own religion just because she could not accept that God is a jealous God. This is all over U-Tube. Ted at this moment and for many years to come won’t know right from wrong, he is unbalanced emotionally and spiritually. It seems he is on the saddle again.

Stay biblical, beg God for discernment, and knowledge. I did, and found J Mac about five years ago. At first there were things I did not agree; now I find no disagreement. God bless you, and J Mac and the whole staff of GTY and Grace Community Church. Amen.

#26  Posted by Elaine Bittencourt  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 8:06 PM

# 23 Steve,

yes, the Holy Spirit is still active, did anyone say the contrary? You seem to be confused about what cessationism really means. No one in their right mind would say that the Holy Spirit is not active anymore or that God doesn't heal anyone. I read a very good reply that Gabriel (on another post of this blog) gave, mabye you should go back and read it or research cessationism.

# 21 Glen,

I have no idea who Charles Stanley is, can't comment on him, won't comment on J. Swaggart. Will comment a little about John Hagee. I believe he preaches another gospel. When the Gospel is not preached in its entirely, it is another gospel. JH proclaims that Jewish people don't need to accept Jesus as their Saviour to be saved, because they are still under the covenant with God. Further more, he says that Jesus is the one who is to be blamed for the Jewish people rejecting Him, after all He was not who they were waiting for. JH is keeping people away from being saved. Jesus is THE only way. Would God had sent His only Son to die for us if there could be another way to save His people?

"But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction". (2 Peter 2:1)

For the sake of our argument, the word that stands out on the verse above is "secretly".

# 22 Regis,

I am also Brazilian. =)

One point that I've been wanting to make. I listened to the audio posted several times. It seems to me that Pastor MacArthur, after mentioning the fact that Chuck Smith clearly stands agains WoF (and how many other evangelicals/charismatics/pentecostals do the same), calls the listeners to pay attention, and I will quote:

"I don't want for any moment for people to think that I don't believe there are such people in that Pentecostal tradition because in fact there are. But listen carefully; I also believe that the seeds of these errors that they wish to fight are sometimes inherent in the very doctrines that they believe."

If anyone wants to read/listen to the sermon in its entirely, it's here:

http://www.gty.org/Resources/Sermons/90-64_Does-God-Promise-Health-and-Wealth--Part-2

I sometimes worry about all the people who believe in erroneous doctrines, all the people in cults and heresies. I worry even more about people who are in churches where no false doctrine is preached, but at the same time nothing is really preached/teached. They don't talk about sin, about repenting. They talk about grace and love. They smile a lot. I heard a pastor say that Jesus was a very happy person, and immediately I thought about Isaiah 53:3. My heart grieves for all these people.

In Christ,

E.

#27  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 8:16 PM

This is in response to Glen Rounds comments.

Glen, in the love for the word of God and the love of Jesus, very respectfully disagree with you. I am convinced that what I stated on my past blog in reference to 2 Timothy 2:14-19, it really disqualifies Jimmy Swagart. I do strongly agree with you, in the love of Jesus, we must attempt to love those whom have fallen, but to restore them to leadership to feed the flock of God, hum?; it could be against the very Word of God. Sincerity had no place in this issue, repentance and submission do. If there is presence of the last two in the life of those fallen, God is merciful and will forgive them, and the body of Christ must embrace, coach, mentor those individuals because they still have something to bring for the Kingdom of God.

Do I make sense? God bless…

#28  Posted by Orlando Delgado  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 8:24 PM

To number 23, adding to Elaine.

The Holy Spirit is still very active. Even J MacArthur has a wouderful testimony about his own life. But the one that I impressed me the most was when his wife Patricia had a serious accident, and you can see how the work of God, through Faith, and prayers she came out well. This was a tremendous testimony to the Holy Spirit.

Thank you, God bless...

#29  Posted by Regis Cordeiro  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 9:38 PM

I just want to clarify my comments: I was converted in a pentecostal church but completely agree with Pastor MacArthur. We too are having a hard time finding a church and are considering moving to where we can find one. Listening Pastor MacArthur has been a blessing for our family too, like others mentioned here. I believe God can save in the pentecostal church too, I am a living example, but I don't think that if you are really saved, you would stay there.

I sad for the ones that are in the world but greatly sad for the ones who think are saved but will have a big surprise when the judgment come.

#26 Elaine -- Oi!!!

God bless...

#30  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 10:01 PM

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#31  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 10:05 PM

God bless all of you my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus.

Here are some words of wisdom and encouragement to all of us from our God and Savior.

Psalms 32:7-11 7 You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah. 8 I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go; I will counsel you with My eye upon you. 9 Do not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, Whose trappings include bit and bridle to hold them in check, {Otherwise} they will not come near to you. 10 Many are the sorrows of the wicked, But he who trusts in the LORD, lovingkindness shall surround him. 11 Be glad in the LORD and rejoice, you righteous ones; And shout for joy, all you who are upright in heart."

My family and I are also searching for a new church home; as I confronted the pastor (a Masters graduate) on character issues and a lack of feeding the flock dispite his teaching; the result was that God put it on his heart to leave and some have scorned me; others supported, the ones that had already left for many of the same reasons. I have no resorted to looking and looking, knowing there is no "perfect church", but considering the sheer amount of churches in this area; it has been difficult to find one.

I almost just assume support GTY and other christian charities, but I also need my 5 & 9 years olds see how mom and dad worship the Lord in a church setting; so any suggestions and prayers toward this goal would be welcome, we need some encouagement as I see others do as well.I thank God for His truth and for the priveledge to be apart of GTY through financial support; knowing that we are building treasures in heaven. I do have an outreach ministry, where I use John's sermon "True Belief" and Tony Capaccio (BibleBb.com) "Sinners in the hands of an Angry God" and include GTY's tract titled "Stop - Who do you think I am". I have distributed between 1500-2000 CD-R's to about 750 homes in the area and try to keep some in the car. I also buy "cheap" umbrellas when I find them and when you see that person broken down on the road and it is raining; you should see the look on the face when you toss them an umbrella.My physical limitations hinder me from going door-to-door like I use to, but the Lord will use these messages as He pleases as I pass them out at the mailboxes and in parking lots; so pray for success on this and be a part ; God is waiting to hear from his children at all times.Thank you Lord for allowing us to have pastor-teachers and all the resources in staff, facilities and talent at GTY and according to your will; let all of join in and built up treasures in Heaven..amen

#32  Posted by Madalena Machado Da Cruz  |  Sunday, January 24, 2010at 10:43 PM

Hi,

I was also saved in a Word of Faith Church. My background was Catholic. I left catholicism when I started reading the Bible and realized all the errors I had been teaching the children when I taught cathecism. I stayed 6 years in the Charismatic church, but always with doubts and there were things I couldn't agree and I thought I was being rebelious, but the more I wanted to submit to their teachings the more my spirit rejected it. Then I started praying for the Lord to give me discernment and understanding specially on the subject of toungues... which it was difficult for me to accept. I normally woke up in the morning with my radio alarm clock tuned to "Radio Pulpit" and that day when the alarm went off, John MacArthur was preaching about toungues! God does not work in coincidences and John was preaching to me that day and he answered all my questions. Shortly after this, I had a personal problem and when I wanted to apply the scriptures correctly they twisted it and wanted me to behave their way to which I refused. I left the church and I started to send for John's tapes (I have a huge collection of them) and I fed myself with them for one and a half years (Not going to any church at all). There was not many alternatives as churches were concern, but eventually a friend took me to a church where the Bible was preached correctly (except for the baptism ) and because I had nowhere to go I stayed there till I left to Europe where I stayed for 9 years.

When I came back to South Africa, I phoned the GTY offices and asked for a recomendation of a church where a pastor would had come from The Master Seminar because I did not want to run from church to church to look for sound doctrine. Blessed be the Lord Jesus that send me and my husband to a wonderful church where the young pastor preaches the Word and have a disciplined church where everything is run in order and the Lord is glorified.

Thank you John for your wonderful work for the Kingdom of God. Bless you. Nowadays I do not send for your tapes anymore, because I download your sermons. My hear goes to those still in the Charismatic movement that are deceived. The prosperity message iludes them and I saw people giving values they owned expecting to receive 100 fold back. It was a sort of a formula to which God had to respond...if they applied the formula. It is very sad. I have given some studies with the scriptures, to people in that movement, to open their eyes, but the response is that they cut me off of their lives! But... the seed is there.

I wish you will recover fully from your back operation very quickly.

Madalena

#33  Posted by Jerry Slade  |  Monday, January 25, 2010at 5:44 AM

You are right on, Pastor MacArthur. I struggled for many years working through teachings I was raised on in the Pentecostal movement, particularly the issue of Baptism of the Spirit as an experience separate from salvation. The fact that I was spiritually ignorant since nothing was taught from the pulpit except the need to be saved, again, and speaking in tongues, added to the difficulty.

Through the help of the Holy Spirit, and studying the Word of God, my sincere inquiries finally led me to understand that I was, in fact, saved but it was difficult to find a source of good teaching until I came across Grace To You. Thank God for one who preaches the truth, exposes error and is willing to take on those who are so critical to that truth. It is still difficult to find a church that preaches the whole counsel of God but I know now how to study for myself and supplement the lack of sound doctrinal teaching from the pulpits of churches available to me.

I pray that God gives you many, many more years to expound the whole truth.

Jerry

#34  Posted by Charles Shanks  |  Monday, January 25, 2010at 3:05 PM

John MaccArthur God bless you for your teaching on Christian giving .I got your C-D on Giving years ago ( Gods plan for Giving Part 1 & 2 ) (lesson 1302&1303)..My wife and I had 4 children we worked 2 jobs (all of us at times even our 4 daughters at times ) struggling hard for about a decade..We did this for years, tithing many years, at times being chatised from the pulpit for failure to do so, sometimes several times in a couple months..My wife and I had many and varied long term marriage problems.Over titheing and money..From giving 10% no matter what ..Then I heard your teaching Pastor MacArthur! Praise God. I also heard DR.J Vernon McGee teach on the radio about when he pastored churches during the depression and how he did not teach them to tithe no matter what because the Bible does not teach New Testament tithing. (The old testament has several different tithes under the law not just one like is taught today.)And we are under grace and give from a heart of love not the law. Also Thanks to Donald Cole the Moody Bible "Answer man" He gave me much help on Christian giving also He is a great Christian teacher.Charles Ryrie of the Ryrie study Bible is another teacher that teaches the Bible correctly I believe. Thanks to you all and God's Grace abound to you....PS. I rejoice to be able to give what I can to Jesus Christ who deserves it all.And pray and look forward to be able to do more by His Grace!

#35  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Monday, January 25, 2010at 3:58 PM

Charles,

Thanks for the link. Which article were you referring to because one of the links is by Don Brown Ministries and his teachings were addressed as suspect on Todd Friel's TV Show Wretched! Check his website. it was a program aired in the beginning of January. It addresses alot of the Pentecostal craziness and lukewarm Christians. Not sure if you have seen it. John MacArthur has come out on his program several times so I think he is legit. God Bless You. :)

#36  Posted by Malynne Wells  |  Monday, January 25, 2010at 4:58 PM

I'm in total agreement with John Piper as he stated "He hates the prosperity gospel". My husband and I spend 12 years in a church where this was taught. The only person in the church that got richer was the pastor. The only thing taught week after week, month after month, year after year was that if you give, give, give you will be blessed. We gave, gave, gave (thousands) and never got the kind of "blessed" that was taught. It was also so 'cultish' in that we were taught if you talked about the pastor behind his back, he couldn't be responsible for what might happen to you, (hint, hint). I saw people get sick and die several times because he taught from the pulpit that 'he never went to the doctor, he just believed, he lived right and because of that he never got sick'. People that left got talked about from the pulpit. Once it was even said that someone had left the church and later died. At one point in time my husband and I were so scared because we had been reading our bible and had come to the point of not believing in what was being taught and felt like we needed to leave. We saw so much sin in the leadership of that church it was sickening. We were just told to turn our heads. God doesn't need our help in judging. We finally left and guess what, we didn't die. The only problem is that after trying a few more churches we were just fed up. Now we don't go to church. We love the Lord with all our heart, soul and strength. We study the Word, listen to John M every chance we get and pray. After getting over severe anger towards my previous pastor my heart is really burdened with sadness for all the other people that are there and for the pastor himself. I hope how soon Jesus comes back!!!

#37  Posted by Ed Rudd  |  Monday, January 25, 2010at 9:51 PM

This is my first post here, and I'm so thankful to God for GTY ministries and their commitment to the truth.

I too was saved from the a WF, chrismatic , emotion-driven church background. Think of all the bad you see in it -- and you will see me. I helped lead the singing. I taught class. I believed it all!! I've spoke in tongues, been slain in the spirit, "experienced" healing. I've seen people dance. And I've even saw people begging God for a spirit baptism as proof of their salvation. Thank God I'm not there anymore. But, I know plenty of people who are. In fact , I'm related to many who still are.

Let me tell you all something-- they're all in deep trouble! They are just as decieved as I was!

The question at the top was what should our responce be to people who believe these lies? The only way to confront lies is with the truth. We need to arm ourselves with God's Word- I mean really arm ourselves. Know what It says- why It says what It says, and what our responce before God should be to It. Thes people have a twisted idea of what it means to be a Christian. That's why their message is so twisted. They have no idea what Christian freedom means, so they throw restraint out the door- it's anything goes in some of these services. These are decieved people, decieved by tradition, by false teaching, by Satan himself.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ- we need to pray that God would raise up people - harvesters to go into this wide open field an take them the truth. The Truth that IS the gospel. Pray for me- I see it out there but, sometimes it's just overwhelming. I've had a couple of confrontations already, and God was faithful. But, I have to work on my love a little. It's so easy to be drawn into a fight with error. God help me to hate the sin but love the decieved sinner!!

#38  Posted by priscillia sanders  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010at 5:46 AM

I am a witness to this movement. A teaching straight from the pit of hell. May God continue to raise up those who would be vessels that He will use to live faithfully to Him and Love Him even unto to death if that be His will. "Nothing to the cross I bring". Please continue Grace to You to be faith to Him who is forever faithful to His Word. May He find us faithful

#39  Posted by Michael Witherington  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010at 5:36 PM

The prosperity crowd or name-it and claim-it bunch equate material wealth with the amount of faith you have. Hmm. by that logic the Son of God would have had very little faith. He had no home of His own. He never had more than a couple of coins on Him at any time. He died broke on a cross. And poor Paul had a thorn in the flesh and died broke in prison. Seems to fly in the face doesn't it?

#40  Posted by Simon Caneparo  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010at 6:36 PM

True and faithful Christian organizations must continue the process of teaching the Word of God and reveal the false doctrines not only of the health and wealth prosperity movements but also of the other heretics.As individuals we ought to:- continuously pray for the gift of discernment- pray for the unsaved who are being deceived by these movements- evangelizeFinally, I would add, we have the obligation to go to church, to be part of the church. It saddens me that a few people here refuse to go to church just because they had dodgy experiences.Just pray, seek, knock and the Lord will make you find a church, a serious one.Ask GTY, they probably know some church in your area where the Bible is taugt verse by verse and not selectively.Check the Calvary Chapel list of churches in your area but remember: always pray for discernment.

In Christ

#41  Posted by Michael Kilinski  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010at 6:44 PM

In the book "Think Biblically!", the sufficiency and veracity of scripture has stood the test of time. However, those who pick and choose certain scriptures to verify their personal belief and not a biblical belief is in on dangerous ground. The prosperity cult doesn't care to approach scripture as sufficient for the glory of God. If they did, this blog wouldn't have to take place. I hear a dangerous message that is heard and read between the spoken and written word of these "Christians" that the Almighty God is obligated to give us our "desires" simply because we ask for them. If we are all to be rich and wealthy, then why did Jesus, in the Parable of the Sower, give three examples of blessed soils. If not, Jesus would have stated and all soil will yield 30, 60, or 90. Their claims are self-refutive and are built on a foundation of sand. Each of those soils represents the heart that receives the word and the Lord will use and bless them as He sees fit for His glory! So, the prosperity crowd never searches scripture to define scripture. Sola Scriptura!!! Pastor MacArthur states before every GTY programming, "I am determined to know nothing among you, other than, Jesus Christ and Him crucified." I pray these deceivers be set free and come to the truth.

#42  Posted by Michael Kilinski  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010at 6:49 PM

You are right. We are in a fight against the spiritual realm. Let's tuck in the loose ends, roll-up our sleaves, put on our armor, and yield to the Holy Spirit.

#43  Posted by Mark Tanner  |  Tuesday, January 26, 2010at 8:38 PM

To: Caneparo,

All of us that have had a difficult time finding a good church home and some have "given up"; at least on a temporary basis. Who do you think is saddened more? You or them? You said "just because they had dodgy experiences" is a little demeaning to say the least and is not very encouraging; although I can see this was not your intent.

I can only speak for myself only, but would surmise many others have a similar experience(s). It is not always just a one to three time visit to discern who is building a particular church, Christ or men.

I have been to at least 10-15 different churches within a 15 mile radious, most are Southern Baptist, but what you run into is at times shocking. After spending months and months and yes, checking the Masters alumni, which is the last church we were at for nearly two years just for that reason. But as John has stated before that he had some cocerns about some of the graduates; which in this case turned out to be true without going into great details, but to say when several good Christians were leaving for the same reasons; I decided to address this head on applying 1 Timothy 5 and the result was I was osterisized, yet the Pastor left within two weeks because rather than walking away and just because no other elders were willing to step up; I felt convicted that if I walked away without some accountability, which was the easiest thing to do, I would bring reproach upon God, myself and those who were and would be affected. I stayed away to discern if it was my issue or a leadership issue. I prayed and studied and sought out unbias Godly counsel and spoke to some of the former members and found a pattern of behavior that was disturbing. I listened to countless sermons on the qualifications and the responsibility of the sheep to the shepard et al. With I Tim. 5 as a guide, but no one to agree to come before the congregation; I was in a real corner; so I wrote a detailed letter explaining the problems and applied Scripture to them. It took over a month and at least 10-15 revisions and a lot of sound boarding and input from other Christians I know and trusted. I finally sent the letter and for accountability purposes I sent it to all the elsers to hold myself and the pastor accountable. Two weeks later he resigned to persue his real interests and mentioned nothing concerning the letter, yet I was then blamed for his leaving although he gave other reasons; accused of fabricating lies, but in the end I am at peace because my heart was with God, with the pastor and his family, with the other effected members and with all those that were and are affected. Three months later and am at peace and have no regrets and i know that "God causes ALL things to work together for good to those that love God" and that applies to me and to those that are hurting because of his departure. He is no longer preaching except as a military reserve chaplin. This is a pastor that wrote a book that John has his endorsement on and is fairly well known especially among the military.

He is writing another book, which was our Wednesday prayer meeting that turned into a new book reading and preparation. I rebuked him for consitently, although infrequently, putting down Grace Community Church, John and even Phil Johnson was mentioned. This is just one example of many strange things. I pray to God that he repents or at least has the integrity not to request an endorsement from John.

Now the church we have been looking at has a preacher that knows the word of God very well and will preach 45 inutes to an hour with a lot of pratical application. I am a little confounded at this point because I can tell the congregation as a whole is under a heavy burden coming from the leadership. It seems like a guilt trip concerning giving and serving is being constantly pressed onto these people and you can feel it and some of it is blatent, but much is subtle.

It is a shame because they appear to be good people and they are very generous in their giving, but is it because of pressure or from a cheerful heart and this is where discernment comes to play and it is important. Consider there are about 150-200 members and there are 55 open positions for serving; something is wrong here. Yet you fill out the "guest card" and no one even calls, which seems to me that perhaps this church has lost its first love; i hope not but each week I go iam seeing the same thing and I am now taveling 30 minutes each way, which is not a real big deal but considering how many churches are within a 15-20 minute drive; it is rather sad and at times you just want to through your hands in the air. I do not plan to give up and I do know there is no perfect church, but Christ must be the one bulding the church and this is what we are seeking. I hope this gives a little insight to the difficulties some of us are or may be experiencing.

You are absolutely correct in praying for discernment and I would add wisdom because God promises to freely give to those who seek it with sincerity and He does keep His promises.

God bless all of you that face the same issues and pray for us as well.

Mark

#44  Posted by thomas kennedy  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 2:39 AM

Dear Glen Rounds,

I just have to say something about your comment. It made me very upset. I can't believe you put John Macarthur in the same category as Swggert and Hagee, and ETC. I am not for one moment putting John Macarthur on a pedestal but you have to look at the evidence and John Macarthur is worthy of double honor. He is the real deal! And for someone to say they agree with some of what John Macarthur teaches or most of what he teaches is just a cop-out. He is not infallable but he is as close as you can get. If you truly walked with the Lord then you would see that he is right-on. I am not trying to be unloving but we need to wake up and realize who is really teaching the Word of God and who isn't. Please interpret the bible the way it should be interpreted. If you lack wisdom please ask of God like James says.

#45  Posted by thomas kennedy  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 2:49 AM

This is to michael's comment.

It is so true what you said and this proves that their authority is not the Word of God but their own thoughts and understanding. They could care less about truth and doctrine, they just care about the MONEY. Remember what Paul said in 1 Cor. He said if you are spiritual then you will know that I speak from God and that this is God's Word. You have to be willingly ignorant to agree with anything about the falsehood in the Charismatic movement. and likewise to not agree with John Macarthur.

#46  Posted by thomas kennedy  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 2:57 AM

One more comment:

If people are being delivered from this movement than their must be something wrong with it. Also if we believe what we believe then everybody else has the capacity to believe the truth also. We aren't wrong to believe what we believe even if we are in the minority.

#47  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 9:36 AM

We're responsible to expose false teachers. An acquaintance I know sent me some information on Joyce Meyer Ministries yesterday. You don't know how loopy her theology is regarding Jesus Christ. Her errors are so subtle.

The other part of the problem is that it seems she definitely likes the "prosperity gospel" and the benefits it brings her financially. Her home is the size of a university.

Also, she is a woman "preacher" and believes in the charismatic movement's heresies. All of her teachings cater to the flesh/felt needs and how much God wants to do for you. You never see followers of prosperity preachers prospering!

#48  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 9:38 AM

Thomas, being in the minority when it comes to truth is usually the best place to be! Scripture teaches that the road to eternal life is "narrow". Matthew 7:13-14.

#49  Posted by thomas kennedy  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 11:42 AM

Keith,

What I also meant by my comment was that people think that because there are so few of us who really believe the truth like we do that we really aren't right or we have limited knowledge. The fact that the charismatic movement is so far reaching and broad and has many followers gives people the deception that it has to be right and of God. They judge it by the majority and because it has so many followers. So because we are so few in number we can't be right is the conclusion the world and other so-called Christians come to.

#50  Posted by Keith Krohn  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 12:07 PM

Thomas,

I understand more clearly what you meant. Thanks for explaining. I think also that because the charismatic movement is so "far reaching and broad" as you said is a greater indictment that it's not the true gospel, because it appeals to so many people.

Once, when I was defending the Bible against the "it's just a book written by men" argument, I said that, "What person in ther right mind, trying to 'get a religion going', as you argue, is going to write a book that instantly condemns everyone born to eternal punishment, gives no compliment or benefit for being 'a good person', and generally condemns EVERYTHING that most people would naturally find self-fulfilling and satisfying?"

No one said anything at that point, so I added, "I think that those facts alone prove the Bible IS God's word." Anything from God would naturally be alien to us, wouldn't it? I mean, apart from His enablement we're opposed to everything God stands for. So something that is so appealing to the majority yet leaves you unchanged at your core, well...how can that be of God?

#51  Posted by Simon Caneparo  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 4:16 PM

re: comment #43

Mark, I apologize to you and anybody else for being too concise and for choosing the word "dodgy", please read "disarming experiences".I totally agree with you, however you and your family are proactively searching, and the Lord will surely provide.I will be praying for you and all the other brethren who are in your very same situation.

#52  Posted by Holly Schrader  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 6:03 PM

To all:

It has been spiritually uplifting to read through the recent comments posted on this GTY blog as I agree with those experiences expressed, having myself come out of the charismatic movement and having also experiencing an inability to find a truth-based church with committed, true Christians in attendance, (let alone a pastor truly called of God).

I am literally starving in my truth-deprived community. Lots of churches around but major problems with sound doctrine and deficiencies in biblical principles abounding. One can't feed on the Word in most modern churches, that's true. I have been so in need of spiritual fellowship and desiring to hear the truth preached from the pulpit, that I recently drove from my home in AZ to attend Grace Church for the first time, on a Sunday this month. I loved it! I plan on going back for the week of the Shepherd's conference, March 3-7 and soak it all in.

Contemporary worship where I live, ala Calvary Chapel, abounds. In 1993 I backslid out of a Calvary Chapel church. I consider CC to be worldly with no standards, boundaries, or perimeters taught. Remember, we don't want to offend anyone! Today I now find it difficult worshiping amid persons in tee shirts and jeans, spaghetti staps and cleavage, singing 7-11 worship songs, with a bent toward rock music, projected onto a screen over fields of flowers or other distractions. An attendee has to wonder if they are at a barnyard hoedown rather than at a church gathered to worship the holy God of the universe.

In the endless landscape of churches in my community, a new one has flourished, more laid back than CC, this one endeavors to make church attendance a breeze. It is a place where needless inconveniences have been eliminated, things such as Bibles and hymn books, and the gospel truth, are absent. The one service that I attended was a multi-media show with pictures and movies on huge overhead screens. The song service was like a high school spirit rally repleat with two lovely "cheerleaders" on each corner of the stage leading us in repetitious song. The "sermon message" contained one single sentence from Scripture that was forgotten by this attendee midway through the extravaganza. I couldn't leave fast enough when the show ended!

The Baptist churches around me seem to admire the likes of Rick Warren and James Dobson and require their congregations to be perpetually involved in their latest programs or those of like contemporaries. Many churches once claiming to be conservative are now seeker-friendly with the offering of contemporary worship services that inevitably spill into the traditional ones. And then there are the Baptist hold-outs where the pastor and congregants smugly believe that they are the last remnent of the original church of Acts, and so elevate tradition and each other and distrust anything or anyone that doesn't worship the King James Bible version and their interpretation of it. Trying to find the right church has been exasperating!

There are many others that I have attended, too numerous to name, that basically offer false and misleading interpretations of the Bible attractive to people who have never read the Bible and/or have never taken the time to study it on their own to learn its truths. So there, as I once was, the ignorant and misguided continue to gather together, wallowing in misinformation, half-truths and total falsehoods, never fully spiritually satisfied, always questioning their relationship with God and inevitably headed for a spiritual cliff. Following that path, I did succumb to major sin, hit rock bottom, finally repented (on a hospital bed with cancer), cllimbed out of that black hole, and now I know when I hear the truth, especially from such reliable teacher/pastors as John MacArthur and the other pastors at Grace Church, Don Green and Phil Johnson. God bless them!

After becoming familiar with the teaching of John MacArthur first on radio, then through his books and CDs and now through the internet, by the grace of God, I believe that God has finally placed me, along with so many others, on the right path to Him. The discernment that I lacked for so many years prior has been graciously gifted to me by His Spirit and through the knowlege of His Word. I am now walking in His wonderful light! I thank God for the blessing of knowing Him and His truth! I am thankful for the dedication to the teaching of the truth found through the Grace to You ministry and John MacArthur.

May God bless each of you as you pursue the Lord and solid biblical teaching. I am ready to move to L.A. and join Grace Church, if only my husband would go along with the idea! Praying that it is God's will! Glory to His name! Bless you all! Love in Christ, -Holly

#53  Posted by Steve Orozco  |  Wednesday, January 27, 2010at 11:53 PM

Holly,

I am praying that your dream of moving to Los Angeles to attend Grace Community Church becomes a reality. I have attended Calvary Chapel of Downey periodically and while it is not as conservative as a traditional Baptist Church, I do feel that they preach the Word. It does have that hippie/surfer feel to it, but I'll let the Lord be the judge as to whether they are doing God's Will through their worship style. I belong to a Reformed Baptist Church in Downey which has both type of services (traditional & contemporary) and while the music might be contemporary the Word of God is still preached. CC Downey preaches expositionally and I do appreciate that they preach both the Old & the New Testament which is something I miss at traditional Baptist Churches because they either preach topically or the New Testament only mixed with some Scriptures from the Old Testament. I like the fact Calvary preachers the Word Sundays & Wednesdays which I feel the Baptist Churches would benefit from. What I like about Baptist Churches is that they have Sunday & Wednesday classes that help you with different aspects of life (marriage, finances, etc.) which makes the Bible relevant to everyday life. What I also like about Baptist preaching is they don't hold back and are bold enough to call out false teachers & doctrines. There is no perfect church unfortunately until the Lord comes. :) God Bless You! :)

Steve

#54  Posted by Charlene Ocampo  |  Thursday, January 28, 2010at 5:16 PM

I am a new Christian and the Holy Spirit did a 180 on my life within the past year. LAst year, when my husband and I were having marital issues we sought help from a pastor who lived across the street. We had known that he was a Christian pastor but we didn't attend church then, nor did we attend his church when invited. Upon speaking to him about our marital issues, he gave us great words of encouragement. My husband and I then decided to check out his Sunday service. After attending a few Christian services my husband decided to take the step of baptism. That day without warning, I decide to make a public confession of my faith as well and was baptized. To make a long story short I think they are a charismatic church, even though they say they are non-denominational. They believe that the infilling of the Holy Ghost and the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is a "necessity," as evidence of salvation. Although I am a new Christian, I did my research and my Bible reading and felt that this is not sound doctrine. My husband confronted our beloved friend/Pastor with some JM sermon transcripts, and he defended the speaking of tongues, as evidence. I think we will just have to agree to disagree. I believe though that they are truly evangelical Christians, but I am just not agreeing with the tongues thing. I love him and his family for helping my husband in I in rough times, but I cannot attend their church because of their belief in tongues. Besides he has been a Christian longer than I, who am I to argue. Has anyone had a similar experience?

#55  Posted by Malynne Wells  |  Saturday, January 30, 2010at 6:37 AM

To Thomas Kennedy's post of Jan 27th:

Mat 7:13 Go in through the narrow gate, for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there are who go in through it.

There will only be a few going through the narrow way. The more the followers of the way to destruction can only be the broad way. Hence the charismatic way(faith, healing, more money etc)(in my opinion, which studying the Bible brought me to that conclusion). I went to a Bennie Hinn 'whatever' about 7 years ago when I was in that broad way. The HUGE auditorium Birminham (alabama) Jefferson Civic Center was filled to overflowing. The place was packed out with probably over 10,000 people there. I never saw one healing or felt the Holy Spirit at all. That was one of the first times I said to myself, either something is wrong with me or this is a crock. After much studying it was a crock!

I've decided I like that narrow way. However not many people like me for it. No one wants to take the Word and use it as a mirror!!! Very painful :)