Strange Fire Conference
It is a…it is a joy to be with you, it truly is. Anytime I have an opportunity to present God’s Word, it’s a great joy, it’s a great privilege, it’s also a terrifying responsibility. But I’m very grateful for this opportunity. Let’s go to the Lord in a word of prayer and then we’ll begin.
Our Father, we do thank You for this time that You have graciously given to us. I thank You for each and every one who is here, Lord, who has come to this conference. Lord, the fact that they are here, it’s a reflection of their concern for the truth, a desire to be faithful to Your Word. And we pray that Your Holy Spirit would enrich our time together today throughout the rest of the conference. We pray that He would be honored, that He would glorify Christ in the preaching and teaching of Your Word and that He would illuminate the truth of Your Word to our hearts and that these truths will be implanted on our hearts and that we would live lives of faithful obedience to You. Amen.
Well it is a joy to be with You and what we will be doing in this session and tomorrow’s session is that we will be looking at the Word of Faith Movement, more commonly known as the Health and Wealth Gospel, the Prosperity Gospel, Name it and Claim it gospel. Basically the doctrine that says it is always God’s will to be wealthy and it is always God’s will for a Christian to be physically healed. We should never be sick.
If some of you may be familiar with my previous seminar entitled “A Call For Discernment,” and this is an updated version. I’ve added a lot of new material, a lot of new false teachers out now entitled it Clouds Without Water…Clouds Without Water. And this is a reference in Jude verse 12, and Jude refers to false teachers in a number of different ways and one of the ways that he refers to them is as clouds without water. They have the appearance of having some sustenance, some nourishment, but nothing falls from them. There is no nourishment, the ground below these false teachers, these clouds without water is dry and parched. And so that’s what we will be looking at.
Now I have about seven hours of material that I’ve got to try to condense into just a little bit over two hours, so we’ll just be hitting some of the high points in this session and tomorrow’s session. Tomorrow’s session is different, by the way. I’ve had a few people ask me, “Are you doing the same thing on each day?” No, tomorrow’s session will be completely different, just different aspects of what we’ll be looking at today, but completely different focus and different direction, different issues. But clouds without water…now I understand that the bookstore does sell these DVDs, there are some of the Clouds Without Water DVDs in the bookstore over by the sanctuary, so if you’d like kind of the full-meal deal, if you will, they have those available for you. And so, let’s begin.
Clouds without water…before we get to the meat of the matter here, I want us to just answer a few of the criticisms that will come our way when we call people to discernment, when we warn people about false doctrines and false teachers. A lot of people will not like this and they’ll criticize us for it, and so I want to look just briefly at a couple of the criticisms that will come our way when we do exercise discernment. One of them, you hear this a lot, “Judge not, judge not lest ye be judged.” Undoubtedly the most often misquoted, taken out of context passages in all of God’s Word. Jesus does indeed warn us not to judge, but the kind of judging against which our Savior warns is hypocritical judging. Judging somebody for doing something that maybe we’re really doing ourselves, that is what he warns against. But the answer to this criticism is that, in fact, we are to judge safely within biblical parameters.
When it comes to matters of doctrine, when it comes to matters of theology, we absolutely are to judge on these things safely within biblical parameters. Another criticism is this, you shouldn’t name names. And some people say, “Well it’s okay if you warn people in a general sense about false teaching, but don’t ever call somebody out by their name publicly, don’t ever do that.”
Well, the answer to this is that in fact there is a biblical precedent for calling out false teachers by name. The Apostle Paul did this himself on several occasions. He did it quite publicly. And so there is a biblical precedent for calling out false teachers by name. Jesus Himself called Herod that fox, so there is a biblical precedent for calling out false teachers by name. It should not be done lightly. Okay? And we don’t call somebody out as a false teacher if they differ with us on some relatively minor theological point. You know, maybe we’re premillennial, pretrib in our eschatology and we know somebody over here that’s pretty millennial, mid-triable, heretic. No…no. But when it comes to the fundamental doctrines of historical Christianity, the preexistence of Jesus Christ, the virgin birth, the sinless life, the atonement on the cross, bodily resurrection of our Lord, salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone, on these issues we do draw a deep line in the sand and we must warn people about wolves in sheep’s clothing. Is not an option, it is a duty.
And dear ones, it’s not…it’s not an option to exercise discernment as a Christian, that’s not an option, it’s a mandate. It is a duty. And some people say, “Well, that’s just not my gift. You know, I just don’t have the gift of discernment.” That’s a cop out…that’s a cop out. What did Paul say, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, “Test all things…test all things.” And that’s not written there just to take up the white spaces, it’s incumbent on us to exercise discernment. It’s not an option and say, “Well discernment, that’s just not my gift, I’ll leave that for somebody else.” That’s a cop out.
You may not have the gift of mercy either as your primary spiritual gift, but guess what? We can all do…what?...we can all exercise mercy, we can all show mercy. So it’s an excuse to say, “Oh, well that’s not my gift, I’ll leave that for someone else.”
Another one of their criticisms, and you hear this a lot from within Charismatic circles, Word of Faith circles, when one of their false teachers comes under criticism, this is almost always how they respond. “Touch not my anointed,” heard this before? “Touch not my anointed.” Well, when you hear this criticism, this is how you can respond. “Okay, that’s fine, take not Scripture out of context,” because that’s what they’re doing.
Now touch not my anointed can be found in a couple of places in the Old Testament, one of them is Psalm chapter 105, “He permitted no man to oppress them,” referring to Israel. And He reproved kings for their sakes, “Touch not my anointed ones and do my prophets no harm.” And so, is this biblical? Yeah, it’s biblical in the sense that it is in the Bible, but what does it mean? What does it say?
Well, the context of this, the anointed ones refers to Israel’s patriarchs and their descendants not to today’s modern preachers, or self-acclaimed Apostles, first to Israel’s patriarchs and their descendants. And the word “touch,” this is the real kicker, the word “touch” actually refers to doing physical harm, not to speaking the truth. You might remember that when David had an opportunity to kill Saul, but he didn’t do it. Remember that? What did he do instead? He cut off a piece of Saul’s garment and held it up and he said, “I will not touch God’s anointed.”
In other words, what David was saying is I would not kill him. So we may be calling out false teachers and their false doctrines, but nobody here is chasing Benny Hinn down the street with a baseball bat. You know, we’re not doing anybody any physical harm. Good thing, by the way, for the false teachers that we’re not living on the other side of the cross, you know, the Old Testament calls Benny Hinn and Pat Robertson and all these would have been dead a long time ago. And, by the way, there are three New Testament passages, at least three, which refer to all Christians as anointed.
If you are here today and you know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, you’ve been born again, guess what? You’re anointed and you have the same anointing as does every other Christian. There are no super-Christians with a super-special anointing that the rest of us common schmucks just don’t have. If you’re in Christ, you’re anointed and you have the same anointing as does every other believer. There are no super-Christians. That’s…that’s a Gnostic idea, the division of Christians into classes, that’s Gnosticism, it’s not biblical.
Okay now, let’s get in to the Word of Faith Movement and in order to understand any Movement, I think it really helps and it’s really imperative to have an understanding of the origins of the Movement in order to have a fully orbed understanding of any Movement, we need to look at the origins. And we don’t have time to go into this and that, but I want to just briefly tell you that he Word of Faith Movement, the prosperity gospel is actually rooted in the meta-physical cults, like Christian Science, New Age, New Thought, Gnosticism. Most of what you see on Christian television, on TBN and Daystar and Inspiration at Work, and the Word Network, and the Sea of Broadcasting, it’s not Christian, okay? It’s cultic, cultic doctrine that has been wrapped in some Christian terminology. And so briefly, let’s look at this, where did the Word of Faith Movement begin?
Well, it began with a guy named Phineas Parkhurst(?) Quimby. Quimby you could call the Great Grandfather of the Word of Faith Movement. Quimby was the father of New Thought, a metaphysical cult. Now when I say metaphysical, that’s a big word, all it means is beyond the physical realm, beyond what we can see and touch here. And when I say cult, I mean any group or sect that calls itself Christian yet compromises or denies some of the fundamentals of the faith. Mormonism is a cult. Jehovah’s Witnesses belong to a cult. Roman Catholicism is a theological cult…okay, not a sociological cult, not drink-the-Kool-Aid Jim Jones kind of a cult. But it is a theological cult because it compromises and denies some of the fundamental tenants of historical Christianity. Quimby was the father of the metaphysical cult known as New Thought. New Thought essentially held that whatever you think about and whatever you speak, you will attract those things to you. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it is, that heresy is still around today, it’s been repackaged called The Secret, that Oprah Winfrey is very fond of promoting, The Secret. And Rick Warren is dabbling in it as well. But Quimby was the father of the metaphysical cult known as New Thought, he was a student of a cultism, hypnosis, parapsychology and Quimby’s theoretical formulation started as the basis for the mind science called Christian Science.
Now what happened, you’ve probably heard of Christian Science, but Mary Baker Eddy claimed that she was physically healed by Phineas Quimby, she really wasn’t, she was a sickly woman most all of her life. But she thought she was physically healed by Quimby and she was so impressed by his teachings that she took his doctrines and developed them a bit further and from that formed what is today known as Christian Science. And Christian Science is very poorly named, by the way. Because it’s not Christian and it’s not scientific, kind of like Grape Nuts, you know, they’re not grape and they’re not nuts. Christian Science is neither Christian, nor is it scientific, but there are a lot of Christian Science overtones in the Word of Faith Movement. One of which is the denial of physical symptoms when it comes to sickness and disease. If you have a friend or a family member who is in this Movement, you might notice that when they get sick, they deny that they’re sick. You know, maybe they’ve got a cold, their eyes are watering, their nose is running, they’re sneezing, they’re congested, the whole nine yards, but you say something to them about it, “Oh no, no, no, I’m not sick. I won’t confess that.” Well that’s Christian Science that has just been wrapped in some Christian terminology.
The father of Word of faith…not the father, the grandfather, you could say, of the modern Word of Faith Movement is a guy named Essek Kenyon. Essek Kenyon I had very clear ties to the metaphysical cult, particularly the New Age, New Thought Movement. He attended college at the Emerson School of Oratory in Boston where the Metaphysical cults flourished and he was heavenly influenced by them. We don’t have time to get all into all of his doctrinal distinctives. Kenyon was not wrong on everything, on a lot of things he was spot on. But he did have some serious errant theology. He believed that we could speak things into existence, that Jesus died a spiritual death in hell where He atoned for our sins. We’ll talk about that, time permitting, a little bit later. So…but what has happened in the modern prosperity movement is that your people like Benny Hinn, and Kenneth Copeland. By the way, I’ve been in Kenneth Copeland’s bookstore and he’s got Essek Kenyon’s books for sale in the bookstore. But what these modern false preachers have done is they have taken Kenyon’s mistakes and made them much worse. So compared to the modern Word Faith preachers, Essek W. Kenyon was actually fairly orthodox by comparison…by comparison.
Kenneth Hagen, father of the modern Word of Faith Movement, despite Kenneth Hagen’s teaching that no believer should die until he’s at least 120 years old. You see Kenneth Hagen didn’t quite make it. He was around 86. But Kenneth Hagen claims like all of the Modern Faith preachers that much of what they teach you, they received directly from Jesus Himself. God spoke to me…Jesus spoke to me and gave me these teachings…and that is their way of insulating themselves against biblical criticisms. And so, they’ll say, “Well, if you can’t find what I’m teaching you in the Bible, don’t worry about it, it’s okay because I have it from the highest authority, Jesus Himself came and gave me these teachings. So if you can’t find it in the Word, don’t worry about it, it’s okay, I got it from Jesus.”
Well, Hagen claimed that Jesus physically appeared to him on at least eight different occasions throughout the course of his life. On one of these occasions, Jesus appeared to Hagen and gave him these exact word, according to Hagen, Jesus dictated these exact specific words. It’s interesting, however, that Jesus apparently bears a striking resemblance to Essek W. Kenyon. You can see that it’s practically word for word identical. Hagen did not get this from Jesus. Hagen plagiarized Essek W. Kenyon extensively among other authors as well, by the way. He was a plagiarist. So the faith teachers are very fond of claiming divine origin for what they teach. But as you can see, the origins are not nearly so supernatural. They steal from other people, plagiarize other people, just repackage old heresies, you know, repackage for a different modern audience.
Okay, I want us to look at some of the doctrines now of the Word/Faith Movement. We’ll begin by the doctrine of positive confession. The prosperity preachers teach that we can actually speak things into existence. Watch these clips.
Clip: Look at me and say, all of you, say there’s power in me (repeats) to speak life and death(repeats). Lady speaks: “You call what you have, you say what you want.” Male speaks,(Sounds like Benny Hinn “And I’m here to tell you I know that I know that I know. That as these programs are airing, I’m speaking something into existence.” “Amen.”
If that sound eerily like God’s act of creation in Genesis 1 and 2, that’s because it is. Dear ones, only God can speak things into existence. That is not something that you and I can do. The Hebrew word for create is bar(?) and only God baras, only God does that. And in case you may be thinking, “Oh, well, they don’t really mean by that what it seemed like they meant. You know, you just took them out of context. They don’t actually teach that we can speak things into existence like God did, do they?”
Well, yeah. This is a tweet from Creflo Dollar, “As spiritual beings who possess the nature of God, we have the ability to speak things into existence just like God did.” Yes they do teach this…absolutely. And people accuse me all the time of taking these folks out of context. No I’m not, I wouldn’t want to take…I wouldn’t want anybody to take me out of context, and I’m not doing it with him. They do teach these things. This is not an aberration, this is mainstream Word of Faith. Most of the Charismatic Movement, all of the Word of Faith Movement, all of it. As was pointed out earlier, there are some people in the Charismatic Movement who would not go into Word of Faith land but unfortunately once you take that Charismatic position, and we’ll talk more about those issues tomorrow, the apostolic gifts and things like that, how God does and does not speak, but once you take that Charismatic position, it is a very slippery slope right in the Word of faith. Few people put on the brakes, the vast majority do not.
Watch this video clip from Gloria Copeland, dealing with the doctrine of positive confession.
GLORIA COPELAND: You know, you’re supposed to control the weather. I mean, Ken’s the primary weatherman at our house, but when he’s not there, I do it. You can even see what’s happening out there. It shows just like they have at the…like the news, I mean, he’s got the computers, got the current weather on it and all that for flying. So sometimes I’ll hear something, I’ll hear the thunder start and maybe he’ll still be asleep and I say, “Ken, you need to do something about this.” And knowing that…but you are the one that has authority over the weather. One day Ken and Pat Boone, we were in Hawaii at their house and they were sitting outside and there was a weather spout out over the ocean. And that’s like a tornado except it hits the water. And so they were sitting there and they just watched it, rebuked it, it never did anything. One day I was in the airplane in the back and my little brother was in the back with me and Ken was up front flying. And we were not in the weather cause we don’t fly bad weather. But we could see the weather over here. And I looked out the window and that tornado came down just like this —- down toward the ground and Ken said, “I rebuke you in the name of Jesus, you get back up there.” So this is how I learned how to talk to tornados, I saw this. And that tornado went whoop-whoop-whoop-whoop, even while I was watching them. My little brother was not a devout Christian at that time and that was really good for him to see. So you’re the weather man. You get out there or the weather woman, whichever it is, and you talk to that thing and you tell it you’re not coming here, I command you to dissipate and you get back up there in Jesus’ name. Glory to God. I won’t charge you extra for.…” (END)
JUSTIN: That…that really does not deserve a comment but I’ll offer a couple real briefly. If…well, let’s back up. Did you notice how she said we can control the weather but we don’t fly in bad weather? Why not? I mean, if you can control it, fly through whatever what to fly through. Honestly, just a little common sense goes a long way in clearing a lot of this stuff up. I mean, aside from the theology, just some common sense. But if it is true…if it is true that Gloria Copeland…and by the way, it’s not just Gloria Copeland, Benny Hinn says he can do it, Jesse Duplantis(?) says he can do it, Rod Parsley says he can do it. They all claim to be able to control the weather. If it is true that the faith teachers can control the weather by the words that they speak, then I would submit to you that these prosperity preachers are the most wretched, callous, heartless, selfish, narcissistic, uncaring, wretched people alive on the face if the earth. Where were they when Hurricane Katrina rolled into town? Where were they with Hurricane Sandy? Where were they when the wild fires were raging out of control in Australia? Every year thousands and thousands of people are killed in weather-related disasters all around the world.
If it is true that they can control the weather, but choose not to do anything about it, then they should be charged with thousands and thousands of cases of negligent homicide, each and every year. But, you know, I’m not really that hard-nosed, I really don’t think they should be charged with thousands of cases of negligent homicide because they can’t do what they claim they can do. They’re liars. They’re liars.
Does it remind you, by the way, of someone else who was able to control the weather? Yeah, they try to elevate themselves to the same authoritative level as Christ. In fact, direct quote, Kenneth Hagen, the Christian is just as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth. This from Joel Osteen, still dealing with positive confession. You recall the account in Luke’s gospel of the angel giving the announcement of…to Elizabeth of the up-coming birth, then up-coming birth of John the Baptist? You recall this? And when her husband Zechariah heard about this, he kind of, you know, scoffed at it a little bit. Remember? Cause they were advanced in years. And what did God do in response to this? What did He do to Zechariah? Closed his mouth for six months. For a very interesting take on why God closed Zechariah’s mouth? This from Joel Osteen. Joel Osteen says, “Why did God take away his speech? It’s because God knew that Zacharias negative words would cancel out His plan. See, God knows the power of our words, He knows that we prophesy our future and He knew Zachariah’s own negative words would stop His plan.” Unbelievable!
So, according to Joel Osteen, God was up in heaven looking down and He saw Zachariah making negative confessions and God just went into a panic. “O my goodness, what am I ever going to do? I wasn’t counting on this?” And so in a last-ditch effort to save His plan of redemption, God reached down and closed his mouth and made him a mute. Whoo! Boy! That was a close one. No concept of the sovereignty of God…none. The prosperity gospel has no concept of the sovereignty of God. And this is not an aberration, this is mainstream. This is mainstream. The god, little G, of the prosperity gospel is a very weak, very effeminate God. It’s not the God of the Bible.
The Word of Faith Movement is just as much a theological cult as is Mormonism, or Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is interesting. This is a New Age book, got nothing to do with the Word/Faith Movement in and of itself. Supreme influence, title, Supreme Influence. Change your life with the power of the language you use. Totally New Age, this was in Barnes and Noble New Age section, nothing Christian about this.
Let me show you Joyce Meyer’s book, one of her recent books. Now this is a Christian. “Change your words, change your life, understanding the power of every word you speak.” You see how similar this is? It’s the same thing. Cultic doctrine cloaked in a little bit of Christianese. That’s all it is.
At the heart of the prosperity gospel Word of Faith Movement is what is called the little gods doctrine. All of the faith preachers teach that if you are a Christian, you are in fact a little god. Watch this, quote/unquote exposition of Genesis 1:26 and 27 from Creflo Dollar, undoubtedly the most aptly named of the prosperity preachers. But watch this….watch this from Creflo Dollar.
CREFLO DOLLAR: In verse 26 and verse 27, God now submits Hisself to this principle of everything producing after its own kind. And in verse 26 and 27, let’s read it out loud. Ready, read: “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image after our likeness and let them have dominion over the fishes of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth so God created man in His own image, in the image of God, created He Him, male and female, created He them.”
Now that’s interesting because if everything produces after its own kind, we now see God producing man. And if God now produces man and everything produces after its own kind, if horses get together, they produce what? Horses. And if dogs get together they produce what? Dogs. If cats get together, they produce what? Cats. But if the Godhead gets together and say, “Let us make man,” then what are they producing? They’re producing gods. Now I’ve got to hit this thing real hard in the very beginning because I ain’t got time to go through all this. But I’m going to say it to you right now, you are gods, little G. You are gods because you came from God and you are gods. You’re not just human, the only human part about you is this physical body that you live in. The real me is just like god.” (END)
JUSTIN: The real me is just like God. Blasphemy…blasphemy. Dear friends, when the Bible says that God created man in His image, that means that as human beings you and I are the pinnacle of God’s creation. We are the pinnacle of this creation and we have the potential and the capacity through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ to know God. None of the other created order has that privilege and ability . I love dogs. I do, I like dogs. I really do. I grew up with black labs, love dogs. But the greatest, smartest dog in the world will never know God cause he’s not created in God’s image. Cats for sure aren’t. (Laughter) Just kidding.
But…but just kidding cat lovers, sort of. But we are…but we are. And I don’t care what PETA says, you and I are of infinite more value than a chicken or an aardvark or platypus. We are the pinnacle of God’s creation. But the Bible is very clear. There is only one God and He is a jealous God who will not share His glory with another, is a jealous God. And if I remember my Bible correctly, wasn’t the desire to be just like God kind of what led to the whole Fall thing in the first place? How ironic, the very thing, the very first temptation that led to the very first sin led to this whole fallen depraved state, in the first place is at the core of the Word of Faith Movement? They teach it as truth and they want you to believe it. How ironic, how dreadfully ironic.
Who else in the Bible wanted to be just like God? Satan. He wanted the worship that God was getting. And he rose up in rebellion against God and it got him and a third of the angels along with him kicked out of heaven. The little god’s doctrine is quite literally a doctrine of demons and the prosperity preachers teach it as truth. I want us briefly to look at what the faith teachers teach about the doctrine of the Fall. We’re going to breeze through these real quickly.
Number one, the faith preachers teach that Adam was an exact duplicate of God, not a little like God, not a lot like God, he was God, that God literally reproduced himself in Adam. Adam was a carbon copy Yahweh. Well we all know what happened, right? Adam sinned. Which, of course, brings up a very interesting question. If Adam was Yahweh and he sinned, was it Yahweh who sinned? Carried thee doctrines out to their logical conclusions, see how heretical they really are? Well when Adam sinned, he lost his supposed deity, transferred it to Satan. When this happened, the real Yahweh God lost His legal right to planet earth and was kicked out. And so according to classic Word/Faith theology, even as we sit here this afternoon, the real Yahweh God is up there somewhere but He’s got no access to planet earth. He’s been kicked out.
Well, somebody has to fill that void, right? So Satan is all too eager to step up to the plate and Satan becomes a legal God of planet earth. Dear ones, Satan is not the legal God of planet earth. God is the legal God of planet earth. “Earth is the Lord’s the fullness there of, the world and they that dwell therein.” Satan is referred to as the God of this age. Second Corinthians 4:4, some translations say God of this world, that word in the Greek, aion or accurately rendered as age, it’s not referring to this dirt and rock and water sphere on which you and I are now sitting. It’s not talking about that. Paul was making a theological point, not a legal point. God is the legal God of planet earth.
Well, guess what happens when a person gets saved? Guess what he gets back? He gets his godhood back. He regains his deity. He becomes God again just like Adam was before he fell. And this is why the prosperity preachers hold so tenaciously to prosperity, to health and wealth because we’re gods. And a god cannot be poor and a god certainly cannot be sick. A lot of people think that this stuff that you see on Christian television, and by the way, it’s not just Christian television, there are thousands and thousands, and thousands of churches all around the world that teach this stuff. It’s not just health and wealth. Those are just offshoots of a much more serious core theological problem with the Movement. It’s a different gospel. But this is why they hold so tenaciously to health and wealth, we’re gods.
What other theological cult, by the way, does that kind of remind you of? Mormonism. A lot of different overlaps between Word of Faith, Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, and even, believe it or not, Islam and even Hinduism. Same basic heresies, they’re just packaged differently for different audiences. But the allure of health and wealth is one of the things that makes this Movement so appealing and yet so profoundly dangerous at the same time, because the prosperity gospel essentially says this, “Come to Jesus because He’ll make you wealthy, and He’ll heal your body.” They appeal to two of the most basic and universal of all human desires. Most people want to be wealthy. And very few people enjoy being sick. And there’s a few who just like the attention, but most people don’t like to be sick. And they’ll say, “Well, if you’ll just come to Jesus, then you can have it.” Well sign me up. That’s a pretty good deal. You’re telling me if I come to Jesus, if I ask Jesus into my heart, He’ll make me wealthy? He’ll heal my body. I don’t have to be sick anymore, I can have my best life now? Yeah. Yeah, I’ll try Jesus.
But is that the real gospel? Or is the real gospel something a little bit more like this, “Come to Jesus because you’re a sinner and because of your sin, the wrath of God abides on you. And the only way to have that wrath removed is to repent of sins, turn from sins, and place your trust in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. And then, you will be saved. But on this earth? You’re not promised money, you’re not promised healing. What are we promised? Persecution. Some of those who live godly in Christ Jesus may be persecuted. All who live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” That’s not as popular. Saying come to Jesus cause you can be rich…God will heal you.
Friends, if you come to Jesus for those reasons or any other reason other than to escape the righteous wrath of God, you’ve come for the wrong reasons. False decision, false conversion, there is no prosperity gospel. There is no social gospel, thank you very much Tony Compollo(?) there are no adjectives to the gospel. If you add an adjective to the gospel, you’ve got a different gospel. There is just the gospel. That’s it.
Related to their emphasis on health and wealth is their softening of sin…their softening of sin. They may mention it from time to time, but they don’t go deeply into it. They don’t talk about sin very much. If they do, it’s just kind of in a casual surfacy sort of way. Watch this video clip from Joseph Prince. Joseph Prince is an up and coming, probably the fastest rising star right now in Word of Faith theology, watch this from Joseph Prince as he’s being interview of TBN. Listen carefully cause not everything he says here is wrong.
TBN: To do this…but you’re getting the same kind of response aren’t you? People need and want…
JOSEPH PRINCE: You know the word repentance like Joel said is from the Greek metanoia which literally means change your mind. And every time like Joel, I mean, preaching the Word without using the word repentance sometimes, well people’s minds are being changed all the time, from thinking this way negatively to thinking positively.
JUSTIN: Well, Joel…I mean, Joseph Prince says that the Greek word for repentance is metanoia. You know what? He’s right. And then he says that the word metanoia means to change your mind. You know what? Right again. But then did you notice how he fleshed it out? He said, “We may not be using the word repentance, you know, let’s not confuse anybody with theological terms that the Bible uses, so we may not be using that term but we’re teaching people to repent all of the time. When people go from thinking negatively to thinking positively.” Friends, that’s not repentance. By his definition of repentance, we could all repent simply by joining the optimist club, having a sunnier outlook on life. That’s not repentance. Genuine repentance is a change in mind, but it comes when God’s Holy Spirit grants repentance, He gives us a godly sorrow over our sin and when He grants us repentance, there is evidence of that. There is fruit of that. And that will be evident to other people around us. There will be deeds.
Paul says, “So, King Agrippa, I kept declaring that all people should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.” John the Baptist, “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” Does this mean we do good deeds in order to repent? No. But when God grants repentance, deeds, fruit, will be a natural outflow of that. It is a change in mind but it’s a change in mind that results in a changed life. Live to the glory of God.
Watch this video clip from Myles Munroe.
VIDEO MODERATOR: We get the mind of God about His will, we pray it. When we pray it, we give Him legal right...
MYLES MUNROE: ...to perform it. Yes. Let me define prayer for you in this show. Prayer is man giving God permission or license to interfere in earth’s affairs. In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference.
VIDEO MODERATOR: That’s incredible. (Applause) That is incredible.
MYLES MUNROE: God could do nothing on earth…nothing has God ever done on earth without a human giving Him access.
VIDEO MODERATOR: So He’s always looking for that somebody.
MYLES MUNROE: Always looking for a human to give Him power permission. In other words, God has the power, but you get the permission. God got the authority and the power, but you’ve got the license. So even though God can do anything, He can only do what you permit Him to do.
JUSTIN: God can only do what we permit Him to do. Dear friends, I would submit to you this afternoon that God can do whatever He jolly well wants to do and isn’t losing a great deal of anthropomorphic sleep over whether or not He’s got our permission to do it. God can do whatever He wants to do. Don’t take my word for it. Psalm 115 verse 3, “Our God is in the heavens, He does whatever He pleases.” Prosperity preachers, Word of Faith preachers will say, “Oh yeah, but that just means that God can do whatever He wants to do in heaven, not one earth.” Whatever the Lord pleases He does in heaven and in earth, in the seas and in all the deeps. Oops! God can do whatever He wants to do. He does not need our permission to do it.
You see, they have no concept of the power of God. They accuse us as cessationists of not believing the power of the Holy Spirit, limiting Him. No, they’re the ones who limit God, or at least think they do cause God needs our permission.
Watch this from Jesse Duplantis: This will bless you, watch it.
JESSE DUPLANTIS: Friends have frank and open conversations with each other. I’ve done that with the Lord. I’ve had the Lord say, “Jesse.” I’ve had a God come tell me, “This is what I’m going to do.” I’ve had the Lord and He’ll say, “What do you think about this?” God has asked me for my opinion.
JUSTIN: God asks Jesse Duplantis for his opinion? Pray tell continue, let’s not take him out of context, so continue Jesse.
JESSE DUPLANTIS: I said, “Well, Lord, since you asked, maybe I’m doing...” He said, “No, we can talk frankly. What do you think?” I said, “I don’t think you ought to do that.” He said, “Why you don’t think I ought to do that?” I said, “Well, you know, I know you know people more than I do, but you know, Lord, if you just let me…let me do a little bit more work on this individual, I think we can get him to you.” He says, “Okay, go ahead. Do what you have to do.” And I tell you what, the Bible said he who wins souls is wise.
JUSTIN: And he who thinks he can counsel God is a fool. Who is this…who is this that darkens My counsel by words without knowledge? Who does this man think he is? These people are not Christians.
Oh Justin, are you saying that they’re not saved? That’s exactly what I’m saying. That’s…you can mark my word, know they’re not saved. You cannot be indwelt by God’s Holy Spirit who leads us into truth, who sanctifies us in the truth, who illumines the meaning of God’s Word to us, you cannot be indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God and teach these kinds of blasphemies, these kinds of heresies. (Applause) The Holy Spirit would be screaming at them. Or the people in this Movement, the lay people, are they Christians? Most are not, the vast majority are not. There will be a smattering of real believers, but hear me, hear me, dear ones, when God saves somebody, He changes them and He leads them into truth. Can a genuine Christian be in serious theological error? Yes, for a season, not indefinitely…not indefinitely. If the Holy Spirit is strong enough to save you, He is also strong enough to move you out of a theological cult. We should be very, very concerned for our friends and family members who follow these false teachers. If the Holy Spirit is not screaming at them, is not convicting them, you know, something here is wrong. I can’t tell you how many e-mails I have gotten from people all around the world who are in this Movement and God saved them. Some people didn’t even know what was happening at the time. That happens to a lot of us, don’t even realize at the moment of what’s happening. But when God saves them, He moves them out…He moves them out of these heretical Movements and it usually doesn’t take very long.
Are Roman Catholics saved? Not if you agree and embrace all that the Roman Catholic Church teaches, no. My wife was saved out of the Roman Catholic Church. And after her conversion, she remained in the Catholic Church for about four weeks. She was gone. She couldn’t put all together, you know, all the theological terms and all that, you know, couldn’t give you a dissertation on the difference between imputed and infused righteousness, but she knew it was wrong. The Holy Spirit was inside of her, growing her, leading her out of error. If you have a friend or a family member in this Movement, plead with them, show them the truth. They’re in a cult. Watch this, chasing a little rabbit there, but it’s so serious, watch this from Jesse Duplantis.
JESSE DUPLANTIS: I’m going to say something that’s going to knock your lights off. God has the power to take life, but He can’t. He’s got the power to do it, but He won’t. He’s bound. He can’t. He says death and life is in the power of whose tongue? Yours. Are you ready for this? Do you want something to knock your lights off? You choose when you live. You choose when you die. Death and life is in the power of your tongue.
JUSTIN: So, God has the power to take life, but He can’t. I think that might come as a bit of a surprise to a number of people in the Bible. Remember King Herod when God killed him and he was eaten by worms? Remember Uzzah, reached up to steady the ark and God struck him dead. You think God doesn’t take obedience seriously? I think He would probably disagree with Mr. Duplantis. Who else? I don’t know, everybody alive on the face of the earth, except for eight people in that little flood thing. I bet they would beg to differ with Jesse Duplantis.
I want us briefly to look at what the faith preachers teach about the person of Jesus Christ. We can establish they preach a different Jesus, and establish they do indeed preach a different gospel. It was referenced this morning, but just to show you this quote again, I believe it was Dr. MacArthur that read this quote. This is from Creflo Dollar…Creflo Dollar: “And somebody said, Well Jesus came as God. Well how many of you know the Bible says God never sleeps or slumbers? And yet in the book of Mark we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat. Jesus came as a man at age 30. God is now getting ready to demonstrate to us and give us an example of what a man with the anointing can do. You all listen to me, please listen to me. This ain’t no heresy, I’m not some false prophet.”
Dear ones, as a general rule of thumb, if a preacher actually has to tell you that he’s not a false prophet, chances are… But Creflo Dollar says it just because Jesus was asleep in the back of the boat and God never sleeps or slumbers, then He could not have been God. That is ridiculous. When Jesus came to this earth, He was fully God and fully man, the God/Man. And as the God/Man, Jesus experienced many of the same things that you and I experience. He got hungry. He got thirsty. And guess what? He got sleepy. It does not mean He was not God. So why do they attack the deity of Christ like this? Because they…again as I said earlier…they want to elevate the Christian to the same status as Christ—all the rights, all the privileges, all the powers. We are just as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth. Again, direct quote.
This from Kenneth Copeland. Now Kenneth Copeland, and this is a prophecy, according to Kenneth Copeland Jesus said this to him. “Don’t be disturbed when people accuse you of thinking you’re a God, they crucified me for claiming that I was God, but I didn’t claim I was God. I just claimed that I walked with Him and He was in me, hallelujah, that’s what you’re doing.” Unbelievable. Jesus most certainly did claim to be God. “Before Abraham was, I am. If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father. I and the Father are one.” Jesus most certainly did claim to be God. And any Jesus he’s preaching who did not claim to be God, is not the Jesus of the Bible. If they preach a different Jesus, they preach a different gospel.
This from Copeland. “And I say this with all respect so it don’t upset you too bad, but I say it anyway: When I read in the Bible where He says, ‘I am,’ I just smile and I say, ‘I am, too.’”
Watch this video clip from Larry Huch and Paula White. And, gentlemen, if you’re in the sound booth, this video has a little bit lower level of audio, if you could just turn this up just a little for this one clip.
PAULA: We really begin to understand that, that when Jesus Christ paid the price, the first thing that happened after He said it is finished is the veil was rent from top to bottom, signifying that no man could do that, but the price that was paid was there’s now no separation, so that we have direct access in the Holy of Holies. We understand according to Hebrews that Jesus is our High Priest and He’s the first of many brethren, which means I now come into a priestly anointing. So I now can walk…
LARRY: Say that again, because they don’t get it.
PAULA: I now come into a priestly anointing…
LARRY: Jesus is not the only begotten Son of God, he is not. I’m a son of God.
PAULA: He’s the firstfruit.
LARRY: He’s the firstfruit, He’s the firstborn of many. But Jesus is not the only begotten Son of God.
JUSTIN: Can you believe that? Flat out denying that Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Have they read John 3:16? Friends, those of us who are saved, who have been regenerated by God’s Holy Spirit, we are children of God by adoption. There’s only one who is begotten and His name is Jesus.
Watch this video clip from Victoria Osteen. This is Joel Osteen’s wife and she is leading a communion service at their quote/unquote church which is problematic in and of itself, but that’s another issue. And she actually starts off pretty good, but it goes downhill real quickly. Watch this from Victoria Osteen.
VICTORIA OSTEEN: You see, Jesus walked this earth in a human body. He was man, He was God made flesh. The Bible says He was tempted and tried in every way, just like we are, but He overcame. See, Jesus was man until God touched him and put the Spirit of the living God on the inside of him. And that’s encouraging today.
JUSTIN: No, that’s heretical today. Jesus was just a man, just a man until God touched Him, put a Spirit on the inside of him, just a man. We are just men, just women and so when we get saved supposedly, we are just as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.
Wealth, health, speak things into existence, it’s a different gospel. They’ve got a different God, they’ve got a different Jesus, they’ve got a different gospel. Dear friends, it’s not enough, okay this is going to sound heretical in and of itself, but bear with me…it’s not enough to believe in Jesus, it’s not enough to believe in Jesus…you’ve got to believe in the right Jesus. Mormons believe in Jesus. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe in Jesus. Muslims believe in Jesus. You’ve got to believe in the right Jesus. You’ve got to believe in the Jesus of the Bible.
I want us briefly to look at the spiritual death of Jesus. This is a fundamental teaching that all of the faith preachers teach. They teach that Jesus’ death on the cross was not enough to pay for sins, not enough. That when Jesus died on the cross, the work of the atonement had just begun. And for time’s sake, I’ve got multiple, multiple videos of this, but time’s sake I’m not going to get into them. But this is something that they all teach. They teach that when Jesus died on the cross, He then went to hell, suffered, was tormented in hell, died spiritually, and ceased to be God. And then Jesus had to be reborn. Jesus had to get saved. And they say that that is where the real atonement for our sins took place, not on the cross but down in hell. And they all teach this. Even Joel Osteen has taught this. Joyce Meyer teaches this. Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, all of them, Kenneth Copeland…I mean, run the gamut, they all teach it. Bill Johnson, Bill Johnson in Redding, California, he’s one of the leaders, movers and shakers of the New Apostolic Reformation Movement. This is kind of an offshoot of the Word/Faith Movement, it’s everything that Word of Faith is, even worse, they even have more emphasis on miracles and signs and wonders and prophetic utterances, and modern day Apostles and things like this. Bill Johnson is a wolf. He is a false teacher. Bill Johnson also teaches this. This is…they all do, they all do. And they use the support Jesus’ words from the cross. “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” Probably even shouldn’t get into this because it’s too much to unpack in ten or fifteen minutes. But this is where this comes from. It’s not just Word of Faith and the NAR(?), it’s also…this is commonly held by many evangelicals, that Jesus died spiritually and when He was on the cross He was separated from God the Father. Be very careful with that.
Well Jesus is quoting Psalm chapter 22 verse 1, okay? So if He’s quoting Scripture, He’s applying not only that verse to Himself but the context of the passage to Himself. Okay? We don’t take verses of Scripture out of their proper context. Leave them in the context. And of all people who would know this, it would be of course Christ. So let’s look down a little bit further at the fuller context, Psalm 22, the Psalmist David continues, “But be Thou not far from Me, O Lord, for He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither has He hid His face from Him. But when He cried unto Him, He heard.
Dear friends, when it comes to the atonement, it’s important that we not say too little, it’s important also that we not say too much. There’s a certain mystery there that we’ll never fully understand this side of heaven. Was the agony of the cross the flagellation? Yes. The thirst? Yes. The nails? Yes. All of those things. It was more than that. It was the righteous wrath of God being poured out on the Son. In Jesus, God the Son fully drank in all of God’s wrath. Absolutely. But it was not a spiritual death. Dear Friends, if Jesus died spiritually, then that means He ceased to be God because what is God? God is Spirit and He must be worshiped in Spirit and in truth. So if Jesus died spiritually, then He ceased to be God. And if Jesus ceased to be God even for an instant, He never was God to begin with because God cannot cease to being God. Are there things that God cannot do? Yes, there are. God cannot sin. He cannot lie. God cannot deny Himself. God cannot cease being God. So if there’s ever a time when Jesus was not God, then He never was God to begin with.
There was anguish, to be sure, spiritual anguish, but not a spiritual death. The Psalmist very clear, “Be Thou not far from Me, O Lord, He has not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither has He hid His face from Him.” What else did Jesus say on the cross? “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do. Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit.” Jesus was praying to the Father on the cross. He was praying to Him. So we know that those lines of communication, if you will, within the triune Godhead were still very much intact. I can’t wrap my mind around that, none of us can, but it was not a spiritual death. It’s not a spiritual death. I mean, we could look at many, many texts, many texts, just a couple real briefly. “For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him where the things on earth, or in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. For Christ also died for sins.” How many times? “Once for all, the just for the unjust.” Not two deaths, one spiritual, once for all the just for the unjust that He might bring us to God having been put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit of God. Much more than, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace. It was the physical death of Jesus that atoned for our sins. Jesus did not cease to be God.
Something that you’ll notice about every cult, every theological cult disparages the cross of Jesus Christ, that it somehow wasn’t enough to pay for sins. Mormons disparage it. Jehovah’s Witnesses disparage it. Roman Catholicism disparages it because Roman Catholicism does not believe in salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. They believe you’ve got to add works to your faith. Friends, if you add anything to faith alone, you’ve got a different gospel. Roman Catholics, you may not be aware of this, but according to official Roman Catholic doctrine, when they have communion, they call it the sacrifice of the Mass, you know why they call it the sacrifice of the Mass? Because according to official Roman Catholic doctrine, when priests takes that little wafer, what they call the Host, and he lifts it up, he refers to it as the victim…the victim, Prince(?) Jesus was never a victim. His life was not taken, He gave it. But they lift up the quote/unquote victim and the priest is actually given power not to ask Jesus to come into the little cracker, but to pull Him out of heaven and put Him in the little cracker and that becomes the literal flesh of Jesus Christ. And then they sacrifice Him, sacrifice of the Mass. They sacrifice Him over and over and over and over and over, thousands and thousands of times each and every day.
To put it real bluntly, they’re killing Him. That is official Roman Catholic doctrine. It’s kind of ironic that the Catholic Church may be changed a little bit now, but the Catholic Church has been pretty strong on abortion, you know, that’s good. We should all be, you don’t even have to be a Christian to know it’s wrong to abort a baby. But it’s kind of ironic that they take such a strong stand on abortion and yet the one person who actually truly does not deserve death, they’ve got no problem killing Him. It’s a different gospel. Do I hate Roman Catholics? Absolutely not. Love Roman Catholics, hate Roman Catholicism. Like we should hate any aberrant doctrinal system, any theological cult. And if we love our Roman Catholic friends and family members, we should love them enough to tell them the truth. Every cult disparages the cross of Jesus Christ.
What else did Jesus say on the cross? “It is finished.” His work was completed on the cross. This has been just a jet tour over the Word of Faith Movement and I think now maybe we can see that it is indeed a different gospel. I hope this has been helpful to you. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at other aspects of the Word of Faith Movement. We’ll be looking at tongues some, we’ll be looking at people who claim they’ve been to heaven. Looking at that, how does God speak to us today? We’ll be looking at that. Healing, physical healing, is it always God’s will to be healed? If I’m not healed is it because I don’t have enough faith? Is healing in the atonement? Isaiah 53:4 and 5, by His stripes we are healed. We’ll be looking at all those in tomorrow’s session. So thank you very much for coming.