15 October 2007

"Test Every Spirit"--the prosperity "gospel" part 1

Let me ask you this: What would you think of someone who called themselves a “prophet of God”, who made this claim in 1989, that

“The Spirit of God tells me, an earthquake will hit the East Coast of America and destroy much in the 90's. Not one place will be safe from earthquakes in the 90's.” (1)

Or this:

“The Lord also tells me to tell you, in mid 90s, about '94 or '95…God will destroy the homosexual community of America…He will destroy it with fire.” (1)

Or, what would you think if the “prophet of God” made this claim:

“I'm prophesying this. Jesus Christ the Son of God is about to appear physically in some Churches, some meetings and to many of His people”, and that Jesus Christ would appear with him, physically, on stage, in Nairobi, Kenya? (1)

You’re probably guessing that I’m talking about some crackpot lunatic living in a run-down trailer somewhere in the desert, and nobody in the world would ever listen to this guy. Well, guess again. This man has a large audience, many people believe him to be a prophet of God, and many people believe him more than they do their own Bibles. The man is seen on TV stations around the country, and around the world. His name is Benny Hinn.

And he isn't the only false prophet of the “prosperity gospel” movement. Kenneth Copeland said that God is “being that stands somewhere around 6-2, 6-3, that weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of a couple hundred pounds, little better.” If you haven’t guessed already, we’re going to be looking at the prosperity "gospel" today. This prosperity "gospel" is more than just teaching a person how to twist the scriptures in order to demand God gives us everything we want. There is a whole system to it, and we’re going to look deeper at it today.

The cover of the September 6, 2006 issue of Time Magazine carried this headline: “Does God want you to be rich?” The cover story that week was about one of the most damaging movements to ever find its way into the church. It’s been around for years, but in the 1990’s a new crop of preachers gave it a much wider audience. People like Kenneth Copeland and Benny Hinn, Rod Parsley and Jesse Duplantis. These and others who followed the teachings of Oral Roberts and Ken Hagin began to spread this “gospel”—called the “prosperity” gospel—on the cable TV network TBN.

Not only do those who preach the prosperity “gospel” preach a different God, they preach a different Christ, and they pervert the Word of God for their own financial gain. But ya know what’s really weird? The “prosperity” part isn't the worst part of this teaching. I’m going to show you today how the prosperity gospel is built on lies, deceit, blasphemy, and a teaching that we are gods.

We’re going to see how this prosperity “gospel” is—and I do not use this word lightly, but I say this in all seriousness—this prosperity “gospel” is a heresy. The word “heresy” is used to describe a teaching about God, or Jesus, or salvation that is unbiblical, and can actually lead a person down a path that leads to them not being saved. For example, the Mormon teaching that God had a beginning, that He began by being born as person like you or me. That is a heresy. It is teaching a false God, and anyone who believes it is not saved. The Jehovah’s Witnesses who claim that Jesus was really Michael the archangel—these people teach a false Christ, they commit heresy, and anyone who believes them is not saved. Most people who follow the prosperity "gospel" are, indeed, lost. And if I would dare to say that ALL those who PREACH it ARE lost and without God. And I'll show you why.

It all starts with a lack of understanding of what the Bible says. Here is a quote from the latest issue of “Victory” magazine, from Kenneth Copeland Ministries:

…God is a being with authority. So, when He made man in His image, He gave him authority too… (2)

This is where “Brother” Copeland’s misunderstanding of Scripture begins. The verse he is referring to is Genesis 1:28—And God blessed them, and God said unto them, "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth." First of all, Adam had DOMINION over the earth, not AUTHORITY. Authority and dominion are two different things. The word “authority” means, “the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed.” Dominion simply means, “To dominate.” In other words, God made man to be greater in rank than any other thing that He created. But authority over the Earth was NEVER given to man.

Think about it this way: If I am going out of town on a business trip, and I ask you, “Hey, can you watch my kid for a week?” I'll probably leave you with a list of things the child can and can't do; what he likes to eat, how late he can stay up, what shows he’s allowed to watch. I am giving you dominion over that child. I am placing that child in your care, and you are responsible for carrying out my desires for that child while I’m gone. Now, suppose you're driving the child to school. A car pulls out of Kroger’s and BAM!! Broadsides you. You take the child to the hospital, but in order for the doctors to do anything, they need to get permission from an adult—not just any adult—they need to get permission from someone who is legally able to give that permission. someone who can authorize treatment. That child’s parent or guardian. Someone with the proper authority.

God placed the care and nurture of Earth in Adam’s hands. But God has the final authority over it. We cannot do anything unless God lets it happen.
  • Psalm 24:1The earth is the LORD'S, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein.
  • Isaiah 66:1—“Heaven is My throne, the Earth is My footstool.”
  • Exodus 19:5--"Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine."
  • Deuteronomy 10:14--"Indeed heaven and the highest heavens belong to the LORD your God, also the earth with all that is in it."
Well, next they say that when Adam sinned, he gave authority over to Satan.

God’s on the outside looking in. He doesn’t have any legal entree into the earth. The thing don’t belong to Him. You see how sassy the Devil was in the presence of God in the book of Job? God said, “Where have you been?”… He [Satan] didn’t even have to answer if he didn’t want to … God didn’t argue with him a bit! You see, this is the position that God’s been in … Might say, “Well, if God’s running things He’s doing a lousy job of it.” He hadn’t been running ‘em, except when He’s just got, you know, a little bit of a chance. (3)

This is of course wrong, because God has always had authority over everything. Adam never had authority to begin with. And guess what? Even Satan has to obey God! Think about what it says in the book of Job. Satan was wandering around the Earth, stirring up trouble. When Satan wanted to test Job, he had to get permission from God! And he could not do more than God allowed him to do. Job 1:12—“Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” A little later on in chapter 2, Satan still isn't convinced, so God gives Satan a little more latitude, but says in Job 2:6, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.” That’s because everything in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, is under God’s control and authority! Even Satan! Even Satan is under God’s authority! Always has been, always will!

Well, according to the prosperity "gospel", why did Jesus come to Earth? Jesse Duplantis says that

“The very first thing on Jesus` agenda was to get rid of poverty…” (4)

“Brother” Copeland says the same thing. That when Jesus said, “Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the kingdom of God…” that Jesus was telling them they weren’t gonna be broke no more. 1st Timothy 1:15 says, This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came to— get rid of poverty? Deal with social issues? Wipe out disease? No. Christ Jesus came to save sinners. Jesus came, made Himself of no reputation, and humbled Himself and was obedient unto death even the death of the cross because we humans are sinful creatures who were destined for an eternity in Hell but He loved us enough to take the penalty for our sins on His own body on the cross! Speaking of the cross, what does “Brother Copeland” think about it?

“Don’t sit around begging God to do something about the curse of sickness or poverty or sin in your life. He’s already done all that needs to be done. He sent Jesus to the cross…He’s stripped Satan of his authority, and He’s given it back to you in the name of Jesus.” (5)

Jesus did not go to the Cross to die a hideous, brutal, shameful, humiliating death so we could drive a Bentley! Nowhere—NOWHERE—does it ever say that Jesus died on the Cross so you could have a pain-free life!!! He died on the Cross because we humans are selfish, with no desire to follow after God! And in order to redeem us from an eternity in torment and anguish and wailing and gnashing of teeth, He took our sins upon His own shoulders upon the Cross.

Jesus went to the Cross so God could, “… [strip] Satan of his authority, and [give] it back to you in the name of Jesus.” Hogwash! Matthew 28:18—And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth." Did ya hear what I said my friends? We don’t have authority over ANYTHING!! Jesus has authority over EVERYTHING!!! We don’t have it in His name!!! He has it in His own name!!! To claim HIS authority for ourselves is nothing short of spiritual embezzlement!!

What would happen if I went around wearing a policeman uniform? And I tried arresting people because I though they were breaking the law? I’d get arrested, wouldn’t I? I would be breaking the law, and I would be punished. The same thing happens when we try claiming the authority that God the Father gave to our Lord Jesus Christ! WE would be in danger of judgment!

We’re just getting’ started here, folks!

Here’s a little something extra for ya. This past September 22nd was Yom Kippur, or the Old Testament “Day of Atonement.” It was the one day out of the year when the high priest would go into the Holy of Holies, with the blood of a lamb having no spot or blemish, to seek forgiveness of the people’s sins against God. But now, Paula White says that,

“…as modern-day children of God we should also remember and honor God’s biblically established laws, covenants, and decrees…As Christians, we are encouraged to observe the Day of Atonement also in remembrance of Christ.” (6)

THAT IS UNBIBLICAL!! The gospel according to Paula White says that as atonement for our sins, we need to send HER our money. At her website it says, “Honor God with your ‘Atonement Offering!’” Thing is,
  • James 2:10--…whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one point, he is guilty of all.
  • Colossians 2:16-17--Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.
  • Galatians 3:24—Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Even "Pastor" Benny is getting in on the act. “Pastor” Paula is committing a sin by telling us we are to keep the OT law, and by perverting the Word of God. Not to mention the fact that she is a woman and calling herself a “pastor.” She is doing is what the writer of Hebrews warns us about in Hebrews 10:29—Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?


Part 2 tomorrow.


(1) Orlando Christian Center, December 31, 1989.

(2) Kenneth Copeland. Victory! Magazine. 9/07. p. 25.

(3) Copeland, "Image of God in You III," audiotape #01-1403, Kenneth Copeland Ministries, 1989.

(4) Nov. 1997 Voice of the Covenant magazine p.5.

(5) Kenneth Copeland. Victory! Magazine. 9/07. p. 5.

(6) From Paula White Ministries. See this link.

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