6. Confession and Wealth (con't)
Let's now examine the first Book of Timothy and find out what it has to say about the
Word-Faith teachers' prosperity gospel, as well as the true definition of riches.
teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of
our Lord Jesus
Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud,
but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which
come envy, strife, reviling,
evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and
destitute of the truth,
who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw
yourself. Now godliness
with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this
world, and it is certain
we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these
we shall be content.
But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and
into many foolish
and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the
love of money is
a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in
and pierced themselves through with many sorrows." (1 Tim. 6:3-10)
Here we have it. This is a clear and concise refutation to
the prosperity doctrine. Let's take note of the following crucial points regarding those who teach that godliness is a means to financial
gain; as well the true definition of biblical prosperity:
- They are conceited. (Have you noticed their arrogance? They call it confidence.)
know nothing. (The blind leading the blind) [Matt. 15:14; Mark 7:7-9; 2 Cor. 11:13-15; 2 Peter 2:1-3]
- They are men of corrupt minds
who lack truth. (They distort the truth and dislike correction) [2 Tim. 4:3-4]
- They are greedy and believe that godliness is a source
of financial gain. [2 Cor. 2:17]
- We should not have fellowship with them.
- True riches are godliness coupled with contentment. [Heb.
- The Bible states that we should be content with food and clothing (basic living essentials). Contentment according to Word-Faith
teachers consist of large bank accounts, expensive homes, luxury cars, aircraft, jewelry, etc.
- The strong temptation of greed will
cause them to fall into a snare (trap). In a manner similar to drug addiction, Word-Faith teachers will defend and hold on to their
false doctrine despite the clear evidence that refutes their position.
In summation of 1 Tim. 6:3-10: From God's perspective, true
gain (prosperity) is attained when one lives a godly life and becomes content with their material possessions. Granted there are a
number of Christians who have been blessed with much money and other material resources; however, this is not the state or criteria
one must reach to be recognized as prosperous by biblical terms.
God's Word alludes to believers who were materially poor, as
well as those who were materially rich. Thus, we cannot offer poverty or wealth as an absolute prescriptive pertaining to godliness.
To do otherwise would lead to an out of context and unbalanced view of the Bible. The apostle Paul exemplified a more balanced viewpoint.
In Philippians 4:11-13, he states:
"Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have
learned in whatever state I am, to be
content: I know how to be abased, and I know how
to abound. Everywhere and in all things
I have learned both to be full and to be hungry,
both to abound and to suffer need. I can do
all things through Christ who strengthens me."
In the Book of Proverbs it states:
"Keep falsehood and lies far from
me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only
my daily bread." (Proverbs 30:8)
their greed, Word-Faith teachers have used the Bible to focus on men who were wealthy while concurrently ignoring scriptures that
clearly illustrate that some believers were poor. Then they "cherry pick" other portions of Scripture and mold them in a manner that
suits their self-indulgent agenda ... and that is to fleece the flock.
In order to conceal their lust for money, Word-Faith
teachers assert that "prosperity is more than just money and wealth." They claim that "prosperity" also means having a happy
godly marriage, happy godly children, divine health, etc.
It has already been proven that the Word-Faith teachers' divine health
theology has no biblical basis. In regard to a sound and healthy family life, there is no doubt that if Christians apply biblical
principles to the lives of their families, there will be many beneficial results. However, this does not mean there is a guarantee
that we will not suffer hardships and tribulations within our family structure. Furthermore, redirecting to biblical principles that
form healthy family relationships does not signify that the scriptures Word-Faith proponents employ pertaining to financial prosperity
are being used in proper context. This is nothing more than cleverly mixing lies with the truth in order to make the lies appear believable.
Satan has been using this trick since he duped Eve near the time of creation. Clearly, his tactics have not changed.
overwhelming evidence presented in this publication, it should be unmistakable that today's prosperity gospel is a doctrine that Christ
would strongly reject. While it is true that some believers have been conditioned to accept poverty, this does not support the justification
to develop a doctrine that is not biblically sound.
The Threats from the Untouchables
Word-Faith teachers do not take
kindly to being challenged. They demand everyone submit to their authoritarian rule and rendition of the scriptures without a critique.
Their corrupt agenda entails taking advantage of those who are unskilled in biblical interpretation. When confronted by someone who
is proficient in proper biblical exegesis, they use evasive tactics and resort to threats rather than offer constructive dialogue.
Word-Faith teachers are aware that they can't deal with the facts, and thus, if their errors are exposed they have much to lose
in power and fortune. In an effort to silence those who dare question or criticize them, Word-Faith leaders hide behind the verses
below to inflict fear of retribution from God upon anyone who takes such a dauntless interrogation into their "anointed" teachings.
Saying, "Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm." (Psalm 105:15)
not, that you be not judged." (Matthew 7:1)
"Who are you to judge another's servant? To
his own master he stands or falls. Indeed, he
will be made to stand, for God is able to make
him stand." (Rom. 14:4)
Not only do Word-Faith teachers attempt to deprive proper scriptural discernment through fear tactics,
they have also mentally conditioned their devoted followers to parrot these verses to anyone who critiques their pastor. To question
their "man of God" can be recognized as questioning God Himself. It should be apparent that this type of stratagem can be identified
among extreme cult leaders.
Let's now consider the following threats issued by Word-Faith teachers to those who criticize their
As reported by Kenneth Copeland:
- "There are people attempting to sit in judgment right today over the ministry
that I'm responsible for, and the ministry that Kenneth E. Hagin is responsible for....Several people that I know had criticized and
called that faith bunch out of Tulsa a cult. And some of 'em are dead right today in an early grave because of it, and there's more
than one of them got cancer." (Kenneth Copeland, "Why All Are Not Healed")
According to Paul Crouch:
- "I think they're damned and on
their way to hell and I don't think there's any redemption for them .... I say to hell with you! Oh hallelujah. Get out of God's way,
quit blocking God's bridges or God's gonna shoot you if I don't!" (Paul Crouch, TBN, April 2, 1991)
On sound doctrine, Crouch states:
Him (God) sort out all this doctrinal doo-doo. I don't care about it." (Paul Crouch, TBN, "Praise the Lord")
Benny Hinn had this to
- "You hear this. There are men and women in Southern California attacking me. I will tell you under the anointing now; you'll reap
it in your children. You'll never win. And your children will suffer. You're attacking me on the radio every night; you'll pay, and
your children will. Hear this from the lips of God's servant. You are in danger." (Benny Hinn, Melodyland Christian Center)
God in heaven, I wish I can just...You know, I have looked for one verse in the Bible, I just can't seem to find it; one verse that
says, 'if you don't like them kill them....' Sometimes I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun, I'll blow your head off!"
(Benny Hinn, TBN, November 8, 1990)
One would not be surprised to hear statements such as these from radical Islamic terrorists and
their supporting state networks. However, an alarm should sound if they are emanating from those who supposedly come in God's name.
The fact that numerous so called Christians would rather applaud and say "Amen" instead of rebuking this ungodly behavior illustrates
that many are walking in self-imposed blindness and idolatry. Jesus Christ, Paul, and the noble Berean Christians would find these
unscriptural dispositions appalling, but not surprising, in these last days of great deception.
Let's now examine Psalm 105:15,
Matthew 7:1, and Romans 14:4 and discover how the Word-Faith teachers have clearly misapplied these verses.
Psalm 105:15 has absolutely nothing to do with challenging and correcting false teachings within the church. The phrase, "My
anointed ones", is typically used in reference to Israel's kings (1 Sam. 12:3,5; 24:6,10; 26:9,11, 16,23; 2 Sam. 1:14,16; 19:21; Psalm
20:6; Lam. 4:20). The phrase, "My prophets", is used in reference to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Gen. 20:7; Psalm 105:6-15). In the
context of Psalm 105:15, it is literally speaking in terms of not inflicting physical harm upon God's anointed and prophets in the
Old Testament. Neither of these designations means that an appraisal regarding the teachings of the modern church is inappropriate.
The true purpose of this form of spiritual abuse is to halt opposition, suppress the truth, and prevent legitimate criticism from
diming the dazzling light that may uncover the darkness of the Word-Faith teachers' false ministries.
Let's postulate momentarily
that the Word-Faith teachers' interpretation is correct. Then how would we know who not to "touch"? How would we know who is teaching
falsely? Anyone can claim to be a preacher, pastor, or evangelist. Perhaps the latter question is just what Word-Faith leaders secretly
fear. Satan ministers do not want us to see them for who they really are: Wolves under sheepskin preying on your pockets. True men
of God welcome an examination and critique of their teachings; for they are established above all by their immaculacy of character
and doctrine (2 Cor. 4:2; Titus 1:7-9; 2:7-8). Solomon stated:
"Rebuke a wise man, and
he will love you." (Proverbs 9:8)
In reference to Matthew 7:1, if we read verses two through five,
it should be clear that these verses are instructing us not to judge hypocritically, self-righteously, and unfairly. This passage
does not mean that we are prohibited from investigating or judging what is taught by church leaders. If we go forward and read verses
15 and 16, Jesus continues by saying:
"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's
clothing, but inwardly they are
ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits...."
How can we to know who the false teachers and false prophets are if we do not judge their teachings
by the Word of God? John 7:24 states:
"Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with
righteous judgment." (John 7:24)
This means that we are commanded to exercise moral and doctrinal discernment. In Romans 16:17-18,
Paul commands believers to:
"note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid
them. For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive
the hearts of the simple." (Rom. 16:17-18)
Unfortunately, many "Christians" are not yielding to Jesus' and Paul's command regarding
proper discernment. Even after evidence is presented which exposes and refutes false teachings within their church, they will
continue to defend and support "their man of God." Who are they worshiping? Our Lord and Savior, or the man behind the pulpit?
By: Victor T. Stephens