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Posts Tagged ‘False Doctrine’

Encountering Prosperity Theology in Latin America

As a young Christian in a majority Roman Catholic country, I was always very excited when I met other young men and women who professed to be evangelical Christians. During my teen years, I spent a few months with some I considered Christians, people who were always eager to talk about religion and faith. When one of them learned I was a diabetic, his question left me perplexed: “So, what is it that you do?” He was asking what sin I’d committed that caused my diabetes. He then proceeded to explain how I could go to their church and their pastor would pray for me so I’d be healed.

Of that group of young friends, most—if not all—have fallen away from the faith. But the theology that fed that conversation isn’t only alive, it’s booming. In an article I wrote about the state of the church in Latin America, I argued prosperity theology is king in Latin America:

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Prosperity Gospel Born in the USA

My eyes were intently scanning, and perhaps my heart coveting, the piles of books at the Christian book fair in Kyiv, Ukraine. As I perused the merchandise, my eyes stopped, focused, and involuntarily rolled upward. There it was: Joel Osteen’s Your Best Life Now, translated into Russian, lying on the table in front of me. This was another reminder that although the modern prosperity gospel originated in the United States, its preachers have exported this deadly virus around the world to places such as Latin America, Africa, Asia, and even Eastern Europe.

This article will briefly trace the origins of the prosperity gospel and suggest some reasons as to why it has prospered in the United States.

Rooted in New Thought

The prosperity gospel is built on a quasi-Christian heresy, popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States, known as New Thought. This philosophy teaches that the key to health and wealth acquisition is thinking, visualizing, and speaking the right words. Norman Vincent Peale (1898–1993), pastor of Marble Collegiate Church in New York City, popularized New Thought ideas and techniques in America through his book The Power of Positive Thinking (1952). Ralph Waldo Trine (1866–1958), however, was the most prolific purveyor of New Thought. In both works, one can discern some of the key recurring elements of the prosperity gospel: speaking the right words, invoking a universal law of success with words, and having faith in oneself.

The ideas of New Thought influenced, among others, E. W. Kenyon (1867–1948), an evangelist, pastor, and founder of Bethel Bible Institute. His approach to theology is the basis for one of the prosperity gospel’s most distinctive features—speaking the right words to bring about a new reality; what you confess, you possess. Kenyon served as a link to the popular prosperity preachers that formed the foundation of the modern prosperity gospel movement.

For example, in the late 1940s, Oral Roberts burst onto the religious scene with his ministry of alleged healing and financial prosperity. In the 1980s, his television show was one of the most popular religious programs in the country. While Roberts certainly captured national attention and spread prosperity theology, most recognize Kenneth E. Hagin (1917–2003) as the most prominent evangelist of the prosperity gospel as well the father of the Word of Faith movement. More than any other factor, the Word of Faith movement was the vehicle responsible for spreading prosperity teaching across the United States in the late 20th century.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

5 Errors of the Prosperity Gospel

More than a century ago, speaking to the then-largest congregation in all Christendom, Charles Spurgeon said, “I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, ‘Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?’ You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.”

Over the years, however, the message being preached in some of the largest churches in the world has changed—indeed, a new gospel is being taught to many congregations today. This message has been ascribed many name, such as the “name it and claim it” gospel, the “blab it and grab it” gospel, the “health and wealth” gospel, the “prosperity gospel,” and “positive confession theology.”

No matter what name is used, the essence of this message is the same. Simply put, this “prosperity gospel” teaches that God wants believers to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and personally happy. Listen to the words of Robert Tilton, one of its best-known spokesmen: “I believe that it is the will of God for all to prosper because I see it in the Word, not because it has worked mightily for someone else. I do not put my eyes on men, but on God who gives me the power to get wealth.” Teachers of the prosperity gospel encourage their followers to pray for and even demand material flourishing from God.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

The Five Most Disturbing Things About a Benny Hinn Miracle Service

December 29, 2014 Leave a comment

My comment:

I don’t know if these are the five most disturbing things about a Benny Hinn miracle service, but nevertheless they do rank high on the things that are disturbing about Benny Hinn’s miracle services. Notice number 2 of this article. I have also made this same point when writing against Pentecostalism. You can read my previous article right here.

 

 

 

There are a lot of things you should try at least once in your life — skydiving, eating some exotic delicacy, traveling alone. Let me give you one thing not to add to that list: attending a Benny Hinn Holy Spirit Miracle Service.

I recently went to one in New York. Before going, I knew little about Hinn — a man who’s worth some $42 million — other than that he’s a big-deal televangelist among countless charismatic Christians. As someone who’s fairly unfamiliar with that sphere of Christianity, I was mostly just wary of being in a crowd of people speaking in tongues and being slain in the Spirit.

But that turned out to be the least uncomfortable thing about the service. What did happen was so much more upsetting, difficult, and unnerving. If you ever go, here are five unsettling things you’ll experience:

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Whatever Happened to Rob Bell

December 29, 2014 3 comments

(Do you remember the name Rob Bell? Have you wondered what happened to him after writing his book “Love Wins?” As of today, he has left the Church and has teamed up with Oprah Winfrey. Go figure.)

 

 

 

(RNS) Rob Bell was once the evangelical It Boy, the hipster pastor with the thick-rimmed glasses and the skinny jeans whose best-selling theology was captured in books with names such as “Velvet Elvis” and “Sex God.”

By 2006, the Chicago Sun-Times wondered aloud whether the Michigan megachurch pastor could be the next Billy Graham.

And then he went to hell.

In 2011, his book “Love Wins” pushed the evangelical envelope on the nature of heaven, hell and salvation. Many dismissed him as a modern-day heretic, unwilling to embrace traditional evangelicals beliefs about the hereafter.

 

 

 

Read the entire article here.

Visitors in the Potter’s House

December 1, 2014 6 comments

I was in the charismatic movement for 16 years, until I came across R. C. Sproul on the radio. This prompted me to begin to actually looking at scripture, so that I might understand what the writers of Holy writ were saying when they wrote their letters to the churches. I am blogging this article because it nails down the beliefs and practices of most modern charismatics. I attended small congregations, throughout my years in this movement, nevertheless there was little emphasis on bringing forth the word of God so that the congregation might understand it. Instead there was a huge emphases on stressing the charismatic views of this movement as a whole. Here is the article:


 

 

William F. Leonhart III / 1 week ago

In January 2012, I took a class taught by Justin Peters at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary entitled “Theology of the Word of Faith Movement.” One of the assignments we were given was to attend a Word of Faith church or conference in the area and write an essay detailing our experience.. I chose to attend T.D. Jakes’ church in Dallas: The Potter’s House. The article to follow is the substance of the essay I submitted.

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I attend a church that rents space in another church’s building, so we alternate our service times with them. We usually meet at three o’clock in the afternoon on Sundays. On March 25, 2012, I woke up earlier than I’ve woken up on a Sunday in years. At 8:30am, I found myself having coffee with my friend John, a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and a fellow member at my church. He had agreed to go with me to visit The Potter’s House, the home church of Bishop T.D. Jakes, a well known prosperity preacher and Oneness Pentecostal. What we witnessed that day was baffling to put it lightly. At times, the “service” was theatrical. At times, it was compelling. At times, it was confusing. However, at no point would I classify what was transpiring before my eyes as true, godly worship from God’s people…..

Next was the praise and worship time which was hard to follow because, again, the person of God was not the unmistakable focus of the praise and worship, except perhaps in word. There were dancers who looked more Hindu than Christian as they twirled and waved silken scarves in the air. Those leading the singing seemed more concerned with performing for the people than leading them in worship and admiration of God. Sadly, I cannot say that there was any element in this spectacle to which I had not already been exposed in Southern Baptist mega-churches. Nevertheless, I would argue that, wherever this type of performance exists, it is not God-honoring worship. By about the fifth song, John leaned over to me and said, “Have we really been here an hour already?” Later, he would explain that he was dismayed at the lack of emphasis on the word of God. We had been at “church” for an hour, and the word of God had not been referenced even once…..

 

 

 
Read the entire article here.

Prevenient Grace and Semi-Pelagianism Pt 8

Conclusion

The Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace is fraught with serious problems. It has a deficient view of human depravity allowing its view of divine grace to mitigate the effects of depravity. It does so by enabling all human beings with an ability to “seek” after God contrary to the Bible’s descriptions of corruption and spiritual inability in the natural man. Subsequently, the doctrine under-girds a deficient view of the natural human will by saying it is freed from the bondage of sin and capable of acting contrary to the unbeliever’s sin nature. It has a deficient view of regeneration by failing to recognize that apart from receiving a new nature the natural man cannot and will not believe upon Christ for salvation. Finally, the doctrine has a deficient view of God’s grace and the unmitigated power it has to transform sinners. Rather, Arminians believe divine grace can and must be resisted placing the final determining power for salvation in the hands of the man who wills not the God who has mercy upon spiritually impotent and recalcitrant creatures. The natural man is depraved, his will enslaved by an unregenerate nature and incapable of exercising faith in Christ apart from the monergistic transforming irresistible grace of God. These conclusions place the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace under the essential rubric of semi-Pelagianism under which it is difficult for it to escape.

Scott Christensen-Prevenient Grace and Semi-Pelagianism

Joel Osteen likes God, he just doesn’t like Jesus

August 12, 2014 2 comments

OsteenJoel Osteen is always quick to point us to God. He wants us to claim that we are somebody and that we can reach for the stars. Nevertheless, we have to ask ourselves: Is the god of Osteen’s self help messages really God?

The God of the Bible gave revelation throughout scripture that pointed to Christ. Jesus Christ was the fulfillment and revelation of all that God proclaimed throughout the Old Testament. Yet Osteen’s messages are Christ-less. Joel Osteen hardly ever mentions Jesus Christ.

If God points us towards Christ as the second Adam, and points us towards Christ in the passover, in the priesthood, etc, etc….and then reveals him in the New Testament as the High Priest and the substitutionary atonement that takes away sin, then why isn’t Osteen interested in proclaiming this to the world? Is it because Osteen doesn’t really see mankind as fallen depraved sinners? Is Osteen really speaking of the God of the Bible when he speaks every Sunday?

Is Osteen’s self-help messages Christ-less and do they contain no gospel message for the world?

I leave you to decide by clicking right here.

Joel Osteen’s Theology of Glory

August 12, 2014 2 comments

OsteenI have friends and family who are captivated by Joel Osteen. They love to see a man every Sunday smiling at them, telling them that they are better than what they believe themselves to be. I mean who wouldn’t want to hear this? We all want to be encouraged and compelled on to bigger and better things. We all want to feel important and strive to look important when others are around. We even try to win God’s favor by presenting ourselves as holy and righteous around church members and boasting of what we have done in Christ name. Yet we never always feel the way we present ourselves to others.

And this is where Osteen comes into the picture. The reason Osteen holds multitudes captive is because he speaks to their sin nature and encourages them in their sin. The problem is not that they are corrupt, depraved, wretched sinners and that they don’t love themselves to much, but they miss the blessings of God because they have low self esteem and don’t love themselves enough. This is the message that Osteen preaches to thousands, if not millions every Sunday.

Is this our problem? Do we have low self esteem and belittle ourselves to much? Do we miss God’s favor because we haven’t claimed more importance and glory for ourselves? Or do we miss God’s favor because we haven’t viewed ourselves the way God’s word proclaims that we are? Do we miss God’s favor because we are trying to steal what rightfully belongs to him? We try to glorify ourselves and leave God to be just our eternal provider. We want him to recognize our importance and if we will just rise up above our present state of mind and proclaim that we are somebody, then we can have even more from his eternal storehouse of goods.

Osteen is a charlatan. He is a self help guru, who encourages everyone to reach for more glory. The glory that we do not rightfully deserve. His methods and words are never from scripture, but instead are from what we already claim for ourselves. It is part of our corrupt sin nature to boast and think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think.

Osteen never quotes scripture. He instead provides quotes that we already conceive in our own minds. Our hearts are idol factories and produce more corrupt and vain thoughts of ourselves than what he could ever provide.

What we have got to ask ourselves is: Does Osteen’s quotes actually work in the real world? Can we rise up out of our so-called comfortable state and reach for God’s glory and gain his eternal favor? Or should we be examining what he states with scripture and recognize that what he says comes from the very root of the sin nature?

Here are some quotes by Osteen and I leave you to decide for yourself.

Become a heretic for a while

August 12, 2014 3 comments

Heresy serves a purpose. Thats right, I said heresy serves a purpose. Now before you think that I have slipped and fallen in the shower hear me out.

Heresy has served a purpose throughout the history of the church by forcing the church to engage it and then clarifying or defining what the Bible truly states concerning the issue that is being distorted.

For instance, the Arian heresy pushed the church to the point to where it had to step up and Biblically define what the scriptures stated concerning Christ’s deity. The reason that orthodox Christianity holds to the doctrine that God is three persons, but one God, is because the church dealt with the Arian heresy at the Council of Nicaea.

Heresies are not new. They usually appear wrapped in new words or are promoted as being scripturally supported. The reason most today cannot identify heresies is because most today have no idea what a heresy is or they haven’t studied the heresies that have been refuted by the church throughout its history.

This much said I thought that I would point you to an article that I believe needs to be read and digested by all Christians. Here is a quote from the article:

 

 

I recently spent several hours trying to convince a class that Arius was right, the Son is not equal with the Father, and Athanasius blew it.

So we looked at all the biblical data suggesting that the Son is subordinate to the Father. We discussed Greek philosophy and how the Nicene view of three persons (hypostases) in one substance (ousia) necessarily entails either modalism–i.e. the one substance (God) just manifested himself at different times as different persons (Father, Son, and Spirit)–or tritheism–i.e. the one substance (deity) gets expressed in three distinct beings (Father, Son, and Spirit) just like our one human nature gets expressed as many particular humans. And, most importantly, we talked about the Cross, how Athanasius’ overly divine Son downplays the real human suffering on the cross that is a necessary part of any true atonement.

In short, we presented a pretty compelling argument for the truth of Arianism. Indeed, when we were done and had summarized all the strongest arguments for Arianism on the board, I asked the class to refute them. And they were stuck. They still felt intuitively that Arianism had to be wrong, but they couldn’t find the chinks in the armor. It looked so compelling.

 

 

To read the entire article click here.