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Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church/
The Prosperity Doctrine

 

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The Prosperity Doctrine
Part V... Prosperity and The

Tele-Evangelists

Carol Brooks

    Index to All Sections

    Section I: Introduction and Origins
    Section II: The Whole Counsel of God
    Section III: Supposed Proof Texts. Rhema Vs. Logos
    Section IV: Joel Osteen.. The Blind Leading The Blind
    You Are Here 001orange Section V: General Principles, The Tele-Evangelists
    Section VI: In The Service of God OR Mammon, Covetousness and Greed, The Crown Without The Cross? What Happened to Prayer?, The Sovereignty of God
    Section VII: Conclusion
     

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    ON THIS PAGE

    General Principles Behind The Prosperity Doctrine
    Equating wealth with faith and godliness
    God wants you to be wealthy
    Rewards now?
    Expensive clothes and jewelry

    Prosperity and The Tele-Evangelists

    In The Service of God OR Mammon
    Covetousness and Greed
    Needs Vs. Wants
    The Best of Both Worlds?

    The Crown Without The Cross

    The Prosperity Doctrine, Prayer and The Sovereignty of God

    Conclusion
    Does God Want Us To Be Poor?
    The Link Between Love and Desire
    Front and Center Stage
    Universal Application?

    Muddling Through?

    God's Less Than Wealthy Servants
    God Funds His Own Projects

    How Does Thought Precede Physical Form?
    The End Result.. Rendering The Creator Redundant

    Finally

     

    General Principles Behind The Prosperity Doctrine
    Not only do the specific Bible verses most used by the Prosperity doctrine teachers not prove what they teach, the Scriptures also refute the general principles behind this belief.


    Some Prosperity teachers equate wealth with faith and godliness. The Bible does not agree

      "They will throw their silver into the streets, and their gold will be an unclean thing. Their silver and gold will not be able to save them in the day of the LORD's wrath. They will not satisfy their hunger or fill their stomachs with it, for it has made them stumble into sin." (Ezekiel 7:19)

      "Then Jesus said to his disciples, 'I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." (Matthew 19:23-24)

      ‘He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty.’ (Luke 1:52-53)

      "Looking at his disciples, he said: 'Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh... "But woe to you who are rich; for you have received your consolation.” (Luke 6:20-21, 24)

      But let the brother of low degree glory in his high estate: and the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun ariseth with the scorching wind, and withereth the grass: and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his goings. (James 1:9-11)

      Hearken, my beloved brethren; did not God choose them that are poor as to the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to them that love him? (James 2:5)

      "Come now, ye rich, weep and howl for your miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and your silver are rusted; and their rust shall be for a testimony against you, and shall eat your flesh as fire. Ye have laid up your treasure in the last days. (James 5:1-3)

       Because you say, I am rich, and have gotten riches, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art the wretched one and miserable and poor and blind and naked: (Revelation 3:17)


    Prosperity teachers create greed by telling you that you that God wants you to be wealthy.. it is His will for you to prosper. Yet, over and over again the Bible warns about the desire to be rich and against focusing on the material things of this world.

      He that hath an evil eye hasteth after riches, And knoweth not that want shall come upon him. [Proverbs 28:22]

      Remove far from me falsehood and lies; Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is needful for me: Lest I be full, and deny thee, and say, Who is Jehovah? Or lest I be poor, and steal, And use profanely the name of my God. [Proverbs 30:8-9]

      And soldiers also asked him, saying, And we, what must we do? And he said unto them, Extort from no man by violence, neither accuse any one wrongfully; and be content with your wages. [Luke 3:14]

      Set your mind on the things that are above, not on the things that are upon the earth. [Colossians 3:2]

      whose end is perdition, whose god is the belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things. [Philippians 3:19]

      "But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

      Be ye free from the love of money; content with such things as ye have: for himself hath said, I will in no wise fail thee, neither will I in any wise forsake thee. [Hebrews 13:5]


    They teach that
    you will be rewarded now .. in this life. The Bible begs to differ

      "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done." (Matthew 16:27)

      But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous." (Luke 14:13-14)

      "Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven..." (Luke 6:23) (See also: Luke 12:33,  Matthew 5:12, Matthew 19:21)

      "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)

      "Jesus said to them, 'I tell you the truth, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life." (Matthew 19:28-29)

      Be patient therefore, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient over it, until it receive the early and latter rain. (James 5:7)

      "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done." (Revelation 22:12)


    They often wear
    expensive clothes and jewelry, to say nothing of the cars they drive and the houses they live in etc. The Bible says ...

      "Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long...Woe to you..." (Matthew 23:5, 13)

      "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight." (1 Peter 3:3-4)

      "I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God." (1 Timothy 2:9-10)

    In winding down this section, we could do worse than to quote the apostle Paul...[Emphasis Added]

      Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them that are causing the divisions and occasions of stumbling, contrary to the doctrine which ye learned: and turn away from them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Christ, but their own belly; and by their smooth and fair speech they beguile the hearts of the innocent. [Romans 16:17-18]

    But let us take a brief look at what false teaching have done for the wolves....


    Prosperity and The Tele-Evangelists
    Although the Bible clearly warns church leaders against being lovers of money, greedy for money, or using godliness as a means to financial gain...

      "If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

      Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money." (1 Timothy 3:2-3)

      Deacons in like manner must be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; (1Timothy 3:8)

      For the bishop must be blameless, as God's steward; not self-willed, not soon angry, no brawler, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; [Titus 1:7] 

      "Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, serving as overseers, not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not greedy for money, but eager to serve..." (1 Peter 5:2)

      wranglings of men corrupted in mind and bereft of the truth, supposing that godliness is a way of gain. But godliness with contentment is great gain: for we brought nothing into the world, for neither can we carry anything out; but having food and covering we shall be therewith content. But they that are minded to be rich fall into a temptation and a snare and many foolish and hurtful lusts, such as drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil: which some reaching after have been led astray from the faith, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. [1Timothy 6:5-11]

    ... Prosperity/financial advancement are two of the greatest selling points of the ‘evangelical’ ministers today. Their entire "Gospel" can be summed up in the following quote from Marcus Bishop

      "Financial prosperity is just as much a part of the Gospel as anything else. …And I'm going to tell you something right now. I'm with the Apostle Paul in Romans chapter one: I'm not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ; …I'm not ashamed of prosperity. I'm not ashamed that Jesus bought and paid for me to be wealthy.... Let me just tell you from the heart of God, preachers are supposed to be rich." [29]

    Jesse Duplantis and Creflo Dollar took it a step further, with one claiming that the first thing on Jesus' agenda was to get rid of poverty, and the other that God is not going to come back for a church in debt.

      “Would you like to know why some people, including ministries, never get out of poverty? Its not because they aren't smart; It's not because they don't have windows of opportunity. It's because they're not anointed. If you're not anointed, poverty will follow you all the days of your life. His first objective was to get rid of poverty” [30]

      "God is coming back for a church without spot or blemish so he is not coming back to a church in debt…this revival must take place before Jesus can come back he cannot come back for a broke church, he cannot come back for a sick church, he cannot come back for a church that is in debt that would be against his word, I'm coming back for a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle so that means there's going to be some quick transference going on." [31]

    Note: The word “anointed” has become the most overused, overworked, misunderstood, misinterpreted term in the Pentecostal and Charismatic arenas. Who are really the Lord's anointed?

    [See Related Article Touch Not Mine Anointed]

    And while these claims were made quite a few years ago, watching any of these jokers on TBN for even a few minutes (if you can so so without getting the dry heaves) shows that nothing, absolutely nothing, has changed. Apart from a couple of them getting arrested for assaulting their wives, and an extra marital affair and/or divorce or two thrown in for good measure, the story remains the same. Like the barkers standing outside a circus or carnival attempting to attract customers by shouting out its attractions, the pitch never changes.

    But, while these frauds seem to be living proof of the power of positive confession, what they hope people will not pay too much attention to is the constant begging for money, the massive fund-raisers, the barrage of direct mailing and advertising campaigns allow them to live their lavish life styles [See Lifestyles of The Tele-Evangelists]. What is really scary is that they would have people believe that God blessed them with this prosperity for merely living in the faith, and that the average common man is guaranteed this kind of life by the Bible. Only those with insufficient faith are living in poverty. Only those who are willing to go the extra mile, by throwing their last dollar onto the already huge ‘love offering’ pile, will be blessed by God and find the prosperity they seek.

    Yet, who knows how many hundreds of thousands regularly respond to these charlatans, totally ignoring the fact is that virtually no layman without the benefit of stage, air time, charisma and a well memorized collection of out of context Bible verses ever comes anywhere near acquiring the material wealth that these high flying ministers have amassed. It seems to be quite the norm that the preachers and teachers drive a Rolls Royce while demanding more money from even the parishioner who has to scrape together the bus fare (and offering) to make it to church on Sunday. As said by Angelo Coccaro – Pastor of the Living Word Christian Church of San Antonio

      ".. many faithful followers give of their hard earned money at the request of these spoiled brats in hopes of pleasing God and doing their part in the ministry. And while money is being begged for this project, or that country, or this satellite, or that TV station, millions of dollars are going into their own homes, furnishings, offices, cars, boats, beach houses, butlers, clothes, and jewelry! My brethren, these things ought not so to be! [32]

    The Bible clearly tells us they shall make merchandise of you! Are you paying attention? The Bible has already warned that you will become a means for their gain. ... 

      And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. [2 Peter 2:3]

    These ministers live in multimillion dollar dream houses, own boats, private jets, works of art worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, wear the most expensive suits and deck themselves liberally with gold and jewelry because, according to their own theology, if they weren't rich and prosperous, they would not be blessed.

    The Lord makes it perfectly clear that there is nothing wrong with wealth in and of itself. Riches are merely a neutral tool that can be used for good or can be used for evil. However as the Word warns, money has one very dangerous quality, namely … the ease with which people fall in love with it. While we need money to pay our bills, put food on the table and live a moderately comfortable life; money and all it buys is not the be all and end all of our existence. Jesus makes it very clear when He talks about us ‘accumulating treasures’ that He is speaking of the greater reward that awaits His people in heaven. Again He specifically warns against storing up treasures on this earth.

      "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19-20)

    Laying out the danger of gathering riches on this earth the Lords says that they are always in danger of being stolen or destroyed, where as the treasures in heaven are eternally kept waiting for us to partake in them.

    Yet this community runs a multi billion dollar industry that focuses on selling books, tapes and magazines, selling ‘love gifts’, financing massive mailing campaigns and buying more airtime to disperse their message to ever widening audiences. And what happens to all the money that is collected? One example (Besides Jesse’s Cessna and Price’s Rolls Royce) is the 5 million dollar, three-storied, nearly 9,500-square-foot house that boasts an elevator, a tennis court, six bedrooms, nine bathrooms, a billiard room, a climate-controlled wine cellar, a sweeping staircase and a pool with a fountain.

    This ‘palatial estate with ocean and city views' is owned by Paul and Jan Crouch, the owners of TBN that begs viewers to continue sending money so that they can keep doing their “evangelical work”. Benny Hinn stayed at the Kahala Mandarin in the presidential suite that costs $3,700-$5,000 a night during his ‘Miracle Crusade’ in Hawaii in Jan 2002. When He goes to Maui (he speaks at First Assembly headed by Pastor Morocco) he stays at the Grand Wailea in the $10,000 suite.

    And what about Kenneth Copeland's "18-thousand square foot home valued at $6.3 million" and his "private jets".  [33] If that does not qualify as sheer unadulterated greed I do not what would.

    (Whoops! Did I forget to mention Jesse’s Salvador Dali Menorah and other works of art at his headquarters in Louisiana?)

    [See Lifestyles of The Tele-Evangelists].

    But Jesus wasn’t done, He goes on to add in Matthew 6:21 that where our treasure is, there also will our heart be. The warning could not be more clear if it was a flashing neon sign on a dark winters night.. Where your wealth is there your heart is... where your heart is that is where you are.

    With all the wealth floating around the evangelical circles and With the constant barrage of messages telling people how to obtain (earthly) wealth, one has to assume (if one is to take the words of Jesus seriously) that the hearts of these “prosperity teachers” is firmly set on their their hoarded treasures on this morally corrupt earth. As Paul said in his letter to Timothy …

      “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness...” (1 Timothy 6:10)


    Salvation For a Buck:
    A few years ago, R.W. Shambach prophesied that if people make the $2000 faith pledge to TBN, not only will God give them the $2000 before the year 2000 but he will also make them totally debt free AND their WHOLE family will be saved before the year 2000. (TBN. Wed, 03-Nov-1999 16:50:58 GMT) All this without ever having to go through a messy admission that you are a sinner, and without even having to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just put your faith in your faith and in TBN. They'll do all the work for you.

    While the Bible does not condemn people making money fairly, nor does it condemn those who have it and use it for righteous purposes. I doubt it takes a benevolent view of fraud. When these tele-evangelists make extravagant promises about God repaying the “offerings” 100 fold, not only are they making fraudulent claims but they are also signing a promissory note on God’s behalf (Promissory notes differ from IOUs in that they contain a specific promise to pay, rather than simply acknowledging that a debt exists) make promises on the Lords behalf, other than those He Himself makes in His word.

    What the Catholic Church was doing in the 16th century is exactly what the tele-evangelical community is doing today… running a business in the name of God and His blessings. [See Martin Luther]

    The bottom line, no matter how much “word of faith” or “prosperity by faith” teachers want to tell congregations otherwise, is that prosperity is not a demonstration of how much faith (or lack there of) a person has or how much favor they have collected in God’s eyes. On the contrary the Bible warns us of excessive wealth leading to destruction, calls on us to serve and warns us against collecting wealth here on earth. Jesus (and somehow I get the feeling He knew what He was talking about) warned that if we collect treasure here on earth, our heart would be in those treasures instead of where it should be i.e. serving God and spreading the word.

    Regrettably, in the case of many of these evangelists, Jesus’ words have come to pass with pinpoint accuracy.

    They are teaching people greed and covetousness.


    Part VI... In The Service of God OR Mammon, Covetousness and Greed, The Crown Without The Cross? What Happened to Prayer? [HERE]

     

    End Notes
    [29] Marcus Bishop, Praise The Lord Telethon, November 2, 1998)

    [30] Jesse Duplantis. Voice of the Covenant magazine p.5 Nov. 1997

    [31] Creflo Dollar. Changing your World, March 27, 2000

    [32] Pastor Angelo Coccaro. I Believe Jesus Christian training center.
    http://lwccofsa.org/new_page_8.htm

    [33] Jay Gormley,  Investigation Of 2 North Texas Ministries Released. CBS 11 News.
    http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/01/06/investigation-of-two-north-texas-ministries-released/

    Prosperity-Back

    Index To Section On The Prosperity Doctrine ..
    Does God Want Us To Be Rich?

    www.inplainsite.org