Courtesy of  Ask the Chaplain

2 Peter 2:1,”… but there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

What do you think it means to deny the Lord? Many would say that any person or group that doesn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God would be denying the Lord and that would be true enough. False religions like Islam and Hinduism would fall into this category. Most orthodox Christians would include the pseudo Christian cults like Jehovah’s Witness’, Mormons, and others of that ilk. And they would be correct but are these false teachers Peter is referring to here?

If you look closely you will see that Peter says these false teachers will be “among you”. Since he was writing to a group of born again, Spirit filled believers, we must conclude that he is not talking about the obvious false religions or even pseudo Christian cults. The false teachers he is speaking of will be found within the Body of Christ.

Now how do you suppose that false teachers will get away with denying the Lord among a group of believers?

The word denying as it is used here is the Greek word arneomai {ar-neh’-om-ahee}. It is the same word used in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him….” Used in these contexts, the word means to contradict.

So a teacher that contradicts the Lord is in fact denying Him. He may say that Jesus is Lord. He may speak right sounding words claiming to be born again and he may have the biggest Bible you’ve ever seen but if his works or teaching contradicts the words of Jesus he is denying Him.

For example, when Benny Hinn claimed in 1999 that Jesus would physically appear at one of his upcoming crusades, he was contradicting the specific words of the Lord Jesus.

Math 24:23 -26
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

By making the claim that Jesus would physically appear at one of his crusades Hinn contradicted (denied) the words of the Lord and proved himself to be a false prophet and false teacher according to 2 Peter 2:1.

The so called principle of seed faith giving was first popularized by Oral Roberts almost 50 years ago. It proved to be so profitable to him that he essentially based his entire ministry on it. As with any other profitable venture others soon followed. Today it is used by virtually every “Faith” preacher, the majority of Christian television networks, and almost all TV preachers in general. It has even found its way into many mainstream and denominational churches.

How does seed faith giving work. It is loosely based (very loosely as we will see) on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Using the illustration of sowing seed, people are instructed that if they will give money to the church, the ministry, the TV network, the man of God, etc, God will multiply it back to them 30, 60, or 100 times more than they gave. In fact now days, about all you ever hear about is the 100 fold return. The 30 and 60 fold returns have pretty much been dropped altogether.

That’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say? Give God $1 and get back $100. Give God $100 and get back $10,000. Give God $10,000 and get back a cool million. And not only that, but you can also sow money and get back other things. Things like salvation for relatives, healing for incurable diseases, and deliverance from various demonic influences! That’s right; all you have to do is send your seed (meaning money) to the man of God!

Is this really what the parable of the sower is all about? What do you think? Let’s examine this important parable.

Luke 8:4-8 NASB
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great.” As He said these things, He would call out, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

Jesus explains the parable

Luke 8:11 NASB
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

Now right here anybody with even a minimal level of reading comprehension should be able to see that this parable has nothing to do with money. The seed is the word of God. Even a brand new baby Christian should be able to look at this and say “I don’t think these fellows are teaching this correctly”

Let’s continue with Jesus’ explanation

Luke 8:12-15 NASB
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

This parable is about what happens when the word of God is sown or revealed in the heart of a person. It may be the most important parable Jesus taught. Why do I say that? Because Jesus said this:

Mark 4:13
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Jesus is saying that if you don’t understand this parable you won’t understand any of the parables he taught. This is a foundational teaching!

By misapplying the parable of the sower, these false teachers do great damage to God’s people. First, by falsely claiming that God works like some kind of cosmic slot machine, but the real damage is in the fact that believers are robbed of the true meaning of this teaching.

The parable of the sower is at work every time God’s Word is revealed to you. In fact it is at work right now in many of you who are reading this.

I know that many of you will read this and say “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that my favorite preacher would preach a false message” You’ll reject what I’m saying. You’ll actually be rejecting the words of Jesus.

The devil has come already to steal this word from you.

Some of you will hear what I say and receive it gladly. “Glory to God” you’ll say, “preach it brother…. Hallelujah” But you won’t take the time to really meditate on this word. You won’t really apply it.

And then a testing will come, a test to see if you really believe, trust in, rely on, and adhere to what you claim to believe. Testing is because of the word sown in your heart. You’ll be challenged. God Himself will allow that challenge, that test.

Will you pass the test? Or will you revert back to your traditional thinking?

And of course some of you will hear and believe but you won’t give this word the proper place in your life. You’ll think about it for a while. You’ll decide that it’s right but then you’ll get on with your life. You’ll get busy with your job, your family, your daily responsibilities and it will recede further and further into the recesses of your heart until it has no real value to you.

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Comments
  1. These false teachers who work the crowds like wolves among the sheep will one day face the judgment of the God that they mocked! They aren’t preaching God’s word, they are trying to sell it!! I am at a loss at how many fall for their smooth talk made palatable by an out of context Scripture verse added to their plea for “seed” money.! This world is dark and persihing and these prosperity teachers are no less guilty than their predecessor- the money stealing Judas! What arrogance! Who thinks they can take from God and get away with it? There are not words enough to describe my complete disgust for the whole lot of them. May God have mercy on their souls!

  2. I have been disturbed in my spirit for some time about this seed faith doctrine. There have been times when I have thought, maybe I’m wrong, maybe their right, but the spirit of God kept nudging me in the right direction. “The road is narrow, but few find it”. I pray that God will continue to give me a spirit of discernment. There are many people who I have felt were much more spiritual than me and have served the Lord for a much longer time, yet they all are following the seed faith doctrine. We just moved into a new area and were invited to a prayer and worship meeting. We were there for five minuets and the seed faith doctrine was being taught. There were many good, kind people there, but we will not be returning.

  3. CMS says:

    Food for thought…

    In 2 Corinthians 9:6–7, Paul said this:
    Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give.

    In talking about giving our money, Paul used the metaphorical figure of sowing and reaping. This analogy is taken from agriculture, but he is not talking about a farmer and his farm. He is talking about the Christian and his giving to God and the kingdom of God.
    Certain basic principles of agriculture must be followed if you want to succeed in agriculture. The possibility of success exists, but achieving success depends upon your following the principles or laws of agriculture.
    When we think of giving as sowing (in agricultural terms), we understand that we should expect an increase from our giving, but only in proportion to what we sow.
    For example, when sowing seed a farmer sows one bushel of wheat. When harvested, his wheat crop yields a biblical proportion, a hundredfold increase. By that proportion of increase, he receives one hundred bushels of wheat. That is an easy calculation. If he sows ten bushels and his proportionate increase is one hundred times the amount sown, he receives one thousand bushels. In other words, the original investment of seed sown determines the amount that is harvested or reaped.
    Paul says the same is true with giving money to God and His kingdom. Let me give a simple example: A person gives five dollars. The proportion of increase is ten. What is he going to receive back? Fifty dollars. If he gives fifty dollars and the proportion of increase is the same, he is going to get back five hundred dollars. The degree of generosity with which he gives determines the proportionate size of the return that he will receive back.
    Almost everybody can understand the principle of proportion in agriculture, but so few people understand it in the finances of the kingdom of God. The Bible makes it very clear that the same kinds of laws that apply in agriculture also apply in the finances of the kingdom of God. This is a principle of sowing and of reaping.
    In order to obtain the increase, a farmer must follow certain basic rules. I would suggest that the following non-exhaustive guidelines that are employed in agriculture are also applicable in the area of giving.
    1. The farmer must choose good, suitable soil and the right kind of crop for the right kind of soil.
    2. He must make proper preparation of the soil.
    3. He must take proper care of the crop as it grows.
    If he does not meet these conditions, he will not receive the increase that he ought to receive. His failure to receive will not be because there is anything wrong with the laws of agriculture, but because he has not applied some of the basic rules.
    A farmer does not walk down the street of the town casting his seed into the gutter on either side of the street and then expect a harvest. You might say that idea is absurd. But I have observed many Christians doing something that is analogous to this with their money. They cast it away without care or prayer in places where it will never bring an increase. Then they wonder why God does not bless their finances.
    We need to follow certain basic rules just like the basic principles the farmer follows. We do not sow in the gutter; we choose good soil. We make sure the soil is properly prepared, and we try to see that care is taken of the crop as it grows.
    What are the things that we should look at when we consider giving to a church or a ministry or an organization? I will give you four questions that I think you need to ask:
    1. Is the ministry anointed and fruitful? Is it bringing forth real fruit for the kingdom of God?
    2. Is it ethical? Is it ethical in the way it appeals for money? Is it ethical in the way it handles money? Is it a good and faithful steward of the money in God’s kingdom?
    3. Is it aligned with Scripture? Is what it is doing in obedience to scriptural principles? This point is very important, because God blesses what is in line with His Word.
    4. Are the leaders prayerful, industrious, and efficient? The Bible makes it very clear that God hates sloppiness, waste, and extravagance. That does not mean we have to be stingy, but it does mean we cannot afford to be extravagant, and we should not support extravagance in any ministry.
    I would like to offer you some other practical safeguards in connection with investing your money in the kingdom of God. When people of this world invest their money, they like to get good advice from someone who is proficient in investments. I think God’s children should be equally careful in their own way. Let me give you four safeguards for investing:
    1. Be prayerful. Never give except after prayer.
    2. Avoid impulsive, emotional giving. I have seen countless sums of money squandered by people who gave out of emotion and impulse. There are people going around deliberately exploiting God’s people to get money. There is no group of people in the world easier to exploit than American Christians. They are generous but, frankly, they are often impulsive.
    3. Maintain contact with whatever individual or organization you are supporting. Get reports. Find out what is happening. Check on the fruit.
    4. Stay within the proportion of your faith. Allow God to increase your faith in a natural way. If you are accustomed to thinking in terms of ten dollars, it is probably unrealistic to think in terms of one thousand dollars. Faith grows in a natural way. If you have been thinking in terms of ten dollars, progress to fifty. When you are comfortable with fifty, then move up to a hundred.
    Finally, there are four results of wise sowing of your money. They were stated by Paul in 2 Corinthians:
    Now he [God] who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. (2 Corinthians 9:10)
    The four results of wise sowing are:
    1. Bread for you to eat. You will get back all that you need for your own life.
    2. You will get more seed to sow in God’s harvest field. If you have been giving fifty dollars, you will find that you can move up to one hundred dollars. That is seed to sow back into God’s harvest field, not to squander on your own selfishness.
    3. You will get increased store for sowing. Your barn will get bigger. You will have more to give.
    4. You will get an increased harvest from increased sowing. Second Corinthians 9:10 says, “[God] will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.”
    I want to tell you that learning to give prayerfully, in a scriptural way, and in the guidance of the Holy Spirit is exciting, not a dreary duty. It is exciting to see how God will come to your help and extend and increase your faith. God wants you to invest in His kingdom. If you will seek God’s counsel, He will make you a successful investor.

  4. wooshings says:

    Unfortunately CMS, 2 Corinthians 9:6–7 talks of a “cheerful giver”. In other words, if you purpose to give to the Ministry in whatever capacity…time, effort, money, construction material, food etc etc because your heart delights in the LORD then you will reap accordingly. Reaping can be in this time (temporal rewards) or for all eternity. Let us not confuse cheerful giving with the sowing a seed principle. Sowing a seed is more like – “give us 100USD and God will reward you!”

    This principle in effect takes away the responsibility of giving from the believer and instead follows the whims of the pastor/preacher etc. In other words, the sowing a seed principle leaves the flock under the mercy of the shepherd. That is not the scenario that Paul envisaged in 2 Corinthians 9:6–7.

    • Leigh Love says:

      This is exactly how I feel. I love the Lord but I do not like to be placed under pressure to give a seed from pastors. Sometimes a pastor will spend the whole entire sermon making people feel bad about seed offererings. I believe this is something that should be done freely from our hearts. If we are pressured we’re not allowed to give freely. In fact, it causes some of us to give grudgingly. We give because the pastor wants us to give, not out of the kindness of our hearts. I want to live for Christ because on judgment day I stand alone.

  5. Jariah says:

    Giving to churches is not giving to God.

    Giving to God is when you give of yourselves and your resources to the poor and needy.

    Churches use tithes and offerings to pay the bills and feed themselves and their families.

    Many preachers use tithes and offerings to live a lavish lifestyle.

    Know where your money is going or you might get scammed by a preacher.

    Will a preacher rob God?

    It happens all the time.

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