Posts Tagged ‘hope’

Following on from my post on Biblical Preaching or a Self-Help/Motivational seminar disguised?, I found a post from Dan Delzell on the Christian Post addressing this very topic. Because it articulates the differences so well, I thought I would post the article in its entirety. Please read and then examine the sermons that you are listening to

There are tremendous differences between “motivational speaking” and “biblical preaching.” In America today, many churches offer one or the other. One approach leaves people “encouraged” in their emotions and in their “self-esteem.” The other builds up Christians in the Gospel as the Holy Spirit applies the Scriptures to the hearts and minds of the hearers.

Motivational speakers tell a lot of stories and seek to sway through emotion and pop psychology. Biblical preachers tell some stories, but above all seek to have people influenced by the Holy Spirit through the Word of God. Motivational speakers may or may not throw in a few Bible verses to “salt” their main topic. Biblical preachers rely totally upon the Scriptures to “drive” the content and to feed God’s sheep. The Bible is the basis of their message.

Motivational speakers seek to never speak of things which might offend anyone in attendance. Biblical preachers seek to proclaim God’s Word with a loving heart as they rely upon the Holy Spirit to “comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” That is, to apply the message of forgiveness to those who are repentant….and to apply the weight of the Law toward anyone content to continue sinning. After all, if I am never offended by my own behavior, I am certainly not growing in Christ….and I am living in denial. Motivational speakers do not tend to think about the Law and the Gospel when presenting a message. Instead, they attempt to persuade people to change their behavior.

Motivational speakers are good at knowing how people think and behave….but not good at “rightly dividing the Word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15) They reach the level of man’s emotions with their appeals, but they are not equipped with the proper biblical knowledge to lead people into the realm where souls meet God and then grow in Christ.

Motivational speaking tends to be man-centered and people-pleasing. Biblical preaching is Christ-centered and God-honoring. Motivational speaking is often aimed largely at unbelievers. Biblical preaching typically aims where St. Paul aimed in his epistles….that is, it aims mainly at believers.

New Testament worship services are designed for believers….with a loving and open heart for unbelievers to also attend in hopes of them receiving Christ as Savior. Motivational seminars are aimed at anyone who will help to fill the auditorium.Motivational speakers are reluctant to say, “The Bible says.” They realize that many of their hearers don’t believe in the inerrancy of Scripture. Biblical preachers have taught God’s people to trust Scripture to be the inerrant “God-breathed” message of truth from the Lord. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Motivational speakers need to have personal charisma. Biblical preachers need to be humble in order to be anointed with the power of the Holy Spirit. Charisma influences emotions in the direction of self-actualization. The Holy Spirit influences the soul in the direction of godliness.

Biblical preaching lifts up Jesus Christ. Motivational speaking tends to exalt man’s ability to fix his own issues. Biblical preaching proclaims the Gospel message of Christ’s death and resurrection for our salvation. Motivational speaking might tack on “the sinner’s prayer” at the end of a “how-to” message.

Biblical preaching produces a holy awe of God and a deep respect for His Word. Motivational speaking tends to be light, fun, humorous, and entertaining. It’s “showtime” when the motivational speaker steps to the podium. It’s “flow time” when the biblical preacher steps forward. He has spent much time in prayer asking the Holy Spirit to fall upon his hearers and speak to them when the Word goes forth.

Motivational speakers usually have a certain number of steps they want you to follow to improve your life. Biblical preaching is not that simplistic. St. Paul explained biblical preaching with these words: “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.” (1 Cor. 2:1-5)

Biblical preaching freely discusses heaven, hell, and the immortality of the soul. Motivational speaking never addresses hell….and if heaven gets discussed, it is done so in a way that suggests most people of many religions will eventually make it to heaven.

Motivational speakers tend to deliberately or unintentionally place the spotlight upon the messenger. Biblical preachers want the hearers to celebrate Jesus and Him alone. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Anything that flatters me in my preaching of the Gospel will result in making me a traitor to Jesus, and I prevent the creative power of His redemption from doing its work.”

Does this mean that every minister who attempts to engage in biblical preaching is doing so with a loving heart and a life filled with the fruit of the Holy Spirit? No. If a minister is living “in the flesh” by intentionally feeding his sinful nature, his message will not be saturated and dripping with the grace of God and a Spirit-wrought love for the hearers. This is why St. Paul told Timothy, “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (1 Timothy 4:16) Notice that his “life” was highlighted even before his “doctrine.” It is easier to present messages that are doctrinally correct than it is to live a holy life, but both are necessary in the life of a pastor and preacher.

There seem to be many more Americans today who hunger for motivational speaking than for biblical preaching. A taste for the Word can only be developed by regularly feeding on the Word….and by holy living….and most of all, by a growing relationship with Jesus Christ. A love of the world produces no such hunger. We are all sinners, and prone to love the world far more than we love the Word. D.L. Moody said this regarding the Bible: “This Book will keep me from sin, and sin will keep me from this Book.”

The temptation for the minister in America today is not only to water down the message….but to change the message altogether. The test for all of us who have been called by God to preach the Word is to do so faithfully and with a heart full of love for God, for believers, and for the lost. If we do this the right way by God’s grace, then unbelievers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to believe….and believers will be moved by the Holy Spirit to love the Lord and to serve others with their gifts.

When we get charged up by a motivational speaker, the results tend to be superficial and flimsy. When you and I are motivated by the Holy Spirit through the faithful proclamation of His Word, the results are spiritual and eternal.

God will help us to rely upon “the sword of the Spirit” (Eph. 6:17) rather than upon a slick and popular presentation of humanistic moralism. One approach equips the saints for works of service. The other approach strokes the ego of the speaker and the attendees.

God is not interested in our ego. He wants His children to “live a life worthy of the Lord” so that we “may please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened will all power according to His glorious might.” (Colossians 1:10,11) There is no room for ego in biblical preaching. There is plenty of room for ego in motivational speaking.

Humanistic motivation cannot produce the fruit of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Only God can do that….and He does so largely through the teaching and preaching of His Word, as well as through one-on-one encouragement, assistance, and prayer.

St. Paul instructed Timothy: “Preach the Word.” (2 Timothy 4:2) This is what is needed in America today….preachers of the Word whose hearts are filled with the love of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit.

God will help those of us who are pastors and preachers as we proclaim the message of the apostles. Not one of us is sufficient for the task. Only His grace can accomplish the work in us and through us. Here is tip for all of us….read Paul’s letters….and then go forth to motivate people with those words and with that approach to encouraging the saints. The world is filled with motivational speakers….God’s church deserves to have biblical preaching. That’s why He ordained it for His people.

Notice how Paul’s letters tend to always begin with many examples of what God has done for us in Christ….rather than jumping right into a “quick-fix” of what we get to do for Him. That’s the right order. That’s the biblical order and emphasis. God’s work is what matters….both in our salvation, as well as in our Christian life of discipleship. It’s “Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:27) Motivational speaking jumps right into what you need to do to get right in your behavior. The Bible presents a far better approach than “self-help.” The Scriptures deliver Jesus to us. The Bible is the “manger” in which Christ is laid before us so that we can gaze upon Him and be filled with the life of God.

Self-esteem is sought by those who have not yet “died to self” and risen to live for Christ. Healthy believers, on the other hand, hunger for God’s Word like a baby hungers for food. “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.” (1 Peter 2:2,3) Jesus never seeks to build up a person’s self-esteem. That is a dead end street as far as God is concerned. St. Paul said it best: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) That experience is a far cry from a life of self-esteem that needs to be constantly propped up by a motivational speaker.

May the Lord open our eyes to see the huge difference between these two approaches….and may He then empower us by the Holy Spirit to do God’s work in God’s way. Anything less is just a cheap counterfeit, and is has no business being performed in the church of the living God.

If you haven’t noticed, a lot of what is known as preaching today is no more that ‘self help seminars’ masquerading as the gospel. A lot of this self help is how a person can have a financial breakthrough and will tell lies about supernatural wealth transfers and/or debt cancellations as can be sen below

Unfortunately when things do not materialise, many Christians turn a blind eye and do not ask questions.

On the BBC, there is a story titled ‘Who wants to be a millionaire?’ where it states:

In these tough economic times, thousands are flocking to wealth creation seminars and purchasing their products in the hope they will unlock the key to becoming rich and “financially free”, like their gurus. But are these courses costing attendees more than they are worth?

“According to the plan, I will be a millionaire in 10 years’ time.

“I owe £4,000 on my credit card, but I will be financially free. It’s going to happen,” says Janice Geddes, a 38-year-old nursery nurse from Ilford, Essex.

She has an unshakeable belief that the wealth creation courses she has paid thousands to attend will teach her the skills and mindset she needs to be rich.

Every day she wakes at 05:45 and spends her time doing a series of exercises known as “wealth conditioning”, before leaving for work at 07:00.

If you want to read the full article and see the video, click here.

The sad thing about this is that though this article is nothing about Christianity, you could easily go to a christian conference and you wouldn’t notice any difference. You will be told to decree and declare, and to speak positive confessions which in most cases give people false hope.

Unfortunately, there is truly a famine for the word of God all over the world. Yes we have many churches and yes we have many sermons but it really does take discernment to wade through the mess to know what is truly a word from God and the only way to recognise the fake is to know how to study the truth

2 Corinthinans 11:12-15 makes it VERY clear that Satan will come in the Christian arena disguised as the real deal with all the christian jargon etc but under it all, Christ has nothing to do with it.

12 And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. 13 For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. 15 So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

This is why one of the best litmus tests that I use is when someone is preaching, who is at the center stage. With the ‘gospel of you’, it is very man centered and even though this is expected in the secular world with their self help gurus and seminars, this should not be the case with biblical preaching and teaching.

One of the worse offenders of motivational speaking disguised as biblical preaching is Joel Osteen and you just need to put his name in the search bar on this blog to see some of my blogs about him. But if you think that his (and other self-help/motivational messages are biblically sound, click here to take part in a bible quiz.

Remember, at the end of the day, its all about Him and NOT you.

To be continued……

If you know anything about my blog, I am hot on true doctrine and on rightly dividing the Word of Truth. But lately God has been working on my heart on how does that true doctrine work its way in real life. In my post ‘So what have I learned in 2013?‘. I stated:

People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

One of the reasons why I have not been posting as much as I personally would like to is because I have been going through my own difficulties. Its as if God is putting me the very things that I wrote about…….but in it all, I still have that joy in Christ that surpasses all understanding.

I mentioned my friends across the pond who host Real Talk Radio  in my post about Armor Bearers (if you are not afraid to have your thinking challenged, I would STRONGLY recommend you listen to some of these show discussions). One of the radio hosts is a guy called Elgin Bailey and on a couple of their shows, Elgin gave his testimony about where he is coming from and about his journey. Guys, this is where true Christianity is played out. Not just in church. Have a listen to where God has brought Elgin from

Part 1

Part 2 (from Elgin’s childhood)

Its so important that we remember where people are coming from and sometimes this may mean working with people THROUGH their struggles. There are so many people who have problems and guess what? They need the gospel too. Somehow we need to be able to bridge the gap between a hard life and a transformed life through Christ. Maybe they need to hear YOUR story.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11)

 

Did you know that you make the bible say anything you want? One of the main problems that we see from the pulpit and from Christians in general is that we used eisegesis instead of exegesis. What do I mean? What many people do is start with THEIR thoughts and their views and then read that INTO scripture instead of starting with scripture and read OUT of it, not having any pre conceived thoughts or ideas and letting the scripture speak for itself, taking into account the historical context. A typical example of eisegesis is with Pastor Clarence McClendon in this clip at the 1:15 mark

Here he starts with a view of the prosperity gospel and then reads INTO 3 John 2 where it states that:

” Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”

But you only need to go back one verse to see who he was talking to

The Elder,

To the beloved Gaius, whom I love in truth:

John was not trying to make a doctrine about prosperity here. All he was doing was greeting Gaius. It would be the equivalent of us today writing a letter saying “I hope everything is going well with you”. That is all

However, if I told them that the White Camelia Knights of the Klu Klux Klan use the same process to justify doing what they do, I’m sure they would not agree. For example on their website which can be viewed here, they have started with their racist views and then use scriptures such as the below to justify their views

Exodus 33:16 “So shall we be separated: I and thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the Earth”

Leviticus 20:24 ” I am the Lord they God which have separated you from other people”

Now some may say that this is extreme but it really no different than what is preached Sunday after Sunday in many churches. It is so easy for us in the western world to imprint our western thoughts INTO scripture which is where many false doctrines begin.

Francis Chan explains the difference between eisegesis and exegesis below

I saw this video below which is mainly for those who are preaching sermons but the general princple here should be used by every Christian when interpreting the scriptures and I would encourage every Christian (not only preachers) to use these very useful tips and guidelines when studying the bible. It could put a lot of fasle teachers out of business.

So next time you hear your preacher talking of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor and your destiny which seems to be the norm now, ask yourself, are they reading that stuff INTO the scripture or OUT of the scriptures?

One of the things that really frustrates me about Christians sometimes is that we sometimes believe that we above non-christians. We think that somehow that we are exempt from some of the troubles that life throws at us. Yes, we expect to ‘go through’ but there are some things that we don’t expect to go through because we are the ‘King’s kids’. And at one point early on in my Christian life, I used to think like that but then my check engine light came on. Things didnt ‘work’ as I was taught on the pulpit. I started to ask questions. I gave tithes but never saw blessings (in what I thought was blessing) happen to me that was any different to those who didn’t give. I saw those who didn’t give tithes who were getting ‘blessed’ above me. However, I looked at the scriptures and looked at the the life of the main person (apart from Jesus) in the New Testament and that was the apostle Paul. Did I see him being exempt from certain trials as a believer? On the contrary. This is what I saw in 2 Corinthians 11:

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

A gospel full of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, is not a gospel at all. If this is all you are hearing in your church, then I would say that you need to run from such teachings and don’t be blinded by false promises. You cannot plead the blood out of a situation. Life is life. Here are some issues that Christians sadly have had to go through in life

- Rick Warren’s son committing suicide
- Tedashii (the Christian rapper) losing his one year old son
- Marvin Sapp’s wife dies of cancer
- Rev David Wilkerson dies in car crash

Then Hebrews 11 goes on to talk about some who…

….were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

When we have a false view and expectations God and Christianity based on some of the rubbish that is perpetuated on many pulpits, when stuff happens, we have just set ourselves up for a fall.

So lets be real Christian and not give others this false impression. We will go through EXACTLY (and maybe more) problems than a non Christian but know we have Christ with us THROUGH the trial.

Taken from Wretched:

When I am married, then I will be happy…. until you tie the knot.

When I have children, then I will be happy…. until you have kids.

When my children are more self-sufficient, then I will be happy…. until they are out of diapers.

When my children are in school, then I will be happy…. until they ride off on the bus.

When my children leave the home, then I will be happy…. until you are an empty nester.

When I retire, then I will be happy….until you don’t have to wake up to your alarm clock.

Happy

A Syllogism

Here is a syllogism that is trustworthy and true: Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan is in control of the world system. Therefore, the world system is a lie.

The world system tells you that happiness lies just around the corner. Happiness is not where you are, but where you think you should be. Happiness is anything but this. That is a lie.

Perhaps you have purchased the lie. Perhaps you are in a funk because you are not living this God ordained moment with joy. Perhaps you have worked yourself into a state of frustration because today is not tomorrow. You need a Biblical re-orientation.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps.118:24) So how do we do that?

Good theology

Once again, our worries, problems, anxieties, frustrations and confusions have a solution in good theology.

1. The doctrine of sovereignty reminds you that the day you are living is exactly the day that God has ordained for you. (Ps.37:23). You are supposed to be in the season you are in. You will NEVER be content with any season until you realize that you are in the season that God has pre-arranged for you.

2. The two verses before Ps. 118:24 give us our reason to be glad today, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Ps.118:23,24) Knowing that we have a Savior allows us to rejoice today, not tomorrow when we perceive that things will be easier or better.

If you have grown discontent because you perpetually long for tomorrow, re-orient your thinking. Today is the day God wants you to live, and He wants you to live it for Him because He has provided a cornerstone for you.

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11)

Continuing on from my last post, I watched Bishop Tudor Bismark preach in the video below, compared what he said to the scriptures and found that a lot of what he stated was unscriptural and basically tickled the followers ears. We would put so many of these ‘preachers’ unemployed if we just took the time out to study for ourselves. The bible instructs us to test EVERYTHING. The fact that after Tudor Bismark spoke, people would be ‘amening’ in agreement with what he was saying sadly speaks volumes that most Christians today lap up these teachings and dont question what he said and like to have their ears tickled

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. (1 Timothy 4:3-4)

So let’s watch the video, and then afterwards, we will look at what is said, look at scripture (whwnever it is used because he hardly uses any in this video) and then measure up the two

There so much here which isnt true but i will attempt to go through some of them

0:05  In the month of April and May all kind of options and blessings are coming into your life. – This is just blatantly not true and gives everyone in the congregation false hope. So you are trying to tell me that EVERYONE will get blessings coming into life in April and May. What about June? What is his definition of blessing?

0.31 He talks about the law of expectation. If you don’t know what you want, you get what you don’t want. What you expect God gives you. If you expect nothing, that’s what you get. The law of expectation means you always get more than you expect. - So does that mean that if I expect a large car, large house and lots of money that God will give it to me? There is no where in scripture (when taken in context) that states that God will always give us whatever we expect. Scripture also does not state that we get what we don’t want if we don’t know what we want. I’m sure when Paul suffered for the gospel, it was not something that he wanted but he got it anyway. There is nowhere in scripture that talks about a ‘law of expectation’ that always give you more than you expect. Again, this panders to the ears of the congregation and of course, who wouldn’t want more than they expect?

1.15 Don’t ask God for pair of shoes, ask for a shoe factory (gospel of you). Don’t ask God for a house, ask for the whole street. Dont ask God for a car, ask for shares in Mercedes Benz – The focus here is all about YOU. When preaching is man centered as this is, it focuses on earthly possessions which is exactly where the bible tells us NOT to set our minds (Colossians 3:2)

2:05 Revelation Knowledge comes in companies. If God does one thing ‘here’, he will do another thing in the same pattern over ‘here’. My question is where in scripture does it say any of this?

2.44 In next 21 days, God is going to give you access – Here is false hope once again. So what happens to a person if after 21 days, God doesn’t give you ‘access’? This stuff makes me mad because it deceives many but even after 21 days, many Christians will still not ask questions when nothing happens or if things get worse.
3:54 God said I cannot hide anything from Tudor, I’m about to give him access . RED FLAG, RED FLAG. Did God actually say that? Now if there is anything in this sermon that should have got your attention, this should have. God will NEVER say that he cannot hide anything from Tudor. That would put Tudor above God. You will see that after this God is telling Tudor a lot of things and there is also a lot of shouting but no substance

6.36 He compares himself to Stephen who was full of the Holy Spirit in Acts 7:54-59. However, if we look at that text, this was just before Stephen got stoned to death. But Tudor talks about how his life is full of blessing, of the anointing, of power and of money (it’s everywhere).

7:08 Don’t criticize what you don’t understand because what you criticize, you can never get. Don’t criticize rich people because you can never be ‘one of us’ and don’t criticize that Mercedes or Bentley because you will never drive it. This is simple manipulation where questioning the man of God or what he has, is discouraged.

7.46 Bless those who are being blessed. The more you bless, you get full of what they have – Again this is manipulation and encourages people to give money and to tithe thinking that God is like a slot machine and they will get back what they have given.

You can see in this video, how much (little) scripture was used versus how much of his own words and thinking was used. And any scripture that was used was basically butchered and eisegesis used instead of exegesis i.e reading THEIR OWN meaning INTO the text instead of letting the meaning come OUT of the text.

Now you can understand how important it is to listen to what you are being taught and not just swallow what you are being fed from the pulpit. Unfortunately, you can see from the video, it is so easy to just follow the crowd and not to follow scripture

There is very little understanding or desire for biblical truth and theology even among Christians. The Bible is not being expounded in many pulpits today. Christian radio saturates the airwaves with talk shows and psychology experts. Christian magazines aimed at the laymen are full of testimonies but devoid of solid spiritual food, and so few believers study the Word for themselves. As a result, we are a spiritually starved people who are no longer able to discern truth from error – Gary Gilly

Look out for Part 3

Related Post:

What does it mean to be a Berean in practice? – Part 1 (Paula White)

10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. (Acts 17:10-11)

If you have been a follower of my blog, you will know that one of the things that I keep harpening on about is ‘be a Berean’. The scripture above states that the Bereans didn’t just take Paul’s word ‘as gospel’ when he spoke but they examined the scriptures to see if what he said lined up to it. They questioned the ‘man of God’. Even Paul wasn’t untouchable when it comes to scrutinizing what came of of his mouth.

I think the reason why many people dont like to ask questions and thus being a ripe candidate for deception is because they assume that the preacher is always right because he has a higher level of spirituality. They don’t read the bible themselves and don’t know HOW to study the bible and rightly divide the word or simply that they too lazy to open the bible……..until Sunday.

But what does being a Berean actually mean? Why is it so important? How is it done in practice? Why is it that Christians who choose to be Bereans are seen as the unloving ones but false teachers are defended?

When Shai Linne did his song Fal$e Teacher$, he got a lot of stick about it. So much so that Paula White’s son wrote an open letter to Shai which can be viewed here. However, in his response, he never really addressed the real issue at hand and that was ‘Did his mum, Paula White,teach things that did not line up with scripture?’ (This is the typical response that those who challenge a doctrine receive. They never really address the topic at hand but accuse the person of being things such as a heresy hunters or unloving). Shai Linne then addressed this topic head on whith his response which can be viewed in full here.

Now before anybody gets on my case, I am not saying that Paula White is not a believer and not going to heaven. I am am not in a position to say that. However, I am in a position to say that what she teaches is false. So lets get into it and view a portion of the letter to see why and what happens when a person listens to what is being taught, reads the scripture, and then measures up the two, being a Berean.

1. False View of the Atonement

Paula White did a series called 8 Promises of the Atonement, that at the time of my writing this, is currently featured on your ministry website. In it, she states that physical healing and financial abundance in this life are provided for in the atonement of Christ. See the following video at the 25:00 mark where Paula White teaches “salvation includes healing.” She says it again at 28:30. But then she goes even further. If you keep listening, she talks about commanding her body not to be sick because of the blood of Christ. She ends this section by boldly declaring around 29:40:

“You are not going to die of sickness. When you go, it’s going to be because of your appointed time of old age and full of life”

For Paula White to say this to a large crowd of people is both false and irresponsible. She has no idea how those people are going to die. The truth is that Christians do get sick. Many godly believers die at young ages from sickness and it is not due to their lack of faith or because they haven’t embraced what’s theirs through the atonement. It’s because God is sovereign.

As He says in Deut. 32:39, “‘See now that I, even I, am He, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.”

Psalm 139:14 says “All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”.

God sovereignly determines when we live and when we die. And if He appoints or allows a sickness to take our lives, it is because His infinite wisdom determined that it be so.

At the 2:00 mark of this video on your website, Paula White lists “financial abundance” as one of the promises of the atonement. This is false. It is also a slap in the face to the millions godly saints throughout the world today (and church history) who do not live in “financial abundance” like many of us live here in America. Jesus commends the church in Smyrna when He says:

“‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan” - Rev. 2:9

In His kindness and care, the risen Savior tells the church in Smyrna that He is aware of their poverty. What does He say after that? Does He tell them that they’re poor because they haven’t fully embraced the promise of His atonement? Does He say they’re poor because of a generational curse, as Paula White teaches at 13:20 in this video?  No. He reminds them that though they are materially poor in this world, they are actually rich in God’s eyes because of their union with Jesus Christ! Like C.S. Lewis once famously said, “He who has God and everything else has no more than He who has God only.”

In 1 Timothy 6:7-8, which is in the same context of a passage I mentioned in the song, it says “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.” This is consistent with the New Testament emphasis on contentment, which is almost always mentioned in contrast to the love of money (Heb. 13:5). I’m encouraged to see that you try to put that into practice in your own life, Brad. But in doing so, you’re actually contradicting the teaching of Paula White, who says that the atonement promises your financial abundance. She obviously embraces this teaching herself. It is well documented that she, along with others mentioned in the song, was investigated by the U.S. Senate for financial impropriety due to their extravagant lifestyles.  Much more could be said about this, but let me get to the next false teaching.

2. False “Sow a Seed” Teaching

This is something that is common among the people I named in the song, including Paula White. The premise is that if you give a certain amount of money, God will multiply it and you’ll get more money back in return. As I studied the prosperity teachers, I noticed that they often used this tactic when taking an offering. But when you study the Scriptures, you find that the “sow a seed” passages that are usually referred to are not talking about money at all, but the knowledge of the kingdom of God, which leads to salvation (See Matthew 13:1-23). Even in 2 Cor. 9:6-15, where seed is used in connection with financial gifts, the emphasis is on generously supplying the needs of other churches (vs. 12) and having what you need to serve others effectively (vs. 8). Living out the American Dream is not in view there.

In the following video, Paula White gives an appeal for money at The Potter’s House, the church pastored by T.D. Jakes. Around 2:10 she says, “God is speaking to many”. She then tells them what God is supposedly saying, “Give a $126 dollar offering. For some it may be $1,260, for some it may be $12,600”.

Now if I’m sitting in that audience that day and Paula White says, “God is saying give $126 or $1,260 or $12,600”, what am I supposed to do? If God is saying it and I don’t do it, I’m being disobedient. But here’s the thing. I don’t have to wonder whether or not God is saying that through Paula White because God has already spoken in His Word, the Bible. And in the Bible, God said:

“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor. 9:7)

What Paula White does in that video absolutely qualifies as compulsion and it actually made me sad for her as I watched it. In this video at 25:08, in the middle of an appeal for money (Start it at 22:28 to get the full context), Paula White promises that “Your seed today is gonna turn everything around for your children, your grandchildren, your family, your spouse, everyone in relation to you. But you have to activate it. Call that toll-free number.” There is no way that that statement could be true for each of the thousands of Christians and non-Christians watching the show that day! What makes it worse is that she’s claiming to speak for God as she does it. And that brings me to the final and perhaps most serious falsehood.

3. Falsely Claiming to Speak For God

As I’m sure you know, Brad, God takes speaking in His name very seriously. To say that God said something that He didn’t say is to lie on God. God takes this sin so seriously that in the Old Testament, the person found guilty of this was to be executed. Check out Deuteronomy 18:20:

“But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’”

The verses following that one give the litmus test for how we can determine whether or not someone is speaking for God:

“And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’—when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously.” (Deut. 18:21-22)

There is nothing new under the sun. People have been falsely claiming to speak for God for thousands of years. Here’s what God said when it was happening in Jeremiah’s day.

“Behold, I am against those who prophesy lying dreams, declares the Lord, and who tell them and lead my people astray by their lies and their recklessness, when I did not send them or charge them. So they do not profit this people at all, declares the Lord.” - Jeremiah 23:32

As sincere as Paula White may be, she is extremely reckless in the many false things that she says God told her to tell her listeners. The videos I provided are enough. Just go back and listen to how often she says God is saying something that He could not possibly be saying to everyone listening to her at the time. “You are not going to die of sickness” is just one of many examples I could give. Sadly, her teaching is characterized by this falsehood. She and the other people I mentioned in the song do this all the time.

By the response in the videos, you can tell that most of the congregation just swallowed up what she said and that is where the danger is in many congregations. Nobody really stops to say ‘Hold on a minute. That’s not correct. That’s contrary to scripture’. False teachers are very good at wrapping up their teaching in scripture and twisting it.

For some simple rules on how to read the bible correctly, rightly dividing the word of truth, see this post and this one

To hear Paula White being challenged about her divorce and her doctrine, you can also listen to a interview on this post.

Look out for Part 2 where I will be a Berean once again

Related Post:

What does it mean to be a Berean in practice? – Part 2 (Bishop Tudor Bismark)

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On my post of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, some of the questions asked were the following:

Are you frustrated that the Lord has not answered your prayers for the breakthroughs and divine favour which you seek?

Have you faithfully tithed but find that the “windows of heaven blessings” continue to elude you?

Have you diligently sown your seeds into “good soil” and confessed daily but you are still not receiving a harvest?

Do you “give to God” faithfully but feel like the Lord has abandoned you as you are not receiving anything in return?

For some reason, as per the cartoon above, some Christians seem to lose their brains and common sense and it frustrates me when I see believers blatantly being deceived left, right and center when they are blinded by false promises. So below are some basic questions that I really wish some Christians would take time to ask. I know a few do ask them already but for some reason, they choose to ignore it and put it to the back of their minds.

  • Why is that that even though you have been are tithing for so long, your financial position has not really increased any different than an unbeliever? In fact, you may now be poorer as a result and in debt
  • Why is it that this ‘sowing a seed‘ prescription seems to always work with the ‘man of Gawd’ but not with you?
  • Why does it seem like a pyramid scheme where the ones at the top seem to benefit and the ones at the bottom seldom do?
  • What happened to the supernatural wealth transfer? How comes you are not benefitting from it?
  • If the seed faith doctrine really works, why doesn’t the church sow back into YOUR life so that they can receive a blessing and get that building or that auditorium?
  • Why do preachers have ‘testimonies’ from members of the congregation or themselves of blessings as proof that something works but it only seems to happen as an exception and not the norm for the majority?
  • In these healing crusades, why are the healers reluctant to have these independently verified?
  • Why doesn’t everyone get healed if they are such a powerhouse.
  • Why are these ‘healings’ normally done in crusades? Surely it would be more of a testimony if they went into the hospital and healed each patient
  • Why is it that every New Year, it has to be the Year of this and the Year of that giving users false hope? As I mentioned in this post when in my old church there was a ‘Year of the Open Door’ for example. Does that mean that in other years, doors would not be open? What about the sovereignty of God? Supposed God did not want a door to open that year because that person had not reached a certain level of maturity? What if doors were closed to build character in a person? Think about it really
  • What happens if after confessing healing that you or your family gets cancer or dies? Why is is that Christians who ‘speak things into being’ do not seem to be exempt from sickness and are no different than unbelievers when it comes to sickness and disease?
  • Why is tithing taught in many churches but if you look in the New Testament after Christ’s death, there is NOT ONE instance of a believer tithing?
  • Why do some pastors and their wives (who a lot of the time don’t need the money) always seem to get ‘love-offerings’ every birthday, Fathers/Mothers day, Christmas etc while you are left struggling to pay your bills every month?
  • Why is it that even though someone shows me from scripture that what my pastor is teaching is unbiblical, I still defend my pastor first instead of defending the scripture?
  • Why is it that the songs that are TOTALLY unbiblical are the ones that Christians seem to celebrate? For example, ‘The Best in Me by Marvin Sapp when the fact is Christ saw exactly the opposite in us and saw the worst in us, that is why he came to save us

Can I really challenge you to think about these questions and don’t just ignore it but act upon it and dont be blinded by loyalty. It is these kind of questions that caused me to question a lot of stuff that I was being taught as mentioned in the ‘About Me’ section above. It was also what prompted me to start this blog.

I hope I have provoked you to think about this.