Posts Tagged ‘Osteen’

Ten of my favorite blog posts on Real Christianity

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Christian Living, Evangelism, False Doctrine, False Teachers
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over five years beginning with How Important is Doctrine and as of today, have written 619 posts, this being my 620th. Every now and then, I go back to my old posts and re-read some of them, if not for anything else to re-encourage myself. So out of these 600+posts, below are ten of my favorite posts in no particular order and my reasons why. Just click on the titles to read the posts

1. The Marks of False ‘Christian’ teachers and teaching - OK, I am going to cheat on the first one as it was my first series (11 parts in total) called The Marks of False ‘Christian’ teachers and teaching starting with A Form of godliness. I saw so much foolishness in churches and on Christian TV and I knew that a lot of people were beginning to question a lot of things but were afraid to say anything. I just said what they were thinking. So I wrote the series and gave my reasons for doing it as I know a lot of people would think that I was just a heresy hunter. If you want to read the full series, just follow the links at the bottom of the posts

2. To tithe or not to tithe - Tithing was one of those things that kept me in bondage early on in my days and I know keeps many in bondage today. Many preachers use old testament scriptures like Malachi 3:8-12 to manipulate people into giving money and making them feel that they have robbed God if they don’t give their 10%.  That was until I searched the scriptures for myself only to find that the new testament principle of giving is proportional giving and giving out of what you have and not out of what you don’t have thus getting yourself into debt. It is also about a person giving what THEY purpose in their heart (2 Cor 9:7) . I wrote this to make it plain why Christians are not under any obligation to tithe anymore under the new covenant.

3. How do you know that you are saved (that you are a Christian)? - I really enjoyed writing this blog because it became very apparent to me that many people thought that they were Christians but they were actually self-deceived. This troubled me so I wanted to have some kind of ‘test’ whereby a person could measure up themselves to. Luckily the books of 1 and 2 John has such a test and has been one of my most popular posts that is found when people do searches, which tells me that a lot of people really do want to know if they are a Christian or not.

4. So you think that you’re a Christian. Power testimonies from former false converts - This ties in to number 3. When I heard these testimonies, I knew there were countless amount of people in this situation and I wanted to share it because I wanted others to see if they could see themselves in the mirror and if so, do something about it. The worse deception ever is to think that you are a Christian when, in fact, you are not

5. Spending Quality Time with God - This post always comes to haunt me because I know that this is something that I am constantly guilty of not doing but it is a constant reminder of where our priorities should be  

6. When your children don’t want to follow God – This post was and still is a very personal one to me. It hurts me to know that my children (so far) have decided to not follow Christ. I can only pray that God orchestrates the events in their life to point them to him.

7. Every Man’s Battle - I wrote this because it is a taboo subject amongst Christian men but can be a deadly poison if not dealt with….especially when it comes to the summer.

8. The Money Challenge - If anything, this is a shame on most of us as Christians about what motivates us to share the  gospel with others. I never want to be  Christian that as the gospel group, Commissioned, say in one of their songs that we “tend to find security in our salvation. We should constantly think about the lost”

9. Should we ever question what the man of God says – This post goes hand in hand with the post of Touch not the Lord’s anointed. Say goodbye to the untouchable preachers. The reason why I started this whole blogging stuff is because I questioned everything that I had previously heard and decided to go back to the basics of the gospel. You know, things like the cross, salvation, sin, repentance, faith, discipleship and NOT breakthroughs, blessings and divine favour which seems to be so prevalent in churches these days.

10. Christ is the only way, now you choose - I have posted many videos over the years but I love this video because it puts everything in perspective about what Christ has done and how he has provided a way out for those who have repented and put their trust in him

Last weekend, I was going about my business, when a person stopped me asking myself and I to attend the Realise event at his church which is UCKG. We have had a few separate invitations from this church. The first was to get anointed with oil by ‘the man of God’ and my wife was offered to come for an anointed rose… yes you heard me right. Anyway we played dumb and asked him what it was about without divulging the fact that we were Christians. He then proceeded to tell us how we could learn the keys to being successful. At this stage there was NO mention of God, NO mention of Jesus, NO mention of sin, NO mention of my need for forgiveness. I actually tried to steer him in the way by asking him what would happen if I became very successful (like Steve Jobs) , but died afterwards? Still nothing.

In the end, I had to tell him about his error because no doubt, if I had been a non-christian, and asked him all those questions and left, I would have left dead in my sins without any knowledge of the gospel at all. I did ask him why he never spoke to me about God and he basically said that non Christians would not be interested so he talked about the other stuff to ‘get me in’. The problem with that is if I decide not to visit their church, the very thing that has the power to save me i.e. the gospel, is the very thing that is left out in the conversation. It is hard enough going out of your way to witness to someone but when someone comes to you asking questions, we as Christians should jump at the opportunity to give them the good news.

As I said, this is not the first experience that I have had with UCKG and many times, I have had their newspapers in the post and their general thread and emphasis is about being happy and successful, but not about being righteous and being in a right standing with God. A classic example of this is their series ‘The 5 Biggest Failures of Jesus’ (I didn’t even know that he did fail, silly me)

As per their website

When we say that Jesus had failures, people’s knee-jerk response is, “No He didn’t. He’s God. He never fails at anything.” But the truth is that Jesus failed many times throughout His 33-year earthly ministry. He experienced disappointments and many times things did not always go quite the way He wanted.

But… He turned them around… every single time. Whenever Jesus experienced failure, He used it to His advantage and either turned the failure into success, or put more effort into something else that would bring more results.

‘Failure’ 1 – Jesus had no money to pay His taxes (Matthew 17.24-27) Click here

‘Failure’ 2 – Jesus was known as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and had no recognized degree in theology – Click here

‘Failure’ 3 – The partial healing of the blind man – Click here

‘Failure’ 4 - People of the Gadarenes reject Him (Mark 5:1-20) – Click here

‘Failure’ 5 - Many Disciples desert Him (Jn. 6:66,67) – Click here

You may say ‘What’s the problem?’ Do you see a re-occurring theme? They have twisted the scriptures to somehow make the bible a self help manual. The problem is even though on the surface, it seems to be harmless and even christian, the real focus is not about Christ but it is the gospel of YOU. The focus is on being successful in THIS life on earth. The very thing scripture tells us not to focus on

Set your minds on things that are above, NOT on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)

Am I saying that it is wrong to have earthly ambitions? Not at all, but from my experience and from the many newspapers and experiences that I have had with this church, the emphasis has always been on the here and now and an example of this can be seen in the five lessons above.

Do I have any personal gripes against UCKG? Not at all but I have enough experiences to know that churches (whether it be this church or a Joel Osteen type of church) which subscribe to this type of theology is a dangerous one. I can be the most successful person in this life but the truth of the matter is, if I die without Christ, I will die in my sins and will be heading to hell

OK, following my post about Not Forsaking The Assembly, it has been pressing upon my heart how easy people think it is to be a Christian and what is required. It is as if it is easy-believism. This was evident in the death and the funeral of Whitney Houston. Now let me say for the record before I get anyone jumping down my throat about ‘judging’, I have no idea where Whitney Houston will spend her identity. I did not know her personally and that is not the point of the post. However, people seem to think that because a person says they ‘loved the Lord’ or attended church or even read their bible, that that gives them an automatic ticket to heaven. However, scripture gives us a different picture.

21  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22  On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23  And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (Matthew 7:21-23)

As you can see many people will be’ saying‘ but Jesus will still deny their entrance to heaven because they were not doing and living in obedience to scripture. See the video below as a wake up call

Last year here in the UK, we had our census. Now if we went by a lot of these surveys, we would be led to believe that most people are christians. However if we dig a bit deeper you will see something different. Athesist Richard Dawkins conducted his own research to find out about those who aligned themself with Christianity. Click here to take a look.

As you can see, some of the results are as follows:

Q) What would you say is the MAIN reason you think of yourself or the person who completed the Census thinks of you as being of this religion?

A) I was christened/baptised into this religion  46%

Q) Apart from special occasions such as weddings, funerals and baptisms or christenings, how often IN THE LAST 12 MONTHS have you attended services or meetings connected with Christianity?

A) Not at all during the last 12 months  49%

Q) Apart from special occasions such as weddings, funerals and baptisms or christenings, when did you LAST attend a service or meeting connected with Christianity?

A) More than ten years ago   32%

Q) When, if at all, did you last read any part of the Bible? I mean independently and from choice, and not as part of a church service or other religious meeting.

A) More than 3 years ago 36%

Q) Which of the following statements BEST describes your personal view of the Bible as a guide to morality?

A) The Bible is not a perfect guide to morality as some of its teachings are not appropriate today, but it is still the best guide we have

There are many people who call themselves christians but their fruits reveal that they are actually a false convert or simply just self deceived. The biggest deception is when a person truly believes that they are a christian when in fact, they are not and they only find this out on judgment day. There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death (Proverbs 14:12). The fact of the matter is, contrary to the results of surveys, the vast majority of people are NOT christians even if they profess that they are. How do I know? Because scripture tells us so strive to enter through the narrow gate.

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)

Please check out the links below and if you are not a Christian, please look at my link to non-Christians. If you are not sure if you are a true christian, please examine yourself by clicking here

Related post:

So you think that you’re a christian? Powerful testimonies from former false converts

Have you truly repented?

How to make your child a false convert and the testimony of one such convert

Just say this prayer?

How to botch an altar call

Evangelistic Malpractice

True and False Conversion

Lets stop being so quick to call everyone a christian

How do you know that you are saved (that you are a Christian?)

When I first became a Christian, one of the things that we were taught is that we had to be careful how we lived because if the rapture came while we were sinning, we would be left behind or if I died suddenly before repenting, then I would be lost. Many a Christian lived in bondage and in fear of sinning while Jesus returned. Then after a while, I began to think logically. Even though we are christians, we all still sin everyday. If I went by the logic that I was taught, that would mean that a lot of people would die in their sins and not be taken with Jesus when he returns because at any given point in a day, many christians would be sinning because of our fallen nature meaning that everything would have been in vain. Or they have a sinful thought (which one of us haven’t) and then some tragic happens before they had time to repent, for example, 9/11, they would be lost in the same way that an unbeliever would be lost. There would be no guarantee of our salvation and it would basically be a gamble. It made no sense and made the cross of Christ a bit useless and ineffective. My salvation would be based on what I do and not what he has done. That was until I fully understood what Christ actually achieved.

Christ’s death on the cross and his atonement for our sins was not just limited to the past and the present but also stretches into the future

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit………..For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. (Romans 8:1,5)

I now understand that once I have repented and put my trust in Christ for my salvation, ALL of my sins have been forgiven. Past present and future. I do not have to live in fear that when Christ comes or when I die, I might be ‘caught in the act’ of sinning in one form or another. I can live with the freedom knowing that even if I have sinned ‘before I have repented’, I will not be condemned and I will not forfeit my inheritance in Christ. Note though that this applies to those that ‘walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit’. In other words those who have had a true and not false conversion and have truly repented.

Now…….

I can hear many people saying ‘Well that’s OK then. If my future sins are forgiven, then I can live how I want’. If those are your thoughts and you’re thinking is how much you can sin and ‘get away with it’, then there is good chance that you are not truly born again and could be self-deceived. Because a true believer hates his sins and has NO desire to continue sinning. This is just one of the ways you can know if you are a true christian.

I always like to see it as me and Christ swapping jackets. Christ takes my ‘sinful’ jacket in exchange for His ‘righteous’ jacket. Christ in my jacket was punished at the cross and when I stand before God, He only sees the righteous jacket and therefore I am not punished because all my sins have been accounted for and taken on by Christ. WHAT A GREAT DEAL!!

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Cor 5:21)

For more on this topic and a further explanation, click here

If you would like to know how you can have your sins forgiven, click here

Christian, please feel free to share this link with your family, friends and enemies

Related post:

Have you truly repented?

So you think that you’re a christian? Powerful testimonies from former false converts

How to make your child a false convert and the testimony of one such convert

Just say this prayer?

How to botch an altar call

Evangelistic Malpractice

True and False Conversion

Lets stop being so quick to call everyone a christian

How do you know that you are saved (that you are a Christian?)

The Judgment of Deception – Are You Deceived?

Posted: August 31, 2010 in False Doctrine, False Teachers
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have already expressed my disdain for a lot of so-called Christian TV these days especially when it comes to the Praise Tel Beg Fleece-A-Thons. I have talked especialy how biblical numerology is abused to manipulate the minds. I for one will continue to talk about these things that a lot of Christians want to sweep underneath the carpet at the expense of the poor and the desperate. These things are nothing more than a spiritual pyramid scheme where those at the bottom never really benefit but those at the top do. They add ‘testimonies’ on their website to show you that these principles ‘work’. They promote things such as prayer shawls and prosperity shawls but funny enough, these things never seem to work when they need money themselves, so who do they come to? The same gullible christians. J Lee Grady who also wrote the article, Say Goodbye to the Untouchable Preachers, exposes some of the gimmicks that are used.

Let’s stop the hypnotism, the guilt manipulation and the high-pressure gimmicks. It’s time to reclaim our lost credibility.

Normally I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal than watch a telethon. But while channel surfing a few nights ago I tuned into PBS and discovered that Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, was hosting a fundraiser for the network. Seated at a piano, she was offering a 5-CD collection of classic rhythm and blues hits in exchange for a donation to public television.

It was simple. There were no gimmicks, no games and no strings attached in Aretha’s offer. If you gave the suggested gift, she explained, PBS would mail you a big slice of American pop culture—including songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, Al Green and Aretha herself, singing her classic “Respect.”

My respect for PBS was still intact when the telethon ended, thanks to this low-key, no-pressure approach to fundraising. I can’t say that for some Christian networks, which have shamelessly extorted money from viewers over the years using heavy-handed guilt manipulation, hypnotic control and bizarre Scripture-twisting.

During the PBS telethon I wondered why Christian networks couldn’t simply offer music, books or other premiums instead of resorting to the typical arm-twisting and tear-jerking that we’ve come to expect. We need an overhaul in this area. Somebody needs to lead the way in pioneering a new style of on-air fundraising that doesn’t treat people like brainless zombies.

Here are five of my least favorite fundraising tactics. I wish all of them could be banned from the airwaves.

Gimmick #1: The magic Bible verse. You know the drill. The evangelist quotes Psalm 37:37 and then announces that if you will send $37.37 (“No more, no less!”) God will unleash all the blessings of King David upon you. (Hint: The phones seem to ring more frequently when the number seven is included in the Bible reference.)

Gimmick #2: The urgent, time-is-running-out plea. Before the preacher asks you to reach for your wallet, dramatic music is piped in. Then “Reverend Cheatem” talks about how the crippled man waited by the pool of Siloam, hoping that the angel would trouble the waters so he could be healed. “God is troubling the waters right now, my dear friend,” the preacher says with his eyes closed. “Go to the phones now, before it is too late. Only those who give in this holy, anointed moment will receive a supernatural blessing in return.”

Gimmick #3: The memorialized gift. One popular evangelist announced on-air that she needed thousands of dollars to build a prayer room. She promised that those who funded this noble effort would receive recognition with special brass nameplates that would be mounted on the wall of the facility. The implication was that people could buy prayer coverage, sort of like a spiritual insurance policy. (I’m not surprised—since this woman offered her loyal followers the status of “spiritual son” or “spiritual daughter” if they paid a $1,000 annual fee.)

Gimmick #4: The debt-breaking anointing. One preacher who specializes in telethons has raised millions by telling audiences that they are just one donation away from eliminating all red ink. All they have to do is give a sacrificial gift (usually four figures) to the TV network in the next few minutes. If they do this, God will wipe out their debts, no questions asked. No lifestyle changes necessary. (This technique was especially popular before the mortgage crisis.)

See how many times you hear the buzz word ‘anointing’ in the video below

Gimmick #5: The Day of Atonement offering. This particularly odd strategy has been popular in the last couple of years, especially among gullible Christians who believe God blesses anything and everything that has the word “Israel” attached to it. The preacher announces that if you write a check to their network, and wave it in the air before you mail it (preferably while wearing a Jewish prayer shawl), God will forgive your sins, restore your health, bring back your wayward children, provide angelic protection and bless you with more than a dozen other special favors.

I still don’t know what is more outrageous: That programmers allow such insanity on Christian television, or that gullible Christians fall for it year after year. Hopefully, emerging leaders in the religious broadcasting industry will restore our lost credibility by insisting on integrity, authenticity and good taste.

Here is the conclusion to this article:

From the “gospel” garnished American Dream, which is all about living in comfort, and getting your own, and enjoying life NOW. A “gospel” that tells us God wants to give us everything we ever dreamed about if we come to him Dream Career,Great Kids, Lovely Spouse, $$$$$. We have been so locked into that mindset and latched on like leeches that i wonder how many of us, would in the face of; trails, difficulty, persecution declare, like Shedrach,Meshac and Abednego, “even if he does not save us from the furnace”, we will not deny our God.. I ask myself that every so often.

I think that is something we REALLY need to come to terms with in the days that lie ahead for true Christianity in a God hating world.

A day and age, where one person can file lawsuits to take down a cross on public property,which the rest of the town likes

Remove the Ten Commandments plaques in schools and court rooms

Remove any identification of Christianity on public property

Be fired or sued for sharing your faith in your own business premises, when the other party initiated the conversation

Be ordered to take down bill boards that say “satan is not welcome in this town” – YES, that really happened

A day that all you have to do is mention you are a Christian and doors are slammed in your face.

When you can be fired, sued or arrested for sharing your faith. A pastor can be arrested in his own church, for “hate crime” or preaching intolerance, can be forced to hire a person whose lifestyle goes against everything the church against or be charged with discrimination.

We are not talking about iron curtain countries this is happening in “the free world”.

Things are not going to change no matter how we fast and pray.The current social,moral and political occurrences have been predicted in both the old and new testament. It’s said that the last days will be like the days of Noah. (read Matt 24)

Men would become lovers of themselves,Aren’t we in a time where it’s all about YOU, The adverts, the movies,the songs, the divorces(MY needs weren’t being met).

Like the people in Noah’s days, they denied and hated God. They disregarded morality ,silenced their conscience, and sin increased, they living hedonistic self-serving lives; they mocked Noah and his “fairy tale ” God. Noah lived in preparation for the flood, he was not concerned about having a mansion ,the best cars.

Does this mean we should fold our hands and resolve to be the bottom of the barrel in finances or our careers ? NO

Does this mean one should not be responsible, contributing citizen while on earth,NO .

Does it mean that we should abandon everything and all flock to a mountain resort and live like monks waiting for the Rapture. NO.

Does this mean we should live in mediocrity and not make an effort NO

The point here is , where was his focus, where did he channel most of his energy, and

WHO was he listening to? Societal expectations? Criticism/mockery from the ungodly?

Was he concerned with Impressing the sinners with “God’s material blessing”, so they could run to him for those things they are already chasing? NO.

His concern was with his assignment; building the ark, and warning, preaching, trying to save as many people as possible before the inevitable. But they went on ,acquiring, partying and leaving Noah to his ark building “Don’t worry, Live, there is no God” ,Sound familiar??

I may be wrong ,but It is quite possible that there were other men and women that feared God in that time. But they didn’t want to get involved in Noah’s “taking it too far and he’s making the rest of us look bad”. Maybe he was delusional after all that time in the sun, early stages of Alzheimer or something. Who wants to look like a fanatic after all ? .

So they carried on, business as usual, thanking God for the customers that made them richer, a large turnover, the new barns they built and livestock they’d bought. Perhaps even threw a party for a bountiful harvest. All while Noah, worked on that ark, babbling about some unheard of phenomenon happening . To destroy THIS WORLD!!!!, the one God had just blessed them with lands, livestock,vineyards and over flowing barns? NAH.That’s not MY God, The devil is a liar
(a parallel to those that were too busy with “taking care of business” to attend the great feast Matt 22)

Noah may have won most valuable customer 120 years running ,at the local B&Q of his day. Sadly the CEO,shareholders, board of directors,manager, check out boy and the staff watched their best customer sail off as they sank down to a lost eternity.

Once again,
This is not to say that we are only righteous or saved if we are poor or barely getting by.

This is not to say that there is anything wrong with earning well in our careers. Or

Having a business that grows phenomenally or even wanting to have more than enough for our spouse and kids.

BUT

Whether we admit it or not, When financial prosperity is our BIGGEST and SOLE goal,

When those are the only scriptures we know.

When building OUR Kingdom on earth puts on such blinders, that we can’t even see the world sinking around us in sin, and they march right pass us in gleeful conga a line to hell, and our eyes are so focused on ourselves or asset building, that we ignore them, THAT is a huge problem.

Jesus himself said “My Kingdom is not of this world”, why then are we so blinded to think he has promised us one HERE. Why aren’t we pointing others to him and HIS kingdom???

Im not going to pretend I have it all figured out(i haven’t even scratched the adamantium like surface ) nor i have reached that position like the apostles.Nor do i smile when i think about it or that i look forward to it.The possibility of being called to a life that is not cushy or flowing easy.Facing Constant conflict to my faith/life , swimming against the tide,as everyone else relaxes and seemingly “enjoys life” carried by the ebb. Believe me, i am still coming to terms with it all the time and it is HARD, Ko Easy.

Like most people, I have lofty dreams, goals, ambitions, I’m not a masochist, so im not venturing out looking for suffering or discomfort.

BUT

At some point we just have to surrender it all to the Lord, instead of wanting to Live La Vida ,spiritually living in comfort, in the sweet by and by, getting fat and lazy with no challenge or REAL building to our faith. We have to submit our ambitions, goals, dreams, intentions,assets. and ask the Lord, if all we are doing is IN LINE with what HE wants us to do.

“Our greatest fear as individuals and as a church, should not be of failure but succeeding at things that in Life, don’t really matter - Tim Kizzar”

We need to be the ambassadors that he called us to be. An ambassador does not try to establish his own embassy in the land he has been sent to, he is a representative of that from Kingdom, which he has been sent and his commander-in-chief makes sure that his needs are met at all times.

What should most concern us, is, when it’s all said and done,

After all the employee awards, mansion, 4 apartment building,tightest whip in the hood , 2 month global holidays, 40 page balance sheets, paid off mortgage , platinum album, appearance on the magazine front cover,blockbuster movie.

How would we answer when he asks,

WHY SHOULD I LET YOU INTO MY KINGDOM

I highly recommend the book Crazy Love by Francis Chan, It would help your ascertain where you are now.it would open your eyes into a new way of thinking about your faith , and walk with Christ. A true defibrillator and Challenge for anyone that reads it and TRULY seeks a deeper walk with God.

How many times have I heard people say to me ‘Touch Not the Lords Anointed’ when I challenge their thinking about the doctrine of their favorite preachers. I have already been told that I shouldn’t speak against the ‘man of God’. Well lately I have begun to see a lot of people begin to question what they have been spoon fed on the pulpits or on Christian TV and are beginning to be a Berean and check out the scripture themselves. People are no longer staying silent on the issue and I thank God for this

J Lee Grady wrote this excellent article that I just had to share it with you:

God is shaking His church and removing corruption. But we share the blame for giving charlatans a platform.
Al Capone once controlled all of Chicago. The notorious 1920s gangster bribed the city’s mayor, bought the police and presided as king over an empire of casinos, speakeasies and smuggling operations. He dodged bullets for years and lived above the law—and earned the nickname “untouchable” because no one could bring him to justice.

Before Capone finally went to prison in 1932, he justified his crimes by saying: “All I do is satisfy a public demand.” He didn’t take responsibility for the pain he caused because he knew mayors, policemen, community leaders and bootleggers supported him the whole way.

I hate to compare any minister of God to a gangster. But the sad truth is that today there are a handful (well, maybe more) of unscrupulous preachers who share some of Capone’s most disgusting traits. They are notoriously greedy. They are masters of deception and manipulation. They have bought their way into the charismatic religious subculture and used their uncanny hypnotic ability to control major Christian TV networks.

And, like Capone, their days are numbered. Justice will soon catch up with them.

These false prophets probably all started out with a genuine call from God, but success destroyed them. They were lured away from true faith by fame and money, and when their ministries mushroomed they resorted to compromise to keep their machines rolling. Now, in the midst of the Great Recession, God is closing in on them.

But before we rejoice that these imposters are being removed from their pulpits and yanked off the airwaves, let’s hit the pause button and reflect. How did these false preachers ever achieve such fame? It couldn’t have happened without help from us.

We were the gullible ones. When they said, “The Lord promises you untold wealth if you will simply give a thousand dollars right now,” we went to the phones and put the donations on our credit cards. God forgive us.

We were the undiscerning ones. When they said, “I need your sacrificial gift today so I can repair my private jet,” we didn’t ask why a servant of God wasn’t humble enough to fly coach class to a Third World nation. God forgive us.

We were the foolish ones. When it was revealed that they were living in immorality, mistreating their wives or populating cities with illegitimate children, we listened to their spin doctors instead of demanding that ministry leaders act like Christians. God forgive us.

We were the naïve ones. When they begged for $2 million more in donations because of a budget shortfall, we didn’t feel comfortable asking why they needed that $10,000-a-night hotel suite. In fact, if we did question it, another Christian was quick to say, “Don’t criticize! The Bible says, ‘Touch not the Lord’s anointed!’” God forgive us.

We have treated these charlatans like Al Capone—as if they were untouchable—and as a result their corruption has spread throughout charismatic churches like a plague. Our movement is eaten up with materialism, pride, deception and sexual sin because we were afraid to call these Bozos what they really are—insecure, selfish, egotistical and emotionally dysfunctional.

If we had applied biblical discernment a long time ago we could have avoided this mess. There is no way we can know how many unbelievers rejected the gospel because they saw the church supporting quacks who swaggered, bragged, lied, flattered, bribed, stole and tearfully begged their way into our lives—while we applauded them and sent them money.

When well-meaning Christians quote 1 Chronicles 16:22 (“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm,” NASB) to cover up corruption or charlatanism, they do horrible injustice to Scripture. This passage does not require us to stay quiet when a leader is abusing power or deceiving people.

On the contrary, we are called to confront sin in a spirit of love and honesty—and we certainly aren’t showing love to the church if we allow the charismatic Al Capones of our generation to corrupt it.