Posts Tagged ‘positive confession’

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……

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.

If you are in your 30s or 40s and was into computer games (like myself), you will remember that one of the hottest games out there was Street Fighter II. What you probably didn’t know is that there was a Church Edition of the game. To see some of the best highlights, look at the video below. Enjoy

On a serious note, if you think I am mocking those who are being ‘slain in the spirit’, that’s because I don’t believe in it. To understand my views, click here

A few years ago, I posted an article called The Sad State of Gospel Music today. Well I saw an article by H B Charles Jr which also talks about this and also touches on the current trend of Christian reality shows.  I have posted the article below and added some of the videos that he is talking about as well

I love Gospel Music. Traditional. Contemporary. Praise & worship. Choirs. Groups. Solo artists. Old and new. From Rev. So-and-So Presents… albums of the 80s to today’s Bishop So-and-So Presents… albums. I have even started to listen to some quartet and Christian hip-hop.

I love music. And I especially love music that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ. But my true love for Gospel Music has broken my heart.

In two ways…

First, I am grieved by the excessive commercialism of contemporary Gospel Music. I can cite various examples of this illicit love affair with the world. But there is an explicit seduction of the world on Gospel artists that burdens me: reality TV. What is this about? Why are Gospel artists joining the ranks of these mind-numbing reality TV shows? Don’t you now know that “reality TV” is an oxymoron?

Mary Mary

The Sheards

Of course, Gospel artists are not the only ones joining this parade of worldly foolishness. It’s also preachers, preacher’s wives, and preacher’s daughters. More and more religious personalities are nakedly pursuing fleeting celebrity. We want to be famous, rather than promoting the name, message, kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Sisterhood

Preachers of LA

Please to tell us you are doing this to expand the influence of Christ in culture. If that’s what you think, you are extremely confused. Deceived. Out of touch with “reality” (pun intended!). It is easier for the world to pull you down than for you to pull the world up. And in leaning over to reach the world, the church often falls in. And we are dragging the precious name of Jesus down with us.

Where did we get the idea that Christ wants us to help him be relevant in this God-ignoring society? The Lord commands us to be holy, faithful, obedient, wise, and loving. The Lord does not want us to show the world that we are regular people just like everyone else. The world already knows that! That’s why they don’t respect the church. We need to be different. Light. Salt. Our influence in the world happens by the difference Christ makes in our lives, not by blending in. The world cannot see our good works and glorify the Father in heaven by watching so-called Christian leaders divas argue, boast, shop, covet, date, lust, and complain on TV. Get real!

My heart is broken for another reason.

Not only are Gospel artists fallen in love with the world; even worse, they have fallen in love with Word of Faith theology. Prosperity Theology used to be on the fringes of the Christian landscape. Now these faith teachers are the mainstream. And many prominent Gospel artists have digested their unbiblical teachings and regurgitate them in their music.

As I listen to the new Gospel Music released, I am blown away by how talented Gospel artists are. The music, singing, and production can rival anything “secular” project. Unfortunately, I am hearing more thoughtful reflection in some Pop and R&B music than among those who claim to sing for the glory of God.

I buy a lot of Gospel Music. But I can commend very little of it for worship, private or corporate. Too much Gospel Music has too little gospel in it. It is not God exalting, Christ focused, or biblically saturated. It is fixated with self.

“It’s my season…”

“My harvest is coming…”

“What’s to come is greater than what’s been…”

“I don’t look like what I’ve been through…”

“Praise him till you get your breakthrough…”

“Speak those things that are not as though they were…”

“I’m taking back everything the devil stole from me…”

“Speak it into the atmosphere…” “

“I’m claiming my destiny…”

On and on it goes.

Just because you use biblical phrases does not mean you are communicating biblical truth. Cults play that game. Christian musicians and singers should not.

We need music that teaches truth (Col. 3:16), not just cherry-picks phrases that sound good. We need Gospel Music that proclaims the gospel! We need reverent, bible-rooted music that will lead worshipers to think deeply about Christ. We need musicians to record music that will lead us to sing to the glory of God, not just cheer-lead to get an emotional response.

Don’t look now, Gospel Artists, but the upstart Christian hop-hop artists are lapping you. Now, I am not a big hip-hop fan. And I don’t know any of these artists personally. But I am encouraged by their willingness to rap about God and Jesus and the gospel and holiness and doctrine. They are daring to compose and perform truth-driven messages, not mere foot-tapping music.

Gospel artists, please wake up! We are in a storm. And you are playing the Jonah, sleeping your way to Tarshish when you should be headed to Nineveh. The church – and the world – needs you to wake up and give up music about the true and living God!

It is for this reason that I hardly listen to the new gospel music today. I would rather listen to some old Commissioned songs than listen to the unbiblical Christian lyrics that I hear today. I also listen to Christian hip hop which to me are like the hymns for this generation as a lot of it is saturated with sound theology and doctrine.

Am I saying that all gospel music today is bad? No. But it needs a discerning ear. If you cannot discern the false doctrine coming from the pulpit. You will not discern it in the ‘gospel’ music lyrics.

Over my 20+ years of being a Christian, I have seen many fad and phases that the christian go through. This can range from ‘the year of jubilee’ to the ‘prayer of Jabez’. One of the most recent things I have witnessed is how many people are ‘decreeing and declaring’. Even though this post is about decreeing and declaring, you will get two traditions for the price of one in this video. Just watch one example of how being slain in the spirit works and how she she suggests to them what she is going to do. But also listen to the decreeing and declaring.

0:45 Before the congregation gave, the heavens were locked but because they have given, she decrees and declares that they are now open

1:11 Like a Tsunami, she decrees and decalres that God is going to move from her right to the left and from the front to the back

1:19 As she moves across the stage, she decrees that they will be slain in the spirit and will pick up mantles in the realm of the spirit (whatever that means)

1:31 As she moves across the stage, she decrees and declares that economics and finances will be shifted

1:40 She decrees and declares that the wealth of the wicked will be released to the congregation

1:46 She decrees and declares that the winds of the spirit are beginning to blow into homes (whatever that means)

1:52 She decrees and declares that the sons and daughters will be birth into the kingdom by virtue of their praise from prisons and crackhouses

2:10 She decrees and declares (again) that a supernatural anointing will sweep from her right

2:52 She decrees and declares that (I have no idea what she said)

2:58 She decrees and declares a double portion of the Elijah anointing

3:28 She decrees and declares about ?????

3:35 She decrees and declares the spirit of Jabez falls upon the women

3:40 She decrees and declares both to will and to do of his good pleasure and SHE release angels to ministries and to houses (this is totally unscriptural. See my post on commanding angels)

4:01 She decrees and declares every invisible that is buried is now destroyed (que???)

4:07 She decrees and declares that they are now a trailblazer

4:24 She decrees and declares new territories

4:30 She decrees and declares that the kingdom of heaven comes with force and a supernatural anointing

5:32 She decrees and declares channels, doors and gates open

5:46 She decrees and declares a ‘shifting’

Phew!!! That’s a lot of decreeing and declaring. This practice is just another form of the Word of Faith doctrine of positive confession which basically teaches that our words have creative power in them and are a container for our faith. It also sometimes known as name it and claim it where people are name what they want and ‘claim it’.

So I did a bit of research to see where people are getting this from and it seems to spring from the three following scriptures.

1. You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you;, So light will shine on your ways. (Job 22:28)

This is the primary scripture that is used for decreeing and declaring. If you look at the context, Eliphaz’s ‘friend’ was basically stating that the reason why Job went through his suffering was because of his wickedness. Wayne D Turner correctly points out that:

“Many Christians quote scripture way out of context and think nothing of it. I have often heard people quote Job 22:28 as a promise for Believers…..It’s one of those name-it-and-claim-it verses that goes with the prosperity-giving message that is often taught by preachers and teachers trying to bolster the financial giving of their audience. In fact, this verse does say, in essence, “Declare it, and it will happen just as you claim it.” Here’s the catch to this verse: Eliphaz is the one who said it, and he was wrong about nearly everything; he lacked a knowledge of the nature of God. He and his friends were rebuked by God himself for their bad counsel in Job 42:7-9. (See verse 7 where it says “The Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My anger burns against you and against your two friends, for you have not spoken of me what is right). So…when Christians quote scripture out of context as they do this verse, one might very well come away with a very skewed impression of the nature of God.”

2. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, (Proverb 18:21)

This is another proof text that on the surface seems to suggest that we can ‘speak life’ into every situation so that we can create a positive reality. Thats why sometimes when a person confesses that they are sick, the next thing that you may have heard in another believers mouth is ‘Don’t confess that’ or ‘that’s not your portion’ as if to say that by just confessing that you are well makes you well and that you ignore the fact that you may well be sick even with the evidence of vomiting all over the floor. This scripture does NOT mean that our words create reality but that our words can have consequences.

3. As it is written, “I have made you a father of many nations” in the presence of Him whom he believed—God, who gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did (Roman 4:17)

Again the scripture itself tells you who “gives life to the dead and calls those things which do not exist as though they did”. It is not us. It is God. Yet many people use this scripture to state that we can do the same thing. Our words do not create reality. God’s words do. Don’t believe me? Confess that you are a millionaire and I will bet that none of you will become one just by saying it alone. It has so infiltrated the church on a massive scale even to the point where little children have been taught to do it and ‘decreed and declared’ that we wont be broke a day in their life as can be seen in the video below. My guess is that someone who was in that congregation is broke today

So in summary, there is nowhere in scripture where Jesus’s 12 disciples taught his disciples to go around decreeing and declaring in the fashion that we see today. You dont see them doing it and you dont see Paul or any other follower in the new testament doing it. Just because everyone is doing it doesnt make it biblical.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect - Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 5) : Armor Bearers

AtServiceThis is one of those traditions which seems to be predominantly found in the black church. But first thing is first. What is an armor bearer in the bible? As per Got Questions:

In Scripture, an armor-bearer (also spelled armorbearer and armor bearer) was a servant who carried additional weapons for commanders. Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 16:12), Jonathan (1 Samuel 14:6-17), and Joab (2 Samuel 18:15) had armor-bearers/armorbearers. Armor-bearers were also responsible for killing enemies wounded by their masters. After enemy soldiers were wounded with javelins or arrows, armor-bearers finished the job with clubs or swords. After the time of David, armor-bearers are no longer mentioned, likely due to the fact that commanders began to fight from chariots (1 Kings 12:18;20:33).

Now as those from other churches may not know what an armor bearer is in today’s churches, let me give you a little summary. An armor bearer is basically like a preachers right hand man/woman and serves them basically, like a glorified personal assistant. Some of their duties include (and I am not making this up), carrying the pastors bible and books, getting their water to quench their thirst while they are preaching, wiping the sweat off their head with a towel while they are preaching, bring and preachers bodyguard. Picking up the pastor and driving him to church. You don’t believe me? My friends across the pond at Real Talk Radio made me aware of this armor bearer ‘training’ video

Notice that one of the first thing that he says is that it will be less scriptural (in fact I didn’t hear any in this clip)

According to the video, the armor bearer:

  • will watch out for his wife
  • will watch out for his kids
  • will have closer access than the average church member
  • represents the preacher (note…not Christ)
  • ‘covers’ the preachers
  • ‘softens the blow’ for those who want to have access to the pastor
  • should be willing to change their schedule, their lifestyle and their work so that they are available for their Pastor
  • should be willing to use up their work vacation days to serve the Pastor

He also stated that that he was there early washing his pastors car and it caused problems in his marriage. If that isn’t a red flag, then I don’t know what is.

In some churches they MUST be a tither and ‘must make the advancement of the leader the important goal’. That alone flies in the face of scripture and borders on idolatory. In John 3:30 John the Baptist stated that he must decrease and Christ must increase but many churches are looking to increase the profile of their pastor.

If this sounds unbiblical and unhealthy to you, that’s because it is. Maybe its just me but it sounds very close to a slave and not a servant. You do not see any disciples in the new testamant who had an armor bearer as it is today. The closest person I can see was Peter in the Garden Of Gethsamene when he drew his sword to protect Jesus and Jesus told him to put it away so there goes that theory

When James and John wanted to be Jesus’s right (and left) hand men in Mark 10:35-45, Jesus told them that “even the Son of Man came NOT to be served but to serve” but for some reason , they get it twisted and think that they are greater than Jesus and should be served by their armor bearer at every opportunity. This is NOT biblical and is a tradition of man.

So how did we get from the biblical definition of an armor bearer to what we have today? The answer is that they have equated the armor bearer in the old testament carrying the weapon to the armor bearer today carrying the sword (the bible). This is a classic example of eisegesis which is a common practice with many traditions . They have come up with a idea and read it INTO the scriptural text. Instead of using exegesis and getting their doctrine OUT of the text. Let the scripture speak for itself and not what you want it to say.

BUT DONT TAKE MY WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect - Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 4) : Getting slain in the spirit

This is one of those traditional practices that you normally see at events such as ‘healing’ crusades and ‘deliverance’ ministries when the preacher lays hands on a person and they ‘fall out’ or as it is commonly known ‘get slain in the spirit’. It has almost become the norm in many churches that a lot of Christians do not even question it’s biblical validity and assume that it is from God.  See the video below as an example.

Question: Why is it that the only place in scripture where people fell backwards due to the power of God was the wicked men who came to arrest Jesus?  Selah

I know that one of the first thing people will say to defend this (or their favorite pastor/bishop/preacher) is ‘I know what I felt when it happened to me’ but we must remember that feelings and emotions are not an indication of truth. Feelings can change and deceive. See my post Emotionalism and Experience versus Sound Doctrine. The bible even states that Satan presents himself as an angel of light and he will perform many lying wonders. So what is the standard that we should follow? It is the scriptures and the scriptures alone. That is the plumbline.

My good friend, Steve Campbell wrote a good article called ‘Slain in the Spirit or just “Slain” stupid’ and I thought I would share it with you below

Just a couple of links to remind us that once again we must use the scriptures as the final authority for our faith and not these so called “fake healers and prophe-liars”…..

I’ve been saying for a while especially when you study and see the comparisons in the New Age Movement, that this whole “slain in the spirit” thing is false and has no place in Christianity…
People in the Charismatic Movement have mis-interpreted the scripture in Acts 2 and especially from verse 11 where scripture shows that some and not all of the many who had gathered accused the disciples of being drunk. This has been interpreted by The Charismatics as meaning that when the Holy Spirit comes upon you he makes you act in a manner that to others seems strange and some have even labeled this behaviour as being “Drunk in the Spirit”… Once again this teaching has no biblical foundation as the purpose of having the Holy Spirit is one of comfort, a guide and teacher…Look at John 14:26…  The Holy Spirit does not make you roll around on the floor like some socially dysfunctional person in order to show that God is working in your life.. Ephesians 5:18 tells us to ” be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;”
The only characters that I’ve seen in scripture who were “slain by the spirit” and not “slain in the spirit” were Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5……

Look at what happens from verse 12 in Acts 2, as Peter explains to the crowd the events that were occurring and made reference to the Prophet Joel’s prophecy in Joel 2:28-32.
He clearly states that the disciples were not drunk… A few major things happened on the Day Of Pentecost … The disciples spoke in tongues which were the dialects of approximately 18 different nationalities… They professed the gospel of Jesus Christ.. Peter then preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ with authority and articulacy.
Acts 2:37 shows the hearers of Peter’s sermon were “cut to the heart” ESV.. This meant that were convicted by what Peter had preached.
It then goes on to say that they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, which was the Gospel and they fellowshipped together giving and sharing their possessions to as many who had a need.
So we can see from reading the whole text that the Day of Pentecost was the birth of the Christian Church as we know it, and that the gospel was preached and the lost were saved..
We cannot just simply highlight the gift of receiving The Holy Spirit without actually showing it’s purpose.. Which is to enable us to preach the Gospel in any surroundings, especially a difficult one with clarity and authority….

We do a great disservice to the working of the Holy Spirit when we act in manner that is confusing to the unbeliever and does not audibly proclaim the wonderful works of God, which is the Gift Of Salvation to all of mankind.

So……. Have a look at these two clips and then decide if these acts truly bring people to repentance and convict them of their sin just as Peter’s preaching did on the day of Pentecost???

As Always…

Sola Scriptura..

Steve….

BUT DONT TAKE OUR WORD FOR IT. CHECK OUT THE SCRIPTURES FOR YOURSELF

Related Posts:

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect - Introduction

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 1) : Pleading the blood

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 2) : Tithing

The traditions of men making the Word of God of none effect (Part 3) : Getting a confirmation from God