prosperity gospelSOURCE: I recently read a news article about “evangelicals” supporting Donald Trump for president of the United States. The focus of the article, its case study, was Florida mega-church pastor and sometime religious television personality Paula White. Her church in suburban Orlando attracts about twenty thousand attenders and thousands more watch her on television and read her writings. She is emerging as a leading spokesperson for “American evangelicals.” According to most sources I read about her, however, her version of evangelical Christianity is what is popularly known as the “Prosperity Gospel.” The thrust of that theology is that God wants his people to be healthy and financially prosperous if not rich. If they have sufficient faith, expressed in the right ways, they can and should overcome poverty, live lives of financial abundance (if not luxury) and be physically well all the time—right up until they die.

I have written about this “gospel of health and wealth,” this “prosperity gospel,” what some call “Word-Faith theology,” here and in my recently published book Counterfeit Christianity (Abingdon Press, 2015). All across the United States and much of the world certain “evangelical” evangelists and pastors are promoting this theology as their primary theme. Its beginnings lie in nineteenth century New Thought—the movement begun by evangelist Phineas Quimby in England in the early nineteenth century. Where Quimby got it is unknown, but “mind over matter” philosophies were “in the air” in both Europe and America—driven at least somewhat by a vulgarized interpretation of German idealism that metaphysically connected thought and being as inseparable.

Quimby became Mary Baker Eddy’s “guru” and she claimed healing through his ministry of mentalism—mind over matter using positive thinking and speaking. She, of course, went on to found what is popularly known as “Christian Science”—one of the first and best known organized forms of New Thought. (The official name of the organization is, of course, The Church of Christ, Scientist.) But there were numerous other individual “practitioners” of New Thought and several religious groups grew out of the movement—Unity, Religious Science, and Divine Science of the Mind (to name a few). The common idea of all of them was that God’s power to heal and prosper lies in the human mind because God’s mind and the human mind are not separate but interconnected.

Several Christian writers picked up the basic ideas of New Thought without joining any particular New Thought religious organization. One of the best known and most influential was Napoleon Hill (1883-1970), author of the best-selling book Think and Grow Rich (1937). Sometime later several books were published with titles like Pray and Grow Rich. New Thought’s idea of “prayer” was simply positive thinking and speaking—a form of magic.

The beginning of New Thought infiltrating evangelical Christianity has been traced by several scholars to a healing evangelist and author named E. W. Kenyon (1867-1948). During the same time that New Thought was growing in popularity and influence, a new emphasis on healing through prayer was spreading among Holiness Christians—evangelicals who believed in the power of God to heal sickness through powerful prayer. Kenyon brought the two together—the evangelical healing movement and New Thought. To Holiness-Pentecostals who prayed for the sick to be healed he added the dimension of positive thinking and speaking.

The contemporary movement known as Word-Faith exists primarily among Pentecostal and charismatic Christians. The immediate “father” of the movement was Kenneth Hagin (1917-2003), founder of the very large and influential Rhema Bible Institute in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Some scholars claim he received his “name it and claim it” message about health and wealth from Kenyon. Hagin himself denied that and claimed both received it from the Bible and “revelation”—the “rhema Word” which is God’s contemporary revelation as distinct from the “logos Word” which is God revelation in the past—especially in the Bible. Hagin claimed the two are entirely consistent and that the “rhema Word” of contemporary prophecy is simply unfolding and giving new impetus to the Bible’s message that God wants his people to prosper and be in health. The method of prospering and being in health, according to Hagin and other Word-Faith evangelists is “speaking the Word.” It is not enough simply to think positively; one must speak health and prosperity into existence.

Many critical observers noticed strong similarities between this Word-Faith teaching and the ideas of a New Thought group called Unity headquartered in Lee’s Summit, Missouri. Unity was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore (1854-1948 and 1845-1931 respectively) who, like Eddy, were influenced by Quimby (although less directly). Perhaps the leading New Thought popularizer was a man named Ernest Holmes (1887-1960) who many scholars of the New Thought movement regard as its purest and best thinker. His influence on the movement in the 20th century was pervasive and profound.

The precise mechanisms of influence of New Thought on Pentecostal-charismatic Word-Faith theology is much debated, but there is general agreement on Kenyon as a major player in blending them and transmitting that hybrid theology to twentieth century Pentecostal-charismatics like Hagin who, in turn, passed it on to popularizers such as Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen.

Another “strain” of New Thought entered into so-called “mainstream” Protestantism through popular Reformed pastor and writer Norman Vincent Peale (1898-1993), pastor of the historic Marble Collegiate Church (New York City) and author of The Power of Positive Thinking. A favorite saying of Peale’s was “Change your thoughts and you can change your world.” Peale is generally considered to have been Robert Schuller’s inspiration. He founded the wildly popular magazine Guideposts.

Again, the precise mechanisms of New Thought’s influence on Peale are unknown, but by the time he wrote The Power of Positive Thinking elements of New Thought were simply “in the air” in American culture. But Peale seems to have drawn on New Thought for his basic philosophy of success in life, blending it with “mainline Protestantism,” and handed that on to people like Robert Schuller. (Peale and Schuller belonged to the same denomination, the old Dutch Reformed Church now known as the Reformed Church of America.)

My question is whether this “gospel of health and wealth” through positive thinking and speaking, this “prosperity gospel,” this “Word-Faith movement,” this “name it and claim it” teaching, is authentically evangelical. It is a valid evangelical option? Apparently the national news media thinks so. They are labeling prosperity gospel preachers like Paula White “evangelicals.” And most of them do claim to be evangelical in some sense.

As often in these blog posts, I will include a personal sidebar here. As my faithful readers know, I grew up Pentecostal—within what scholars call “classical Pentecostalism.” We strongly opposed fringe movements such as the Latter Rain Movement that included belief in “manifest sons of God” (modern day apostles capable of living independently of natural laws). When the prosperity gospel first burst on the scene in the 1970s through books such as How to Live Like a King’s Kid by Harold Hill (1974) we “classical Pentecostals” by-and-large rejected it. That led to numerous Pentecostal and charismatic churches dividing. Suddenly, in a matter of a decade, most cities had at least one “Word-Faith church” dedicated to the gospel of health and wealth through positive thinking and speaking. Most of them looked to Hagin and his enormous ministry in Tulsa. Hagin himself was already well-known to most classical Pentecostal pastors in the U.S. He had been an Assemblies of God minister with a radio program. I used to listen to it (around 1970-1971) on Christian radio station KDMI in Des Moines—when I was just entering Bible college. I remember wondering why God would speak directly to a contemporary American evangelist in King James English. The Assemblies of God and other classical Pentecostal groups distanced themselves from Hagin and other Word-Faith evangelists and “teachers,” but their influenced grew nevertheless and many classical Pentecostal churches were eventually infiltrated with Word-Faith, prosperity gospel teachings.

Many, perhaps most, evangelicals and classical Pentecostals came to think of the Word-Faith movement, the prosperity gospel, as “our lunatic fringe.” A comparison would be the 1950s Latter Rain Movement which swept American Pentecostalism and divided it with the result that virtually every city of any size had at least one “Full Gospel” church that was influenced by it. (These Latter Rain churches claimed that they frequently had visible visitations by angels during worship services and that they saw “glory clouds” and “holy oil” appearing during them. But the heretical teaching at the heart of the movement was that of the “manifest sons of God” who, they claimed, rose above normal humanity—a kind of realized eschatology.)

I lived through the rise of the Word-Faith prosperity gospel among Pentecostals in the 1970s and 1980s. I observed churches being torn apart by it. For the most part classical Pentecostal leaders distanced themselves from it and many even condemned it as heresy. But many accommodated to it—to hold onto many of their members rather than lose them to the new upstart Word-Faith “ministries” being founded mostly by graduates of Rhema Bible Institute.

After leaving Pentecostalism and becoming Baptist, I thought I had left that particular controversy behind. However, my first full-time teaching position was at Oral Roberts University where I tried my best to counter the pervasive influence of the Word-Faith prosperity gospel teaching among students, many of whom were transfers to ORU from Rhema. Many Word-Faith evangelists spoke in ORU’s required chapel services. Oral Roberts himself seemed to be adopting elements of Word-Faith teaching. The university faculty, however, by-and-large opposed it which created tension on campus. One of my theology colleagues, Charles Farah, wrote one of the best books critical of Word-Faith prosperity teaching—From the Pinnacle of the Temple—in which he helpfully distinguished between faith and presumption. At that time many, very many, followers of the Word-Faith teaching were refusing medical treatment and discarding their much-needed glasses—as expressions of their “absolute faith” in God’s healing power. Many were racking up huge credit card debt and buying houses beyond what they could really afford—as evidences of their total trust in the power of God to provide wealth.

I thought this Word-Faith teaching, rooted as it is in New Thought and as strange and fanatical as it is, would never be taught at a “mainline” Protestant seminary. But a couple of years ago I was surprised, even shocked, when I sat in on a church history class at a so-called mainline Protestant seminary and heard a Hispanic professor, herself of Pentecostal extraction, extol the Word-Faith prosperity gospel as something very positive and good—especially for oppressed Hispanics and African-Americans. She asked the class of seminarians “What other theology can give them hope for a better life?” I quickly jotted down on a piece of paper “liberation theology?” and showed it to the student sitting next to me. He raised his hand and the professor called on him. He said “liberation theology?” She simply dismissed it as irrelevant without even attempting to discuss the pros or cons of liberation theology.

Now, according to news reports I have read, a leading Word-Faith, prosperity gospel pastor-evangelist named Paula White (pastor of a mega-church with about twenty thousand attenders and host of a religious television talk show) is being labeled “evangelical” by the media and being connected by them with Donald Trump—as his religious “point person” to connect him with “evangelical” Christians. This raises so many questions I don’t even know where to begin. Strangely, however, I think I do see a connection—between the prosperity gospel of health and wealth (as God’s blessings) and religious support for Trump.

As an evangelical theologian and church historian, however, my main interest lies in exposing the Word-Faith “gospel” of prosperity as non-evangelical and even non-Christian—at least insofar as it focuses with heavy emphasis on manipulating God to give one financial wealth, material abundance, and guaranteed health. This is a theology that blatantly denies God’s sovereignty, God’s freedom, God’s holy otherness, turning God into a cosmic slot machine. And it distorts prayer into magic. The whole focus of the Bible shifts and becomes human centered rather than God centered. And it is rooted in extra-biblical “revelations” themselves rooted in New Thought—a philosophy that teaches that the power of God to create reality lies dormant within the human mind and mouth.

I call on all evangelical leaders, influencers, to take a strong public stand against this alternative gospel and reject it as non-evangelical. It is, in my opinion, cultic in the theological sense. That the media are beginning to treat Word-Faith promoters of the “gospel” of health and wealth through magic as evangelicals is scandalous. The movers and shakers of evangelical Christianity in America and everywhere need to band together in spite of our differences and say to the media “They are not us; stop calling them ‘evangelicals’.”

I anticipate some objections. Some may recall that I have argued that evangelicalism is not a “bounded set category” but a “centered set category.” But I have also always offered the caveat that being “evangelical” is not compatible with anything and everything. There is a center and that center can be corrupted to the point where people claiming to be evangelical cannot be recognized as evangelical. The prosperity gospel of health and wealth is such a mutation of classical evangelical Christianity that it is unrecognizable as that; it is “different gospel,” one that holds out false hope to desperate people about a god who can be manipulated to, about “prayer” as magic, and about guaranteed health and wealth through pretending it exists when it doesn’t. I substitutes faith with presumption and places material “abundance” at the center in place of God who calls us to service rather than greed.

I am not saying followers of the Word Faith “gospel” are not Christians, but I do wonder about some of their leaders and their true motives. It’s the promoters of this false gospel I aim criticism at, not the masses of deluded followers many of whom are simply desperate people being seduced into false hope and counterfeit Christianity.

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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | September 10, 2015

Justin Peters Reviews the “War Room” Movie


SOURCE: If you do not know the Kendrick brothers by name, you almost certainly know them by their films: Flywheel (2003), Facing the Giants (2006), Fireproof (2008), and Courageous (2011).  Stephen, Alex, and Shannon Kendrick have just released their fifth faith-based film, War Room.  War Room, starring popular Bible teachers Priscilla Shirer and Beth Moore, looks like it may well be the most successful of their films to date bringing in $11 million just on its opening weekend; more than triple it’s $3 million production budget.

Given the popularity of Christian themed films and the considerable buzz about this one in particular, my wife, Kathy, and I went to see War Room on the evening of September 3rd so that I could write a review.  For those of you who read my review of Mark Burnett and Roma Downey’s movie, Son of God, you know that I am a bit skeptical of the Christian movie genre as a whole.  Nonetheless, I do want to offer what I hope to be a fair review. This review will not touch on every single facet of the movie or even on every theme it presents, but I do hope to address what I believe to be the most important of them.

Plot Overview

War Room is centered around Tony and Elizabeth Jordan, their ten year old daughter, Danielle, and Elizabeth’s real estate client-turned Christian friend, Mrs. Clara. The Jordan marriage is in serious trouble.  Tony, a pharmaceutical salesman who travels extensively in his work, is the kind of husband and father one loves to hate.  Though a hard worker, he shows little interest in his daughter and pursues a female work interest behind his wife’s back. Elizabeth, played by Priscilla Shirer, goes to Mrs. Clara’s home discuss the particulars of putting it on the market.  The meeting, however, went far beyond deciding on a listing price for the house.

Mrs. Clara, an older widow, is a Christian fiercely devoted to prayer which she does in a closet she has dubbed her “War Room.”  Mrs. Clara goes to war here, battling Satan who is portrayed as the source of every form of evil plaguing mankind. Rather than plotting troop positions on a military map, Mrs. Clara pins  prayer requests and Scripture verses on the wall of her war room, prays to God, and rebukes the Enemy.

Mrs. Clara begins to ask Elizabeth some probing questions about her family, marriage, and church attendance.  Upon learning that the Jordan family is at the point of collapse, Mrs. Clara exhorts Elizabeth to fight for her marriage in her own war room.

Slowly but surely, Elizabeth is changed by her newly found prayer life and by reading the Bible. One day in her war room, she discovers via a friend’s text that Tony has been seen in a restaurant with another woman.  Elizabeth immediately prays for her husband and asks God to stop him. God gives Tony a stomach ache in the restaurant preventing him from following through with his adulterous plans.

Shortly after this, Tony is fired from his job. Rather than the anger and sarcasm he expected to receive from Elizabeth upon hearing this news, she offered him love and support. The change he sees in his wife eventually changes Tony as well. He confesses his sin and turns back to God. He seeks and is granted forgiveness from both Elizabeth and Danielle, and the Jordan family is on the fast track of restoration.

Despite his new life, Tony is fired from his job.  What his boss did not know, though, was that Tony had been stealing drugs from the company, selling them and pocketing the profits. Though he had gotten away with it, his now sensitive conscience drove him to return to meet with his former boss, confess his theft and make restitution.  His boss could easily have turned Tony in to the authorities to face prison but chose not to do so. The Jordan family was spared the loss of being torn apart again just as it had begun to heal.  Tony eventually found a new, though less lucrative job, his family grew closer to one another and the Lord, Mrs. Clara’s house sold to a pastor and his wife, and all was well because of the battles fought in the War Room.


The movie was, of course, clean.  There was neither foul language nor any innuendos (other than what was about to happen between Tony and his almost-mistress at the restaurant) anywhere to be found.
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paula wite jonathan cain

Paula White recently married Jonathan Cain, the keyboardist from Journey. Evidently, it is the third marriage for both of them.

Cain claims that God told him to divorce his wife and leave his kids. Shortly thereafter, Cain met Paula White on an airplane and they eventually got married.

Recently, they preached together on the importance of Intimacy in marriage. Jonathan Cain, in a major faux pas, encouraged the congregation to watch porn and admonished wives to “find out what your husband’s sexual needs are and meet them.” He said that wives should “educate themselves” and if necessary, watch porn to find out how to meet your husband’s needs. Paula laughed and quickly tried to explain and rationalize her husband’s comments, but they both sounded foolish. To hear the actual sermon with analysis by Chris Rosebough, listen to this episode of “Fighting for the Faith.”

As Chris Rosebough points out, pornography is the worst thing around, and no one should ever look at porn to strengthen their marriage.

Paula and Jonathan are a couple of wolves trying to fleece the flock! (text by Nickey V.)


These videos show Paula Talking out both sides of her mouth.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | September 7, 2015

Did Prayer or the Prosperity Gospel make “War Room” Number One?


SOURCE: Jurrasic World just passed one billion in global box office, nobody is drawing theological conclusions about it, though I am sure a few thank-God-for-Michael-Crichton’s have been said in Hollywood. In a weak Labor Day weekend, an earnest film based on the American prosperity gospel took in number one at the box office and has now made twenty-five million.

As a movie made on the cheap (three million), a few hallelujahs must have gone up at Sony. Somebody is prospering! This is a badly made, written, and acted film, but that isn’t new coming out Hollywood. What is new is the idea from the (relatively) small number of people who have seen the film is that God is behind this weekend’s box office.

“Prayer made a movie about prayer number one!”

Why would we think this so readily? Is this all we have been asking? God help us if we have been praying for movies while ISIS slaughtered more Christians over the weekend. Were we not praying in a “war room” for those Christians? Did God care more about making money for Sony than hearing our cry for the church of the Middle East?

Of course not, because prayer is our heart cry to God and not just a way to make demands in just the “right” way and have God answer our demands. God is not our Jeeves . . . a Genie Jesus who answers our prayers for a pony by giving us two ponies. He is a good Daddy and so, though He does delight to give us treats, Jesus is also eager to break us free of materialism.

There may be good reasons to root for this film, even if it isn’t very good, and one of them isn’t box office as confirmation of our theology of prayer. Perhaps most pathetic is the excitement that mainstream media is talking about the film.  If getting on the Today show is a mark of God’s favor, then Jesus failed. He was not mentioned in any of the “pop culture” vehicles of His time.

There is a good reason the film has done decently, one of which is this is a slow time of year for movies. Another is that American Christians have been ignored by American media and are an untapped market niche. This niche has been exploited by independent artists as the free market always does. If the product has been bad, and mostly it has been risible, then at least the bad product might provoke something better out of the mainstream media. War Room is bad theology and bad marital advice, but at least it does not mock Christians and Christian beliefs. If it gets Christians to pray, then wonderful. But if it gets a community already apt to “prosperity gospel”* more likely to forget that Jesus prayed, ““My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” and got the Cross, then that is not good.

Christians pursue the good whether it is successful or not. I have tried to make art and failed. I know how hard it is. The problem is when we could do better and do not.  We cater to our audience in artistic laziness.

Of course, prayer may have made War Room number one at the box office, no Christian would deny the possiblity. I believe in the power of prayer and God can do as He wishes, but success does not show God is blessing the film either. Many good films have done no box office and many vile films have done well. The fallacy that when a thing does well, especially as a money maker that is blessed, is common. I call it the “Mormon Blessing” argument since I first heard it from Mormon evangelists.

The Mormon Blessing argument works this way:

Mormonism started a short time ago.

Mormonism faced great persecution.

Mormonism has grown globally, showing God’s blessing.

To the retort that demons can also bless a movement with worldy success, the Mormon Blessing response is to say: “Mormonism has done great social good and brought many people back to a living faith. Is that the work of demons?” Since Mormonism has done great social good, this seems a decent retort.

The problem with the argument, of course, is that great success, even for a few centuries, means little. History is long and God’s plan is long. We cannot read the paper and discover what God is blessing or cursing. History is complicated! The historian Gibbon saw that when Christianity arose, western Rome fell. He made the simple mistake of blaming Christianity (in part) for the fall of Rome. This is the reverse of the Mormon Blessing argument.

In fact, Mormon film is sometimes of better quality than Evangelical film and has often done good box office relative to cost. Is God blessing Mollywood? I am often told that an emotional reaction in a film shows the Holy Spirit is at work, but what of the emotional pull of the Other Side of HeavenThis missionary film is powerful and moving, but it is, after all, a Mormon missionary film.

Bad things make money. Films with bad messages can make us cry or feel “warmed.” We cannot know we are blessed simply because we are making money. In fact, the Gospels suggest that it is harder for the rich man to get into the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

So how do we know if God is blessing War Room? We know some kinds of prayers are always answered: prayers to know God, to grow in holiness, to see His face after death. We know He will come when we call, even if we do not always like what He says. We have long experience in documenting miracles as opposed to chance. God is the source and ground of all being and so we can thank Him for any good thing that happens and ask for help for the brokeness of the world. He hates death and suffering much more than we do! He caused none of it and has borne the pain of all of it personally.

I have no doubt people have been helped by War Room and I am glad for this help. God uses what God uses. He can even use me! And yet I know people turned off by films like War Room or encouraged to stay in abusive relationships and pray. The damage done by decades of bad American Evangelical television and movie making is real. We have not been fools for Christ, but foolish. There is a reason that wicked little films like Saved resonate with so many young Christians. They love the church, but they hate the smarmy culture that obscures the Gospel. Much of this is mere snobbery, but not all of it. My Christian school was nothing like the one pictured in Saved and so I found the film badly made, offensive, and untrue to my experience. Sadly, the longer I listen to students and visit their schools, the more I see that I was blessed in my school.

The pasted-on smile Christian who demands that we be happy and blessed all the time is real. I did not think it was real, but it is and it has done real damage.  It isn’t snobbery to marvel at “box office blessings” in a New Testament church that should be built on the Beautitudes! Blessed are the poor in spirit, the mourners, the meek, the persecuted  . . . in this age and the age to come.


*Prosperity gospel: Christians can pray, and should pray, for material blessing. Christians do not just expect to generally do well by doing good, but can demand to do well by doing good. Poverty is not blessed, but blameworthy.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | September 4, 2015

Justin Peters warns against Keith Moore’s trip to Heavan

Keith Moore tells about his trip to heaven where “the Lord took him to see his dad” that had passed about 3 weeks before. My question is why does the Lord not do this for everyone to help them over their grief,, why for Keith and not others. Oh, you have to be a word of faith teachers and a “man of God” for that. Please watch Justin Peters’s warning about people who say they have visits to heaven before you watch Moore’s testimony.

Posted by: papagiorgio200 | September 2, 2015

Inside Edition Investigates TV Preachers Living Like Rock Stars

(This may be a repost?)

john oliver

SOURCE: The Bible, Christianity’s principal sacred text, contains four gospels — Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John — written several decades after the death of Jesus Christ. There are also a handful of gnostic gospels, including those attributed to Thomas, Mary, and Judas, that the early Christian patriarchs didn’t include in the canonical New Testament. There is no “prosperity gospel.”

Prosperity theology — the teaching that financial rewards will accrue to those who keep faith with God — isn’t a “gospel” in the traditional sense, in that it doesn’t recount the life and teachings of Jesus. And it isn’t a gospel in the looser sense, either. Properly understood, the prosperity gospel is a form of ecclesiastical fundraising — tax-free in the U.S., as John Oliver recently pointed out — and incidentally a way to bilk the poor, take food from the hungry, and help augment the number of homeless.

It’s an “aberrant theology that teaches God rewards faith — and hefty tithing — with financial blessings,” as Christianity Today puts it. It’s a form of idolatry, a shady heresy masquerading as divine human empowerment.

Prosperity theology started in the U.S. in the mid-1900s, a beguiling and heady mixture of America’s two great religions — Christianity and consumer-focused capitalism — but it has spread throughout Africa and Latin America. Like the lottery and gambling, its pain is concentrated among the poor, and the house always wins.

In his widely watched Last Week Tonight segment, Oliver focused on the human cost of prosperity hucksterism, which promises blessings if people send in seed (cash) and an envelope full of misdirected faith:

In its first week, Oliver’s “church,” Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, raised thousands of dollars — he was coy about just how much. (Oliver strongly suggested that he will eventually donate all that money to Doctors Without Borders, a fellow tax-exempt organization.) He does an amazing job pointing out shortcomings in the U.S. tax code, but he doesn’t discuss the theological problems with prosperity theology.

There are lots of them.

It’s not that there’s no scriptural support for prosperity theology. As Matt Lewis noted in his flirtation with the prosperity gospel, adherents are fond of certain verses from the Book of Joshua. They also cherry-pick sentences from all four Gospels, the Books of Malachi and Isaiah, and Paul’s letters to various early Christian communities.

If you stretch and twist your neck at just the right angle, you can even trace a crooked line between early Christian teachings on tithing and modern for-profit “seed faith” advocacy, as University of Mt. Olive religion teacher Hollis Phelps does.

But if you preach the prosperity gospel, you’re simply doing Christianity wrong.

Even if you peruse the New Testament as literature, not sacred text, it’s obvious that Jesus Christ never wanted his followers to chase wealth, and certainly not with a supernatural boost from God.

You probably know some of the more famous stories: The rich ruler who could not bring himself to, as Jesus asked, “sell all that you have and distribute to the poor” (Luke 18:18-24); Jesus explaining how “it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24); his exhortations that “you cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24) and “woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation” (Luke 6:24). Paul is pretty clear when he preaches that “the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils” (1 Timothy 6:10).

“Jesus was born poor, and he died poor,” writes religion columnist Cathleen Falsani in The Washington Post. “During his earthly tenure, he spoke time and again about the importance of spiritual wealth and health. When he talked about material wealth, it was usually part of a cautionary tale.”

It’s easy to understand the draw of the prosperity gospel. Who doesn’t want wealth and health? And how much more righteous if there is a higher calling to get rich, a way to put your capital-F faith in a holy stock market?

But it’s not consistent with the teachings of Jesus Christ. Jesus isn’t your hedge fund manager.

Now, Christianity isn’t supposed to make adherents miserable or wallow in suffering. But it also doesn’t promise happiness, per se. It’s aiming higher than that. Christianity aspires to joyfulness, which is something different and less fleeting than happiness. C.S. Lewis tries to explain the difference in Surprised by Joy — joy being the feeling he says he experienced in the moment of his conversion to Christianity:

It is…an unsatisfied desire which is itself more desirable than any satisfaction. I call it Joy, which is here a technical term and must be sharply distinguished both from Happiness and from Pleasure. Joy (in my sense) has indeed one characteristic, and one only, in common with them; the fact that anyone who has experienced it will want it again… It might almost equally well be called a particular kind of unhappiness or or grief. But then it is a kind we want. I doubt whether anyone who has tasted it would ever, if both were in his power, exchange it for all the pleasures in the world. But then Joy is never in our power and pleasure often is…. [Surprised by Joy]

Money can’t buy happiness, and it certainly can’t purchase joy. It can buy pleasure, however, and in fact we get pleasure from buying things (though the chemical that brings us pleasure, dopamine, also feeds addiction, so). That’s great for the American economy. The teachings of Jesus Christ would have you do something more selfless with your money — giving it to the poor, probably.

I won’t presume to speak for God, but I can tell you that Creflo Dollar isn’t poor. Nor are Joel and Victoria Osteen, T.D. Jakes, Pat Robertson, Robert Tilton, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, or any of the other evangelists spreading the prosperity gospel on TV and in their large churches.

I’ll leave the casting of stones (mostly) to John Oliver. And I’ll leave it to the prosperity hucksters to figure out how they’re going to get their latter-day camels (luxury private jets) through the eye of that needle.

But I will strongly suggest that prosperity gospel evangelists find a religious tradition that more closely aligns with their goals. And if they can’t find one, make one up. As Oliver notes, the IRS won’t treat them any differently.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 28, 2015


instead of building mega churches

prosperity gosle preaches

SOURCE: few weeks ago on Last Week Tonight, John Oliver exposed televangelists—evangelical preachers whose sole purpose is to get on TV and ask for funds for their ministries—who prey on the sick, poor, and desperate in order to line their own pockets, funding lavish lifestyles that include mansions, airplanes, cars, vacations, and more.

Toward the end of the segment, which quickly went viral, Oliver revealed that he had incorporated his own church without any restrictions. Called “Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption,” it worships the deity of the powerful and lenient IRS. Oliver said he would begin accepting “seed money” to build his new church, which would help him to cure people’s ailments.

If that seems like a comedic bit, perhaps the most terrifying thing should be how little John Oliver had to act for the sketch. He merely repeated things that real televangelists, such as Creflo Dollar, Robert Tilton, T.D. Jakes, Joel Osteen, and Kenneth Copeland, have actually said.

Those televangelists follow the model of “prosperity gospel” in which they believe that wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and that by simply believing and praying for money—in addition to donating copious amounts of money to various Christian ministries—is what will take you there. This is actually a rare belief among fundamentalists, with only 7 percent of evangelical Protestant leaders saying that they believe in the concepts of prosperity theology. The 7 percent who do, however, have amassed a large amount of wealth, power, and huge audiences to beg for donations.

Not surprisingly, most of the victims of this harmful prosperity doctrine are those in the poor and working class—it’s like a monstrous pyramid scam of religions. They see prosperity theology as a supernatural lottery, which isn’t shocking, considering that 61 percent of people who play the lottery are from the poorest one-fifths of the population. But these televangelists claim that your faith, your very soul, is tied into giving “positive confessions.” And the fact that you are poor isn’t just bad luck: it’s not having enough faith, not praying enough, and, of course, not giving a big enough donation to their ministry.

How do televangelists get away with this? It’s easy. It’s the same method the Church of Scientology employs: getting 501(c)(3) status and declaring your corrupt, poor-robbing business model a “ministry,” which, as John Oliver demonstrated, is a painfully simple process. They then ask for large tax-exempt donations and keep as much of it as possible to buy acres of land, mansions, and jets worth $65 million. Joel Osteen, pastor of megachurch Lakewood Church in Texas, for example, lives in a 17,000 square foot home worth $10.5 million dollars. His entire net worth is estimated to be about $40 million.

The greed of scheming televangelists is just another symptom of a predatory line of thinking among the rich and powerful driven to further atrociousness by attaching the name of God to their actions. Just as Josh Duggar preyed on his sisters and hid his infidelity behind his position of power and fame, offering an apology only when he was caught, there’s a level of horrific hypocrisy espoused by those who claim to live for God and then go on to repeatedly take advantage of the people around them.
Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 27, 2015

JOEL OSTEEN: “This is my Bible” (The Real One)

This is my Bible.

I am who it says I am. Matthew 5:16
I can do what it says I can do. Philippians 4:13
I am going where it says I will go. John 14:3
God’s Word is milk for my soul. 1 Peter 2:2
God’s Word is seed for my faith. Luke 8:11
God’s Word is light for my path. Psalm 119:105
God’s Word is power for my victory. Hebrews 4:12
God’s Word is freedom for my life. John 8:32
When I read God’s Word, it brings me joy. Jeremiah 15:16
When I study God’s Word, it keeps me from shame. 2 Timothy 2:15
When I memorize God’s Word, it purifies my heart. Psalm 119:11
When I quote God’s Word, it defeats my enemies. Ephesians 6:10, 17
When I meditate on God’s Word, it brings me success. Joshua 1:8
When I abide in God’s Word, it gives me confidence. John 15:7

this is my bibles

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 24, 2015

Celebrating 1,000 post on this blog

100 POST

zimbabwe preachers

SOURCE: HARARE- RELIGION is the opium of the masses, German economist Karl Marx, is famously quoted as having said about 170 years ago.

Various interpretations have been presented with most scholars arguing that Marx intimated that religion is used by oppressors to make people feel better about the distress they experience due to being poor and exploited.

Marx’s quote resonates with Zimbabweans as an increasing number of weary citizens flock to churches due to the comatose economy as it gets increasingly clear President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF administration appears clueless in addressing the economic meltdown.

Critics point out the harsh economic conditions have seen a proliferation of false-prophets and other brief-case churches that are taking advantage of the suffering citizens who are turning to God in droves seeking for salvation.

But reports have also been awash some of the so-called men of God are fraudsters bent on making quick bucks taking advantage of the masses with the most prosperous pastors raking in more than $200 000 every Sunday in tithes.

Others cruise in state-of-the-art vehicles courtesy of church members. For instance the founder of Christ Embassy Church Uebert Angel was sucked in an allegedly fraudulent acquisition of a $300 000 Bentley Continental sedan while self-anointed prophet Walter Magaya has been in the news after his wife’s state-of-the-art vehicle was fraudulently cleared.

In the case of Angel, Ndabazinenge Shava — the complainant in the matter – told the court in February this year that Angel called him a year after acquiring the said motor vehicle and advised him to ‘‘seed’’ the Bentley after being promised he would get it back thrice fold after eight months.
Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 21, 2015

VIDEO SERMON: The Luciferian Gospel of Joel Osteen

Joel Osteen preaches the Luciferian Gospel of the “word of faith” movement or “Thought Power” of the 1800s promoted by the theosophical society of Madame Blavatsky, Annie Besant, and others. Joel Osteen’s doctrine is Satanic in origin; Osteen is a false teacher and a heretic.

THIS IS THE BEST POST ON THIS BLOG and I would like to see many more like this, the Word of Faith prosperity message is deserving of nothing but scorn and it’s preachers deserve nothing more than ridicule. The devils will flee if you use Jesus’s name or ridicule them. The only downside to this post for me is that it is non-Christians doing the job of exposing these charlatans rather than Christians. This could be done without the expletives by any Christian comedian and while he might lose some fans he would for sure gain many new ones.  Although this video does contain bleeped expletives it is very effective, I think, at casting shame where it should be – on the heads of these TV evangelist (just skip this post if your self-righteous because we all know what 4 letter words are getting bleeped out). This post only bashes WoF prosperity preachers and gives traditional churches the respect they deserve. PLEASE, PLEASE PLEASE LIKE AND SHARE THIS POST WITH EVERYONE!!!

I thought I should post this first comment I got on my FB page about this video (feel free to send me a FB request, I would like it much). “I was just watching that this morning. I’m glad he distinguished between the real churches and the fake ones at the beginning. I was between laughter, thankfulness and sadness watching it. Laughter at the absurdity of it, thankful because God brought me and my family out of it and sadness at how many are still under it“.

SOURCE: Comedian John Oliver takes on the prosperity gospel by becoming a televangelist

John Oliver has “joined” the likes of Creflo Dollar, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and other pastors who promise miracles in exchange for aggressive donations. On Sunday’s episode of “Last Week Tonight” on HBO, the comedian announced that he is now the pastor and CEO of Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption, which he describes as “a tax-exempt organization that you certainly can’t say is not a church.”

Like the ministries Oliver is satirizing, Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption follows the theological contours of the prosperity gospel, the subject of a lengthy segment on the comedian’s show. That segment began with Oliver noting that while many churches do good, charitable work in the world, he was going to focus for the next several minutes on “churches who exploit people’s faith for monetary gain.”

Oliver’s new church encourages its worshipers — defined as the studio audience for his show, which tapes on Sundays — to “silently meditate on the nature of fraudulent churches” and promises miracles in exchange for donations sent to an address the host gave out on screen and on his new church Web site.

“If you don’t send us money, God will be extremely angry with you,” Oliver tells callers to a toll-free number he set up as part of his new “career” as a televangelist. The pre-recorded message at 1-800-THIS-IS-LEGAL also tells callers who aren’t interested in donating money to Oliver to “get off the phone and find somebody who is.”

The prosperity gospel crept back into the news several months ago when pastor Creflo Dollar announced — then backed away from, and then recommitted himself to — a plan to raise $65 million dollars from his followers to buy a private luxury jet. Dollar has told the 30,000 members of his World Changers Church International in Georgia that God will give them earthly rewards in exchange for their faithfulness. The Georgia-based pastor has encouraged Christians to prove just how faithful they are by donating to his ministry.

“If you sow a seed on a good ground, you can expect a harvest,” Dollar said in a 2006 New York Times story about his prosperity ministry. On Sunday, Oliver picked up on that seed-and-harvest metaphor to explain prosperity gospel beliefs to his viewers.

“Wealth is a sign of God’s favor, and donations will result in wealth coming back to you,” Oliver said in the HBO segment. “That idea takes the form of ‘seed faith’ — that donations are seeds that you will one day get to harvest.”

Just 7 percent of evangelical Protestant pastors around the world agree with the assertion that God rewards sufficiently faithful Christians with wealth and good health, according to a 2011 Pew survey. In the United States, the theology has found a home in a certain area of televangelism, led by pastors such as the Copelands, Mike Murdoch, Robert Tilton and Dollar.

Oliver also read from months of fundraising materials sent by Tilton’s ministry after Oliver made a small donation, showing just how much money Tilton can collect from a single person with a few slyly worded letters. But it’s not the tactics themselves that drove Oliver to go ahead and found a ministry of his own. It’s the fact that the ministries, as churches, are tax-exempt.

“Robert Tilton, Kenneth Copeland and other pastors of their ilk have been taking advantage of the open-ended IRS definition of the word ‘church’ and procuring a litany of tax breaks,” Oliver says on Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption’s Web site.

While Oliver might be collecting real donations, which he says are tax-exempt, to demonstrate his point about prosperity ministers, it seems that the donations might ultimately go to a better place. Here is the fine print attached to the donation page of the church’s site:

“Our Lady of Perpetual Exemption may choose to wind down and dissolve in the near future. Upon dissolution, any assets belonging to the Church at that time will be distributed to Doctors Without Borders, a non-profit charitable organization that is tax-exempt under § 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code (EIN: 13-3433452) and which provides emergency medical aid in places where it is needed most.”

Televangelists were put in the political spotlight after Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) launched an investigation into several ministers’ finances. The investigation concluded in 2011 with no penalty for televangelists.


Fleecing the flock. How Corrupt Is Christian Television?

HBO Word of Faith Movement Documentary: A Question of Miracles – Faith Healing

Ex-Faith Healer Mark Haville Explains the Tricks of the Fake Faith Healing Trade

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 15, 2015

VIDEOS AND ARTICLES: Speaking Things into Existence is Unbiblical

…. and it is also Witchcraft veiled in Christian terms. The first video here is the first time it is posted to this blog. So if you do not watch any of the following videos or read any of the linked articles then please view this first video as the guy does a wonderful job and really knows his stuff about the Word of Faith Movement and teaching. I highly highly recommend it.

PROVERBS 18:21 – Are There Really Life and Death In The Power Of Words? (dedicated to Kenneth S.)

Mark 11:22-23 and Mountain Moving Faith. Does Joel Osteen have it right?

Can Man Supernaturally Speak Things Into Existence?

You cannot “speak things that are not as though they are

”So You Think You Can Speak Things Into Existence?

Some Commentary[ies] on Mark 11:23-24 (An Often Mis-Interpreted Verse By Word of Faithers)

And HERE is a whole category of post about the WoF being witchcraft.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 10, 2015

The ‘Prosperity Gospel’ Is Peddled by Magicians by Dan Delzell


SOURCE: Have you noticed the significant number of ministers in recent decades who have been promoting magic in their teaching? They truly believe that their very words contain the power to create and change reality around them. They teach people that man has the ability to speak things into existence the same way that God spoke the world into existence. They have been deceived into believing they have this power within themselves and in the words they speak out loud.

These false teachers have been seduced by the “Word-Faith movement.” The arrogance of this philosophy has led its followers to believe that God must obey our commands if we speak the right words with enough faith. It makes man “god” and it makes God our servant who is limited in His activity for us by the words we confess out loud. There is no humility in this doctrine and it goes completely against the letter and the spirit of the Scriptures. Man cannot speak into existence anything he wants to happen. It is up to God to decide how best to answer our prayers according to His will and His plan for our life on earth. The humble Christian prays in faith and confidence, but always with an attitude of “Thy will be done.” The Word-Faith promoter speaks magic words with the mindset, “My will be done.”

It is very much like the magicians who perform in Las Vegas and elsewhere. One magician explained the power of his words this way: “This source of the power of any word uttered for magical purposes is quite simple: The will of the magician. A word uttered by the average man will only reflect an immediate thought, usually directed towards no real end. That same word, uttered by a magician, can have an impact on the very fabric of reality.” It is no different with the Word-Faith teachers. They believe that their words change reality. They believe any of us can harness this power and ability just like God. You just need to learn how to speak things into existence the way God did.

These teachers have often been consumed with a desire to gain wealth for themselves and their followers. They truly believe that Jesus was financially wealthy while he was on this earth and that faithful Christians can also be wealthy if they have enough faith and speak enough “positive confessions.” The only time the New Testament speaks positively of wealth is for the purpose of blessing others with it – not for the purpose of living a lavish lifestyle and storing up money and possessions for yourself.

God’s Word says, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9,10) The Word-Faith magicians seek to get rich so they can enjoy an opulent lifestyle; and they teach their followers that it is good to desire money and to spend much of it on yourself. That is just the opposite of what Jesus taught and what the Scriptures make so clear about the love of money.

The Word-Faith teachers believe it is a strong testimony of their doctrines for them to spend millions of dollars on their own personal possessions and their own worldly desires. Most of their followers can only dream about one day being as “faithful” and as wealthy as their rich pastor. In reality, the Christians in our world with the greatest faith actually give away a large percentage of their wealth and choose to live very modestly. There is nothing modest about the “prosperity gospel” or those who choose to peddle it. They are presenting “another gospel” when they promote their magical path to financial prosperity. It has nothing to do with biblical Christianity.

Magic focuses upon man’s words. Christianity focuses upon God’s Word. Magic relies upon the magician to provide the power and the results. Christianity relies upon God for every answer to prayer and for everything that is necessary for godliness. Magic celebrates the magician and his magic arts. Christianity celebrates Jesus Christ and His cross and empty tomb. There is no room for magicians in the church of the living God. Let them sell their tawdry wares in Las Vegas along with the rest of those who trust in their own words to create reality. It is a cheap imitation of what our mighty God can do anytime and any place He chooses to do something for one of His children.

Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them.” (Matthew 7:15,16) The fruit of a faithful Christian is not the promotion of magic words for personal gain. It is the proclamation of the true Gospel and a life of humility toward God and service toward man. May our Sovereign and Almighty God deliver His people from this den of money making magicians. Such a den is far more dangerous to your immortal soul than a den of lions!

Dan Delzell is the pastor of Wellspring Lutheran Church in Papillion, Neb. He is a regular contributor to The Christian Post.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 10, 2015

Why I’m Against “Name It and Claim It” Theology by Equusstu


SOURCE: Word of Faith:

“The Word of Faith movement has many distinctives; although it shares teachings in common with prosperity theology, they are not the same thing. Additionally, many beliefs that the movement holds as essentials are often the target of criticism for having views that diverge from Christian orthodoxy. It emphasizes speaking, stating, or confessing verses found in the Bible, called the Word of God. The belief is that if one believes the Word of God and confesses it then the believer shall receive what they confess. This act of believing and speaking is said to be described by Jesus in Mark 11:22. The term word of faith itself is derived from the biblical passage Romans 10:8 which speaks of ‘the word of faith that we preach.'” – Wikipedia.

Practices of the Word of Faith Movement

Name it & claim it is just one practice from the word of faith movement. Some of the practices of the ‘word of faith’ churches can be deceptive. The minister may pray for prosperity for God’s people (which seems good). Later he’ll mention how giving of our time and assets for a greater good is a virtue of the true Christan (which is true). Sermons start to focus on tithe and giving (which is important). Then the suggested amounts to give become greater and greater. The lies begin when we’re told “If you give us money, God will bless you” (which is true to a point, but completely misses the point of charity. We shouldn’t give to get, we should give to be a blessing to others, just as God is a blessing to us).

At this point, “Name it and claim it” becomes a major focus of the church. We are told that if we ask for wealth, we will receive riches beyond our wildest dreams. If we ask for health, we will never be sick again. One minister went so far as to say that he hadn’t had a headache in 45 years – he didn’t mention his heart problems. The biggest problem with naming and claiming is when ministers say that it works because God has no authority over the earth, that He lost it with the fall of Man. These ministers also say that, since God spoke and the world came into existence, why can’t we do the same? The reason we can’t do the same is we are not God!

Ministers start to use sermons as a way to answer challenges from other theological figures. They’ll say things like “The diamond rings on my hands and the nice car I drive stem from my being a good Christian man”. This still seems fairly innocent, until they start to preach the worst type of insult to their congregation: “If you are poor, your faith is lacking”. Some ministers actually tell people that if they are not blessed with riches, their faith is lacking! The same is done with health, if someone is sick, they’re faith is lacking!

The “name it and claim it” sector, while devastating to the Church as a whole, is not the worst of the word of faith movement. For a minister to get so far off track that he would accuse the poor and the sick of being faithless, there are likely to be other problems with their doctrines. Spiritual experiences are given preference over sound biblical knowledge. They teach that Jesus and his disciples were rich beyond imagination, in an outright denial of Scripture. They tell people that in order to follow in Christ’s footsteps, we are called to be wealthy as well. How do we become wealthy? By naming and claiming our wealth. What will give us God’s favor so that naming and claiming will work? By giving as much as we can to our church, whether we can afford it or not.

I feel the need to stop here and specify that giving to a church is a great thing. Supporting your church is necessary for it to function and for it to help your community. Normal giving and tithe are not the problem, it is the motives behind the giving (and receiving) that can become corrupt.

Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 8, 2015

The Word of Faith False Teaching of Commanding Angels

“Ministering angels, I command you to go and bring back  finances from the north, south, east, and west. Protect my family that no harm comes upon them.”

This is the type of prayer I learned in the Word of Faith movement. We believed the angels hearken to the word of God. If we used our mouths to speak the word of God, angels had no choice but to do our bidding. It is also believed that when a person goes to heaven upon death, if you did not speak to your ministering angel, they cannot be held accountable for your lack because you did not tell them that to do.

There is no biblical support for anyone to command an angel. Angels were always sent by the God the Father. I have read so many twisted manipulations of scripture to justify doctrine.

So, where do Word of Faith teachers come up with this demonic belief? Besides the roots of Catholicism, they twist Hebrew 1:4.

Hebrew 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.

If Jesus was made better than the angels, then man is made better than the angels. They justify this by mishandling the scripture “as Christ is so are we”. And since ALL things are beneath our feet, we can give commands to the angels.

Hebrew 1:4 is actually telling us that after Christ purged our sins, he sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high being made so much better than the angels as he hath obtained a more excellent name than they.

This, dear friend is a prime example of prooftexting. The scripture is not read in light of the previous verse.

Pulling scriptures out to fit our personal narrative is very dangerous and creates heretical doctrines. I urge every believer to read scripture in context. If word of faith teachers had studied and rightly divided scripture, they would see that Christ was actually made lower than the angels.

Hebrew 2:7 Thou made him a little lower than the angels; thou crowned him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works if thy hands.

Verse 9 But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

  • God has not put the angels in subjection to man.
  • Jesus was made lower than the angels when he walked the earth.
  • Jesus was made higher than the angels when he took his place at the right hand of the father.
  • Man cannot command an angel to go out into the land and bring back material or immaterial pleasures.

Prayer is a form of worship and God alone deserves our worship. This is a doctrine of demons that caters to the lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. When the disciples asked about how to prayer, Jesus responded that we should pray in this manner…Our Father who is in heaven…”

The face of the angels do behold the father at all times, but the scripture never leads anyone to believe that they leave his presence because YOU said some words.

Jesus is our example of how to live this life. He did not pray to or command angels. If you have prayed to an angel or commanded an angel to get some what your flesh desires, repent before God for HE is faithful to forgive you. Be ye reconciled to God.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 7, 2015

The “Repent of Your Sins” Heresy in the Word of Faith Movement

I am posting this video because this particular damnable heresy is endemic in the Word of Faith movement.  In fact many WoFers merely think they are saved because they do not understand repentance. Watch this video and read my recent writing on repentance below.


Let’s start with some words of Christ Himself.

Luk 13:1-5, 1 There were present at that season some that told him of the Galilaeans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answering said unto them, SUPPOSE YE that these Galilaeans were sinners above all the Galilaeans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

What was Jesus saying to those present? First, because our modern dictionaries define repentance and other words according to how the words are used and not necessarily what they mean according to  their historical meaning and root words, we must biblically define repentance.
Read More…

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 7, 2015

Exporting Word of Faith Teaching from Africa

: Jacob Olupona (African Religions, 118-9) tells the remarkable story of Rev. Sunday Adelaja and the Word of Faith Bible Church of Kiev:

“Adelaja, a Nigerian, initially and somewhat to his dismay found himself in Belarus (then part of the Soviet Union) on a scholarship to study journalism. While in Belarus, Adelaja helped to found a number of underground churches. Deported by the KGB for his religious activities, Adelaja went to Ukraine at the invitation of Jeff Davis, a traveling evangelist who was doing television ministry and needed someone familiar with the language who could represent his interests. From this beginning in Ukraine as a television evangelist, Adelaja began the process of founding churches. In 1994, the first Word of Faith Bible Church was founded. The result is that from his small beginning as the head of a Bible study group, Adelaja now is in charge of the larges church in Ukraine, which has twenty thousand members at its central location and hosts twenty services every Sunday in various auditoriums throughout Kiev. There are hundreds of daughter churches of the Embassy of God – the current name of the church – throughout Ukraine, the former Soviet Union, Europe, the United States, and even Israel. Adelaja is one of the most powerful figures in  Ukraine and is credited, among other things, with aiding in the election of the mayor of Kiev.”

Not surprisingly, “Adelaja’s missionary work has permanently altered the religious landscape of Eastern Europe, instilling African religious sensibilities in a region that had previously been a religious vacuum.”

The gold-gilded onion domes around Kiev belie the last part of that statement. Ukraine is hardly a religious “vacuum,” though Olupona is right to suggest that Adelaja has introduced something quite new into the mix.

The Word of Faith preachers preach that Jesus went to hell, died spiritually and got born again in hell. This is blasphemy!!!. Jesus, on the cross, said: ‘It is finished.” He did not need to go to hell to be punished. These are false teachers and false prophets.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | August 4, 2015

“Pastor” Joel Osteen by the Numbers and Statistics.

SOURCE: Last year, business blogger Brandon Gaille assembled a nifty graphic breaking down how Houston megachurch pastor Joel Osteen of Lakewood Church rose to become one of the most influential Christians in America today. Some of the more interesting factoids include:

  • $56.5 million – Reported net worth.

    $56.5 million – Reported net worth. Photo: Cooper Neill, Getty Images / 2013 Cooper Neill

    Photo: Cooper Neill, Getty Images
  • 1999 – Year Joel Osteen took over Lakewood for his deceased father John Osteen.

    1999 – Year Joel Osteen took over Lakewood for his deceased father John Osteen. Photo: Lakewood Church / handout

    Photo: Lakewood Church
  • 8,000 – Members of Lakewood the year Osteen took the helm of Lakewood.

    8,000 – Members of Lakewood the year Osteen took the helm of Lakewood. Photo: Manuel M. Chavez, Houston Chronicle / Houston Post files

    Photo: Manuel M. Chavez, Houston Chronicle
  • 43,500 – Members of Lakewood Church, making it the largest megachurch body in America. (Second place North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia has 30,629.)

    43,500 – Members of Lakewood Church, making it the largest megachurch body in America. (Second place North Point Ministries in Alpharetta, Georgia has 30,629.) Photo: Billy Smith II, Houston Chronicle / Houston Chronicle

    Photo: Billy Smith II, Houston Chronicle
  • 16,000 – seating capacity of Osteen’s basketball arena-turned-church, Lakewood. The former Compaq Center was home to the world champion Houston Rockets squads of the 1990s.

    16,000 – seating capacity of Osteen's basketball arena-turned-church, Lakewood. The former Compaq Center was home to the world champion Houston Rockets squads of the 1990s. Photo: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle / © 2010 Houston Chronicle

    Photo: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle
  • $70 million – Lakewood’s reported annual budget.

    $70 million – Lakewood's reported annual budget. Photo: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle / © 2010 Houston Chronicle

    Photo: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle
  • $0 – Osteen’s reported salary from Lakewood.

    $0 – Osteen's reported salary from Lakewood. Photo: Dominic Burke, Getty Images / (c) Dominic Burke

    Photo: Dominic Burke, Getty Images
  • $55 million – Reported sales of his five best-selling books and other works.

    $55 million – Reported sales of his five best-selling books and other works. Photo: Jeffrey Ufberg, WireImage / 2011 Jeffrey Ufberg

    Photo: Jeffrey Ufberg, WireImage
  • $30 million – Reported amount of donations mailed in each year.

    $30 million – Reported amount of donations mailed in each year. Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images / 2011 Getty Images

    Photo: Justin Sullivan, Getty Images
  • 5 – Continents on which Osteen has spoken in stadiums: North America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. (Be on the lookout South America and Antarctica).

    5 – Continents on which Osteen has spoken in stadiums: North America, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe. (Be on the lookout South America and Antarctica). Photo: The Washington Post, The Washington Post/Getty Images / 2011 The Washington Post

    Photo: The Washington Post, The Washington Post/Getty Images
  • $0 – Amount Lakewood contributes to his hotel bills. Osteen reportedly always picks up the tab out of his own pocket.

    $0 – Amount Lakewood contributes to his hotel bills. Osteen reportedly always picks up the tab out of his own pocket. Photo: Peter Dazeley, Getty Images / (c) Peter Dazeley

    Photo: Peter Dazeley, Getty Images
  • 7.1 million – ‘Likes’ of the Joel Osteen Ministries Facebook page. After America, the countries with the most fans are Kenya, South Africa, the Phillipines, Nigeria and Canada.

    7.1 million – 'Likes' of the Joel Osteen Ministries Facebook page. After America, the countries with the most fans are Kenya, South Africa, the Phillipines, Nigeria and Canada. Photo: Dimitri Vervitsiotis, Getty Images / (c) Dimitri Vervitsiotis

    Photo: Dimitri Vervitsiotis, Getty Images
  • 2.69 million – Followers on Twitter. Since joining in February 2009, he has tweeted 11,200 times, posted 24 photos and videos and is following 160 other Twitter users.

    2.69 million – Followers on Twitter. Since joining in February 2009, he has tweeted 11,200 times, posted 24 photos and videos and is following 160 other Twitter users. Photo: Bethany Clarke, Getty Images / 2013 Getty Images

    Photo: Bethany Clarke, Getty Images
  • 2.5 million – Copies reportedly sold of his first book, “Your Best Life Now.”

    2.5 million – Copies reportedly sold of his first book, "Your Best Life Now."

  • 7+ million – Weekly viewers of Osteen’s TV ministry.

    7+ million – Weekly viewers of Osteen's TV ministry. Photo: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle / © 2010 Houston Chronicle

    Photo: Nick De La Torre, Houston Chronicle
  • 17 – Years worked in production of his father’s TV ministry.

    17 – Years worked in production of his father's TV ministry. Photo: Pam Francis, Getty Images / Pam Francis 2005

    Photo: Pam Francis, Getty Images
  • 3 – Osteen’s rank among most popular TV evangelists, behind Billy Graham (pictured) and Rick Warren.

    3 – Osteen's rank among most popular TV evangelists, behind Billy Graham (pictured) and Rick Warren. Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images / 2005 Getty Images

    Photo: Mario Tama, Getty Images
  • 10.5 million – weekly downloads of Osteen’s podcast on iTunes.

    10.5 million – weekly downloads of Osteen's podcast on iTunes.

 Photo: Alan Tucker, Getty Images/Flickr RF / Flickr RF

    Photo: Alan Tucker, Getty Images/Flickr RF
  • 100+ – Nations in which Osteen’s TV ministry is broadcast.

  • $43 million – Amount his services reportedly net each year.

    $43 million – Amount his services reportedly net each year. Photo: Design Pics / SW Productions, Getty Images / (c) Design Pics / SW Productions

    Photo: Design Pics / SW Productions, Getty Images



Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 23, 2015

Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell? by Hank Hanegraaff

Hank answers a question about whether or not the Bible teaches Jesus descended into hell as is affirmed in The Apostles’ Creed.

Ex- faith healer Mark Haville does a great job of comparing the miracles of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark to the Lying Signs and Wonders done by modern day faith healers. Mark has also produced a really really good video called The Signs and Wonders Movement Exposed that is no longer available on Youtube. I will keep an eye for it to get re-uploaded and post it again then. For now if you would like to hear an audio interview and article where Haville explains the tricks of the fake faith healing trade, you can do so here.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 4, 2015

Joel Osteen and Satanism in the Church

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” – Aleister Crowley

When I first read the title of this video I thought it was outlandish but I watched it anyway. I got turned off by the guy using a Hebrew name for Jesus so I turned the video off and did not watch all of it. But months later I watched the whole video and I have to agree. There is much Satanism in the Christian Church and Joel Osteen is one of it’s high-priest. But this video is not just about Osteen. It is about the philosophy of Satanism in the church. Here are some reasons I agree with the video.

First the Word of Faith teaching of Positive Confession is very New Age and is really witchcraft cloaked in Christian terms. And many in the church think that Satan is not a literal person or figure, statistics bear this out. And that my friends is the most prominent feature of Satanism – the idea that Satan is just a personification of evil traits. And certainly nobody teaches, inadvertently at least, the exaltation of self and mankind like Joel Osteen does. His gospel is the gospel of me, myself and I. And that is very essence of Satan and the Satanist gospel.

Everyone who pays attention knows that Osteen does not say anything about Sin, the Devil and Hell. And if you pay attention you will notice that he does often betray “the enemy” (ie, the Devil) as faulty characteristics of ourselves. And that is very much Satanism and Joel Osteen is a big influence in bringing this Satanism (satanic philosophy) into the church. And by not preaching on Sin and Hell,, he might as well be endorsing the words of Aleister Crowley that I opened this post with, “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law” – Damon Whitsell

VIDEO DESCRIPTION: “Are there really many paths to Heaven? What connection does Joel Osteen have with satanist Anton Lavey? Watch and discover the horrifying secrets of the richest pastor in the world.

Ephesians 5:11 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”

John 7:24 “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment”

Revelation 19:11-13 Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

2 Peter 2:1-3 “But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying YAHUSHUA (Jesus) who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. 2 And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. 3 By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

2 Peter 2:12-14 But these, like natural brute beasts made to be caught and destroyed, speak evil of the things they do not understand, and will utterly perish in their own corruption, 13 and will receive the wages of unrighteousness, as those who count it pleasure to carouse in the daytime. They are spots and blemishes, carousing in their own deceptions while they feast with you, 14 having eyes full of adultery and that cannot cease from sin, enticing unstable souls. For when they speak great swelling words of emptiness, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through lewdness, the ones who have actually escaped from those who live in error. 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are slaves of corruption;

2 Peter 2:21 “For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. But it has happened to them according to the true proverb: “A dog returns to his own vomit,””

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | July 3, 2015

How to be a Famous Preacher by Mark

false-teachers 2

SOURCE: 1. Be a good public speaker. Express emotion: either be very good at anger, or weep copiously, or smile successfully. Wear the right outfit for your target audience: a Rolex,  leather, tattoos, an Armani suit, whatever cardboard caricature impresses your particular constituents and will make them quit changing channels and watch you. Use a stage set that is part of your presentation: The most successful Christian TV show in the 1980s used French provincial living room furniture with an ornate staircase.

Another successful goateed speaker of the 1980s, Francis Schaeffer, dressed in early 20th century knee breeches to hike across Europe and speak about how the great European artists preached their version of religion, juxtaposed with the true Christian religion.

2. Be able to take a conversion or an answered prayer story and tell it dramatically. Tell only the details that support your premise. Leave out the details that disprove your premise. Don’t be above exaggeration. Edith Schaeffer wrote how their prayers as missionaries in Lausanne, Switzerland, after WW2 were miraculously answered, sometimes down to within a dime of the amount of money they needed to purchase their first L’Abri property.

Her son, in 3 heavily autobiographical novels, tells about how an American missionary family in Lausanne, Switzerland, having purloined the mailing list from their new denominational headquarters in Pennsylvania, sent out glowing reports of their work converting young college atheists in Switzerland, and begging for money for a camp for their evangelism. The denomination demanded the American missionaries cease and desist from using the denomination’s mailing list because their donations dropped precipitously while the L’Abri donations sky-rocketed, but the Schaeffers won the popularity contest and the denomination had to back down.

3. Be able to ask for money easily. Like Rick Warren, be able to make people feel a little bit guilty for not giving money to the mission to convert poor non-Christians in Russia. Pretend you are not begging. “I’m not begging for money, I’m just letting you know how much your contribution to my ministry means to the little orphans in Africa who benefit from it.” Make sure nobody can check on how the money is spent overseas. God told the famous radio preacher, Oral Roberts, that he had to raise 8 million dollars in 3 months or God “would take him home.” He raised the 8 million dollars, which temporarily rescued Oral Roberts University and City of Faith Hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma from going under.

4. Look like you already have lots of money, and make your ministry look successful. Like the trainer at Edward Jones financial planning said, “Fake it ’til you make it.” When you are becoming a financial planner, nobody wants you to invest their money unless you look like you already invest lots of people’s money. So the trainer advised: “Fake it.” One famous TV preacher (Jerry Falwell, founder of Liberty University) always told his TV viewers that he was speaking to a packed capacity crowd, even when there were very few people present. When speaking to reporters he would over estimate his donor pool mailing list by 300% to exaggerate his influence and the power of the Christian right in the 1980s. Conservative Christians are trained to be loyal and to look the other way when one of their heroes exaggerates (lies).

5. Have a successful looking spouse who looks like he/she is fascinated by what you say. Make sure she isn’t too high strung, so that she can look supportive and fascinated for years, through thick and thin, through unbridled boredom, for richer for poorer, through unfaithfulness and humiliation. Like Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, have your acts of penance ready for the bumps in the road.  And like Jimmy Lee Swaggart, act out your contritions in high melodrama with tearful appeals to God for forgiveness. Don’t be afraid to be so outlandish that your lives will be parodied on Saturday Night Live. Your constituents operate at a 7th grade level, emotionally and intellectually. Whatever worked in 7th grade, will work to make you a successful pastor. Face lifts are almost required for the TV preachers and their wives over 50.

6. Pretend you’re not bragging. “I don’t want any of the glory for myself, I’m just telling you what the Lord has done in my life.” “I pray four hours per day.” Rick Warren: “My book, The Purpose Driven Life, sold more copies than the top 10 New York Times best sellers combined.” Nevermind that biblical scholars are horrified at how Warren used the scriptures out of context to mean things that the scripture clearly did not mean, the book still was wildly popular.

7. Preach about things that your listeners already believe in. Do not challenge the status quo. Your supporters will be in Fowler’s stage 3 faith, trusting that you will be leading them into the center of the faith. Use the catch phrases and evangelical  or pentecostal lingo that let people know they are part of the in crowd. Like Pat Robertson, find a niche: Create an “Us versus Them” scenario that your supporters can feel righteously indignant about: In the 80s it was abortion and humanism. In the current age it is old evangelicalism versus post-evangelicalism. Or Covenantal Calvinism versus the God who learns as time goes by. Or New Age Buddhism versus the God who cares for us personally.

9. Drop names of famous people you have met: entertainers, politicians, business owners. Like Billy Graham, remain loyal to President Nixon until he turns out to be a sleaze. Like James Dobson, support popular wars and the lost blue collar young men that die in them. It is interesting that Jesus was almost anarchic in the absence of name-dropping of the rich and powerful.

10. Hint at a hierarchical competitive Christian ladder that your listeners can attempt to climb in order to grow in status in the Christian community. “She prays 8 hours per day!”

11. Promise your listeners tacitly that if they follow your teachings their lives will be full of faith and promise, their marriages will be full of love, their children will grow up productive, happy and faithful churchgoers. Make it seem like life is hopeful, predictable and manageable, like all they have to do is reject a couple of popular books, movies and TV shows, or wear the appropriate uniform, or go to the right seminars and their lives will become easy, joyful and successful, maybe even promise them they will be successful in their careers and wealthy, or that all their diseases will be healed.

12. Don’t be too soft hearted. The most successful pastors in America today plow through volunteers and “leave the wounded in their wake” as Christianity Today magazine described James Dobson and his Focus on the Family ministry in the early ’90s. An exterior of a tough Christian pastor that protects a wounded child interior is the best recipe for a successful ministry. A couple of diagnoses from the DSM-V are helpful to the successful pastor as well, the most popular being Bipolar II, and Narcissistic Personality, with a wife who has Histrionic Personality. At the very least you need to be the adult child of an alcoholic parent, even better if the parent was suicidal.

13. Preach hard against sexual sin, but it doesn’t hurt to adopt a little sexual deviancy yourself. Rolling Stone Magazine (1986) reported that a male employee said Jim Bakker extorted blow-jobs from him, and Jimmy Swaggart’s prostitute said she wouldn’t want her kids hanging around Jimmy Swaggart because of the sex acts he liked (mostly watching). This came out after Jimmy Swaggart exposed his main competitor in Baton Rouge for committing adultery. 69% of evangelical men admit using porn in the last month, and 25% of pastors report they are currently having an affair with a member of their congregation.

14. Use your kids as illustrations in your lessons and books. It’s okay to punish them in front of the entire congregation. Make sure they are angry drug-addled sex addicts who want to follow in your footsteps.


SOURCE: HOUSTON – The church goers arrested for heckling Pastor Joel Osteen’s sermon on Sunday at Lakewood Church were in a Houston courtroom on Thursday morning.
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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | June 30, 2015

POETRY by Damon Whitsell


These poems have been online for a long time (THANK YOU SIR). But because the site owner is a mental health advocate with his own mental health issues and he degenerated to where he no longer maintains the site or accepts new poems, I thought I should preserve these and chose to do so here, of all my sites, where they will be most read.

These poems are a peace of my heart and soul. I hope you like them. They are all dedicated to Wesley Glen Whitsell (I DID IT ALL FOR YOU) and DAYBREAK is dedicated to Karen Aldridge who took her own life on June 8th 2015. You are both loved more than you know. Especially Wes, I can guarantee it.

Read More…

Posted by: papagiorgio200 | June 9, 2015

Faith Healer Katie Souza’s Craziness (Cult Watch)

God obviously prioritizes the importance of healing peoples personal needs. Why see a doctor for simple treatments of ailments when you can go to Katie Souza… the “family physician” of faith healers:

38000-christian-denominations-good-luck-choosing-the-right-oneIs Christianity really as divided as some people say it is? Are there really around 38,000 differing denominations? These questions are relevant to the Word of Faith movement because its teachers can be quite anti-denominational at times. And since some in the Word of Faith movement such as Kenneth Copeland and Joel Osteen along with the Pope and many others are calling for Charismatics and the Roman Catholic Church to unite, saying the Protestant protest is over, these questions are really important – especially since some claim protestants are “spiritual racist” if they do not desire to unite with the Catholic Church. So I am posting my article answering these questions here for the readers of this blog.


That there are that many denominations is a lie created and propagated by Roman Catholic Apologist claiming there are 38,000 differing “Protestant denominations”. They make this claim to say that the Sola Scriptura of the Protestant Reformation is divisive in nature, protestants are divided so therefore they must be the One True Church. This lie is then repeated by other groups and while the specific number of denominations that may be claimed can be higher or lower than the 38,000 number, this false claim is made often by many groups who claim to be the One True Church.

Roman Catholic apologist get their numbers from the “World Christian Encyclopedia” (WCE) by David B. Barrett. Because the 2,400 page, 2-volume WCE is $320 new, we will have to rely on secondary sources to see why the 38,000 denomination claim is nowhere near true. The two sources we will look at are a book written by a Protestant called “Upon This Slippery Rock: Countering Roman Catholic Claims to Authority” by Eric Svendsen (see an applicable excerpt here), and a “Facts and Stats Sheet” provided by a RCC Apologist where much of the info in the WCE is detailed for us to see. To grasp what I am about to say might require you to spend sometime looking at those last two links. I will refer to these resources as the “Protestant resource” and the “RCC Resource”.

It is readily apparent after studying the RCC resource that the WCE is not really a good resource to determine how many Christian denominations there actually are. Denominations are not defined correctly and are categorized by country, race and other non-helpful sub-categories to show a way over-bloated result.

The RCC resource says the statistics are subdivided into “6 major ecclesiastico-cultural mega-blocs”. Those mega-blocs are Independents (about 22000), Protestants (about 9000), “Marginals” (about 1600), Orthodox (781), Roman Catholics (242) and Anglicans (168). When looking at the first “mega-bloc” we see there are not really 22,000 “independent denominations” there. To come to the 22, 000 number they include “single autonomous congregations”, “isolated radio churches”, “house-church networks” and they use race as a sub-category. In other words there are African, Black American, Filipino, and Indian Apostolics and there are African, Black American and Chinese Charismatics etc. The categories are inappropriate to determine how many denominations there are because they even include “hidden Buddhist believers in Christ” and “hidden Hindu believers in Christ”. All of these 6 major mega-blocs of information have the same problems. And the “marginal” category with “about 1600 denominations” are not really Christian denominations, but Christian pseudo Cults.

To get a better understanding of how many denominations there really are let’s refer to the Protestant resource by Eric Svendsen. Svendsen says in his book Upon This Slippery Rock, “Barrett identifies seven major ecclesiastical “blocs” under which these 22,190 distinct denominations fall (Barrett, 14-15): (1) Roman Catholicism, which accounts for 223 denominations; (2) Protestant, which accounts for 8,196 denominations; (3) Orthodox, which accounts for 580 denominations; (4) Non-White Indigenous, which accounts for 10,956 denominations; (5) Anglican, which accounts for 240 denominations; (6) Marginal Protestant, which includes Jehovah s Witnesses, Mormons, New Age groups, and all cults (Barrett, 14), and which accounts for 1,490 denominations; and (7) Catholic (Non-Roman), which accounts for 504 denominations”.

Svendsen then says “Barrett indicates that what he means by “denomination” is any ecclesial body that retains a “jurisdiction” (i.e., semi-autonomy). As an example, Baptist denominations comprise approximately 321 of the total Protestant figure. In other words, if there are ten Independent Baptist churches in a given city, even though all of them are identical in belief and practice, each one is counted as a separate denomination due to its autonomy in jurisdiction. This same principle applies to all independent or semi-independent denominations. And even beyond this, all Independent Baptist denominations are counted separately from all other Baptist denominations, even though there might not be a dime’s worth of difference among them. The same principle is operative in Barrett’s count of Roman Catholic denominations. He cites 194 Latin-rite denominations in 1970, by which Barrett means separate jurisdictions (or diocese). Again, a distinction is made on the basis of jurisdiction, rather than differing beliefs and practices”.

“However Barrett has defined “denomination,” it is clear that he does not think of these as major distinctions; for that is something he reserves for another category. In addition to the seven major ecclesiastical “blocs” (mentioned above), Barrett breaks down each of these traditions into smaller units that might have significant differences (what he calls “major ecclesiastical traditions,” and what we might normally call a true denomination) (Barrett, 14). Referring again to our seven major ecclesiastical “blocs” (mentioned above, but this time in reverse order): For (1) Catholic (Non-Roman), there are four traditions, including Catholic Apostolic, Reformed Catholic, Old Catholic, and Conservative Catholic; for (2) Marginal Protestants, there are six traditions; for (3) Anglican, there are six traditions; for (4) Non-White Indigenous, which encompasses third-world peoples (among whom can be found traces of Christianity mixed with the major tenets of their indigenous pagan religions), there are twenty traditions, including a branch of Reformed Catholic and a branch of Conservative Catholic; for (5) Orthodox, there are nineteen traditions; for (6) Protestant, there are twenty-one traditions; and for (7) Roman Catholic, there are sixteen traditions, including Latin-rite local, Latin-rite catholic, Latin/Eastern-rite local, Latin/Eastern-rite catholic, Syro-Malabarese, Ukrainian, Romanian, Maronite, Melkite, Chaldean, Ruthenian, Hungarian, plural Oriental rites, Syro-Malankarese, Slovak, and Coptic. It is important to note here that Barrett places these sixteen Roman Catholic traditions (i.e., true denominations) on the very same level as the twenty-one Protestant traditions (i.e., true denominations). In other words, the true count of real denominations within Protestantism is twenty-one, whereas the true count of real denominations within Roman Catholic is sixteen. Combined with the other major ecclesiastical blocs, that puts the total number of actual denominations in the world at ninety-two obviously nowhere near the 23,000 or 25,000 figure that Roman Catholic apologists constantly assert and that figure of ninety-two denominations includes the sixteen denominations of Roman Catholicism (Barrett, 15)!”

To put this into perspective the Protestant resource goes on to say “Roman Catholic apologists have hurriedly, carelessly – and, as a result, irresponsibly – glanced at Barrett’s work, found a large number (22,189), and arrived at all sorts of absurdities that Barrett never concluded”.

To sum up, it is obvious that we cannot determine if the WCE is a good resource to refer to when trying to determine the number of Christian denominations there are actually in the world without buying the massive encyclopedia and studying it in full detail. Without looking at the WCE for ourselves and having to rely on these two best resources I found we cannot know for sure that he is correct when Svendsen’s Protestant resource says that Barret and the WCE went on to further define the number of denominations by defining traditions and “major ecclesiastical traditions” separately to come up with his number of “ninety-two actual denominations”. But that number seems allot more possible and plausible than the obviously over-inflated numbers that RCC apologist and other exclusive authoritarian groups irresponsibly throw around. After all how did you answer the question of “If I were to ask you exactly how many different churches exist in the world today… what would you say?“. You probably guessed allot but not 38,000 denominations “all teaching opposite things”. I thought of less than a dozen differing denominations off the top of my head. How about you?

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | May 19, 2015

Joyce Meyer Blatantly And Deliberately Adding to Gods Word

Sometimes it is very exasperating to see what Word of Faith teachers like Joyce Meyer do. Especially when they blatantly and deliberately ADD to the Word of God to mislead people. In this video originally entitled “Temptation and Self Control” Meyer intentionally ADDS to the Word of God and purposely misquotes the Amplified Bible Version of Galatians 6:8 saying “…but I really like what THE AMPLIFIED says here, it says that if we sow to the spirit you reap LIFE AND LIFE ETERNAL. That says something to me because it doesn’t just mean I that can finally have a great life when I go to heaven, but I can have a good life right here…”

How can I say Joyce is deliberately, intentionally and purposely ADDING to the Word of God? Well folks,, she has her Bible open and is reading directly from the Amplified Version while she quotes verse 7 and part of verse 8, but she does not read or caption the last portion of verse 8 for her audience to read. Why does she not display the whole verse for everyone to read? Because she is adding to the Word of God to justify her “good life” now theology – and to deceive you into buying into it.

Verse 8 in the Amplified actually says “For he who sows to his own flesh (lower nature, sensuality) will from the flesh reap decay and ruin and destruction, but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life”. It DOES NOT say LIFE AND LIFE ETERNAL and neither do ANY OTHER Bible versions of Galatians 6:8.

This is a blatant and deliberate addition to the Word of God that does not come from God despite the fact that Meyer had said a little prayer to God that he would “…bring things out of me that I don’t even know and speak through me in Jesus name”. I can confidently tell you that it is NOT God that is speaking to you in this video. Rather it is Joyce Meyer and her flesh trying to sow “decay and ruin and destruction” into your life while you think she is trying to help you “Enjoy Everyday Life”.

At around 2:25 Meyer says “the Flesh will always try to get involved in everything you do”. It’s clear that she has not, as she later says, “say no to the Flesh and yes to God”. Because we all know that God did not prompt her to lie and deceive by adding to His Word.

Meyer goes on to say “We must learn to slow down and not just do things impulsively, take a little time to really examine something in the Spirit and determine whether you believe the action your about to take is something that God is initiating, or if it is some bright idea your coming up with”

Friends, do I have to tell you that God did not initiate Meyers actions here but her flesh did and you will reap bad dividends in the end following her “good life” now gospel. Joyce should be closely examining herself, her motivations and her teachings,, and so should you.

Hat-Tip goes to Gabriel Smit for pointing me to this very egregious video.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | May 5, 2015

Robert M. Bowman Radio Interview on the Word of Faith Movement

Apologist Robert Bowman gives a really good radio interview on the Word of Faith movement. Bowman is the author of “The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel”.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | May 3, 2015

Creflo Dollar Loves What’s In His Pocket by Dan Delzell


creflo dollar touch not my walet

SOURCE: A notorious prosperity preacher from Atlanta has recently come under even more intense criticism. Creflo Dollar asked 200,000 people to donate $300 each in order to raise $65 million to purchase a private jet for his work. Creflo is widely reported to be worth an estimated $27 million.

In spite of the opulence he chooses to lavish on himself, this multimillionaire makes no apology for piling up a personal fortune. Creflo’s appetite for luxury and excessive indulgence seems insatiable.Prosperity preachers could learn a lot from the example of Pastor Rick Warren. Rick is a “reverse tither” who gives away 90% of his income. Few Christians have such strong faith when it comes to their finances, and Creflo Dollar would have to learn how to crawl before he could walk with the likes of Rick Warren.

But Creflo could make great strides if he were to reduce his net worth to say, $2 million dollars, while giving away most of his fortune to the needy. Such generosity would indicate something noble within his heart. Of course it would be even better to reduce his net worth to $200,000. But that would be quite a stretch for a man who has so often boasted of his wealth and material possessions.

Jesus said, “You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24) The Lord regularly warned people about the love of money.

Creflo Dollar said, “The money in my pocket is not mine, it’s God’s.” But his financial decisions clearly refute that claim. If the money in his pocket truly belonged to God, then Creflo would no longer hoard it. And he wouldn’t continue spending millions of dollars on his materialistic fantasies.

The contents of Creflo’s pocket will continue to speak volumes about the love of his life. Even if he doesn’t give away $15-20 million of his fortune over the next year, he could at least start moving in that honorable direction. The path to godliness and freedom will involve crawling, and then walking, and then running.

But you cannot even crawl without first being born. As Jesus said, “You must be born again.” (John 3:7) This is the foundation of Christianity. Jesus never taught people to pursue material prosperity and store it in their pocket. In fact, Christ taught just the opposite: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth.” (Matthew 6:19)

Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Matthew 19:24) Why? Because most rich people love what is in their pocket, and so they refuse to part with it.

Jesus also said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21) In other words, what you choose to keep in your pocket reveals the love of your life. You constantly think about your lover because she has your heart. The proof is seen in the accumulation of your possessions. (“your treasure”)

If you want to know what is in someone’s heart, just listen to him speak. Jesus said, “Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34) You would be hard pressed to find a religious leader in America who talks about money and material possessions more than Creflo Dollar. People talk about the things they love.

And people spend their money on the things they love. Speech and spending always reveal quite a love story.

Jesus once told a rich man, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth. (Matthew 19:21,2)

The young man was unable to follow Jesus because he was unwilling to part with his beloved possessions. Jesus knew what was in this man’s heart and that he was hoarding money. Christ told the man to choose between his wealth and the Lord. The man chose to continue hoarding riches rather than to follow Christ.

Creflo Dollar still has time to reverse course and dump his lover. And if that happens, he can finally stop lusting after luxury cars, mansions, and private jets. Instead, he will spend his time thinking about the Lord and how to help people experience true righteousness.

In all honesty, it’s hard to imagine this prosperity preacher turning away from his mistress of materialism. And yet it’s like Jesus said: “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

If Creflo makes the difficult choice to empty his pocket for the benefit of the needy, the Lord can instantly begin filling his soul with true riches and living water. (see John 7:38,39) But for the time being, the fortune being stored in Creflo’s pocket is preventing his soul from prospering, not to mention the souls of those who have come under the spell of his “you can be rich like me” appeals.

It is interesting that 99.9% of those who follow prosperity preachers never seem to reap the Rolls-Royce, the mansion, or the private jet. Those luxuries are reserved for the guy up on stage making the smooth-talking sales pitch. And his expensive toys get paid for by thousands of hardworking people. Many of them earn minimum wage while dreaming about hitting the big one just like their prophet.

You see, there is something even worse than a religious leader storing up treasure in his pocket. It’s when he entices thousands of other people to lust after his affluence with the goal that one day they can be just like him.

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The following comment was left at the ExperienceInWordofFaith website.

The Lord just brought me to clarity on this point, within the past few days. I found your blog through a google to see whether the “revelation” that Word of Faith was witchcraft was commonly known. Because I’m still processing the idea. And it’s still very…unsettling to acknowledge, upsetting to confront.

I practiced (granted, not very “successfully”, according to the “wealth and success” practitioners like the Copelands manage to amass) witchcraft for a couple of decades (age 13-33), prior to being regenerated by the Holy Spirit, last year. This, even knowing Jesus was(is) real–He’d directly answered cries for help in times of crisis, in youth. But I turned to witchcraft, anyway, after experiencing the supernatural in Christ, being rejected by the church, then having no idea how to reconcile my experiences with “generally accepted” reality.

Much of what I ended up practicing was entirely in keeping with Word of Faith practice of craft–using words, faith, and intent, while using “sourcebooks” for ideas, but not for study or practice, merely for periodic affirmation and support. Same as they use the Bible for.

Again, I wasn’t necessarily “successful” according to what most folks might consider success, but…my efforts weren’t in vain. There was effect, there was progress, there was power–even if very minor, in the grand scheme. And it was purely, wholly evil. Completely against God. Absolutely in opposition to Christ, given that the mindset under which I operated maintained that God was real, accept that Christ was real, but simultaneously equated myself as somehow akin to them in terms of having sovereignty over my own life and sphere of being. Complete abomination, and I had no idea how much hatred I bore in my heart against Christ, until He began opening my heart and mind, last year. I believed I loved God, prior to being confronted with the unwavering truth of His sovereignty over me and all creation. Long-ignored resentment and loathing then became evident.

Word of Faith is like that–maintaining separate “sovereignty” apart from God. And for many months after regeneration, I remained a follower of those like Hagin and his cohorts. Believing that surely, as God is sovereign and omnipotent, and as He’s given us the Bible, then surely it’s acceptable to “hold Him to the promises” therein contained. As though, somehow, it’s reverent and humble to consider oneself capable of forcing God into compliance with one’s own will.

Even Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego acknowledged that though God was capable of saving them from the fire, He was no less good nor any less sovereign should He choose not to do so. They weren’t so arrogant as to insist that God was obligated to perform on their behalf, simply because He is capable of all things and is sovereign and worthy of the exclusive worship which their lives had been “sacrificed” on behalf of preserving. If those three weren’t arrogant enough as to “hold God to promises,” given their obedience and faith, far be it from anyone else. And their salvation from the furnace was grace. Not assured, not expected. Grace.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego’s humility has helped a lot, these past few weeks, in terms of all this stuff with Word of Faith.

Realizing I’d still be in Word of Faith except that the Lord had such mercy as to provide clarity is so very humbling. I had no idea, whatsoever. Even having been a practitioner of witchcraft–or maybe because of that, as it was so “normal” to me–I still didn’t recognize it, till just this past week. So, praying now for those who are still there. I’m sure they absolutely believe themselves preachers of truth. Absolutely sure of that, given how sure I’d been that “Word of Faith” and Prosperity Gospel was true to the Gospel of Christ.

Many prayers for those false teachers and for those who listen to them, now.

And seriously–praise the Lord for giving us clarity to be free from delusion!, as to serve Him in spirit and in truth! I am absolutely certain, except for mercy and grace, we’d all be right where they are, even now.

No one said Creflo cannot dream and believe God for anything. But he needs to quit asking for money from folks because when he ask his followers to believe in God for something, they do not have thousands of people to ask for money from.

SOURCE: After coming under heavy criticism for asking the public for $65 million dollars to purchase a luxury airplane for his ministry last month, popular televangelist and founder of World Changers Church International Creflo Dollar responded in spectacular defiance in a recent message to his church declaring: “If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me.”

“Let me tell you something about believing God — I can dream as long as I want to. I can believe God as long as I want to. If I want to believe God for a $65 million plane, you cannot stop me. You cannot stop me from dreaming,” he said in a clip of the message posted on YouTube showing his congregants rising to their feet and cheering in approval.

“You cannot stop me from dreaming. I’m gon’ dream until Jesus comes. And here’s another thing I want you to understand. … If they discover life on Mars, if you think a $65 million plane was too much, if they discover that there’s life on Mars, they gon’ need to hear the Gospel and I’m gon’ have to believe God for a billion dollar space shuttle because we got to preach the Gospel on Mars,” he said.

“I dare you to tell me I can’t dream. I dare you to tell me that I can’t believe God. If I find Jesus, I’m gonna look at Jesus until it comes to pass, because with God all things are possible to him that believe. And so, I say to you, dream on. Dream on baby, don’t dream on what you can have, dream about what the devil says you can’t have. Dream for the best. Dream for the best healing. Dream for the best deliverance; dream for the best house. Dream for the best car. Just ’cause the world don’t have it, doesn’t mean you can’t have it. You are the children of the Almighty God. Dream, dream,” he told his adoring congregants.

Dollar explained earlier in the message that he felt led by the Spirit of God to address the issue of the plane and other rumors circulating about his life because his critics are determined to discredit his voice and his ministry.

“I wouldn’t say this except the Spirit of God led me to say it. Now you see why the devil tried so aggressively to discredit my voice. I’m on my sabbatical and the enemy is trying to discredit me. Heck, I found out this past week I was supposed to be in jail for stealing the tithes,” he said as his congregation laughed.

“And therefore, yesterday, they were transferring me from one county to the other one. I sure wished somebody woulda told me. Found out my real name is not Creflo Dollar. You know what it is? It’s Michael Smith,” he said, addressing a number of online rumors.

“Found out that none of y’all can ever get in the dome unless you show your W-2 form. What you say? Are you listening to what I’m saying? The enemy has got to discredit the voices of faith and grace and truth because he don’t want you to know that you can walk on the water if you can look at Jesus. I’ve got to discredit that man before he starts showing people Jesus,” he continued.

He further explained that he never once asked any member of his congregation to donate to the $65 million airplane fund because he has three million donors around the world who contribute to his ministry and people have been giving to help him get a new jet for his ministry.

The Christian Post had contacted his ministry earlier to find out how much money was collected but received no response. Dollar’s team also repeatedly promised that the televangelist would sit with this reporter to address public concerns about his ministry but the Lord apparently had another plan.

“We are in the midst of a great fight. The enemy, like he always have, is trying to stop the preaching of Jesus and we’re not gonna stop. I never one time, you can attest to it. I never one time came to you for a dime and asked you for an airplane, did I?” Dollar asked his congregants.

He then mocked headlines highlighting the request roundly declared sheer extravagance by the general public.

“‘Creflo Dollar asking his members for $65 million. I ain’t never asked you for a dime. We’ve got over 3 million partners around the world, 3 million donors around the world who support the ministry so I can get to where they are. I had a man from the Middle East send a letter to say they cut off my relative’s head. We need you in the Middle East, here’s a check right here for that plane,” said Dollar.

“You understand what I’m saying? You cannot stop and you cannot curse what God has blessed. Are you listening to me? Half the people that are commenting on the Internet don’t even know me. They don’t know this ministry. They don’t know what we do. That’s why they ask the question: ‘What does a preacher need with an airplane? If you knew what we did then you wouldn’t ask that question. But you don’t know what we do,” he ended in the clip.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | April 13, 2015


salvation is freeI find that when many talk about salvation or being saved, they do not even use or have the correct definition of save, saved or salvation in mind.

The terms in Hebrew, Greek and English predominantly mean to deliver, to rescue from harm or danger, to deliver from sin, to preserve and protect. These actions come from outside of us. They are not something we do. We are merely recipients.

Webster’s defines salvation as “the act of saving someone from sin or evil : the state of being saved from sin or evil”, “something that saves someone or something from danger or a difficult situation” and “deliverance from the power and effects of sin”. Strong’s defines Salvation in the Greek as “G4991 sōtēria Feminine of a derivative of G4990 as (properly abstract) noun; rescue or safety (physically or morally): – deliver, health, salvation, save, saving”. And in Hebrew Strong’s defines Salvation as “H3444 yesh-oo’-aw Feminine passive participle of H3467; something saved, that is, (abstractly) deliverance; hence aid, victory, prosperity: – deliverance, health, help (-ing), salvation, save, saving (health), welfare”.

It was Christ “who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4). Before the foundation of the world “… God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved” (John 3:17). Salvation is simply not about what we do, but rather what God and Jesus Christ has done on our behalf, delivering us from the wages of our sin – death. There is a plan of salvation. And with any plan there is doing involved. But we are not the ones that do the doing.

As it has been said before, “Christ has done it all”. I would contend that salvation is simply belief/trust in Christ finished work for our saving/rescue – by his death, burial and resurrection for our sins, according to scripture. Salvation is not about doing or “obeying” “the whole plan of salvation”. It is about believing the plan of salvation. And the focus of that plan is on Jesus Christ and his actions, not ourselves. Biblical Christianity is not a do religion, it is a done religion.

That salvation is not about what we do is also strongly indicated by the biblical use of such terms as redemption (to purchase), reconciliation (restoration to divine favor), propitiation (the act by where which God‘s righteous wrath is satisfied by the atonement of Christ), atonement (restoration to divine favor), deliverance (from sin), ransom (from the wages of sin) and justification (a onetime event in which God justifies sinners by reckoning Christ’s righteousness to their account through a legal declaration). The definitions of these words and their usage in scripture show us that salvation is not something we do (Eph. 2:9, Jonah 2:9). Salvation is done on our behalf.

Scripture also says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Romans8:28-30). We cannot make ourselves right before or acceptable to God. It must for done for us by God. We cannot even come to Christ unless the Father draws us and even our faith is a gift and not of ourselves.

Another reason we are not saved by what we do is that we are not saved by our righteousness, which is like filthy menstrual rags, but we are saved by being made the righteousness of God – which is a free gift to those who believe in Jesus Christ and His name.

It must also be remembered that God works covenantally and the bible is a covenant document. It was predetermined in an eternal covenant between the Father and the Son before the foundation of the world that Christ would be slain to take away sin for those whom the Father has given Him (Rev. 13:8, Hebrews 13:20, John 6:37-39, John 17:9-12, John 17:24, John 1:29). And because this contract agreement is between God the Father and God the Son we can rest assured that it will be fulfilled and that Jesus will indeed save and keep secure all those the Father has given him.

We can rest in the fact that Christ has done it all for salvation and we are saved when we believe and trust in Him as the payment that the Father and Son made for the penalty of our sin.

Our only real hope is to be saved by mercy and grace and the promise that Jesus will remain faithful.

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 31, 2015

How Creflo Dollar Can Get a $65M Private Jet by David Ravenhill

creflo dollar jet
: I’ve been thinking about Creflo Dollar‘s dream to upgrade his ailing jet for something better, much better, in fact. I hate to see this ‘man of God’ having to travel by way of a commercial airline, like the rest of us mere mortals.

Jesus borrowed a womb to be born, a boat to preach from, a donkey to ride on and a boy’s lunch to feed the multitude, not to mention a room for the Last Supper, etc. Aside from that, we are told “the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head.”

But that was then and this is now!

I just can’t picture Creflo on a donkey, not when he is accustomed to driving around in his Rolls-Royce or Bentley or one of his other luxury cars. Which brings me back to how he can make his dream a reality.

The solution to his problem is simple. I can’t believe he hasn’t thought of it himself. He just needs to practice what he preaches. Since he is a staunch advocate of the seed faith message, all he needs to do is enclose a check for thirty dollars in his next mailing to each of his seed-faith partners; then stand back and watch as the money begins pouring in. After all, as the saying goes, ‘What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.’ If this is a spiritual principle that works for everyone, then why doesn’t he practice what he repeatedly tells his faithful flock every week? With only a 10-fold increase he would receive $300 for every $30 he sows. That being the case, why not enclose $300 to every partner and do away with the little jet in favor of the Boeing of his choice? He could then outfit his big boy jet to accommodate his Bentley or Rolls. In that way, he doesn’t have to stoop to renting a Ford or Chevy when he arrives to wherever he’s going.

I understand his net worth is around $27 million. Not bad for a man who has learned how to fleece the flock and live high on the hog. Perhaps it’s time for him to sell all that he has and give to the poor. In that way when he gets to heaven he’ll have some treasure waiting for him. Then again he could sow his $20+ million and reap a 30, 60 or a 100-fold increase and be well on his way to becoming a billionaire.

Incidentally this principle will work for all televangelists that preach the seed faith message. I just don’t understand why it only applies to us givers and not the receivers.

As for me, I’m happy flying in coach; it sure beats walking!

Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 25, 2015

The Ripple Effect of Creflo Dollars 65 Million Dollar Jet Campaign


SOURCE: Western Christianity never looks more lavish, or less like Jesus, than when its leaders are embroiled in scandal. A recent example is Creflo Dollar, an Atlanta area pastor and “Word of Faith” teacher, who made waves across the Internet by asking his congregation to provide funds for a $65 million private jet.

Those acquainted with Dollar’s ministry are not surprised at this latest development. Formerly a student of Kenneth Copeland, Dollar promulgates a message of health, wealth and prosperity that sounds less like Jesus’ call to take up one’s cross, and more like Milton Friedman on steroids.

When scandals like this are caused by prosperity preachers, followers of Jesus need to send an abundantly clear message that this is NOT Christianity. Often, our Pentecostal brothers and sisters are unjustly blamed because of the relationship that exists between these movements and prosperity teaching.

However the historical roots of the “Word of Faith” movement are not anchored to Azusa Street, but to Spencer, Mass., where E.W. Kenyon developed his philosophy of New Thought Metaphysics. His teachings concerning the nature of reality and the ability of the human mind to bend that reality by “tapping into the divine” and “positive confession,” are a bizarre mixture of eastern panentheism and practices that originated in a form of Vajrayana Buddhism. The subsequent “positive confession” teachings of the late Kenneth Hagin and his students built on these false ideas.

When it comes to the origins and essence of “health, wealth and prosperity,” Word of Faith theology bears absolutely no historical, biblical, theological or philosophical resemblance to orthodox Christian faith. We may call this twisted faith system many things, but “Christian” is not one of them.

So when non-Christian leaders cause a scandal that affects the name of Jesus, it’s important that genuine followers of Jesus call these false teachers what they are. But at the same time, we must also admit that many who might otherwise be considered “orthodox” can be guilty of the same error.

To be sure, prosperity teaching certainly makes it easier for someone to do what Creflo Dollar has done. But Dollar’s recent actions aren’t primarily about heretical theology. Nor are they about affluence.
I’m not sure who first suggested that ministers should be poor, but whoever did it was forwarding a poverty theology that is every bit as heretical as its prosperity counterpart. If a pastor is doing well financially, in most cases we should be happy for his success.

But when your net worth is north of $27 million, and you are seeking to bilk one of Atlanta’s poorest neighborhoods – one in which the average annual income is less than $29,000 – out of another $65 million just so you don’t have to fly coach, that’s a character issue!

And when it comes to a lack of character, the ripple effect through the western church is vast!

Too often, churches and ministries have skimmed right past the instruction of the New Testament pastoral letters, and ignored their call for character because they were attracted to a leader’s winsomeness, leadership skills or visionary ability. The results have been tragic.

While they will never make the headlines like someone coveting a $65 million plane, the results of low character – even in “doctrinally sound” environments – are very similar to those produced by religious charlatans. When we ignore character, in the end we really don’t look much different from the heretics.

After many years of working with churches and denominations, I’ve observed three primary ways low character presents itself, damages the body of Christ and casts aspersion on the mission.
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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 21, 2015

Ex-Word of Faith Testimony of Eric: It’s Not About Me

By the grace of God, I was born again in early 2013 and baptized on March 30th of that same year. I had been searching for a very long time, yet I had not truly understood the Gospel, my sinfulness nor how desperately I needed a savior. Months earlier a pastor had preached on Revelation 20:15 and that truly got me thinking that if I was not right with God, I would end up in the lake of fire. The Lord truly convicted me and I became very concerned about eternity for probably the first time in my life. I knew that I was not right with God. It was through a challenge given by our pastor to read through the 4 Gospels that things started to change. Truly the Holy Scriptures can bring one to salvation (2 Timothy 3:15). It was at the this time that I started to attend a church that adhered to the Word of Faith movement’s (henceforth WOF) doctrines and teachings. I was unaware of what it was, as I am sure that many a Christian does not know what WOF is. WOF is adhered to by many a money-grubbing televangelist, and many of the popular and mainstream representatives such as the likes of Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, etc. Thus much of my theology was subtly tainted with false teachings. In addition though likely of no consequence my brother and I had been subscribing to a magazine called “Tomorrow’s World” They belong to the cult of Armstrongism which is somewhere between Watchtower and Seventh-Day Adventist theology.

I am however thankful for the fact that the pastor at this church encouraged us to read the Bible daily which along with God’s grace brought about significant spiritual growth rather quickly. But to continue, I being young in the faith was unaware and vulnerable, not yet able to discern between good and evil, between true and false doctrine. While many of those in the WOF are closely tied to the “Prosperity gospel” in that they stress the importance of health and wealth, this church which I attended was softer, more subtle, this church’s focus was upon blessings and success. It placed blessings above contentment and fellowship with God.

RCCG-The Redeemed Christian Church of God, which is a church from Nigeria. This was the church that I attended and I mention its name so that other Christians know to avoid it. I should have realized that something was off when the General Overseer of the church,  during a special worship service declared that those that he was addressing in the congregation would not die poor among other things. This is not something a mere man can state, at the time it seemed strange but I paid it little attention.

Before we became fully committed to RCCG, a brother warned us and said that RCCG was a “Prosperity Gospel” church. I heeded not his warnings for I figured, what could the harm be? We departed from that congregation at this point. It was at this point that we experienced what I imagine Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons and all cults experience, we were isolated. In typical cult like fashion we were segregated from other congregations and discouraged from going to other services. We were kept so busy that we didn’t have time to attend other congregations or meet with brothers and sisters from other congregations. We grew close to the other members, though we were a small congregation. I had no clue that anything was wrong. It wasn’t until my biological brother who glory be to God is also my spiritual brother, mentioned that the characteristics of our church seemed to fit the bill for the description of the “Prosperity gospel”. Again I turned a blind eye to it and was in denial and assumed that it was unimportant. We went further and further into unfamiliar teachings such as positive confession and Biblical “promises”. We would take a piece of scripture out of context that applied to what we wanted and pray with that scripture, because with our mentality God had to do whatever He said in His word. As we know that God cannot lie, He would be lying if He didn’t fulfil what He had promised, right? Well, though we know that God does not have to do anything, this was our logic.
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Posted by: Damon Whitsell | March 20, 2015

Why is Joel Osteen considered a false teacher?


SOURCE: Question: Why is Joel Osteen considered a false teacher?

Answer: Greetings friend. Although it is always with fear and trepidation that I comment on high profile persons in the Christian culture, I shall respond to your concerns about Joel Osteen. Many in the evangelical community consider Osteen to be a false teacher because he ignores the Gospel, shows lack of biblical discernment and has a skewed view of Jesus Christ. He also propagates aberrant doctrines. However, let us proceed humbly and with caution. None of us can truly know the heart of another person.

A true Christian is a person who has responded in faith to the salvific work of Jesus Christ—one in whom the Holy Spirit, therefore, resides. So, how do we test this in other people? Sometimes I wish it were as clear as having marks on our foreheads, but the reality is that we must test every minister’s teachings against the Scripture and form our opinions from there. If Joel Osteen understands the Gospel of saving grace through Jesus Christ, he gives it low priority, and that (in my opinion) is the tell. Those of us who have been pulled back from the brink of hell tend to keep the core Gospel elements as our underlying message, and since Osteen makes the Gospel such a low priority, I’m not sure that he has ever been converted. Perhaps he does not speak the words of life because he cannot speak the words of life.

Osteen must give the Gospel a low priority because he is a leading proponent of two aberrant doctrines, which, because of how they work, undermine God’s sovereignty and the Gospel itself: The self-esteem gospel and the Word of Faith theology. Since neither of these doctrines reflects the teachings of Jesus Christ, I must hold their adherents as spiritually suspect—no matter how large their following.

Osteen pastors the 40,000+ member Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas. He has also authored two bestselling books, Your Best Life Now: Seven Steps to Living at Your Full Potential (Faith Words, 2004), and Become a Better You: Seven Keys to Improving Your Life Everyday (Free Press, 2007). Osteen is congruent in that lives what he preaches. He is very successful…but what is he successful in? Sadly, not in preaching the Gospel.

Bob Hunter reviewed Osteen’s second book for the Christian Research Institute, and he found many problems, but the issue below is foundational to some of his specific doctrinal anomalies.

Preaching the Whole Word of God. Joel Osteen has said that digging deep into the Scriptures and preaching about sin is “not my main calling.” He has a congregation of more than forty thousand people, in addition to millions who watch him weekly on television rather than attending a regular church. He is, in effect, their pastor. If he isn’t going to faithfully preach the gospel to them, then who will? The same applies to his readers. Except for two brief paragraphs at the end of the book, there is no presentation of the gospel to those who are lost. This is undoubtedly the saddest part of his “gospel-light” message. — reviewed by Bob Hunter.

Osteen’s books answer the question, what must I do to become a better me? The Bible answers the question, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30). In light of the latter, the former loses all importance.

“For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26, ESV)

Herein lies the problem. There is nothing wrong with prospering per se—many true believers enjoy this world’s riches. But Jesus uses the concept of worldly gain as an antipole to the thing of real value, the salvation of the human soul. Osteen reverses this emphasis, and anyone who reverses Jesus’ emphasis on the relationship of one’s possessions to the human soul shows the spirit of anti-Christ in his teaching (1 John 2:18).

One might legitimately ask, what’s the problem with a little positive verbiage among God’s people? Is Osteen really hurting anybody? Absolutely. He wears the mantle of God—influencing millions! But he preaches positive thinking and self-help instead of the Gospel. My friend, the Gospel is the opposite of positive thinking and self-help. The Gospel says, I’m a wreck! Help me God! The true Gospel is edgy—it divides—and I count it as unlikely in a church that attracts 40,000 people, that there would be even a whiff of the true Gospel. True salvation displays humans that are wrecked by sin. It requires a suffering Savior, the essential unworthiness of the believer…and the emptying of self. These are not in Osteen’s showcase.

To assess for yourself whether or not Osteen represents the biblical Jesus Christ in his preaching or if he interprets the Scriptures correctly, just read his books or listen to his preaching. If you are a true Christian, you’ll soon discern that he uses god-flavored language to propagate an ungodly concept. The Word of Faith theology and/or the prosperity gospel tells us that God wants us rich! That’s a lie. God does not want us rich—he wants us holy (1 Pet. 1:15-16). Riches are neither here nor there.

Word of Faith purports that faith is a force and that words are the containers of the force, therefore, words create reality. So, saying good things can make good things happen and saying bad things can make bad things happen. Now, I don’t know about you, but my God is not subject to an algorithm—and that’s what we have here, a flowchart telling us how to make God jump through hoops. Any mature Christian understands that hardship and woe are as much God’s tools as are joy, mercy and grace. A congruent Word of Faith proponent cannot, at the end of the day, believe in a sovereign God—and that’s the only kind of God revealed in the Bible. My question is (as always), are they reading it? If the prosperity people are indeed reading their bibles, they are missing a fundamental truth.

Let’s go out on a limb and say that true Christianity is about Jesus Christ or it is about nothing at all (1 Cor. 2:2). With that in mind, take a look a Jesus’ portfolio…because counting his assets is easy. Up until his crucifixion, Jesus owned the clothes on his back. (Then he lost even those!) (Matt. 27:35). He had no bank account (Matt. 17:27), he owned no house (Matt. 8:20), and he died naked on the cross, so mark this well: When Jesus died, he had zero assets. Now, how does one parlay the example of the absolute poverty of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 8:9) into the idea that God wants us rich? With help from below, I’m afraid. The world cares only for itself, the flesh wants its ears tickled, and the devil will help out in any way he can.

The greatest problem with Osteen is this; unconverted people (as well as believers who are not well grounded in the Bible) might confuse his success in the prosperity movement with success in actual Christianity. Fortunately, this confusion is curable. Every person who names the name of Jesus Christ should embark on a prayerful and careful study of the Scripture. This not only cures confusion, it prevents future outbreaks.

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