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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • « The Da Vinci Code Movie | Main | Are Our Churches Preaching the Gospel? »

    The Gospel of Prosperity Part 1 By Marco Gonzalez

    tbn.bmp When I first became a Christian, I was influenced heavily. Much of my doctrinal and theological stances were formed and shaped by the gospel of prosperity (or as many have labeled it “The prosperity Gospel.”) The prominent speakers: T.D Jakes, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Copeland, and Kenneth Hagin all participated in creating my understanding of the gospel. The success of these individuals is well-known Even without the major influence of their broadcasts on TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network), many of the dominant speakers have gross revenues reaching a billion dollars a year. TBN is primarily the telecommunication used to project these individuals toward Christians. I’ve personally listened to well-over a thousand hours of broadcasting.

    This is including when I was cultivated by the network and after I broke free from it. Whether we wish to admit it or not, TBN has influenced billions of Christians. From my own personal experience and close friends, I have witnessed the devastating effects of the prosperity gospel.Living in Southern California, I am aware of two individuals who have fought seriously against the prosperity gospel: John MacArthur, Hank Hannagraph. Whenever TBN or individuals from TBN have been criticized, the founder of TBN, Paul Crouch, has replied back to the criticism. When Hanagraph and MacArthur were exposing much of the deception of TBN, Crouch responded. Paul Crouch said both Hanagraph and MacArthur were “heresy hunters” and looking to pick fights. Crouch went as far as to say (and this is a direct quote), “If God doesn’t shoot them, I will.” I mention this because TBN is built upon billions and billions of dollars. Crouch realizes whenever his speakers are criticized, it results in a net-loss and is a liability to his corporation.

    In fact, both Hannagraph and Macarthur immediately received death threats following their sermons and discussions about TBN. This does not mean that TBN sent them death threats directly, but what it does mean is that TBN posses many loyal followers who are willing to defend their leaders. It is note-worthy to mention that I have personally never heard Macarthur or Hannagraph say their death threats were directly from TBN.

    Before we can address the prosperity gospel, we need to understand the enormous impact it has and continues to have on Christians. While to many Christians what TBN and their speakers say may appear to be rank heresy, Christians need to understand the innumerable amounts of people who believe in the prosperity gospel. With over six-teen satellites world-wide, TBN reaches trillions of people groups from every, tongue, tribe, and nation. Just walk inside your favorite Christian bookstore and look at the new releases and you will find the top-selling authors of Christian publishing to be prosperity preachers. Or start talking with normal everyday Christians and you will find their theology embedded with the prosperity gospel.

    I will not deny that I once was held in bondage to this. Breaking out of this mentality can only come from the spirit awaking and humbling our souls to the word of God. The belief that financial restoration is the primacy of the gospel makes it so it is not hard to attract numerous followers. Followers who are so deeply entrenched in this ideology will fight every logical and coherent biblical argument that those who proclaim the gospel’s preeminence is faith and repentance can give.

    I have seen the heartbreak and witnessed the unanswered prayers and uncertain hope in God because of a lack of healing or prosperity. There are countless people who are poor or are currently afflicted by a medical condition; the prosperity gospel provides false hope for these people as a mandated guarantee God will provide provision. Take a moment and understand a mother whose child is terminally-ill and all her options have been exhausted. Or a couple who is bankrupt and lives on the street and has no other choice. It changes our perspective when we realize these are not just ignorant people, but people who are in extreme hardship and the prosperity gospel gives false hope to them.

    I need to make this clear because many are under the assumption that the followers of TBN are obtuse. I am not making excuses for the lack of discernment these individuals have, but we need to understand the roots of their fellowship with the prosperity gospel. The first part of this essay was never intended to examine the prosperity gospel’s theology, rather it was planned to give a perspective of TBN as a network and their followers as a whole.

    Obviously, prosperity is attractive; there is no human being who objects to God as a giver of healing and financial restoration. These people provide a false fabrication of God and then subject millions to it. The prosperity gospel is by far the worst manufactured gospel of our generation. It differs from Roman Catholism, because Catholism twists the essence of the gospel in a way which looks, from a distance, like truth. On the other hand, the prosperity gospel is blatantly false with the ideology that God’s provision toward your wealth and health is available if you tap into the spiritual realm correctly.

    The prosperity gospel will continue to do damage to Christians and evangelicalism. It is imperative we equip ourselves with the understanding of its doctrinal and biblical stances toward interpreting scripture. Most of all though, we need to pray; we need to pray that our motives are gentle and pure. Let’s keep our eyes fixed on the eternality of God’s judgment and remember this is not merely an aim to correct doctrine. Before I address the theological issues, we need to look at our hearts and make sure they are pure. Don’t let correcting someone’s doctrine become the primacy of this endeavor but become distressed that God’s grace will be concluded with the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that now is the time of salvation.

    Let the word of God dwell deeply in you to create an overwhelming passion for people to be set free; people who are in bondage to the roaring doctrines of false teachers and preachers. Do not let your heart grow cold toward those who refuse to walk in the truth, but fervently pray to God to awaken their soul. If we want to be truly effective in our apologetics and defense of the gospel, we need examine our hearts. Most of all we need to depend on the Holy Spirit to break down the anarchy of people’s hearts and minds.

    Posted by on November 10, 2005 07:51 PM

    Comments

    This health/wealth/prosperity gospel is pure heresy and brings a reproach upon all that Christ stands for. I praise God that He delivered me from this hell sent teaching and exposed me to the wonderful doctrines of grace.

    My husband and I are dealing with this issue now - we attend a church that preaches the health and prosperity gospel. My husband's men's bible study is reading Joel Osteen's book. I know the people at our church love the Lord and want to serve him. But ... But ...

    I don't believe that God is a big genie in the sky, that should our prayers rub Him the right way, we'll get our wishes.

    We're to be living sacrifices, and our purpose in life (to steal from another wildly popular preacher) is to be a living sacrifice who gives glory to God. Does that mean we should chase mansions and nice cars, and if we don't have those things, our faith is lacking.

    We've been debating what to do, where to go. I don't have the answer to that yet.

    Alot of people only believe what they are told of God and sadly do not research the bible for themselves and see the truth.
    I to once was decieved by this and reading the bible for myself helped open my eyes.

    I thank you brother Marco and Hankhanahgraph for showing the truth that was reveald to me in 1986 how false teacher like kenth copland a john hagi and joel osteen and many others.1st pray as much as possible then read the Holy Bible NIV LOVE YOUR ENIMEIES AND FORGIVE AND KEEP PEACE. GENTLE AS A DOVE BUT WISE AS SERPENT. I belive we need to give to those who have made many mistakes and cry with those cry and hunger with those hunger basicly be a living sacarfice and live by the spirit cling what Jesus says not man or man made relgion

    I really enjoyed reading this article and whole heartedly agree, that Satan has managed to infitrate the church in this form of preaching and teaching. Too many churches are more focused on the stuff of the Kingdom, rather than Jesus the Key to the Kingdom. I'm not making excuses or responding out of envy or jealous, quite simple just truthfully. If I lived in a cardboard box I would still serve God with my whole heart. It is important people take on the Hebrew boys mentality when they declared to the king if our God do not deliver us from this firery furnace it is not because he is not able. Can't help but to wonder about some people, as to how would they respond to God if He said to give it all up, let it go? Not sure, but I bet the rich young ruler could tell us though.

    Copeland and Hagin and others also teach another Jesus who died spiritually and was taken by the devil into hell and tortured there for 3 days and nights. Then they say he was born again in hell. I literally felt ill when I heard Copeland teach this trash. I thank God he delivered me from Word of Faith teachings.

    I don`t know why people can`t see through John Hagee,Benny Hinn,Rod Parsley,Jesse Duplantis,Juanita Bynum,Creflo Dollar,Joyce Myer and all these other false teachers. for instance John Hagee says limp wristed Preachers should get off the platform and not Preach.But Brother Hagee consorts with people like Benny Hinn, Benny said God would destroy all Homosexual people and he gave a date when this would happen. all the People started cheering like it would really happen. well what People should have done was go into a prayer mode and pray that God would deliver these People from their affliction.If i were Homosexual would i want to know a God that was gona deatroy me? I think not.anyway it did`nt happen. then Benny said Jesus would appear in body like form on the TBN platform with him,and he gave a date when it would happen, well it did`nt happen.the Bible say`s if a man gives a proficy and it don`t come to pass regard that Man as a false proffit and don`t hear him.John Hagee beats People over the head because they get divorced, But according to the pc Brother hagee divorced his Wife in 1976 and married a woman 10 yrs his junior.His wife got custody of their Children according to the computer.Juanita Bynum makes a stupid statement by telling her listeners, i dare you to send x ammount of dollars,I dare you to do it she say`s.I mean did you ever hear anything so dumb?.sorta reminds you of being dared to do something when you were in the first grade.Bro Shambauch has this stupid alter that he set up with the fire roaring out of it and say`s send all your bills in and we`re gona burn them debts up.How stupid. the Bible say`s owe no man anything. bottom line God expects us to pay our bills.and why would`nt we pay them? after all we made the bills. I know People have House notes and a car note. Rod Parsley told his People you`re gona live in Houses you did`nt build and some of you better go on down to that Lexus dealer and just sit down in that thing and when the salesman comes to you tell him your Father is gona get you that car.well i got news for you, if you don`t have the money to buy that car the salesman is gona tell you well my Father told you to get out of that thing. and the list goes on. Peter Popoff caught red handed with a hidden microphone in his ear receiving information from his wife about sick people who came to his show. Don Stewart and the list goes on. all Hank Hannagraph does is uncover these false teachers so the world can know them. I think the Man is doing a good job exposing these People.Preacher price in california. so many times i`ve heard him talking about his Rolls Royce. Big deal i don`t care if you drive a Bicycle just preach the truth. Oral Roberts said the Lord would call him Home if he did`nt raise several million Dollars. i`m through you get the idea.

    I do not agree with some points of the prosperity theology,but one thing is not agree and other is to condemm those who teach it.I agree that all extremes are bad.Yes,god could prosper all aspects of your life,But this is not about the money on your pocket,is about living for Christ,annd gloryify his holy name.Money is important,but with money or no money,will you honour your God?

    Brothers and sisters in Christ, I am one of the people that have listened to TBN and their shows for a while. But in the past few months, my Mom and sisters and I have noticed the increased message of prosperity and monetary gain. I now see that people such as Jesse Duplantis and Rod Parsley are more about money than salvationa and faith. AS I remarked to my mother, "T.D. Jakes sounds more like a financial planner than a minister." Anyway, God Bless you for exposing the unBiblical theology of money and trying to bring people back to the gospel of salvation. God Bless you and may He help us bring people away from this heretical theology.

    Just want to say I've injoyed your post because I love the truth. I too don't believe in the prosperity gospel. If it is not the gospel of Jesus Christ then is the wrong gospel. It breaks my heart to see so many innocent people who trust in these leaders being decieved. Sowing seeds of righteousness, caring for others other than just yourself, spreading the gospel of salvation will prosper you in ways you can't even imagine. It baffles me how the prosperity gospel can get by like that even with intelligent leaders when Jesus had nothing good to say about riches. Maybe they should start printing the words of Jesus in green or purple, you know just to change the color from red. Maybe that will catch their attention and see that Jesus was never for riches. I dont know about anybody else but I intend to keep my eyes on Jesus,and follow his example of humilty. Lets pray for them because some really did start out right but got side tracked by the money. Money answereth all things but all things dont answer to Money. All things must answer to God because he created all things. So we better not let money become our God because when we get in trouble we cant call on money to help us.I used to enjoy most of them but grew weary as I saw them gradually leaning more towards prosperity and seed sowing ministry. Its ashame because some will cause others to win christ but they themselves could loose out if they dont turn to the whole truth.

    To much extent you are all correct. but the Bible does state that God wants us to prosper in all things, spiritual, financial, physical because the Bible is a blueprint for all areas of life. it talks about how to prosper, what to do, why we dont prosper. the Bible is full of prosperity messages and God wants us to prosper as his children because it gives Him glory, and the Bible states that. Anything that is overdone(stated) can appear to be the wrong message. but the Bible is full of those messages. Please search the Bible yourself and you will see TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, etc. is absolutely correct. It is all about how you understand what they are saying from the pulpit. I am able to put it all in context and i am blessed by their messages. God says we are "lenders and not borrowers", God tells us how to eat, where to go, where not to go, how to tithe, etc........

    With all the criticism of others, how many people has Hank Hanahgraph led to the Lord? Judgment of others carries a pretty stiff sentence. If you think Kenneth Hagin was a"prosperity teacher", you should first read his book, Midas Touch, and draw your conclusion then. I do not believe in manipulation of emotions to get money, but the Bible speaks very clearly about financial blessings. Non faith, non prosperity preachers manipulate the dickens out of folks for gain. Hank like others can sound very religious, but be careful to read the Word for yourself in context. God is using John Hagee mightily in our support of Israel, so be careful what you say about him. As the Bible says, "you could find yourself fighting God!"

    The manifestations of all spiritual blessings becomes tangent in the natural world. the fruit of our salvation is not only changed lives but includes physical healing, freedom from bondage, and freedom from lack that leads to abundance. Christ Jesus suffered enough to bring home the bacon for me. ;-)...I understand the predicament of some who do not believe in this so called prosperity gospel,but many things have changed after the cross of Christ.if the bible says, that I am not under curse anymore, I believe that. I have experienced His healing, His prosperity, His favor in my life, that doesnt mean that I will love my money more than loving my God.I think we should only have a right attitude. many things have changed in our lives as couple since we learned that that cross of Jesus restored everything for us. ;-)

    I think you need to be careful who you are grouping together here. I used to be reformed for most of my life. I call it "Worm Theology". They had their sayings about how God could pull the rug out from under you at any time, filing you with fear. There was such an emphasis on how bad we are and sinful and never talking about how wonderful the blessings of following God are. The "frozen chosen" jokes are actually not very funny, it gives you this idea that you can do anything you want because God has already chosen you.
    This intense Reformed theology teaches you how to suffer but never covers that God wants HIs best for you and it's okay to strive for joy and comfort in the Lord. TD Jakes in his book,"Life Overflowing" begins the book by speaking of spiritual blessings that come through faith and how then God provides for all your physical needs because he is the Beholder of all these things anyway. Our pursuit should be of heavenly things, pure and holy and out of this pursuit comes everything we need. I am so thankful that I am free from the PCA, reformed theology. It seemed to me that the congregations were filled with a very bleek outlook and cynical world view. Life is too hard not to seek the Comfort and Strength that is available to us in Jesus.

    I'm not suprised about this properity theology, like the old saying "When money talks everybody listens!" "Money can't buy anything but it makes things easier", "Why wait to Jesus Christ's Kingdom if you can have it now?!" when a unregenerated person heard the "total depravity", "how serious sin is", "how Jesus Christ is your rightousness", "how wide the road to hell than how narrow is the gate of heaven", "life in Christ (Spiritual regeneration)... their ears would not accept it why? Who wants to suffer? ME?? to be prosecuted for Christ's sake? Why so if I can use Christ to MAKE MOREEEEEEEEEEE MONEY!!!!! YOU IDOLATERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    REPENT! OH REPENT!

    I would rather become slave to Christ's rightouesness and be hate by all MEN than to gain the favor of the WORLD's carnal desire!

    I'm not suprised about this prosperity theology, like the old saying "When money talks everybody listens!" "Money can't buy anything but it makes things easier", "Why wait to Jesus Christ's Kingdom if you can have it now?!" when a unregenerated person heard the "total depravity", "how serious sin is", "how Jesus Christ is your rightousness", "how wide the road to hell than how narrow is the gate of heaven", "life in Christ (Spiritual regeneration)... their ears would not accept it why? Who wants to suffer? ME?? to be prosecuted for Christ's sake? Why so if I can use Christ to MAKE MOREEEEEEEEEEE MONEY!!!!! YOU IDOLATERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    REPENT! OH REPENT!

    I would rather become slave to Christ's rightouesness and be hated by all MEN than to gain the favor of the WORLD's carnal desire!

    Martin Luther explained the significance of Jesus riding on a donkey instead of a powerful war-horse.

    “This Christ-King comes to Zion’s daughter humbly, riding on a donkey; he does not rule a realm where men gather wealth and property, conduct wars, become rich and powerful in this world – all the marks of worldly kings…. Now Christ does not reject or even condemn earth. But in the realm where he is King and Lord, he’s not concerned about teaching us how to farm, plow, sow, harvest, be a housekeeper, pile up money, conduct war, or rule over land and people. All such things he entrusts to earthly kings and lords.”

    I find this and very related to what is happening right now in modern church, it's like the corruption of the catholic church that happened years way back!!!

    Note your paragraph 4:

    There are not trillions of people groups. There are not even trillions of people - only 7 billion coming this year or next.

    You my fiend are what many call a bullshit artist.

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