With the gospel of success and prosperity spreading like a plague of locusts, the Charismatic Movement is in serious trouble. I can see why Jesus said, “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8). In other words, will he find true and accurate faith? Perhaps, because the truth is not something most people want to hear. They want to be fed candy doctrines.
The intent of this book is to expose one of the most abominable doctrines ever invented, and to lead people into the truth. This book will analyze the prosperity gospel which is being taught as Biblical truth, but is in fact a horrible distortion, and some teachers are actually telling boldfaced lies. I will show how and why the teachings of the prosperity gospel are false by examining every verse they use to support that doctrine. We will learn what those verses really say.
I am not anti-Charismatic; I attended an old fashioned Pentecostal church while growing up, and despite the warnings, I became a Charismatic as an adult. I read all the books by the big names in the movement and believed the prosperity gospel, and became ministry partners with large ministries that were reaching lots of people. But I was never able to send in my monthly pledges for more than a few months after joining; because I became unemployed, sometimes I even used a credit card to keep my pledge. After this happened several times I began to question, why is it that I am actually becoming poorer every time I start sending money to large TV ministries? Is God trying to tell me something? (I also tithed.) Finally, after twenty years of this, while still poor and unemployed, I felt called to research the prosperity gospel, to investigate the teaching.
I decided to write down every verse in the Bible that was being used to teach prosperity, and examine each one in-depth to arrive at the most accurate understanding possible. I used commentaries, Greek and Hebrew lexicons, word-studies, etc. What I discovered proves beyond any doubt that the prosperity gospel is totally false, and a horrible sin. Other books that have been written on this subject make a theological argument against the prosperity gospel, but I believe the root cause is inaccurately interpreting the Scriptures. We need to get back to what the Bible says, not what a denomination says, or what a well-known preacher says, but what the Scriptures actually say.
Most people assume that the big-name preachers on TV with large followings know more than the rest of us, that they are experts; but what we will learn is that they are only “experts in greed” (2 Peter 2:14); and that they are actually stupid, because they lack the good sense to properly understand the Scriptures.
When I was 20, God called me to preach, but because I am not an eloquent speaker, rather than preach, I focused on in-depth study of Scripture. The research skills I gained after years of Scripture exposition were further developed obtaining a B.A. in journalism with a minor in history. I also have a God-given ability to figure things out.
We must study the Bible and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us. What is taught in one part of the Bible cannot be contradicted by another part. So we must look at everything the Bible teaches to determine accurate doctrine. We must discover the truth and then follow it.
All of Christendom needs genuine revival, but especially within the Charismatic Movement we need a revival of truth. We delude ourselves if we think that all we need is the presence and power of God, or the anointing; without truth we will end up with spiritism, divination, and witchcraft. The Holy Spirit is not enough by itself. If you want a spiritual experience but reject sound doctrine, you will be led into error as quickly as those who reject any spiritual experience and accept only human reason.
Paul said there was a time when God overlooked ignorance of the truth (Acts 17:30); but he now requires people to turn from sin and accept the truth. This applies even more so in these last days.
Jesus said “the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth” (John 4:23) (NIV). So it is possible to have the Spirit but not the truth. Some people only seek after a spiritual experience but don’t want to dwell on doctrines because they say it causes divisions. “Just wait until we get to heaven and we will sort it all out then.” But Jesus and all the writers of the New Testament considered truth important and attempted to correct false beliefs. Your doctrines can keep you out of heaven, so right doctrines are important.
Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6) (NIV) and “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32) (NIV). Anointing is not enough. To follow The Way of Christ you must know the truth. Some people believe that only “line upon line” of human analysis will arrive at correct doctrine, but that is not true either. Jesus also said, “you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition” (Matthew 15:6) (NIV). Church doctrine itself has obscured much truth. You must be able to follow the guidance of the Holy Spirit in your study or you will never understand Scripture. The Holy Spirit can give us the understanding.
The truth is in the Bible, but because it does not fit with what people want to be true, they cannot see what it actually says. So preachers twist the Scriptures and make them say what they do not say. The truth of the Christian faith is not hard to understand, it is just hard to accept by American Christians who have been raised to pursue the American Dream. So they have become blinded by materialism, which is why the Charismatic Movement is spreading like a wild fire, but what is being taught is not the truth. And because of the popularity of some of the Prosperity Preachers on TV, the false gospel is spreading outside the Charismatic and Pentecostal segment of the Church:
Given its departure from the historical, orthodox message of the church, one would think that most Bible-believing Christians would reject the prosperity gospel. However, this is not the case. The prosperity gospel is spreading beyond the confines of the charismatic movement, where it has been traditionally strong, and is taking root in the larger evangelical church. A recent survey found that in the United States, 46 percent of self-proclaimed Christians agree with the idea that God will grant material riches to all believers who have enough faith. Why is this so? The prosperity gospel has an appealing but fatal message: accept God and He will bless you– because you deserve it. (Health, Wealth and Happiness: Has the Prosperity Gospel Overshadowed the Gospel of Christ? by David W. Jones and Russell S. Woodbridge, Kregel Publications, 2011, page 15)
Paul predicted that a time will come when people will not want accurate doctrine, but will surround themselves with preachers who tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim. 4:3). The false prophets tell people that God is going to make them rich and successful and happy.
Paul also said that the Holy Spirit spoke, perhaps through a prophecy, or perhaps an unknown tongue with interpretation, that in the last days before the return of Christ, many people will fall away from the faith by following doctrines taught by false prophets who are influenced by demons:
Now the Spirit says clearly that in the last times some people will abandon the faith by following deceitful spirits, the teachings of demons, and the hypocrisy of liars, whose consciences have been burned by a hot iron. (1 Tim. 4:1-2) (ISV)
Therefore, God prophesied almost 2000 years ago about the Charismatic Movement as it is today. Of course they are not the only ones teaching false doctrine. There is no lack of churches teaching half-truths, but the Bible specifically speaks out against the desire for wealth, calling it idolatry. In addition to these clear prophecies in the Bible, there are two additional prophecies that say in the later days there will be many famous false prophets spreading a twisted form of Christianity. The Epistle of the Apostles says:
And he said unto us: There shall come forth another doctrine, and a confusion, and because they shall strive after their own advancement, they shall bring forth an unprofitable doctrine. And therein shall be a deadly corruption (of uncleanness), and they shall teach it, and shall turn away them that believe on me from my commandments and cut them off from eternal life. But woe unto them that falsify this my word and commandment, and draw away them that hearken to them from the life of the doctrine and separate themselves from the commandment of life: for together with them they shall come into everlasting judgement. (M. R. James, The Apocryphal New Testament (Oxford: Clarendon Press 1924), p. 503.)
Notice that this teaching is about striving “after their own advancement,” which is the gospel we have today; you can be successful, you can be happy, God has a wonderful plan for your life, etc. I believe the “confusion” refers to the fact that the false prophets teach a different interpretation of the Scriptures, one that is convoluted, or twisted beyond good sense.
Another prophecy, from Book 2 of the Jewish and Christian Sibylline Oracles, takes place during the decades before the coming of the final Antichrist in the last days:
. . . and there will be no consent in doctrines when some deceivers arise in the world with great fame, as prophets, and then shall Belial come, and do many wonders among men. (The Sibylline Oracles; Revised and Updated, by Michael D. Fortner, page 47.)
These Charismatic false prophets are among the most famous false prophets the world has ever known, because their TV programs are broadcast in many nations around the world; and they actually call themselves prophets. The prophecy does not call them prophets, but that they appear as prophets.
The Bible even gives us a description of these almost true, yet false prophets. The Bible also tells us that those who engage in fakery and claim that fake miracles are true miracles from God are in danger of being struck down by God like Nadab and Abihu who faked a miracle. Are ministers falling dead today? Yes, two prominent gold dust fakers both died of cancer less than a year apart, and others have died.
This book includes quotes from the false teachings of the prosperity preachers, but they are not named; except a few who are dead. Even though you may guess the identities of those I quote, they will remain unnamed; I do not name them because I believe I have been directed by God and the Bible against doing so. The angels would not bring an accusation against the devil (Jude 9), and though the apostles spoke out against those who were teaching false doctrine, the apostles did not name them in the writings of the New Testament.
A few wise leaders are openly questioning how long the Charismatic Movement can continue on its present course. The Charismatic Movement needs a reformation, and the first step must be to renounce the prosperity gospel that has infected the movement like a deadly virus.
George Barna has done extensive research on American Christianity for decades. He writes:
For every dollar spent on ministry to the poor, the typical church spends more than five dollars on buildings and maintenance. . .
Consider how we have repositioned spirituality. Faith used to revolve around God and His ordinances and principles; the faith that arrests our attention these days is that which revolves around us. We have demystified God, befriended Jesus, abandoned the Holy Spirit, and forgiven and even warmed up to Satan. Few Americans possess a sense of awe, fear, or trembling related to God. . . . .(The Second Coming of the Church, p. 3, 7)
American Christianity is the church of Laodicea, and God is going to put them through the refiner’s fire. So can we expect to see God’s judgment on America? Yes, it has already begun!
Jesus came to give us life in the here and now, not just life in the here-after, but that does not translate into wealth or chasing the American dream, but merely the removal of poverty while helping others out of poverty.
Some people will want to bring out the “authority” gun by saying that God has no self-appointed prophets or lone-wolf ministers, and they want to question whose authority I am under. This is an argument that has no merit and is used by people who want to silence those who teach things they disagree with. The authority teaching is an example of doctrine being taught as truth when it is actually the opposite of the truth.
The Bible records that the apostles discovered a man who was casting out devils in Jesus’ name, but he was not one of the official disciples. They asked Jesus if they should make him stop, and Jesus said, “Whoever isn’t against us is for us” (Mark 9:40) (GW). So Jesus personally condoned lone wolf preachers! As he should, because he was a lone wolf preacher himself, as was John the Baptist, Martin Luther, and John Wesley who was not allowed to preach in Anglican churches, so he went into the public squares. When William Booth started the Salvation Army without anyone’s permission he was attacked and reviled by Christians who tried to stop his good work. But when he died 40,000 people attended his funeral including the queen, and another 150,000 people walked passed the casket.
There are many more lesser known lone wolf ministers, such as Gladys Aylward (1902-1970) who saved up her salary and bought a one-way train ticket to China because the China Inland Mission agency would not send her. Her life story was made into a movie in 1958 that stared Ingrid Bergman, The Inn of the Sixth Happiness. Also, Bruce Olsen (1941-), who went to Columbia with his own money and ended up reaching an entire jungle tribe, and later spoke at the United Nations. He wrote a best-selling autobiography in 1986, Bruchko, that is still in print and selling well in later editions.
But they were lone wolf ministers only in the sense that they were not under any human organization. God is the one who calls people into the ministry, not any human organization. Therefore, if God has called them into the ministry, then they are not lone wolves and they have every right to be in the ministry.
There are also Christians fundamentalist attackers who condemn everyone who does not agree with them one-hundred percent on every doctrine. But that is absurd because no one is 100% accurate. If someone holds one doctrine slightly different from them, they condemn them as apostate and going to hell. But no religious organization or church is 100% accurate in all its doctrines. Some may be 90% right, others may be 80% or 70%, but none are 100%. Although right doctrine is important, this shows that you don’t have to be 100% accurate to make heaven, or to be used of God in the ministry.
This means that God uses people who are not 100% accurate in their teachings. It means you can be saved and even healed under the ministry of a false prophet. If we must have 100% accurate doctrine to be saved and go to heaven, then there are very few Christians in the world, if any.
Even so, this book was written to get us closer to that 100% mark. The purpose of this book is to discover as much truth as possible; because the more truth we have the closer we are to God and his perfect will for us as individuals, and as churches. This book is for seekers of truth; it is for those who desire more than what they are getting from the lukewarm, materialistic churches today. This book is for those who want both the Spirit and the truth.
Unlike the fundamentalists, I do not condemn people just because they disagree with me. The reason I say those who teach prosperity are false prophets is because they are guilty of leading people into idolatry.
There are already several books which are having an impact on many Christians, and are helping us move toward a New Reformation. I hope the information in this book will be able to contribute.