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Archive for the ‘Word of Faith’ Category

Prosperity Gospel

It is a problem all around the world that the church faces.  The Prosperity Gospel.  The Word of Faith movement.  It’s in Africa.  It’s in Eastern Europe.  It’s in Asia.  It’s in the West and imported overseas.

It is not the Gospel and it feeds our flesh.

It’s from Satan himself because it’s a false gospel.

Jason Vicente spoke against the Word of Faith in this message:

HT

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David_Yonggi_Cho_w_church_original

NOTE: We have written on the topic of “Strange Fire,” specifically the problems of Charismatic and Pentecostal Theology in the Asian context here on the blog in the past and will continue to do so from time to time in the future.

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho is the founding pastor of the Yoido Full Gospel Church in the Assembly of God denomination and reputed as the world’s largest congregation.  There are concerns about his theology being biblical since he’s an advocate of Word of Faith teaching, among other things.

“Pastor” David Yonggi Cho was recently on the news this month, having gotten himself in legal trouble and found guilty by the court.  A Gospel Herald news article writes,

According to reports, Cho was identified as an accomplice through committing breach of trust in 2002 by ordering the church to purchase his elder son Hee-jun’s stocks at four times the market price. The transaction resulted in the church’s loss of 13 billion won (US$12 million). Moreover, Cho was also found guilty of tax evasion of 3.5 billion won (US$3.3 million). In the same ruling, Cho’s elder son Hee-jun, the former CEO of the church-affiliated local daily Kookmin Ilbo, was sentenced to three years in prison for colluding with his father in the embezzlement scheme.

Over at Charisma News, there’s even a piece titled Setting the Record Straight on David Yonggi Cho by a friend of his ministry for forty years that provides some more context, making the point that Pastor Cho was misled by his “prodigal” son.  I think it’s worth reading to see this situation as charitable as possible.

But even in the most charitable reading of this news there are legitimate concern from a biblically driven point of view especially with his ecclesiology and understanding of church office:

1.) Church buying stocks?  I think the church’s shouldn’t have it’s business in stocks in the first place.  One can see how a church driven by a prosperity message would be tempted to live out their pastor’s teaching and moves the church and the pastor stepping towards the direction of this scandal.

2.) The Charisma News piece is out to defend Cho by admitting this:

Cho has three sons. The second and third sons are very productive and work in church-related ministries. His eldest son has been the prodigal. He has been married four times and has been involved in sexual scandals with national personalities. In addition, he has served prison time for investment scams and embezzlement. His scandalized life has been an embarrassment to his family and the church.

I think this open up a whole can of worm.  Don’t forget the qualification for an elder/pastor in 1 Timothy 3:4-5,

“4 He must be one who manages his own household well, keeping his children under control with all dignity 5 (but if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of the church of God?),”

Biblically speaking, “Pastor” Cho isn’t qualified to be a pastor; or if he was qualified he has disqualified himself beforehand.  I imagine it’s very hard to remove a charismatic, “successful” pastor on pragmatic grounds no matter what theological stripes you come from, but it must be even more difficult among Charistmatic circles with their ecclesiological baggage of a man of God being “anointed,” having special insights, revelation, etc., that gives more immunity than it is healthy.

3.) The Charisma News piece also mentioned that this “prodigal” son approached the dad with his dad’s choice elders to sign the paper work that got him in the quagmire.  It’s important to avoid appearance of evil–and that means family business and church funds shouldn’t mix in the first place.

4.) One can’t help but to wonder about the role of prosperity Gospel in all this.  In Cho’s book, Prayer that Brings Revival, he wrote “The gifts of the Holy Spirit are available for the asking. Healing, deliverance,  prosperity, and blessing are all to be asked for” (75).  With an unbiblical understanding of church leadership coupled with a wealthy church, a bad ecclesiology, and a prosperity gospel, you’re ASKING for this scandal.

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kong-hee-look

 

This Youtube clip of Kong Hee, the founder of City Harvest Church is going around the internet.

2 Corinthians 8:9 states

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich.

Note also Luke 9:58:

And Jesus said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”

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Among other things, John MacArthur’s Strange Fire Conference has touched on the false teachings of the Prosperity Gospel.  It’s influence among Charistmatic circles is huge.  Known as the Word of Faith/Name-it-Claim-it/Blab-it-Grab-it theology, the impact of such teachings has dangerous spiritual repercussions and even at it’s best is a distraction from the Gospel (though I would add that its focus on the wrong things actually undermine the message and priority of the Gospel).

Over the years we have documented on our blog some of the dangerous fruits of Third Wave Continuationists and the Prosperity Gospel; and the fruits are not pretty.

I’m convinced that at the root of the problem with the Prosperity Gospel is the issue of idolatry.  That is, it’s an issue of who it is that is one’s God.  The functional god of those who are preachers and “parishioners” of the Prosperity Gospel is not the God of the Bible: it is the idolatry of the Self.  Let me explain with this illustration:

Idol of Prosperity Gospel Preacher

Until one identifies the root that’s driving the bad fruits, one can’t fully repent from the Prosperity Gospel since they don’t know what they must be turning away from.

The prosperity Gospel appeal to the carnal self.  It is all about pleasing the self and seeking gains for the pleasures of the self.  As a result, one shouldn’t be surprise to see the following fruits:

1.) An Emphasis on Subjective “Spiritual” Experiences versus the Word of God.  It’s experience-based rather than expositionally-based upon the Word of God.   And within Charismatic Word of Faith paradigm, the more supernatural the experience supposedly is, the better.  It becomes almost like a drug, an addiction to the spiritual experience itself rather than God Himself.  For some, one goes on religious roller coasters, where most of their life is in a spiritual slump until they wait for the next big high.  I believe that most of today’s speaking in tongues, getting slain in the spirit, holy laughter, “prophesying,” visions and “healing” spawn from this.  This also explains why so many false prophecies made in Pentecostal circles often are forgotten by those who hear them, because they are already looking for the next fixing for their veins of new “word” or predictions.

2.) Prosperity Gospel.  Having it’s mooring away from the Bible, advocates and believers of the Prosperity Gospel now have their discernment down.  With the idol of the self, a message of health and wealth appeals to their carnal wishes.  It tickles their ears.  Plus it’s about experiences and the experiences of the here and now-so why can’t we have the best of our life now?  Oh, should one also be surprise at tales of corruption behind the profits of prophets of the Prosperity Gospel?

3.) Infatuation of entering the entertainment industry.  Having now become materially driven, one now wants to be as successful in acquiring prosperity as they possibly can reach for.  For the best of the best in the circles of Prosperity Gospel, the sky is the limit but practically the sky is Hollywood:  think of what other industry brings the greatest fame, recognition and temptation of riches and luxury?  So with the supposed cover of wanting to reach out to Hollywood for Christ on a bigger platform, worldly methods and values are adopted in order to be part of the missionary effort to the entertainment industry and worldly goals and measure of success are adopted as well.  All this, while a bit of generic non-confrontational spiritual “Christian-ese” is sprinkled in one’s twitter and Facebook page, packaged for the mass amount of consumption possible.  Matter fact, often times prosperity preachers began small, who in desiring to be famous for being famous, they see twitter and other social media as the training wheels for developing fans responding to their selfies.

4.) Sexual immorality.  It can begin “innocent” enough with little efforts at mimicking the entertainment industry.  Or what you wear to indicate your prosperity by their fashion.  But if you are already feeding the Gods of self by appeasing it’s appetite of health and wealth, and fame and game, why hold back and be tame when it comes to sex?  Should we be surprise at why preachers of prosperity gospel have such heinous reputation of sexual immorality?

Don’t we see this being true at level three or four with those who are in the show Preachers of L.A., Kong Hee, Sun Ho and Jaeson Ma?

If any one sees this as a description of themselves, and God is convicting them, be warned by the Apostle Paul in Phillipians 3:19:

Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things.”

See your sins for what they are, repent, surrender yourself so that Jesus would be the Lord and Savior of your life.  Jesus Christ has died on the Cross and His blood is the source of our forgiveness.  Have truth faith in God’s grace alone through Christ alone to save us.

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The Strange Fire Conference is going on right now which you can see livestreamed here and of course the internet is buzzing.

charismatic chaos

We will be blogging a bit on this topic the next few days and Lord willing I myself want to focus a bit on some of the problematic Charistmatic/Prosperity Gospel in the Asian scene.  My concern is primarily centered on the issue of the Gospel and the worldliness of several proponents.

In this post I want to answer the question, “Why?”

Why should our blog tackle this issue when we can just focus on apologetics and only deal with Presuppositional apologetics and be happy with our niche?

Mennoknight over at his blog probably put it better in words than I could several days ago.  Although he writes this in the context of the problem of false teaching in Africa, I think the situation applies in the Asian context or anywhere right now in the world for that matter.  MennoKnight’s point is worth an extended block quote, challenging our priorities in apologetics:

Africa is drowning in prosperity gospel heretics and signs & wonders churches; the prosperity gospel is the face of Christianity in Africa…far more than I ever anticipated before I started this research.  It’s absolutely disgusting, and the influential churches in the west need to take out the axe and start clearing up shop.

Forget the atheists.  There’s a few thousand of them and they’re not worth wasting time on.  They’ve proven to be a total waste of time, every time…

Forget 99% of Western apologetics.  Who CARES about who’s debating another biology/zoology/whatever professor turned atheist/darwinist crusader?  I’d dare suggest that the debates that need to be done have already be done fifteen times over again.  Let’s give all our apologists a holiday and send in someone who will settle the issues at hand

I say a hearty amen.

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hipster pastor

The Reality TV show, Preachers of LA, is suppose to air tonight (October 9th) in the U.S.  This is a show that promote the personality of Word of Faith, Prosperity Gospel preachers.

I’ve blogged about my concern for this already in the past but last night I was moved to write this when I saw someone’s comment about this TV show:

We need BIBLICAL Preachers of L.A,
not phony charade,
But the real thing,
who loves people more than bling,
holy, not looking for a fling,
not self-promoting, jet-flying, diamond ring flaunting, (un?)Reality TV kind of thing,
but instead a God’ loving,
self-denying,
Gospel-Bringing,
Word of God preaching
…Man,
who’s OXYGEN is to be proclaiming of the forgiver of sin, to those who know it’s sting, can be saved by trusting in the King of King,
For Him we shall rap for and sing.

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If you are interested in listening to some songs that are God glorifying and songs that do not beat around the bush when it comes to confronting false teachers such as the Word of Faith Movement, I encourage to check out my brother-in-Christ, Jovan Mackenzy.  I  have been following him for quite some time now and have been in contact with him.  What I can say is that I have been encouraged by his ministry.

In his latest album, Jovan Mackenzy, collaborated with apologist James White from Alpha and Omega Ministry and Phil Johnson, who is one of the pastors from Grace Community Church and the owner of  two prolific websites called Spurgeon Archive and Pyromaniacs.

If you want to know more about my brother-in-Christ, Jovan Mackenzy, I encourage you check out his biography.

Jovan’s Biography

I also encourage you to download his latest album called “Famine.”  I have listened to it and was highly edified.   This  man loves the Lord, His Word, the lost, and believers.

Famine Album

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