Thursday, November 18, 2010

If Word of Faith Were True, Millions Would Be Reading My Blog and Creflo Dollar Would Send Me Money

I love how God works.  As God gives me ideas for messages, I write them down and unless God speaks differently, I go through them in order.  Saturday's post is "off the cuff," but my weekday study ideas are generally written down several weeks before I get to them.  This is one of those times.  I wrote "Positive Confession" on a piece of paper several weeks ago and here I am writing this message the day after I chose not to attend my church as they were showing a message from someone steeped in that heresy, that being Creflo Dollar.  We know this heresy by many names: "Name it claim it," "word of faith," "health and wealth," and others.  They are all one in the same and all part of the heresy known as "Positive Confession."  Ultimately, it is the same heresy spoken by Satan himself in the Garden of Eden and people still fall into this evil today.  Positive Confession  is the belief that as Christians we are now "little gods" and no longer human (other than our flesh).  It is the belief that as "little gods" we can speak the promises of God into reality by reciting or claiming Bible passages in faith.  It is the belief that our words, spoken in faith, have creative power to bring into existence the promises (or perceived promises) of God as we desire them and when we desire them.  It is the belief that the spiritual world controls the physical words and by speaking certain faith or spirit filled words, we can recreate our own reality.  For example, Kenneth Copeland has stated "You can have what you say! In fact, what you are saying is exactly what you are getting now. If you are living in poverty and lack and want, change what you are saying. It will change what you have. Discipline your vocabulary. God will be obligated to meet your needs because of His word. If you stand firmly on this, your needs will be met" (The Laws of Prosperity, McConnell, p. 98,101).  There are many big named preachers who unashamedly promote this heresy, those being Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, the aforementioned Creflo Dollar, and many others.  Some dabble in this heresy by "claiming" what they perceive as guaranteed promises in the Bible.  Having to "claim" a promise is logically impossible as I will explain later. 

I want to start with some of the verses they twist to support their heresy.  The first stop on our tour is in Hebrews.
By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.  Hebrews 11:3 NKJV
This is the verse they use to promote their creative ability.  They claim that the same faith God used to create the universe is the same faith we have today and being that God spoke creation into existence, we have the ability ourselves to speak things into existence.  This is an incredible stretch to say the least and a wonderful example of how a heresy cleverly twists Scripture. God did not use a Word of Faith to create the universe.  Read the verse carefully, it says "By faith we understand," it is not "By faith the worlds were framed by the word of God."  The faith is attributed to us, not to God.  And the faith is in the doctrine of Creation and not creation itself.  This verse is saying that we accept Creation as taught in the Word by faith.  God spoke creation into existence by His power and that is a power we do not share.  

Our next stop on our tour is Mark. 
So Jesus answered and said to them, "Have faith in God. For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be removed and be cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them." Mark 11:22-24 NKJV
Taken out of its context, this verse really does seem to mean that we can have whatever we want as long as we believe we will receive it.  The problem is that this message was not given to the masses, but only to Jesus's disciples.  This verse only applies to Jesus's disciples.  So if you want anything you ask for in prayer, you can have it, but only if you are a disciple.  And what does it mean to be a disciple?
Then He said to them all, "If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me."  Luke 9:23 NKJV
So taking what it means to be a disciple, the first thing you have to do to receive everything you ask for in prayer is to deny yourself.  The second part, taking up your cross, means submitting yourself wholly to God.  Jesus, out of obedience to the Father, submitted himself to the cross.  In that same spirit, we are to take up our crosses for God, that is submit ourselves to His will.   So if you deny yourself and wholly submit to God's will, you would not pray for selfish desires.  Giving up yourself and submitting yourself to God means giving up your fleshly desires and replacing them with the desires of God.  Therefore you can have whatever you ask for in prayer so long as you first give up yourself and submit yourself entirely to God.  For example, if I want a million dollars and wish to receive that by praying, I first need to become a disciple.  To becomes a disciple, I must first give up myself and submit myself to the will of God.  Do you see the problem?  If I give up myself there is no longer an "I" to want anything and by submitting myself to God that "I" not now replaced by "He."  My desires would become what He wills.  It would no longer be "I want one million dollars" but "Your will, not mine." 

The next stop is in Psalms and in John where the Word of Faith preachers claim Jesus affirms that verse.
I said, "You are gods, And all of you are children of the Most High." Psalm 82:6
Jesus answered them, "Is it not written in your law, 'I said, "You are gods"'? If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, 'You are blaspheming,' because I said, 'I am the Son of God'? " John 10:34-36 NKJV
It is from these verses that the teachers in the Positive Confession movement determine that we are gods.  In order to understand what this passage is saying, we need a little Hebrew and a reference to Exodus 22.  Psalm 82:6 is a reference to Exodus 22 where God gives instructions to the judges on how they were to judge disputes that were brought to them.  In Exodus 22, they were called "Elohim," which is the Hebrew word for "god."  God was not equating them with Himself, but He was charging them to act in His place.  They were called "gods" in that they were given the Word of God and had the authority to act on that word as they meted out their judgments.  They did not create anything or claim health and wealth for themselves, they just used the authority (which was a very high level of authority) given by God in order to act as judge.  In that same example, we are God's ambassadors here on earth.  We act on His behalf in our lives and ministries.  We are given some level of authority and spiritual gifts by the power of the Holy Spirit, but even then it is God acting through us and not us acting in our own will as gods.  Jesus was not affirming that we are gods, he was just using the example of the judges and making a comparison between them and Himself.  Note the use of the past tense "He called them gods."  This is a reference to Exodus 22 when God referred to the judges with the Hebrew word for gods.  "Them" refers to the judges and "called" refers back to Psalm 86, which refers back to Exodus 22.   

And just in case you think I am nuts in thinking that Word of Faith teachers do not believe they are gods, here is a quote from Creflo Dollar:
Dollar: "If horses get together, they produce what?"
Congregation: "Horses!"
Dollar: "If dogs get together, they produce what?"
Congregation: "Dogs!"
Dollar: "If cats get together, they produce what?"
Congregation: "Cats!"
Dollar: "So if the Godhead says 'Let us make man in our image', and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?"
Congregation: "Gods!"
Dollar: "Gods. Little "g" gods. You're not human. Only human part of you is this flesh you're wearing."  (Source: Suffer the Children)
This has some serious logic issues.  One way you can go is that God also created dogs then dogs must gods because everything (including God by his argument) produces after its own kind.  Another way is if God created dogs and even though those original dogs were god dogs (because everything produces after its own kind), but its progeny were just plain dogs then would not it hold that if Adam and Eve were gods that their progeny were regular nongod people?  You can also make the argument that we are gods based upon our creation in God's own image, then all humans are gods whether or not the believe in Jesus.  This kind of childish logic is typical of Worth Faith preachers, this is but one example of many. 

So we see so far that we are not Gods, we can only get whatever we want in prayer when we give up our want and replace it with God's want, and that we do not have the same creative power of God.  What about a lighter version of Word of Faith when we just claim what we believe are promises given in the Bible.  It sounds like it makes sense.  God has obligated Himself to whatever promises He made to us.  Why not claim them?  For this I will use the common example of "Claiming" healing based on "By His stripes we are healed."  Let's look at the verse.
But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed.  Isaiah 53:5 NKJV
For the sake of this discussion, I am speaking of someone who believes that this verse promises us the healing of all our sickness by His stripes, though I do believe that promise is not fully realized until we are present with the Lord when there is no more sickness and death.  That said, if I do believe that Jesus healed all my illness when he was scourged prior to His crucifixion, and that payment took place at the same time my sins were paid for, I should never get sick again after I come to Jesus.  I say that because when we come to Christ, we are forgiven of all our sins - past, present, and future.  I do not have to be re-forgiven but live in the promise that there is now no condemnation in Christ Jesus.  I do not have to claim the promise of forgiveness as it was already provided.  If His payment also took our sickness away, then we come to Christ, we should be healed instantly of all our illness just as we are forgiven instantly of all our sins.  I should not have to be re-healed every time a cold of flu comes around, but just live in the promise that I am already healed of whatever illness comes around.  If I am already healed of every cold or flu that comes around, how can I be infected by it?  Furthermore, if it is something promised by God, then why would we need to claim it?  Are we to remind God of His own promises as though He can forget?  Of course not, but even those who "claim" healing still pray for healing and still go to doctors.  There is nothing wrong with that, except you are not being honest with yourself in your belief that Jesus has already healed you.   The fact is that even our health is something we need to submit under the will of God.  We would all like not to be sick, but God has used sickness unto death and miraculous healing alike to reach so many people for Christ.

Let's compare the central beliefs of Name It Claim It compared to the Word of God:

They teach that we need to be specific in our prayers.  The Word of God says:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  Romans 8:26 NKJV
They teach that we need to take or claim our answers from God.  The Bible teaches:
Wait on the LORD; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the LORD!  Psalm 27:14 NKJV
They teach that we should seek after our own desires. The Bible teachers:
And He was withdrawn from them about a stone's throw, and He knelt down and prayed, saying, "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done."  Luke 21:41-42 NKJV
They teach that we are gods with the power to create with our faith words.  The Bible teaches:
For thus says the LORD, Who created the heavens, Who is God, Who formed the earth and made it, Who has established it, Who did not create it in vain, Who formed it to be inhabited: "I am the LORD, and there is no other."  Isaiah 45:18 NKJV
And that brings me to my final point.  We are not gods and this heresy is nothing new.  These teachers are repeating the same old lie in a new and modern way. 
Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said to the woman, "Has God indeed said, 'You shall not eat of every tree of the garden'?" And the woman said to the serpent, "We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.'" Then the serpent said to the woman, "You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil." So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.  Genesis 3:1-6 NKJV
By teaching that we are gods, they are teaching the same lie the serpent was teaching in the garden when he said "you will be like God."  He tempted her pride and once he has her under that spell, he tempts her flesh when she sees how good the fruit looks and how delicious it will taste.  Satan hits her in all three areas of temptation: The lust of the flesh (how delicious it will taste), the lust of the eyes (how good it looks), and the pride of life (she would be more like God).  Now let's look at Word Faith.  We are told that we are gods (the pride of life), we are promised all the luxuries we see the teacher enjoying (the lust of the eyes), and we are taught that we will be healthy and happy in our prosperity (the lust of the flesh).  Is that of God?  Let us let the Word decide.
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.  2 John 2:16 NKJV
All of our earthly lusts and desires are not of God but of the world.  The desires they teach and exemplify are not desires of the Father, but of the world.

Word of Faith makes God to be our servant granting our wishes.  It makes it about our desires and not His will.  It makes it about fleshly lusts and not eternal riches.  It is the same heresy spoken of by Satan in the Garden of Eden and it is leading so many astray to this day.  These preachers teach a self-enriching gospel claiming themselves to be gods deserving of all the riches they con from their congregations, but they are not.  One day they will all stand before the True and Living God.  I pray they repent before that day because standing before the Lord, the delusions of their own grandeur will be wiped away when they come to the stark realization that they will be held to account for their own pride and the many they led down that wicked path.  It is then that they will realize just who the Lord is as they kneel before Jesus for the first (and last) time truly confessing Him as Lord.  Only then it will be too late. Argue as they might, they sealed their fate with their refusal to submit truly to Jesus as Lord of their lives.  They will realize that they can not name and claim their salvation nor are they gods that they can save themselves. 
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!' " Matthew 7:21-23 NKJV
If you are falling into the seduction of the promises of riches and happiness from any of these teachers, please listen to the warning of this post.  Their movements are not of God and their gospel is not the one taught in the Bible.  The temptation of material prosperity will not lead you to the joy of the Lord.  The lusts of this world will not last into the next.  Where your treasure is there is your heart.  If your treasure is here on earth, then you may be prosperous now but you will be bankrupt when you stand before God. Make your choice.  In Heaven the roads are paved with gold and in there are no Rolls Royces in Hell.  
"For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? " Matthew 16:26 NKJV

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