Piper Pounds Prosperity Preachers

I hate the prosperity “gospel.” The main problem with the prosperity “gospel” is that it is not true and will lead you to hell if you believe it. If you understand the Bible, you know that it is really no gospel at all.

Paul said it this way:

Acts 14:22 “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”

Jesus said it this way:

Matthew 6:24 “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

Matthew 16:24-2624 If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. 25 For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake shall find it. 26 For what will a man be profited, if he gains the whole world, and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”

Luke 12:15 “Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance does his life consist of his possessions.”

We follow a Savior who suffered while he was here. And everywhere he tells people that if they would be his disciples they have to embrace His sufferings as their own. In other words, the story of Jesus Christ, crucified and raised, has to become our story (Galatians 2:20). Jesus’ story was one of suffering (cross) and exaltation (resurrection). Being a disciple means we embrace that narrative as our own life’s story.

But I can hardly improve upon John Piper’s recent confrontation with the prosperity “gospel.” He gives seven reasons why it is deadly and should be avoided. It’s a must-read, and I commend it to you.

“Prosperity Preaching: Deceitful and Deadly” – by John Piper (DesirgGod.org)

28 Responses to Piper Pounds Prosperity Preachers

  1. Luke Britt August 16, 2007 at 9:14 am #

    Good word.

  2. D. Taylor Benton August 16, 2007 at 9:59 am #

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukcV-xtU3hc

    IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS ABOUT PIPER’S THOUGHTS ON THE PROSPERITY GOSPEL, CHECK OUT THE VIDEO. NUFF SAID

  3. Matthew August 16, 2007 at 10:06 am #

    I would say a further flaw of prosperity preachers is that it seems they fail their obligation to the “orphan and widow.”

  4. Trish August 16, 2007 at 10:51 am #

    Denny,

    If you or anyone else is interested in having their church learn more about the prosperity gospel and the harm it causes to God’s children, please contact Justin Peters, justin@justinpeters.org. Justin has first hand experience with the health and wealth people and did his master’t thesis on Benny Hinn.

    You can watch a 30 minute demo on his website to see a sampling of what is a 4 day seminar that he as put together to educate the church about the dangers of the Word of Faith teachings and preachers.

    This is his ministry and God has blessed him with many opportunities to travel and speak at churches around the country. You can go to the calendar on his website (www.justinpeters.org) and see the variety of churches that he has spoken to and has booked for future seminars.

    You can also read about Justin and his ministry at bpnews.net. The article was published on Aug 9,2007.

    Thanks for publishing this information about the dangers of the prosperity gospel. It is extremely dangerous and I am amazed by the number of people I talk to that do not see a problem with what these people do. I had friends watch Justin’s video and they were shocked at what they learned about people they thought were good teacher’s of God’s word.

    Thanks and God Bless,
    Trish Reilly

  5. Matthew August 16, 2007 at 11:19 am #

    Trish,

    I looked at his site and watched a little bit of the demo (will finish later). He seems like a very engaging, thoughtful speaker. I did want to say that I find it ironic that his site is devoted to selling his critique of the WoF movement. It would seem appropriate, especially in view of the subject matter, to offer the major points in documents available online.

  6. Trish August 16, 2007 at 11:46 am #

    Matthew,

    Thanks for checking out Justin’s site for yourself. Please feel free to contact Justin and share with him your concern about not having available on the site the major points of his seminar.

    He does provide some links to videos that he has been interviewed for and he puts his demo video up on the website.

    I don’t want to speak for Justin as to why he isn’t more forthcoming with information, but I know he will answer you if you ask him yourself. Just as an FYI, this is how he makes a living, so it is a job and most people are paid for their services when they work. But he also gives away the material for free to anyone who cannot afford to pay for it.

    There is a website below that you can go to and read a 4 part series that Justin wrote on WoF a few years ago. It is free and maybe after sharing your concerns, Justin will decide to make it available through his website.

    Also, currently, Justin is the only one employed by his ministry so he creates all the material himself and if you look at his calendar, you can see that God is keeping him busy.

    And yes, I am a friend of his. We met at one of his seminars and I really believe in the work he is doing and support him with my friendship, my prayers and my encouragement. He is very interested in improving his ministry and is open to all comments and suggestions so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts.

    God Bless,
    Trish

    http://www.mbcb.org/business_services/br/peters.aspx

  7. mlm August 16, 2007 at 12:54 pm #

    Denny,

    You quoted this verse:

    Acts 14:22 “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

    I read this verse to say, “If you’re in tribulations, stay the course. We MUST enter the kingdom of God!” (He’s saying that entering the Kingdom, perservering, staying faithful to Christ is priority one, not the many tribulations.)

    I DON’T read this verse (as you seem to do) to say, “If you want to enter the Kingdom of God, you must do so by going through many tribulations.”

    Are you saying that we enter the Kingdom of God through “many tribulations”? I thought we entered through Jesus.

  8. Robert August 16, 2007 at 7:26 pm #

    Denny,
    You said “The main problem with the prosperity “gospel” is that it is not true and will lead you to hell if you believe it.”

    How does the prosperity gospel lead someone to hell? While I vehemently disagree with the prosperity gospel, I find it hard to believe that someone will go to hell for believing it. Is it too far fetched to think that there are genuine Christians who came to faith in a prosperity teaching church? Is it too much to think that there are people in those churches who believe Jesus is the Son of God, died for their sins, have committed their lives to Christ but are confused and lead astray on exactly what the “commitment” part looks like because their pastor teaches that Jesus was rich and want them to be rich as well?

  9. mlm August 16, 2007 at 8:12 pm #

    Denny,

    Having read your piece in full and Piper’s as well, I’m left with the same question after both.

    What IS the “prosperity gospel” you so despise? You rail against it, but you don’t define it.

  10. Trish August 16, 2007 at 8:19 pm #

    mlm,

    Here are some excerpts from the article written by Justin Peters at the link in #6. I hope it provides an answer to your question about what the prosperity gospel is.

    “More commonly known as the Health and Wealth, Name It and Claim It, or Prosperity gospel, the Word of Faith (WOF) movement comprises the majority – though not all – of what is seen on cable Christian television. WOF doctrine is beamed to hundreds of countries around the world via Christian networks such as TBN and Daystar, and preached in thousands of churches across the United States.”

    “What follows is a very brief listing of some of the doctrines of the WOF movement:

    Positive confession – The belief that what is spoken can be brought into literal existence. Believers may simply speak the things which they desire of God and He is obligated to give it to them; hence the label “Name It and Claim It” gospel. If this sounds eerily like God’s act of creation in Gen. 1 and 2, it is.
    Little gods doctrine – The belief that man was created to be an exact duplicate of God. Believers, then, are little gods on the earth.
    Spiritual death of Jesus – The belief that Christ’s physical death was insufficient to atone for sin. He also had to die spiritually. Of course, if Jesus died spiritually, then He ceased being God and if He ceased being God even for an instant, He never was God to begin with.
    Revelation knowledge – The belief that God dispenses to certain believers, apart from the Scriptures, secret knowledge of Himself. This is a modern day version of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism against which the New Testament repeatedly warns.
    Health and wealth – The belief that all believers have the right to walk in perfect, divine health and prosper financially. This stems from the erroneous view that sickness was paid for by Christ’s spiritual atonement in hell and that prosperity is a cosmic law ordained by God respectively.
    Heresy is never promoted in a manner which exposes its darkness for all to see. Rather, its poison is wrapped in familiar Christian language to make it more palatable. The WOF movement has craftily packaged its counterfeit gospel to look like the real thing. It is making alarming inroads into all Christian churches, including Southern Baptist churches. Many honest, sincere, born-again Christians are being deceived and hurt.”

    God Bless,
    Trish

  11. Bryan L August 16, 2007 at 9:30 pm #

    Interesting question MLM, because I wonder if those who are influenced by WOF preachers really actually believe and adhere to most of the stuff that is attributed to WOF theology. I was reading Trish’s description, which is pretty common and standard as a description of WOF theology, but I personally don’t know anyone who believes most of that stuff. I know plenty of people who love the WOF teachers and watch plenty of TBN and even go to the conferences, and they don’t hold to most of those beliefs. Even my parent who just went to the Kenneth Copeland conference and are members of Joyce Myers’ ministry don’t really believe much at all of the WOF theology.

    I find people who are influenced by TBN and the WOF teachers usually hold to a more watered down version of WOF theology mixed in with some regular orthodox theology. I used to think WOF theology was the biggest enemy of the Gospel (within the church), but truthfully I don’t even notice it much anymore. Maybe I go to the wrong type of church, but it is Charismatic with a lot of people who are into the regular TBN preachers. Maybe it is more dangerous in other places (and other countries)

    I’m sure there are those who are sold on it and really believe it, but maybe they’re in the minority and more like a fringe group within the church. I imagine the regular people who are influenced by WOF teachers are just like many of the regular folk at churches where there’s really sound teaching; I figure much of the teaching never really sinks in or if it does, only mildly, in a very diluted form.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  12. Trish August 17, 2007 at 11:36 am #

    Bryan,
    Your comments sadden me, even if they have truth in them. Regardless of what is happening in the pews, whether people really learn the teaching or not, we should never settle for less than the true gospel. If what these people are preaching is a different gospel, and I believe it is, we should not ignore the damage it is doing to those who do believe it is true.

    Jesus tells a parable of the one lost sheep, where the shepherd left the other 99 to after the one that was lost, and upon finding it rejoicing. An another parable about the prodigal son, how the father threw a party when he came home.

    If we know that there are some sheep being led astray by false teaching it should break our heart. If we know that someone is being hurt by this false teaching it should make us hurt for them.

    God may not have called us to be a worker to speak out against what is being done in God’s name, but that does not mean we should so easily dismiss the need.

    At the very least we can pray for these people and the people who are teaching a false gospel, who are preying on the pain and suffering of others for personal gain. These are men and woman who do know enough about God’s word to do wonderful things for Him and the Kingdom, but for some reason have chosen not to.

    Please, if you haven’t already, spend some time doing research into what really goes on with Word of Faith. There are some heartbreaking stories available about people who have given their life savings to be healed but instead have gone to the grave doubting their own salvation because they weren’t healed. They were taught that if their faith is strong enough they will be healed.

    If you don’t have time to do the research, contact Justin Peters. You can find his phone number and email address at http://www.justinpeters.org. He has dedicated his life to learning and teaching about Word of Faith. He will gladly talk to you and respond to emails. (I will tell you that he is on the road right now and has limited access to email so you may have to be patient if you choose to email him, but he will answer you.)

    Benny Hinn has been heard to tell people that, “It is as easy to be healed as it is to be saved.” I can’t tell you exactly which crusade he said that at, if it was only one or if it is said at all of them. I can try to find out though if you want me to. (Justin, if you get to read this, step in and help me out, you’re much better at this than I am.)

    Bryan, I know you care about God and His word, and His people. I read your posts here all the time. I may not agree with them, but I do see your heart in them. Please see my heart in this even if you disagree.

    Thanks and God Bless,
    Trish

  13. Bryan L August 17, 2007 at 11:57 am #

    Trish,

    I didn’t say that I think WOF is ok. I was just questioning how wider spread it’s influences really are. Is it still as popular as it used to be? Have many of the people changed their views? Have the WOF teachers calmed down a bit? Are people learning to be more discerning?

    Yes I feel for those who are being lead astray by it and I pray they are shown the truth, but I was just wondering out loud whether those who are influenced by those preachers and love to watch them and read their books, have actually really swallowed up all their theology or not. I’m sure their are some but I don’t come across many (if any at all). I used to do a lot of reading on WOF theology so that I could counteract it wherever I came into contact with it (because I heard how terrible it was). But I rarely if ever came into contact with it and I go to a Charismatic church where many of the people like those preachers. And many of those people are wonderful Christians, who love the Lord, believe in witnessing and evangelism, give plenty to the needy, pray for the sick, accept suffering as part of their Christian walk, and don’t go around claim things left and right and expecting their hundred fold return. In fact they are generally very enthusiastic Christians who are a joy to be around.

    But again if I do come across one of those believers who has bought into WOF theology then my heart grieves for them and I will do my best to lead them to the true Gospel.

    Sure keep writing books against it and having conferences in churches against it and speaking out against the erroneous theology of it’s leaders. Great! Again I was just wondering something out loud.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  14. Trish August 17, 2007 at 12:36 pm #

    Bryan,

    Thanks for your gracious response. It is hard to convey the thoughts and feelings behind our words and too often more is read into what we write than what is intended.

    If all I had to go on was my limited exposure to WoF, then I too would not think it is all that bad, but having been exposed to it through the ministry and teachings of Justin Peters, I have learned that it is indeed very widespread and its influence is growing. The damage is great. Justin has shared with me and in recent articles, how much his ministry has helped people who have been told their faith is weak because they or their loved one is not healed. The guilt these people feel because they cannot stop the suffering is tremendous. Justin can tell you stories of people coming to him in tears of thanksgiving for freeing them from this burden, for reminding them it is all about the work of Christ and not their work.

    I don’t know if you have had a chance to check out Justin’s website or read his story, but Justin is doing this because he has been personally affected by WoF. Justin suffers from cerebral palsy and as a teenager went to a faith healer because he was told he would be healed. The potential for damage to his faith was great when he of course was not healed. But God had a bigger plan for Justin and He called him into ministry and put him to work educating God’s children about the true gospel.

    To support these people even just a little bit by attending their programs, conferences, or buying their books, is not a good witness to Christ, unless you are doing it to learn first hand what they teach and preach. There are much worthier causes to put money towards to help the poor and the needy, to do work for the Kingdom, to show your love and trust in Christ.

    Thanks for the opportunity to dialog with you in a pleasant manner on this subject, iron sharpens iron dialog is very edifying. Too often we let emotions get in the way and the wrong message is delivered. I appreciate the opportunity to share our thoughts without animosity, to do it in a manner that glorifies God.

    Thank you Bryan, and God Bless,
    Trish

  15. mlm August 17, 2007 at 12:53 pm #

    Trish, Bryan, Denny:

    So much to say, so little time…

    1. Trish, I did check out the Justin Peters site you mentioned in your first comment BEFORE I posted my question to Denny. My question remains (ahem). Although your friend Justin goes through a litany of what he doesn’t like about “WOF” preachers and messages, he *also* doesn’t clearly define what is meant by the phrase “prosperity gospel.” However, and I say this kindly, this isn’t Justin’s site. This is Denny’s. And it was his post and his referral to Piper’s article. And neither Denny, nor his referred Piper article, define the term. Thus, my question for Denny….which still remains for Denny to answer (ahem). :o)

    2. Trish & Bryan, thanks for trying to explain things to me, but I’m still not on the same page with you guys. Especially not with Trish and Justin, and I’ll tell you why.

    It seems that Justin, and Trish by quoting him, (and Bryan as well to an extent), are lumping all these “WOF” preachers into one group. To me, that’s sort of like saying golf is exactly like tennis because they’re both sports. There are a kajillion sports (hyperbole) but they each have particular rules, objectives, equipment, etc. that make each one unique. Similarly, all the people mentioned in the criticism are not the same. They’re messages aren’t the same. I’m not even sure what criteria you (Justin, Trish, whoever else) are using to combine them as a whole.

    Nevertheless, I disagree with classifying them all as “WOF” (What’s the criteria for being considered WOF?). I also strongly disagree with your implication or explicit statement that the term “WOF” itself is a bad thing. Paul used the phrase in the New Testament. I’m not sure who first coined the term, but the term itself means different things to different people, and it’s not very accurate or responsible to simply slap the label (or any label) on someone or on a ministry. It sort of alleviates our personal responsibility and task of researching each person on an individual basis, don’t you think?

    Speaking of research, I’m not sure where Justin got his, but I’ve already read/heard all those quotes he used. Seems they are the stock response for critics. But each is taken out of a larger context, which is again, irresponsible work. Why not supply the entire transcript or book from which each quote was taken?

    To each item Justin/Trish listed, there is a response, but space is limited and so is my time. Again, I was mainly interested in having the “prosperity gospel” explained, since that’s what Denny Burk brought up.

    I’m familiar with each person Justin listed, some more than others, but I’m most familiar with the person some have called “the father of the WOF movement.” Kenneth E. Hagin. He went home to be with the Lord in 2003 (his wife just joined him last month), but his son still runs his ministry and the magazine he started more than three decades ago, aptly titled “The Word of Faith Magazine.”

    I’m sure I could do a decent job at explaining/defending most of the quotes made by the preachers in question (or, *condemnation*) but I will limit my comments to the Hagins.

    Have you (Denny, Justin, Trish, Bryan…) ever read books by the Hagins? A magazine issue? Been to their church? Listened to a teaching series? As far as the “prosperity gospel” goes, have you ever read KEH’s book THE MIDAS TOUCH? Hmmm….

    As far as people being duped by preachers, that has happened since the beginning of time. Unfortunately, it’s only going to happen more and more in the last days (according to the Bible). Does that mean I applaud it or approve of it? Absolutely not. But people have a responsibility to be like the Bereans and to search the Scriptures for themselves. We can’t blame immoral “wolves in sheep’s clothing” for everything. Would you listen to the Apostle Paul’s sermons and swallow everything he preached–he WAS the APOSTLE PAUL, people! But we’re STILL told to search the Scriptures, even with Paul.

    And as far as “wolves in sheep’s clothing” go…I think sometimes we preach as much as we know to be true. We walk in the light we have at the moment. Hasn’t Denny confessed that when he looks back at things he thought while still a student, he cringes? I’m sure John Piper would admit as much. Could it be that the preachers you love right this very minute might at some point preach false doctrine…even by accident? Nothing gives us the right to condemn them. We can judge teachings according to the Word, but when we start judging people (especially fellow Christians and preachers) we have crossed the line into error ourselves. We’re told to overcome evil with good, not to spend our days condemning evil, which is what leads me to feel sorry for Justin—if it’s true as you say that he’s dedicated his life to condemning/exposing/correcting these people he feels are in error. Just for the sake of dear Pascal, can you ponder for a moment, “What if Justin’s wrong?” Seems we are better served to preach the truth we know and the saving message of the Cross than to tear others down. Aren’t we told in the Bible to cheer those who preach Christ, regardless if we agree with the rest of their message or methods?

    Lastly, regarding the “prosperity gospel,” I recommend you read *The Midas Touch* and then email me if you have more questions. Frankly (and I say this kindly as well, in case my tone is not correctly conveyed through type), until you do some thorough research of your own, I don’t feel obligated or inclined to defend the message. Until then, you don’t really even know the message.

  16. Carlito August 17, 2007 at 1:04 pm #

    Bryan L –

    I definitely understand where you’re coming from and I agree to a certain point; however, the main concern I have with the WOF/H&W teaching is that it is potentially very damaging for the church over the long haul. If at point “A”, we lay a foundation that is doctrinally faulty and not true to the whole counsel of God’s Word, it might not have a significant impact initially. However, when you follow that line throught time to point “Z” and it begins to deviate further and further from the centerline of Truth as revealed in God’s Word, the results can be catastrophic.

    For example, if we begin teaching a “salvation by works” message, people may not necessarily accept or seek to apply all of the teachings initially and may very well lean on other orthodox teachings and resources to “balance it out” (as you mention above with people you know). However, over time, we may see a gross deviation of “salvation by works” whereby heretical and man-made traditions infect a large part of the church (especially with mass media). Case in point -the Reformation! The Catholic church’s misuse and abuse of doctrine and scriptural tenets (which began in a minor fashion and progressed gradually) led to the selling of indulgences and other gross errors that held the church in captivity for many years. I think this is a historical lesson we would be wise to examine and pray against.

    If we look at Paul’s exhortations to his son in the faith, Timothy, it is clear that Paul knew the key to the long-term strength, vitality and growth of the global church: clear teachings holding to sound doctrine and extensive biblical accountability. This MUST NOT be lost by the modern church, and by God’s grace and the power of His spirit working among us we must persevere in holding to that standard. This holds true for any local church – reformed, charismatic, baptist, methodist, etc. etc.

    And finally, I believe that the primary reason WOF paradigms are so dangerous is that we live in a gratuitously materialistic culture. We all (myself included) have been desensitized to the deceitfulness of man-made comforts, pleasures and me-centered nature of materialism. The last thing the church (especially in America) needs is encouragement to set our minds on earthly things – financial prosperity, freedom from suffering, etc.. The test of prosperity, as one pastor says, is many times more difficult and challenging than the test of adversity or poverty – simply because there are more distractions and more false things availalbe to put our hope in. The church desperately needs a message of setting our minds on eternal things pertaining to the true Kingdom, not vice versa.

    Let’s keep the gospel and wondrous cross of Christ central! All praise to the King of Kings.

    Thanks for your thoughts, Bryan. Blessings to you as well, brother!!

  17. Bryan L August 17, 2007 at 1:13 pm #

    You too Trish, and I hope you keep speaking out on an issue like this that is obviously very important and dear to you. I hope you don’t think that I was trying to disuade you from that. Have a great day.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  18. Bryan L August 17, 2007 at 1:52 pm #

    Word up Carlito.

    BTW what exactly am I arguing for? Others seem to know what it is but I didn’t know I was even debating anything. Do I do it subconsciously now and I don’t even realize it? weird.

    Blessings,
    Bryan L

  19. Justin Peters August 17, 2007 at 4:36 pm #

    Hello – this is Justin Peters and I am just now reading the posts here about the Prosperity Gospel (WoF) and my website. As my friend Trish said, I am currently on the road and my time right now is limited but I would like to take a moment to address a couple of concerns that have been raised.

    Just to get it out of the way, I want to assure you that I do not operate my website to make money. I’m not trying to get prosperous off of critiquing the Prosperity Gospel. That would be rather hypocritical of me. The only thing that I sell on my website are copies of my thesis. I think I’ve sold a grand total of about 10 in the last two months. I’m probably still a few short of being able to purchase my own Citation X (app. value of $25,000,000.00) like Kenneth Copeland Ministries recently did. I’m certainly not trying to defend myself here in any way regarding money because God knows my heart on this, but just so you will know, I receive an annual salary of $40,000/year and live in a 600 sq.ft. house with particle board for walls. Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining or trying to put up a false sense of humility – I just want to be open and transparant with you guys and everyone else for that matter. God has provided my needs and I know that He will continue to do so.

    The question was raised in regard to the quotes I had in the series of articles to which Trish pointed you as to why I did not provide a fuller context. Well, for one thing I was limited to 700 words in each article so this was just not possible. I can assure you, though, that in my seminars, I have gone to great lengths not to take any of the Prosperity preachers out of context. I would not want anyone to do that with me. It would be intellectually dishonest, would discredit me, and, most importantly, not be pleasing to Christ.

    As to how widespread the movement is, I can assure you that it is very, very widespread. It comprises the vast majority of Christian cable and satellite television and is being promoted in thousands of churches. Almost all of my seminars are presented in Southern Baptist churches and I always have people come up to me and tell me how either they themselves or one of their loved ones has been affected by this movement. A couple of years ago Jessie Duplantis came to my hometown of Vicksburg, MS for a crusade which I attended (a crusade in which he actually encouraged people to get in touch with their dead loved ones. No, I’m not kidding though I wish I were.). I saw 7 people there from my own church of First Baptist Vicksburg! True, most people probably do not know what “Word of Faith” means, per se, but many, many are caught up in the promise of health and wealth.

    Incidentally, health and wealth are just the tips of the theological icebergs of this movement. Though the movement is known for its emphasis on Prosperity, this is just the most visible (and appealing unfortunately) aspect of a much more serious core theological problem. It’s a rather involved subject, but for our purposes here, suffice it to say that WoF doctrine holds that Adam was a carbon copy of Yahweh Himself. Adam then fell (an event with truly frightful implications given the just mentioned teaching of who Adam was) and in so doing lost his deity and all rights therein. The real Yahweh then lost His legal right to the earth. Satan steps up to the plate to fill the void and becomes the legal god of this world (this is not, by the way, what 2 Cor. 4:4 teaches). When a person gets saved, guess what he gets back? His deity! He becomes a god again just like Adam was before he fell. This is why the Faith preachers hold so tenaciously to health and wealth – because we are gods; and a god should never be poor and never be sick.

    As far as some of the quotes I’ve used being outdated, well, true, some of them in the article do date back to the 80’s or early 90’s. However, in my seminar, some of the most egregious statements from video clips I use of Hinn, Copeland and Dollar are from 2004, 2005, and 2006. They continue to espouse the same old doctrines. In some respects, I believe that they are only getting more bold and brazen.

    The WoF movement, unlike clear-thinking charismatics, compromises and at times outright denies some of the fundamental tenets of orthodox Christianity. It is a very man-centered gospel. Some (not all)Prosperity preachers even have a modalistic and Arianistic view of Jesus.

    One of the dangers of the movement is that people are drawn to Christ for the wrong reasons. The Faith preachers appeal to two of the most basic and universal of all human desires: health and wealth. Who doesn’t want to be wealthy and who doesn’t want to be physically healed? So many people “come to Christ” not out of true brokenness and repentance, but out of a desire to have a better earthly life.

    Are there some true believers who are wrapped up in this movement? Absolutely! This is a point that I make repeatedly in all of my seminars. Is there some truth in what Hinn and Copeland teach? Without question! But you see, this is the way deception is always packaged. Satan (No, I’m not equating the Faith preachers with Satan – just making a point) has always disguised himself (2 Cor. 11:14) and always mixes his lies with an element of truth. I would encourage you to read 2 Peter 2:1-3 carefully with the Prosperity preachers in mind. Every phrase in that passage – literally every phrase – fits to a “T” what we are seeing today in the modern Prosperity Gospel.

    I honestly cannot begin to tell you how many people have come up to me after one of my seminars and tell me that they have blamed themselves for their sickness or the sickness of a child. I praise God that He is using my seminar to show people that it is not because of their lack of faith or that they are not saved (and no, this is unfortunately not an exaggeration) that they have not been healed. I attended a Benny Hinn crusade in June of this year in which he said, “Listen to me everyone – If you have been to the cross, sickness has to walk away from you.” Now, put yourself in the shoes of someone who heard him say that and yet they leave in the same wheelchair, with the same cancer, with the same sick child, etc. Now not only do they have their illness with which to deal, now they also have to worry that they have not been to the cross – they’re not saved. This was June of 2007 – pretty recent I’d say.

    I do believe that God still heals people today. But it is not always His will to do so this side of Heaven. I am growing weary of seeing wolves in sheeps’ clothing preying upon the hurts and fears of God’s people. I want people to know that sometimes there is something better than physical healing and that is knowing Jesus’ sufficient grace and strength made perfect in weakness (2 Cor. 12:9). Praise be His name.

    Well, there is so very much more I could say – so much more. However, this is all I have time for for now. I hope that this is received in the spirit with which it was written. I thank you all for your comments both encouraging and critical. I hope this helps a bit. May God richly bless and use you all for His glory.

    Until He comes,

    Justin

  20. Carlito August 17, 2007 at 5:01 pm #

    Word up, Bryan L… I wasn’t disagreeing with you, just piggy backing on your comments to state my opinion on the dangers and implications of the prosperity gospel.. I might have been guilty of beating a dead horse..

    Anywhos, keep on rockin’ in the free world, amigo!

  21. Carlito August 17, 2007 at 5:10 pm #

    Very well stated, Justin. Thanks for your service for the Kingdom. I pray that you will continue to speak the truth in love, and that God would work out His purposes through your ministry for the glory and praise of our Savior Jesus…

  22. mlm August 17, 2007 at 5:46 pm #

    Justin,

    Thanks for your time. You didn’t mention Hagin in any of your comment, which made me glad because I’ve read his works extensively, and can’t find the “unscriptural doctrine” you attribute to the other preachers you *did* mention. In fact, in his book THE MIDAS TOUCH, Hagin addresses some of the modern teaching on money and proves it to be false according to the Bible. I could go into more details, but suffice it to say that he personally shared his “Midas Touch” teaching with several of the “biggies” you mentioned—but whether or not those men received his correction and instruction is between them and God.

    May God bless you and keep you.

  23. Justin Peters August 17, 2007 at 9:24 pm #

    Carlito, thanks so much for the encouragement – I truly appreciate it.

    Thanks also for yours, mlm. I must say, however, that Hagin Sr. certainly was WoF. In fact, he was really the father of the modern WoF movement. Though Hagin claimed to receive personal divine revelation knowledge from Jesus Himself, the origins of much of his teachings were not nearly so supernatural. In fact, he extensively plagiarized Essek W. Kenyon and then turned around and claimed he got it directly from Jesus. This is well known and documented.

    At any rate, blessings to you both.

    Justin

  24. Trish August 17, 2007 at 10:03 pm #

    Thank you Justin for stopping by and helping all of us understand this topic much better. I appreciate you taking the time to write your original post, especially knowing how busy you are right now preparing for another seminar.

    Praying for you and your ministry. It was a blessing for me to see first hand the many people you touch when you do a seminar.

    I think if I hadn’t seen some of it personally, my belief in what you do would probably not be so strong. But it’s because I have seen the people come up to you after a seminar that I know you are touching lives and making a difference, and therefore I don’t mind telling others about the service you perform for God and His people.

    Take Care and God Bless,
    Trish

  25. mlm August 17, 2007 at 10:04 pm #

    Justin,

    As far as the plagiarism claim goes, that attack is very old. It’s never been charged by the Kenyon family, who *FYI* gave Hagin permission to use his materials. Second, you probably don’t know this unless you follow the Hagins, but KEH was considered to have a near-photographic memory. In his messages, he often recited entire portions of the NT from memory. While preaching, he also recited portions of books he’d read, Kenyon’s included. When text was printed from transcript, editors often didn’t know where KEH’s cited material began and ended. Thus, some of the sermons were printed as being from KEH when really KEH was merely quoting Kenyon. KEH never pretended the work was his. And he’s never been charged, prosecuted, or convicted of anything unethical or illegal regarding copyright infringement. Yet, the critics still spout the old and tired rote accusations.

    And while KEH might be considered by *some* to be the father of the WOF movement (again, the Apostle Paul used this phrase in the NT), KEH is not the father of the quotes you are citing. Perhaps KEH *might* call what he preached WOF (although I’ve never heard him label himself as such). Yes, his magazine is called “The Word of Faith magazine,” but it’s 40 years old, and was in print long before this “message” you’re referring to got its start. The message you are referring to is not what he preached…again, you are lumping many ministers into one group and labeling them all WOF.

    Like I said, I don’t know many specifics about all the people on your list, but I could defend KEH all day long, probably with more proof than you have time or desire to read. I’ve studied him for years–half my life actually. . .attended his meetings, listened to his tapes, read his books, graduated from his Bible school, attended church with him, and worked for his ministry for ten years. I won’t dishonor him. And it’s hard for me to sit quietly while others do.

    Above all, KEH lived a life of love, and he would never want me to defend him. He’s happy in Heaven and when he was on earth he never said a bad word about anyone, ever. Therefore, I will rest.

    But please be careful with the accusations you hurl and the people you malign. I trust you are doing what you believe to be right. But remember that we are all human. Therefore, there is a chance you may be wrong about these people—some of them? All of them? One of them? Only God knows for sure. But you will be accountable for the way you have spoken of them and the people you have taught to dishonor them.

    I wish you well. And may God have mercy on us all.

  26. Justin Peters August 18, 2007 at 10:58 pm #

    mlm,

    Regarding the title Word of Faith,yes, I am well aware of Paul’s usage of that phrase but it does not at all refer to a doctrine of guaranteed wealth and physical healing. Apples and oranges here.

    I understand your respect for Hagin but the charge of plagiarism is quite well substantiated. He plagiarized not only Kenyon but John MacMillan as well. Hagin claimed, though, that his apparent plagiarization (which, like his of Kenyon’s was practically word for word) was actually proof that he and MacMillan were both being strongly led by the Spirit. Not even Hagin’s defenders believe that. For example, William DeArteaga and Geir Lie, both of whom are sympathetic to the Faith movement and defend it, acknowledge that Hagin plagiarized. I suppose what concerns me about it the most is that he claimed divine revelation knowledge for much of the material that he took from other people. Did Hagin plagiarize everything? Of course not – nobody is saying that. The fact, though, that he did do some of this is well established.

    I really do not want to get into a tit for tat with you on this, mlm, because there are much greater things at stake here. My concern is not the character of Hagin but rather the way in which the true Gospel is being distorted and the way in which so many people are being exploited and hurt by these Prosperity preachers.

    I could give you quote after quote, teaching after teaching of Hinn, Copeland (who sat at the feet of Hagin), Dollar, etc., etc. that are heretical doctrinally and profoundly hurtful to people personally. God is being demoted, man is being deified, the cross is belittled. People are being made to believe that if they are sick and have not been healed it is because of their lack of faith, unconfessed sin, that they haven’t given enough money, or that they are not even saved. Will I stand up to such a distortion of the Gospel? Absolutely – to my dying day.

    I suppose we will have to agree to disagree about Hagin’s plagiarism, but I would hope that we could have common ground in warning the flock of these secretly introduced destructive heresies (2 Peter 2:1-3).

    Blessings,

    Justin

  27. Luke Easter August 10, 2008 at 12:33 am #

    Millionaire Preachers

    A friend of mine called the other day to complain,
    “Pastor Vernon has a mansion and a private plane,”
    Dumbfounded because he just couldn’t understand,
    My reply to him was only one single word, “And?”

    “Exactly what does that mean?” he wanted to know,
    Well, the most important thing to God is saving souls,
    I.V. Hilliard, Creflo Dollar, Fredrick K.C. Price,
    From spiritual principles have dedicated their life.

    So, athletes can generate billions playing a game,
    While movie stars live exquisitely, it’s the same,
    But someone spreading the word should be ashamed,
    Joyce Meyer alone brings in billions, why is that insane?

    Her sermons spread the word of Jesus around the world,
    Food, medicine, education to thousands of boys and girls,
    Impoverished nations probably never able to hear or see,
    And experience the wonders of a faithful gospel ministry.

    Tell me if you were God, what would you honor the most?
    Three point shot or some one spreading the Holy Ghost?
    A home run, hole-in-one, ace serve, the intercepted pass?
    Or, sincerely seeking the Lord through prayer with a fast?

    Our priorities have become twisted and turned around,
    Kingdom principles are rarely planted on solid ground,
    When movies like, “Sex And The City” are all the rage,
    Now more than ever there’s a need for souls to be saved.

    Precious metals, what’s used for currency is a funny thing,
    Not blood, sweat and tears but only money can buy a ring,
    Although it takes those three to get diamonds from a mine,
    Hard labor by the workers is rarely paid equal to their time.

    While we are on the subject of an amount earned or paid,
    More firefighters and cops, than “stars” see an early grave,
    We also need a movement to increase the salary of teachers,
    So they can live in the neighborhood of Millionaire Preachers.

    Poems By Luke Easter

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