Dr. David F. Wells lamented that he has watched “with growing disbelief as the evangelical church has cheerfully plunged into astounding theological illiteracy.” How can a believer in Jesus Christ plunge into biblical illiteracy? In part, the blame can be laid squarely on Christian publishing houses for printing theological rubbish.
Enter your local Christian bookstore, gaze around the shop, and eventually you will spot a couple shelves of Bibles in many sizes and colors, leather, hard cover, in every conceivable translation. Publishers promise that their version is the most “accurate” “up-to-date” and “easiest to read.”
Fortunately for me, my mother chose my first Bible. She bought it as gift for my 18th birthday. It was the KJV, Old and New Testaments, vintage black leather with gold gilding. Over the years I made many notations on the pages of that Bible. Mom was thrilled that her rebellious second born of five requested a Bible and not a trendy outfit.
The two of us spent many hours together browsing the aisles of Christian bookstores. She’d always nudge me toward the Theology section that housed giant hard cover commentaries, concordances and Greek Lexicons. I’d hang out with Mom for a short time then I’d meander over to the Christian Living, Fiction, and invariably end up browsing the “Christian” Music racks. Back then I wasn’t interested in taking a deep dive into God’s Word, even though I cherished my Bible and read it often.
Eventually I came to understand that many Bible translations are decidedly unorthodox and unfit for Christian consumption. Be aware that the translation you choose will become engraved in your mind and whatever you learn from it will become your truth. The scriptures you memorize will remain with you for a lifetime. Tragically, unorthodox material can lead immature (baby) Christians into heretical teaching, the cults, even the occult. More on this in a moment.
Visit just about any Christian bookstore (CB) and you’ll see display cases and shelves stocked with “spiritual” merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, figurines, framed pictures, posters, greeting cards, music, calendars and so on. What I find disconcerting is that some stores also stock books that attack the fundamentals of the faith! And a large number of books contain what respected scholars deem heresy.
Clearly, some CB owners feel no responsibility for the merchandise they sell to their brothers and sisters in Christ.
So-called Christian publishing houses produce books that purport, among other things, Word of Faith theology (WoF) a.k.a the prosperity/health & wealth gospel and then distribute this rubbish to Christian retailers. You ask, “What’s wrong with believing God for health and wealth?” For one thing, this is not taught anywhere in the Bible. For those of you reading this article who are unfamiliar with WoF theology, I’m providing a nutshell version of their beliefs. Once you know what these folks believe, and how different their beliefs are from what is taught in the Bible, you’ll join me in urging brick and mortar as well as online stores to remove books that teach heresy.
May The Force Of Faith Be With You
WoF adherents hold that faith is a force. Faith is controlled through the spoken word. When you utter the right words, or the right formula, God’s response to your “positive confession” will be to give you what you want.
For example, if you confess that you’re healthy, you will overcome disease. Confess you’re a millionaire, the money will come pouring in. Just ask health and wealth preacher and multi-millionaire Kenneth Copeland (who’s worth 27 million and utterly spiritually poverty stricken) how the faith formula worked for him. He will brag about the hangar on his estate that houses his private jet and perhaps a Rolls Royce. He owns way more expensive “stuff,” but you get the picture.
What is Copeland’s faith formula? “All it takes is 1) Seeing or visualizing whatever you need, whether physical or financial; 2) Staking your claim on Scripture; and 3) Speaking it into existence.”
According to Gary Gilley:
Gilley reveals even more extraordinary experiences faith healers claim to have had:
You may have heard people label televangelists and faith healers “name it and claim it” or “blab it and grab it” preachers. These men and women get slammed for promoting a “gospel of greed.” WoF teaching is not only rubbish, but also theological heresy. People who believe they are saved by the prosperity gospel are going to experience a very hot ever after.
The Handsome Wolves
Joel and Victoria Osteen are two of the most recognizable prosperity preachers in the world. If you’re a follower of the Osteens, please don‘t stop reading – just hear me out. I realize that it’s hard to believe that this handsome couple would steer you off the straight and narrow path. However, sad to say that Rev Osteen has been steering you onto a path with large potholes for decades. Don’t be taken in by his humble demeanor, his neatly coiffed hair and dazzling smile. Around 12 years ago, he made clear his position on faith in his blockbuster book, “Your Best Life Now”:
You have to begin speaking words of faith over your life. Your words have enormous creative power. The moment you speak something out, you give birth to it. This is a spiritual principle, and it works whether what you’re saying is good or bad, positive or negative.
What people who gobbled that book up failed to realize is that this so-called spiritual principle he promoted, and continues to promote, is known as the “law of attraction.” Do you recall New Age guru Rhonda Byrnes’ #1 best seller (thanks largely to Oprah) “The Secret”? In that book Byrnes proclaimed, “you create your life through your thoughts.” Sound familiar? If it does, the reason is that Rev Joel is advancing the same metaphysical nonsense Rhonda Byrnes promoted in her books.
Anyone who chooses to read Joel or Victoria Osteen books, attend or live stream Lakewood Church (a church with over 2 million subscribers on YouTube, where “More that 10 Million viewers watch his weekly inspirational messages through television, and over 60 million people connect with Joel through his digital platforms worldwide”) are allowing themselves to be deceived by wolves in sheep’s clothing. The Osteens are that bad! Moreover, they are not Christians! How do I know that? Because as a Berean (Acts 17:11) I’ve examined God’s Word to see if their teaching is true. In doing so, it is clear that Joel Osteen’s teaching is unadulterated heresy. I’m not alone in believing this to be true. Mainstream Bible scholars agree that WoF is a metaphysical cult. The truth of the matter, for those who care to hear the truth, is that anyone who embraces WoF theology has rejected biblical Christianity.
Dear reader, you must understand that WoF teachers such as the Osteens, Copeland, Hagin and Hinn preach a false gospel…..that saves no one. Let me repeat: the WoF gospel has never saved a living soul and it never will. Why? Because their gospel message is not taught in Scripture. Theirs is the gospel of greed, inspired by Satan himself. Those of you who take what I’m saying with a grain of salt must come to terms with how dangerous and spiritually bankrupt the WoF teaching is. WoF is not historic, orthodox Christianity that the martyrs shed their blood for.
Your Best Life Is To Come
Following is an excerpt from a sermon by John MacArthur:
He went on to say…
Later in his sermon…
Ensnaring People In Heresies
Following is an excerpt from a blog post by Mike Ratliff where he examines the difference between apostasy and heresy. He writes,
In our pop-culture, so-called Christian books appeal to the believer’s desire to find meaning in their faith. One would think the front line for combating this desire would be the Church, but this is not the case. Instead of pointing out the doctrinal truth that comes from reading the Bible, Church leaders have caved to the demands of our self-obsessed culture and promoted books that will do nothing to facilitate real spiritual growth. As long as there is a demand, you can count on the fact there will be Christian publishing houses that will give these individuals exactly what they want regardless of the harm being caused.
Our once trusted publishers are all about making a buck, even if it means compromising. And what about Christian Book dispensaries? The same applies to them. I do not believe for a moment that people who work for these organizations are unaware that “Your Best Life Now” is chock-full of unorthodox theology. The word has been out for at least 12 years that Joel Osteen is charlatan. Dr. MacArthur was right to call him out on heretical teaching. If only more pastors would get over their fear of man and call out men and women who seriously mishandle the scriptures.
I’ll close with words of warning from our Lord Jesus:
Watch Out! Apostasy Alert! – naming names© Marsha West
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