article

26MAR
2008

The Word of Faith Religion (Part 1)

The Word-of-Faith Religion

Part 1

“…Evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse,
deceiving and being deceived,”
2 Timothy 3:13.

I’ve not been forthcoming regarding my long standing opinions of the word-of-faith religion that I was once a champion of. I’ll be referring to word faith as WF, or the word faith religion as WFR. This movement is also known as the “Blab-it-n-grab-it” folks, the “Name it and claim it” people, or the “Choose it or lose it” crowd. I once faithfully attended a church pastored by the Holy Ghost Bartender himself Rodney (knock-em-down) Howard-Browne who epitomizes the WF religion very well. There’s a great teaching about this false prophet here done by Todd Friel. I even have a degree from Christian Harfouche ministries which taught me everything I’d ever want to know about how best to misunderstand God. I spent years under WF teaching as a non-Christian and absorbed it as truly all glorious. I saw some success in it, had a lot of excitement from it, and had a lot of dreams get a lot bigger as a result of it. God changed my heart by the same Bible that had (through sinful interpretation) previously been the cause of its greatest trap. Once untwisted from Satan’s clutch by the gift of faith the Bible became a light of a new truth that I found was nothing new at all. I heard one sermon and everything in my faith began to change. Just one sermon! It was called “My Concept of God” and was preached to me by an Irish man named Leslie Hale in my living room through my tape deck years ago. I saw God as holy and majestic for the first time and not a chum who draws near to make me giggle. I was taken in fear to my new Father and His excellence destroyed my selfish opinions of His blessings. God gave me a little of Himself that day. It was no longer His gifts but Him I wanted. God changed my heart, I trust, from that very hour and suddenly I wept in church while others danced around me. Oh, what a wonderful sadness when the flesh begins to feel its chains. I was delivered and to God alone belongs the honor in saving such a selfish hell-bent wretch like me.
In this letter (and I pray others to come) I will tell you some of what I know of the WF religion. My purpose is to educate you on the movement that I once loved and defended so that you recognize it and begin to fight it. My wife and I have been ransomed from our WF sin and I’ve been reluctant to discuss this topic because the costs of divulging such things are often not outweighed by the benefits because discernment is weak in many of you. Many of you approve of some of the teachers I will mention and what I say will undoubtedly offend you but to tell of evil and to rescue people from false religion is the only loving thing to do. Shame on me for not being honest; we should fight that which is evil no matter the cost, and now I pray is that appointed time.
I believe that a great fight for Christians today is the WFR. I believe this to be so for many reasons. The major reason: The overwhelming inundation of the material into the media and its scale of conquest in the world.
The WFR is not its own denomination or a clearly identifiable faith. It is a system of selfish hermeneutics. Hermeneutics itself is the science of interpretation or in our case scriptural interpretation. There are some clear attributes that I wish to identify for you in this letter and perhaps subsequent letters on the subject of the WFR. If you can endure, endure me and judge my letters at the end. WF is a general mood or attitude of scripture that can be clearly seen when identified. I will refer you to videos that prove the point. Because there are no pastors who put “Heretic Church” on their street sign the movement can only be identified by its deviations from true Gospel, its divorce from historical tradition, and its teachers. The teachers are always behind the teaching, right? The WFR is well identified by its teachers. (See list at the end)
To name a few, the WFR is characterized by the following signs:
1) Materialism.
2) A cheap view of salvation gained and lost by human decision.
3) A god devoid of wrath (or at least of any wrath ever worth mentioning).
4) Strange gifts they call the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Usually shown when entire doctrines are built on single verses of the Bible or on historical narrative.
5) A celebrated near complete divorce from historical influence.
6) Almost exclusive topical preaching.
7) A silky anthropology.
8) Special revelation or private interpretation.
9) Unbridled emotionalism.
Preaching from the Bible is no assurance for sound teaching. Even expositional preaching is no guarantee. All that matters is whether the Holy Ghost is your guide. On a side note I witnessed to a Mormon today who had the discourtesy to say we were of the same religion and our conversation got ugly. Shame on us for ever thinking that witnessing will always be easy and peaceful; it will often bring strife and great division. This young man assumed that I as a Christian am only interested in money. His misled perception of Christianity is valid if he’s spent any time on the “Christian” TV stations. I was sad to hear him make that warranted yet unwarranted all too common accusation having seen the depths of Satan myself by many who call themselves Christian and never shut up about money.
Materialism: I begin with materialism because it is a most obvious aspect of the WFR and cradles almost all of its mistakes. Materialism alone is really all you need to see these men coming. If materialism is no longer materialistic to you then you are likely dead in your sin. Paul, Matthew, Mark, Peter, Luke, Jude, James, John, and/or Jesus did not live a lavish lifestyle even by a first century standard. Any Bible reader who’s been delivered from darkness has no problem affirming this objective fact. There was great wealth in the days of Christ and the apostolic church, but they did not preach from Herod’s castle. It is certain that they did not preach the “prosperity gospel” because they did not live it, therefore, to make Jesus or an apostle’s words courier of a lifestyle that they did not live is dangerous. Practicing what you preach is an underlying truth that all NT Bible writers exemplified (writing post conversion). Paul’s life and writings were no more an approval of a sodomite lifestyle than they are of a lavish lifestyle no matter how hard the sodomite or the lavish attempt to make it so.
The view of Paul as a humble and financially unconcerned apostle is literally scoffed at in the WFR because Paul’s life as an example is almost completely irrelevant; it is only how they can use his words that matter. This is surely error number one. God never set an apostle up lavishly.
What I’m saying is that when a man takes the words from the mouth of the apostle Paul who was a poor man declaring, “God…gives us richly all things to enjoy” and names and claims Paul’s statement as the promise of a new BMW from God that he will “Richly enjoy” there is sin at work that can only be described as selfishness. Paul was not concerned about cars or houses when he wrote such things; I know this because of his life’s example yet WF teachers find that everything the apostles said starts and ends with your wallet or what they spiritualize and call your “seed”. This is the twisting of the WFR. If you see no shame in such scriptural perversions then you are likely dead in sin.
The problem is not wealth or people being prospered financially in business by diligence and integrity but the problem enters when the Bible becomes a system to get wealth or a religion that promises wealth.
This is WF; not Christianity.
Materialism is overt in the WFR. Jets, cars, houses and clothes are clearly pointed to and praised with uplifted golden-pinkie-ringed fingers. Poor people do not make it to the front rows of such churches; I assure you the bouncers will head them off by row five.
When the Israelites in the OT were invited to give a free will offering for the building of the tabernacle in Exodus 35:29 the people brought their money and possessions to Moses until he had to restrain them; Moses soon had enough and needed no more for the vision from God as we see in Exodus 36:6. What’s interesting to note is that Moses’ collection basket was not bottomless. A WF teacher however will never restrain giving because there is never a bottom to their baskets or mortgages, jets, credit cards and the like. Mike Murdock is a peddler of great skill and bottomless collection baskets. Oh, this guy is a beauty. You’ll hear him announce that God has spoken to him again about 58 people who are watching his show that are supposed to give him $58, or $5800, or $58,000 within the next 58 minutes to receive like 58 blessings or something. He gets these “words from God” weekly it seems. The day Mike Murdock announces that the 59th caller’s money will be returned to her because the 58th seed has just been received is a day we’ll never see. If you can watch Mike Murdock and not be repulsed by his faith and his god then you are likely dead in sin.
I watched the profitess Juanita Bynum teach that Bic pens are for the common person and no Christian should use one because it is beneath them; they are better than that. She went on to declare that she has spent up to $5,000 on an ink pen. This was several people’s offerings that month to a pen. Wow is that evil. And she’s done this because it says something about who she is, and that she values what she writes. If you find any spiritual affinity with such silliness you are likely dead in sin. After watching such a display I found a new love for my precious Bic pens. Juanita Bynum is a textbook example of a WF teacher. She can be seen in her worldly bravado at www.false-teachers.com/falseteachervideo.htm Go and listen to her talk about her pens. If it wasn’t true it would be like a joke. I’ll tell you one way that teachers like Juanita Bynum can help us though: Take a new believer and put that video about pens on for him with no introduction; if he is not upset by it in some measure then it’s a good indication that there’s a lack of discernment within him. If he is repulsed then there is some discernment at work and you can rejoice. I wouldn’t staple this test in 1 John or anything, but these people are so perverse that unctioned Christians, even new believers, can see the invisible ear at work in them as they watch and listen.
Creflo Dollar is another great example of a deranged teacher. He sounds like any rapper today – talkin bout gettin rich or dyin tryin baby. In an interview Dollar said that he believes if Jesus was here today He, like Creflo, would ride around in a Roles Royce. This is in part two of a CNN interview at about four minutes. When I heard him say this all sorts of bells went off in me that night. I tried to put myself in Creflo Dollar’s head for a minute and see Jesus in His earthly ministry living as wealthy as Dollar does. The story of John Huss (~1371 – 6 July 1415) literally seemed to jump into my head. John Huss was a reformer burned at the stake by Catholics before the actual protestant reformation kicked off. At some point in his early life he saw a cartoon-like drawing that affected him greatly. It was double sided and drawn on wood or clay, something that would have been used in the 14th century. Each side of the tablet was divided in two, top to bottom, with two separate pictures. On one side was a top and bottom picture that had the pope of Rome on top wearing his triple decked million+ dollar crown and on the bottom was Jesus wearing the crown of thorns that was placed on His head just before His death. On the other side of the tablet was Jesus forgiving the woman caught in the act of adultery and the pope on top springing souls from purgatory for money. This affected Huss greatly. I saw in this the idolatry of Creflo just as Huss saw in a picture the idolatry of the popes and their lust for money. I put a WF teacher like Creflo in his Roles and Jesus on foot. I put a WF teacher like Creflo in either of his mansions and Jesus sleeping in the open field.
The WF teachers always teach that Jesus was filthy rich. See, Creflo Dollar looks back at Jesus during His earthly life and sees Him sitting on gold-laced pillows in a castle surrounded by wealth riding in silver chariots with pomp. That’s his Jesus and in it I saw his idolatry. That’s how he likes to see Jesus and so the scriptures paint that image for him. This is how all WF believers like to see Jesus when their greed is full grown. The Jews likewise fell in love with their images of Messiah. They loved their idolatrous image so much that when the Messiah walked into the room they held on to their image more than wanting Him.
“And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn,”
Luke 2:7.
Here’s a test:
WF can see no nobility indicated in Christ by the
lack of hotel rooms that first night.
The King of kings ordained this!
Seest thou not His glory there?
Do you not love that Jesus did not live on earth as King though He was born King of the Jews? Can’t you see the supremacy of humility at work in His life? Can’t you see Creflo’s massive perversion that Jesus was a man of wealth in His day by riding on donkeys that had never been ridden? Can’t you see the love of money finding new root in men like this seeing Jesus in a Roles Royce? If not you are likely dead in your sin.
The real menace of the WFR is not just that it is materialistic and therefore caters perfectly to our materialistic culture ignoring sin and repentance while creating a false standard of Christian experience (all you need is Oprah for that); the danger is that God is said to be glorified by giving you stuff so it actually looks glorious to some. If you’ve not been saved you can’t tell the difference. If you can flip the Bible to make God glorified by your selfishness then the message becomes sinister to a degree that’s never yet been seen in the world. It took the breeding ground of 20th/21st century America to birth such business and call it faith. Give-em what they want; that’s the Joel Osteen motto. Just scratch their ears. WF is a theology calculated to accommodate a lust for money and love for the praises of men. WF teachers will quickly point out the correct breakdown of this verse: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil…” 1 Timothy 6:10.They’re quick to point out that it is the love of money…the love of money that is the root of evil, not just money. They’re right. What WFers cannot see, however, is that this same evil root has put on new clothes as the love of the god who gives you the money; which is the same root of the same old evil. Rodney Howard-Browne after another two hour sermon on money was preaching his prosperity gospel about how we can all be rich. After showing us all pictures of his new 10,000 square foot mansion he scolded us by saying, “And if you don’t believe what we’re preaching here at this church then go back to your apartments”. I lived in an apartment, so apparently I didn’t have faith. I’ve maxed out credit cards in giving, walked out of church without shoes, ties or watches and had people have to move in with me on more than one occasion because they had literally given everything away that they owned at the prompting of Rodney Browne, Eric Gonyon, or Debbie Rich and had no place to live.
Here are a few reasons why WF teachers like Christian Harfouche my old pseudo Bible school teacher taught that Jesus was financially wealthy:
1) He rode on a new donkey – John 12:12-14.
2) He wore a seamless tunic – John 19:23.
3) Because Judas “Was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it,” John 12:6. The idea is that if Jesus only had like two coins and Judas took one then he just stole fifty percent of Jesus’ wealth. Maybe Jesus knew, Harfouche would say, but what about the other disciples? Wouldn’t they have noticed? They therefore say that Jesus must have been loaded and Judas was more like an embezzler than a thief because he could take money and no one noticed.
4) Jesus once told Peter to go to the lake and pull up a fish for the temple tax because that fish would have a piece of gold in its mouth. This showed Jesus’ wealth. Matthew 17:27.
5) Mark 6:37 – “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread and give them something to eat?” This possible solution to the problem presented by the disciples must have meant that they had that type of money available to them to spend. Two hundred denarii was a lot of money to spend on lunch.
6) “…It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” Matthew 19:24-15. This shows that the disciples knew all men were rich in Christ like Christ so they were amazed. Wow huh? I used to teach all of these things.
There is much to say on this topic and it will certainly offend some of you. Judge what I say at the end; that is my request. I often listen to WF people and preachers to continuously examine their systematic separation from reality and confirm my understanding of the Bible in spite of them. Watch some videos that I refer you to. Search the scriptures. I spent years as a WF believer and I testify of having come out of it like a former Muslim or Catholic would testify of having been saved from sin into Christ. I see WF as no less an evil than any false religion. These letters are primarily to inform you. I’m confident in God that as I point out certain truths regarding certain teachings and teachers that the Holy Spirit will do His work to show you its effects in those of you tainted by greed and the hypocrisy of men who make my Father’s word a marketplace.
At the end of each letter I will include my list of bad teachers. All of them, to varying degrees, demonstrate the WF perversion in their teachings. Scour their websites and try to find one serious sermon about sin. Go ahead and try. I have. They are slanderers, and the Spirit by which I speak out against them is undividedly the same as that which enflamed Jeremiah in his day.
“Because from the least of them even to the greatest of them,
everyone is given to covetousness;
and from the prophet even to the priest,
everyone deals falsely.
They have also healed the hurt of My people slightly,
saying, ‘Peace, peace!’
when there is no peace,” Jeremiah 6:13-14.
WF Teachers

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ones in bold print are those I knew best. Though some, like Kevin Howell still hold a special place in my heart I would see their doctrines destroyed from the face of the earth as it is the doctrine of devils (to somewhat quote Spurgeon). I pray for the conversion of their covetous souls. I remember always the word that I am to love my enemies. I do, I love them without hesitation, however, my love for them does not change the fact that they are still my enemies.
I think that mankind’s worse problem is sin and I don’t hear these boys and girls talking about that a whole lot.

 
Thank you for your attention to this letter.