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AN EX-WORD FAITH PREACHER Comes Full Circle: From Baptist, to Baptist bashing Word of faith Preacher and back to Baptist. Go figure

About a month ago I was blessed to have an Ex-Word of faith preacher visit this site. I have posted a couple of his writings from his Blog and have talked with him via email and telephone. AS He and his site are totally awesome. I will be interviewing John Edwards sometimes this week and will have it up for downloading and listening soon after.

I encourage you to visit John’s site. He says he wants to make his Blog into a Book. I believe it will make an excellent book. John needs someone to help him with editing as he wants to self publish. If you or anyone you know has editing talent and would like to help Pastor John. Please give him an e-mail. Faithpreacher.blogspot.com

Here is three of his post that would make a good chapter together. I HOPE YOU FIND HIS STORY AS INTERESTING AS ME. DON’T MISS Johns video above.

I have a short comment AND OPINION POLL at the end.

 

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My Journey Has Come Full Circle

It sure feels good to be a regular guy. That is what I like the most about my new life. I work hard all day with my hands, so my mind has plenty of time to reflect. There are some things that are just now dawning on me. Things are becoming clear, and the purpose of this whole last year is coming into focus.

I was born and raised in the Southern Baptist Church. As soon as I became a teenager, I started going on youth retreats with elements of Briarwood Presbyterian Church. While on the yearly retreats to Gatlinburg, I became a disciple of a guy named Chuck Jones. I attended all of his Bible studies at UAB until I backslid and joined the Marine Corps.

Looking back on my life and my faith, I had been Baptist/Presbyterian all of my life. The teachings of John Calvin and Martin Luther made up my spiritual core.

A lot of my friends were Charismatic, but I always shied away from them when it came to tongues. You know why? Cause they bragged on it and the great power that came with it, but they were involved in all kinds of sexual sin. I could not see any difference between them and me.

I married a girl that was raised Roman Catholic and then became a Charismatic. We would argue over beer and theology for years. She wanted us to attend a Charismatic church so after a few years of not being in church, we went. It was a Charismatic church in Roebuck. A fight broke out right in the middle of the service! I left there convinced that all Charismatics were loony and unstable.

As a Marine, and a Police officer I stayed backslid. I went to church twice in ten years. I was still very Calvinistic in my faith. I was not afraid of being killed on duty. I knew that my days were numbered in Heaven and that nothing could change the Providence of God. I pretty much had no worries in life.

Then in 1994 my wife was exposed to the AIDS virus, and her pregnancy with Brian had some complications. Someone gave me a Kenneth Hagin book. Here was a new religion that promised health, wealth, miracles, supernatural power and all of my prayers answered exactly as I desired with one catch: I just needed to have faith. So that began a 14 year ride on the wild side. Went from being a happy backslidden Calvinist, to a tongue talking, devil stomping, faith healing, scripture speaking, believe ye receive it fanatic. I was so on fire about the Faith Message that I forsook all and headed to Tulsa.

I sat in class at Tulsa hearing about miracles, signs and wonders every single day! All I had to do was to keep sowing seed, be faithful, not criticize, tithe, make the right confessions, speak the right scriptures, listen to all the Cd’s on faith, attend prosperity seminars, faith seminars, special Holy Ghost meetings, laughter meeting, prophetic meetings, special anointed meetings, etc, etc.

I did all of this stuff for fourteen years. It is a bunch of hype. I never saw a miracle, never saw a true healing of a serious disease, never saw the big harvest, never had what I confessed, never felt the goosebumps. Why? Because, 90% of all things Charismatic are HYPE. A bunch of made up stuff, far fetched testimonies, hearsay, and plenty of bad doctrine from loopy people that never went to a reputable seminary. I saw a lot of emotion and a lot of hype. I never saw the Charismatic Word of Faith message work for anyone but the Big Dawgs on TV.

Finally, God opened my eyes to all the junk and error, and led me right back to my spiritual roots of Calvinism. I am back where I started!

But why did I take that wrong exit into that strange and dangerous neighborhood

Because God has a plan bigger than my plan. He wanted me to see the hype and the deception from inside.

Thank God for His care, to rescue from deception and hype, and to bring me back to the True Gospel of the Bible.

I saw a billboard advertising one of the popular recently divorced charismatic word of faith televangelist coming to town and grieved. I thought about how many poor and desperate folks would show up for her meetings, sow their best seed and leave with nothing. It is sad. She will laugh all the way to the bank. I guess they will have to find out for themselves. God is in control, not man.

I advise everyone that reads this blog, to find a good church that teaches Reformed Theology, because that is the theology that Christ and Paul taught. Find yourself a Southern Baptist Church that is Reformed, or find a Presbyterian Church and plug in. And if anyone ever invites you to a Word of Faith church, run like Forrest Gump! Run Forrest Run!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/10/my-journey-has-come-full-circle.html

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When I was Baptist

I grew up in the Southern Baptist Church and was very happy in it. I stayed backslid a lot but I loved God and had a tremendous amount of faith in Him. When I was a Baptist I truly believed in the Sovereignty Of God and that He was in total control of my life. I believed that I was eternally saved and that I could never, ever loose my salvation and my relationship with Him no matter how bad I blew it. When I was a Baptist I believed that God had a specific plan and that nothing could ever hinder it. I believed that my steps were ordered of Him and that no matter what God was going to have His way. When I was a Baptist I believed that there was a time written in God’s Providence for me to die and that nothing could change that. I believed that my days were numbered according to His will and purpose. When I was Baptist I was very aware of God’s Awesomeness and my inability. When I was Baptist I was afraid of God in a respectful way. When I was a Baptist I wanted to run things past God before I did them. When I was Baptist I was very concerned about lost people going to Hell. When I was a Baptist I never, ever doubted His existence or His love for me. When I was a Baptist I believed that God was in control of all events in my life and that even the bad ones were some how working for my favor.

When I was a Baptist I had peace and joy. When I was a Baptist my focus was on Jesus.
Then I started reading Word of Faith books. I read every book that I could find. I listened to hundreds of tapes and Cd’s. I was excited about the Word of Faith message. It put me in control of my life. Having been in the Marine Corps and having been a Police Officer, I was used to being in charge of things. I was used to being the Boss. It was a perfect way of thinking for me. The Word of Faith promised me a sickness free life, a long life, and a rich life. It promised me that I could use my words to frame my world. It taught me that I could speak whatever I wanted into existence. The Word of Faith taught me how to get a vision and write it out. It taught me to speak things out and to shoot for the stars. The Word of Faith promised me power and authority of everything in my life and that I could create and rule my world and circumstances with my words.The Word of Faith left God and His Sovereignty out of the picture. All I had to do was to speak and believe what I wanted, money, health, fame, success, the power was in my tongue. The Word of Faith taught me that I was the one responsible for everything that I had in life, that everything in my life was a result of words, good or bad. I learned that I could have what I said. I learned how to twist and manipulate entire passages of the Bible to line it up with health, wealth and victory. I learned how to debunk the whole book of Job. I learned how to get rich God’s way, by planting money seeds and speaking words of prosperity. I learned to ignore symptoms in my body and to think of the pains as lies of the devil.

I lived and believed like this for fourteen years. I taught this for eight years.

I will tell you what the Word of Faith message did for me. It turned me into a self-centered person more concerned with my plans and needs than anything else. Instead of trusting in God I began to trust in my words and in my faith. I dummy downed God. I thought God had to follow my rules of confession. I thought I could boss God around and talk Him into seeing things my way. I became obsessed with myself. I became full of pride. I also began to sink into depression and darkness. The Word of Faith had taught me that it was all about me and that I was in control and that everything good was riding on my faith and confession. Needless to say, I was putting so much pressure on myself to believe that I was miserable. All of the faith formulas and prayer rules that I had learned in the Word of Faith had me so bound in legalistic chains that I could no longer pray or talk to God. I was miserable. God got smaller and smaller in my thinking because I was the one in charge. I stayed frustrated and aggravated because my confessions were not working and my prayers went unanswered. Even worse was that I was teaching hundreds of people the same message and they were having the same results. They still had sickness and lack and problems.

they to began to spiral down into depression and burn out from trying to be perfect in their confessions and acts of faith.

It is a false message. It is cultic. It destroys the concept of God that He wants us to have.
Praise God for His patience and love for me! God has opened my eyes and rescued me from myself and this false religion! I have returned to my roots. I have abandoned the Word of Faith and returned to the Word of God and my relationship with Him. For me God is in control again. His will be done. I am feeling alive again. I can feels God’s love again. I am trusting fully in Him and His ability and in His plan. He is in control. He is on the throne. He is my God again!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/07/when-i-was-baptist.html

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Naming Names and Baptist Bashing

I have been accused of naming names and bashing the Word of Faith Movement. I have been accused of not walking in love. A lot of people I know think Jesus walked around like a sissy. A lot of people I know wouldn’t like Jesus if they ever heard him preach. Jesus was full of love and rebuke. He named names. He called a spade a spade. He was very confrontational. He even bull whipped some folks at church one day, with a whip he made! He called Herod a “Fox” which was slang for homosexual. He called his critics snakes. Love in action.

The Apostle Paul, who wrote the “Love” chapter named names. He would call false teachers by their names and have the letter read out loud to the church.
The Apostle of Love, John, named names.

It is a minister’s right and moral obligation to point out false teachers and false doctrine. A pastor is responsible for his flock. If he sees his flock flirting with the wolves then it is his job to point out the wolf. Love will point out danger.

Paul told Timothy to rebuke with all authority.

Christians are scared to speak out these days. Any time some one does speak out against error they are rebuked for not walking in love.

When I was a Word of Faith teacher, I loved to bash the Baptist Church. I learned how to do this from my main teacher in Bible school. He loved to poke fun at the Baptist. Bless their “darling hearts” and “stupid heads.” Many Word of Faith ministers trash the Baptist. But let someone criticise Kenneth Hagin and all of a sudden the love walk is brought up.

Many Word of Faith people feel vastly superior to the Baptist. When I was a WOFer, I looked down on the Baptist as missing out on the promises and power of God. Over the years it finally dawned on me that our lives were no better than theirs. We were confessing things, believing things, claiming things and calling things that be not as though they were and going no where in a hurry. At the same time the Baptist were doing just fine with out the faith message.

Have you ever noticed that Word of Faith people that claim healing still have to use doctors and medicine just like the powerless Baptist? Did you know that Word of Faith people that claim the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the blessing of praying in tongues still make stupid decisions and fall into deception and false doctrine? Have you also noticed that the Word of Faith people that claim so much revelation knowledge about the Word of God have no more power than the Baptist? They are no more wiser, no more holy and no better off in any way. I have also noticed that although so much emphasis is placed on prosperity, the Word of Faith people are no richer!

I remember visiting a tiny Word of Faith church in Mississippi. We were out in the parking lot burning with envy at the gigantic Baptist Mega Church across the street. That Baptist church was always full of people and money and people getting saved, But they did not have near the revelation knowledge that we had. What was wrong?

By the way, the term revelation knowledge is really a charismatic term referring to special knowledge about God unknowable to Baptist because the Baptist refuse the baptism. What it usually is though is some hokey nonsense doctrine put out by someone on TBN anyhow.

I guess my point is that when I was Word of Faith we loved to criticise and bash denominational Christians and felt vastly superior to them. We were big on love until it came to bashing others. Now that I am pointing out error in the Word of Faith, all of a sudden the table is turned and I’m no longer walking in love. Go figure!

http://faithpreacher.blogspot.com/2008/08/naming-names-and-baptist-bashing.html

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I have to smile when I read this. I have an aunt who is a word faith preacher and I as a Baptist catch grief because of that LOL. It not just Baptist though. They don’t like any “HALF GOSPEL CHURCH”

One day my Aunt told me. “Damon, you’re a very talented theologian. In fact your so talented and knowledgeable about theology that you should be a teacher of theologians.”

Now I will ask you all

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The Word of Faith Movement and the Cultic Renewal of Indulgences

By J. Danny Hone

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Perhaps there is no greater perversion within the modern Charismatic movement than the perversions surrounding money and its doctrine of seed faith and the hundred fold return. In this article I do not want to discuss the flaws of the prosperity gospel but rather a greater evil. An evil similar to the one that existed within the church 500 years ago. An evil that prompted Martin Luther to nail his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle church in Wittenberg Germany on October 31st, 1517. An evil that led to a reformation, from which grew the Protestant church.

At the time there were serious abuses within the church. The large administrative structure of the church required a great deal of money to finance it. To obtain this money, the church used many devices that hurt its spiritual nature. During this same time of great need within the church some clergy lived like secular princes, building lavish palaces and indulging in corrupt financial practices. In order to do just that Pope Leo X sent out indulgence peddlers who had been granted by papal power to grant remission of sins according to the amount of money given. Among these peddlers was a man named Johann Tetzel. He began selling “indulgences” in Germany in 1517. Tetzel declared that anyone who bought an indulgence could choose a soul to be freed from purgatory, or shorten his own term in purgatory. He told buyers: “When the coin in the coffer rings, a soul from purgatory springs.”

While Luther had other concerns about papal abuse it was the selling of indulgences that prompted him to hold a public debate on the matter. In those days on holidays, such as All Saints Day, it was customary to hold public debates. The subject of the debates were announced by nailing them to the church door. So on October 31st, 1517 Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the church door little knowing that the can of worms he opened would split the church down the middle and usher in the reformation and with it Protestantism.

The indulgences of old promised that God would pardon people’s sins in exchange for a gift to the church. The indulgences sold today promise a return by God of up to one hundred fold with every gift. At the heart of the matter of the selling of indulgences is the question as to whether God’s favor can be bought or sold. Luther held to the belief that God’s benefits were not for sale.

“Every true Christian, be he still alive or already dead, partaketh in all benefits of Christ and of the Church given him by God, even without letters of indulgence.” (1)

God’s love, favor and blessings to us is based solely on God’s attributes of kindness and grace towards us and not on the works we perform. God’s blessings can not be bought or sold. Those who pretend to do so are involved in a great heresy. They, like Pope Leo X, do so to maintain their “luxurious life of worldliness, and pay for the remodeling of the great Cathedral.” Today our churches build magnificent buildings which stand not for the glory of God but for the praise of men. Many ministers live luxurious lives at the expense of the people. The seed faith teaching is nothing more than heresy against God preached solely as a means to appeal to the greed within others so that ministries can build greater buildings and so it’s founders can live in greater wealth.

In perhaps his boldest Theses, Luther asked:

“Again, why does not the Pope build St. Peter’s Minster with his own money since his riches are now more ample than those of Crassus, rather than with the money of poor Christians?” (2)

Consider these words from the Apostle Paul:

“Now I am ready to visit you for the third time, and I will not be a burden to you, because what I want is not your possessions but you. After all, children should not have to save up for their parents, but parents for their children. So I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well.” (3)

“Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.” (4)

Luther asked the question: “If you, being the man of God, claim to have the heart of God, then why are you taking from the resources of the people for your own unjust gain, instead of, as the Apostle Paul, working night and day so as not to be a burden to the people?”

Luther’s question rings loud today. Perhaps the marking of a true man of God is a person’s beholding to this same attitude as Paul. True ministers of the church are the parents of the church. They do not bleed from the meager resources of the children to fulfill their own lustful desires. True ministers are not in it for themselves. They are moved to win the lost at any cost. Selfishness and greed have become the cornerstone of the modern Charismatic and Word of Faith (WOF) movement. This must cease if we are to be about our Father’s business.

In time Luther’s actions brought him before the diet in Worms, Germany where he was ordered to recant what he had said and written. Luther responded:

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not retract anything, since it is neither safe nor right to go against conscience. I cannot do otherwise.” (5)

Shortly after this famous speech the emperor signed the Edict of Worms, which declared Luther an outlaw and pardoned from punishment anyone who would kill him.

Luther took a stand on a biblical principle he held to be true. God’s favor can not be bought or sold. Like Tetzel of old many modern preachers, mostly within the Charismatic movement and the WOF movement, in their greed and lust to build bigger buildings and bigger ministries have been selling God’s favor using catchy phrases and twisted scriptures.

Most of the perversions fall under the terms of “seed faith” or “hundred fold return” teachings. The seed faith doctrine was made popular by Oral Roberts. Oral uses the phrase: “Have a need? Plant a seed!”. According to Oral: “God himself has established the law of sowing and reaping, of giving and receiving. Under the New Covenant you can make every act of giving a seed planted which brings you into the SEED-FAITH lifestyle of sowing and reaping which I have been led to call ‘A Blessing-Pact Covenant with God.'” (6)

What is SEED-FAITH and why is it a renewed selling of indulgences? Oral teaches: “The seed of giving is the seed of faith! And the seed has to be planted BEFORE we can speak to our mountain of need to be removed!” (7)

The doctrine of seed faith is giving to a need and expecting from God a return on that gift. Many even teach that you should name your seed before you plant it. They encourage you to put an amount of money into their offering and claim something in return, like your uncle’s salvation or a miracle debt reduction. If you need a healing, plant a seed. If you need more money, plant a seed. How strangely similar to the selling of indulgences.

In many WOF services the “man of God” claims a special word from God that goes something like this: “Before coming to this meeting tonight I was praying in the Holy Ghost in my room and the Spirit of the Lord came on me strongly and revealed to me that there are many people here tonight that are in debt to the point that creditors are calling you up. Some of you have been paying late charges that should be going to advance the kingdom of God. God has told me today that if you obey him this night and plant a seed in faith of $100.00 God is going to get involved and your debt situation will be miraculously turned around! God will rebuke the devourer, and the cankerworm that has eaten holes in your pockets is being destroyed tonight as you give! In Jesus name!”

With promises like that how can one afford not to give! The WOF movement may not be guilty of claiming salvation in exchange for money but it sure does promise everything else in exchange for your giving.

As I was beginning to question the teachings of the WOF movement God brought a book across my path titled “From Ashes to Gold” by Patti Roberts. Knowing that Patti was the first wife of Richard Roberts and that they had a very public ministry before their very public divorce I thought I would read it. She gives the following reflections on the seed money teachings they preached:

“The seed-faith theology that Oral had developed bothered me a great deal because I saw that, when taken to its natural extremes, it reduced God to a sugar daddy. If you wanted His blessings and His love, you paid Him off. Over and over again we heard Oral say, ‘Give out of your need.’ I began to question the motivation that kind of giving implied. Were we giving to God out of our love and gratitude to Him or were we bartering with Him?” (8)

Patti goes on to write:

“The distinction may appear to be too subtle and I know Oral thought I was splitting hairs, but it seemed supremely important to me. If we give to God because we think that by giving we have somehow placed Him in our debt and He is now required to come through for us and meet our needs, we have, I believe, perverted the heart of the gospel. Our only motive for giving should be love. When we encourage people to give in order to have their needs met or so that they will receive “a hundred fold return” I believe we are appealing to their sense of greed or desperation, neither of which seemed admirable to me. It was a wonderful fund-raising tool, but I believe it gave people a very unbalanced view of a very important biblical principle. At the time I was taking a humanities course from the university and my professor was discussing Martin Luther and the Reformation. When we started looking at the abuses in the Catholic church that Luther had wanted to reform, I began to see parallels in our situation. Luther was incensed by the church’s practice of selling indulgences – offering forgiveness of sin and a shorter period of time in purgatory in return for gifts to the church. I had a very difficult time distinguishing between the selling of indulgences and the concept of Seed Faith inflated to the degree to which we had inflated it. Of course, Oral was more subtle. He never promised salvation in exchange for gifts to his ministry, but there were still many people who believed that God was going to look at them in a kindlier way and perhaps that son would get off drugs or they would get their drunken husband into heaven if they gave money to Oral Roberts.” (9)

How close is Seed-Faith to the selling of indulgences? Oral writes: “You know, I sometimes think we have put more faith in a coke machine than we do in God. When you put your coin in the machine you have a contract or covenant with the coke company and the maker of the dispensing machine. Therefore, the moment you put your coin in, you reach down expecting the can to come into your hand. Well, you have a contract or covenant with One greater than a coke machine. When you put in your SEED-FAITH you are to reach out your faith not to men, but to Jesus, expecting to receive more surely from Him than you do from the coke machine.” (10)

Consider also this appeal for money: “If you’re broke, if you’re at your wit’s end, if you’re out of a job, out of work, let me tell ya. Not only are we gonna bless the world and preach Christ to millions and multitudes around the world, but you can be saved, yourself, by planting seed in this fertile soil called TBN.” (11)

Any appeal for money that promises you something from God in return is not true biblical giving and is a perversion of the Gospel. It is a heresy liken unto the selling of indulgences and as Luther drew the line, we too, must draw the line. Salvation, God, and His benefits are not for sale.

Perhaps the greatest dangers of the seed faith theology is not in its similarities to Tetzel’s selling of indulgences but its similarities to the metaphysical cults, specifically the Unity School of Christianity. At least one of Oral Roberts’ devotionals from his “Guide to Seed-Faith Living” came from the Unity School of Christianity. (12)

The Unity School of Christianity was founded by Charles Fillmore in 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri. So the teachings of seed money were not invented by WOF founders but adopted from the cults.

I picked up a book at a rummage sale titled “Seed Money In Action” by Jon P. Speller. It was included in a box full of Charismatic books from the 70’s. At the time I was still involved in a WOF church and had on occasion planted seed money. I briefly thumbed through the book and put it on the shelf next to my John Avanzini and other seed faith books. When I began to question the seed money theology I went to my seed faith books to examine them closer. I picked up this book and began to read those first pages we always skip where the credits are listed. I was shocked to discover in the preface the following credits:

“The Rev. Dr. Henry M. Ellis, who unlocked the secrets of the Scriptures in his ‘BIBLE SCIENCE: THE TRUTH AND THE WAY'”

“Dr. Henry A. Carns, President of The College of Divine Metaphysics, who had added dimensions to the Study of Life and the Word”

“Mrs. Claire Waters, Teacher at the Unity Center of Practical Christianity in New York, a perfect teacher of Truth”

“The Rev. Dr. David N. Moore, a Minister and Practitioner who daily demonstrates his inspiringly high Consciousness” (13)

I had been indoctrinated and influenced by the kingdom of the cults! How could popular Metaphysical cultic teachings have penetrated the WOF movement? The answer I soon discovered is that it didn’t. The WOF was deeply rooted and birthed in the cults because of the Kenyon connection. (For deeper insight into E.W. Kenyon and his cultic origins I recommend “A Different Gospel” by D.R. McConnell.) Kenyon’s teachings have been referred to as “nothing more than as Pentecostal Christian Science” by people who knew him intimately and at one time considered him a mentor.

The practice of seed money is simple. If you plant a kernel of corn you reap two ears full of kernels. So it is said to be with money. If you sow money into good ground (ministries ordained of God) you will receive a return on your giving. So the more you give the more you get. This brings us to the hundred fold teachings made popular by Copeland’s ministry: “You give $1 for the Gospel’s sake and $100 belongs to you. Give $10 and receive $1000. Give $1000 and receive $100,000. I know that you can multipy, but I want you to see it in black and white and see how tremendous the hundred fold return is. Give one house and receive one hundred houses or one house worth one hundred times as much. Give one airplane and receive one hundred times the value of the airplane. Give one car and the return would furnish you a lifetime of cars. In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.” (14)

One can only wonder why Gloria omits the biggest part of the hundred fold return (“brothers, sisters, mothers and children”). To carry out her interpretation of the hundred fold return we can receive a hundred brothers, sisters, mothers and children for each one we give away.

One need only to stop and think about the implications of the hundred fold theology to realize the true falsehoods of such claims. If the law of hundred fold return were true all these ministries would have to do is give away a few thousand dollars and all their financial needs should be met. Instead of them receiving our money they would be knocking down doors to give so that God would bless them one hundred fold. Think of it! Every believer would live in mansions, all poverty would be wiped out and the church would never have lack again.

The danger of the hundredfold return theology is that it appeals to the greed within all of us and paints the wrong picture of God. Instead of God being a loving and giving God towards us He is reduced to a being who must be bribed or otherwise motivated to act kindly on our behalf.

In the book, “The Agony of Deceit”, Joel Nederhood writes that “whenever a religious leader or a church comes up with a scheme that confuses salvation with some kind of monetary payment, you have the worst kind of dishonesty. That is like trying to sell something that is not yours to sell. It is like trying to sell something again that has already been sold and paid for. It is a scam. It’s trickery. It’s self-serving thievery.” (15)

Paul warns us concerning the quest for wealth in the church when he writes: “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.” (16)

Consider these words from Christ:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? . . . And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, o you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, What shall we eat? or What shall we drink? or What shall we wear? For the pagans run after these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (17)

Did you notice any difference between Christ’s preaching and that commonly heard in WOF circles today? Christ is very clear that if we seek first God’s kingdom God will take care of us. Notice his comments on sowing and reaping. One could only wonder if Christ was looking 2,000 years into the future and speaking against the theology of sowing and reaping today. Hey, the birds don’t sow or reap and yet God takes care of them. Are you not worth more to God than a bird? I think so. God’s faithfulness does not rest on our works but rather on His grace. His provisions toward us have more to do with His faithfulness than with our works. Otherwise, God is just a powerforce, and we are the vessels of power. It would not be God’s faithfulness that benefits us but rather our works. Contrary to the teachings of the WOF movement our lack of faith does not nullify God’s faithfulness! (See Romans 3:3) This is the fundamental truth for which Luther took a stand. God’s mercy, God’s provision and God’s faithfulness toward us can not be bought or sold. When Simeon tried to buy a gift from God, Peter responded: “May your money perish with you, because you thought you could buy the gift of God with money! You have no part or share in this ministry because your heart is not right with God.” (18)

As shocking as it may seem, there are just some things money can’t buy. God is one of them. He is not for sale. Sadly, today it appears that many ministers have more of the character of Simeon than they do of Peter.

When we give to get in return the heart of giving is changed. That which the Bible teaches should be done in selflessness is done in selfishness. Thus the heart of our giving is changed and with it the purpose. When we give to others solely out of a need to better ourselves we have missed the purpose God established in our giving. Giving to the poor or to the church is not about planting a seed and reaping a hundred fold in this life, it is about helping our brother in need. It is about love. True biblical love. An unselfish love that gives and expects nothing in return.

When the church budget becomes so big that you have to drain the resources of the people to keep the building afloat you have missed the heart of God. Better that you sell the building and meet in a tent than that you bleed your congregation of their resources. Contrary to popular opinion, he who dies with the biggest church does not win. When the church building and its maintenance become a bigger priority than the well-being of the people you have missed the heart of God. When you preach more to gain an offering than you do to win a soul you have missed the heart of God. When the extent of your ministry centers around the extent of your gain you have missed the heart of God. When you rejoice more in a large offering than you do in a changed person you have missed the heart of God. True Christianity is not about what others can do for you but about what you can do for others.

In his Theses Luther brings out some excellent points regarding the importance of charity. Consider these Theses of Luther:

“Christians should be taught, he who gives to the poor, or lends to a needy man, does better than buying indulgences.” (19)

“Christians should be taught, he who sees his neighbor in distress, and, nevertheless, buys indulgences, is not partaking in the Pope’s pardons, but in the anger of God.” (20)

“Christians should be taught, unless they are rich enough, it is their duty to keep what is necessary for the use of their households, and by no means throw it away on indulgences.” (21)

“Wrong is done to the word of God if one in the same sermon spends as much or more time on indulgences as on the word of the Gospel.” (22)

“Therefore, the treasures of the Gospel are nets, with which, in times of yore, one fished for the men of Mammon. But the treasures of indulgence are nets, with which now-a-days one fishes for the Mammon of men.” (23)

It is unquestionable that a type of selling of indulgences has penetrated the church once again. During a recent TBN telethon a prophecy went out that if viewers would sow a seed of $2,000 into TBN God would get them out of debt, most within 90 days. At one point they were bold enough to say that this telethon wasn’t even for TBN’s needs. It was for God’s people, so that as they give they could be set free of their debts. The most shocking statement made came on Sunday morning (4-5-98) at 9:05 EST. The guest minister pointed at his televison audience and said: “Some of you have been reaping from this ministry without a single thought of sowing back into it. When you sow into this ministry you are sowing into the Spirit of Galations that says that when you sow into the Spirit you will reap eternal life.”

My friends, this is heresy. It is the selling of indulgences. It is an insult to all that Jesus came to do. It is a different gospel. Many, in the name of Christ, are seeking once again after the Mammon of men instead of the men of Mammon. Greed and selfishness exist from the least to the greatest. The grace of giving has been recreated into an art of investing. In the pursuit for money the gospel of salvation has been exchanged for a gospel of finances. As a result the moral structure of our church and community is slowly decaying away as the church focuses more on wealth than it does on righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. The cries to win the lost have faded as the pleas for offerings are sounded from the roof tops.

It was Christ who sternly warned us to . . . “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed: A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” (24)

Paul also warned that among us there must not even be a hint of greed. (25) Peter warned us too when he wrote: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have invented. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (26)

Truly God’s people need to be a giving people. But let us return to giving from a pure heart and not from a motivation of greed. The heresy that has been accepted in the church needs to be repented of and not tolerated. Just as Luther nailed the 95 Theses to the door nearly 500 years ago we too must take a stand for righteousness. The selling of indulgences can not be tolerated in the name of Christianity, for neither God, salvation, nor His benefits are for sale. “Every true Christian, be he still alive or already dead, partaketh in all the benefits of Christ and of the Church given him by God, even without letters of indulgence.” (27)

Footnotes

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NEW THOUGHT

by D.J. Quinn

Also See

Esotericism and Biblical Interpretation

Roots of Evil

While the majority of people may be unable to define New Thought, hundreds of thousands are increasingly becoming influenced by it, since it is the cornerstone for most of the formulas for happy and successful living. Reduced it to it’s essentials, New Thought very simply believes that your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience. It is unlikely that many Christians are aware of the common roots of some popular beliefs in the church and the New Thought beliefs without. From Clement Stone’s Positive Mental Attitude to Robert Schuller’s Possibility Thinking and Oral Roberts’ seed-faith principles, they all stem from common sources.

What Is New Thought?

“New Thought, as defined in the dictionary, is a modern spiritual philosophy stressing the power of right thinking in a person’s life, the idea that our thoughts and attitudes affect our experience and that God (or whatever other name a person might have for a Higher Power) is within the individual.

New Thought is a logical and scientifically based understanding and method of changing our experience by changing our thinking. New Thought is simple and easy to learn. It has a tradition that reaches back over one hundred years and is founded on principles that embrace many of the world religious and spiritual practices spanning thousands of years.

New Thought recognizes that human beings function on many levels: that the individual is a mental, spiritual, emotional and physical being. In realizing our fullness, our wholeness and maximizing our potential we are, in essence, finding fulfillment…..

New Thought teaches people tools, which put us on the path to fulfillment. The natural extension of this fulfillment is that as an individual’s life is better, their family’s life is better, their community’s life is better and this extends out across the planet”. (ANTN. Affiliated New Thought Network. http://www.newthought.org)

The Origins of New Thought: New Thought originated in part with an unschooled Maine clockmaker and inventor named Phineas Parkhurst Quimby, who believed that he had rediscovered the lost healing methods of Jesus. The loosely organized movement that began with him eventually became known as New Thought, and consisted of a number of independently developed branches such as Unity, Religious Science, and Divine Science. (New Thought: A Practical American Spirituality by C. Alan Anderson and Deborah G. Whitehouse. Chapter 1). However there were other influential people in the progress of New Thought… See Roots of Evil:

Teachers: Two of the best known teachers of New Thought today are Mary Manin Morissey (Living Enrichment Center, Wilsonville Oregon) (on television every Sunday morning) and Della Reese… co-leader of the organization called Upchurch, who has been showcased as a Christian Minister. (See related article [See Touched by an Angel].

New Thought And The Bible: New Thoughters superficially appears to be in tune with Christian doctrine by selectively quoting from the Bible, but a complete reading of the very Scriptures that they maintain forms their “primary textbook” would nullify all their claims. There is no intellectually honest way to carve up the documents according to ones own liking and philosophical preferences. There is overwhelming historical reliability of the extra-biblical and biblical source documents concerning the Bible and Jesus’ life. (See Section A Remarkable Book ).

The simple question could be asked… Whose word is more reliable? Those closest to Jesus who, walked with Jesus, were eyewitnesses, who signed their testimonies with their lifeblood, or those (like Quimby) who are often two thousand years removed from the events and have absolutely nothing to back up any of their claims or teachings? (See The Uniqueness of Jesus and Jesus Plain And Simple).

A ‘Metaphysical’ interpretation of the Bible is little more than an excuse not to respond to the demands of its message, and is often based on preconceived theories, which are themselves unproven or unproveable. (See Esotericism and Biblical Interpretation)

The frequent references to Scripture to back arguments, and the effort to show Jesus to be one with New Thought doctrine is dangerously deceptive. The sheep’s clothing on the outside hides a deeper and more sinister wolf, one that without doubt needs to be kept as far as possible from the pulpits of Christ. Below I have taken some of New Thought’s fundamental beliefs and weighed them against that which the Bible preaches, showing beyond doubt that the two are not only incompatible but are in fact adversaries.

Some New Thought Teachings

THERE ARE ABOUT 20 MORE NEW THOUGHT TEACHINGS AT THE LINK BELOW

New Thought is expressed in Romans 12:2, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” New Thoughters seek nothing less than total life transformation, empowerment through changing their thoughts and keeping them changed. The linchpin of New Thought is the Law of Mind Action: thoughts held in mind produce after their kind. (1)

Unfortunately this is a classic case of taking a verse completely taken out of context thereby altering the meaning.. “ Conversion and sanctification are the renewing of the mind; a change, not of the substance, but of the qualities of the soul. The progress of sanctification, dying to sin more and more, and living to righteousness more and more, is the carrying on this renewing work, till it is perfected in glory…. The work of the Holy Ghost first begins in the understanding, and is carried on to the will, affections, and conversation, till there is a change of the whole man into the likeness of God, in knowledge, righteousness, and true holiness”. (Matthew Henry. Emphasis Added)

Romans 12:2 is only a continuation of Romans 12:1 which says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service”.

Neither verse has anything to do with ‘empowerment through changing ones thoughts’ but a transformation from sin to righteousness.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

“New Thought is what all Christianity could have become if it had been able to avoid the stultifying tendencies needed to become a religion capable of competing with mystery religions for the title of official religion of the Roman Empire. It is what all Christianity could have become if it had allowed freedom of belief, concentrating on following the loving, healing example of Jesus rather than developing a rigid superstructure of teachings about Jesus”. . (1)

No one could show as much love and compassion for humans as the Lord did. Besides dying for us it is true that He healed many many people. However it is selective reading at its best to focus solely on His ‘loving, healing example’. He devoted more than half His parables to God’s eternal judgment on sin. “Of the twelve uses of the word gehenna (the strongest word for hell) in the New Testament, eleven come from the lips of Jesus himself! In fact, the Savior taught more about hell than He did about heaven! Of the more than 1850 verses recording the words of Christ, 13% pertain to the topics of judgment and hell. Of the 40 or so parables uttered by Jesus, more than half relate to God’s eternal judgment on sin. Surprisingly, the much beloved “Sermon on the Mount” contains some of Jesus’ most straightforward words about hell”. (Rick Rood) (See Section on Hell )

Additionally Jesus was a Jew, born to into a religious system that is perhaps one of the most structured and demanding in history. Nowhere in the Bible does it indicate that Jesus deviated from His commitments as a Jew; much to the contrary we see several examples of Jesus attending the Synagogue, participating the Passover rituals and regularly going to the Temple.

Not only did Jesus command His followers to keep the Old Testament law, He made it harder to do. A classic example of this is the Old Testament commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery”;

“Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”. (Mat 5:27-28)

“Fundamentalists might have difficulty with the idea that the only Power in the universe is good. New Thought teaches that evil is insubstantial, that it is only immature or misused good. The Devil is the invention of our minds, and goes as fast as he comes. When you walk into a dark room and turn on the light, the darkness vanishes; you don’t have to chase it away. (1)

In the light of such ‘philosophically profound’ belief I find myself at a loss for words. The misguided belief that good is the only force in the universe is indeed an interesting concept, especially when one takes into consideration the book of Job.

“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them. And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.” (Job 1:6-7)

Now according to new thought philosophy, God (the “good power”) Himself is not only having a conversation with ‘immature good’ or an ‘invention of His mind’ and asking where it has come from, but astonishingly, the “immature good” replies to God and says it has been walking to and fro in the earth. An amazing achievement for a thought. Surely God being God should have known that all He had to do was ‘turn a light on’.

There are even more example of the personification of the devil in the Bible … the most notable being …

“And when the tempter came to him, he said, if thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread … (Mat 4:11) then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.” (Mat 4:3-11)

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:’ (1Pet 5:8)

“Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” (Rev 2:10)

Is one truly expected to believe that the Devil is merely a wrong thought, when faced with the Bible’s indisputable evidence to the contrary? In the Matthew quotation the Devil comes to Jesus and speaks to Him, takes Him to the highest points of earth, tempts Him and eventually leaves Him; In the Peter quotation the Devil is referred to as a roaring lion that seeks to devour/destroy Christians; In the Revelation quotation the Devil casts Christians into prison and makes them suffer tribulation. Thoughts are not capable of roaming the earth, they are not capable of casting someone into prison and persecuting them, they are not capable of physically coming and going of their own accord and they are not a roaring lion (singular) that seeks to devour believers. One of the Devils greatest achievements is to make humanity believe that he does not exist, that he is merely a thought or an invention of the human subconscious, after all why fear that which does not exist… right? To that end New Thought philosophy is in perfect alignment with his strategy and to the believer at least is very dangerous.

The Bible was written by Oriental minds for Oriental minds, and most of it was never intended to be taken literally. Jesus cast out demons, which is to say in the language of today, that he straightened out people’s thinking; and our fear thoughts are demonic indeed”. (1)

The Bible itself contradicts this notion over and over again. The Gospel message contained in the Bible is essentially concerned with God’s future plans for the earth and for mankind. The Bible is the record of God’s continuing activity, centered in the work of His Son Jesus, and leading ultimately to man’s redemption. The Bible is the Word of Salvation, which draws a road map for humanity to come out of the world of sin and into harmony with the will of God. The Bible is God’s will and has a purpose to achieve and will not stop until it has achieved that purpose.

Isaiah 55:11 ‘So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.’

Furthermore God had every intention of the Gospel being spread through out the globe, a fact that clashes with the concept that the Bible was written by Orientals for the Oriental mind.

‘And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.’ (Matthew 24:14)

‘And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ (Mark 16:15)

“And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people.” (Revelation 14:6) All emphasis added.

God over and over again stressed to ancient Israel that they must keep His commandments, that the disobedience would bring the strictest punishment and that the wages of sin is death.

“Therefore shall ye keep my commandments, and do them: I am the LORD.” (Lev 22:31 )

“Ye shall diligently keep the commandments of the LORD your God, and his testimonies, and his statutes, which he hath commanded thee.” (Deut 6:17)

“But take diligent heed to do the commandment and the law, which Moses the servant of the LORD charged you, to love the LORD your God, and to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and to cleave unto him, and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Josh 22:5)

It would have been more than unfair of God to demand obedience to commandments that were ambiguous and hard to understand. God’s commandments were given very clearly and the people understood them perfectly, hence totally negating any possible argument that God’s Word is not to be taken literally. The Bible also comes with a very strict warning about the Scriptures, one that should be carefully considered before deciding to add ‘meaning’ to the recorded words …

“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.” (Deut 4:2 ‘)

Also see Scientific Facts In The Bible (For those who believe that the Bible is merely symbolic)

Casting out of demons: If Jesus’ casting out of demons was merely straightening out people’s thinking how did the herd of swine come into it? Did the persons wrong thoughts beg Jesus to send them into the swine who then proceeded to commit mass suicide? (Matt 8:28-33). Perhaps the swine’s wrong thinking was that they imagined they were lemmings.

Fear Thoughts: If our ‘fear thoughts’ are demonic I wonder what the Lord meant when He said

“The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge”:(Proverbs 1:7)

“The fear of the LORD prolongeth days” (Proverbs 10:27)

“…fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell”.(Matthew 10:28)

But New Thought does not concern itself with most religious doctrines. If the Virgin Birth literally happened, wonderful; if it didn’t, that’s fine, too. (1)

Of course New Thoughters do not concern themselves with religious doctrines… it does not serve their interests to do so. Christianity believes that Christ was the promised Messiah; a fact that depends heavily on His fulfilling ALL the prophesies of the Old Testament, including His being born to a virgin. Likewise Christianity rises or falls on the resurrection and should it be true that Jesus did rise from the dead then the implications are enormous. He is no longer the ‘way shower’ but Almighty God Himself. As C.S. Lewis once said “

“A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic – on the level with a man who says he is a poached egg – or he would be the devil of hell. You must take your choice. Either this was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us.” (‘Mere Christianity’) (See The Empty Tomb and The Resurrection)

If this is a universe of thought, then changing one’s thought changes the universe, at least a smidgin”. (1)

Reading this comment I had two thoughts… both interesting. The first is what would happen if a New Thoughter found himself/herself in the place of Job, standing before the thunderstorm and God spoke, saying

“Who is this who darkens counsel, by words without knowledge? Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding …” (Job 38:2-4).

Somehow I find it difficult to believe that even the greatest disciple of New Thought knows the treasury of snow or can send out lightning or restrict the sea to its boundaries. To believe that merely by thoughts man can change God’s eternal plan is not only dangerous and arrogant it also puts man on a collision course with the God of the Universe.

Secondly New Thoughters must have a very ugly vision in mind for the world. With the significant numbers of New Thoughters springing up worldwide surely this earth must be (by now) a mirror image of the sum of their thoughts. A beautiful place of crime, drugs, wars, violence and hate; a world that is rapidly spiraling out of control, on a one-way, nonstop track to Armageddon. Contrary to New Thought doctrine the condition of the world as it is today is a perfect fulfillment of Jesus’ prophesy of the end of times as told in the book of Matthew (Mat 24). See How Old Is Grandma?

http://www.inplainsite.org/html/new_thought.html