Posts Tagged 'false prosperity gospel'

A Gentle Reminder…

Ahhh…spring is in the air here in Atlanta.

The trees are budding new blooms, the weather is warming up nicely, the pollen is beginning to aggravate delicate sensibilities…

…and the pimps are tuning up their annual giving scams.

I’m starting to see some traffic from folks Googling “first fruit”, specifically those inquiring about the practice at a local church club, so I thought I’d provide a gentle reminder about the first fruit scam:

First Rotten Fruit

Every year between January and Easter, pulpit pimps begin to lick their chops as they look forward to flogging the sheep into giving to their absolute favorite pyramid scheme of the year – the “First Fruit offering.”

Unlike the tithe scam (where the pimp puts a gun to the back of your head every Sunday and Wednesday by threatening holy wrath upon you and your descendants for “robbing God”), the “First Fruit” scam is a 1 day cash windfall for the pimps.

Click the article’s title to read more – and keep reading your bible to avoid being taken in by dubious characters with even more dubious intentions.

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“They Like Newness…”

The title of this post is a statement recently made by a Pastor whose church is now in foreclosure – an explanation of the church’s attempt at attracting younger congregants. The statement is yet another indictment on the false prosperity gospel and the culture of greed and accumulation (and a little bit of seeker sensitivity thrown in for good measure). In addition to espousing the “God want’s everyone to be rich” mantra to their congregations, many pastors embraced that same philosophy in their attempt to build churches stadiums to attract worshippers customers – and hope that those folks would continue to feed the pig.

Interestingly enough, people who can barely pay their own bills don’t seem to eager to keep funding mega-building projects for others either:

Houses of God increasingly face foreclosure

FORT WASHINGTON, Md. – By the time thousands of parishioners stream into the 3,000-seat Ebenezer AME Church on Easter Sunday, church leaders hope to have something else to celebrate: financial revival.

The congregation, one of America’s largest, has been scrambling to raise funds to save the arena-sized sanctuary from potential foreclosure. To that end, it has enlisted national leaders, such as the Rev. Jesse Jackson and Harvard Law School’s Charles Ogletree, who was President Barack Obama’s law professor.

[…] Supercheap, few-questions-asked loans were a temptation even churches could not resist, but now they are paying for their mistakes as the debt crisis enters the house of God. Long considered among the safest of borrowers, churches gambled on real estate at a time when credit copiously flowed and lenders were startlingly lax.

And here’s a pearl of wisdom from the pastor’s statement that inspired this post:

“You build it and they will come. It really was true through the years,” said Brad Hampton, executive pastor at the Faith Center of Rockford, Ill. “They like newness,” he says of younger churchgoers.

Hampton’s megachurch was erecting a new sanctuary that could seat almost 2,000 when his lender refused further credit beyond an initial $4.2 million. The Faith Center, which also has a 48,000-square-foot “life center” that operates various ministries, is being foreclosed upon.

That’s right “pastor” – don’t proclaim the truth of the Gospel or succinctly explain the difference between eternal life through Christ and hopeless damnation without Him…just build pretty buildings to attract and keep the “they” you seek to entertain.

I still marvel that instead of concentrating on planting smaller churches throughout an area and committing to building disciples who will evangelize the Gospel, pastors sought (still seek?) to build monuments to their egos to attract seekers to marvel at their handy work. Their protestations rival the claims of Apple/AT&T’s claim that “there’s an App for that”: need something for your kids to do? We have a ministry for that. Need to lose weight? We have a ministry for that. So, that’s why they need huge arena’s and “family life centers” with their names emblazoned across the top…“to do ministry”.

God is continuing to expose waste and corruption purported in His Name, and I pray that we continue to discern and recognize the wheat and the chaff – and cling to Him instead of the material “stuff” we attribute to Him.

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Faithful Reprobates

 

Today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported on the doings of two faithful reprobates…Benny Hinn: 

Wife of televangelist Benny Hinn files for divorce 

ORANGE, Calif. — The wife of televangelist Benny Hinn has filed for divorce from the high-profile pastor, whose reputation as an advocate of prosperity gospel has attracted millions of followers and criticism from lawmakers and watchdog groups over his lavish lifestyle. 

Suzanne Hinn filed the papers in Orange County Superior Court on Feb. 1, citing irreconcilable differences, after more than 30 years of marriage. The papers note the two separated on Jan. 26 and that Hinn has been living in Dana Point, a wealthy coastal community in southern Orange County. 

…and Elton John: 

Elton John: Jesus was gay 

In an interview that’s sure to raise eyebrows in the Bible Belt and elsewhere, Elton John says he believes Jesus was gay. 

The part-time Atlantan made the comments in an interview for Parade magazine. The comments appear in the online version of the article, but do not appear in the version appearing in Sunday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. 

“I think Jesus was a compassionate, super-intelligent gay man who understood human problems,” John told Parade interviewer Dotson Rader. 

“On the cross, he forgave the people who crucified him,” John said. “Jesus wanted us to be loving and forgiving…. 

Hopefully (like me), you’re not shocked at these latest revelations from two men (and I use that term lightly in John’s case) who are clearly reprobates. Just as babies are expected to soil their diapers and toddlers are expected to whine and throw fits, unrepentant sinners are expected to blaspheme the name of the Lord and purport all manner of evil doing. 

It’s their job description, and they are faithful in their work: 

Romans 1:18-32 (English Standard Version) 

18For(A) the wrath of God(B) is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19For what can be(C) known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature,(D) have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they(E) became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22(F) Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23and(G) exchanged the glory of(H) the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.  24Therefore(I) God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to(J) the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for(K) a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator,(L) who is blessed forever! Amen.  26For this reason(M) God gave them up to(N) dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another,(O) men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.  

 28And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God,(P) God gave them up to(Q) a debased mind to do(R) what ought not to be done. 29They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, 30slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. 32Though they know(S) God’s decree that those who practice such things(T) deserve to die, they not only do them but(U) give approval to those who practice them. 

Clearly Paul is speaking of sexual immorality – particularly homosexuality in this condemnation (as is John’s crime), but one could extend Paul’s argument to general apostasy and heresy as well (regarding Hinn). Benny Hinn preaches a false prosperity gospel that promises health, wealth, happiness, and all manner of “good living” if one surrenders a weekly tax (and other required monetary offerings) to God. Hinn doesn’t preach salvation through Christ alone, he preaches salvation through works and deed. 

While some may snicker and applaud (soon to be former) Mrs. Hinn for runnin’ for the hills, I won’t gloat – but I will point out that this is another glaring example of how hollow the promises of the false prosperity gospel really are. From a local pimps prosperity claims while avoiding the tax man on his property, to false signs of outward prosperity that mask sexual perversion and abuse). 

Can either of these reprobates be helped? Absolutely! They must both repent for their deeds, and cling to God through Jesus Christ as their only hope for salvation. Will they? Only as the Lord wills. Either way – any serious Christian should avoid getting theological advice from either. 

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Congratulations, American Pulpit Pimps…

As I wrote about during my last post, the false prosperity gospel is one of the fastest growing imports from the USA (what a dubious distinction). This video stoked my righteous indignation (yet again) at the literal harm that Eddie Long, TD Jakes, Joel Osteen, Ken Copeland, and the legions of other hirelings are purporting on underdeveloped countries across the globe:

The Prosperity Gospel

The clowns have learned to mimic their American (and European) counterparts…down to the clown shoes and airy “anointing, sowing a seed, favor” speak. What really pisses me off (to be blunt) is to see people – who are literally clinging to hope –  give the little money they have to solicit a return on God based on the promise of a lying false teacher. These people truly believe that God will heal their crops and protect them from militias based on their giving.

So congratulations, American pulpit pimps – your influence really is a global phenomenon.

The next time you hear a prominent hireling preening and bragging about how he needs your dough to “take the Gospel into the jungles of Africa, and the deserts of the Middle East”, remember the faces of the hopeless people you saw in the video above. Give generously to legitimate ministries aiding people across the globe, but avoid the high-flying showboats AT ALL COST.

PLEASE remember what Paul said about the dangers of following “another gospel”:

Galatians 1:6-8 (New American Standard Bible)

6I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;

 7which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.

 8But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

Oh, let is be so God of Heaven and Earth – let it be so…

One Of The Fastest Growing U.S. Exports Is…

sowing

…the false gospel heretofore known as “the prosperity gospel”.

From Africa to Asia, across Europe and more – pastors are propagating, furthering, and deifying the false “pay to play” gospel of greed. The ignorant (or willfully deceptive) enslave millions of followers with promises of riches and favor untold if and when you “pay God”.

I’m a bit virulent in my open disdain for such lies – lies that I bought into (literally and figuratively) for years, but John Piper is a bit more plainly spoken, and well, reasonable about his thoughts on the matter:

John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel

John Piper – “Why I Abominate the Prosperity Gospel”

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Kenneth Copeland is a Degenerate Pulpit Pimp!!!

copeland devil

Sorry for such a blunt assessment, but I have been stoked (yet again) to righteous anger and indignation, thanks to more ungodly bastardization of the TRUE Gospel of Jesus Christ.

My goal is to provide more of the meat of the Word of God so that the counterfeits are glaringly apparent (Hebrews 5:12-14), but I have to call a degenerate pimp out when he (or she) tries to pass off evil as good.

Such is the case with the unrepentant vile wolf Kenneth Copeland:

Investing in the gospel of getting rich

FORT WORTH – Onstage before thousands of believers weighed down by debt and economic insecurity, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland and their all-star lineup of “prosperity gospel” preachers delighted the crowd with anecdotes about the luxurious lives they had attained by following the Word of God.

Private airplanes and boats. A motorcycle sent by an anonymous supporter. Vacations in Hawaii and cruises in Alaska. Designer handbags. A ring of emeralds and diamonds.

“God knows where the money is, and he knows how to get the money to you,” preached Mrs. Copeland, dressed in a crisp pants ensemble like those worn by C.E.O.’s.

Even in an economic downturn, preachers in the “prosperity gospel” movement are drawing sizable, adoring audiences. Their message — that if you have sufficient faith in God and the Bible and donate generously, God will multiply your offerings a hundredfold — is reassuring to many in hard times.

The preachers barely acknowledged the recession, though they did say it was no excuse to curtail giving. “Fear will make you stingy,” Mr. Copeland said.

As I sit here fighting my “false teacher/pulpit pimp/degenerate wolf” gag-reflex that vipers like Copeland trigger, I am continually saddened and angered that people still follow these morally bankrupt charlatans. As I’ve stated in many previous articles, the “Prosperity Gospel” has been rendered false LONG AGO – if you still “live in lack” after “sowing” even $1 to these fools, then you have proven them to be LIARS! Come on people, they tell you that God is going to bless you if you pay them, yet you still chase behind them throwing money – and you get poorer as THEY GET RICHER!

Stories like this make me want to move to the mountains and just wait for the Apocalypse:

Sitting in Section 316, eight rows up, making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on a Bible at lunch time, was a family who could explain the enduring loyalty the prosperity preachers inspire.

Stephen Biellier, a long-distance trucker from Mount Vernon, Mo., said he and his wife, Millie, came to the convention praying that this would be “the overcoming year.” They are $102,000 in debt, and the bank has cut off their credit line, Mrs. Biellier said.

They say the Copelands rescued them from financial failure 23 years ago, when they bought their first truck at 22 percent interest and had to rebuild the engine twice in a year.

Around that time, Mrs. Biellier first saw Mr. Copeland on television and began sending him 50 cents a week.

Others who bought trucks from the same dealer in Joplin that year went under, the Bielliers said, but they did not.

“We would have failed if Copeland hadn’t been praying for us every day,”Mrs. Biellier said.

What the…..? There has to be a hidden camera somewhere trying to capture my incredulous reaction to this crap, because these folks can’t be serious…can they?

Let me make sure I understand this correctly: You almost failed financially 23 years ago until Kenny Boy “rescued” you through “prayer” (to whom, I wonder…). So you start sending Kenny Boy 50 cents each week (which is roughly $600 today), and now you’re in the hole to the tune of $102,000…AND YOU’RE BACK AGAIN?

Was there no evaluation of spending – or even debt counseling IN 23 YEARS? If Kenny Boy really prayed for your prosperity, wouldn’t you “still” be prosperous now? Either Kenny is a false teaching liar, or God is a liar – and we KNOW GOD DOES NOT LIE (Numbers 23:19).

So these folks sit in the nosebleed section of an arena – making peanut butter sandwiches for Christ’s sake – waiting for another “miracle”.

But wait – there’s more to this story…and this almost made me throw my laptop across the room:

The Bielliers were at the convention a few years ago when a supporter made a pitch for people to join an “Elite CX Team” to raise money to buy the ministry a Citation X airplane. (Mr. Copeland is an airplane aficionado who got his start in ministry as a pilot for Oral Roberts.) At that moment, Mrs. Biellier said she heard the voice of the Holy Spirit telling her, “You were born to support this man.”

She gave $2,000 for the plane, and recently sent $1,800 for the team’s latest project: buying high-definition television equipment to upgrade the ministry’s international broadcasts.

Mrs. Biellier said some friends and relatives would say the preacher just wanted their money. She explained that the Copelands did not need the money for themselves; it is for their ministry. And besides, even “trashy people like Hugh Hefner” have private airplanes.

“I remember Copeland had to once fly halfway around the world to talk to one person,” she said. “Because we’re partners with Kenneth Copeland, for every soul that gets saved, we get credit for that in heaven.”

That’s it – I can’t type anymore. I am officially DONE!

Read the rest of the story if you dare. Don’t bother praying for Copeland and other degenerates who spit in God’s face by placing millstones of debt around their necks (See Jeremiah 7, Jeremiah 11, and Jeremiah 14 for full context).

Pray for the decieved, that (God willing) they would repent of their desires of the flesh and the lust for “material prosperity”. And pray that the next would-be wolf will be convicted while there is still time for he or she to repent.

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First Rotten Fruit

rotten-fruit

Every year between January and Easter, pulpit pimps begin to lick their chops as they look forward to flogging the sheep into giving to their absolute favorite pyramid scheme of the year – the “First Fruit offering.”

Unlike the tithe scam (where the pimp puts a gun to the back of your head every Sunday and Wednesday by threatening holy wrath upon you and your descendants for “robbing God”), the “First Fruit” scam is a 1 day cash windfall for the pimps. Before I go any further, I invite you to watch two brief videos (courtesy of  spirituallysound) featuring “Pretty” Paula White – the original Florida Gator – pimping with wreckless abandon. These videos are from 2008, but you can surely believe that the same hollow lie is being perpetuated in churches across the country today:

Paula White’s “First Fruit” Scam!

(breathe in…breathe out…breathe in the good…breathe out the bad)

Like Pretty Paula, many pimps want you to give them “your increase” (a day’s salary, a week’s salary, or a month’s salary) so that God will “protect your crops for the remainder of the year” – and they always start off with a poor exegesis of Proverbs 3:9 as justification. However (and, as always) when you read Proverbs 1, 23, 4 and so on, you’ll see that the proverbs are (essentially) the letters of a father to a son extolling the virtue of knowledge, wisdom, insight into his royal court, instructions on relationship and correction. The Proverbs were written as “wisdom literature”, designed to produce meditation on God, and they should be read thoroughly and in context in order to see the deeper truth contained therein.

The Proverbs (in particular) are not “legal guarantees” from God (e.g “honor the Lord with the first fruit…so shall your barns be filled…) – they are written in hyperbolic language, based on the whole truth of the Old Testament. The entire Proverbs (all 31 chapters) are a very interesting read, but they are challenging, particularly because of the nature of wisdom literature (veiled understanding that must be studied thoroughly, hyperbole, etc). Further, the Proverbs are essentially “sayings” as opposed to direct Law given by God to Moses and the children of Israel. 

Having said that, let’s start at the very beginning (where the pimps don’t dare tread)…the first fruit offering was initiated in Leviticus:

Leviticus 23:9-14 (New American Standard Bible)

9Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,

 10“Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and (A)reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest.

 11‘He shall wave the sheaf before the LORD for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it.

 12‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering to the LORD.

 13‘Its (B)grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a [a]hin of wine.

 14‘Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, (C)you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.

…and further detailed in Deuteronomy:

Deuteronomy 26:1-10 (New American Standard Bible)

 1“Then it shall be, when you enter the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance, and you possess it and live in it,

 2that you shall take some of (A)the first of all the produce of the ground which you bring in from your land that the LORD your God gives you, and you shall put it in a basket and (B)go to the place where the LORD your God chooses to establish His name.

 3“You shall go to the priest who is in office at that time and say to him, ‘I declare this day to the LORD my God that I have entered the land which the LORD swore to our fathers to give us.’

 4“Then the priest shall take the basket from your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

 5“You shall answer and say before the LORD your God, ‘(C)My father was a wandering Aramean, and he went down to Egypt and sojourned there, (D)few in number; but there he became a (E)great, mighty and populous nation.

 6‘And the (F)Egyptians treated us harshly and afflicted us, and imposed hard labor on us.

 7‘Then (G)we cried to the LORD, the God of our fathers, and the LORD heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression;

 8(H)and the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and wonders;

 9and He has brought us to this place and has given us this land, (I)a land flowing with milk and honey.

 10‘Now behold, I have brought the first of the produce of the ground (J)which You, O LORD have given me.’ And you shall set it down before the LORD your God, and worship before the LORD your God;

First fruits are mentioned in the New Testament, but only symbolically; new converts were referred to as “first fruits” in the early Church because they were often the first followers of Christ in their communities (Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:15). However, Paul and James made it explicitly clear that Christ was a type of first fruit for those of us in the faith (1 Corinthians 15:20; James 1:18).  There is no mention of cash or money in regards to the biblical principle of first fruit (see every reference to “first fruit” or “first fruits” in Nave’s Topical Bible). Under the Law, sacrifices (animal, grain, burnt offerings, etc.) were required by God for the forgiveness of sin and for “covering” or “blessing” (Genesis 3:21; Genesis 4:4-5; Genesis 8:20-21; Genesis 22:10-13; Leviticus 4:35; Leviticus 5:10).

Jesus Christ became the final Passover Lamb when He shed His Reedeming Blood for His elect, rendering these ceremonial sacrifices moot, null, and void (John 1:29; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:5-6). There is no need or reason for ANY CHRISTIAN to “sacrifice” or present “sacrificial offerings” in a mock ceremony. The sad reality is that these hirelings  (who have already spiritually molested you with the tithe, convincing you that God is moved by your money) now tell you that your “crops” need to be “blessed”, otherwise you’ll meet all manner of financial calamity and the “devourer” will wreak havoc over your finances.

“So, passa, bishop, apostle, evangelist Smith…how can I be assured that God is going to make my crops reap a huge harvest this year” you ask? They can barely hide their delight when they reply “You have to give a first fruit offering  – the first and best of your harvest – so that God will cover you for the remainder of the year!”. Next thing you know, the hireling is standing before the congregation in his best ceremonial frock with a huge basket (full of your money), declaring that he’s going to “wave the heave offering (another sacrifice of grain that was rendered moot) over the congregation so that God will be pleased with our sacrifice”.

What you don’t know is that your “special offering” to (essentially) get God off your back is actually a windfall cash payment to your hireling – a payment that he’s been waiting for since he took it from you the previous year. Sure, you may be told that “this offering is going to programs in the church”, and you don’t even question it when those same “programs” require a payment from you if you want to participate in them (sound familiar, lemmings of the Pimp of Hampton’s club?). Your pimps love of cash and material things has created an insatiable lust for stuff that is no longer satisfied by the consumption of even more cash:

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 (New American Standard Bible)

10(A)He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

 11(B)When good things increase, those who consume them increase. So what is the advantage to their owners except to look on?

I know for a fact that the “first fruit offering” goes directly to the pimp as a love offering, so don’t attempt to defend your pimp’s money grab here. And even if the “first fruit offering” was used for “benevolence”, it was taken from you in the guise of a lie because (yet again) your hireling doesn’t trust you to give from your heart (2 Corinthians 9:7) – you must be threatened and cajoled. Further, some churches even move the date of the collection of the “first fruit” during the months of January through April. If this was a mandatory offering (mandated and honored by God), then don’t you think God would clearly say so (in His Word), something like: “My Bishops/Apostles/Pastors/Shepherds et al shall collect a first fruit offering on My behalf on the 3rd Sunday of January”.

Even further, I find it curious that these vipers will put a pistol to your head for (at least) two Old Testament customs (that NEVER EVER EVER APPLIED TO YOU), yet they overlook every other animal sacrifice, (real) grain offering, etc. The next time your pimp wants a “sacrificial first fruit offering”, then throw a New York strip steak or a bushel of oranges on his “altar” – and see what he does then.

Folks, I implore you from the bottom of my heart to flee these lying, wicked, vile, covetous, desperate pulpit pimps and degenerate hustlers. They wouldn’t get within spitting distance of you were it not for their profane lust for your money – that’s why they can dismiss you with no impunity when you remove their hands from your pockets.

Those of you who have paid (or are paying) into these money scams because your pimp has convinced you that God doesn’t even see you unless you have money in your hand, you need to repent of your fleshly desire to gain favor and material things from God. Jesus paid the sacrifice for you already, and God is not a slot machine.

If you truly love the Lord and are earnestly seeking to be transformed into the Image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2), then please get away from these money-grubbing thieves before they cause you to question your faith when you see that you (and them) aren’t prospering as they promised you would.

If you are a hireling that knowingly participates in and perpetuates this first fruit scam (among other parlor tricks) then you still have time to repent before the Lord, renounce your wickedness, and seek restoration through Jesus Christ. Now is the hour, because you do not know what tomorrow holds for you.

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