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Archive for the ‘Doctrine of Balaam’ Category

It pretty much tells you what “Mr. Schuller” is about when he thinks “ministry” is about his family being “owed millions”

from The Los Angeles Times:

Dressed in a crisp black suit, the 86-year-old founder of the Crystal Cathedral sat in the downtown Los Angeles Bankruptcy Court on Thursday, hoping to get a final few million from the ministry that once carried his booming sermons to people around the world.

The Rev. Robert H. Schuller was in court on the first day of what is expected to be a 10-day trial to settle the monetary claims that were made during the 2010 bankruptcy of the ministry, which is the home of “Hour of Power,” its trademark television show.

If the claims — estimated to be in the millions of dollars — are paid to the family, it could seriously jeopardize the future of Crystal Cathedral Ministries, Chief Executive John Charles said.

“If they pay everything they are asked, then there will be no money for the cathedral,” he said Thursday.

Schuller was accompanied by his wife, Arvella, daughter Carol Milner and son-in-law Timothy Milner, who also have asked for compensation. They are set to testify Friday.

The four allege that Crystal Cathedral Ministries owes them for copyright infringement, intellectual property violations and unpaid contracts.

The family’s claims have delayed about $12.5 million in payments to other creditors. Because the case has dragged on so long, many of the church vendors have sold their claims to companies that buy debt.

The ministry, founded in 1955 with a mere $500, grew to international prominence. At one point, the audience for its television show was estimated to stand at 20 million.

So influential was Schuller that he was routinely sought out by political leaders. In 1997 he had breakfast with President Clinton, and that night Clinton quoted Schuller in his State of the Union address.

Schuller said in court documents that he once counted celebrities such as John Wayne, Frank Sinatra, Lucille Ball and Johnny and June Cash as friends.

As his fame increased, his ministry became known for its extravagant Christmas pageants, which featured flying angels and live farm animals. Schuller said in court documents that he was the church’s main fundraiser.

A central element of the case is a transition agreement between Schuller and his wife and the church, which guaranteed them compensation in their later years.

Schuller claims that he allowed the ministry to use the family’s intellectual property, but that the ministry began to exploit his work in ways that he had “never contemplated” such as by selling recordings of him online.

“We did not understand it,” Schuller said in a court document, referring to the Internet. “I have never and would never give CCM consent to use my intellectual property in ways that I could not understand.”

Attorneys for the ministry allege that the family treated the church as their own personal treasure chest, rather than a nonprofit corporation.

“As the money flowed in, Dr. and Mrs. Schuller doled out to themselves, their children and their spouses lavish compensation and perquisites that were either completely gratuitous or wholly disproportionate to the services that they were purportedly providing to the debtor,” ministry attorneys said in a court filing.

When church income began to decline in the early 2000s, the family “failed to change their ways” and continued to raid the “charitable purse,” a filing said.

From 1993 to 2010, four family members received compensation totaling more than $12.7 million. When the ministry filed for bankruptcy in 2010 with more than $50 million in debt, 20 relatives were being paid a total of more than $1.9 million a year, filings indicate.

In November 2011, the church was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange in a bankruptcy deal. The ministry is scheduled to move to a nearby Garden Grove church next summer.

When Schuller exited the courtroom Thursday, he appeared to be in good spirits.

“Thank you all very much,” he told the opposing attorneys with a smile.

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This is the “ROTTEN FRUIT” of TBN, Daystar  . . . .

I saw it a few years ago when I was in South Africa

from A Letter from Kabwata:

We all know that the dark ages are upon us again here in Africa. It is almost like a dark blanket that is slowly surrounding the land. People who know absolutely nothing of the core values of evangelical Christianity—the new birth, repentance and saving faith, justification and holiness, etc.—have hijacked evangelical Christianity in Africa. Even the term “born again” is being peddled without an iota of the meaning that Jesus had in mind when he used the phrase in his talk with Nicodemus. These are dark days indeed.

Once upon a time in Zambia, in the 1970s and early 1980s, you could go to very much any English-speaking evangelical church on Sunday and expect to attend a Bible study and hear faithful preaching of God’s word. You may have been a little uncomfortable with some aspects of their worship. You may have also disagreed with some doctrinal assumptions during the preaching. However, you could not miss the fact that here was a sincere effort at arriving at the meaning of the text of Scripture and applying it to the hearers—both in the Bible studies and the sermons. You also heard an appeal for repentance towards God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. They may not have dotted your “i”s and crossed your “t”s as you do, but you still went home edified.

That is now very rare. In most so-called evangelical churches in Zambia today, there are no Bible studies and you cannot last to the end of their worship service if what you went for was spiritual edification. How many of our people are being drawn to churches primarily because they have been falsely promised to be cured of AIDS, get promotion at work, get more money, etc.? How many of our people are giving stashes of cash to so-called servants of God who are in fact nothing more than religious fraudsters? How many of our people now think that worship is dancing to very loud music that competes favourably with the rhumba maestros of the Congo? How many of our preachers think that preaching is shouting nice sounding platitudes through a microphone at the top of their voice with an American or Nigerian accent? This is what church has become.

I liken this delusion to the days prior to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. People flooded the churches but it was all for the wrong reasons. They were deceived and spellbound by a priest craft that claimed abilities they did not have but which the people craved after. Superstition reigned supreme in the church. The people were poor but they were promised various blessings if they could only give their remaining money to the church. Out of these funds majestic church edifices were built and the church’s top leadership lived like kings and princes. Is this not what is happening in the name of evangelical Christianity today? Or am I the only one who is seeing these things?

The result of all this is that we have “Protestant” churches on literally every street but the evangelical faith is totally absent. In fact these churches have become dens of iniquity. Church pastors are impregnating young girls in their churches, getting them to abort, agreeing with their parents not to spill the beans for some undisclosed huge amounts of hush-money, and their spouses and church leaders know about all this. As the pulpit has gone, so has gone the pew. Hardly anyone is thirsting and hungering after righteousness. Immoral living is rife. Church discipline is rare. Those who know about this rottenness are looking at the church from outside and pinching their nostrils in disgust. We have the numbers alright but the salt has lost its saltiness—and we know it.

Come on; let us be honest. We all know that the so-called prosperity gospel, which is in vogue in evangelicalism today, is heresy. We all know that the only guys becoming stinking rich are the preachers to whom the blind followers are giving their money. The followers themselves are still in abject poverty. It is nothing but religious fraud. We also all know that 99% of the claims to physical healing by our faith healers are false. We all have relatives who would be alive today if they had not been told they were cured and so should not take medication for their sickness. These men are murderers. This is not Conrad Mbewe being malicious and making up stories. These are all well-known facts.

The tragedy is not that all this is happening. The disaster is the silence about all this from those who are supposed to provide spiritual guidance to the masses. In Zambia, and in Africa at large, evangelical leaders who have worked their way up the ecclesiastical ladder are holding hands with religious fraudsters and thus they cannot speak about this engulfing evil. They would rather throw stones at political leaders out there than address the Trojan horse within evangelicalism. They would rather tell the world to stop being worldly than tell those who are raping the church from within to stop it. And yet in the light of this spiritual tsunami, the silence is criminal.

The problem with this current silence is that the younger generation who are coming into evangelical circles now think that what they are seeing is a viable and alternative form of evangelical Christianity when it is not. They have no clue that only recently believers got together in church for serious Bible study, that worship had dignity and awe, and that sermons were Bible-based, Christ-centred, and aimed at spiritual conversion. Due to our silence, our upcoming preachers are seeing filling your church membership roll with goats rather than sheep and driving expensive cars at the expense of poor parishioners as the sign of pastoral success. They have no clue that it was only recently when pastors stood out in society for their true godly servanthood. Today’s evangelical leaders are misleading a whole generation of innocent souls by their silence.

In the days of the prophet Malachi, religion in Israel had reached its lowest ebb. The Temple was still full of activity—with all kinds of sacrifices being offered at the altar. Yet, the true worship of God was dying. Those who came to the place of worship were defrauding God and the priests were allowing this. Men were unfaithful to their wives and divorcing at will, and the priests kept quiet about it. God finally put the blame where it ought to have been—at the feet of the priests. He said, “The lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts. But you have turned aside from the way” (Malachi 2:7-8). God finally wanted them to just shut the Temple doors and send everyone away! Their silence misrepresented him. They did not care that his greatness was obscured.

Once upon a time, a generation of God’s people saw spiritual decay and said, “Enough is enough!” and out of this protest was born the Protestant Reformation. In yet another generation, when liberalism had invaded the Protestant church and was killing its very life, a generation of God’s people again said, “Enough is enough!” and out of that protest was born the Evangelical movement of the 18th century. In the light of the darkness that is once again upon us, with churches becoming no more than witchdoctors’ dens, is it not time for today’s evangelicals to say, “Enough is enough”? How can we be silent in the light of this engulfing darkness? Surely, our evangelical silence must be criminal.

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“fleecing the flock” for his own material enrichment!

from The New York Observer:

You can watch Creflo Dollar and his wife Taffi spreading the Word of God on TV seven days a week, but one place you won’t see the televangelists any more is at their 25 Columbus Circle condo.

The Dollars, preachers of the prosperity gospel and leaders of Georgia-based World Changers Church, have sold the two-bedroom condo on the 67th floor of the Time Warner Center for $3.75 million, according to city records.

The two bedroom condo, listed with broker Tytus Ciechorski at CMB Realty, doesn’t look as opulent as we’d expected for a couple that motors around in not one, but two Rolls Royces, but then again, it is a pied-a-terre. And while the rooms are boxy and kind of meh, the views are stunning and the address is swanky.

The Dollars—and yes that is their real name—have been expanding their foothold in New York over the last half-decade, holding services at jumbo venues like Madison Square Garden, Sheraton New York Hotel & Towers, the Hilton, Manhattan Center, the New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge, Tribeca Performing Arts Center and the Javits Center. There were even rumors that Mr. Dollar had his eye on buying the Kingsbridge Armory for a mega-church.

Although Mr. Dollar has taken some heat over pricey possessions like private jets and a million-dollar Atlanta home—Congress is probing the non-profit status of World Changers and several other major televangelists—his followers have hailed such opulence as signs that Mr. Dollar is living the prosperity gospel that he preaches.

And the condo, although it sold under the $4.15 million ask to buyers Carl and Elyse Eckhaus, still proved a nice investment for the Dollars, who bought it for only $2.48 million in 2005. Yet another example of Mr. Dollar’s talent for turning godliness into gold!

We wondered if the sale might mean that the Dollars are abandoning the stronghold of sin and unholiness that is New York. But World Changers insists that the Dollars are here to stay.

“We will always have a church in New York!” exclaimed one of the faithful when she was reached on the phone.

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The sad False prophet Todd Bentley saga continues! And what is STILL very apparent is that nothing is EVER addressed or spoken of about his anti-Biblical Theology. IT WAS ALL JUST ABOUT ADULTRY!

Bill Johnson stated in his endorsement that a prophet had prophesied the revival, yet also prophesied it would collapse if Bentley didn’t address personal issues.

But of course someone prophesied this and we are only hearing about it NOW AFTER the fact!

What really makes me ill about these guys who CALL THEMSELVES Prophets, is their utter arrogance and total disregard for God’s Word!

These men ARE NOT PROPHETS OF GOD. They are Profit$ who prophesy from their own belly! God has not sent them!

from The Examiner:

On August 17, 2011, Pastor Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, California, publicly endorsed the ministry of Todd Bentley.  Bentley was the main leader of the Lakeland Revival, also known as the Florida Outpouring or Florida Healing Outpouring that began on April 2, 2008 when he held a series of meetings at Ignited Church, led by Pastor Stephen Strader in Lakeland, Florida.  The services were aired nightly on the Internet and through God TV and drew more than 400,000 attendees.

An investigative report regarding the revival was aired by ABC’s Nightline in June 2008.  Several days after the airing of the report, Todd Bentley stepped down from the revival.  He later admitted to having an affair with one of his Fresh Fire staff members and proceeded to undergo a period of restoration under Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries.  Bentley and his wife, Shonnah Bentley, divorced and he later married the woman whom he had the affair with: Jessa Bentley.  Due to the number of testimonies that occurred throughout the revival, yet the differences that noticeably set the Florida Outpouring apart from revivals of the past, such as Bentley’s method for praying over people and the lack of regular, nightly altar calls for salvation, the Christian church quickly split over the revival.  To this day, many refer to the Lakeland Revival by derogatory names such as the “Fakeland Revival” and view Bentley as a sham.  Bill Johnson, however, addressed Bentley’s past failings and has endorsed his ministry saying that Bentley is restored.

Bill Johnson stated in his endorsement that a prophet had prophesied the revival, yet also prophesied it would collapse if Bentley didn’t address personal issues.  Johnson said he had worked previously with Bentley.  He stated, “Before the Lakeland Revival, I had not only worked with Todd in ministry but also met with him, along with some of the core staff from Fresh Fire Ministry, to help him in the broken areas of his marriage.   He was advised to cut back on ministry and get help.  He did as was requested.

“Fast forward: I was assured that there was great improvement in the Bentley marriage.  Todd started to travel again with great breakthrough anointing.  Lakeland actually started fairly soon after his return to travel.  The outpouring happened exactly as had been prophesied.  Interestingly, after some time in the revival, the same prophet who had prophesied the revival also warned of its collapse if Todd’s personal issues weren’t addressed properly.”

During the time of the revival a number of well known pastors, journalists, evangelists and ministers spoke publicly against what was happening.  Benny Hinn issued a video series against the revival.  Others who vocalized concerns about the move included Rodney Howard-Browne and writer for Charisma Magazine, J. Lee Grady.  Andrew Strom, founder of Revival School, wrote a book about the revival and maintained a regular list where he spoke against the move as a counterfeit, fake revival.  Benny Hinn issued a teaching called “Freedom from Deceptive Revival,” where he referred to the move as false and even demonic.

In the message, Benny Hinn specifically stated, “There was a revival recently in Florida that was not a true revival- was not a true revival.  It was not a move of God and thousands of people flew from all over the world believing that God is in it.  (Fast forward to 3:01 in this Benny Hinn video  )  Hinn likened Bentley to a false prophet with signs and wonders that would deceive many.  He continued to warn that signs and wonders occur in the demonic realm as well.

J. Lee Grady wrote frequently about the revival and wrote one piece titled “Strange Fire in the House of God” that immediately spoke about angel worship that that took place during Bentley’s ministry.  In his article he stated, “During the Lakeland Revival last year in Florida, a man from Germany took the stage and claimed that an angel walked into a restaurant while he was eating a hamburger, took his intestines out and replaced them with a gold substance.  Others have testified that angels took them to heaven and operated on them.   And many are claiming that angels are dropping feathers, gold dust and precious gems on worshippers.

“I know God can do anything.   He can make an iron axe head float, hide a coin in a fish’s mouth and use a little boy’s lunch to feed a multitude.  Those were genuine miracles that He can still do today.  But we still have to use caution here.  There are counterfeits.  If we promote a false miracle or a false angel in the Lord’s house, we are participating in strange fire.”

Videos from the revival showing Bentley punching a man with stage four cancer in the stomach as a method of “laying on of hands” for healing went viral causing numerous bloggers and lay people to question Bentley’s teachings, method and ministry.

Additionally, the move would report night after night testimonies of resurrections from the dead but when Nightline interviewed the ministers, no one could verify any of the claims.  Todd Bentley has largely been absent from public ministry except for supervised meetings under the heading of Rick Joyner.  As Bill Johnson’s endorsement suggests, this is about to change.

Speaking of Bentley’s submission to Rick Joyner, Johnson states, “Rick called me a while back saying that he wanted to start to use Todd in ministry in a safe place.  The safe place idea was for Todd’s sake.  The perfect setting for this is, of course, Morningstar Ministry. This is where Rick could observe and monitor Todd’s progress, or, on the other hand, see areas that need attention.  Rick has told me many times how encouraged he has been with Todd’s personal transformation as well as some positive changes in ministry.

“The next step has been to release Todd to minister with trusted friends who could benefit from and help in the process of Todd’s restoration.  This is in process right now, and the fruit has been good.  I have now ministered with Todd in both settings, Morningstar and at a conference in Texas.  It was good to see Todd in ministry again. He handled himself well and functioned under great anointing, and much more out of “rest.”  The fruit of the ministry was very good.

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Yeah thats the “Bishop” in the juvenile texting photo below!

from CBS NEWS:

Bishop Eddie Long, the outspoken Atlanta mega-church pastor who was accused of coercing four young men into sexual relationships and later settled the case out of court, could have faced more allegations from a fifth victim, according to a report.

Fox station WAGA-TV reported Wednesday evening that the fifth accuser, 22-year-old Centino Kemp, never officially filed a lawsuit, but confronted lawyers about his relationship with the pastor during recent settlement negotiations.

A lawyer close to the case confirmed with the station of Kemp’s involvement, but claimed he was “different from the other young men” which made the case “more difficult.” 

Kemp told reporters that he met the pastor during a visit to his megachurch when he was a teenager. According to WAGA-TV, Kemp has a tattoo on his wrist with Long’s name along with the words, “Never a Mistake, Always a Lesson.” 

Long chose not to fight the sexual allegation in court and instead reached a settlement and paid off the four young men who accused him of using his power to influence them into sexual relationships with him, reports CBS affiliate WGCL. 

WAGA-TV reported that Kemp was also involved in the final settlement. 

Long is a father of four who has been an outspoken opponent of gay marriage, and his church has counseled gay members to become straight. His empire was threatened in September when several men claimed he abused his spiritual authority and used cars, jewelry and cash to lure them into trysts when they were 17 and 18.

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from Got Questions:

The term “televangelist” has almost universally negative overtones. Typical responses from people who are asked what they think about televangelists include the following: dishonest, greedy, materialistic, wasteful, and scandalous. The sight of televangelists wearing overly expensive clothing and jewelry, living in ridiculously expensive homes, and driving the most luxurious of cars, has caused many people to turn away from faith in Christ. Even non-Christians can discern that the teachings and lifestyles of most televangelists are antithetical to the teachings of Jesus Christ.

There is nothing inherently wrong with televangelism. Television, just like any other medium (such as radio or the internet), is simply one way to get the gospel of Jesus Christ out into the world. There are many godly Christian leaders who use television to advance the gospel. Television is not the cause of the problems in televangelism. The problem in televangelism is the unbiblical beliefs of many televangelists. While television itself is not the problem, it does contribute to the problem in that it is far more difficult to discern a wolf in sheep’s clothing on a television screen than it is to discern such an individual through careful, in-person investigation. Television makes it easier for a facade of godliness and life-changing ministry to be presented, when behind the scenes, all that is truly occurring is a fleecing of unsuspecting sheep.

The core cause of many televangelist scandals is the belief commonly known as the health-wealth gospel. Televangelists are the primary propagators of the idea that it is always God’s will for all Christians to be perfectly healthy and financially wealthy. The essential message of the health-wealth gospel is that if you give money, God is obligated to bless you with health and wealth. If you give money, but are not blessed with health and wealth, you either did not give enough money, or do not have enough faith to truly receive the blessing. In this, health-wealth televangelists encourage people to give large sums of money, while preemptively explaining why the people are not blessed with health and wealth as they were promised.

Also known as the “prosperity gospel,” it is decidedly unbiblical. Yes, the Bible encourages believers to give (1 Corinthians 16:2; 2 Corinthians 9:6). And yes, the Bible teaches that those who give generously will be blessed by God (Luke 6:38; 2 Corinthians 9:7). However, the Bible does not teach that we should give SO THAT we will be blessed. The Bible teaches that we should give because we love God and want to thank Him for what He has given us. Our motive for giving should not be so that God will bless us in return. Rather, our motive for giving should be to glorify God and to share the blessings He has given, thereby further expanding His kingdom and promoting the message of the gospel. The message, focus, and motive of the health-wealth televangelists are clearly unbiblical.

While it is always wrong to motivate giving by unbiblical methods, it would at least be somewhat understandable if these televangelists used the money for godly purposes. Sadly, that is most definitely not the case. It is utterly ridiculous to think that it is God’s desire for televangelists to spend the money donated for their ministry on mansions, while there are hundreds of languages into which not even a portion of the Bible has been translated. It is offensive for televangelists to drive cars that, if sold, could feed a starving African village for months. It is abhorrent that televangelists own clothing outfits that cost more than the average family can afford to spend on clothing in an entire year. To those who have been offended by the many televangelist scandals, please understand this – those televangelists do not represent the Christian faith and they are not following either Jesus’ teachings or His example. Televangelist scandals have truly “given occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme” (2 Samuel 12:14).

While it is inconceivable that anyone could truly study the Bible and come away with a belief in the health-wealth gospel that many televangelists espouse, it is possible that some televangelists genuinely believe their message is true, biblical, right, and good. However, whether he believes it or whether he is intentionally and knowingly attempting to fleece people, the result is the same: people are deceived, robbed, and hurt.

To those Christians who have been deceived and hurt by televangelist scandals: please do not let your experience with televangelists cloud your relationship with Jesus Christ. Study God’s Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and you will see the true message of the gospel. To those non-Christians for whom televangelism is a reason for your rejection of the Christian faith: do not reject faith in Jesus Christ due to the lies, deceptions, ungodly teachings, and unholy lifestyles of the televangelists. Examine God’s Word for yourself, and if you are to reject the true gospel, at least reject it for what it truly is.

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“What people wanted from Jesus 2000 years ago is exactly what they want from Him today: Happiness, health, material blessings, problem solving, ego boosting, political dominion, in short – heaven on earth.”

from Herescope:

Part 1: Self-Centeredness

By Pastor Anton Bosch

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
For men shall be lovers of their own selves,…”
(1 Timothy 3:1-2a) [emphasis added]

We seldom take notice, when things change very slowly. I am sure you know the story (probably an urban legend) that if you threw a frog in a pot of boiling water, it would immediately jump out of the water, but if it is put into the pot when the water is cold and the water is gradually heated, it will stay there until it is dead.

The Gospel in the western world has gradually been changed over the past 50 (or more) years so that what is believed to be the gospel today is no longer the true Gospel but a false gospel which differs substantially and dramatically from the true Gospel. But because the changes have been brought in gradually, no one seems to have noticed.

Paul mostly just refers to the Gospel as “the gospel” meaning that there is no other gospel, and assuming that his readers understand what the term means. But about 30 times he calls the gospel “the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16; 1Corinthians 9:12 etc.) or “the gospel of God” (Romans 1:1; 1Thessalonians 2:2 etc.). In fact, Mark opens his gospel with “The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1).

By calling it the “gospel of Christ” the writers of the New Testament are saying that the Gospel is about Jesus Christ, it is founded in, and by, Him. It is completed in, and by, Him. And He is the object and center of the Gospel. Nowhere is this clearer than in Paul’s explicit definition of the gospel:

“Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved… For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4 NKJV) [emphasis added]

This is about Jesus Christ, not about anyone else. Yes, we happen to be the beneficiaries of His atoning work but the only role we had to play in this great work is that He died “for our sins.” But it is He Who died, Who was buried, and Who rose from the dead.

So, how does the modern gospel differ from the Gospel of Christ? It differs in that Christ is no longer the center and object of the message — but man is. It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, it is the gospel of self, and it is another gospel entirely.

Just think about how this “gospel” is normally communicated. Those who preach the modern gospel talk about you: God’s plan for you, how much He loves you, how you can be happy and fulfilled, how He wants to bless you, make you rich and make you healthy and heal your marriage, etc. While many of these things are all true, the emphasis is in the wrong place. These preachers feel the need to sell people on the benefits of salvation, and so it becomes a man-centered message.

Right through the book of Acts we find that they preached “Jesus the Christ.” That was their message beginning at Pentecost (Acts 2:22) and ending at the last verse (Acts 28:31).

Some may say that this is merely semantics and splitting hairs, and that all that matters is that people come to accept Jesus. No, this is fundamental to the Faith. There are different gospels, and each presents a different Jesus. Paul warned that there would be “another gospel” and “another Jesus”:

“For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted—you may well put up with it!” (2 Corinthians 11:4 NKJV) [emphasis added]

On the surface this other gospel and other Jesus appear very much like the real Gospel and the real Jesus, but they are both counterfeits empowered by a very different spirit – the spirit of Antichrist (1John 4:3).

The Gospel of Christ and the gospel of self have different messages: The object of the first is Jesus Christ, His person, His work and His glory. The object of the second message is self. This message concentrates on what man can get from God and how everything Christ has done and does, revolves around blessing man.

Responding to these two different gospels produce dramatically different results. The gospel of Christ is unpopular and few respond to it, while the gospel of self is popular and many flock to it (Matthew 7:13-15). They also produce very different attitudes in their followers. Those who obey the Gospel of Christ, worship Him and their lives and doctrine revolve around Him – they are Christ-centered. Those who choose the gospel of self worship themselves, and their lives revolve around themselves – they are self-centered.

Not only do these messages produce very different followers, but they produce entire congregations that are either self-centered or Christ-centered.

These differences are more than a slight difference in emphasis. They are complete opposites. The true Gospel produces repentance and faith in Christ alone. The gospel of self produces arrogance and self-righteousness. The Gospel of Christ leads to eternal life while the gospel of self leads to eternal damnation. Those who have been attracted by the gospel of self are not saved – they have put their trust in a false message with a false savior.

Nowhere are these two gospels more clearly illustrated than in the ministry of Jesus. The Jews preached a Messiah who would fulfill their political, economic and ego-centric goals. Their message was one of self, and ultimately no different than the message so popular today. They had no time for the suffering Servant who would not dance to their tune. They had formed a gospel that had nothing to do with God and His purposes, but that had everything to do with their goals, plans and ambitions. In the process they crucified the Lord of Glory (Acts 2:23) and brought God’s judgment on the whole nation.

What people wanted from Jesus 2000 years ago is exactly what they want from Him today: Happiness, health, material blessings, problem solving, ego boosting, political dominion, in short – heaven on earth. When Jesus refused to give them those things and, rather, offered them the cross and eternal life beyond the cross, they crucified Him and chose Caesar as their king (John 19:15).

Modern christianity has not crucified Him, but they quietly ushered Him out the back door of the church, locked Him out (Revelation 3:20), and crowned self as their king.

“All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. And He is the head of the body, the church, who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things He may have the preeminence.” (Colossians 1:16-18 NKJV)

In the next article in this series I hope to show you more specifically and practically how this is works. . . .

The Truth:

“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.”

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A good example of a corporation that fronts itself as a “church”

“. . . when a fellowship changes into an enterprise, it becomes a prostitute”

When is a “church” supposed to have a “CEO”

from The Los Angeles Times:

Crystal Cathedral Ministries’ church and 40-acre campus will be sold to an Orange County real estate developer for $46 million but leased back by the church in hopes of recovering the landmark venue for its “Hour of Power” broadcasts, federal bankruptcy court filings disclosed Friday.

Greenlaw Partners of Newport Beach will lease the cathedral and other core elements of the property to the church administration for $212,000 a month and guarantee exclusive lease rights for 15 years, according to the Chapter 11 exit plan filed in Santa Ana.

The successors to founder Robert H. Schuller also retain the option of buying it back for $30 million within the next four years, although a major financial turnaround in the church’s fortunes would be necessary to afford repurchase. For the four months ending in April, the church’s net loss was $1.14 million.

In creditor filings prior to Friday’s reorganization plan, it was reported that the Crystal Cathedral is “greatly exceeding” budgeted expenses and that the church would have burned through the $2 million it had on hand in operating revenue over the last six months if not for federal bankruptcy protections.

The indebted church hierarchy also will sell a condominium it owns in Laguna Beach that was valued in the reorganization plan at $999,000.

The ministries’ plan for exiting bankruptcy, which lawyers said could be confirmed as soon as Aug. 15, listed six classes of “unimpaired” creditors to be paid from the sales proceeds, with the county tax authorities designated as the first priority followed by Farmers & Merchants Bank, which holds a $36-million mortgage on the ministries’ real estate.

More than 550 creditors were included in the filings, but only a handful were designated as eligible for full repayment.

A reorganized ministries leadership will be led by CEO Chief Executive Sheila Schuller Coleman, the founder’s daughter, whose salary will be set at just under $70,000 a year. The church will also hire a chief financial officer whose salary will be capped at $300,000 a year and tasked with overseeing revitalization of the church’s revenues. In the six months prior to April 30, donations and support decreased by $4.6 million over the same period a year earlier, the filings reported.

Crystal Cathedral filed for bankruptcy protection in October, saying it owed creditors more than $50 million.

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Not to mention that Joel Osteen is Biblically illiterate! He does not understand Christs OWN words in regards to there being false christ’s and false prophets who will come in Christ’s name:

Matthew 24:24:

For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.

Joel Osteen considers Mormons & Jehovah’s Witnesses fellow christians because they believe in a “christ”

from “Study your Bible Online”:

My fellow residents of the Nashville area have probably seen the billboards around town.  If not, maybe you have noticed the Facebook ads, or caught the recent Tennessean article.  All of these are advertising “A Night of Hope.”  The speaker for this event is Joel Osteen.

Joel Osteen is a well-known “preacher.”  He has a best selling book and is the “pastor” at one of the largest churches in America. Joel Osteen is a Word of Faith preacher, or commonly called a “Health and Wealth” preacher.  His sermons combine pop psychology with a sprinkling of Scripture.  The message is positive claiming that God desires for Christians to be wealthy and healthy and the key to unlocking these blessings from God is to empower your faith.

I could write a whole series about the problems with the word of faith movement (and I think I will at some point), but I want to focus on the idea of hope in this post.  Joel Osteen is supposed to have an evening of hope.  Hope is something people are looking for in all times, but more so during tough times.  I have no doubt Joel will have a large group buying tickets for this event.

I am saddened though because if the event is anything like the other material I’ve heard and read from Joel, what is being offered is false hope.  False hope to people struggling with money, that if they would use their faith (as if faith is some magical force) that God would make them rich.  False hope that they could be healed if they just read the right verses and declared God’s promises for them.  Preying on individuals during tough times, or anytime, is despicable.  The truth of the matter is Christians get sick and die.  Christians lose their jobs.  Putting hope in these things is false hope.

The true hope that all Christians have, and all people need is the hope offered in the gospel.  The hope that our sins are forgiven and that we have peace with God and joy no matter our circumstances.  This hope allow us to endure anything this life has to offer.  It is the hope, that Paul states in Philippians, allow us to be joyful both when he have more than enough, and when he have less than is needed.  It is the hope that even if we die of sickness that God will raise us from the dead to a land without sickness.  It is the hope that there is a better life awaiting us all.

True hope is in the gospel of Jesus Christ.  That God became flesh, lived a perfect life, died, was buried, and was raised on our behalf.   Don’t buy this false hope.

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from Fox News:

Members of a small Baptist congregation in Texas say their pastor denied them communion after they refused to give him their tax refunds, MyFoxHouston.com reports.

Parishioners at the Houston Unity Baptist Church claim the pastor, John Goodman, asked members of his congregation to hand over their tax refunds to the church.

“He said for all those who are getting a tax refund, ‘How many are you are going to give it to the church?'” said one church member, who spoke to the station on condition of anonymity.

Goodman has admitted to denying his congregation communion but said he did so because church members overall have failed to support the church financially — like giving money toward its new parking lot. He said only four or five members of the church actually donate, and he called the rest of his congregations “devils,” MyFoxHouston.com reported.

“I asked if there were any other members, which I know it is, that got income tax money. I ask if they would like to contribute it over here to the new parking lot,” Goodman said in an interview with the station.

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