In this final post on the false teachings of Prosperity Pete I’m scrutinizing his outrageous claims about both man and God.
Quote: “Unbelief is more powerful than God in you.”
“some of you looked at me funny when I said ‘unbelief is more powerful than God in you’ – but I just read it to you. God was present but he was limited because of unbelief.”
Scripture proof given: “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel” (Psalm 78: 40-41).
Let’s zoom out for second and take a look at this Psalm of Asaph as a whole. He sets out to show God’s faithfulness to unbelieving Israel throughout her inglorious history. Despite continual unbelief and unfaithfulness God preserves his people by his sovereign hand. At times he brings strong rebuke and chastens his people with judgment and wrath. God then shows his love and compassion by bestowing upon Israel abundant blessings that are totally undeserved. Rather than teaching that man can trump God with his unbelief and thwart his will this Psalm does just the opposite. It teaches the absolute sovereignty of God, that his providence extends over all human works and endeavors. On top of that, the Hebrew word for ‘limit’ can be interpreted various ways. Here are how some modern translations render it: Continue reading
Recently, a so-called gospel preacher came through our sleepy little town and stirred up a local congregation with rousing oratory, keen insight and splash of redneck charm. He’s a frequent guest to this church and I had been exposed to his teachings before via recorded messages. This happened at a time when God had graciously granted me new eyes of discernment. They were still adjusting to the light of truth in the aftermath of prolonged confinement in the bowels of the Word-Faith and Charismatic movement. I started making notes on elements of his message that didn’t appear to line up with scripture, but quickly abandoned the project. At the time I felt I was being too critical, so I backed down.
Well, fast forward a few years later. A close friend who attends the aforementioned church informed me that ‘Prosperity Pete’ was coming to town. He let me know in no uncertain terms that he would not be attending those services. When I asked why, he filled me in on some of his past teachings. This jogged my memory and I agreed that his teachings should be avoided like the plague. Neither of us attended his services. Unfortunately, curiosity bested me one afternoon and I visited that church’s website. They had posted Pete’s message online.
I made the tragic mistake of listening to it. Continue reading
False teachers are a reality of the Christian church. Jesus Christ himself warned of their coming, as did the apostles throughout the New Testament epistles. False teachers and prophets have plagued the church since its inception. Scripture shows us that they will endure until the end of this present world system. False teachers are not simply a New Testament phenomenon. They plagued Israel throughout her troubled history.
The fact remains, false teachers walk among us, very likely within our own congregations. False professors, teachers and prophets will leach themselves to Christ’s visible church until the day he comes to gather his elect from every corner of the earth. If this is incontrovertible truth why do so many Christians pretend all is well in Zion? Why do we refuse to discern every message purporting to be gospel truth to determine if it is of God or not? Why are we not acting as good Bereans, searching out the scriptures to discern if that charismatic guest teacher flying through town this week is injecting poison into our spirits? Why do we not question his doctrine and theology before we ever grant him audience to our congregations? No, he usually gets a free pass, because he’s so likable and popular. Next thing you know he grabs a thick wad of greenbacks he just collected for a sermon well preached and bails for the next church down the road gullible enough to swing open its gates to the sheepfold. Continue reading
“Those who think that unsound ministers ought never to be exposed and held up to notice, and men ought never to be warned against them, would do well to study this passage. No class of character throughout our Lord’s ministry seems to call forth such severe denunciation as that of false pastors. The reason is obvious. Other men ruin themselves alone: false pastors ruin their flocks as well as themselves. To flatter all ordained men, and say they never should be called unsound and dangerous guides, is the surest way to injure the Church and offend Christ.”
–J.C. Ryle, on John Chapter 10
HT: Crosstalk Blog
This quote is a sound refutation of the idea that criticizing professing ministers only brings division and dishonor to the body of Christ. Yes, sometimes pointing out the wolf among the sheep will create a dividing line where factions will take sides, but Scripture addresses this issue in 1 Cor 11:18-19:
For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized. Continue reading