By Howard Green
The prosperity gospel is a dangerous heresy that seeks to divert glory from God and place it on money. Moreover, the prosperity gospel commissions God as some sort of genie in a bottle to be used on a whim for personal financial gain. The buzz words & phrases that prosperity gospel teachers use are, but not limited to: Make a vow, sow a seed, 100 or 1,000 fold yields, points of contact, sowing for an increase, and the list goes on and on. Word-faith and prosperity gospel are closely related in the way they both promote the belief that blessings and windfalls…..usually financial abound. Word-faith teachers and adherents use the term ‘faith’ like a magical word, positive confession, or a spiritual Carte Blanche to obtain whatever we desire. Thus the term…name it claim it sums up the motives of the word-faith teachers.
The heresy of word-faith goes even deeper when one examines the damnable teachings these people proliferate. They attack Job and others in the Bible for not having enough faith. In one booklet, Jesus is admonished for not having enough faith. They believe they are just like God. In fact, many teachers proclaim that we are “little Gods.” In the process, God is demoted and we are glorified. In their warped theology, God is reduced to a cosmic genie. This twisted doctrine is diametrically opposed to the true Christian that knows: He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:30
I have been a believer for many years now and I’ve seen the good, the bad, and ugly when it comes to preaching and teaching. This prosperity gospel & word-faith movement is nothing new. In the 1970s, I was a young boy and new believer. I had an appetite for all things gospel. Even back then, the heresy of prosperity gospel and word-faith was very prevalent. Men such as Robert Schuller…a motivational speaker who promoted positive thinking and Kenneth Hagin…a name it-claim it teacher were on television and publishing booklets to the masses. The things I heard on tv and read had references to God and sounded spiritual enough, but I knew there was something very wrong with the message. Faith wasn’t in God and His sovereignty…..it was in faith itself.
Here we are some 40 years later and the apostate teachings of prosperity gospel and word-faith are more popular than ever. This world desperately needs to hear the message of the gospel. There are numerous ministries and teachers who do nothing but proclaim the gospel boldly and teach the Bible accurately. In teaching the Bible, warning people about false teachers and unbiblical messages is critical. Jude the apostle was eager to write other 1st century believers about salvation, but he had to address the apostate teachings that were creeping into the church instead.
Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.
Jude was referring to people who crept into the church with false doctrine. He calls them hidden reefs, fearless, and wild waves. They were worshipping alongside true believers (Jude 1:12). In writing this article I want to warn two groups of people about these prosperity gospel & word-faith movement deceivers.
First, new Christians need to be warned about these con-men & con-women because their teachings are sprinkled with Christian sounding platitudes and smatterings of Bible verses that are used out of context. Prosperity gospel and word-faith teaching does the very opposite of glorifying Jesus. They place the focus on self and having everything we want, instead of focusing on God’s will and His word. If you are a new Christian, I want to lovingly warn you to RUN from these deceptive teachings and the false prophets who promote them.
If you aren’t a Christian and just happened upon this article, I want to warn you as well. There are some solid Bible teachers on television, but there is also a lot of nonsense on tv. masquerading as true Christianity. Many of these people are money grabbing, swindling, selfish individuals who in no way represent the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t let anyone blind you to the truth about Jesus. He is God’s Son and died so that you can come to salvation through Him. Don’t become embittered by the hypocrisy you see there, because these people don’t represent the Lord Jesus or true Christians. Many sound Bible teaching ministries are listed on our resource links page. To know about eternal life through Jesus please visit Are you saved?
Myself along with other Bible teachers are resolute about exposing these false teachers because of the damage they do in many lives and for the reproach they bring upon the true church and the name of Jesus. We must expose these false doctrines and the wolves in sheep’s clothing who preach them.
To that end, we are certainly going to name names and warn people about the people and teachings the apostles warned us about….. as we are biblically mandated to. The list below doesn’t cover every false teacher, but we wanted to include some of the main players in the prosperity gospel & word-faith movement.
Joel & Victoria Osteen – He is the pastor of Lakewood Church and a major player in spreading the false prosperity gospel. Joel has been interviewed numerous times by Larry King, Oprah, and others, but I have yet to hear him articulate why man is in desperate need of a Savior. Instead, he sheepishly explains why he stays away from topics like sin, repentance, and judgement when addressing people. Instead he answers that he sees himself more as a coach or motivator to help them experience the life God has for us. I cannot imagine Jesus, John the Baptist, the apostles, Edwards, Spurgeon, or Tozer preaching and teaching for selfish gain. We’re not talking about a nominal fee or love offering…were wondering why someone should have to pay between $117-$850.00 for a “night of hope?” To be fair…there are some general admission $15 seats, but there is no reason to charge anyone for the hope of the gospel. This man is a motivational speaker and life coach disguised as a pastor.
Kenneth & Gloria Copeland – His ministry and television broadcast is well known. Believer’s Voice of Victory is aired on hundreds of channels around the world. He is an offshoot of his word-faith mentor Kenneth (Dad) Hagin and his teachings are no less dangerous. Copeland teaches that Christians are guaranteed physical healing and financial prosperity…..something that the Lord never guaranteed. He is one of the people that teach, “We are little gods.”
Kenneth Hagin – The late “Dad” Hagin is referred to as the modern father of the word-faith movement. He is another one that taught that we are ‘little gods’. He taught that if Christians weren’t healthy and wealthy, it’s due to lack of faith. He wrote about a time when Jesus appeared to him in a vision and the Lord was being shouted down by a “demon monkey.” Kenneth had to rebuke the demon monkey and told him to “get out in Jesus’ name” so he could hear what the Lord was saying to him. Then he said Jesus told him, “If you hadn’t done something about that, I couldn’t have.” Hagin’s many false teachings live on through taped messages and numerous booklets.
Mike Murdock – Is a televangelist who is a regular on TBN’s Praise A Thons. Mike has his own show called Wisdom Keys, but it isn’t sound biblical wisdom he is offering. He is a swindler and huckster if there ever was one. I can hardly turn on the television and not see him peddling the riches of God’s kingdom (financial of course) for a price. The premise of guaranteed riches and financial overflow is certainly false and so is his seed faith racket. He loves when people sow a $1,000 seed to the ministry. Once the seed is sown, he teaches that credit card debt will be wiped out and the dollars will flow. He is correct, the dollars do flow…unfortunately they flow directly to Mile Murdock’s bottom line. As the case with many prosperity gospel teachers…….he preys on the innocent, downtrodden, and minorities. This man is not a true man of God and his deceptive teachings should be exposed and avoided.
Creflo Dollar & Taffi Dollar – Creflo is the pastor of World Changers Church based in Atlanta. He has the attention of millions with his prosperity gospel message. He is another preacher who proclaims that we are little gods. His ministry is heavy on the seed faith and reaping financial windfalls. Creflo has uttered so much unbiblical nonsense to list here, but these sum up the message: “You are not a sinner saved by grace, you are sons and daughters of the most high.” He also wrote via Twitter: Jesus bled and died for us so that we can lay claim to the promise of financial prosperity. As you can see…this man has no business calling himself a pastor or a teacher. Just this year, Creflo made an appeal to raise $65 million dollars to buy a new private jet for his ministry. Stay away from this man’s so called ministry.
Jesse Duplantis – He is the founder of Jesse Duplantis ministries and Covenant Church in Louisiana. Jesse is a prime time voice in the prosperity gospel & word-faith movement. He is known for his many outlandish theological statements such as, “God made animals and didn’t have the foggiest idea what they were.” Jesse screams at the devil while preaching, ‘slays’ people in the Spirit, and claims that God has answered his every prayer. His comedic skill is in demand during Trinity Broadcasting Network’s (TBN) fundraising events. Jesse chants things like, “I declare increase and financial anointing” at meetings and TBN rallies. Jesse Duplantis may be a biblically iliterate comedian, but he is not funny in the eyes of the holy God. Jesse is laughing all the way to the bank thanks to donations to his ‘ministry’.
Peter Popoff – He is the founder of Peter Popoff Ministries and is well known for his so called ‘miracle crusades’. Mr. Popoff is another in a long list of word-faith & prosperity gospel gurus that relies on theatrics and trickery to deceive people. His ‘ministry’ sends a massive amount of mail outs to people. He asks people to send in their seed offering so God can release a great harvest. Is this a harvest of saved souls or renewed holiness? No……..the harvest is a financial windfall of course. His big things are points of contact and this involves sending trinkets such as: ‘miracle water’ and ‘silver & gold blessing bracelets’ which are rubber bands. The racket is if you send back your silver and gold bracelets back (with your seed offering), God will send a silver and gold blessing. Unfortunately….you just can’t make this garbage up. Peter often puts a time limit on your window to send in the money so you “won’t miss out on your blessing.” Finally, there is ample documentation of Peter Popoff receiving ‘prophetic’ information about attendee’s prayer cards submitted during the service. The ‘prophetic word’ is received through an ear piece. We have exposed Peter Popoff so that you can warn others about this man’s work against the Lord.
Paula White – She is the founder of Paula White Ministries and a rising star in the word-faith & prosperity gospel world. I first became familiar with her when I lived in Florida. In the 1990’s, she was co-pastor of Without Walls Church in Tampa and Lakeland alongside her now former husband Randy White. She had the makings of a prosperity gospel megastar and now some 20 years later, she has a world wide following. She is another one who constantly asks people to plant a financial seed. She uses familiar word-faith & prosperity gospel catch phrases such as: claiming the anointing and sowing your seed. She has stated that, “Poverty is a curse.” That would come as a shock to the millions of born again Christians in the third world who know that true treasure is in heaven. Thousands of ‘Pastor Paula’s’ books have been sold and the self help, me centered gospel of the word-faith movement keeps getting gobbled up with titles like: You’re All That!, Move On-Move Up, and Deal With It! Her book sale numbers and packed meetings are a true testimony to the fact that the false message of the prosperity gospel sells. Paula White is another teacher spreading false doctrine and others must be warned about her deception.
Here are a few other prosperity gospel and word-faith teachers that we want to warn others about:
Morris Cerullo, Steven Furtick, Eddie Long, Robert Tilton, Richard Roberts, Frederick KC Price, Marilyn Hickey, and much of what is on TBN. (Trinity Broadcasting Network)
We are living in times when apostasy is rampant and false prophets are tickling the ears of many. The prosperity gospel and word-faith movements are a satanic tool used to spiritually shipwreck people. It’s my intention to warn you about these false teachers.
This is a group of our Christian brothers & sisters worshipping Jesus in India. There are numerous congregations just like this all over the world from S.E. Asia, Africa, Central & South America, Europe, and here in the US, who know the true riches of the kingdom of God cannot be measured in digits, but in fruit.
In Profiteering Prophets Part 2, we will expose the lies of the New Apostolic Reformation & Latter Rain movements.
Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
God bless you as you contend for the faith. All for Him, Howard