- "Bishop Long, who routinely preaches his sermons dressed in expensive tailored suits and dripping in diamonds, acknowledges that his members are no longer receptive to his "prosperity" message since many of them have lost their jobs and homes."
- "If anybody anywhere, will take these four steps or put these four principles into operation, he will always receive whatever he wants from me or from God the father"..."That includes whatever you want financially." The formula is simply, "1- say it, 2- do it, 3- receive it, and 4- tell it" As recorded in Exceedingly Growing Faith 2ed (Tulsa, OK: Kenneth Hagin Ministries 1988 pg. 73-74 (Numbers added)
Although that may be a trite response, the real danger is in his theology. Not only does he fall in the line of faith teachers and the Word Of Faith movement by teaching that faith is a force, he also teaches that believers (members of his church) are kings and he is a priest.
Dr. Winston, a former highly successful IBM Sales Director, has said that the congregation is to go out and get the money and to come in and give the money to him because he is the priest. In reward for this they can then have that new Mercedes, mansion or even an airplane. In other words the promise of God has a material one to one equivalency. Still, there are additional problems. In his book, "The Kingdom Of God In You" Dr. Winston sets forth the notions that even sincerely saved persons can unwittingly live under satan's rule, and that the promises of God rarely come from the outside sovereign work of God, but from the internal kingdom already within an individual. It's evidence that Dr. Winston doesn't recognize the total sovereignty of God both internally and externally and relinquishes and ultimately restricts God's sovereignty to external circumstances only. These are disturbing teachings and suggestions to say the least, and have very serious biblical and theological implications. Dr Winston has a new book coming out called the Law Of Confession which I plan to also review on this site.
For some individuals, giving the benefit of the doubt of spiritual correctness is all based on what ability they have or accomplishments they have amassed. For instance in the recent address the General Assembly of the Church Of God In Christ Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake set forth the following notion and response in defending his action of endorsing and signing the Universal Declaration Of Human Rights (UDHR):
- I’ve got too much work to do for the Lord, to be obsessed with somebody else’s faults or pursuits. One hundred and fifty eight people got saved at West Angeles on Sunday. I pastor your largest church, and it gives more to missions that any other church in our denomination. Each year for the last twenty four years my jurisdiction has given more than any other jurisdiction in financial reports. Wisdom is justified by her children. Before you believe a person’s allegations, check to see what kind of children that person has produced. What kind of work have they done?
In other words, from the Bishop's statements the gauge that the church should use in discerning right from wrong and truth from error is material success. Whether that be in the ability to create large churches or in the ability to wield massive amounts of money. (I'll do another post regarding The Bishop's misstatements on the UDHR in another post) So in essence, wielding money and drawing crowds is a validate of success when Jesus name is attached. This is not the gospel of the Kingdom, this is the gospel of self and self kingdom pursuit and validation. Neither John the Baptist nor Jesus had churches, buildings or large treasuries, but both were more highly successful than any now walking. Then there are a list of Apostles that follow the same route.
Then there's the Leroy Thompsons of the world. Dr. Thompson's book, "Money Thou Art Loosed" set forth the notion that "prosperity is a mark of covenant. God desires for His children to live the abundant life financially, and there are things we can do to cooperate with God in faith to cause money to be loosed into our life."
These principles and "things" we can do usually have no regard or preferential treatment for them that are saved. In other words, if the unrighteous do the things that are outlined in most of these books and teaching messages, even they too will receive and overabundance.
One of the more popular ones of them all is Creflo "Crank Dem Dollars" Dollar In his book "8 steps To Create The Life You Want: The Anatomy Of A Successful Life" Regarding the books basic premise he says this:
"For instance, your words produce your thinking, your thinking drives your emotions, your emotions dictate your decisions, your decisions determine your actions, your actions shape your habits, your habits form your character, and your character determines your destiny. Today, I ask, is there anything missing in your life? If so, commit to walking out the eight steps in this book, and you will understand how to position yourself to experience change. What are you waiting for? You’re only eight steps away!"
Heretical Teachings & Metaphysical Beliefs
"...The more you get to be like me, the more they're going to think that way of you. They crucified me for claiming that I was God. But I didn't claim I was God; I just claimed I walked with him and that he was in me. Hallelujah. ["Take Time To Pray" Believers Voice Of Victory 15,2 Feb. 1987:9]
Obviously one can see either the total spiritual deception or total lack of biblical knowledge. Jesus made the claim to be God clearly in John 8:58 for instance
We Must Stand For Truth At All Costs
Christ has come to deliver us from the materialistic declaration of the prosperity crowd. These type of thoughts were the thoughts of Jesus day. He condemned those practices now along with his Apostles following suit after him. The scripture said this:
Mt. 6:33 ~ "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you"
Do either of these scriptures restrict us from material gain? NO. Do either of these scriptures require that we use poverty as a sign of righteousness? NO. Do either of these scriptures outline materialism as an indicator of spiritual success? NO. What these scriptures teach is that we, you and I, must prioritize our lives so that Jesus is at the top or the center of the plan. It can't be "me and Jesus" It must be Jesus alone.
Mt. 17: 1-8 ~ "And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, 2-And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. 3-And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. 4-Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 5-While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. 6-And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. 7-And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. 8-And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only"
(Please excuse an earlier version full of spelling errors. Thank you.)