Prosperity Gospel

Being vs. Having

Too often, we define ourselves by what we own or do, instead of who we are.  As truly born-again believers, who are we?  Adopted sons and daughters of the King of all creation.

In America however, we often confuse who we are with what we do or what we have.  This can lead to confusion and frustration in our lives as we commit to owning more things instead of resting in who we are in Christ Jesus.

Dave Wager of Nicolet Bible Institute and Silver Birch Ranch joins Mike and David this morning to discuss the important and life-changing distinction between what we do and own versus who we are in Christ.

Questions, Comments, Criticisms: Listener’s Show!

It’s the Listeners Show where Mike and David tackle your questions and comments from this week (… and a few weeks prior that we could not fit in). Here are some of the questions and comments from today’s program.

  • Is it a sin to not have children if there’s a serious risk of birth defects?

  • What are “biblical conjunctives”?

  • Legalism in the church

  • I disagree with you on prosperity and healing

  • Christians should not support President Trump

  • Why aren’t more believers equipped to disciple and do ministry?

  • Why do you have guests on your show who are Calvinists, then have other guests who are anti-Calvinists?

  • My pastor says all you guys do is bash the church, but he can’t give me specific examples

  • Should a large church cater to new visitors, particularly in its Sunday sermons?

  • Shouldn’t Charles Stanley refute the heresy that his son Andy Stanley is teaching?

  • Our church brought in a consultant who helped set up a “Leadership Model” following the Willow Creek example to carry out the pastor’s vision. Sadly, we are leaving this church immediately.

  • Why aren’t more believers equipped to disciple and do ministry?

Who is Influencing Whom?

The Church should be full of salt, preserving culture, providing flavor, and being a positive influence in secular society.  Instead, by any measurable standard, immorality is increasing and secular culture is infiltrating and influencing the church in part by creating division and deceiving many.  Whether out of ignorance, fear, or heartfelt but compassion, more congregants as well as church leaders are embracing secular principles and beliefs in the hopes of attracting the world.

Today, Mike and David look at several news stories addressing this subject, including the ongoing controversy at Willow Creek Church as it prepares for its Global Leadership Summit. We also discuss a survey revealing the majority of Christians think God wants them to prosper financially, and the author of ‘The Shack’ claims unbelievers can still be saved even after they die.

 

ARTICLES

Willow Creek Teaching Pastor Resigns over New Allegations against Bill Hybels

New allegations surfaced Sunday against Bill Hybels, founding pastor of Willow Creek Church, leading his successor to announce his resignation. Steve Carter, teaching pastor at the Chicago-based megachurch, announced his resignation on his blog, saying that he can no longer lead the church in light of its earlier responses to the allegations against Hybels.

Hybels stepped down earlier this year after multiple women reported instances of sexual harassment and misconduct. Carter said in his resignation, “The new facts and allegations that came to light this morning are horrifying,”

He went on to explain that he was troubled by the initial response of the church’s elders. Then, their ongoing response did not align with what he believed the church should do. After many conversations with them, he was that there was a “fundamental difference” between his perception of how the church should handle the allegations and that of the elders.

Heather Larson continues to serve as the executive pastor at Willow Creek.

God and his ‘cash back’ bonus

According to a survey conducted by LifeWay Research last year, nearly seven in ten Protestant church attenders (69%) believe God wants them to prosper financially. Nearly four in ten (38%) say their church teaches that God will return blessings to them if they give more money to their church or other charities. A solid one-fourth (26%) agree that to receive material blessings from God, they “have to do something for God.”

…Christian apologist and lecturer Dr. Alex McFarland says that’s not what the Bible says. In fact, he argues it’s a heretical teaching that focuses the Christian’s attention on the gift, not the giver.

“If there’s anything that is very often an obstacle to holiness and to being conformed to the image of Christ, it’s money,” he observes, then asks: “Why would God want to make sure every Christian’s life is filled with that thing that may be the most serious obstacle to Christ-likeness?”

Worship the same deity? Don’t believe it, says American Pastors Network

The APN leader [Sam Rohrer] says it cannot be overstated that the Church must not be complicit in this concerted effort to undermine and make irrelevant the Christian faith and an unwavering belief and truth in Christ Jesus. Toward that end, he’s spearheading an effort to educate Christians about the rise of Islam in America – and that includes answering questions he contends many believers may be fearful or too intimidated to ask.

“Americans generally do not know what Islam is really all about,” he explains. “It’s a political system; it’s a way of life that happens to hijack on the back of a faith. They don’t know that. And most people – and the church in America, in particular – are asleep relative to how Islam and those who promoting it are finding its way into the Church in America.”


What Suffering Says About Us As Christians

None of us ever truly wants to suffer and yet the Bible says we should take joy in our sufferings.  And how we handle life’s problems and times of suffering speaks volumes about the level or maturity of our faith and trust in God.

Sometimes what we think is suffering is nothing more than life not going the way we would like it.  Other times, we truly suffer. It is in those times we either lean into and trust God, or double down our own efforts to find peace and avoid the pain life sometimes brings.

Dave Wager of Nicolet Bible Institute and Silver Birch ranch joins us to discuss the role of suffering in the lives of disciples of Jesus Christ.

 

SCRIPTURES

These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 1 Peter 1:3-7

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

It is a trustworthy statement: For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him; 12 If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; 13 If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 2 Timothy 2:11-13

 And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; 4 and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; 5 and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3-5

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For just as the sufferings of Christ are ours in abundance, so also our comfort is abundant through Christ. 6 But if we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; or if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which is effective in the patient enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer; 7 and our hope for you is firmly grounded, knowing that as you are sharers of our sufferings, so also you are sharers of our comfort. 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

Fabricating Jesus: Creating a god to Our Liking

Almost everyone believes or at least acknowledges that Jesus is a real person who once walked the earth. The historical evidence clearly points to that fact. And most will say that he was an influential man or good teacher.   Hundreds of millions, especially in America, claim they are Christians or claim to “believe in Him” as the means to salvation and eternal life.  But ask 100 people what they actually believe about His nature, word, and character and you might get 90 different answers.  Even within those who profess to be Christians you see a wide variety of opinions on the nature and character of the one who is Lord and Creator of all things.

Jesus warned His followers that false Christs would come and deceive many. If we are not diligent in the study of God’s Word we can easily be deceived by any of these false Christs. Today hundreds of millions follow a “false Christ” fabricated from a variety of ideas, sources and beliefs.

Tony Gurule of Ratio Christi Ministries has studied cults and false religions in great depth and joins us to discuss how people create a god to their liking (Fabricating Jesus) and believe in a false version of the one who died for our sins by taking the wrath of God against sin upon Himself.

Is The Church In America Losing Its Moral Authority?

Jesus established His church to evangelize to the lost, build strong disciples, and equip believers for the work of the Holy Spirit.  The responsibility of the Church is to represent Christ, shining into a world of darkness, influencing culture for righteousness, and declaring the hope of the gospel.  Instead, at least in America, the church has generally been compromised in several areas and instead of affecting secular culture, she has been infected by it.

To be sure, we are not talking about every church; there are many who stand firm on God’s Word and are actually being what the church is called to be.  But as a whole, the church in America is in spiritual and moral decline, ill-equipped or unprepared to do what Jesus calls it to do.

This morning, Mike and David look at a couple of scandals and false teachings that have infiltrated “American Christianity” as well as what the future might hold if we do not repent and return to the fundamentals of God’s Word.  We focus in on the scandals and controversy rocking The Southern Baptist Convention, the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s compromise on creation and gender, and still another Word Faith Prosperity Preacher who says God has told him to get money from people because he “needs” a private jet.

ARTICLES:

The Wrath of God Poured Out — The Humiliation of the Southern Baptist Convention

Prosperity Gospel Preacher: God Wants Me to Have This $54m Private Jet — and He Wants You to Buy It

Pastor Shares How to Identify a Prosperity Gospel Church

IF YOU MISSED MIKE AND DAVID WITH JAN MARKELL OVER THE WEEKEND, HERE IT IS:


Listener Questions & Comments – Lots of Them!

Today is Q&A Friday when we hear from our brothers and sisters in Christ regarding many diverse topics. We love hearing from you and appreciate every question and comment, even if you do not always agree with us. Thank you so much for the opportunity to tackle so many important issues!

Here are some of the things we discuss today:

  • Should Christians read the book Jesus Calling?

  • Unconstitutional SOGI laws and “non-discrimination” policies increasing

  • The hostile environment Christians face in the public school system

  • Charismatics, and spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues

  • Benny Hinn and the ‘prosperity’ non-gospel; name it, claim it

  • What is biblical submission?

  • Does the parable of the wheat and the tares apply to the church or the world?

  • What is the proper meaning or description of ‘meditation’ for a Christian?

  • Good and bad about discernment ministries

  • The apostasy of the Willow Creek Leadership Summit

A Freedom That Leads To Slavery

Freedom is a precious gift that must be cherished and protected against those who would seek to enslave us.  While Christians around the world suffer from increased persecution, and we here in America see our freedoms being threatened, there is an even more precious freedom we must guard and protect:  The freedoms given to born-again Christians by the grace and Spirit of God.

Twice in his first letter to the Corinthian Church Paul warned about the importance of tempering freedoms with responsibility.  He said regarding what we consume that all things were lawful, but not necessarily beneficial and warned against the things we consume becoming our masters.   Today in America there is much that vies for our attention and affection.  How do we enjoy the freedoms of this life as disciples of Jesus without allowing ourselves to be led into bondage to them?

Dave Wager of Nicolet Bible Institute and Silver Birch Ranch has written and taught extensively on how we find the correct biblical balance between enjoying good things God has given us while not elevating them to a place of ‘worship” in our lives.

Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ. Ephesians 5:15-21

Q & A Friday, and the Many Facets of Sin

Exactly what is sin?  Does the Bible discuss every potential sin?  What about Paul’s discussion about a clear conscience regarding his beliefs and actions?  This is one of the many topics you want to talk about today.  Other topics include:

  • Choices of conscience relating to causing a brother to stumble.

  • Is it a sin to take anti-depressant medications?

  • Should we turn to psychologists to help us with certain problems?

  • Helping those struggling with sexual sin.

  • Is “meditation” wrong for Christians?

  • Is Christian persecution in America just around the corner?

  • Our discussion of Benny Hinn and the Word of Faith Movement.

Send your comments and questions to comments@standupforthetruth.com or by texting “TRUTH” to 797979.

An Insider’s Look at the Prosperity Gospel Movement

Benny Hinn is one of the best-known purveyors of the dangerous Prosperity Gospel movement.  He has made wild, unfounded claims, twisted scripture to its breaking point, and proclaimed  “prophecies received from God” that have not come true.  The Bible says that is the first sign of a false prophet.  Hinn lives a life of luxury built on the backs of naive followers who want the alleged anointing and the riches that the Prosperity Gospel promises if you just have enough faith.

Hinn’s nephew Costi was on the inside of the movement for years, but God has delivered him from its grip; and now Costi is speaking out against the dangerous teachings of Uncle Benny’s organization.  This morning we cover Costi Hinn’s discussion with Justin Peters about his journey into and out of this dangerous heresy.

As with all people who are deceived by a false gospel, we pray that God will open their eyes to the deception and help them see the true nature and character of God.

Friday is Listener Comments & Questions Day

When we first come to saving faith in Jesus Christ we are on fire but still immature in the Christian faith.  With the myriad of Christian teaching and television out there ranging from excellent all the way down to flat out heresy, how do we help new believers understand the difference between biblical truth and human error and deception?  What should we say to a new believer who really enjoys listening to Joel Osteen for example?

This is one of your questions we will cover today.  Other topics you want to discuss include:

  • The resignation and legacy of Pastor Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Church

  • The “13 reasons Why” documentary of teen suicide.

  • Mysticism and emergent theology creeping into churches.

  • Is the Pope right about atheists going to heaven if they have their children baptized?

  • Were the Founding Fathers just godless bigots and slave owners?

  • The Christian struggle with occasional sin and hypocrisy.