Apostasy in the Church Part 3
Their Greed, Your Seed
By Jim Allen
"Sow a seed of faith, reap a harvest of blessing." This, and many other similar phrases are used by some pastors and televangelists today to manipulate their weaker brothers and sisters into giving. The pastors' pocketbooks grow, but at such a cost — the faith of the giver is damaged when the expected blessing never comes. These audacious "spiritual leaders" don't seem to know Who they're messing with. "'What do you mean by crushing my people, by grinding the face of the poor?' declares the Lord GOD of hosts" (Isaiah 3:15).
A person wrote to GotQuestions about the doctrine of sowing a seed to reap a financial harvest. What prompted the question was concern about his pastor repeatedly saying, "If you have a need, sow a seed." This particular phrase has been around for several years and is from the gospel of greed, also known as the name it and claim it gospel, the prosperity gospel, and the health and wealth gospel. The gospel of greed is a doctrine originating from Oral Roberts after World War II and popularized in the last half of the 20th Century by evangelical churches. Oral took Scripture verses from the Bible and creatively transformed (twisted) them into another gospel. Oral most often quoted verses from the parable of the sower in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8 to build the bedrock foundation that would support the Seed Faith heresy. The central theme in seed faith giving is the money you give to spread the gospel God would multiply back to you thirty, sixty, and one-hundredfold.
Russell McKinney writes:
Several years ago, I read Ashes to Gold, a book written by Patti Roberts who was married to Richard Roberts. In her book, Patti looked back on her days as Oral's daughter-in-law and talks about how guilty she felt about the excessive wealth the Roberts family enjoyed. She seriously questioned the practice of "seed-faith giving" because taken to extremes it reduced God to a sugar daddy. She went on to say, "If you wanted His blessings and His love, you paid Him off. Repeatedly we heard Oral say, 'Give out of your need.' I began to question the motivation that kind of giving implied. Were we giving out of love and gratitude to God or bartering with Him?" Since the early days of Oral Roberts, the gospel of greed has grown worldwide. The big promoters of the gospel of greed include the likes of T.D Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, Kenneth Hagin, Jesse Dupantis, Bill Johnson of Bethel Church, and many others all of whom have changed the heavenly blessings from God into material gain and wealth on earth. These wayward ministers wrongly believe their success and wealth is from God for teaching what they teach. May I assure you, God is not looking down upon these unprincipled ministers with favor and blessings. Unless they repent form their evil works, Jesus will tell them to depart from Him on the day they stand before Him.
TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) not only sponsors these false ministries but has unreservedly adopted the gospel of greed heresy. TBN is a major media portal to the world, responsible for sending the gospel of greed heresy to hundreds of millions of unsuspecting people, and taking what little money they have. The gospel of greed has become a means of livelihood for prosperity preachers who live lavish lifestyles while telling you to send money to get more money. Jan Crouch, in her soft sugary voice said on TBN, "God has a special blessing for the little women who have caught the vision of giving, even if only their grocery money." While there are many Christians who see TBN and its association with the gospel of greed ministries as an abomination, many others (not well versed in the Bible) believe in the heresy and fall prey to its deception. They fall prey because they, like the prosperity pimps, have iniquitous hearts of greed. Although books abound about the prosperity gospel, these fraudulent top-selling authors continue to write and sponsor new book releases with no end it sight.
The danger in the prosperity gospel is it will destroy the faith of many believers, preventing them from discovering the fullness of Christ. John Piper, a critic of the prosperity gospel, quoted 1 Timothy 6:9 which says, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." If you go on the Internet and search for those impacted by the gospel of greed, you will discover horror stories about people giving their entire life's savings in hope for a one-hundredfold return. One story I heard involved a middle-aged couple giving thousands of dollars to a popular mega ministry. The ministry went on to weave a web of lies about how God would bless them if they gave, and so they did. When a family member needed extensive medical care and with their life-savings exhausted from seed-faith donations, the middle-aged couple contacted the ministry for financial assistance. The ministry responded with a letter informing them it was not their policy to help supporters, and they never heard from the ministry again.
What this true story should tell everyone in the church about the "greed ministries" is they do not believe what they teach. For if they did believe in "seed faith giving," they would have blessed the middle-aged couple with a "financial seed-gift," expecting a one-hundredfold return. The sad truth about these ministries is they know "seed faith giving" is a hoax and yet they keep deceiving people week after week because it keeps their apostate ministries afloat financially. There are seven deadly sins God hates and one of them is greed, which is the sin of wanting more than you need. These ministers are not only greedy but liars and thieves, living like kings, deceiving and taking from the poor and sickly alike. Such misdeeds in the church are not escaping the eye of God, nor the scorn of believers and unbelievers alike.
Matthew 7:15-16 says, "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits." The fruit growing from the branches of these ravenous wolves is a bank account exceeding the wealth of corporate executives, leaving their ministry supporters waiting for the one-hundredfold financial blessing that will never come. Regrettably, many supporters have and others will soon realize these unholy men and women of God are not what they say. These religious shysters view the body of Christ as a commodity of commerce, an object of earthly wealth to be looted by their manipulative doctrine punctuated with false promises and lies. The prosperity preachers are selling Jesus Christ at bargain basement prices, as though they alone have exclusive rights to profit from the God of our salvation. They are greatly mistaken.
What we need to understand is heavenly blessings do not equal earthly health and wealth. If you think about it, believers are dying for their faith around the world. Assuredly, many have given freely, and some with their lives, with no promise of earthly reward. Jesus gave His life on the cross and received no worldly recognition, least of all earthly gain. Today, the world despises His holy name as it did two-thousand years ago. The Bible teaches this life is but a momentary affliction for the believer that will one day result in eternal reward (Matthew 19: 27-30). The Bible goes on to teach that although the Christian life is full of sorrow and trial, we may rejoice in our affliction knowing our time on earth will translate into a glorious future (2 Timothy 4:5; Colossians 3:1-4).
Breaking free from bondage to the gospel of greed deception is no small matter. Some professing believers are fully committed and firmly entrenched in the prosperity gospel, not allowing themselves to be instructed away from its precepts. Their reward will be accordingly. The gospel of greed dishonors God by cheapening the finished work of the cross, and by trampling grace and truth underfoot. The gospel of greed is a clever distortion of scripture designed to fill the bank accounts of pulpit thieves. From the pulpit, these wolves wale at the people to give more and decry their lack of faith to believe God for financial blessing. Blinded by greed and hardened to the call of repentance, they promote the gospel of greed unaware of its consequences to seekers of truth. The unbelieving masses of the world look upon these greedy, self-promoting ministers with indignant contempt. I share their view.
As a closing thought, the heroes of the Bible lived in difficult times and battled against deception of their day. Today, deception of every kind is deeply entrenched in the church, like a deadly cancer, difficult if not impossible to remove. Although the Bible teaches there will be deception (2 Peter 2:1-3), it also teaches in 2 Peter 2:9, "...the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment." 2 Corinthians 6:17 says, "Therefore Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." These verses teach genuine believers are not left to the wiles of the devil and more than able to separate themselves from those who uphold the gospel of greed.
In my next post, I will talk about the gospel of compromise and its impact on the church.
1. Russell McKinney; Straight Talk about God and Life; Paraphrased
Thanks to www.123rf.co for the image!
Apostasy in the Church: The Series
Part 1: When Wolves Lead the Flock
Part 2: Under Cover Lies
Part 3: Their Greed, Your Seed
Part 4: A Time to Refrain from Embracing
Part 5: Angels of Light
Part 6: Miracles, Signs and Wonders
Part 7: The Partial Gospel
Part 8: The True Gospel
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