Warning Sign #3: Twisting the Meaning of Bible Stories to Suit a Private “Revelation”

May 12, 2010 at 1:38 pm | Posted in When Good Preachers Go Bad | 10 Comments
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Whether a preacher is a “good preacher” is not really based on how funny he is, how enthusiastically he can scream, or even how well he communicates his own personal beliefs. When a preacher is a father and husband, he must also be evaluated on how he manages his household, marriage, and children.

Beware of this false teaching found in “prosperity” preaching: Parents like to spoil their children. Therefore, God – the perfect parent – must REALLY like to spoil His children.

Here are some of the justifications used by prosperity preachers when they don’t have the inclination or courage to properly chastise and train their own children:

1. “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” (Matthew 7:11) Prosperity preachers with spoiled children use this verse to say that God sanctions showering your children with the vain things of this world, and to claim that the way to manipulate God into giving us material possessions is to “claim them by faith” by which they mean demanding them from Him like a selfish brat.

The truth is that this verse teaches that God loves to give His children good gifts. God’s definition of “good” is seldom the same as ours. God’s definition of good includes those things which glorify Him, aid in the sanctification of believers, and strengthen us spiritually, not necessarily materially. Now, if I don’t like to spend time with my kids because they annoy me, or I’m “too busy,” or because I think that’s my wife’s job or the job of other family members or church members, then I can use this verse in an evil way to claim that I’m doing a good God imitation because I’ve given them a new iPod, a new laptop, a good television set for their bedroom, and I make sure they see all the newest movies and have all the most popular CDs. And, as a bonus, I can justify my own big-screen TV, my new motorcycle, and all my high-tech gadgets by proclaiming myself “favored of God,” due to my bold faith in using the “power of my tongue” to speak blessings on myself. It’s a two-for-one heresy special!

2. “Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshiping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.” (Matthew 20:20-21) Now, you may have read this portion of Scripture before and thought that this mom was being presumptuous, greedy, and prideful, and that her sons were pretty callous and selfish, too. After all, Jesus had just been explaining how He was going to be mocked, scourged, and crucified! If you thought that, then you would have about 2000 years worth of Christian scholarship and Biblical commentary on your side, as well as the context of the passage to back you up. But, oh no, says the prosperity preacher! Those scholars and commentators were bound up in dead religion! They had a spirit of fear and didn’t want you to know that this was a good mother who only wanted to spoil her children (like any good parent). After all, you are going to get a mansion in Heaven one day anyway! Why wait? Name it and claim it now – and get your mama to front you while you’re at it. Otherwise you might wind up spending eternity on the back side of nowhere, and you are a child of the King – you deserve better than that.

If your preacher is heading in this direction, beware of these false teachings, and remember: to “spoil” something is to make it “go bad.” Loving parents strive to avoid spoiling their children. True Christian faith is not demanding what you deserve. It is enduring with patience, courage, and dependence upon God, knowing that this world is not your home, and that your citizenship is in a Heavenly city, where your greatest treasure will not be gold, silver, mansions, dominion, or possessions, but the eternal presence of the One Who alone is worthy to be adored. Teach your children that true Christian love involves discipline, chastening, contentment, and the fear of the Lord.

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

Matthew 6:19

Moreover thou shalt provide out of all the people able men, such as fear God, men of truth, hating covetousness; and place such over them, to be rulers of thousands, and rulers of hundreds, rulers of fifties, and rulers of tens:

Exodus 18:21

And it shall be with him, and he shall read therein all the days of his life: that he may learn to fear the LORD his God, to keep all the words of this law and these statutes, to do them:

Deuteronomy 17:19

Chasten thy son while there is hope, and let not thy soul spare for his crying.

Proverbs 19:18

Thou shalt also consider in thine heart, that, as a man chasteneth his son, so the LORD thy God chasteneth thee.

Deuteronomy 8:5

He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.

Proverbs 13:24

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

Hebrews 12:5-8


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