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                   Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Be aware of what ISN'T Christianity

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I know I'm revisiting this subject matter a little here, but I'm just compelled to write about this again because I keep seeing the issue pop up in our culture. There are a lot of false teachers calling themselves "Christian" today. This shouldn't come as any big surprise, since Jesus Himself warned us that they'd be out there (Matthew 7:15; Matthew 24:11).

Right now, and for many years, the primary false teaching in the world that most successfully masquerades as Christianity is what is called "Word of Faith". It is successful primarily because it promises its followers health, healing, wealth and prosperity if they would simply come to Jesus (and give the ministry money). Of course people love this - who doesn't want health, wealth and prosperity? Oh, and don't forget, this health and prosperity can't get going for you until you send these ministries money. If the wealth and healing doesn't come flowing in, just keep sending more money, or better yet, just doubt that you have enough faith. In either case, just keep sending the money.

Virtually 100% of what is on so-called "Christian television" these days is this "Word of Faith" garbage. Please don't go to television looking for anything on Christianity! The other common thread is that they promote a change to positive thinking, prosperity, "your best life now" as incentive to looking to Christ. It's all a sham. If you "came to Christ" for those reasons, I'm here to tell you that you got there for the wrong reasons and might not be where you think you are. What if you don't become prosperous? What if you aren't healthy? What if you *gasp* have a bad day or even a rough month? Will you feel like God didn't keep His end of the deal and you'll just leave the faith? It happens all the time. When the false promises of Word of Faith don't come to pass, often the followers will become disillusioned and reject what they think is Christianity.

This is in contrast to the actual Gospel that Jesus taught, which is that we are all wretched sinners in need of rescue from God's wrath to come - but if you turn from your sin and put your trust in Christ who took the punishment for you, you are saved. That's the Gospel. Scripture also says to expect and endure hardships, and that there is value in going through trials - all foreign concepts to Word of Faith. But people these days hate hearing that. They want to be told that they are "good people deep down" and that God wants our lives to be one giant walk down the primrose path.

Too many people these days judge whether or not something is true by how it makes them feel rather than the objective/rational truth or falsehood of it. "I don't like that", they'll say when they hear a message from John MacArthur or Paul Washer. Guess what: hearing the truth hurts, but it ends up getting you where you need to be if you'll simply accept it.

And please don't take what you see from these charlatan "preachers" on TV and think that's the way it goes in most or all churches. In EVERY church I've known and been a member of, the pastor doesn't get rich from what is donated by the congregation. The pastor doesn't even have a say in his salary, the congregation sets it and votes on it! No one in REAL Christian churches is getting rich or lavishing luxury on themselves or others from the church offering plates. It is ALL going into either paying for the everyday expenses of the building, or performing outreach/service. Don't believe me? Go to some churches and ask to see financial statements! Most are open for review.

In a nutshell, the point of this post is this: Don't just accept anything out there that calls itself Christian. I would even say reject EVERYTHING that calls itself Christian until you can verify that they are advocating the true Gospel. I would highly recommend Justin Peters' seminar/exposť on the origins of the Word of Faith movement. It is well documented and scholarly. There is a lot of material of his on Youtube if you search for it, but here are a couple of links:

- Overview of Justin Peters's seminar on the "Word of Faith" phenomenon
- Shipwreck of the Word of Faith movement

Full Seminar:
- Part 1: Dangerous Doctrine
- Part 2: Mangled Manifestations
- Part 3: The Hurt of Healing

More Christianity and Faith Topics >

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