Remember the old Benny Hinn? He used to say things like:
"I'm sick and tired of hearing about streets of gold. I don't need gold in heaven. I got to have it now. I mean, when I get to glory, all my bills will be paid, brother. I won't have bills in glory. I won't need to worry about bills in glory. I got to have it here. You say, well, Benny Hinn, isn't that wonderful to have gold streets in glory? Well, of course, but if I hear the thing one more time of how it will be, and how it was, I'm going to kick somebody." (Praise the Lord, November 1990)
Well, three years ago he apparently had a crisis of conscience. On Praise the Lord he said:
"In many churches all you hear is prosperity. We’re sick of it. We’re tired of hearing the same old thing over – it’s souls now! Forget – you know what? You’ll prosper way more if you focus on souls. You’ll prosper. We all believe – look, I believe in prosperity, I tell you. I believe in prosperity. Of course you know I’ve been preaching on TBN now for years. You know what I believe. But here’s what has changed: God has grabbed my heart with a burden." (Feb. 2005)
Wonderful - at least it was a start. But something happened! During the most recent April telethon on TBN he said:
"I'm here to tell the church of Jesus Christ get ready - these are your greatest days now. The conditions of the world are right for you to prosper. When you watch the news they're talking about recession. They talk about troubles. That's not your world. You're in it, not of it....Jesus said that the world would experience crisis. He did not say the church would. He said in the world you'd have tribulation. He didn't say in the church....Now the world has sorrow even when they do prosper. But not us. And you read Psalm 73 where David said he was troubled by the prosperity of the wicked until he realized they're standing on slippery grounds. In other words, God will allow them and allow them continually to pile up their wealth for one reason. One reason only. I'm here to tell you a wealth transfer is on the way....I'm here to prepare you for the greatest wealth transfer in the history of the world!" (April 6, 2008)
Well, not my visit - the visit of Rev. Dr. Matt Tittle, minister of Bay Area Unitarian Universalist Church in Houston. You can read his review here. He gives us a very revealing list of positives and negatives. They include:
- Joel Osteen's sermon. It could have been one of mine. - Victoria Osteen's Bible interpretation. She uses the same method I do.
Parking!!!! Getting in and out was worse than any sporting event or concert I've ever attended. - The theology of the praise music and the prayers conflicted with the theology of the sermon.
Joel, when a UnitarianUniversalist says your sermon could have been one of his, doesn't that raise any alarm bells?
When Victoria interprets the Bible the same way this minister does, shouldn't that concern you?
And when the theology of the praise music - which may accidentally actually contain a little bit of sound theology - conflicts with the theology of the sermon, isn't that a cause for concern?
Once again TBN (not a surprise) and much of Christianity is refusing to speak out against what is obviously unbiblical. From Beliefnet:
Christians Curiously Silent On Gay Music-show Host
We're no longer shocked when a popular Christian figure does something to invite the scorn of his or her faithful (so to speak) fans. But when Azariah Southworth, host of "The Remix," a popular Christian version of MTV's "Cribs" told a Nashville paper last week that he's gay, the response was truly astounding: nothing. "I know I will be cut off from many within the Christian community," he told Out & About (adding, "and if so, then they didn’t get the point of the life of Christ"). But so far he says his employers have yet to inform Southworth that he's been fired. And though he says his inbox is filling up with emails supporting his decision to out himself, few are from those who watch the show.
Why the wait in firing him? Perhaps Christian entertainment outlets, too, are hardly shocked at this kind of news anymore, and have other things on their to-do lists before firing the latest transgressor in their stable. Not likely. It could be that public relations is trumping principles: "The Remix" producers may figure they'll only draw more attention to Southworth's editorializing, and prove his point in some minds, by coming down swiftly.
Did you know that Martin Luther preached the prosperity gospel? Neither did I until I heard this quote from biblical scholar Benny Hinn on the TBN Praise-a-thon April 6th, 2008:
Martin Luther said Satan will use two weapons against the saints to stop the Gospel - tyrants or poverty. This is Martin Luther, the great reformer. The German priest that brought justification by faith to the church. It's in one of his books. I read it. He said Satan will stop the Gospel only two ways - by raising tyrants. By raising men like Nero or like somebody else. Or he'll convince the church that poverty is what God wants for them.
Now that is a shock! It looks like it's time to turn the LCMS into a full-fledged Word of Faith church - just watch it grow then!
Now I know there's no good reason to doubt the word of Benny Hinn but just for the record I suppose we should look at what Luther actually said. I found what Benny Hinn was referring to in Luther's Commentary on Galatians 6:6. Here it is in its entirety so you can see what Luther really said. I've highlighted some key passages. Galatians 6:6 by the way says "Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.":
Here Paul is preaching to hearers that they should share all good things with their preachers. I often used to wonder why the apostle was so diligent in commanding the churches to provide for their preachers. For in the papacy I saw everyone contributing with great generosity for the construction of magnificent churches, for the increase in the income and the growth in the revenues of those who dealt with sacred things.Thus the social position and the wealth both of the bishops and of the other clergy increased so much that everywhere they had possession of the best and most fertile lands. And so it seemed to me unnecessary for Paul to command this when the clergy were not only receiving donations of every good thing in abundance but were actually becoming very rich. Therefore I thought that people should be dissuaded from giving more rather than persuaded to give, for I saw that the excessive generosity of people was only increasing the greed of the clergy.But now we know the reason why formerly they had an abundance of every good thing, but now pastors and ministers of the Word suffer want.
Formerly, when wicked and false doctrine was taught, the pope became an emperor, and the cardinals and bishops became kings and princes of the world; so abundant was their prosperity, derived from the Patrimony of Peter—who claimed not to have any silver or gold (Acts 3:6) —and from so-called “spiritual goods.”But now that the Gospel has begun to be preached, those who confess it are about as rich as Christ and the apostles once were! We are finding out by experience how conscientiously people observe this commandment about providing for the preachers of the Word, which Paul so persistently urges and inculcates upon hearers both here and in other passages. We do not know of a single city today that provides for its preachers. They are not being provided for from any donations given to Christ, to whom no one gives anything. For when He was born, He used a manger instead of a cradle, because there was no room for Him in the inn (Luke 2:7). While He lived on earth, He had nowhere to lay His head (Matt. 8:20). At the end He was stripped of His clothing; and He died a miserable death on the cross, naked, hanging between two thieves (Matt. 27:28–38). No, our preachers are being provided for from donations given to the pope in exchange for the abominations of suppressing the Gospel, teaching human traditions, and establishing wicked forms of worship.
When I read the exhortations in which Paul preaches to the churches either about providing for their own preachers or about contributing something for the alleviation of the poverty of the saints in Judea, I am deeply amazed, and I blush with shame that such a great apostle is compelled to use so many words in obtaining this favor from the churches. To the Corinthians he presents this matter for two entire chapters. I would not be willing to defame Wittenberg, which is nothing compared with Corinth, as he defamed Corinth when he begged for support for the poor with such anxiety and solicitude. But that is the fate of the Gospel. When it is preached, not only is no one willing to give anything for the support of its ministers and the maintenance of schools; but everyone begins to rob and steal and to take all sorts of advantage of everyone else. In short, men seem suddenly to have degenerated into wild beasts. On the other hand, when the doctrines of demons (1 Tim. 4:1) are proclaimed, men become truly lavish and spontaneously offer everything to their seducers. The prophets denounce the same sin in the Jews, that they contributed to the support of godly priests and Levites only with reluctance but were extremely generous to the wicked ones.
Only now do we understand how necessary this commandment of Paul’s about providing for the ministers of the churches really was. There is nothing that Satan can bear less than the light of the Gospel. When it shines, he becomes furious and tries with all his might to extinguish it. He attempts this in two ways: first, by the deceit of heretics and the might of tyrants; secondly, by poverty and famine. Because Satan has been unable thus far to suppress the Gospel in our territories through heretics and tyrants, he is now trying the second way; he is depriving the ministers of the Word of their livelihood, so that poverty and famine will force them to forsake their ministry, and the unfortunate people, deprived of the Word, will eventually degenerate into animals. To make this dreadful evil come more quickly, Satan is vigorously pressing it through wicked magistrates in the cities and nobles in the country, who are seizing and misappropriating the possessions of the churches, from which the ministers of the Gospel should get their living. “From the hire of a harlot,” says the prophet Micah (1:7), “she gathered her possessions, and to the hire of a harlot they shall return.” In addition, Satan leads even good men away from the Gospel by means of satiety. A constant and daily attention to the Word makes it cloying and contemptible to many, who then gradually become neglectful in the practice of all the duties of godliness. No one nowadays is bringing up his children in the knowledge of good literature, much less of sacred literature, but only in ways of making a living. All these are efforts by Satan for suppressing the Gospel in our territories, and that without the might of tyrants or the deceit of heretics.
Thus it is not useless for Paul to admonish the hearers of the Word to share all good things with those who teach. He says to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 9:11): “If we have sown spiritual good among you, is it too much if we reap your material benefits?” Therefore hearers should minister in their material needs to those from whom they have received spiritual benefits. But today the peasants, the townspeople, and the nobles only abuse our doctrine to get rich. Formerly, under the dominion of the pope, there was no one who did not pay something to the priests annually for so-called anniversary Masses, vigils, etc. The mendicant friars had their share too. Trade with Rome and the daily offerings also got something.Our people have been set free from these and endless other exactions by the Gospel. But they are so far from being grateful for this freedom that they have been changed from prodigal donors to thieves and robbers, who will not give even a pittance either for the Gospel or for its ministers or for the holy poor. This is the surest possible sign that they have already lost the Word and faith and have been excommunicated from our blessings, for it is impossible that true believers would permit their pastors to suffer need. But because they laugh and poke fun when their pastors suffer some sort of adversity, and because they deny them their support or do not give it as faithfully as they should, it is certain that they are worse than heathen. Soon they will learn by experience what calamities will follow this ingratitude, for they will lose both their material and their spiritual goods. It is inevitable that grave punishment should follow this sin. I am sure that the only reason why the churches in Galatia, Corinth, etc., were so confused by the false apostles was that they had neglected their faithful teachers. Finally it is the utmost justice that someone who refuses an obol to the God who offers every good thing and eternal life should end up giving a gold piece to the devil, who offers him every kind of calamity and eternal death. Whoever is not willing to serve God in a small way for his own great advantage, let him serve the devil in a big way to his own supreme loss. Only now that the Word is shining do we see what the devil and the world are.
When Paul says “all good things,” this is not to be taken to mean that everyone should share all his possessions with his preacher. No, it means that he should provide for him liberally, giving him as much as is needed to support his life in comfort. The word κατηχούμενος is familiar to anyone who knows Greek.
The papacy and the rich bishops with their fertile lands = the Word of Faith empires and preachers with Lear jets, Lincoln Continentals? No, must be a coincidence!
Cardinals and bishop getting rich and the real preachers are as poor as the apostles? - But Word Faith teaches the apostles and Christ were rich! Maybe I've been misunderstanding the Hinns of this world - they wouldn't contradict Scripture or Hinn's hero Martin Luther, would they?
Has David Strand been listening to the head of the Episcopal Church, Katharine JeffertsSchori? Probably not, but they certainly made some similar statements.
In an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, in response to the fact that 7,000+ people had signed a petition to bring back Issues, Etc. he "pointed out that the 7,000 signatures make up one-third of 1 percent of the church body." (St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 15, 2008)
Meaning, of course, that he's not worried about a minuscule number like 7,000 Lutherans.
In the April 19thSalt Lake Tribunethe Rev. Katharine JeffertsSchori, head of the Episcopal Church was quoted:
...one issue continues to divide Anglicans among themselves: the 2003 ordination of New Hampshire's Bishop Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a committed relationship. Some congregations already have pulled out of the denomination, including the entire Nigerian Diocese, to voice their objections.
Ultimately, JeffertsSchori does not believe the Anglican Communion will splinter over it.
"It's a very, very small part of this church, less than 1 percent, that sees this of sufficient concern to want to leave over it," she said. "Our job is to bless their going and reassure them our door is always open and that we'll keep the light on for them."
Hmmm! Do you think that perhaps David Strand is ready - maybe even anxious - to bless our going, since we're supposedly such a small number?
A predawn earthquake rattled Southern Illinois and eastern Missouri early today, waking up neighborhoods across the area and flooding police departments with calls.
The quake measured a 5.2 magnitude and occurred at 4:37 a.m. CDT. It was centered in southeastern Illinois, five miles from the town of Bellmont, according to Timothy M. Kusky, director of the Center for Environmental Sciences at St. Louis University.
President Kieschnick, you might think it's okay to get 1/3 of 1% of LCMS members angry, but I wouldn't argue with God if I were you! :-)
“The earth was formless and void…and God said, Let there be light.” (Genesis 1:2-3).
Today's Word from Joel and Victoria
Are you believing God for something today that seems impossible? We serve a great and mighty God. and He can create something out of nothing. He can make a way when there seems to be no way! Genesis tells us that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. But before He spoke the world into existence, it was formless and void. If God can make the world out of nothing, He can take the empty places in your life and create something beautiful, too! He can speak light into your darkest hour. He can take your formless dreams and give them shape. He can resurrect your dormant gifts and talents! He can make your crooked places straight! Remember, you are created in the image of almighty God. There’s power in your words, and there’s power when you’re in agreement with Him. Start saying what God says about your situation. Speak life to your broken dreams, today. Stay in an attitude of faith and expectancy. As you do, God will take you places that you’ve never dreamed, and you’ll live in victory all the days of your life!
Check out this "Time Bomb 2000" ad from Jack Van Impe, where all hell was expected to break loose in 14 months when the clock struck midnight 2000 AD. And you could have bought this emergency DVD for only $24.95. I'm not sure what Jack would have done with the money in the midst of the Y2K crisis though since he wouldn't have been able to get to it in his bank account.
Barack Obama's run for president is over. AP reports:
Republican Sen. John McCain has erased Sen. Barack Obama's 10-point advantage in a head-to-head matchup, leaving him essentially tied with both Democratic candidates in an Associated Press-Ipsos national poll released Thursday.
The survey showed the extended Democratic primary campaign creating divisions among supporters of Obama and rival Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and suggests a tight race for the presidency in November no matter which Democrat becomes the nominee.
The Associated Press is wrong, however. The real reason for McCain's rise isn't because he's benefiting from the conflicts between Obama and Clinton. The real reason is a prophecy by Kim Clement. He is claiming that Obama will become the next president:
God says, "There is a sway in the political arena; a change in your political world. Enough of this discussion about Jeremiah Wright." God said, "This makes no difference. It is a spirit that has endeavored to rock and sway the people and to divide them." God said, "I will sway it next week. Yes, I will, and because of Pennsylvania, I will raise up the man I want," says the Lord, "to rule and to reign and to declare victory in the Middle East." We declare victory in the Middle East tonight. We declare victory in America tonight. For the Spirit of God says, "Hear, oh people of Zion. Those who have been afraid in Zion, those who have been afraid in this nation--fear not! For your news media has intimidated you, and therefore, it is My turn. Next week, I will arise. I will change everything."
"I'M TALKING ABOUT OBAMA"
For they have unfairly spoken against an African man, and I'm not talking about Jeremiah Wright; I'm talking about Obama. For God said, "Even though you may think this or that, there is an element of righteousness inside of him to reach out for Jesus. Therefore, I will sway it next week," says the Spirit of God, and I will cause My man, My power--to exalt in the White House what is necessary to declare victory. For this time, I shall rise up and I shall make known who I am in a way that I have never done it in this nation," says the Lord.
We all know that Kim Clement hasn't made an accurate prediction yet. Thus, Obama's run for president is effectively over!
Last week Rod Parsley made this statement on the TBN telethon:
Seed is important, soil is important, season is important. And the soil that we are going to give you an opportunity to sow into here just in a moment, the Trinity Broadcasting Network, I have found to be the most fertile soil that I have ever sown seed into in my life.
I wouldn't doubt it. Soil needs fertilizer and they spread more manure around than anyone else!
I was watching the semi-annual telethon on the Trinity Broadcasting Network last week and, to my surprise - not! - came across these purely heretical statements by Steve Munsey.
Jesus says “I will bless you a hundred fold in this life and in the life to come with houses, lands, brothers and sisters. Now, I’m just raising a question. I’m not trying to be big theological order here, and maybe somebody can help me. But if you want to know if you’re going to get a good reward in heaven, how are you being rewarded here now? “For I will bless you now and in the world to come....Jesus says when you give to the Gospel – Gospel means good news – when you give to promote that, I will bless you down here. And I want to let every body know that I’ve already tried to live for God with poverty and tried to be spiritual and I failed. I want to be honest with you. When somebody tells you that you’re more spiritual when you don’t have anything they’re lying through their teeth. Because when I’m broke I want to get drunk. I want – oh, come on now – “Well, that will make you pray more!” It does not make me pray more. It only makes me cry more. I’m just being real! Am I talking to any real people out there? But when I’m being blessed, the joy of the Lord is my strength and I can shout and lift my hands and shout to the Lord.
This so-called preacher knows absolutely nothing about the Gospel. If I ever saw a heretic, this guy fits the bill.
Sometime during the night I received the following instant message on Meebo from an unknown individual in the UK who was so confused he or she apparently thought I was Bob Larson. The message says:
please help me, all my life has been struggle, from birth untill now, i keep waiting for it to end but it doesn't, it just goes on. now i look forward to death because the struggle exhausts me. i saw your uk program and recognise the cursed and inhabited as my life. when i try to think clearly my throat fills so i can't breath. i am 48 and crying. please help me
What would Bob Larson's answer be to this person? Undoubtedly he would try to cast demons out of him or her, and when that didn't work the person would probably blame himself. Instead the answer is in turning to Jesus Christ Himself for refuge. This person needs to find a good pastor who rightly divides the Word of God - perhaps not an easy task in Great Britain. He may need to hear the Gospel and he may need a doctor, but he certainly doesn't need a sensationalist like Bob Larson.
"To the Scribes, the Pharisees and the hypocrites, the heresy hunters that want to find a little mote of illegal doctrine in some Christian's eye and poke that little mote out of their eye when they've got the whole forest in their own lives and in their own eyes, I say to hell with you!" Paul Crouch.