At the end of this article, we have included a powerful vision given to us by the Lord, in which He warns that the prosperity teaching is of the flesh and not from Him. Prosperity teachers teach in the name of God, but their trust is in the arm of flesh and money.
The Deceitfulness of Prosperity Teaching
The Bible says, “Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10). The apostle Paul also warned that such men have corrupt minds, have been robbed of the truth, and think that godliness is a means of gain (1 Timothy 6:5).
Truthfully, the prosperity teachers are manipulating and using unsuspecting children of God. This movement has stifled the work of God. They have created need-minded Christians who only concern themselves on what they can get out of God. They teach about “positive confession,” which may have some value; however, they teach that it must be applied as a statement of faith in order to receive favour from God. Furthermore, and to guard their teaching, they are “lording themselves over those entrusted to them…” (1 Peter 5:3 NIV). I will be bold on this: together with Satan, they have deceived their followers to listen to them only and the speakers they approve, and anyone who speaks out against their teachings is labeled as false. Their teaching has rendered many believers blind and some believers are restricted not to witness. I attended one of their Bible schools and I was taught not to witness without the church’s consent. Is this not unscriptural? (Matthew 28:19-20; Acts 1:8). Should I not obey Scripture? If I had listened to them, we would not have this ministry. I purposely disobeyed their teaching and listened to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:29; Galatians 5:16). As it is, the trend today is that those who desire to pursue their call into ministry are encouraged to go to Bible School, graduate, serve under them to guard the teaching and be ordained, only to perpetuate their teaching. Having being involved in this movement myself, I knew from the Scriptures that their teaching was aimed at creating faithful followers for themselves more than followers of Christ (Matthew 23:13).
Biblically, false teaching is any message supposedly from God that promotes sin and sensual appetites (James 1:14). The prosperity gospel matches this profile; their message appeals to the material needs. They encourage worldliness, telling people to follow their worldly dreams; does the bible not say, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take” (Proverbs 3:5-6 NLT), and “Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NLT)? In their zeal, these teachers have become motivational speakers and entertainers in their preaching. Some have even formulated prayers that are need-minded for their flock. I confess the truth of God to you: if we start spoon-feeding Christians on how to do the word of God, we are making them depend on us and not on God (Jeremiah 17:5-6). Such people no longer have a faith of their own, but a faith that rests on man. Also, the message of the prosperity teachers will always tell you how you can get something out of God, meaning God’s plan for you, without stressing the importance of repentance and Godly, holy living.
As I alluded elsewhere, a Christian’s life is not valued by the earthly wealth they have, as the prosperity movement would like to have us believe. We are valued by the Lord based on our obedience to Him and fruit bearing (John15:1-2;5). The Lord repeatedly warned that we should not boast in earthly wealth (Matthew 19:21; Luke 12:18-20). Having being in the prosperity movement myself, I came across many Christians who are full of greed and selfishness. These bragging Christians who show off their possessions (big houses and cars, flashy clothes, etc.) are insecure; for their possessions are their security and not God (Matthew 6:21; Luke 12:34). Some might argue and say I am wrong; if they trusted in God they would do as the young rich man who trusted in his wealth (Matthew 19:21). I once witnessed the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to a former colleague and I encouraged her to visit a Bible-based church in her area, headed by one of the prosperity pastors mentioned in the vision the Lord gave us. This young woman confessed and told me that she once went to this pastor’s church, but she was looked at as if she did not belong there. Although, she was neatly dressed, the Christians who were looking at her all wore name-brand clothes and drove flashy cars. She felt so insecure and intimidated that she thought God does not accept her because she is poor. While I do not have problem with people having things, we should not look down on others, but we should reach out to them and share some of our possessions with them (Acts 4:32).
We are warned not to store up treasure for ourselves here on earth, but in Heaven (Matthew 6:20-21). I also once listened to a sermon of a prosperity teacher on a DVD while I was attending a Bible School lecture; he was introduced as being “anointed” and called by God to speak on finances. He was greatly magnified and his message was no different from the rest, but what he succeeded to do was to smother more money out of the congregation. He used both guilt and manipulation and church positions to create submission. I was troubled by this teaching because it was all just about money, and during the sermon people were made to collect more and more money. Soon after this sermon, my former pastor got up without saying anything, reached for an offering basket and started collecting more money from us. We have also heard of televangelists pastors who ask their TV viewers to donate a certain amount based on a Bible chapter and verse, or to donate a given amount to their ministry in order to receive a blessing from God – this is false teaching and akin to serving two masters (Matthew 6:24). Furthermore, often times they don't even give you time to pray about it saying, "pick up the phone right now, make a pledge, delayed obedience is disobedience". There is no fruit of patience when they demand like this (Galatians 5:22-23) and pledging is discouraged in the Bible (Proverbs 22:26).
In conclusion, while there is much to say about the dangers of this doctrine, you are warned against the teachings of these men and women. They travel around and win converts, only to submit them to their false teachings and make them dependent on them. Those who so easily fall into their trap are those Christians who are not reading the Bible for themselves, and those who are insecure with weak faith. They fear the “authority” of these pastors, so they conform so that they may not be seen as not being submissive (disobedient or uncooperative). Kindly allow me to share with you further: if you have weak faith, you will be hunted by feelings of guilt, and thus respond from guilt feelings which are not faith – faith is that spontaneous and joyful expression without any feeling of oppression. My Godly appeal to you, my brethren, is that you should not be fooled and chase after your own ego; these manipulators of truth use your ego to draw your attention to your needs and more than what God requires of you, while making you dependent on their worldly teachings. We share a vision for your warning and encouragement below.
Vision of Prosperity Teachers
Vision given to Charis on November 14, 2013
“I had a vision from the Lord this morning; When He appeared I saw the Lord Jesus raising His right Hand finger pointing to my right. When I turned my head to look, I saw two large mirrors next to each other suspended in the air. In the first mirror I saw photographs of all the pastors of the big/mega churches standing outside their church buildings. I saw Pastor Joel Osteen, Pastor T.D Jakes, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Carlton Pearson, Pastor Brian and Bobbie Houston, TB Joshua, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn, Dr Nasir Saddiki, singer/entertainer Bebe Winans, Pope Francis and some of his predecessors; From South Africa - Pastor Freddy Edwards (South African Bishop), Ray McCauley of Rhema Church, Pastor Theo Wolmarans of Christian Family Church, Pastor Gerald Cooper of Faith Fellowship Ministries, Pastor Cheryl Moorad of City of the Lord Ministries, Mosa Sono, Pastor Watson of Berea Temple Ministries, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome of Christ Embassy, and many other local pastors in our community and around Africa and internationally whom I could not recognise. In this vision I also saw the building of the New and Old Apostolic movement.
In front of the first mirror was what looked like a lump of clay and lots of money, mostly Rands (South African currency) and US Dollars notes.
In the second mirror I saw our ministry members standing under a Peachtree with Christ as our leader, and in front of the mirror was a solid brick block and two big brown baskets full of different words. I then turned my head towards the Lord and He said: “The first ministries depend on money and the arm of flesh, and the second ministry depend on God and prayer.” The Lord then said joyfully in a loud voice, “WELL DONE PREPARING FOR THE KINGDOM!!!” END.
Explanation: Brethren, we did not ask the Lord to reveal this. The Lord is warning these ministers and their followers to repent and stop preaching a prosperity and worldly message. These ministers promote a money-centered gospel, and they depend on their members instead of trusting the Lord Jesus Christ. The New and Old Apostolic movement was also implicated as leaning on the arm of flesh while deceiving their followers; this is a popular movement here in our townships in South Africa. Prosperity teachers have forsaken their trust in God and preach messages that appeal to people’s sensual appetites more than their need for holy living, obedience and truthfulness. I heard one of these pastors (Dr Nasir Sadikki) saying that people must pursue and live their dreams; this is a worldly message, for the Bible says: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect” (Romans 12:2 NRSV; Proverbs 3:5-6). I encourage you to live according to the Scriptures and this will lead to God’s acceptable will. In our fear of God, we will proclaim in humility what He reveals to warn and save regardless of persecutions and rejections; we owe our allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ and His TRUTH.
Yours in faithful service in Christ Jesus,
PS: You may also read Pastors: Repent and Prosperity Prophets.