Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Someone Needed To Say It

Someone needed to say it. Thank you John Macarthur for remaining bold and truthful in todays troubled evangelical climate. I recently bought a teaching on DVD entitled A Call For Discernment from Justin Peters Ministries. I highly reccomend adding this to your video library as it exposes the false and in many cases heretical teachings of the "Health and Wealth/Prosperity Gospel."


A Colossal Fraud


by John MacArthur


Former NASDAQ chairman Bernie Madoff ran a ponzi-scheme swindle for nearly 20 years, and he bilked an estimated $18 billion from Wall-Street investors. When the scam finally came to light it unleashed a shockwave of outrage around the world. It was the largest and most far-reaching investment fraud ever.

But the evil of Madoff's embezzlement pales by comparison to an even more diabolical fraud being carried out in the name of Christ under the bright lights
of television cameras on religious networks worldwide every single day. Faith healers and prosperity preachers promise miracles in return for money, conning their viewers out of more than a billion dollars annually. They have operated this racket on television for more than five decades. Worst of all, they do it with the tacit acceptance of most of the Christian community.


Someone needs to say this plainly: The faith healers and health-and-wealth preachers who dominate religious television are shameless frauds. Their message is not the true gospel of Jesus Christ. There is nothing spiritual or miraculous about their on-stage chicanery. It is all a devious ruse designed to take advantage of desperate people. They are not godly ministers but greedy impostors who corrupt the Word of God for money's sake. They are not real pastors who shepherd the flock of God but hirleings whose only design is to fleece the sheep. Their love of money is glaringly obvious in what they say as well as how they live. They claim to possess great spiritual power, but in reality they are rank materialists and enemies of everything holy.…

9 comments:

Whateverman said...

I agree with you about the fraud bit. It's clear to believers and non-believers alike that such people don't care one bit about the people they claim to be helping.

I'd like to ask your opinion about something, however. I've often felt that religious moderates consistently fail to denounce the excesses of the fundamentalists, and that this reflects poorly upon their religion as a while. This faith healing bit is a good example; people claiming to be speaking for the one true Christian God are doing things that most Christians find distasteful or reject outright.

But... not standing up and very visibly shouting that the faith healers do not reflect Christianity as a whole, it hurts the image of Christians everywhere. You might disagree with my next example, but moderate Muslims should have been shouting from the streets that 9/11 had nothing to do with Islam as a whole.

There are countless other examples of moderates ignoring the extremists - in politics too!

My question is this: if the moderates aren't visibly criticizing the extremists, isn't it fair for people outside the community to look at it and believe it's being properly represented by the extremists?

If our only experience of Islam is watching planes fly into buildings, is it not acceptable for us to assume Islam is dangerous? If our only experience of Christianity is watching hucksters bilk people out of their money, can we not justify believing Christianity is corrupt?

I'm not claiming either of the latter two opinions is real. I'm asking whether you think the moderates' lack of criticism (of their own community) makes them partly responsible for people perceiving their group as being extremist...

Robert Tewart said...

You know Whateverman, you really do hold some thoughtful and provacative opinions! This is a good one. Though I'm not sure you'll be satisfied by my answer.

You wrote "My question is this: if the moderates aren't visibly criticizing the extremists, isn't it fair for people outside the community to look at it and believe it's being properly represented by the extremists?

Yes, it is absolutely fair. BUT it won't hold water on judgement day to tell Jesus that the reason you didn't follow Him was because of the shamefull behavior of many of his professed followers. Just like you wouldn't expect people to hate your dear old mom because of some of the rotten things you've done. (Believe me, I'm the chief purpotrator of this in my past).

Christians should be standing up and saying something. Very few have the credibility and visibility as John MacArthur does. Other outspoken Christian leaders include, John Piper, Justin Peters just to name a few.

Mainly, my Christian life should be a reflection of Jesus and what He taught. I also need to encourage and if need be, correct those around me. Finally, I am responsible for sharing the true Gospel that God offers salvation to those who repent of their sins and turn to Jesus Christ alone for their forgiveness.

Whateverman said...

Robert wrote following, from which I've assembled a brief summary:

Yes, it is absolutely fair. BUT it won't hold water on judgement day to tell Jesus that the reason you didn't follow Him was because of the shamefull behavior of many of his professed followers.

{...}

Christians should be standing up and saying something. Very few have the credibility and visibility as John MacArthur does.

{...}

Mainly, my Christian life should be a reflection of Jesus and what He taught.


First and foremost, although I can be combative, I'm not challenging your faith here. I understand what motivates you personally and what your goals are (re. to reflect the teachings of Jesus Christ).

I do see occasional reflection upon religious (or political) extremism, but this is almost always introspective; it's of a person asking questions of his own community TO his own community. In the case of the people you listed above, they're leaders to their communities - but they're largely invisible to people outside the communities. And that is a problem, in my humble opinion.

Just as moderate clerics don't often talk to non-muslims about Islamic problems, moderate Christians don't often talk to non-Christians about the problems within the Christian community. This is partly responsible for the negative opinions being formed about those two communities.

By contrast, political parties actually DO have preachers who talk folks of all persuasions, and they discuss all kinds of political problems - be it in their own party or in someone else's.

This is what I'm talking about. Self-reflective religious criticism faces inward, not outward, and that's part of the problem. Non christians see faith healers as closer to the norm than Christians do.

I'm making a point here, and don't mean to exaggerate the examples I'm using. Faith healing is in a minority of religious behavior. But I think Christians need to be more visibly critical of it, and to do so in public, not just within their own communities.

Religion (and politics to an extent) is being hijacked by extremism. This actually hurts religious causes, such as evangelism.

In any case, thanks for the conversation here...

Robert Tewart said...

You wrote:

"Religion (and politics to an extent) is being hijacked by extremism. This actually hurts religious causes, such as evangelism."

Not true because according to the bible. It is God that is in control of who is reached with the Gospel (Romans 1:16). As a believer, I am called to preach it, share it and live it. That's all. As far as being more critical of false teachers, we do so as necessary such as right now in this conversation, but not as a means to try to convincee non-believers that The Bible and Christianity is true. God purposes that through the faithful preaching of his true Word.

Whateverman said...

But Robert, I've just shown that extremisms DOES hurt evangelism. You even agreed that Christians SHOULD be speaking out more often. Who's going to listen to evangelicals if the face of Christianity is being determined by the extremists?

How can you then say "God's doing it" as if that suddenly invalidates everything we've just said?

It's clear that you want/need people to listen to evangelism. Why you would suddenly claim you don't need to be more effective is beyond me...

Whateverman said...

Are you actually saying that it's your job to preach, but that preaching doesn't do anything useful (ie. bring people to God)?

You've given me the impression that both of the above statements are true.

Robert Tewart said...

No. That's not what I'm saying at all. What I am saying is that God alone has control over who responds to the Gospel. It is my job to preach it to all regardless. Some will hear and respond in repentence and faith, some will hear and either passively or actively reject it.

PS. You probably wouldn't have asked me that if you actually READ the bible verses I cite ;-)

Whateverman said...

Robert, you wrote the following to me: What I am saying is that God alone has control over who responds to the Gospel. It is my job to preach it to all regardless. Some will hear and respond in repentence and faith, some will hear and either passively or actively reject it.

That is the EXACT same thing I asked in my question. If God determines who responds or not, then you preaching really doesn't do anything useful for those people. You're simply doing what God wills, and letting him choose who it effects. You could stand on a box and read the Bible, or you could read from a hand-written essay, or you could simply identify scriptural passages and let the listener decide whether to read them or not. None of it would matter to the people you're preaching to - all that would matter s whether God decided to let them "hear" it or not.

This makes you a Calvinist, does it not?

In any case, as long as you audibly use the words "Jesus", "God" and "Bible" often enough, what you're saying doesn't matter. Correct? You're preaching because it's in your interests to preach - it has nothing to do with saving souls.

---

In which case, criticizing faith healers is useless. God has already made his choice about whether they've heard the scripture or not. You're justified in ignoring them completely.

---

I know you're not going to understand what I'm saying, because I believe you have faith that your beliefs and what you're being asked to do all make sense. It's God's will, so it must make sense at least to him. Right?

PS. I'm not going to let the Bible discuss the topic for you. It's painfully obvious that two people can read the same passage and come to different conclusions about what it means - I would rather have the thoughts and opinions I'm addressing come directly from you.

Robert Tewart said...

This makes you a Calvinist, does it not?

What I wrote doesn't necesarrily lead to that conclusion. I am following what it says in John 6:44--"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day."

You're preaching because it's in your interests to preach - it has nothing to do with saving souls.

It has everthing to do with God saving souls! He told us to do it. Again, It is the vehicle by which God saves -Romans 1:16.

Again, the reason we preach to everyone is because we do not know whom God is drawing to Himself.

I know you're not going to understand what I'm saying, because I believe you have faith that your beliefs and what you're being asked to do all make sense. It's God's will, so it must make sense at least to him. Right?

You do realize that that statement is a bit presumptuous don't you?

I believe and do what I do because it is the truth of God's Word. I know this because His spirit dwells within me.

PS. I'm not going to let the Bible discuss the topic for you.

Sorry. The Bible is what informs All of my thinking. If not for that, we wouldn't even be having this conversation and this blog wouldn't exist.

It's painfully obvious that two people can read the same passage and come to different conclusions about what it means

Only if one or both are using bad hermanuetics.