Section 10A .. The Contemporary Church/
The Prosperity and Word of Faith Doctrines

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Chapter II - Alleged Scriptural Support For The Prosperity Doctrine

Carol Brooks

    Somehow people manage to ignore the fact that that the Scriptures clearly refute the general principles behind this popular doctrine. They gloss over the many verses that specifically warn of the dangers of riches. They never quote any of the Scriptural passages that clearly state that it is not necessarily God's will for us to prosper in this life. They somehow manage to bypass the repeated warnings against focusing on the material things of this world. Church leaders ignore the verses that speak against being lovers of money or using godliness as a means to financial gain.


    All Nine Chapters - Index and Summary

    Chapter 1 -  Introduction To The Prosperity and The Word-Faith Gospels. HERE
    Chapter 2 - Alleged Biblical Support For The Prosperity Doctrine. 
    Chapter 3 - The Never Mentioned Verses. HERE
    Chapter 4 - Uninformed People in The Scriptures? HERE
    Chapter 5 - The Word of Faith Doctrine and New Thought. HERE
    Chapter 6 - Joel Osteen - The Blind Leading The Blind. HERE
    Chapter 7 - How Words Precede Form. HERE
    Chapter 8 - God and Money. HERE
    Chapter 9 - The Crown Without The Cross? HERE


    Was Jesus a Rich Man?
     Eisegesis and Exegesis - the two ways to interpret text - any text.

    'Proof' Texts
    John 10:10 - Full of more holes than a slice of Swiss when used as 'proof text' for the prosperity doctrine

    Mark 9:23 - He Who Believes. Believe in What?

    Mark 10:28-31- The 100-Fold Promise

    Matthew 18:19-20 - Two in Agreement - About?

    2 Corinthians 8:9 - We become rich through Jesus' poverty

    John 14:14, 15:7, 15:16, 16:23 - Asking in His Name

     Mark 11:23-24 - The mountains we want moved?

    3 John 1:2 - The compliment Paul paid Gaius

    Matthew 5:5 and real estate

    Philippians 4:13 - What did "all things" refer to?

    Malachi 3:10 - Tithes were inextricably bound up with meeting the needs of the poor

    Rhema Vs. Logos

    Was Jesus a Rich Man?
    Even the most cursory look at the Messiah's life tells us that the Son of God voluntarily relinquished the throne of heaven for our sakes. He opted for a lowly birth and a life about which Matthew wrote (8:20) that He didn't even have a place to lay His head. He was constantly opposed and persecuted by the religious leaders of the day, rode into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey and endured the deepest shame of being crucified between two thieves.

    So how did He and the disciples survive?

    Quite obviously Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus were men of stature and wealth who after His death wrapped Jesus' body in large amounts of costly aromatics (John 19:38-40). This obviously means they thought a great deal of the Savior thus possibly helped support Him while He was alive.

    However, this is a supposition and however reasonable it may be, let's see what the Word of God says on the matter. The Gospels acknowledge that women were not only among Jesus' earliest followers, but they financially supported Him as well. 

      Soon afterwards, He began going around from one city and village to another, proclaiming and preaching the kingdom of God. The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene, from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing (Gk. diakoneo) to their support out of their private means. (Luke 8:1-3 NASB)

    Jesus Had A "Treasurer" - Thus Must Have Had A Treasure
    Casey Treat states that Jesus had a "trust fund" provided to him by the Magi. Where he gets this from is anyone's guess because all the Bible says is that the Magi brought gifts to the New-born king but tells us nothing about what happened to them. To turn those gifts into a trust fund is beyond ludicrous. 

    Treat also says "Jesus had a treasurer", i.e. Judas

    Because in our world, a treasurer is a person appointed to administer or manage the financial assets and liabilities of a society, company, association, local authority, etc. using this terminology conveys the impression that Judas was in charge of huge amounts of money.

    However, the Gospels simply say that Judas had the money box or bag. People contributed to the daily needs of the disciples. and because checking accounts and debit cards were not exactly known in those days, they had to put the common fund somewhere accessible. And so they did - it was kept in a box or bag that someone had physical charge of.

    Jesus had a big House
    The Prosperity Doctrine preachers commonly refer to the first chapter of John to 'prove' that Jesus had a big house. As seen above, John Hagee claims that Jesus must have had a big house considering He took a whole crowd of people home with Him.

    Perhaps we should let the Bible tell us whether this is true or not. Pay close attention to the words I have underlined

      Again the next day John (the Baptist) was standing with two of his disciples, and he looked at Jesus as He walked, and *said, "Behold, the Lamb of God!" The two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus. And Jesus turned and saw them following, and *said to them, "What do you seek?" They said to Him, "Rabbi (which translated means Teacher), where are You staying?" He *said to them, "Come, and you will see." So they came and saw where He was staying; and they stayed with Him that day, for it was about the tenth hour. (John 1:35-39 NASB)

    There was no whole crowd - only two disciples. Verse 40 tells us that one of them was Andrew - Simon Peter's brother but does not name the second man. The account also states that it was about the 'tenth hour' that by Jewish reckoning, was about 4 p.m. and that they stayed with Him the remainder of that day. Note: According to John Gill's Bible Exposition, The Ethiopic version renders this verse, "they remained with him that day unto the tenth hour". [01]

    Jesus' Robe the Soldiers Gambled For
    TD Jakes also asks why the Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus' robe if it wasn't valuable.

    They didn't

    John 19:23-24 tells us exactly the soldiers did what they did "to fulfill the Scripture", namely Psalm 22:18 - "They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots."  

    The verse in Psalm 22 is clarified by the actions of the soldiers who tore Jesus' outer garments into four parts, one for each soldier. However, for whatever reason they decided not to damage the seamless one piece tunic, but cast lots to decide who would own it. If Jesus' outer garment had been valuable why on earth would the soldiers have torn it into four.

      Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic (Gk. chiton); now the tunic tunic (Gk. chiton) was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, "Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be"; this was to fulfill the Scripture: "they divided My outer garments among them, and for My clothing they cast lots." (John 19:23-24 NASB)

    The tunic or chiton was a loose-fitting, knee-length undergarment worn next to the skin with the outer garment worn over it. The fact that it was seamless is very significant. Aaron as High Priest wore just such a seamless garment (Exodus 28: 31-32.) Jesus as the ultimate High Priest did too.

    Although the soldiers knew nothing of the tunic's significance and had no idea they were fulfilling prophesy, they saw that the tunic was seamless and simply decided not to tear it. There is nothing at all to suggest that it was at all valuable. It just seems that they were passing the time gambling with whatever came to hand with nary a thought for the suffering going on above them.

    Eisegesis and Exegesis - The Two Ways To Interpret Text - Any Text.

    Prosperity teachers lull believers into a false sense of security by quoting Biblical texts that convince many that their teaching come straight from the mouth of God Himself. Prosperity teachers point to their pet verses and tell their gullible audiences that since it is there is black and white, they should not listen to the prophets of doom who want to keep them poor and miserable.

    They imply that certain verses function like the proverbial magic lamp - rub the lamp like so (positive confession) and the magic genie (God) will appear and grant your every wish.

    However, there are two ways to interpret Scripture (with apologies for the five dollar words)

      Eisegesis (what false teachers do) is when a reader imposes his or her interpretation onto the text. People guilty of eisegesis impose their own ideas, presuppositions, or biases on the text while either ignoring the context or other verses that either do not support or flatly contradict their interpretation. This done to convince their audience that their teaching has Biblical support.

      Exegesis is how all text, Biblical or otherwise, should be interpreted. It is the process of drawing out the meaning from a text in accordance with the context and discoverable meaning of its author. In other words, what point was the author attempting to make?

    In order to properly understand what the original author had in mind, we have to do several things. 

      1) Consider the Context: No Biblical author simply strung together a number of lofty sounding phrases disconnected from one another. Because each verse is an integral part of a particular point the author was trying to make, no one should read, much less base their beliefs on stand alone verses - but read the immediate surrounding verses, the entire chapter, or even several chapters. Understanding what the author meant comes not only from the words he wrote, but also by what the overall message of the chapter is intended to convey. See Context is CRUCIAL.

      2) Refrain From Basing Doctrine on Obscure or Unclear Verses: These must never be used to 'prove' preconceived ideas. Obscure verses must be interpreted by those that are plainly written and clearly understood. Very often when a verse that appears to say one thing is compared with everything else the Bible has to say on the subject one is forced to rethink the original verse.

      3.) Investigate The Hebrew and Greek Words: I have often found that the English translation of certain Hebrew or Greek words was based on either bias or pre-existing ideas. The serious Bible student will not unquestioningly accept the English translation but will compare the Hebrew or Greek words with other passages that use exactly the same words. This can take time but brings up the question of whether many things we believe are based on the Bible or tradition. See Footnote I for some outstanding examples.

    The following most commonly used texts used to support the prosperity doctrine are classic example of Eisegesis.

    Proof Texts

    John 10:10
    is one of Jesus' more heart warming statements however, when used as 'proof text' for the prosperity doctrine, it is full of more holes than a slice of Swiss.

      "... I came that they may have life (Gr. z), and may have it abundantly (Gr. perissos). (John 10:10 NASB)

    There are two reason people assume that Jesus was saying He came so that His followers would have an abundance of the material things of this world for two reasons. They a.) ignore the context of the chapter including the first half of the verse, and b.) do not understand how the Greek word z is used in the New Testament.

    a.) Context
    The first half of John 10 is devoted to the topic of Jesus as the 'Good Shepherd'. In verses 7-11 Jesus contrasts Himself with the bad shepherds who were rebuked by the Lord in Ezekiel 34. These shepherds neither cared for the sheep nor about the sheep - not even those that were sick, injured, or lost. (Ezekiel 34 records the retribution these self-serving, selfish shepherds will suffer at the Lord's hands.)

    In stark contrast the Good Shepherd not only cares for every one of His flock, but places their interests before His own..

      So Jesus said to them again, "Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. "All who came before Me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them. "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life (Gr. z), and have it abundantly. "I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep. (John 10:7-11 NASB)

    If abundant life was referring to material blessings in this life the contrast with evil shepherds does not make any sense. Jesus said the thieves steal, kill, and destroy - but what is it that they destroy? Both Matthew and Luke answer this question by telling us that the thieves we are to be concerned about steal heavenly treasures.

    "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. "But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; (Matthew 6:19-20 NASB)

      "Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys. (Luke 12:33 NASB)

    Note: Considering that many of the ancient Israelites were sheep herders and that there are numerous references to sheep folds in the Old Testament, the people would have understood exactly what Jesus was talking about. See Illustration of an Ancient Sheep Fold on bible-history.com HERE

    b.) The Greek Word z
    The word life (z) is used far more frequently (36 times) in the Gospel of John than in any other book of the Bible - most often in reference to eternal life. For example, Jesus said He was "the bread of life" (John 6:35,41,48,51) -  "the resurrection and the life" (John 11:25) - and "the way, the truth and the life" (John 14:6). And in John's words,

    so that whoever believes will in Him have eternal life (Gr. z). (John 3:15 NASB)

      "For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life (Gr. z) to the world." (John 6:33 NASB)

      "Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life (Gr. z), which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal." (John 6:27 NASB)

    All of which should make it very clear that when Jesus said He came to give life, He was referring not to our few years on earth but eternal life in God's Kingdom. See The Message of the Bible.

    Note how Jesus used z on another occasion,

      Someone in the crowd said to Him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But He said to him, "Man, who appointed Me a judge or arbitrator over you?" Then He said to them, "Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed; for not even when one has an abundance (Gr. perissos) does his life (Gr. z) consist of his possessions." (Luke 12:13-15 NASB)

    Quite clearly Jesus was telling the man to beware - even an abundance of material things did not contribute to the life (z) that Jesus came to give. Additionally, let us not forget what Paul wrote to Timothy... (In fact, read the entire chapter) 

      But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. (1 Timothy 6:9 NASB)

    So, if John 10:10 was saying that Jesus' coming to earth meant that His followers would have material blessings and prosperity in this life, Paul warning these same followers that desiring to be rich was very likely to cause their ruin makes no sense at all.

    Mark 9:23 - He Who Believes.
    Jesus' words in Mark 9:23 "All things are possible to him who believes" have also been hopelessly wrenched from their context.

    While there is no question that faith is hugely important, I have absolutely no idea how this text can be used to show that as long as we believe God will grant us our desires. The first thing we should note is Jesus did not tell the boy's father that all things will be granted to him who believes. What the Savior said was all things are possible to the person who believes.

    When the disciples failed to cast out the demon from the possessed boy his father, whose faith was probably quite shaken, asked Jesus to do something if He could.

      "It has often thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, take pity on us and help us!" And Jesus said to him, " 'If You can?' All things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the boy's father cried out and said, "I do believe; help my unbelief." (Mark 9:22-24 NASB)

    One can almost hear Jesus saying "what do you mean if I can"?

    What Jesus did do was change the focus from His ability to the boy's father's belief - if you can believe.  In other words, I know that I have the power and ability, now do you know that?

    In the same incident recorded in Matthew 17, the disciples asked Jesus why they had been unable to cast the demon out of the boy, and were told it was because of their 'little' faith'. Had it been even as big as a mustard seed they would have been able to help the boy.

       And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20 NASB)

    For reasons that we cannot completely understand... the path to miracles seems to be facilitated by faith. Even Jesus' miracles in His own hometown were greatly reduced by the unbelief of the people there.

      And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. (Mark 6:5 NASB)

    Even a very little faith placed in a very great and mighty God can accomplish great things. In other words, the verse does not give believers blanket permission to command the genie, but teaches that although we struggle at times we should not ever question God's power - no if's. Like the despairing father, our prayer should be "Help thou my unbelief".

    Mark 10:28-31- The 100-Fold Promise

      (28) Peter began to say to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You."  (29)  Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel's sake, (30) but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life.  (31)  "But many who are first will be last, and the last, first." (Mark 10:28-31 NASB)

    Many false teachers make appeal to this portion of Mark, especially verse 30 to support their teaching of the 100-fold return. As Gloria Copeland put it in her 2012 book, God's Will is Prosperity, "Give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000. . . . In short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal."

    This is yet another classic case of cherry picking verses that suit your teaching.

    In order to understand exactly what our Lord meant one has to turn to the parallel verse in Matthew that makes it very clear that the rewards come not necessarily in this life, but when the Son of Man finally ascends His throne

    Then Peter said to Him, "Behold, we have left everything and followed You; what then will there be for us?" And Jesus said to them, "Truly I say to you, that you who have followed Me, in the regeneration when the Son of Man will sit on His glorious throne, you also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. "But many who are first will be last; and the last, first. (Matthew 19:27-30 NASB)

    However, both Gospel writers make it exceedingly clear as to who benefits - people who have left house, brothers, sisters, mother or father, children or farms, for Christ and the gospel's sake. In other words, those who have given up everything as Peter said they themselves had. Mark additionally noted there is a price to pay - persecution will also come

    Prosperity teachers have given absolutely nothing up. Much to the contrary they have massively gained from their false doctrine and accumulated wealth beyond measure and everything that comes with it. They are not the ones who will be rewarded 100 fold.

    Matthew 18:19-20 - Two in Agreement
    "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven. "For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst." (Matthew 18:19-20 NASB)

    This well known verse commonly applied to corporate prayer, is often held to mean that when two or more of His disciples meet to pray Jesus not only is present but also promises to respond to the prayer made in agreement. In other words if a couple or three people pray in agreement for something, God must do it.

    However, yet one more time, the verse has been taken completely out of context. See What does it mean when Jesus said "where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them"?

    2 Corinthians 8:9
    For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, so that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9 NASB)

    As said by Bob Deffinbaugh, Jesus...

      was infinitely "rich" in the presence of His Father (see John 17:5; Philippians 2:6). He willingly "became poor" in His incarnation (Philippians 2:5-8). He was born in a very humble setting, having a cattle trough as a bed, and being born to parents who were far from rich. He left the "wealth" of heaven and took on the "poverty" of this earth in His incarnation. He who was rich became poor for the sake of those of us who were spiritually "bankrupt" in our sins. Through faith in His sacrificial work on the Cross of Calvary, He has made all those who trust in Him exceedingly rich. [02]

    We have a share in Jesus eternal, heavenly wealth, because He came and had a share in our poverty.

    John 14:14, 15:7, 15:16, 16:23 - Asking in His Name

      "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:14 NASB)

      If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatsoever ye will, and it shall be done unto you. (John 15:7 NASB)

      You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. (John 15:16 NASB)

      "In that day you will not question Me about anything. Truly, truly, I say to you, if you ask the Father for anything in My name, He will give it to you.  (John 16:23 NASB)

    All too often, these verses are taken to mean that God is giving us carte blanche to ask whatever we want of Him. This is far from the case.

    Who Were These Promises Made To?
    What we are apparently missing is the fact that in every one of these cases Jesus was speaking to His disciples, and not making any general statements that apply to all Christians everywhere and at all times. The verses beginning with John 13:12 through chapter 16 are all part of Jesus' final discourse made to the disciples right after they celebrated the Passover and just before He was arrested. Much of what the Savior told them was aimed at preparing them for His death and resurrection and what they would face later.

    The following verses make it very clear that the Savior was speaking to His chosen disciples

      "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. (John 15:16 NASB)

    and you will testify also, because you have been with Me from the beginning. (John 15:27 NASB)

      "A little while, and you will no longer see Me; and again a little while, and you will see Me."  (John 16:16 NASB)

      "Therefore you too have grief now; but I will see you again, and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. (John 16:22 NASB)

    Thus the "whatever" in 14:14 does not mean that every request made in His name would be granted but the disciple's requests concerning doing His work would be answered. The context clearly shows that Jesus was speaking about the works the Father did through Him.

      Philip *said to Him, "Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us." Jesus *said to him, "Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, 'Show us the Father'? "Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. "Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. "If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it. (John 14:8-14 NASB)

    Besides which, Jesus was not offering even them a blank check. There was an attached condition. In chapter 15 our Lord told His disciples that they would bear much fruit only if they continued abiding in Him. He described the relationship between Himself and His disciples in terms of a vine and its branches that would wither and die if cut off from the main vine.

       "... As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (John 15:4 NASB)

      "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. (John 15:7-8 NASB)

    In any case in ancient times to do something in someone else's name was a great responsibility. It meant you had been authorized to speak and/or act on another's behalf. Thus the representative had to be very sure that what he said and did was in character with the person being represented. Similarly, praying in Jesus' name means the request must be consistent with the character and the purpose of Christ.

    Christ said He spoke only what the Father taught Him and always did what was pleasing to the Father (John 8:28-29) . How many of us can claim the same thing? 

    Which brings us to

    Mark 11:23-24 - The Mountains We Want Moved?
    "Truly I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is going to happen, it will be granted him. "Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you. (Mark 11:23-24 NASB) 

    This verse has long been pointed to as proof that a believer can ask for anything they desire and, if they believe their prayer will be answered, God is obligated to do just that.

      Note: "moving mountains" does not have anything to do with the terrain, but was a commonly used phrase used to do or achieve something that is incredibly difficult. Jesus was teaching His disciples that with faith, they could accomplish what appeared to be impossible. 

    Are we to believe that even though Jesus subjugated His will to the will of His Father (Luke 22:42), and said He always did the things that were pleasing to the Father (John 8:29), He gave humans the power to command God to give them whatever their little hearts may desire?


    The fact is we can only move the mountains that God wants removed, not necessarily those that we want moved.

    3 John 1:2 - The Compliment Paul Paid Gaius
    was said to be the verse that set Oral Roberts feet on the path he followed all his life. It was written by the apostle John to someone called Gaius.

      Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. (3 John 1:2 NASB)

    The commentator Albert Barnes makes a very insightful remark concerning this verse. To paraphrase... It is not very common that a man prospers so well spiritually that we can wish that he does equally well in health and material things.

    In other words, Gaius' soul set the standard. It was in such good repair that Paul wished that all other aspects of his life would do as well. This was quite a compliment Paul paid Gaius and we can only aspire to having something like this said about us too.

      (Note that 'Gaius' is mentioned several other times in the New Testament but we do not know if it the same man spoken of here)

    Matthew 5:5 and Real Estate
    Kirbyjon Caldwell (Footnote II)  pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston applies Matthew 5:5 to real estate saying

      "It is unscriptural not to own land," Starting with Adam and Eve and throughout the Old Testament, "The central theme was the pursuit of land, occupation of land, being put out of the land." And, in the New Testament, "Jesus said the meek shall inherit the real estate - the dirt." [03]

    The quote is from an article in Christianity Today that unfortunately requires you to subscribe before being allowed access to its archives. However, on page 10 of his book Be In It to Win It, Kirbyjon asked (emphasis added) whether we knew "that the ownership of land is sanctioned by God? it is unscriptural not to own land". [04]

    In their never ending pursuit of material things Caldwell has completely missed the larger picture.

    To take this statement of Jesus to mean that it is unscriptural for Christians to not own land is as bad a distortion of Scripture that I have ever seen. It substitutes a miserly acre or two for the grand scheme of things when God's people will inherit all the real estate there is - the entire earth.

    See What And Where is Heaven?
     Part II... The Promises and The Prophecies

    Philippians 4:13 - What Did "All Things" Refer To?
    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.  (Philippians 4:13 KJV)

    Not only is this yet another verse blasted from stages, excuse me -  pulpits, across the land, but is often used by Christians across the board to to explain why they have been successful at something or another. The Christian businessman, the Christian athlete and everyone in between will loudly proclaim that a good part of their success was because they were 'able to do all things through Christ who strengthened them'. Norman Vincent Peale also used this verse in a similar way on page 2 of The Power of Positive Thinking.

    Which all sounds wonderful but, as asked by Dr. David R. Reid of Growing Christians Ministries,

    where does that leave all the poor struggling Christian business men and women in the audience who are not doing so well financially? Isn't the strength of Christ good for them too?... Again we must ask about the Christian athletes who are not so talented and did not win any medals. They also trained and tried their hardest but they either lost or never even qualified. Where was the strength of Christ for them? Certainly many of them had as much faith in the promise of Philippians 4:13 as the winning Christian athlete. [05]

    Once again this verse is taken completely out of context. When Paul wrote this epistle he was probably a prisoner in Rome (1:13-14) and had just received a gift from the Philippians who supported him during this trying particular period.

    He thanked them for their kindness although, as he said, he had learned to be content regardless of his circumstances. (Vs. 10-14). He could do all things through Christ who strengthened him - The "all things" obviously referring to the many hardships he endured. Although the apostle experienced times of abundance and times of overwhelming lack, he prevailed over both situations because his focus was on Christ whom he could completely depend on for strength... And this is the lesson we need to learn from Philippians 4:13.

    Note In speaking about his ability to be content, Paul did not want to give the impression that the Philippians had done something wrong but, in a sense, their generosity did more for them than him.

    Malachi 3:10 and Tithing:
    Malachi 3:10 is a much used Scripture used to back up the concept of receiving tenfold back from the Lord is

    "Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be food in My house, and prove Me now in this, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out such a blessing that there will not be room enough to receive it"

    The tithing system of the Old Testament was very complicated there being not one but three tithes. However these tithes were inextricably bound up with meeting the needs of the poor, not to make the wealthy even wealthier. Additionally neither the apostle Paul nor the early Church said a word about paying tithes, which only evolved post-Constantine when a means was sought to finance huge churches and cathedrals.

    Financing huge expensive church building and, in many cases, the pastor's extravagant lifestyle is the main reason behind the constant begging that goes on today.

    (See Tithing for an in-depth look at this subject)

    Rhema Vs. Logos
    In a effort to further bolster their teachings, proponents of the Word-Faith Prosperity doctrine often refer to two Greek words used in the New Testament, and usually translated into the English word. They claim that these two Greek words, logos and rhema, have totally different meanings...

      Logos refers to the written Scriptures given to us for our spiritual instruction and is an overview of God's plan for the human race.

      Rhema on the other hand is "the spoken word of God. For example, we may be wrestling with an issue in our life and may read a verse that "speaks" directly to the situation we are dealing with. That portion of the scripture becomes a "Rhema word" from God for us regarding our situation.

    Rhema is often considered to be superior to the logos because it is taken to be God's real time word or message to you in your present situation. In fact, many present day teachers emphasizing the subjective "inner guidance" over the written Scriptures even if it contradicts the Bible. This is similar to the infamous Mormon "internal witness" or "burning in the bosom", which is held to be Divine truth .

    The problem is that in the Scriptures...

    Logos and Rhema Are Used Interchangeably
    The distinction commonly made between logos and rhema cannot be sustained by Biblical evidence, since they are so often used interchangeably, with very little distinction between how the Greeks used these two words. Although there are plenty of examples just one is enough to make the point. Here are four.

    Example 1 - Jesus' prophecy that Peter would deny him three times before the rooster crowed is recorded in Matthew 26:34, Mark 14:30 and Luke 22:34. When this prophecy came to pass Peter recalled what Jesus had told him. In narrating this incident Matthew and Mark used the word rhema, but Luke used logos... both words referring to a spoken prophecy

      Matthew 26:75: And Peter remembered the word (rhema) which Jesus had said, "Before a rooster crows, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.

      Mark 14:72 Immediately a rooster crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had made the remark (rhema) to him, "Before a rooster crows twice, you will deny Me three times." And he began to weep.

      Luke 22:61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word (logos) of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times." (Luke 22:61 NASB)

    Example 2 - Acts 10:44
    Luke uses both rhema and logos to refer to Peter preaching the Gospel to Cornelius' household

    While Peter was still speaking these words (rhema), the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message (logos). (Acts 10:44 NASB)

    Example 3 - Matthew 7:24 and Romans 10:17
    Paul used the word rhema when he said

      So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word (rhema) of Christ. (Romans 10:17 NASB)

    But Jesus used logos for the very same concept

      "Therefore everyone who hears these words (logos) of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. (Matthew 7:24 NASB)

    The only reason the word-faith movement has chosen to distinguish between the two is to to provide some "proof"  for their unbiblical ideas.

    Footnote I - Examples of Highly Questionable Renderings of Greek and Hebrew Words
    a) the word 'hell' does not exist in the Bible. See What and Where is Hell?

    b) Most Christians assume "church" means the organization run by ordained clergy who conduct religious ceremonies in brick and mortar buildings down the road. Nothing could be further from the truth.  The Greek word Ekklesia that has largely been translated 'church' does not mean the organization, hierarchy or building. See Chapter I of The Church... Then and Now. "Church"- An Unacceptable Translation of Ekklesia

    c.) The Greek word translated "he" in reference to the Holy Spirit can mean 'she' or even 'it' - a fact that has huge implications for the doctrine of the Trinity. Although, the grammar is often used by many evangelicals as the first line of defense, the problem is that the grammar cannot necessarily be used to support the idea that the Holy Spirit is a 'he' - much less the third Person of the Trinity. See The Trinity Part III - The Grammar {PLACE IN TEXT}

    Footnote II - Kirbyjon Caldwell

    Kirbyjon Caldwell not only "turned Windsor Village United Methodist Church from a struggling congregation of just two dozen members into one of Houston's most dynamic community-revitalization centers" but also delivered the benediction at President George W. Bush's inauguration. He also presided over Jenna Bush's wedding at the family ranch in Crawford, Texas.

    In an interview with Dan McGraw of U.S. News & World Report, Kirbyjon said

       "For a church to intentionally turn its back on economic development and financial enlightenment, not only are they passing up an opportunity to make America a more vibrant and safer place to live, they also are denying one of the main threads that runs through the Bible." [06]

    In January 13, 2021 Caldwell was sentenced to 72 months (6 years) in prison followed by 1 year of supervised release for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $3,588,500, as well as a fine of $125,000.

      "The defendants in this case abused the trust that the victims had placed in them," stated Acting United States Attorney Van Hook. "This defendant used his status as the pastor of a mega-church to help convince the many victim investors that they were making a legitimate investment but instead he took their hard-earned money from them and used it for his own personal gain. This office will continue to investigate and prosecute those who scheme and prey upon the elderly and others."

    There have been more than one example of a church leader 'helping' God along a little bit. Paul Yongghi-Cho for example. See Yoido Full Gospel church leaders found guilty of tax evasion in THIS section of the article on Robert Schuller. {PLACE IN TEXT}

    Continue On To Chapter 3
    The Never Mentioned Verses

    Prosperity doctrine teachers only use those texts that they imagine will "prove" their position.

    Quite obviously, they never quote any of the Scriptural passages that clearly tell us that it is not necessarily God's will for us to prosper in this life, that the Bible repeatedly warns against focusing on the material things of this world and that it clearly warns church leaders against being lovers of money, or using godliness as a means to financial gain? 

    And they neglect to mention that the Bible clearly stipulates conditions that have to be met before prayers are answered. HERE

    End Notes - Chapter 2
    [01] John Gill's Exposition of the whole Bible.  https://www.studylight.org/commentary/john/1-39.html

    [02] Bob Deffinbaugh. Bible.org. Learning to Be Liberal (2 Cor. 8:1-15) https://bible.org/seriespage/learning-be-liberal-2-cor-81-15

    [03] Jenny Staff Johnson. The Minister of 'Good Success'. 10/01/2001.

    [04] Kirbyjon Caldwell. Be In It to Win It. Publisher: Touchstone; Revised, Updated edition (December 4, 2007) Pg. 10

    [05] Dr. David R. Reid. Controlled By Context. Growing Christians Ministries. http://www.growingchristians.org/dfgc/context.htm. Unfortunately the link is no longer valid

    [06] Kirbyjon Caldwell Biography - Opted Out of Corporate World, Took Active Role in Community, "Restore What Has Long Lain Desolate" https://biography.jrank.org/pages/2900/Caldwell-Kirbyjon.html 


    Return To Chapter 1  - Introduction