So, for this post, I thought I would bring up a topic that I am very passionate about. False teachers. This topic gets a lot of attention a lot of times because it gets a lot of people riled up, ticked off, or just plain mad. This might not be the best idea for a fourth post on a new blog, but I guess we'll see what happens.
I'll start off with an example. My wife and I attended a Celebrate Recovery meeting tonight and they played a video at the start of it to kind of get everyone hyped up and ready to go. It was one of those videos where it had a speaker in the background gradually getting louder and more excited while they played clips of people struggling to do things and being able to do them by the end of the video.
While there is nothing wrong with these types of videos necessarily, I believe there was a problem with this one. The speaker in the video was Steven Furtick. He is the "pastor" at Elevation Church in North Carolina. It is a megachurch with somewhere around 26,000 people attending in person and close to 65,000 attending online. Let's just say, on average, this church reaches close to 90,000 people in one way or another. Normally, this would be a great thing, however, it is only great if they are hearing truth. While there is a lot of what Furtick says that is true, there is some that he says that is terribly heretical as well. You know what they say about rat poison, that it is 99% good food with 1% poison. It's that 1% that will kill the rat.
Furtick has taught, more than once, that God broke the law for us out of love. He also has said on multiple occasions that he is God Almighty. I can assure you; he is not. You can check these statements out on YouTube. Below is a video of one of the "God Almighty" statements.
I don't want to stay on Furtick too long other than to say he is one of many wolves with a HUGE influence on the church today. Some others that fall into this same category might shock some of you. These people bring great reproach on the Name of God and should not be able to stand behind or even near a pulpit. While some of the names I will mention are not horribly bad, they still have no business hanging out with the ones that are.
Here's just a few names to get the ball rolling:
Steven Furtick - Little gods doctrine, Word of Faith
Kenneth Copeland - little gods doctrine, prosperity gospel
Joyce Meyer - little gods doctrine, prosperity gospel
Joel Osteen - prosperity gospel, Word of Faith
Jesse Duplantis - prosperity gospel, Word of Faith
Bill Johnson (Bethel Church) - Believes in things like "angel feathers" falling from Heaven onto him, he can raise the dead, speaking in tongues, etc.
Here are some names that might surprise you and that I think warrant some hard questions:
Billy Graham - Ecumenical in some of his preaching, believed that even people that do not know the Name of Jesus will be with us in Heaven.
Beth Moore - Starting to move towards the Word of Faith type teaching and believes she is a preacher. Check out 1 Timothy 2:12 for this one.
Charles Stanley - Believes God speaks audibly to him about things like which turkey to buy for Thanksgiving.
Andy Stanley - Says we are to "unhitch" the Old Testament form the New Testament.
Obviously, there are more names to fit into each list, but these should be enough to get you either questioning some things about some of these people or make you angry and disagree with me altogether. Even if you disagree, I hope you will comment and turn this into a discussion.
So, why are there so many false teachers out there today? They seem to be everywhere. My answer to this one is that this is part of God's judgement. All through time, God has given us the answers to what real faith in His Son looks like and we have ignored it in order to make up our own version of what we think faith should look like. Finally, God said, "Ok, if this is the type of faith you want, I will give you over to it" (Romans 1).
How are we to know who to listen to and who to not? First, I think the easiest way is to look at how they preach. Is it biblical? Or is it opinionated? Does the speaker focus a lot of attention on themselves? Or move the attention to God? Check out their churches doctrinal statement or statement of faith. Does it hold up to what the Bible says a church should be and are they actually adhering to what it says? Does the sermon/lesson include a lot of entertainment, or does it just stick to biblical exposition?
So many churches today have turned to the entertainment side of things in order to fill the pews. There is nothing inherently wrong with a nice church building or a band on the stage during worship service. The problem is that a lot of the service is geared toward the people and not toward God and giving Him glory. I have heard it said that people go to church on Sunday to get their fill or because the worship makes them warm and fuzzy. Worship is for God alone, not for us. I say that to say this.
Many of these false teachers tap into this entertainment way of doing church and reach millions of people by doing so. How many of these people are going to wind up in Hell because the focus was on something other than the Gospel? They didn't want to risk going to a church that was "old-fashioned" or "too traditional". Instead, they went to a church that had what they wanted, not what they needed.
So, let me know what you guys think about this one. I'll put another up in a few days. God bless.