Can Faith Forestall Death and Give You Longer Life?

Here’s a recent article (original source here) written by my pastor friend in Kenya, Elly Achok Olare:

CAN FAITH FORESTALL DEATH AND GIVE YOU LONGER LIFE?

I pose this question because of a post I read from a Facebook conversation. The person wrote among other things this statement which we wish to investigate in the light of scripture.

“The reason as to why God brought Jesus on the scene is to restore us to longevity even though it is a choice based on an individuals level of knowledge and understanding (Hosea 4:6)”.

This is an extremely startling statement, but sadly one that is representative of the majority report within the faith movement. It is lethal because it paints Jesus ‘in good light’ our knight in shining armor-sentiments which easily resonate with the scripturally ignorant majority. It is not an innocent statement when it is marinated in proof texts – illegitimately pressed beyond their proper hermeneutics.

What this person is saying, in not so many words, is that longevity of life depends upon your level of knowledge. If you die in-car crash as have many good people from the word of faith movement, and HERE I CALL ATTENTION TO DR. MYLES MUNROE who crashed with a private plane close to 2 years ago. Well…says this logic, his premature death (by the way what is premature or mature death?), was due to His knowledge and understanding. Or the late Dr. Paul Crouch, the great founder and proprietor of Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), who died of cancer as well.

So to be honest, this faith, this knowledge and understanding is not working very well for its adherents does it? Sooner or later the strongest faith preachers reckon with sickness and disease just like the rest of ‘mere mortals’. They soon come to terms with the naked reality they have been fighting to rebuke, declare and confess away-they all soon die, many at a relatively young age.

The illusion is just that -illusion, it’s a fairy tale sold to millions who fear death and are desperate to cling to some kind of hope. It is palatable to those who are not sure of the life hereafter and would cling to this one as long as possible. Why would one embrace the fact of their death when they have no idea what the other side of life portents for them? The other side is a scary unknown for many and the maximum they are likely to embrace is the one offered in disguised forms by the faith movement.

Joel Osteen would call it “your best life now”. As Pastor John MacArthur has observed “For those outside Christ, this is indeed your best life…because an eternity of untold torment in the lake of fire awaits you on the other side when God unleashes His unmitigated wrath on you. This is what the Rich man in Luke 16:19-23, found out. However for those who trusted truly in the redeemer this is your worst life, your master Himself tells you “in this world you will have many troubles .” The Apostles who bore the Gospel that saved you are united in their testimony that your life here on this earth will be full of sorrows and pain and hurt and suffering (Romans 8:18-23, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18, 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

For those redeemed by the sin atoning blood of the lamb like Apostle, the faith message is ridiculous. They say “to die is gain…for to be absent in the body is to be present with the Lord (which is far more preferable). This is a mindset that is at stark variance with the faith preachers, it has to be because it a language of children of zoonotic, not children of Babylon, it is the speech of the future glory, not one of present material aggrandizement.

Our forefathers in Africa lived much longer than the word of faith preachers yet their knowledge and understanding of scripture was very low, in many cases zero. On a comparative scale, I would say the knowledge of foods and herbs my forefathers had served them better than this faith serves its adherents. Conventional medicine does a whole lot better than the word of faith prescription .Most of the big names of this movement I know of suffer from one terminal illness to another (they do a great Job of hiding it from the public, but make no mistake, these men fall I’ll like the rest of us).

We know Benny Hinn struggles with a heart disease. Creflo Dollar was recently diagnosed with a cancer and the list goes on. Of course their convenient teaching allows them to lie in the name of faith by what is called “positive confession” (itself a justification for living in denial or simply outright lie).These men and women have the best doctors in the world looking after them, doctors procured by the large amounts they solicit for In terms faith seed. They ask you to depend upon a system they themselves don’t depend upon. It is to say the least treacherous and hypocritical.

HERE IS A QUESTION, is there any faith preacher (even the greatest of them like Kenneth Hagin) who does not age? Do their skins wear out and sag? Does white hair come upon their heads? Do they lose steadily the agility of youth like all humans? Do they get to menopause or sterility? Does their strength fail and voices distort with age? Do they get a point where they eyes fail, eye muscles weaken and they have need of reading glasses? If your answer is yes (in whatever format) that’s what is called the process of death. Death works in and on us while we live-we are dying while we live. Death is in that respect natural and native to all humans since the Fall of man. Continue reading

Testimony: Costi Hinn

I can relate to so much in this interview as I was once a pastor in the word of faith movement and a local TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) host. I praise the Lord for drawing me out and leading me into truth, just as He has for Costi here. The fact that we both are now Reformed pastors committed to expositional preaching is a sweet joy!

Benny Hinn’s Nephew, Costi Hinn, Refutes The False Teaching of His Uncle In His First Television Interview:

For the Cause of Reform in Kenya

Elly5Back in March I wrote, “Pastor Elly Achok Olare (Mumias, Kenya, Africa) has become a very precious friend of mine in recent months. He and I share a very similar background in that we both were at one time pastors in the word of faith movement.”

You can read an article he wrote at the Gospel Coalition website entitled, “How God Saved Me from the Prosperity Gospel”.

Pastor Elly had read my book “Twelve What Abouts” and wrote to me asking for permission to photocopy the book to hand out to his students. I said that with God’s help, I think we (King’s Church, Peoria) can do better than that.

This afternoon I had the joy of seeing photos of the 50 books we had sent to his ministry in Kenya now safely in the hands of Pastor Elly. He is more than delighted. He wrote, “My dearest brother, my friend and Co worker in the battle for souls, I have this day received with exceeding gladness the package of books you sent. It’s a blessing beyond words and thank you a million times.”
books - 50 kenya

Many of the students Pastor Elly teaches have a Pentecostal/Word of Faith background and now, through Pastor Elly’s ministry, five Reformed Churches have recently been planted in neighboring towns and cities in Kenya. Praise the Lord.

books - 50 kenya2Lets pray for our brother and his ministry and may God use the books in these students’ hands to drive many to God and His word, the true gospel of Christ and the biblical doctrines of grace.

books -50 kenya3Pour out Your Spirit O Lord and light fires in the hearts of many – for Your name, and for Your glory alone.

Psalm 91 and the Word of Faith

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Pastor Elly Achok Olare has become a very precious friend of mine in recent months. He and I share a very similar background in that we both were at one time pastors in the word of faith movement. I was recently asked a question about Psalm 91 and its proper interpretation and poised the same question to Pastor Elly who serves in Mumias, Kenya, Africa, asking for his thoughts on the matter. Here is his reply:

Hello there, I was just asked this: One of the most important verses that the word of faith movement refers to is Psalm 91 which they feel gives them authority over the devil. For example, the verses on trampling over the scorpion, the adder and the lion. They will refer to this verse as God giving them authority over Satan, and if they see that Satan is causing ill health, death, etc., then they see it as they have power over Satan rightfully given by God in this verse. How would you answer that? just wondering what sort of answer you would give for this question?

Dear friend and fellow combatant in the faith once and for all time delivered to the saints’

Pastor John, you have put before me a question whose difficulty is only matched by it’s huge importance to our faith and churchmanship. I shall not pretend to have answers to that question which would even start to satisfy a curious mind. However, as you have placed a demand on me so I shall happily contribute my two cents on the matter. As I read the question, I recalled Luther’s appreciation for the aptitude and succinctness of his opponent Erasmus in “identifying the real issue, the matter upon which the debate turns”. In a real sense the question that was posed to you and which you now share with us is such a one in the whole matter of the Word of Faith/prosperity Gospel heresy.

Allow me dear friend to observe two quick points before I attempt my response.

First; I believe that for those already schooled in the foundational doctrines of Grace, having known Christ aright, and been taught of God, the explanation which shall proceed is the “bread of children”. It will be nothing more than a tying of loose ends, and a confirmation of those things which the Holy Spirit has already testified to in the heart. To borrow the words of scripture “a savor of life unto life”. However seeing how diametrically opposed this soul destroying system of the Word of faith or prosperity Gospel; so called, is to the Gospel of God’s Grace in the face of Jesus Christ, it will take a little more than explanation to wrestle such an enslaved mind to submission to the true doctrine of Christ.

The second point I would beg your indulgence upon is to wonder at the strange,albeit wonderful providence of God, in that when I happened upon this question of yours, it was during a short break during our Wisdom Training Center diploma class lectures. Would you believe what the subject was? PENTECOSTALISM, CHARISMATICS AND WORD OF FAITH THEOLOGIES, being part of our course module on cults and religions of the world. I thought that was a strange providence. I had my students engage with this question and therefore in a subtle way, their own contributions will also show in this response.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: OUR EXEGETICAL TAKE ON PSALMS 91

As with all heresies the first mistake is always incurred at the point of hermaneutics. The tendency is to ‘copy & paste’ texts of scripture from the written pages straight to application in our own lives, experience and expectations. However as we read and re-read this passage,we could not escape the subtle yet compelling feeling, that we were looking at one of those special texts. The language employed is too grand, too pure and altogether too exalted to attach primarily and directly to any ordinary human being-even if that human being is a believer in Christ.

This Psalm as with many others, is very Christological. Its application has to pass through the ‘sieve of Christ’, and the redemptive motif which burdens the Old Testament.

In my view, a failure to grasp this will derail any attempt at making sense of the Psalm. The word of Faith movement is a utilitarian system and we expect that they shall latch onto such texts to vindicate their un-biblical presuppositions.

It is noteworthy that at the temptation of our Lord in Luke 4:1-4, Satan appeals to some texts in this passage-verses 11 and 12 in particular,and applies directly to our Lord. Note the words of the tempter “if you are the Son of God”, as If to say “give proof of it in fulfilling this psalm. The tempter knew that the Son of God was the subject of that particular Psalm, it anticipated him and so as if to verify that He is The Son of God he tempts Him in this way. In the second place, observe that Our Lord does not rebuke Satan for applying this psalm to Him,He only rebutted thus “It also written…” We must observe in passing that the tempter here in the Lucan account dangles before our Lord exactly what the word of faith dangles to millions today, material gain and self aggrandisement. It was the same trap set for our first parents-lust of the flesh and a pursuit of materialism. The Lord would not be drawn in and in this, He unlike the first Adam, overcame the tempter.

This Son of God is the figure who dwells in the secret place of the most high. He is the one who is presently and for all eternity sitting at the right hand of majesty on high – Acts 7:56. Jesus Christ is one who staked His legitimate claim to that inner sanctum of glory, when he prayed thus “give me the glory which I had with you from the beginning” – John 17:5

It is this Lord whom the Father will “when He calls upon me,and I will answer Him”, the Psalm paints a further picture, “I will be with Him in trouble; I will deliver Him and honor him” – 91:15. Perhaps these are glorious foretastes of the humiliation and subsequent exaltation of our Lord – Philippians 2:6-11. Surely it is He who in the days of His flesh offered prayers and supplications with “strong crying and tears”, to He who was able to save Him” and was heard ” – Hebrews 5:7.

It is only about him might the words appropriately and legitimately apply when the psalm says “He holds fast to my love” – 91:14 and “I will set him on high, because he hath known my name”. Continue reading

A Lesser God and an Exalted Man

error-stampA long time ago in a garden far, far away, the “God” of the word of faith made man in His image and gave him two very special gifts. The first of these was something called “dominion.” This newly created being, formed out of the dust of the ground was made the “god of this world”, supreme lord over all he surveyed. This gift of dominion meant that man ruled over all his circumstances. Everything in his environment (including the weather) was now subject to him.

The second gift God gave him was seed for sowing. This came in two forms. The first type of seed given to him would be sown into the ground, producing crops of every imaginable kind. Man could determine the type and quantity of the crop he would have. He could have as much or as little as he wished.

The second type of seed took the form of faith filled words. Faith filled words dominate reality. Like His Creator before him, man could speak and everything he said would come to pass. He could have whatever he said. In fact, he not only could have, he would have all that came out of his mouth. Everything on planet earth was subject to man. Nothing was beyond his control. And he exerted that control through the use of his words.

Death and life being in the power of the tongue, no lack or sickness or poverty could continue to exist once man had spoken in faith. If there ever was lack, man could speak ‘abundance’ and everything would conform. All creation awaited man’s faith filled words to see what would be said – the seed of his words would come to fruition.

God was hoping that man would decide to speak words of life rather than death. Oh how he hoped for that! In this way, all would be well; all would be good.

But something happened that meant disaster for God and His plan. Man listened to the serpent and liked what he heard. He decided to get in league with the crafty snake and instead of choosing words that would bring life, health, prosperity and blessing, he chose the way of death. The curse of death now reigned. Sickness and poverty would gain the upper hand.

If we could imagine a father giving a new car to a son as a gift, so God, having given man the keys to His car (planet earth), He could only watch in horror as man drove the car at full speed into the ditch.

The first man had failed to use his dominion wisely. In obeying the serpent, Adam (and his race) had handed over the planet’s keys to the devil. The devil (not God) was now in charge – the ruling “god of this world.” There was now nothing God could do. His hands were tied. All He could do was hope.

Hopefully, yes, just hopefully, another man would arise who would make good decisions and restore dominion back to mankind. That was God’s hope anyway, in something called the plan of redemption.

HERESY
Here is what we know about heresy. It is almost always some truth taken to an extreme.

No one among us (or very few) would believe something that had absolutely no basis in reality. But if the one dispensing heresy can put some truth in there, like a good and wholesome sandwich, he can include healthy meat with just enough poison, and it becomes a lethal meal for anyone who partakes of it.

Ladies and gentlemen, the account you have read above here is heresy of a most pernicious and damnable kind. It is not true. It is error of the worst kind. And dear reader, this is the error taught in the word of faith movement.

Behind the words of the word of faith preacher lays a hissing serpent spewing out damnable lies about God, about man and the nature of reality. These lies are damnable for the simple reason that if they are believed, they damn the human soul forever. Yet the serpent dispenses his lies with just enough truth included so as to deceive his prey.

9 Marks of a Prosperity Gospel Church

cashD. A. Horton is executive director of ReachLife Ministries, the non-profit ministry of Reach Records. Here’s an article he wrote at the 9Marks website (original source followed by two years in theological rehab, which prepared me for the next six years of pastoring in the urban context. What’s become clear to me is that the nine marks of a healthy church provide a useful grid for assessing any church, including those that teach the prosperity gospel.

And what we find is that a prosperity gospel church is a purely anti-nine marks church.

Some of the examples in what follows are specific and may not identify with you the reader. Many however are universal and are propagated by preachers on the internet, radio, and television. Since the prosperity gospel movement is inter-denominational, the teachings expressed in this article are not to be associated with any one denomination within evangelical Christianity.

1. EXPOSITIONAL PREACHING

Preaching in prosperity gospel churches is far from expositional. Instead, the purpose of preaching is to motivate hearers to give financially, and you give to get. Preachers exploit the passages that deal with the sacrificial giving of tithes and offerings week in and week out. They instruct hearers to activate their faith by sowing a “faith seed,” thereby tapping into God’s law of reciprocity and leading to their own financial breakthrough.

Isolated Old Testament passages are often used as examples of God’s abundant reward for faith giving. One passage often used to manipulate hearers into giving more is Malachi 3:10. Prosperity preachers highlight two points from this passage. First, they tell hearers they are robbing God by not tithing. Second, they assure hearers that God wants them to test him by giving more, so that he can give them more.

But consider Malachi 3:10 in its proper context. The Israelites were robbing God by not giving enough food to the national storehouse that was used to feed the priests of Israel. So the priests were having to leave their priestly duties and take up farming to survive (see Neh. 13:10-13). God therefore exhorts Israel to test him by giving obediently. If they did, he would reward them as he did in the past (2 Chr. 31:7-10). The point of this entire passage concerns a historically specific episode in the life of Israel. Preaching it as a Christian sermon, however, requires more than transferring its commands and promises to Christians on a one-to-one basis. Yes, there are larger applications for the Christian concerning giving, but first one needs to account for the differences between old covenant and new, especially the nature of God’s promises to Israel and the manner in which they are fulfilled for the Christian in Christ.

A healthy church uses preaching to communicate God’s words to his people. It confronts the hearer with God’s truth and leads to conviction, encouragement, clarity, and a call to action. It also centers every text around the gospel in order to show the hearer how central and necessary Jesus Christ is to the believer living in obedience to God’s word. A healthy church will inform believers that the results of holy living will not necessarily be financial gain but rather godliness that honors our Lord.

2. BIBLICAL THEOLOGY

Prosperity gospel theology rests upon the foundational error that man shares a form of deity with God, such that our words carry the same creative power as God’s words. Psalm 82:6, Proverbs 18:20-21, and Romans 4:17 are popular proof texts used to support this falsehood. It is often said that man is a “lower-case god” and possesses the power to demonstrate deity by speaking things into existence, creating and controlling our destiny with words, and even mandating a frustrated and limited God to act on our behalf for our benefit. Continue reading

Out of the Word of Faith

Three Audio and Video Resources:

CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER WORD OF FAITH PASTOR
For quite some time, I shared something of an insider’s guide, as well as the powerful biblical truths God used to alert me to the gross deception. How grateful I am to God for bringing me out!

JOURNEY OUT OF HERESY AND DECEPTION

Behind every deception there lurks the crafty, hissing serpent appealing to the pride of man. “You don’t need a God.. why? You can become one,” he says. “Learn my wisdom and my laws; put them in motion and you can control your destiny and environment to make it as you please.”

REFORMED BIBLE CONFERENCE – SATURDAY, MARCH 12, 2016, SOVEREIGN GRACE BAPTIST CHURCH, GLOBE, ARIZONA

SESSION ONE: DECEIVED PEOPLE, DECEIVE PEOPLE

Sermon audio:

Youtube video:

SESSION TWO: THE JOURNEY OUT OF HERESY

Sermon audio:

Youtube video:

Journey Out of the Word of Faith

Reformed Bible Conference – Saturday, March 12, 2016 – Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, Globe, Arizona

Behind every deception there lurks the crafty, hissing serpent appealing to the pride of man. “You don’t need a God.. why? You can become one,” he says. “Learn my wisdom and my laws; put them in motion and you can control your destiny and environment to make it as you please.”

Session 1: John Samson – Deceived People, Deceive People

Sermon audio:

Youtube video:

Session 2: John Samson – The Journey Out of Heresy

Sermon audio:

Youtube video:

15,000 Views and Counting

Back in September, as I guest hosted one of Dr. James White’s dividing line programs, I did a one hour teaching on the subject “Confessions of a Former Word of Faith Pastor.” The Lord seems to be using the audio and video recordings to reach people caught up in the ‘word of faith’ movement. More than 15,000 have now viewed the youtube video and I regularly hear from people being impacted. Please continue to pray that many lives will be changed as they encounter God’s word.

CONFESSIONS OF A FORMER WORD OF FAITH PASTOR
For quite some time, I was a pastor in the “word of faith” movement. On this “Dividing Line” show, I shared something of an insider’s guide, as well as the powerful biblical truths God used to alert me to the gross deception. How grateful I am to God for bringing me out!