Friday, October 3, 2008
1. False Teachings on FAITH
FALSE: "Hyper-faith" or "word-faith" teachings, which seem to promise that believers can "name it and claim it," or speak their desires into existence (similar to meta-physical teachings). Attributing power to words as if they were "containers" of faith, with power in and of themselves. Also called "positive thinking" or "possibility thinking" in the milder (though still unbiblical) sense. Sometimes this teaching on the power of the spoken word becomes more like that of occultism.
TRUE: God answers our prayers and petitions according to His will. God is not obligated to do our will, but as we seek Him with our whole heart, He gives us His desires so that our heart is aligned with His, and answers our prayers accordingly, in His time.
2. False Teachings on CHRIST
FALSE: Teachings which undermine the deity of Jesus Christ or alter the biblical doctrines regarding the nature and character of Christ, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, or the doctrine of the Trinity.
TRUE: Jesus Christ came to this earth as God in the flesh. He is the second person of the Trinity and was not created, but "always was" from the beginning. There is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
3. False Teachings on MAN
FALSE: Teachings which elevate Christians to god-like status, such as "little gods," some even teaching that since "the fall," God is limited by man in what He can do on earth. This is typical from those in the "faith healing movement."
TRUE: Man was created in the "image of God," a "little lower than the angels." Once redeemed through Christ, man is indwelt and empowered by the Holy Spirit to do God's will. We are servants of God, called to serve His purposes and not our own. God is sovereign and omnipotent, and man is simply a created being, whose only power comes from above.
4. False Teachings on PROSPERITY
FALSE: Prosperity teachings which claim (erroneously) that not only was Jesus wealthy on earth, but that God desires all believers to be wealthy - and that prosperity, in health and wealth, is guaranteed in the covenant of salvation.
TRUE: God desires for us to have "abundant life" in Christ, living in the power of the Holy Spirit and experiencing the fruits of the Spirit. But oftentimes God's will may include such things as suffering, infirmities, sickness, trials, tribulation, persecution, or even martyrdom as Scripture and history so clearly testify. Jesus lived on earth without even a "place to lay His head," and Scripture teaches that His lifestyle was far from the wealthy lifestyle some have erroneously taught Christ lived. This lie originates in an effort by such teachers to not only justify their own indulgent lifestyles, but also to promote their popular prosperity teachings and increase giving to their ministries from those who are seeking the promised health and wealth, especially since the two are often tied together in a not-so-subtle method of deception. Christ calls us not to seek after worldly riches, but instead to store up our treasures in Heaven and to give our lives as "living sacrifices." As we seek first to serve His Kingdom, and of course, work as God's Word commands, we can be assured that He will provide our needs.
5. False Teachings on HEALING
FALSE: Teachings which claim that God's will is always to heal all sickness, disease, and infirmity, and that Christ's death guarantees that believers should live without these ailments if only they have enough faith, meet certain other conditions, or even give financially to a ministry or teacher so God will "see their faith" and "give them their miracle."
TRUE: God does heal and can perform miracles as He pleases. He has not, however, removed us from the sin-cursed world in which we live or redeemed our bodies from the curse of sin and death - as He has redeemed our spirits. Christ bore our sickness and infirmities, and He has absolute power to heal and restore at will, but even in His will, believers still suffer pain, sickness, calamity, infirmity and even still in some countries today, martyrdom. He chooses to heal some and not others in His sovereignty and for His own glory. Even so-called "faith-healers" and their families get sick, suffer diseases and infirmities, and eventually die. Not until Heaven will we receive new everlastingly-perfect bodies. Until then we should pray for healing (and follow biblical direction regarding healing), seek medical treatments, live wisely and strive for good health trusting that God is sovereign and knowing that nothing can harm us unless He allows it. And no man or women on earth has the right, Scripturally or otherwise, to even imply that by giving financially to any ministry or teacher, God will look favourably upon them and grant their healing or miracle.
6. False Teachings on GIVING
FALSE: Teachings or statements made regarding fund-raising, tithing, and financial giving which are expressed as promises or guarantees (supposedly but erroneously based on the Word of God) that by giving financially, a person will become debt free, will receive a miracle (financial or otherwise), will be blessed by a certain multiplied amount within a certain period of time, or will benefit in any other way that even sounds like a "new" or "special blessing" other than what God has already told us in His Word. These statements are made even more ludicrous and discrediting to God and Christianity as a whole when promoted as if these "special offers," supposedly from God, were for a certain number of people calling in or giving a certain amount on a certain day to a certain teacher or ministry like a cheap, hard selling advertisement.
TRUE: God asks us to give to His Church and His work with a cheerful heart, and not under compulsion. God blesses those who give to further His Kingdom, and has expressed in His Word that He desires for His people to give a tithe of at least ten percent of their income, plus additional offerings, to support their local church and other ministries. But God does not make "special offers" for certain numbers of people giving certain amounts on certain days to certain ministries. In fact, God looks at the heart, and much more importantly than a certain amount, God looks at the amount of one's gift in proportion to the amount of one's wealth or income, and not as is often shamefully presented, especially on television as if it were today's special for God's special blessing.