Ask The Chaplain

Ask The Chaplain

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Is Seed Faith Giving Scriptural?"

2 Peter 2:1,”… but there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”

What do you think it means to deny the Lord? Many would say that any person or group that doesn’t believe that Jesus was the Son of God would be denying the Lord and that would be true enough. False religions like Islam and Hinduism would fall into this category. Most orthodox Christians would include the pseudo Christian cults like Jehovah’s Witness’, Mormons, and others of that ilk. And they would be correct but are these false teachers Peter is referring to here?

If you look closely you will see that Peter says these false teachers will be “among you”. Since he was writing to a group of born again, Spirit filled believers, we must conclude that he is not talking about the obvious false religions or even pseudo Christian cults. The false teachers he is speaking of will be found within the Body of Christ.

Now how do you suppose that false teachers will get away with denying the Lord among a group of believers?

The word denying as it is used here is the Greek word arneomai {ar-neh'-om-ahee}. It is the same word used in Titus 1:16, “They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him….” Used in these contexts, the word means to contradict.

So a teacher that contradicts the Lord is in fact denying Him. He may say that Jesus is Lord. He may speak right sounding words claiming to be born again and he may have the biggest Bible you’ve ever seen but if his works or teaching contradicts the words of Jesus he is denying Him.

For example, when Benny Hinn claimed in 1999 that Jesus would physically appear at one of his upcoming crusades, he was contradicting the specific words of the Lord Jesus.

Math 24:23 -26
Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect. Behold, I have told you before Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.

By making the claim that Jesus would physically appear at one of his crusades Hinn contradicted (denied) the words of the Lord and proved himself to be a false prophet and false teacher according to 2 Peter 2:1.

The so called principle of seed faith giving was first popularized by Oral Roberts almost 50 years ago. It proved to be so profitable to him that he essentially based his entire ministry on it. As with any other profitable venture others soon followed. Today it is used by virtually every “Faith” preacher, the majority of Christian television networks, and almost all TV preachers in general. It has even found its way into many mainstream and denominational churches.

How does seed faith giving work. It is loosely based (very loosely as we will see) on the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13, Mark 4, and Luke 8. Using the illustration of sowing seed, people are instructed that if they will give money to the church, the ministry, the TV network, the man of God, etc, God will multiply it back to them 30, 60, or 100 times more than they gave. In fact now days, about all you ever hear about is the 100 fold return. The 30 and 60 fold returns have pretty much been dropped altogether.

That’s a pretty good deal wouldn’t you say? Give God $1 and get back $100. Give God $100 and get back $10,000. Give God $10,000 and get back a cool million. And not only that, but you can also sow money and get back other things. Things like salvation for relatives, healing for incurable diseases, and deliverance from various demonic influences! That’s right; all you have to do is send your seed (meaning money) to the man of God!

Is this really what the parable of the sower is all about? What do you think? Let’s examine this important parable.

Luke 8:4-8 NASB
When a large crowd was coming together, and those from the various cities were journeying to Him, He spoke by way of a parable: The sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell beside the road, and it was trampled under foot and the birds of the air ate it up. Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture. Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out. Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."

Jesus explains the parable

Luke 8:11 NASB
Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God.

Now right here anybody with even a minimal level of reading comprehension should be able to see that this parable has nothing to do with money. The seed is the word of God. Even a brand new baby Christian should be able to look at this and say “I don’t think these fellows are teaching this correctly”

Let’s continue with Jesus’ explanation

Luke 8:12-15 NASB
Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.

This parable is about what happens when the word of God is sown or revealed in the heart of a person. It may be the most important parable Jesus taught. Why do I say that? Because Jesus said this:

Mark 4:13
And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?

Jesus is saying that if you don’t understand this parable you won’t understand any of the parables he taught. This is a foundational teaching!

By misapplying the parable of the sower, these false teachers do great damage to God’s people. First, by falsely claiming that God works like some kind of cosmic slot machine, but the real damage is in the fact that believers are robbed of the true meaning of this teaching.

The parable of the sower is at work every time God’s Word is revealed to you. In fact it is at work right now in many of you who are reading this.

I know that many of you will read this and say “I don’t believe that. I don’t believe that my favorite preacher would preach a false message” You’ll reject what I’m saying. You’ll actually be rejecting the words of Jesus.

The devil has come already to steal this word from you.

Some of you will hear what I say and receive it gladly. “Glory to God” you’ll say, “preach it brother…. Hallelujah” But you won’t take the time to really meditate on this word. You won’t really apply it.

And then a testing will come, a test to see if you really believe, trust in, rely on, and adhere to what you claim to believe. Testing is because of the word sown in your heart. You’ll be challenged. God Himself will allow that challenge, that test.

Will you pass the test? Or will you revert back to your traditional thinking?

And of course some of you will hear and believe but you won’t give this word the proper place in your life. You’ll think about it for a while. You’ll decide that it’s right but then you’ll get on with your life. You’ll get busy with your job, your family, your daily responsibilities and it will recede further and further into the recesses of your heart until it has no real value to you.

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