Back   828 Ministries
Original Content at

September 26, 2022

Spiritual Bully Joseph Mattera - Do as I Dictate or You are an Atheist

By Anthony Wade

Noting worse than a spiritual bully, demanding you agree with their heresy...


(Image by Unknown Owner)   Details   DMCA

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. - Ephesian 4:29 (ESV)

Click Here

Dr. Joseph Mattera is rabid dominionist. We can glean that from the first line of his own bio, which states his mission is to influence leaders who influence culture and brags about creating the U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Leaders. His bio also proclaims that he is renowned for applying Scripture to contemporary culture. The problem of course is we are not instructed to do any such thing. We are to represent Christ in our lives and preach the gospel so that some might be saved OUT of this culture. Like all NAR dominionists however, Mattera worships this country and desperately wants to revive it, instead of proclaiming the gospel ahead of the Lord's return. Let us reason once more through his latest article linked above where he calls everyone who disagrees with him a functional atheist.

"Although the definition of an atheist is one that denies the existence of God, in this article, I use the word to depict those identified as Christians who live as though there is no God that they are accountable to. Unfortunately, in my estimation, a considerable percentage of Christians live as functional atheists. The following are eleven signs that you are a functional atheist:" - Joseph Mattera

Words matter beloved. What Mattera is saying here is that he intends to use a word and redefine it. He has no authority to do so, which makes this entire article so offensive. It is bad enough that his teachings are off the rails and unbiblical but now everyone who dares to disagree with him must not believe in God! The arrogance is staggering. Even though he teaches like a barely functional heretic, we will proceed to sift through his musings here.

"1. You make important decisions about your career without consulting Scripture or praying. I can't tell you how many Christians I know choose a career based on how much money they will make. They do not consider how God internally wired them, how it would impact their ability to mature as a believer in the context of a local church and how it will affect their key relationships; when a person does this, they behave like a functional atheist." - Joseph Mattera

Yeah no. Now I agree that we always should pray before making life decisions, the premise Mattera is offering is that every new job has a hard yes or no waiting from God and that is simply charismaniacal jibber jabber. God can use you in nearly any capacity. Certainly, careers that have some level of turpitude should not be engaged in but that is not what he is alluding to. He is literally saying if the new job, which one might need to survive, conflicts with church activities or relationships, one should not take that job and that is categorically absurd and shows that Mattera does not share common life experiences with most people. Pray and consider how a new job affects us and our spiritual life? Absolutely. Deciding to take the job however does not make us suddenly not believe in God Himself.

"2.You choose a church solely on emotional connections. As a pastor since 1984, I have seen more people leave a church because their friends left than because they genuinely heard from God. Consequently, people are led by their emotions more than by the Holy Spirit when it comes to this all-important matter regarding their church family. That being said, it is normal for a person to come to Christ and attend a church because a friend invited them. However, once they mature in the faith, God expects them to go from carnal reasoning to a spiritually informed process regarding the choice of a church, among other things. A mature believer will choose a church based on the will of God, where they are growing spiritually and who God has placed in their life to be their spiritual parent (1 Cor. 4:15)." - Joseph Mattera

Once again, we see the trappings of charismaniacal beliefs seeping into Mattera's logic. To be clear, the only reason why we should join a church is if they preach the uncompromised gospel of Jesus Christ. Everything else is secondary. Mattera is right about the emotional angle. I know many people who have stayed in abusive churches and wildly false teaching churches just because their friends are there. Leaving my Christian friends I had grown with for ten years was the most difficult part of leaving my church once it went apostate. It did reveal however that a great many of those relationships were paper thin and based solely on the fact that we attended the same church building, not that we were both in the body of Christ. The gospel must be more important though. Mattera's three reasons are only one third accurate. We should only attend where we are growing spiritually. There is nothing however in scripture about "spiritual parents" and following the "will of God" is too nebulous. Stick to the gospel being preached. These NAR trappings Mattera traffics in should be avoided.

"3. You choose a mate solely on mutual attraction. Based on my pastoral observation, I have seen countless numbers of Christians marry a person merely because of an emotional or physical attraction. Although God can work through any marital situation, deciding this is no different than an atheist who will also choose a mate merely on emotional and physical attraction (Rom. 8:28). I believe God uses the way He has wired us emotionally, physically and spiritually (I would never counsel a person to marry a person they were not physically attracted to). At the end of the day, God has a specific spouse that matches your calling and destiny, which comes from being led by the Spirit and hearing from God. (To be fair, I have seen many married couples come to Christ whom God brought together even though they were not believers, but after they are saved, much more is required regarding decision making.)" - Joseph Mattera

Ok, this is presented very muddily. The bottom line here is a believer should not be unequally yoked with an unbeliever, period full stop. Why? Because when things in the marriage come to confrontation or times of hardship, you will want to go to God and they will not. Your very core beliefs of who you are will be utter foolishness to them. Do not delude yourself into thinking you will change them because there is an equal chance that they will change you. If you married an unbeliever who was eventually saved then praise God but realize that the opposite outcome is usually the end result. Where we see the charismaniacal teaching here is this notion that God has someone specific for you that matches your destiny and calling. That is of course untrue and if you embark on that quest to hear from God you will convince yourself you have heard for less than spiritual means. Start with shared faith and work from there beloved. Do not seek the one sole person theory or it may be a very long search. Just as a reminder, Mattera accuses anyone who disagrees here with actually not believing in God!

"4.You have no consistent communion with God. Any believer who does not seek the Lord regularly, aiming to be in continual communion with Him, is living like a functional atheist. Moses said to the Lord, "If your presence doesn't go with us, then don't send us" (Ex. 33:15). Being in communion with the Spirit and being led by Him continually is a staple of normal Christianity (Rom. 8:14; Eph. 5:15-18). Believers who constantly fill their lives with activities bereft of seeking Him, behave like functional atheists." - Joseph Mattera

It must be great to be spiritually perfect like Joseph Mattera. Back here on earth however, it is simply not possible to live in constant communion, seeking Him always. If I am considering going to Panera for lunch I do not need to seek the Lord first. If I want to take my family to a Mets game, even though it may be bereft of seeking Him to do so, it does not make me a functional atheist. God is God all by himself. He does not need me reminding Him of my itinerary. During regular prayer we should seek that He lead people to us and that He give us the words to share the gospel, regardless of the activities we are engaged in. This over-spiritualization has left so many people with shipwrecked faith because it is a silly standard that none can live up to. Now, if there is some moral concern about a proposed activity, we should seek the Lord but that is not what Mattera is offering here.

"5.Scripture does not inform your worldview. Every election season, it amazes me the unbiblical policies and candidates some believers support. Obviously, they are primarily informed by secular humanism, and don't understand how to integrate their personal faith with public policy. Those who are not informed by Scripture regarding their world and life view are functional atheists in this area." - Joseph Mattera

What absolute garbage and one of the primary reasons why good, solid believers leave the church every year. First of all, the term worldview is code-speak for the NAR dominionist that means we have to vote Republican. There are ungodly, evil people and policies on both sides. The very best you can hope for is the lesser of two evils but then do not lose sight that you end up advocating for evil anyway! The second problem with his flawed thinking is we do not vote for policies. We vote for people who promise us the world and then often do nothing or the opposite once in office. Stop placing your hope in man and stop calling people atheists if they do not support the same liar that you support.

"6. You casually speak negatively about churches and spiritual leaders. The Bible teaches us that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Prov. 1:7). When a person casually speaks evil of other people, especially Christian leaders and churches, it demonstrates that they lack the fear of the Lord. The Lord hates discord among His people (Prov. 6:19; Eph. 4:29-31). Slanderers and gossips in the church live like functional atheists." - Joseph Mattera

Clever but painfully transparent. Of course true slander and gossip are antithetical to biblical teaching, although sinning in this area does not make one an atheist. What Mattera is probably referring to is discernment, which calls out false teaching. I fear the Lord, which is why I speak the truth about people teaching His word falsely. I value the sheep, not the wolves. Bill Johnson is a heretic, not my brother. Dominionists are teaching falsely an idolatry of this country and whether Joseph Mattera likes it or not - he will keep being called out as such.

"7. You determine how many children you will have. One of God's original commands was to bear fruit and multiply (which means to have children in Gen. 1:28). Biological children are a heritage from the Lord (Ps. 127:3-5). Having children is one of our primary callings because we partner with God to expand His eternal family. (Those who cannot have children or are called to be single should focus on having spiritual children.) With something as important as this, married couples should pray over Genesis 1:28 and ask God how many children He wants them to have. Those who determine family planning without God act like functional atheists." - Joseph Mattera

Uhm, what? I rarely hear this criticism but ok. Now back slowly away from the texts Joseph if you do not understand them. There is nothing in these texts that say you must continue having children until the Guinness Book of Word Records knocks on your door. Some people cannot have children. Others have medical reasons why they should not. Still others may not be able to afford 12 kids. Does Mattera actually believe that when we stand before Christ He will determine heaven or hell based upon the number of children we didn't have? What if you never get married, which Paul actually advises for Christians! This is so blatantly a doctrine of man. The dominionist is perpetually concerned that other religions are procreating faster than Christians. Just a final thought that should be obvious. We can "plan" all we like but if God wants a child, God is going to have a child. To label people as atheists for being responsible is just pathetic.

"8.You choose to divorce your spouse for unbiblical reasons. I have known spiritual leaders who glibly divorce their spouses merely because they do not get along. Jesus did not make divorce that easy (Matt. 5:31-32 and 19:1-10). Those whose primary plumb line for divorce is happiness, break the covenant with God and their spouse, and act like functional atheists. (Of course, if a believer chooses to divorce their spouse, the other person in the marriage is not responsible or in bondage, 1 Cor. 7:15.)" - Joseph Mattera

"9. Your walk with God is based on blessing and convenience. Those who only serve God when it is convenient or require a minimal sacrifice live as functional atheists." - Joseph Mattera

Mattera is right of course when it comes to divorcing our spouse for unbiblical reasons. Number nine sounds a lot like the lukewarm Christian that Jesus railed against. Just two points here Mattera misses. One is that the church creates these categories. Sheep are sheep. Most purpose driven, seeker friendly churches today require no sacrifice whatsoever. Joel Osteen teaches to basically be happy and come back to see him next week. On divorce, how many preachers have we allowed with divorce in their history and it is treated like no big deal. How often is it taught correctly? The second point is again the asinine conclusion that lazy Christians and divorced Christians essentially do not believe in God. Once again, Joseph Mattera sounding like he lives in an ivory tower, so high that no one can throw stones at him.

"10. You live independently of His body. Once we come to Christ, He places us in His Body (1 Cor. 12:12-13). Conversely, lone rangers who continually church hop and live without being in covenant or accountability with spiritual leadership live as functional atheists. Through studying the New Testament, I have learned that I cannot walk out my calling apart from a local church." - Joseph Mattera

That is great for YOU. That is not everyone else's life experience. Yours is not perfect, resulting in any deviation being judge as atheist. Now, I believe that we are to be attached with a local church but only if that church is doing the will of the Lord. The sad, sad sate of affairs in this country is the vast majority of churches are not preaching the uncompromised gospel of Jesus Christ. Many are too sloppy agape, where anything goes. Many are too focused on this country, worshipping it like an idol. Some are word faith. Others are prosperity gospel. Some are hyper-charismaniacal. Many are a combination, and some are all of the above. True fellowship is with the remnant of believers who see Mattera's judgment here as spiritual bullying.

"11. You make a geographical move without hearing from God. I am amazed at how many Christians I have known since my conversion in 1978 who have moved away from the church God planted them in, only to waste years of their life floundering in a stagnant spiritual state. Before a geographical move impacts a life-giving church connection, I suggest you do the following: make sure you have heard from God in conjunction with the independent witness of other mature believers. Consult with your spiritual leaders. Make sure you are not being driven merely by money or convenience. Make sure there is another church in that new community that you have visited and sense a connection to. Make sure you do not burn any bridges if you make a mistake and must return"those who superficially make a huge geographical move act as a functional atheist." - Joseph Mattera

May as well conclude with more nonsense. Beloved, a geographical move is a major life event that should not be taken lightly. I agree you should speak to your pastor but not to ask the blessing Mattera seems to think is required. Maybe he can advise you on good churches in the area you are moving too. I have friends who took a huge step back in their walk after a move so he is not without merit on the concern. Unfortunately, Mattera believes in a false authority paradigm where it appears he thinks your major life decisions need his sign off. They do not. Of course the other glaring problem is to declare anyone who makes such a move without the full blessings of their church doesn't believe in God. I understand that Joseph Mattera believes in a certain way and not all of what he ascribes to is "wrong." How he handles it is. He violates the key verse. Let no corrupting talk come out from your mouth but only what edifies, giving grace to those that hear. There is no tolerance in Mattera's words, let alone grace. The sad thing is there were fair points throughout but presented in a completely unfair manner. As such it can be completely dismissed, as can Joseph Mattera.

Reverend Anthony Wade - September 2022

Authors Bio:
Credentialed Minister of the Gospel for the Assemblies of God. Owner and founder of 828 ministries. Vice President for Goodwill Industries. Always remember that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.