At noon Elijah mocked them, saying, "Cry aloud, for he is a god. Either he is musing, or he is relieving himself, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened -- 1Kings 18: 27 (ESV)
We wonder why the world does not take Christianity seriously. The design of God was that the church would be made up of a peculiar people. Sojourners and pilgrims through this desolate existence. Holding the keys to the kingdom of heaven in the light of the Gospel. That people would see our light and want what we have. The result would be glorious as those truly seeking for God would find Him in their neighbor, their co-worker, and their local church house. Something funny happened on the way to that though. As the Bible repeatedly warns us, false teachers and prophets have arisen from among us to lead the people astray and compromise the Gospel so that many would believe in vain and make a mockery of the design of God. You have to be either in denial or hiding under a rock to not see that this is what is currently occurring in modern churchianity.
And the world has taken notice beloved. The Gospel has been maligned not by the unbelieving world but by the church itself. They see the tearful confessions of "I have sinned" as no different than "I did not have sexual relations with that woman." Lies are lies but lies from the pulpit are far more damnable and damaging to the cause of Christ. Unbelievers expect people to want to try and make merchandise of them. They know we live in a greedy, materialistic world. A dog eat dog existence where wealth is directly related to happiness. But when so called religious leaders are the ones caught with their hands in our pockets it is even more egregious. The lesson is not lost on the unsaved.
Enter John Oliver.
Comedian John Oliver. Unsaved comedian John Oliver. The former correspondent for the Daily Show now has his own show on HBO. He is a satirist by trade and by worldly standards, a pretty good one. This past week he did a segment on the greedy world of the prosperity doctrine as espoused by a handful of well-known televangelists. In his crosshairs were Robert Tilton, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Creflo Dollar and the extra slimy Mike Murdoch. For Dollar, the comedian focused on his recent absurd plea for money to fund the purchase of a 70 million dollar luxury Learjet. There were plenty of Christians who came to the defense of Creflo over this and they were wrong then and remain so to this day. John Oliver noticing how obscene the ask was only further solidifies this. Creflo preached after he got caught that if "he wanted to believe God for a 70 million dollar plane you couldn't stop him." Right there is the problem beloved. The notion that anyone would think God would ever deliver a 70 million dollar plane to anyone let alone a man whose doctrine is so false it is hard to keep up with. The unsaved comedian understands this but the church thinks it is just fine. When it came to the sleazy Murdoch, Oliver showed a clip where he was bragging about buying a multimillion dollar private plane with cash and then buying a bigger one with cash. When the crown understandably bristled, he rebuked them as being jealous. So disgusting was the display that Oliver refused to even name Murdoch, using an expletive instead.
The hardest hits however fell to Tilton and Copeland. The Tilton clips showed a man fleecing the flock with such abandon that it was embarrassing. Claiming false healings and speaking power through the television set. Oliver decided to have some fun at Tilton's expense. He sent him a small donation and that started a 27 letter outpouring from the Tilton ministries that resulted in Oliver have to send in over than $300 more. Included in the exchanges were packets of oil he needed to pour over his money before he sent it in, tracing the footprint of Robert Titlon and dire warnings about cheating God of His tithes. Oliver admitted it was all somewhat funny until you start to think about someone who really cannot afford to send this kind of money in. which brings us to the Copelands. Oliver interviewed the daughter of someone who died from cancer, who kept sending in "seed" offerings to Copeland to receive her healing. She refused regular medical treatment and instead was convinced that by sending money to Kenneth Copeland, that God would heal her. Instead she died from the cancer. Now I am no proponent of the money making machine that is the cancer treatment industry. I actually have no problem if someone wishes to believe in faith that God will heal them. The problem is that she equated her chances of healing as increasing based on sending money to a snake oil salesman. How anyone, let alone a Christian, can defend that is beyond the pale.
Enter Jennifer Leclaire.
False prophetess Jennifer Leclaire. The same Jennifer Leclaire that was a regional director for the cult known as IHOP. The link at the top of this devotional is to her latest article on Charisma News, where somehow she has become an editor. The title alone shows how inherently dishonest Leclaire is. John Oliver is not a false reverend. He is a comedian. He was doing something called satire. He referred to himself as "mega-reverend" as a means to mock the people in the religious circles who take silly titles. Like Leclaire does by calling herself a prophetess even though she has already been debunked as not being anything of the sort. She opens by mocking Oliver. Calling what he does "junk on television" and contrasting that with the far more important things she does, including healing the sick and casting out devils. Ahh, nothing like ridiculous claims and self-aggrandizement to start an article. What I do not understand is if Leclaire is so gifted to heal people why isn't she spending all of her time in hospitals? I guess we can hold that off for another day. I just want to focus in on some of the more ludicrous statements from Leclaire:
"But I do believe in seed faith. I do believe God wants us to prosper and be in health even as our soul prospers (3John 1:2)."
Beloved, seed faith is heresy. Plain and simple. The notion that you need to sow money into anyone's ministry in order to reap a personal harvest flips the Gospel on its ear. It is completely opposed to the teachings of Christ. Yes there is a universal principle of sowing and reaping but that is not merely talking about money. It also does not mean a quid pro quo, where the sowing of money must result in money. The problem with seed faith prosperity preaching is it takes our eyes off of what Jesus has already done and places them into the future for what we want Him to do. Calvary ends up in the rear view mirror as our faith becomes focused on what we want God to do instead of what he has already done. As for the verse Leclaire referenced, here is it in context:
Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, as it goes well with your soul. For I rejoiced greatly when the brothers came and testified to your truth, as indeed you are walking in the truth. I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. - 1John 3: 2-4 (ESV)
This is a popular verse that prosperity charlatans like to misuse. That is because some translations use the word prosper instead of "go well." The misuse is in what the writer means. The first verse reveals he is writing to someone named Gaius. So for starters this is John saying that he wishes Gaius prospers, is in good health, as it goes well with his soul. This is not God saying to everyone - I want you to prosper. Not only that but the caveat requires that the person is doing well in his soul first. John explains that this means he is walking in the truth. That is the true prosperity not some cash windfall. Here is an excerpt from Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible:
"even as thy soul prospereth: the soul is diseased with sin, and may be said to be in good health, when all its iniquities are forgiven; and may be said to prosper, when having a spiritual appetite for the Gospel, the sincere milk of the word, it feeds upon it, is nourished by it, and grows thereby; when it is in the lively exercise of faith, hope, and love; when spiritual knowledge is increased, or it grows in grace, and in the knowledge of Christ Jesus; when the inward man is renewed day by day with fresh strength; and when it enjoys communion with God, has the light of his countenance, and the joys of his salvation; and when it is fruitful in every good work."
When you are focused on eternal matters you will realize that godly prosperity has little to do with the comforts of this temporal life. That does not mean God wants everyone poor but if your focus is on money then you are trying to serve two masters. So sorry Jennifer but seed faith preachers are predators. I understand your need to protect your own racket but the Bible is amazing at revealing the truth when you approach it honestly. Continuing: