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December 11, 2017

Joyce Meyer Hits the Daily Double of Leveraging Scripture Incorrectly

By Anthony Wade

A recent article from Joyce Meyer highlights a very important question for us as Christians - do we want to hear the truth from God or just what our itching ears want to hear...


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Therefore, beloved, since you are waiting for these, be diligent to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace. And count the patience of our Lord as salvation, just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures. You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. -- 2Peter 3: 14-18 (ESV)

Beloved, the Bible represents for us as believers insight from God Himself into our lives here on earth and the future promise of life in Christ in overcoming death. It is inerrant, which means it is never wrong. It is infallible, which means it is not even capable of being wrong. In a church that is often so desirous to hear from God they often turn away from His primary means of communication to us -- the Bible. People would rather hear from snake oil salesmen and huckster prophets than open up the final revealed will of the Lord and seek to hear what He has to say. Our biblical illiteracy is only surpassed by our biblical apathy. The result is the infiltration of many egregious false doctrines into the mainstream and the vast acceptance of things God never said and is still not saying today. Instead of exegeting the Word, preachers leverage it to support pre-packaged sermonette points they want to make. Realize at the end of that process all we are left with is thus sayeth the pastor.

The key verses today provide some background about the nature of Scripture for believers. We would be wise to seek what God is saying through these verses today. The referent to "waiting for these" is regarding the second coming of Christ according to the surrounding context. The next thing we need to take note of is that God Himself here understands that some of the truths of Scripture are hard to understand. This is why the Bible differentiates between milk and meat when it comes to teaching the Word of God. This is why the Bible speaks about believer maturing in the and through the Word. The more we grow on solid food, the more we can understand the deeper truths and discern better -- being deceived less and less. What is interesting next is that God gives two categories of people who twist Scripture falsely. The first is the ignorant. I once did a devotional about these people calling them "accidental wolves." I believe there are plenty of false teachers who think they are doing the right thing. You can however be sincere and sincerely wrong. This is why the number one defense of false teachers is never about doctrine. There is no argument about the falseness of their teaching! It is always about their heart, love of Jesus, or some other intangible. To which I say -- who cares? If your taxi driver was the sweetest, most caring and dedicated person you ever met but drove you off of a cliff would you really care about his sincerity?

The second type of false teacher are those that are unstable. Now certainly ignorance will lead to instability. We see all the time preachers who seemed to be genuinely ignorant devolve over time into something far more nefarious. The truly unstable are tossed around by winds of doctrine. They blatantly accept nearly any doctrine; seemingly without exception or question. This is the principle of the small amount of leaven eventually spreading throughout the entire batch. Compromise always begets more compromise. God assures us however that the ignorant and unstable twist Scripture to their own destruction and that is a point we should not just gloss over. Here is how Gill's Exposition views this point:

"unto their own destruction; for by so doing they either add unto, or detract from the Scriptures, and so bring the curse of God upon them; and they give into doctrines of devils, and into heresies, which are damnable, and bring upon themselves swift destruction, which lingers not, and slumbers not. Now from hence it does not follow, that the Scriptures are not to be read by the common people; for not all the parts of Scripture, and all things in it, are hard to be understood, there are many things very plain and easy, even everything respecting eternal salvation; there is milk for babes, as well as meat for strong men: besides, not the Scriptures in general, but Paul's epistles only, are here spoken of, and not all of them, or anyone whole epistle among them, only some things in them, and these not impossible, only difficult to be understood; and which is no reason why they should be laid aside, but rather why they should be read with greater application and diligence, and be followed with fervent prayer, and frequent meditation; and though unlearned and unstable men may wrest them to their perdition, those that are taught of God, though otherwise illiterate, may read them to great profit and advantage." -- Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

I hear all the time from people that we shouldn't criticize false teachers but instead pray for them. I know that prayer sounds like a pious response to everything but it is misguided here. The people standing in need of prayer are the victims of the wolves, not the wolves themselves. They twist Scripture to their own destruction and their heresies are damnable.

Thankfully, God never just outlines a problem without providing the solution. The key verses conclude with His remedy here. We are to not allow ourselves to be carried away with the error of lawless people. This in turn will help us to avoid instability within our own walk. I knew well versed preachers who fell for the hyper-grace teachings of Joseph Prince. The result was horrific instability for well over a year. Thankfully, they realized their error and repented. The final recommendation from God here in the key verses is simple really. Grow in grace and knowledge. Do the work of a Berean. Study to be approved. The best way to combat what is false is with what is true.

Understanding these truths contained within the key verses and throughout the Bible we are left with the obvious question about what we will do with such knowledge? The Bible tells us that in these end days people will gather around themselves false teachers. Joel Osteen exists because 50,000 people are willing to sit through his sermons every week. Osteen, Prince, or any of the false teachers today are a product of a church that has sought them out instead of the truths found in the Bible. A church that wants the appearance of something godly while denying its true power. Perry Noble once ran a mega church in the Carolinas. He was an abysmally false teacher, who once had his worship band play Highway to Hell on Easter. He referred to those who wanted to go deeper in the Word as the "jackasses in his church" and once rewrote the Ten Commandments to make them more palatable to unbelievers. Then came the revelations of alcohol abuse and soon he was removed by his church. Then came his divorce. Right on the heels of this he has declared himself well and is starting a new church by doing a sermon through Facebook. Over 40,000 people have watched this sermon. That is gathering around you people to tell you what thus sayeth the pastor. So do we truly care if what we are hearing is actually from God or not? That is the first question we need to ask ourselves in all seriousness and sincerity. Do we stop and analyze what we are being fed and taught and hold it up to the light of Scripture to make sure it is actually true? That it is actually from God? I present to you today at the link above a fantastically easy example for us to examine from false teacher Joyce Meyer.

Instead of line by line, allow me to summarize the teaching Meyer wanted to impart. As part of her word faith beliefs, Meyer often teaches about carnal hope that your life is just around the corner from God blessing your socks off. That hope is what she is selling today in this article and the notion that we need to be expecting of the miracle we are hoping for. So it is the typical teaching of eliminating stinking thinking and voila! God will give you the desires of your greedy little heart. Meyer realizes though that one cannot just present the false doctrine without "Christianizing" it. So as all false teachers do, Meyer leverages Scripture, rips it horribly out of context, and then applies it to her pre-formed sermonette points. She presents this then as thus sayeth the Lord, when He has actually said no such thing. Meyer uses two very popular untruths to make her point. Let us reason together beloved and hear what Joyce Meyer and God are saying and how they are different.

"People who have had a tough time in life are often afraid to expect anything good because they don't want to be disappointed and have to deal with the pain it brings. But I know from personal experience that if you've lived with this mindset, you can make a change--with God's help--and live with hope! I know this is true because in John 10:10 (AMP), Jesus says, "The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]." If we will trust and believe in Him, we can have abundant life in Christ." -- Joyce Meyer

The common misperception regarding John 10:10 is that the thief is referring to Satan. So what we see Joyce do here is what is typically done by pastors and preachers who have not bothered to actually study the text. Take a moment and ready the chapter beloved and you will see that the thief referred to here is ironically enough -- the false teacher! The false teacher steals the truth of the Gospel away from those who desperately need to hear it. In doing so, they block heaven from the unsaved -- killing and destroying instead of planting and watering. Notice however what Joyce Meyer does with the text. The thief is presented as someone wanting to steal the carnal prosperity of this world from you and Jesus wants to give you the things of this world to overflow. The abundant life in Christ that Meyer is selling is entirely rooted in the carnality of this world. The deeper teaching here however is that the secret to enjoying a life of abundance is found in knowing and understanding correct doctrine! The false teacher wants to steal away from us the abundant life found only in a deeper understanding of God, which is only found through a deeper understanding of His Word. The more you know the truth the freer you become in Christ. The easier it is to spot the deceptions of the real enemy. The abundant life is not found in baubles and trinkets but in spiritual disciplines. So John 10:10 is a crucial verse for us as believers. God is trying to warn us about the dangers of the thief. The dangers of the false teacher. For contrast God presents to us the Good Shepherd! The one who wants us to enjoy an abundant life in Him! Do we care? Or do we prefer the promises of material prosperity offered by Meyer? Sure the Meyer promises may make us feel a little better temporally or even provide some carnal hope to our earthly problems but here is the catch beloved -- God never said it! Let's look at the other example from Meyer:

"I sometimes say that we are the "show me" generation--we want to see it before we believe it. In fact, most of us have a hard time believing that God is working on our behalf until we see something happening with our natural eyes. But that's not how God operates. He works behind the scenes. You may not see anything happening, but do you believe God is working on things in your life right now? Do you believe He's got a plan to help your children, your marriage, or those things you've been praying about for years? Jeremiah 29:11 says that God has a good plan for your life "to give you a future and a hope." In other words, God is looking for an opportunity to be good to you!" -- Joyce Meyer

Meyer is not special here in this teaching. Nearly every pastor I have heard has misused Jeremiah 29:11. You may want to sit down for this beloved but this verse is not written to you. It is written to the exiles in Babylon. God is promising them that they will still have a future. That God has not forgotten them. Wait a minute preacher! Are you saying God does not have a plan for my life? Well, yes and no. The way that Joyce Meyer and most teach this verse the answer is no. It is often presented as it is here. As a magical balm that soothes us until some point in the future when God will throw open the windows of heaven and drown us in blessings. We must ask ourselves however, - is that what God is saying here? Is He making a blanket promise to anyone in the future that they all have some grand plan awaiting them? Of course not. Now, God sees all time so He foreknows what will happen to each one of us and in that manner, He has a plan. That plan may be mundane though. Perhaps your plan will be to raise your children under the admonition of the Lord and be a devoted church going wife. Perhaps it is just to shine the light of Jesus at your ordinary job. Maybe beloved your plan is to die for Christ! Peter's plan was to be crucified upside down! The Bible says that we will be persecuted in the end times.

Our hope and our future lie beyond this mortal coil. They are found only in Christ Jesus through His Gospel. The preacher's job is to preach that Gospel. It is not to lie about what God has said in order to provide false hope in this world. Meyer hits the unscriptural Daily Double here in using two of the most common false teachings to prop up her false premise. Yet we are still left with the burning question of -- does any of it matter to us? I know plenty of people who prefer the delusion. They prefer to believe that Jeremiah 29:11 is God speaking directly to them. Anything positive in their lives is immediately credited to that verse and anything negative is brushed aside as lacking faith. I know plenty of people who prefer the thief in John 10:10 to remain Satan so they can continue to have that false dichotomy in their thinking. God wants to give them abundance and Satan wants to steal it away. Nice and simple. The problem is that is not even milk beloved. It is spoiled and rancid milk because God never said it. The deeper truths of John 10:10 is to show us what a hireling and false teacher looks like so we can run away from them as fast as possible. So we can go deeper into the Word and mature in Christ. That is where His abundance lies. The truth about Jeremiah 29:11 is that it simply is not my promise but if I insist on trying to leverage it, I must conclude that the plan is God's and His alone. Like Abraham bringing the knife through the air to slay Isaac and Paul proceeding on a path that he knows will lead him to his death, we too must be willing to accept what God has for us in this life with the full understanding that He has overcome this world. Joyce Meyer can keep her false hopes in this dying world. Give me Christ and the verity of Scripture.

Reverend Anthony Wade -- December 11, 2017

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.