“When Israel saw the great power which the LORD had used against the Egyptians, the people feared the LORD, and they believed in the LORD and in His servant Moses.” (Ex.14:31)
There is much spiritual talk in today’s world about where and how to find God. It is popular to think of God as a purveyor of good tidings to all who merely acknowledge Him. Many teachers and authors present God as the equivalent of a type of New Age Life Force who benevolently seeks to give you the desires of your heart, if you just believe. Images abound in Christian media of men and women, usually cast in a meadow, near the ocean, or on a mountaintop, reaching expectantly towards the heavens, arms outstretched, eyes closed, palms open, ready to receive His bounty. It looks like this:
This woman has obviously found God
And this is all very nice. Perhaps you will benefit in some way by standing on a rock near the ocean with your arms stretched towards the sun. But you will not find God this way, because this is not how God is found. This doesn’t mean that God’s handiwork is not revealed to us through these type experiences, but to know Him personally, we must believe the message of those He has sent to represent Him.
Even though the image above seems similar to the mental picture we have of Moses stretching out his staff to part the Red Sea, as we have described to us in Exodus 14, in reality it is far different than that. This is because Moses was the Agent of God, the First Redeemer, the man who delivered the children of Israel from bondage through the power God bestowed upon him. Moses was not trying to motivate or life-coach the people. He was not exampling mindfulness. Rather, he was fulfilling the mission for which he was sent, which was to be God’s Agent of salvation, his Chosen One.
Joseph Prince is a false teacher. Make no mistake about it. Anyone who actually studies their Bible can see this easily. Unfortunately, many people don’t, and are greatly deceived by him and others like him. I even know some people whom I consider friends who actually do read their Bibles regularly and still don’t see it. Of course, my friends never read the Hebrew Bible (what Christians call the “Old Testament”) and therein lies the problem.
But the focus of this post is not to point out that Prince is a false teacher, but rather to expose the lie behind the “Word of Faith” movement. Perhaps you are familiar with this approach to “faith”. Perhaps not. For those of you that are not, here’s an abbreviated definition:
Word of Faith doctrine is essentially the teaching that through positive faith-filled confession (speech), based on right belief, that one may open the floodgates of God’s blessings, both financially, spiritually and physically. In essence, by speaking rightly, we are acting in agreement with God’s purposes for our life, and that this aligning of our confession with God’s will releases God’s power on our behalf.
Sounds great, doesn’t it? I mean, I want God’s blessings, don’t you? The doctrine is based primarily upon the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans:
“But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart.’ – that is, the word of faith which we are preaching.” (Rom.10:8)
Since the movement is based on something Paul wrote, it’s legitimate, right? Who’s going to argue with Paul? Well, no one, except Paul didn’t really say what these folks are claiming, and I’ll show you why. Continue reading
“Why is it that you see the speck in the eye of your brother, but the log that is in your eye, you do not notice? How can you say to your brother, ‘Permit me, and I will remove the speck from your eye’, when the log is in your eye?’ Hypocrite, remove first the log from your eye, and afterward, you will surely see to remove the speck from the eye of your brother.” (Matt.7:3-5, Delitzsch Hebrew Gospels, Vine of David)
In the previous installment of this post, we explored the Jewishness of this teaching of the Master, and observed how evil speech (specifically, speech against your brother) is more damaging than nearly any sin we can engage in; it is enough to negate our good works; it has the potential to disqualify us from the World To Come (according to Jewish sources).
However, this teaching also creates some inherent contradictions, if one is paying attention, and this gives us the opportunity to address (as a sideline) a common problem with biblical interpretation: When we are overly literal in our understanding of the text, we box ourselves in to an impossible to defend dogma. Continue reading