The current issue of the Christian Research Journal cover story is Christianity in Crisis 21st Century. The book was released this month so that’s the feature article.
Have you ever wondered why prosperity preachers redefine faith as a force? Why they attempt to talk devotees into believing that Adam was an exact duplicate of God—no difference, no distinction? Why perpetuate the pretext that every born-again person is as much an incarnation as was Jesus Christ of Nazareth? What’s the point?
Well, the answer may surprise you. Turning the Gospel of grace into a gospel of greed takes a complete revision of what Faith preachers describe as “traditional Christianity.” Jesse Duplantis is a classic case in point. Addressing Cornerstone pastor and televangelist John Hagee, Duplantis explains that God is his comforter “because when you got some stuff, it brings you comfort.” Jesse’s reasoning is remarkable to put it mildly.
After clarifying that he is not just a millionaire but a multimillionaire, Jesse says to Hagee, “The Lord, I give him the glory, is my comforter. If he is my comforter, Dr. Hagee, I live in comfort. That’s not only spiritually—that’s physically too. Because when you’ve got some stuff it brings you comfort.” Jesse goes on to pontificate that those who would say otherwise “know nothing about the Bible.” With great aplomb he claims to quote Jesus saying, “The destruction of the poor is their poverty” and challenges those who “know nothing about the Bible” to “explain that!” Talk about biblical revisionism!
Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). The Lord then told His disciples the parable of the rich fool who was looking to his possessions for security (vv. 16–21). Jesus did not condemn possessions, but instead pointed out the foolishness of a temporary rather than an eternal perspective. Not mincing words, Jesus quoted His Father as saying to the rich man, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you” (v. 20). The Master’s command was always the same: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you (Matt. 6:33).
How unlike the message of Duplantis and company! They relentlessly hawk the idea that prosperity is the divine right of every believer—a brand of “Christianity” that is little more than baptized greed garbed in a thin veneer of “Christianese.”
Instead, Jesus said, “Woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort. Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry” (Luke 6:24–25). As such, His message is the inverse of that of Duplantis, who pontificates that “poverty is a curse,” or of Hagee who likewise communicates that “poverty is a curse” and that “it is the result of sin.”
Christianity In Crisis 21st Century explores a brand new cadre of faith teachers who have rock star platforms and they command the attention of media moguls. They have platforms that the old faith teachers in the 20th century could only have dreamed of. Their message is proliferating like wild fire. It’s all about having faith in your faith instead of having faith in your God. It is a complete distortion of the biblical message and it now so pervasive that I had to write Christianity In Crisis 21st Century to combat the errors that have gone through a metamorphosis, and have in fact gone from bad to worse. Error begets error and heresy begets heresy and that is precisely what has happened in the faith movement.