Turning the Gospel Into a Cheap Ponzi Scheme

money bagsOne of the things that make me the angriest is watching or hearing preachers on television and on the radio pimping the Gospel into a “pay God to get healing, blessing and money” Gospel.  We have a bozo in the Rio Grande Valley selling 5 wishes for $100, and just last week, I saw a preacher on Word TV selling a “blessed dollar” for 10 dollars.  THIS IS OBSCENE and goes against the very Bible they pretend to believe and represent.  When Simon tried to buy the power of the Holy Spirit (in Acts 8:20), Peter told him, literally, “to hell with you and your money.”  Lean into your computer screen and hear this: GOD’S GIFTS ARE NOT FOR SALE!

Here is a video sampling of “prosperity Gospel” followed by an angry preacher setting them straight.  Watch both videos, then read the Apostle Paul’s words below.

“HUNGRY FOR MONEY” GOSPEL

ANGRY PREACHER SETTING THEM STRAIGHT

1 Timothy 6:3-12

If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness. Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

56 Responses to Turning the Gospel Into a Cheap Ponzi Scheme

  1. RubeRad says:

    Amen! But that guy needs a Reformation in how he says “Refromation”. Also, that guy’s got the wrong look for his job. He looks like he belongs in the Goddard spaceflight control center, listening to “Houston, we’ve got a problem”. He should get some new glasses or something. Doesn’t God want him to be a snappy dresser? Doesn’t God want him to have the best glasses money can buy?

    Seriously though, I’m glad you and Bishop Poindexter are teaming up against the heinous evil of Prosperity Pimps. Gal 1: “If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be ACCURSED.”

  2. Brad says:

    Now there’s a stark comparison. Wow.

    Brad

  3. Alex says:

    Hey Jim, someone did a fine job with cutting and pasting on the first preacher(Brian Houston) in the first video. He is absolutely not a “prosperity pimp.” Now the others I can not speak for because I don’t know them. These “Prosperity Pimps” seem to be the only, and I use the term loosely “Christians” that non-believers seem to associate Christianity to. The sad thing is these “Preachers” will be judged more harshly because not only are they deceiving themselves but they are deceiving a whole lot of other people. Sad stuff.

  4. Alex, no cut and paste on Pastor Houston. That is an actual commercial they run on tv for the book (I’ve seen it). Makes you go “hmmmmm”, doesn’t it?

  5. danielbalc says:

    I am woefully ignorant of famous current evangleical preachers so I don’t know Pastor Houston from Ted Haggertt but I’m afraid it isn’t a cut and paste job. I googled his name along with money and found this very interesting critique of his book, ” you need more money; discovering Gods amazing financial plan for your life.” (nice title)

    http://your.sydneyanglicans.net/indepth/1486a/

    I like and dislike a lot of hillsong music, but I would have a very difficult time listening to a pastor who preaches prosperity and health while ignoring persecution and holiness.

    I’m saying “hmmmmmm”

  6. Ben says:

    That second guy sure is wearing a lot of bling.

  7. Alex says:

    ok so poor editing job. I listen to him on a weekly basis and the blurbs that they show you, which are from the 90’s might I add, do not fully depict his mesage( Imagine that?).
    Daniel, thanks for your studius google job on Brian Houston. Did you also happen to find the many articles cracking down on Hillsong because they “only” give 2.7 million dollars away annually to the poor?They actually want Hillsong shut down. No need to defend him. I guess I do the same when people crack down on Pastor Evans and his “Workshops”. Although I don’t agree with them(speaking in toungues workshops) I definitely respect him for knowing the Word because no one has got it together and there is never a lack of critics.

  8. danielbalc says:

    Alex, I’m sure that it is not a full depiction of his message. i am sure he isn’t a “prosperity pimp” and that he is a good preacher and all. But I am also sure that that the other preachers on that clip have a congregation who would defend their pastors. I respect all these pastors, but Pastor Houston preached and (I assume) still preaches a “God wants you to be rich” message. I don’t think he preaches ONLY that. i don’t think he waters down the gospel (but then again I don’t really know). Paul talked about people who preach the gospel out of selfish ambition and said, “but what does it matter? The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached.” (Phil 1:18). I rejoice that Pastor Houston, Pastor Piper, Pastor Hayford, Pastor Jakes, Pastor Evans and Pastor Balcombe are sharing the gospel of Christ. I don’t care what their paycheck is (in fact they are entitled to it). But as soon as they start telling me that God wants me to be rich and if I’m not rich, or I don’t own my house, or I have a car payment then I’m not going to listen to them (on that subject).

    And how subjective is the term “rich” anyways? The poor in America (and Australia) are far richer then most of the worlds population.

  9. Ok, guys, start sending me money now. Once I get rich, I’ll decide if God wants you two to be rich as well (or God might have made you rich because you made me rich).

  10. Alex says:

    It’s funny because Brian just finished a great series on Hardwork. You should listen to it. If you think about the reality of money aside from either a mental or physical handicap we should all be making it. It is part of the curse that we will be “toiling” the earth and it just so happens that we live in the USA the land of oppurtunity where you at least have the oppurtunity to make money. I’m confident we agree on this. Money is not evil. The love of money is the root of all evil. For some reason we have bought in to this idealogy that we don’t need money. I have bills just like you do and the last time I checked, the banks I deal with don’t except food stamps. It’s almost as though we frown upon someone who makes a lot of money when we should preach the Word of God that says we should teach people not to fall in love with money. These “Prosperity Pimps” are in a another sphere. I believe through God’s Word that God blesses his children. Now the form that these blessings come in are different. I have been blessed with an awesome Wife and Kids. It didn’t come in monetary form. I also recognize that financially I have been blessed. I’m not a millionare but i’m able to pay my bills and still give. I work hard and he blesses. If I stay home I don’t make money. Money is always a sensitive subject in church (big credit goes to those “pimps on the pulpit”) but we shouldn’t frown upon teaching principles found in the Word such as not being lazy and tithing but should make an extra effort to teach guarding against the love of money which is a huge deal.
    BTW Jim, the second youtube clip is a guy with the last name Swaggert. Sound familiar? He wins an Oscar for that performance. Just kidding.

  11. Duder, You just described a balanced view. Saying that “God wants you rich” is NOT a balanced view. Take the good and leave the bad…eat the meat and spit out the bones.

  12. Alex says:

    Which is exactly why I said you have to hear the Complete messages not just bits and pieces of Brian Houston’s message. Ever since I’ve heard Brians messages he only preaches a balanced view on money.I will say that It’s quite possible he has changed his stance since the 90’s.

  13. danielbalc says:

    I don’t know if you are disagreeing with what I wrote or agreeing. I think we are all on the same page, except that you seem to have a personal relationship with “Brian”.

  14. Carl says:

    Greed and materialism are definitely the gods of the age here, and that first clip is certainly one of the more bizarre manifestations of that – all whitewashed with a Christian label! The sad thing is that so many people who are poor (and are looking for hope) get sucked into this – even in the 3rd world (like some of our friends in the Guzman area). That burns me almost more than what they do here. Because it keeps people from dealing with reality. Rita and I are reading through 1 John and I remembered the passage about false prophets when I saw the first clip.

  15. Alex says:

    How rude of me after all these years to not have introduced you to my brother Brian. My bad! I love you Daniel you’re a good guy!

  16. danielbalc says:

    Thanks for the introducition Alex, now I feel much better. Houston is a cool dude, all you haters step off!

  17. […] Touche. Finally, somebody was able to convince me that first table sins are potentially sins against man — and it only took two sentences! I think what made it click for me was putting it in the context of the church. Myself, I don’t feel threatened or sinned against by Mormons or JWs or Hare Krishnas, but seduction to heresy from within the church is quite obviously a sin against one’s covenant neighbor. […]

  18. Keith says:

    The Arab Muslims think they are blessed by Allah because of all the wealth oil has brought to them. I was watching Saudi TV in Bahrain and they had a segment where they were honoring the Saudi king. During this segment they repeated over and over that if the people devout themselves to the Islamic teachings they too will prosper. There is nothing new under the sun.
    There is a great deal of wealth in the city of San Francisco and that city is not known for following after Jesus. Matthew 5:45b says, “He (God) causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the rightous and the unrightous.” I do believe God does bless his followers with material wealth but many have twisted this teaching. As Paul says in I Timothy6:5″ …men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” The gospel is not meant to be a means to financial wealth. We need to seek after God’s true riches more than anything else.

  19. Echo_ohcE says:

    Albino,

    I say “amen” to what he said: the problem is SIN and the cure is the gospel. Amen. Truly said, and refreshing truth at that.

    But, this serves as a good example of what I was talking about in Rube’s thread, Sanctity of Life about preaching against the sins of “those people over there.” The people in the audience applaud when he looks at them and says, “You’re theives!” They wouldn’t have applauded if he was talking about their sin. They’re applauding because it is resonating with them. He is preaching what is on their hearts. They’re probably sick of the preachers on TV talking about money, health and wealth gospel stuff. They are sick of it, and it makes them happy to hear that those men are condemned, because it affirms them in what they thought.

    As absolutely correct as he is that the problem is sin and the cure is Christ – I can’t say amen to that enough – I think this preacher needs to bear in mind that the problem is not JUST the sin of the preachers who tell people that God wants to make them happy by giving them money. The problem is MY sin. The problem is the sin of those in the pew who get angry at their wives, or scream at the windshield when someone cuts them off. The problem is extramarital sex, the problem is internet porn, the problem is a thousand things that the people in the pews are doing. How many people in the pews felt like THEY were a sinner when he’s up there condemning false gospels of health and wealth?

    I firmly believe that the best sermons are those that convict by the law and comfort by the gospel. He had those elements there, but he didn’t convict and comfort the people in the pews. He didn’t convict, so he didn’t really comfort. In other words, he didn’t really apply the law and gospel to THEM.

    But you’ll notice that I wouldn’t say AT ALL that this guy is preaching a false gospel. He isn’t, he is preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ, and I can say amen to that. But he’s failing to apply the law and gospel to his hearers. He’s applying it to someone else.

    I love “Rock of Ages” because it’s so personal: “Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to thy cross I cling.” It reminds me that MY problem is sin, and MY only hope is the cross of Christ and his resurrection/ascension.

    E

  20. Don’t limit the use of Scripture, Echo. Remember Paul’s reminder to Timothy that we know so well

    All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16

  21. Echo_ohcE says:

    Don’t get me wrong, these false teachers ought to be rebuked, that’s for certain. And certainly Scripture bears that out. I’m just saying that he wasn’t speaking to the offenders, but only people that agreed that these guys are evil. No one was CONFRONTED with the law and their sin. The people in the pews are not the ones that are being rebuked. Tell the people in the pews about their sin, and then comfort them with the gospel.

    E

  22. Echo. The people he was rebuking are TELEVISION EVANGELISTS. His sermon was BROADCAST around the country — how do you think we saw it? It went WAY BEYOND his congregation to the country at large.

  23. Beyond tje Tim says:

    Interesting with the prosperity gospel is the fact that many prophets (major and minor) of the OT weren’t rich and were either persecuted or died from their beliefs. Then we go to the NT where the twelve disciples met their fate with death–not riches, not land, not horses and cattle or whatever was deemed as rich. Jesus said in the next life they will be considered the most important–seated right next to him–isn’t it interesting the most important, those the scriptures talk of–didn’t have worldly riches? And why should Christians think that it’s a absolute thing? Faith is the trust in where you are guided by God–nothing to do with your assets or net worth.

  24. Echo_ohcE says:

    Albino,

    You’re being stubborn. The pastor’s job is to reveal the sin of the person in the pew and comfort them with the gospel. This guy isn’t doing that. End of story. Argue if you want, defend if you want, but there’s a reason why the people in the pews are CLAPPING rather than repenting.

    E

  25. We just have a basic disagreement (well, on many issues) on this particular issue. You would handcuff the pastor and keep him in a box as to what he can say and who he can address, but, I would argue that you are not only wrong about what he can say to his flock, but you are also missing the point that this preacher is addressing a larger audience through television and the internet. He IS addressing those responsible.

  26. Gavin says:

    The prosperity Gospel is evil, because it flies in the face of the true Gospel. When Jesus spoke of rendering to Caesar he had to ask to see a coin. Jesus multiplied loaves and fish; he could easily have done the same with silver and gold; yet to do so would have been to lay a trap for the people. What would prosperity preachers make of Luke 12:33 and 14:33?
    When he died on the cross the Roman soldiers could only cast lots for the clothes he had worn. There was nothing else in his estate to argue about. Peter said to the beggar, ‘silver and gold have I none, but such as I have I give to you’.

    How terrible for our society when we tell people they can come to Christ with exactly the same ambitions as they have always had, and see Jesus as a means to obtain them. What we need today is a faith that trusts God for daily bread, and looks to him to meet our needs.

  27. Echo_ohcE says:

    Albino,

    I’m sorry for my condemnatory language (stubborn). Out of line, and reflects my idolatrous heart. In this case, I took a holy and good desire, to convince you of the truth, and turned it into an idol. Hence, when you disagreed, I condemned you for it, taking God’s throne to myself and sitting upon it in my heart, since I saw myself as your judge. I’m sorry. I had no right.

    Let me clarify what I’m saying, because I don’t think I have been clear. It is fine, and even very good and biblical to condemn the evils of these preachers. They are liars and blasphemers, and to say so is only to parrot Scripture. They are a living example of the shepherds Ezekiel condemns as feeding only themselves, indeed even with the flesh of the flock. They clothe themselves in the wool and eat the meat, etc. They are false prophets, preaching the wickedness of their own hearts, rather than the Word of God. This is right and true to say from the pulpit.

    To be honest, I didn’t see the rest of the sermon. I for one hope that he turned the audiences’ applause into mourning by reminding them that in their hearts, they are no better than these preachers. They too are idolators and liars. We all are.

    I don’t think I want to restict the message in the pulpit as much as you suppose. But I do have a very strict view of the mission that a sermon ought to set out to accomplish. It ought to minister the gospel to everyone. It cannot properly do that until it first brings the law to everyone in the church.

    I mean, ideally, you would want everyone listening to the sermon to be convicted of their sin. Everyone. You don’t want anyone to escape condemnation at the hands of the law of God. But then you want to follow through comforting everyone with the gospel. You want the people, all the people, to be convinced of the greatness of their sin, and the greatness of the salvation found in Jesus Christ. I am fully convinced that any sermon that falls short of that goal – well, it falls short. Some fall more short than others, to be sure. I don’t want to simply declare a sermon that convicts only half the people to be a failure. It’s not a failure. It’s pretty successful. But the goal to shoot for is to convict everyone of their sin and comfort them with the gospel. That’s what the sermon is supposed to be FOR in the first place. That’s what it means to minister the gospel.

    E

  28. Alex says:

    Echo,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but it sounds like you go to church to get a “beat down.” If you don’t get a “beat down” every Sunday you feel cheated. The Gospel message is one of victory, of Christ defeating death. You or I no longer have to live in sin. We have been set free. So don’t feel cheated if you don’t get the “beat down.” I need to live everyday reminded of what exactly Christ did for me, the pain, suffering and the ultimate seperation from God.
    You said

    “but I do have a very strict view of the mission that a sermon ought to set out to accomplish.”

    Paul addresses this as well. He seemed to have a more”LIberal” view about how to preach the Gospel.
    “15Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. 17What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.” ESV

  29. Alex says:

    Echo,

    Preachers preach the Gospel and The Holy Spirit convicts. The preacher has no control over who is convicted or not. He simply preaches. I just think your standards for preaching the Gospel are just that………your standards. I am in no way encouraging preaching the Gospel out of “envy or rivalry” but it happens. We are a imperfect messenger preaching a perfect Message.

  30. Echo_ohcE says:

    Alex,

    Why do we NEED Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf?

    E

  31. In related news…..

    Did anyone catch Joel Osteen (pastor of the largest church in America) on Larry King yesterday?

    Talk about giving Christianity a bad name. I was amazed at the things he had to say and even more amazed that anyone would attend his church after seeing the interview.

    Some of the highlights include…

    -Not knowing the name of David’s son. That would be Solomon, he called him Samuel. Very embarrasing.

    -Commenting on Britany Spears, Lindsay Lohan, and other misguided startlets chance at redemption he said that deep down these girls are good people that just need direction. Where is that in the Bible? I thought we were all born sinners?

    -Would not call homosexuality a sin and an abomination to God. but only a lifestyle he personally does not approve of. Wow! I guess he does not want to lose those homosexuals that are tithing members at his church.

    I was appalled at the lack of understanding he has of the Bible and the ability to compromise Scripture to apeal to everyone. Scary.

    Find it on YouTube and see for yourself.

  32. Esther and I caught his 60 minutes interview (it’s up on CBS’s website). We were disappointed. When confronted about the steps in his new self-help book not mentioning Jesus Christ or the Gospel, he broke down and cried, saying, “Every week, people come up thanking me for changing their lives…explaining Scripture isn’t my thing but I just want to bring hope.” — Huh?

    A friend of our family is the guy in charge of all of their cell groups and he insists that they teach doctrine on Sunday nights and in all their home groups…and have discipleship. But when I watch Joel on tv, I get no Bible….it’s just referenced in passing on the way to “making me a champion”. His dad did not preach like that. John Osteen was a straight shootin’, Bible-thumper. But Joel has no Bible college degree; just a partial marketing degree. He may be in way over his head.

    On a related note, we saw Bishop T.D. Jakes on the Dr. Phil Show huckstering his new self-help book, “Repositioning Yourself”, and I told Esther, “Watch, I bet you $5 he won’t even mention Jesus’ name one time.” Sadly, I won the bet. NOT ONE MENTION OF THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST. It’s just sad.

    Is it asking too much of these fellas to PREACH THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST? I guess it is.

  33. Here are few gems to get started…

    http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=joel+osteen+on+larry+king

    His dad preached the gospel. The gospel is offensive to those who do not believe. That is why the church never grew too big until Joel came along with his watered-down message of “helping yourself.”

    Thank God for those who do not compromise the Scripture to make a buck.

  34. That Larry King interview is from a year ago. After the firestorm that followed his remarks, he put an explanation up on his church website that he indeed believes that Jesus Christ is the only way to heaven.

    Still disturbing…He’s on Glenn Beck tonight…we’ll see how he does.

  35. Well they either re-aired the same interview yesterday or he is making his rounds again. I did not see the whole interview so I thought that clip was from the part I missed but apparently not.

  36. He was interviewed last night, but the youtube video you posted was from last year. Did you see where he thought King David’s son was Samuel? His wife corrected him off camera, after which he told Larry King, “See, I told you I didn’t attend seminary!” Ugh…

  37. yea that was in my original post about it. Sadly, the guy is a fraud. I wish he would stay off the airwaves and save everyone the embarrasment, but I guess you have to promote your book. Sad.

  38. Echo_ohcE says:

    Albino,

    You said: “But Joel has no Bible college degree; just a partial marketing degree. He may be in way over his head.”

    Echo: Albino, would you care to take a guess as to how I feel about this statement?

    E

  39. Have no idea, Echo. But Joel admits to zero training in the Bible. That is the root of his self-help dilemma I am afraid. If you’re trying to lamely compare me to him, you would be wrongo yet again. Double B.A. in Bible and Pastoral Ministries. If you weren’t, then I apologize.

    Preach the Gospel; avoid “itching ears” babeeee!

  40. Echo_ohcE says:

    You ascribed value to theological education, which I view as directly contrary to other comments you have made about seminary education. So I view you as self contradictory because of the premium you put on Bible College, and the foolishness you ascribe to seminary.

    Now, that’s how I feel, and I won’t apologize for it, because I can’t help how I feel. However, if you’d care to comment on that honestly, I’d be obliged.

  41. Echo….sigh…I never said that seminary was foolish. I think I did say that seminary students who claim to understand all mysteries and all knowledge are foolish. I do believe in Bible college, but my degree was a double liberal arts B.A., not a Bible college certificate.

    Again, this is a hedeous case of thread-jacking. Care to opine about prosperity preachers?

  42. Echo_ohcE says:

    Yeah, thread jacking. You’re right.

    Here’s my opinion about prosperity preachers:

    “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.”
    (Galatians 1:8-9 ESV)

    Of course, the word “accursed” here is anathema, meaning consigned to judgment, doomed to hell, eternally condemned, etc. Paul is pronouncing a curse (as opposed to a blessing) upon those who bring a different gospel, and he does so with the apostolic authority given him by God. Ultimately, he does so on God’s behalf. And this is the Word of God here. So while it is Paul talking, it’s God himself talking. God himself declares that those who preach a different gospel is eternally condemned, consigned to judgment, etc.

    This is not to say that they are beyond repentance and forgiveness, but it is to say that as long as they don’t repent, they’re headed for hell.

    Joel Osteen brings a different gospel. Period. Unless he repents, he is going to hell. I claim no authority beyond an ability to read in order to make this statement.

    The gospel teaches us that Jesus Christ and him crucified is our only hope for peace with God. This is not Osteen’s message. His gospel is a different gospel. The gospel teaches us that we are declared righteous by God because of what Christ has done on our behalf, not because of anything we have done. That’s not what Osteen teaches. The gospel teaches us that we are justified by faith alone, not faith and works. That’s not what Osteen is up there proclaiming from his stage. The gospel teaches us not only that Jesus takes away our sins, paying the price demanded by God’s wrath, but it also teaches that his righteousness, his merit, becomes our righteousness, our merit. That’s not what Osteen is interested in teaching people.

    “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”
    (2Corinthians 5:21 ESV)

    This is what the gospel teaches. Christ became our sin, we become his righteousness. In God’s sight, because of what Christ has done for us, when we stand before God, we are viewed, considered, counted, as if we are every bit as righteous as Christ Jesus himself. By faith alone, God says of us, “This is my beloved son, with whom I am well pleased.”

    This is the gospel. Anything else is not this. Any other message is simply another message. It’s either this message or not this message. If it’s not this message, it’s a different message. If it’s not THIS gospel, it’s just another gospel.

    Those who preach another gospel, says God himself, are doomed to eternal wrath, condemnation, torment, hell fire, life without grace, eternal damnation, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, where they will never repent, where they will be completely consumed with sinful misery, hating God completely, and being crushed continually by his infinite wrath that will always and eternally be upon them.

    Such is the end of those who preach a different message, a different gospel. They may repent, but until and unless they do, there is no hope for them.

  43. danielbalc says:

    It appears the federal government is actually going to do something with some of these dopes.

    http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/nation/20071106-1156-televangelists-finances.html

  44. Echo_ohcE says:

    I wonder if it’s a good idea for the federal government to begin policing churches. I’m sure the intention is good, but are they really the best people for the job? Should they tell us what we can and cannot preach too?

  45. Concerned says:

    I initially enjoyed Hillsong very much, and wanted to be a part of it in many ways, however,
    in my comings and goings to Hillsong, I have found In my observations, Hillsong is a ‘corporate entity’ in its manner and clever marketing masquerading as a ‘religion’.
    It uses clever psychological techniques and principles to lure and excite people into ‘religion’, using music, understanding need and appeal esp. in the areas of women and youth. I have also seen that there is sincerity in many who go there as individuals and volunteers, and they make up the ‘invisiblle church’ within the ‘corporate entity’ of Hillsong, however, on contact with ‘key figures’ within Hillsong, you soon find out that there is a self-centred, arrogant, decietful undercurrent and agenda that surfaces showing up in attitude and manner when the masks drop on varying occasions.
    This will happen when you are not anyone ‘important’ enough to maintain the ‘image’ with.
    Hillsong has intrigued me for some time, and I enjoyed its music, but Im sorry to say, that I have experienced that underneath all that ‘popularity’ in the Hillsong ‘ownership/management/leadership’ area. It is a very clever and thought out marketing strategy and varying forms of manipulation and control that at times have little or no part with Christianity, and at times seem diametrically opposed to thier ‘marketed teachings’ and the good work unsuspecting volunteers and sincere attendees perform for serving Christ and ‘Hillsong’.
    These have been my observations and experiences.
    Overall, I cant help but see, that Hillsong are not into ’empowering others’, they are into ’empowering others’ to suit thier own agenda and appearances.
    I find many of the visiting speakers ‘plastic and superficial’ that put on a christian show based on ’emotive hype’ and use various forms of emotional/religous blackmail. Some have shown sincerity, but they seem to be the lessor overall.
    Im sure they have within all this, helped others, and shown charitable works, which can to many appear quite confusing, however, when seen in overall perspective, one cannot help but feel something is significantly amiss.
    Loud popular music and emotive bellowing and affirming can only go so far. At the end of the day, one has to ask, how much of ‘God’ is truly there, and how much of ‘God’ is in the ‘ownership/leadership’ area in ‘real terms’

  46. Concerned,

    I think all of your concerns could be directed at almost any organization or denomination in America, to varying degrees. Many leaders of old-school churches where they sing only hymns and never twitch a muscle also have control issues and hidden agendas. In fact, I have encountered an arrogance and superiority complex in many adherents to mainline denominations.

    I think all of us as leaders should examine ourselves with the Scipture to make sure we are pleasing to Christ.

    I also enjoy Hillsong’s worship music, but have almost no contact with any of their affiliated churches since I am in deep South Texas, so I can’t speak to any of that.

    Good warnings for ALL of us leaders, however.

  47. Concerned,

    I actually have contact with many people who have been a part of the Hillsong Church and College in Australia.

    My brother currently lives in Australia, goes to the college and is actively involved in the youth ministry over there.

    My other two brothers are part of a church plant in Newport Beach that was birthed out of the church in Australia. Many of the young people in the church are kids who attended the Hillsong college in Australia and are now out here helping plant the church.

    I will say there is a certain level of arrogance and pride that I have personally observed in many of these young people that their way of doing church is the right way. This attitude is wrong, but is not exclusive to those who came out of Hillsong.

    Furthermore, it is not as rampant as depicted in the earlier post. Most the people in the church in Newport are wonderful people who care about seeing people experience the saving grace of Christ. This includes the pastor who was associate pastor in Australia before coming here and who is a great teacher of the Word and a genuinely caring person.

    I think many people are threatened by success and just assume that if someone has a large church they don’t have correct doctrine and get their numbers by gimic.

    Many megachurches have not helped in de-fraying this type of accusation by their actions, but we should not throw the baby out with the bath water.

    Numbers do not tell the whole story. A small church can preach false doctrine and use gimics, just as a megachurch can preach sound doctrine and never use gimics.

    The most important thing, as Albino outlined, is to run every decision you make through Scripture to insure what you are doing is pleasing to Christ.

  48. Echo_ohcE says:

    Concerned,

    It sounds to me like you’re ready to hear about Reformed churches. Are you sick of the hypocrisy? Are you sick of hype? Maybe a Presbyterian church would be up your alley, maybe you’d like to hear about the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.

    Can I promise you that you’ll never run across a hypocrite in an OPC Church? No. Can I promise you that every sermon will be perfect? No. Can I promise you that heaven will come to earth and every Sunday will be perfect? No.

    But if you want a no-frills, genuine experience of Christianity, the OPC is a good bet. Find out more:

    http://opc.org/whatis.html

    There are lots of people who accuse the OPC of a lot of things, and some of the charges may be well founded. There is no perfect church.

    But I think Christians do themselves a disservice when they don’t know all that’s out there, all that’s available to them. Some Churches are more faithful than others. The wise man will know something about what’s out there, so as to make the best decision for their family.

    Are you sick of self help sermons? Are you sick of laser light shows and rock concerts when you’re supposed to be worshiping God? Are you sick of praise bands who seem to have a celebrity status? Are you sick of being told that you lost your salvation because you sinned this week, and that you need to come to the altar to rededicate yourself to the Lord?

    Would you like to hear the good news of your salvation in Jesus Christ? Would you like to hear that though you’re a sinner, Christ has purchased your redemption? Would you like to hear that you have no other hope than Jesus Christ and him crucified, and that this hope is certain, a rock on which to build a sure foundation? Would you like to be reminded that salvation is not by works but by faith alone? Would you like to become acquainted with the faith of the Reformation?

    Try the OPC. Just try it. Maybe you won’t like it, but maybe it’s just what you’ve been looking for your whole life. Maybe you’ll find that it’s not for you. But what if it is for you, and what if you would love it, but you never gave it a chance? Wouldn’t that be a shame?

    Come and give it a try.

  49. Thanks for the good laugh this morning, Echo. I almost spit up my coffee.

    For a guy who seemingly dislikes altar calls, you’re pretty good at the invitation. All we needed was some soft, “Just As I Am” in the the background.

    I’ve got a better commercial for you:

    “Do you miss the ’50’s? Do you think that no worthy Christian music has been written in the last 4 decades? Are you bitter about some offense, real or perceived, that was committed against you in a charismatic church? Do you think the organ makes Jesus smile and that drums make Him cry? Then it’s time for you to go “old school” and head back to a mainline church. Just like a comfortable old shoe, it just feels right, and we promise to recreate that 50’s atmosphere that you miss so much!

    Ask your doctor if a mainline denomination is right for you!

  50. danielbalc says:

    Even though Albino is a peep I’ve gotta say i disagree with your take here.

    Echo’s right, Concerned can definitely go to the OPC and find all of those things. While it may seem like a time warp to those familiar with contemporary church that may be just the things concerned is looking for.

    My only disagreement with echo comes in when he insinuated that the OPC is the ONLY place you will find this message…

    “Would you like to hear the good news of your salvation in Jesus Christ? Would you like to hear that though you’re a sinner, Christ has purchased your redemption? Would you like to hear that you have no other hope than Jesus Christ and him crucified, and that this hope is certain, a rock on which to build a sure foundation? Would you like to be reminded that salvation is not by works but by faith alone? Would you like to become acquainted with the faith of the Reformation?”

    While there may be some argument as to the extent of the “acquaintance with the faith of the reformation” part (as in echo would say that is missing in contemporary churches and I would say he confusing “faith” and “style”) but I know for a fact that if someone comes to my church he is going to hear the above things. And my church is far from OPC with regards to style. So I say to concerned, go for it. Try your local OPC for month or two. But remember to take caution at the same things that scared you away from hillsongs

    ‘corporate entity’
    ‘religion’
    a self-centred, arrogant, decietful undercurrent and agenda that surfaces showing up in attitude and manner when the masks drop on varying occasions.
    ‘empowering others’ to suit thier own agenda and appearances.

    remember to ask the same question you asked of hillsong…

    how much of ‘God’ is truly there, and how much of ‘God’ is in the ‘ownership/leadership’ area in ‘real terms’

  51. Echo_ohcE says:

    Albino,

    I hate organs. And it’s not the 50’s I’m trying to get back to. I actually find the 50’s a big silly. Really, it’s the age to come that is the perfect age, not one that has gone before.

    Even the time of the Reformation has its problems. I wouldn’t want to go back there. I think the church has – gasp – advanced, even since the 50’s.

    E

  52. Echo_ohcE says:

    Daniel,

    I didn’t say the OPC was the ONLY place to hear that message. I just said if you’re looking for that message, the OPC is a “good bet”.

    I said “good bet” very deliberately. I said it because you won’t hear that message in every OP church. Some of the OPC’s I wouldn’t go to if you paid me.

    *gasp*

    Do I need to list all the churches that I think are faithfully preaching the appropriate message of salvation in Jesus Christ? Do you really care what my opinion is in this regard? I’ve never been to your church, and I have not listened to you preach online.

    What I have argued in the past is that some doctrinal positions undermine the gospel, whether properly preached or not.

    Just as an example of the kind of thing I mean, there are some in *gasp* reformed churches who are screwing up the gospel these days. They claim that justification is by faith alone, but then they bring works back in by redefining faith as “faithfulness”. It’s bizarre. If you go to the Evangelical Theological Society meetings next week, you’ll probably hear a lot about it. Piper’s going to talk about it. So anyway, these people can preach Christ and faith alone, but then they add all this weird stuff to it, and that takes away from what they had just been saying. Context matters, I guess.

    E

  53. RubeRad says:

    Do you miss the ’50’s? Do you think that no worthy Christian music has been written in the last 4 decades? …we promise to recreate that 50’s atmosphere that you miss so much

    Dude, I don’t know why you are so obsessed with the 50’s — nobody else is! I’m not saying no worthy Christian music has been written in the last 4 decades, all I’m saying is, the rate at which worthy Christian music appears on the scene, hasn’t suddenly increased in the last 4 decades. Given an average hymnal containing, say, 500 hymns, and a Christian history of 2000 years, that suggests that it takes the Bride of Christ, on average, about four years to cough up one song that is worth holding on to. I’d say that trend has been holding steady over the last four decades.

  54. Why don’t we let Isaiah and David contribute here. What about it, fellas?

    Sing to the LORD a NEW song…
    Isaiah 42:10

    Sing to the LORD a NEW song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.
    Psalm 96:1

  55. Echo_ohcE says:

    Albino,

    It seems that for you, “new” in and of itself is a virtue, and you are disagreeing with me because you think that I think that “old” is a virtue in and of itself.

    Not so. Like I said, I hate organs. And I can’t sing any tunes from the 1500’s, except maybe one or two, because they just don’t make sense. I just can’t understand the melody. I can’t ever seem to be able to sing them. So I don’t like them.

    That’s just an example.

    E

  56. […] Minutes of Righteous Anger Some time ago, I posted a video unloading on “Prosperity Pimps”.  Now it is Pastor John Piper’s turn to pop open a can of righteous wrath on those who […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: