I am uncertain about why Christians live with the false paradigm that everything they hear from the pulpit and everything taught in their church is from God or in agreement with the Bible. The Bible itself dispels this myth. On closer inspection, the Bible teaches exactly the opposite of this false belief. Jesus warned his followers many times to be on their guard against spiritual deception. In the writings of the apostles we see a continuation of this as they continue to warn the “followers of the way” to be on their guard against false teachers, false apostles, and wolves dressed in sheep’s clothing. See 1 Cor 16:13 as an example.
On ever closer inspection of the scriptures we get a clear picture of the profile of these deceivers. They lust after money, they love to have titles, they have wrong motives for being in the ministry, they pervert the gospel of Jesus Christ, they tell people what they want to hear in order that they can make money from their audience. If all this sounds familiar, then it is true to say that there is nothing new under the sun when we consider the sad state “of affairs in the church today. Televangelists have mastered the art of seductive manipulation to make money. The gospel of Jesus Christ has become a product that is merchandised for money. Jesus clearly identified the issue of merchandising the gospel when he chased out all those who were buying and selling there, in this case money changers and those selling doves. (Matt 21:12). They were accused of turning what should have been a house of prayer into a den of thieves. Was this extremely harsh criticism warranted? In order to answer that question, have a look at some of these pictures.
Here you can have a look at Joel Osteen’s house. The televangelist owns this 17,700 sq. foot mansion. In 2011, the property tax assessor valued the property at $10.6 million. The home features a guest house, a pool house, and three elevators. Osteen’s Lakewood mega-church collects over $70 million in donations per year. He also makes tens of millions more through sales of his highly popular books.
In the words of Jesus Matthew 19:20-21 instructs all believers to not store up treasures on earth, or to be concerned even about food and clothing, but to focus on storing up heavenly treasures. The reason? Verse 21 – our hearts are where are treasures are. The context of this scripture is that no one can serve two masters, God and money. We will love one and hate the other (v 24).
For those who protest that I have unfairly picked on these two giants in Christian ministry, my response would be that I could point out many more examples of people who have perverted the Gospel of Jesus Christ and whose “god” is money. Let’s consider 1 Timothy 1:3-7 and 2 Peter 2:1-22. The Bible continually establishes a connection between false teaching and the love of money. There are many more scriptures that verify this.
The mantra used so often is that “god wants you to give to him so that he can bless you”. Somehow God’s hands are tied if we do not give money to him through those who profess to represent him. The logic is a bit bizarre to say the least. The Bible warns us against the love of money, not to store up treasures on earth, to not be concerned about our lives or what we will eat or drink, and to focus on the things of the kingdom of God.
The Bible also teaches that the worship of the good things of this life is idolatry and that idol worshipers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. So my question is, “why would God want to give you more of what he has already condemned as Mammon”. Jesus taught that true life does not consist of the abundance of the things we own, but our spiritual condition before God. Furthermore, Jesus said “what shall it profit a man if he gain the word and lose his soul?” (Mark 8:35-37).
The following scriptures establish that spiritual leaders should not be greedy for gain or love money:
1 Peter 5 “To the elders among you, I appeal as a fellow elder and a witness of Christ’s sufferings who also will share in the glory to be revealed: 2 Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care, watching over them—not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; …”
Titus 1:7 “Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.”
1 Tim 3:3 ” not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.”
1 Tim 3:8 “In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain.”