1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.
3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not. 2 Pet. 2:1-3
Personally – and I ain’t too much of a person, but thank God for this blog, because here my voice can reach out from the wilderness – personally, the thing that riles me most in the church today are the prosperity preachers. Nothing vexes my spirit more than these people. In a word, they are charlatans. They are fraudsters and swindlers. And they have hoarded the gospel TV, where they are spilling out their shame for all the world to see and the world is having a field day slandering the Name of the LORD. (What do you think the world thinks when they see a larger-than-life preacher announcing on prime-time TV that he is divorcing his wife? C’mon!!)
These preachers are the curse of the gospel. People generally make fun of the devil, thinking he is a clownish old grandpa. But he is not. If these preachers originate from him – and they do – then the devil is not someone to fool with. He is deadly.
The Bible calls these jokers “false prophets”. Now, we all know that falsehood will not take you far. The prosperity gospel is not taking anybody anywhere. Just a few miles down the road, and they run into the quicksands. That is why there is so much sin stewing in these prosperity churches. There is so much divorce, and preachers themselves are divorcing and remarrying like the castanets.
Let a preacher teach and preach the gospel that the Apostle Paul preached, and I vouch that he will never go through this spiritual foolhardiness in his life, nor hear of it in his church. Sin will be dealt with! Paul told the sinning Corinthians, “What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?” (1 Cor. 14:21)
A rod? That was to deal with sin in the church. And Paul was speaking in the Spirit.
But, of course, I might as well be talking into the wind. This is because prosperity preachers are people who have come with a mission of their own and they are intent on carrying it out. Moreover, they have brought their agenda into the church stealthily, which proves that right from the beginning, they had never had any intention of preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are, in fact, anti-Christ. The Bible said long aforetime that they “privily shall bring in damnable heresies”.
“Privily” means secretly. These people are in cahoots with the devil, and they know full well what they are doing.
What is their agenda, anyway? I heard one prosperity preacher say, “The notion that a preacher should be walking in sandals and riding on a bicycle is foolish!” In other words, they teach that a child of God should live the high life materially. That is their agenda. And they use the Bible to bring in these damnable heresies into the church.
“And many shall follow their pernicious ways…”
The word “many” here refers to the rise of the modern-day mega-church. God saw these things long before they would occur, and He described them exactly as we are seeing them today.
During the Early Church, the mega-church was the church of the cross, as we see from the Book of Acts and the apostolic epistles. But that was because the falsehoods had not yet been introduced into the church. Once the falsehoods came in, God’s people quickly embraced this easy gospel. Fewer and fewer were willing to pay the cost. And thus rose the new mega-church – the church of the un-cross.
Today, the mega-church is not a place where sin is dealt with. I am not saying they do not preach against sin. They do, but there is no power in these churches to deal with sin. Where the gospel of the cross is not being preached, there is no power to deal with sin. As a result, the gospel of Jesus Christ is maligned in the world because of sin within the church of Jesus Christ.
In the meantime, prosperity preachers spend their time teaching about the tithe!
Lastly, let us look at verse 3:
“And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.”
Why is it that God has reserved severe judgment against these preachers, a judgment which will unquestionably befall them, and swiftly? (With God, “swiftly” could be an entire lifetime!)
In the Old Testament God said,
“If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him; then that thief shall die; and thou shalt put evil away from among you.” Deut. 24:7
With all their voracious Bible-searching, preachers still cannot put two and two together! But it is difficult to have your head on straight with the dollar sign swinging in front of you.
2 Peter: “…make merchandise of you”;
And here, in Deutoronomy: “…maketh merchandise of him”.
These two statements are alike. They are talking of the same thing.
In the Old Testament, the general punishment for a thief was to pay double the amount he had stolen (Ex. 22:7, etc). But God made exception to the thief who would “…be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandise of him, or selleth him”.
The punishment for that particular thief, God said, was death!
The situation today is far worse in the Spirit than it appears. Prosperity preachers – under the New Covenant – are not simply stealing from God’s people; they are stealing God’s people. What does that mean? It means that apart from stealing their property, they are also stealing their souls. When you preach a man a false gospel you are stealing his soul. And when you steal someone’s soul you effectively just killed them.
And for what reason are these preachers doing this? It is so they can become rich! Prosperity preachers are extremely wealthy. If you didn’t know that, you must have just dropped in from the moon!
One of these preachers is so rich he went to Rome to donate money to preserve the works of Michelangelo. Yes, the man supports the works of Michelangelo with money that he has taken from God’s people!
Personally, I think that for a man to do such a thing, there is a certain amount of arrogance involved. Another owns a $16,000 dog. And so on and so forth…
People, these are facts! and they probably are among the less shocking ones.
But thank God, He is not deaf, He is not blind – and He certainly is not dead. Soon he will deal with these prosperity fraudsters who have brought their damnable heresies of money into the church. He will judge them, and throw them into hell. That’s what the Bible says.
Prosperity preachers have only one option: to repent. No excuses, no “You don’t know what my ministry is doing around the world” (a smokescreen); just repent and leave off deceiving God’s people. If you want to continue preaching the gospel, lose your life, and teach God’s people to do the same, for this is the revelation of the gospel that has come to the church under the New Covenant.
Jesus looked upon the Jews – God’s own people – and He grieved deeply because they were like sheep without a shepherd. Equally so today, God’s people – the church – are like sheep without a shepherd.
But the Shepherd of our souls calls out to us… He calls out to us through the revelation of the cross. There is only one true gospel: the narrow road that Jesus and the apostles taught. If we come to Christ but are unwilling to lose all, we will fall into the hands of the devil and he will destroy us.
But the gospel of the cross liberates us to serve the true living God, and to do so in freedom.
The gospel of the cross is the true mystery of God, and it was for this very reason that Jesus said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” Mat. 11:15
Finally, I wish all my readers a lovely weekend.
[Below: The new Dar es Salaam – Bagamoyo Road]