It is very hot here in Los Angeles and after a 12-hour work day yesterday, I was content to lay around with my Bible in the cool (well, kinda cool) of the day and relax. That might explain why I didn’t bother to change the channel from TBN.
I wished I had.
I listened to Jesse Duplantis, one of the most well-known Word of Faith teachers preach at Rod Parsley’s Reunion campmeeting. With my own ears, I heard Duplantis offer a very interesting spin on Paul’s “problem” with money. The text in question is Philippians 4:10-18 (ESV).
Php 4:10 I rejoiced in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me. You were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity.
Php 4:11 Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content.
Php 4:12 I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.
Php 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Php 4:14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble.
Php 4:15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedonia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving, except you only.
Php 4:16 Even in Thessalonica you sent me help for my needs once and again.
Php 4:17 Not that I seek the gift, but I seek the fruit that increases to your credit.
Php 4:18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
According to Duplantis, Paul had a big problem with money because he (Paul) was always quick to point out to people how he worked for his own money and did not bother believers for anything. Apparently, Duplantis considers this a weakness because he goes on to say that Paul caught a revelation when he finally admitted that he was “full” (see 4:18). Paul’s problems with money were abated when he learned how to receive.
What in the eschatalogical hell is wrong with this picture? (Pardon my French)
Hmmm. Perhaps Duplantis would have thought better of Paul if he had requested his own private ship to travel from city to city. Or maybe Paul should have requested a ten-bedroom mansion to house him and his friends.
The church in America is weak in part because she has tolerated a whorish false gospel that has reduced the substitutionary atonement of Christ to nothing more than flippin’ slot machine. We rub our Bibles like a genie to get what we want. We ship crappy books overseas to Christians in persecuted countries so that they can “catch a revelation” of how God is using the “wealth of the wicked” to show His favor on His children.
I wish folks would read their Bibles. Then perhaps we could call some of these false teachers to the carpet for the damage they’ve done. For the record, there is clearly nothing wrong with leaders receiving money as a means of support and certainly not (1 Tim. 5:17-18). But how Duplantis could “discern” from the Philippian text and for that matter the life of the Apostle Paul that he had issues with money is beyond me. Perhaps Duplantis should have read the opening chapter of Philippians where Paul recognizes that some are preaching the gospel for profit and not from sincere motives (1:15-18). Could it be that Paul was distinguishing himself from this lot of charlatans?
But of course, when all you care about is money, you have to find a way to justify your greed even if that means assailing the character of the writer of more than half the New Testament.
I am grateful to God for the men and women who have not forsaken the message of the Cross. I am grateful for those who willingly sacrifice for the mission God has given them to impact the lives of others for Jesus Christ.
But I am not happy about the false shepherds who are devouring the sheep and their bank accounts. I’m even less pleased with lazy Christians who pay peddlers of the Word to deceive them with a false gospel.
Did you know that the sign of Christ’s coming was the “transference of the wealth of the wicked to the righteous”? Of course, this is all under the guise of doing kingdom business. Now I am not saying that ministries don’t need money to do what God is calling them to do. Please. But people are pursuing things and not Christ, doing exactly the opposite of Colossians 3:2 by setting our hearts on things of this world.
I’m not the only one complaining. See Charisma Magazine’s J. Lee Grady’s blog.
See also John Piper going gangsta on the prosperity nonsense.
We need the spirit of repentance to break out in the Church but that starts on an individual basis.
Lord, cleanse me and make me over so that I can be a vessel of honor for You, totally committed to You and not to money, power, or status.