Church Entrapment

  Home Content Goals of this Website
Who is for The Lord? Restoration of All Things Salvation Christian Growth Communion with God Avoid Backsliding
End Time Elijah Message The Holy Spirit's Reign Rejected by His own Jesus Always Glorified New Testament Prophet Revival is a Person
The Church Foundations Church Entrapment Why a Billion Souls? Prophecies Strategies Called From Heaven
Prophetic Administration Intercessory Prayer

False Five Fold Ministry

Has God gone soft? The Divine Flag for Israel Signs and Wonders
Prophets Connections Connecting with all News

 

The Great Materialism Entrapment of the Church

 

Some Scriptures as food for thought while you read the article:

1.    The Lord Jesus Christ said 10The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly[1] (John 10:10)

 

2.    31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you nabide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the otruth, and pthe truth shall make you free.

33 They answered Him, qWe are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?

34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, rwhoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And sa slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 tTherefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.[2] (John 8:31-36)

3.    17 Now ythe Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is zliberty[3] (2 Corinthian 3:17)

 

4.    Come to cMe, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you dand learn from Me, for I am 6gentle and elowly in heart, fand you will find rest for your souls. 30 gFor My yoke is easy and My burden is light.[4] (Matthew 11:28-30)

5.    35 And Jesus said to them, yI am the bread of life. zHe who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never athirst. 36 bBut I said to you that you have seen Me and yet cdo not believe. 37 dAll that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and ethe one who comes to Me I will 6by no means cast out. 38For I have come down from heaven, fnot to do My own will, gbut the will of Him who sent Me. 39This is the will of the Father who sent Me, hthat of all He has given Me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up at the last day. 40And this is the will of Him who sent Me, ithat everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.[5] (John 6:35-40)

  

Introduction

There has been an explosion by an ever increasing number of churches in the exploitation of Scriptures relating to wealth creation. It is important to note here that correctly applied within the context and intended use, these very same Scriptures have been massively beneficial to individuals, churches and society at large.  While the exploitation of Scriptures for financial gain has been acknowledged in the Bible, these have reached a new level of pervasiveness and intensity over the last two decades on a global scale. This has been achieved by the ever closer knitting of the global community via increased travel, the Internet, and global radio and television especially, Christian Radio and Television

In this article, we are only looking at a high level or "Tip of the iceberg" of what has taken hold in many churches and rapidly being adopted by others. The Scriptures have been used to siphon-off untold fortunes from unsuspecting members of the congregation by both church leaders and wealth creation organisations brought into the churches by the leaders to "assist" members of the congregation move towards financial independence.

The greatest concern is that government authorities may find justification for entering into the affairs of church funding and imposing crippling rules as well as encouraging legal actions that would ruin many churches.  The outcry against financial exploitation by the leadership of the congregation should not be ignored just as many churches for decades ignored the sexual abuse by leaders, but are now faced with ruinous financial compensations. The potential consequences of inaction through denial will in the future be unstoppable, swift and ruinous both to the guilty and as well as many innocent churches and their leaders caught up in a wave of community backlash.

The obvious imperative now is the need for strong doctrinal leadership to confront and clearly distinguish between, on the one hand, exploitation of the congregation and, on the other hand, the education and empowerment of the congregation towards financial freedom. The same sense of urgency should be used as was used in the first instance when the teachings were introduced accompanied by intense and consistent promotional campaigns
.

For your information you may want to read Case Studies listed at the end of this article. These Case Studies describe the various scams by both conmen as well as church leaders who have become financial wolves in sheep’s clothing

 

A Disclaimer note for the genuine:

This article should be used as prompters for those leaders and Christians in positions of influence in their churches to check that not only are the doctrines consistent with the Spirit of the Scriptures as well as the letters of the Scriptures, but more importantly it is in actual practice.

This article does not imply that just because a church is involved in teaching on giving to church causes therefore they are involved in these scams.

  

Is the wealth of the wicked being transferred?

"The wealth of the wicked is heaped for the righteous", alternatively “... the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous” (Proverbs 10:15, New KJV). 

This Scripture has often been used to justify the current highly energised preaching promoting giving into a plethora of Christian "ministries and ministry activities".

Issues

1.     The setting of ever increasing and expanding vision targets is the modern phenomenon of marketing and corporate expansionism based on the dictum "Expand or die"

 

2.     The wealth is actually physically transferred from the congregations through their pledges directly as occurs with charity fund raisings.  A serious statistical analysis would demonstrate that more than 95% of all contributions are received from members of the congregation directly or indirectly through organisations they own or have substantial influence over. Statistically, insignificant transfers would come from non-Church attendees or non-related organisations.
 

3.     The fact is that wealth is transferred from the congregation to the leadership thus there is concentration of wealth control from many to a handful of board members.
 

4.     The leadership receive their financial and /or material blessings upfront with no risks attached since there is a disclaimer clause with the giving that puts the onus on the givers dedication to the cause as well as God's discretion as to whether or not there will be a reward and how much the reward would be. Also that the believers must remain persistent in their giving and believing for an indefinite period until God eventually rewards them for their faithfulness.
 

5.     The leaders can talk about the visible material evidence of "God's blessings" on their lives, with celebrity like status while the congregation looks on marvelling at how "faithful God is" to these few people who have achieved these heights of spirituality that they themselves are endlessly trying to achieve.  However, this wealth has been a direct upfront transfer of wealth from the congregation to the leadership at the price of a promise that God will "reward" the givers.
 

6.     The use of secular based wealth creation strategies within the context of "Divinely inspired" projects has energised many Christians into entrepreneurship who would otherwise never have considered such options.  Like most highly charged motivational wealth creation sessions these seminars combined with the opportunities to network with other “like-minded” people have dramatically kick-started many a business venture. Some have turned out spectacular successes and are already in the mass media.  Many others have led to expansion of small businesses or the complete transformation of small businesses into large scale national and international operations. However, as with all such human endeavours there are those who were doomed to fail even before they joined this "Divinely inspired" wealth creation road. These are those who neither had the skills nor the disposition for the harsh reality of entrepreneurship. Like all wealth creation seminars, there are no refunds if you fail. What is given to God as a pledge cannot be refunded.
 

7.     A survey should be done to verify that there are significant statistical differences in the success rates of those who engage in wealth creation through Church based programs as compared to those provided by secular/commercial seminars and ventures. It is likely that the results would show that the per capita cash inflow to the program organisers would be higher in Church based programs than in secular ones. However, the success rates of participants in both styles of seminars would NOT be statistically significant.

It is most probable, the survey would demonstrate that there is no transfer of wealth from the wicked to the righteous. All that has occurred has been the stimulation of entrepreneurship on the part of the congregation; a dramatic change in perceptions of the importance of amassing wealth for a good cause, while at the same time enriching those in Church leadership who promote such schemes at the expense of those who will never be able to attain these promised "returns on faith seeds" sown for the cause of the “Church vision”.

 

Missed Timing for the transfer of wealth of the wicked to the just
 

What is currently being taught about the “ever” coming transfer of wealth in this present age is based on a miss timing of an actual event that will actually occur.

 

The Scriptures in Hebrews 11 talks about the people of faith whose experiences in the Old Testament were foreshadows of things to come. Many of these were fulfilled with the arrival of The Lord Jesus Christ and The Holy Spirit.  However, some things like ruling over the nation of Israel was not fulfilled as the disciples expected but would take place after the return of The Lord Jesus Christ in the promised millennium reign.

 

With rulership come political and economic powers which are clearly not going to happen during this period. It is clearly evident in the New Testament that this was the case as demonstrated by the fact of the lifestyles of The Lord Jesus Christ and then of the Apostles after He left.  The book of Revelations talks about the 1000 year reign of The Lord Jesus on earth before the great and terrible day of Judgement. 

 

Biblical References to wealth accumulation and transfers

 

In the OT there was a transfer of wealth and amassing of wealth by Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, the Israelites when they left Egypt, David, and Solomon.  Let us study each of these wealth transfers and wealth accumulations:

Abraham

  1. Transfers of wealth from the wicked to the just

 

God’s promise in Genesis 12 and its fulfilment through Genesis 13 clearly shows that the Abraham wealth was not a product of a massive transfer of wealth from the wicked. Rather it was as a result of God’s blessing on Abraham’s productivity.  He did not go into wars to cease the wealth of the wicked. The only time he went to war as narrated in Genesis 13 was to rescue his nephew Lot who had been taken captive during a war between several kings one of who ruled over Sodom where Lot lived. Moreover, all the goods that were seized from the war were actually a recovery of all that Lot and his family had lost to the invaders.

 

  1. Amassing of wealth by the righteous

 

In Genesis Chapters 12 and 13 Abraham experienced an above rate of wealth accumulation to the extent that some people became jealous and /or afraid of him and The God who gave him the prosperity. The achievement was the combined product of his hard work, and obedience to the commands of God which had a promise of prosperity attached to it.

Isaac

  1. Transfers of wealth from the wicked to the just

 

Like his father, Abraham, Isaac never went to war in order to transfer the wealth of the wicked to himself. 

 

  1. Amassing of wealth by the righteous

 

Again like his father, Abraham, Isaac was blessed by God (Gen. 25:11and 26:2-5) to amassed wealth through a combination of inheritance from Abraham, personal effort and obedience to God’s Commands () which had a promise of prosperity attached to it. And like his father, the heathen people around were both afraid of him, his God and were jealous of his prosperity.

Jacob

Transfers of wealth from the wicked to the just (Gen. 25- 46)

 

Jacob was the first person to have a wealth transfer from his wicked uncle, Laban. God had already given him a promise of prosperity through his father Isaac’s blessing, in spite of, him cheating his brother of his blessing. This type of ill gotten “blessing” proved to have a curse attached to it in that Jacob’s life was full of trouble, sorrow and disappointment.  These included treachery by his uncle Laban, his terrifying encounter with his brother Esau, the loss of his son Joseph into slavery, the troubles his sons had in Egypt before eventually reconciling with all his children before his death.  In his final blessing before his death he acknowledges the misery that he had experienced throughout his life.

 

Jacob lost much of his wealth during the 7 year famine. If it had not been for Joseph he would have been impoverished.

Joseph

Amassing of wealth by the righteous

 

By contrast, Joseph amassed wealth through hard work and obedience to God as documented in Gen. Chapters 39 – 47.

The Israelites

  1. Transfers of wealth from the wicked to the just(Gen. 12:31-36)

 

When the final word came for the Israelites to leave Egypt, God commanded them to ask the Egyptians to give them gold, silver and all manner of precious articles. This enabled the Israelites to achieve a massive transfer of wealth from the wicked Egyptians to God’s people.  This wealth was to be used to start their new life in the Promised Land. It is very important to note here, that the massive transfer of wealth was not for them to enjoy while still in Egypt, but rather when they eventually reached the Promised Land where they were to use them for worshipping God and establishing their new homeland.

 

  1. Amassing of wealth by the righteous (Genesis 12 – Exodus, Judges and 1 Samuel)

 

During their sojourn in the wilderness the Israelites never increased their wealth; in fact, they lost much of it due to disobedience.  They only started to acquire wealth through the wars against the heathen nations when they entered in the Promised Land.  This accumulation of wealth depended on their continued obedience to God from the time they left Egypt and throughout the remaining Old Testament

 

3.     Loss of wealth through transfer to the wicked

 

The moment the Israelites started to worship idols and the material things that was the time blessings and protection of God was lifted from over them. They were made captives and lost their wealth until they repented and cried out to God for mercy.

 

What do we learn from this study regarding the transfer of wealth from the wicked and amassing of wealth by the righteous?

 

A sign of things to come

1.     The experiences of the Old Testament, which are a sign of things to come, clearly shows us that wealth transfer will not occur until The Lord Jesus Christ, on behalf of God Almighty, is directly reigning on the earth.  This is what He promised when he talked about His Second Coming.  The current teaching of equating materialistic rewards and financial prosperity with spiritual prosperity is not consistent with the plans of The Holy Spirit and therefore have no longer term future.  

2.     The rejection of the Direct Rule of The Lord Jesus through The Holy Spirit will guarantee that any current wealth the Church is joyfully accumulating will eventually be taken over by Satan either directly or indirectly through ungodly leaders who will succeed the current leadership.  This was the outcome throughout Israel’s history until now.  The prosperity of David’s reign was lost because of King Solomon’s rejection of God’s commandments.  Every good king and prosperity they achieved was subsequently lost as a consequence of rejection of God’s rule.  Human leadership is incapable of delivering the promised lasting wealth transfer because of the leadership’s insatiable appetite for taking God’s glory for their own or exploiting any Divine blessing for material gain. This corrupting tendency opens the door for evil to pour into the church like the heathen tribes that regularly overran Israel when they got too proud of their military successes and material wealth.

3.     Furthermore, Church history is filled with churches that grew powerful either because of a revival or through amassing financial wealth or both.  However, like the Israelites, subsequent church leaders became corrupt and not being directly under the Divine Leadership of The Holy Spirit the churches became graveyards of memorabilia to previous revivals and prosperity – called forms of worship, prayer and denominational church traditions


The Great Deception: Equating material prosperity with spiritual prosperity and intimacy with God

The equating of spiritual growth and spiritual well-being with material prosperity has handed to Satan a master stroke in how to strip wealth from Christians on the one hand, while opening the doors to large numbers of fake converts pouring into the Church believing that God has now given concession to materialism. What have been the consequences?

1.     Many "Christians" who have whole heartedly endorsed the "spiritual growth equals material prosperity" have been prey to skilful marketing techniques that have poured into the Church in the guise of bringing about the promised material prosperity. (You may want to read a sample of articles from the Case Studies at the end of this article on Scams used in Churches). This has led to shameless exploitation of those lacking in financial management techniques. The consequences of which have been devastating in some cases including, for example, broken marriages, bankruptcies, or financial impoverishment through loss of previously accumulated wealth. But, most importantly has been the abandoning of the Christian faith and declaring that "ALL CHURCHES and CHRISTIANS" are liars and thieves and only interested in your money. 

2.     The abuse of credit cards/personal loans have become rampant among Christians who falsely believe that God will give them the money to repay the credit card debt because they have been faithful in maintaining regular giving.  They become so overwhelmed by guilt for not giving regularly to the church to realise that they are giving what they do not have so it is not generous giving nor is it honest giving. God has never asked us to give what we do not have. 

For example, some Christians have gone as far as using credit cards as loans to meet their own material needs to balance the budget because they have been made to feel an obligation to maintain giving even when they have nothing or have insufficient cash to meet their basic family needs. So, instead, of buying groceries for the family using their meagre cash income, they give all or most of it to their church and/or charities and are then forced to use credit cards to pay for groceries.

The “Christian social status” or “Christian Joneses Syndrome” pressure to look successful, happy, prosperous and fulfilled as demonstrated outwardly through quality and quantity of material consumption has created a dangerous syndrome of guilt for those who privately know they do not really fit. For a while the credit cards /personal loans will give them the feeling of being able to keep up with the Christian Joneses. For a period they are able to live a double life just like the worldly wise to protect their image and reputation among Christian peers. However, the debts will eventually have to get paid and the painful reality of the self deception comes crashing down on them. Tragically, a considerable number of people become disillusioned with the sense of failure or with the double life. They either abandon the faith and /or become enemies of the faith.

 

On a grander scale have been the unrealistic and ungodly over commitment financially by church leaders to grand development plans based on this Christian Joneses syndrome.   The leaders seeing churches they admire with state of the art buildings and programmes begin to put pressure on their own congregation to match what is happening in the Joneses church.  These Joneses syndrome driven promotion are couched within “God given visions” which the congregation are never meant to question. On the contrary, their obligation is to give to the vision and automatically expect that God will repay them back many times over in the long run.

 

The casualties of such schemes have included embezzlement and /or wastage of funds; a divided congregation between those who are able to commit and those who are not able; a perpetual sense of guilt by those not contributing on the one hand or a sense of guilt by those who are contributing and are aware it is at the expense of basic family needs. The use of multiple credit cards, personal loans and/or second mortgages to meet the gap has led to divorce, bankruptcy and/or family stress. While the church enjoys the funding of its vision there are no surveys of the impact of these pressure tactics on the congregations welfare.  Perhaps the leaders are naive or reluctant to find out the real truth because of its impacts on “the vision” or they are so blinded by the Christian Joneses Syndrome that they rationalise the consequences of the burden on fragile family finances and relationships.

 

If only the congregation had taken the following Scriptural warnings to heart they would not so naively accept the “keeping up with the Christian Joneses” doctrine:

 

6 Now godliness with econtentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, 4and it is fcertain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be gcontent. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.[6] (1 Timothy 6:6-10)

Below is a sample of Scriptures that have been variously used to justify the Christian Joneses Syndrome

 Psalm 112

The Blessed State of the Righteous

 1 Praise the LORD!
         
         Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
         Who delights greatly in His commandments.
         
 2 His descendants will be mighty on earth;
         The generation of the upright will be blessed.
 3 Wealth and riches will be in his house,
         And his righteousness endures forever.
 4 Unto the upright there arises light in the darkness;
         He is gracious, and full of compassion, and righteous.
 5 A good man deals graciously and lends;
         He will guide his affairs with discretion.
 6 Surely he will never be shaken;
         The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance.
 7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings;
         His heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.
 8 His heart is established;
         He will not be afraid,
         Until he sees his desire upon his enemies.
         
 9 He has dispersed abroad,
         He has given to the poor;
         His righteousness endures forever;
         His horn will be exalted with honor.
 10 The wicked will see it and be grieved;
         He will gnash his teeth and melt away;
         The desire of the wicked shall perish.

 

----------------------------------------------------------------

 

21 That I may cause those who love me to inherit wealth,
     That I may fill their treasuries.

Proverbs 8:21 

---------------------------------

 

15 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city;
      The destruction of the poor is their poverty.

 

Proverbs 10:15 

-------------------------------

22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children,
      But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.

 

Proverbs 13:22 

----------------------------------

10 The name of the LORD is a strong tower;
      The righteous run to it and are safe.
       11 The rich man’s wealth is his strong city,
      And like a high wall in his own esteem.
       12 Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty,
      And before honor is humility.

 

Proverbs 18:10-12 

----------------------------------------------

4 Wealth makes many friends,
      But the poor is separated from his friend.

 

Proverbs 19:4

---------------------------------------------

 18 Here is what I have seen: It is good and fitting for one to eat and drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labor in which he toils under the sun all the days of his life which God gives him; for it is his heritage. 19 As for every man to whom God has given riches and wealth, and given him power to eat of it, to receive his heritage and rejoice in his labor—this is the gift of God. 20 For he will not dwell unduly on the days of his life, because God keeps him busy with the joy of his heart.

 

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 

---------------------------------------------------

 

Below are some sobering warnings about misplacing the significance of material wealth at the expense of eternal wellbeing

 

 

6 Those who trust in their wealth
         And boast in the multitude of their riches,
 7 None of them can by any means redeem his brother,
         Nor give to God a ransom for him—
 8 For the redemption of their souls is costly,
         And it shall cease forever—
 9 That he should continue to live eternally,
         And not see the Pit.

 

Psalm 49:6-9

-----------------------

 

16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[a] I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

 
Revelation 3:16-18 

---------------------------------------

 

6 Now godliness with econtentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, 4and it is fcertain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be gcontent. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.[7] (1 Tim. 6:6-10)
-----------------------------------------

 

18 and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’
19 “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’
20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles[
a] and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”

 

Revelation 18:18-20 

----------------------------------------


2. There are those who, without this doctrine, would never have considered becoming entrepreneurial. Now they have proven themselves successful financially beyond their wildest dreams.  This success has reinforced their belief that there is a direct correlation between materialism and spiritual prosperity. These Christians are now prime targets for spiritual impoverishment because their focus is on that which is seen and perishing. Such people will have difficulty accepting that God loves those who will never ever become wealthy or more importantly, that God may have a greater reward for those who have failed to achieve material prosperity but have pleased God in non-material ways.

3. During the coming period of persecution that is prophesied in the Scriptures, these types of Christians will quickly abandon the faith because Satan will attack the financial base of the Church in order to control those Churches that see their very survival as directly related to financial success.

4. During the emergence of the Anti-Christ, the great financial entrapment of these Churches by Satan will enable them to be transformed into his agents having become a people so entrenched in their belief that spiritual growth and spiritual well-being equates with material prosperity. Like Esau they will sell their inheritance for a morsel of food.

The Need to Separate Spiritual Prosperity from Material prosperity


1. The Lord Jesus clearly stated that "a man's life does not consist in the abundance of material things he owns"

The Parable of the Rich Fool

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14 But He said to him, “Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness,[
b] for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”
16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.”’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?’
21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

(Luke 12:13-21)

 The Lord Jesus also warned that we should store eternal treasures where neither moth nor rust can destroy and also where a person's heart is there will their treasures be.

 

Lay Up Treasures in Heaven

   
19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

 

(Matthew 6:19-21)

 
2.  When the enemy is permitted to take the wealth of the Christian (refer to the Book of Job) they should clearly understand that this does not necessarily mean that it is a sign of a loss of spirituality and intimacy with God. Though prosperity is a blessing from God, however, it is not a measure of one's spirituality or how much God loves a believer.

3. While it is a noble thing for those Christians who have achieved prosperity to assist those struggling to attain prosperity, this must be seen as a practical approach to empowering others to be self supporting so that they can also join those able to assist the needy. The Apostle Paul exhorted Christians to engage in gainful employment to meet their own needs as well as assisting those in need.  In fact, he demonstrated it in his own life, by maintaining a tent making job to pay for his own expenses even though he had a right to receive support from all the churches he had started
(1 Thess. 2:9, 2 Thess. 3:8)

 

6 But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, hthat you withdraw ifrom every brother who walks jdisorderly and not according to the tradition which 1he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone’s bread 2free of charge, but worked with klabor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have lauthority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.

10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are mbusybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and 3exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ nthat they work in quietness and eat their own bread.[8]

 

4. There has been established a seemingly reckless belief that successful Church growth and financial prosperity equates directly with Divine endorsement.  This emboldened belief has made some church leaders to abandon Biblical doctrines consistent throughout both Old Testament and New Testament regarding the separation between the value of spiritual worth and material worth.  For those believers who do not have discernment between the two, the union of these two values has made it easier to focus on what is seen, known, and fulfilling the desires of their flesh. The desire of their hearts is now no longer recognised for what it is - lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes and the pride of life, but rather they have through this re-interpretation "washed" them and "justified" their fulfilment. It is now seen as God fulfilling the desires of their hearts because of their so called acts of obedience.

 

15 vDo not love the world or the things in the world. wIf anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, xthe lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And ythe world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. (1 John 2:15-17)[9]

  
5. The sanctification of the pursuit of the needs of the flesh within the guise of Divine Blessings through “sowing into the Kingdom” has unleashed powerful forces of darkness to flood the church through questionable as well as outright immoral forms of wealth creation schemes. The naive and financially struggling as well as the avaricious members of the congregation have now found "Divine comfort" from the pulpit to accept anyone who comes in the name of the Church promoting a wealth creation scheme.  Many individuals lacking in financial discernment implicitly accept financial advice through these schemes without feeling the need to scrupulously carry out their own due diligence on both the scheme and the person or organisations behind these schemes. Needless, to say, the casualties have continued to accumulate and is likely to come to a head with the fallout in terms of the "fake Christians" abandoning the faith and / or taking these Churches to Court for financial redress. Worse still, a public outcry would force Governments to rethink the tax exemption status of church giving and some corporate structured church funding vehicles.

6. It would have been more Scriptural if wealth creation schemes were initiated as the church's vision to improve the wellbeing of members of its congregation or assisting the needy without having to couch or market the schemes as an integral part of sowing into the ministry.  The schemes successes and /or failures would then be judged on their own merit without an implied equation with spirituality.  The beneficiaries would rightly be encouraged to contribute towards helping others as well as supporting the church's various projects.  These contributions will be recognised within the context of ensuring long term sustainability of the wealth creation programs as well as providing funding for the church.  Given that there are no guarantees for any best intentioned business venture to necessarily succeed, the participants are not therefore put under any pressure to take up the opportunity or to contribute beyond what they are willing and able to contribute -
"For God loves a cheerful giver" and is the true judge of the intentions of the heart of each person.

6 dBut this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows 4bountifully will also reap 4bountifully. 7 So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, enot grudgingly or of 5necessity; for fGod loves a cheerful giver. 8 gAnd God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work. 9 As it is written:

     hHe has dispersed abroad,

     He has given to the poor;

     His righteousness endures forever.

10 Now 6may He who isupplies seed to the sower, and bread for food, 7supply and multiply the seed you have sown and increase the fruits of your jrighteousness, 11 while you are enriched in everything for all liberality, kwhich causes thanksgiving through us to God. 12 For the administration of this service not only lsupplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God, 13 while, through the proof of this ministry, they mglorify God for the obedience of your confession to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal nsharing with them and all men, 14 and by their prayer for you, who long for you because of the exceeding ograce of God in you. 15 Thanks be to God pfor His indescribable gift![10]

 

The outworking of the Great Materialism Entrapment of the Church

1.    Leaders ‘corrupting’ God!

As more and more churches get on the bandwagon of sowing and reaping theology it is becoming shockingly obvious that the congregation are the victims of a “hope heist”.  While in developed countries the techniques for extracting money from the congregation are very sophisticated and less obvious, this is not the case in many developing countries.  The treachery of both illiteracy and ignorance about what is written in the Bible combined with corruption throughout much of the justice system means that the congregation are openly swindled by con artist parading as church leaders with special spiritual gifts.  Local newspapers are continuing to increase the expose of the scams being conducted in the Name of God.  This has led to some cynics suggesting it reflects the nature of a corrupt Christian god who allows His ministers to rob his people without taking action.  It also means the cynics argue, that the Christian god endorses these corrupt practises and is indeed corrupt.

No doubt, as the Scriptures says, “God is not mocked, what a man sows that will he reap....” - The True, Holy, Just and Merciful God will bring this entire theology into judgement when the time is ready. His very Character will be vindicated.

2.    The Balaam Principle (Numbers chapters 22- 24) – “Every Preacher and Prophet has their price”

 

a)    Service Fee - Charge a fee for conducting a service in the local church

Under this Balaam Principle the Preacher or Prophet will expect to be paid a fee for conducting a meeting in any church. These fees may be based on a negotiated amount, a stipulated amount, or whatever the level of response gained from the congregation during the service.

b)    Motivational speeches for a higher premium

Under this Balaam Principle the Preacher or Prophet uses the door that has been opened to them because they are recognised as people of integrity and having a deep commitment to improving the wellbeing of humanity.  They transform themselves into commercial motivational speakers while keeping their Preacher or Prophet clothing on.  This technique ensures not only a high level of audience attendance and captivation because of these dual hats and clothing.  For their troubles the Preacher or Prophet will receive premium fees.

c)    The higher the profile of the Preacher or Prophet the higher the service charges

 This Balaam Principle entitles the Preacher or Prophet to expect ever higher premiums directly related to the higher profile they enjoy in the community.  Thus, the greater their national and or global profile the greater will be their fees and charges

 

d)    Freely you have received, but maximise your fees and charges for when you give

 This Balaam Principle recognises a business profitability model that will maximise profits.  Any new idea or “revelation” received is packaged into a product with the most effective marketing techniques that can be afforded.  The target Christian audience and/or the motivational consumers will be made to feel the insatiable need to purchase the product or miss-out to their spiritual or motivational detriment. The large profit margin comes from the fact that the “revelation” was given freely so all the revenue net of marketing costs and taxes is pocketed.

 

e)    No such thing as a “free lunch” in the Kingdom

This Balaam Principle, contrary to the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ that “freely you have received, so freely give” (Matt. 10:5-10), takes every opportunity to obtain payment for any kind of ministry provided wherever there is any possibility the recipients of ministry have any kind of finance.  There is the fundamental belief that there is biblical justification for receiving payment for any kind of service render by the Preacher or Prophet. They may even be more forward in expecting and even demanding finances just because the person or congregation are in the presence of a prophet. They vindicate this by quoting “Everyone who receives a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward” (Matt. 10:41)

3.     Compassion for the poor and disadvantaged are conditional

The practical and attitudinal outworking of the entrapment in the leadership and congregation is one of conditional compassion.  There is a low tolerance level for the poor and disadvantaged who cannot sow into the ministry.  These people are seen as a drain on the ministry and are a target for being cut out of ministry programmes. Only those people who are successful, or could deliver quantifiable results from programs that also lifted the profile of the Church are encouraged and supported financially. The programs that are deemed to have a return on investment are considered to be endorsed by God because the church reaps direct and indirect benefits. However, a regular evaluation of the level of the benefits being derived from these programs is undertaken not from the point of view of ensuring that services delivered are efficient and effective, but rather the survival of these programs depends on whether they continue to give the church the marketing and advertising profiles for which they were originally developed.

4.    No friendship with lowly  people

The practical and attitudinal outworking of the entrapment is the adoption of the view that befriending lowly people as a downward step in ones spirituality because their attitudes and views to life keep them in the place of material poverty. A close association with such people is seen as a risk to those who are prosperous because the lowly will ‘suck’ the very life out of those who are successful.  The negativity and victim mentality that often bedevils the lowly is to be shunned because “bad company spoils good morals and good morale”.  The entrapment of the church outworks through the resulting disengagement of the church with the down-and-outs.

My brethren, do not hold the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, athe Lord of glory, with bpartiality. 2 For if there should come into your assembly a man with gold rings, in 1fine apparel, and there should also come in a poor man in 2filthy clothes, 3 and you 3pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes and say to him, “You sit here in a good place,” and say to the poor man, “You stand there,” or, “Sit here at my footstool,4 have you not 4shown partiality among yourselves, and become judges with evil thoughts?

5 Listen, my beloved brethren: cHas God not chosen the poor of this world to be drich in faith and heirs of the kingdom ewhich He promised to those who love Him? 6 But fyou have dishonored the poor man. Do not the rich oppress you gand drag you into the courts? 7 Do they not blaspheme that noble name by which you are hcalled?

8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, i“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” you do well; 9 but if you 5show partiality, you commit sin, and are convicted by the law as jtransgressors. 10 For whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet kstumble in one point, lhe is guilty of all. 11 For He who said, m“Do not commit adultery,” also said, n“Do not murder.” Now if you do not commit adultery, but you do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law. 12 So speak and so do as those who will be judged by othe law of liberty. 13 For pjudgment is without mercy to the one who has shown qno rmercy. sMercy triumphs over judgment.[11] (James 2:1-13)

More importantly, there is alienation of these people from attending services because of the constant reminder during the services that they are their worst enemy and, furthermore, they are not likely going to be befriended by successful, God blessed believers until they changed their ways.

The programs designed and implemented to help the lowly will tend to be patronising even though they may appear on the surface to be genuine.  Their underlying motivation is to “show or demonstrate” to the recipients that they too can become the successful, prosperous people being promoted by the Church.

5.    “God helps those who help themselves”

The accumulation of wealth and influence in the world brings with it powerful perks such as the sense of confidence that there are few obstacles that cannot be solved with the vast resources available at one’s disposal or collectively at the Church’s disposal. This is already, and will continue to increasingly, play into the hands of self-reliance.  The increasing belief and justification for the motto - “God helps those who help themselves” will become evident.  This is couched in detailed implementation strategies to see the vision come to pass. There is no deep and abiding hunger to seek God’s guidance before the vision is put into practical effect.  In fact, it is already a foregone conclusion that God endorses the vision and there is sufficient funding and/ or the strategies to obtain the required funding and other resources to bring this about. 

Successful deployment of the vision with prayerlessness is typical of the outworking of the great entrapment of the local church. Self reliance accompanied by the presumption that just because one has the resources and can successfully execute a vision means that God had already endorsed the project. The long term consequence of such self reliance and presumption on God will eventually, over the longer term, lead to death of the local church as its growth leads to a massive bureaucracy to manage the plethora of “ministries”. The work of man’s hands always leads to the need to employ increasingly more of man’s hands to make it work.

A minister put it more directly by stating that the motto – “God helps those who help themselves” is actually the belief of an Atheistic “believer”.  Such an individual or individuals consider themselves as Bible believing Christians. However, their lack of a genuine reliance on God means deployment of their own skills and effort which implicitly reveals the unbelieving heart.

 

A Scriptural Perspective on sowing and wealth creation

You reap what you sow

Material

  1. The principle of investments and their returns (the parable of the talents)

Although this parable was told by The Lord Jesus Christ to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven principles, nevertheless, they are very instructive in the material world of investments.

The basic material investment principle of this parable is to maximise the returns on whatever resources you have been given because that will open up opportunities for potentially exponential growth.  That taking calculated risks to increase your existing resources will protect you against the possibility of future loss should adverse circumstances come your way.  The accumulated returns will act as a buffer and, moreover, may in fact provide you with a far greater reward than you could have dreamed of.

There is a solemn warning that those who opt to only be hoarders of resources which are given to them because they are too afraid to take any kind of risk and invest are likely to end up losing those resources. This could be a result of unplanned expenditures (such as illness, accidents, death, etc.) that will eat into these non-accumulating savings or in the worst case the theft of these resources leaving them with nothing. The impact and bewildering sense of loss for these fearful people with no resources to fall back onto will be like being cast into a deep dark place of despair, hopeless and anguish.

14 k“For the kingdom of heaven is llike a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them. 15 And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one, mto each according to his own ability; and immediately he went on a journey. 16 Then he who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents. 17 And likewise he who had received two gained two more also. 18 But he who had received one went and dug in the ground, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them.

20 “So he who had received five talents came and brought five other talents, saying, ‘Lord, you delivered to me five talents; look, I have gained five more talents besides them.’ 21 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were nfaithful over a few things, oI will make you ruler over many things. Enter into pthe joy of your lord.’ 22 He also who had received two talents came and said, ‘Lord, you delivered to me two talents; look, I have gained two more talents besides them.’ 23 His lord said to him, q‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into rthe joy of your lord.’

24 “Then he who had received the one talent came and said, ‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’

26 “But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You swicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. 27 So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. 28 So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

29 t‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. 30 And cast the unprofitable servant uinto the outer darkness. vThere will be weeping and wgnashing of teeth.’[12]

  1. Guarding your investments (crops, shares, and business) so that it is not destroyed by external negative events (parable of the sower).

On the same day Jesus went out of the house aand sat by the sea. 2 bAnd great multitudes were gathered together to Him, so that cHe got into a boat and sat; and the whole multitude stood on the shore.

3 Then He spoke many things to them in parables, saying: d“Behold, a sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. 6 But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. 7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. 8 But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some ea hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 fHe who has ears to hear, let him hear!”[13] (Matt. 13:1-19)

3.    This parable, like the above, was told by The Lord Jesus Christ to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven principles; nevertheless, they are very instructive in the material world of investments. Let us consider the scenarios that were presented.
 

a.    The seeds that landed on the wayside and were eating by the birds was interpreted by The Lord Jesus as those who failed to understand the Gospel message and so the wicked one steals it from their hearts (Matt. 13:19). Looking at this interpretation from an investment point of view one finds an invaluable piece of wisdom, that is; if you do not ensure that you have gained sufficient depth of understanding and knowledge on how to wisely invest and/or use your available resources then it is very likely that some con artist will swindle if from you. It is, therefore, very naive to presume that one has no responsibility in ensuring they carry out their investment due diligence to protect their resources just as a successful farmer will guard his crops against all manner of pests.
 

b.    The seeds that landed on stony ground are interpreted as those who gladly receive the word but have no roots. When the trials and persecutions come they cannot handle the pressure and abandon the faith (Matt. 13:20-12).

From an investment perspective we immediately understand that life is fraught with pressures and challenges that can destroy our investments. For this reason we should not only be vigilant, but more importantly not succumb to the pressures which could make us abandon our investment strategies or businesses for the easy options. In so doing we may live to regret the missed opportunities that were just immediately passed those pressure situations. 

c.    The seeds that fell among the thorns are interpreted as those who were choked by the deceptiveness of riches and the cares of this world (Matt.13:22).

For the investor or business person one of the greatest traps is to be so caught up in get rich schemes driven by greed or in response to financial burdens or worries both real and imaged.  This misplaced focus will lead to losses in investments or business.

d.    The seeds that fell on good ground are interpreted as those who receive the word and understand it and make it a part of their very lifestyle and nature leading to various degrees of spiritual fruitfulness.

As an investor or business person to be successful a thorough understanding of the investment or business strategies, due diligence and focussed determination are mandatory in order to succeed.  The degree of success will then depend on ones individual skills.

Spiritual

6 iLet him who is taught the word share in all good things with him who teaches.

7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for jwhatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap keverlasting life. 9 And llet us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap mif we do not lose heart. 10 nTherefore, as we have opportunity, olet us do good to all, pespecially to those who are of the household of faith. (Gal. 6:6-10)[14]

  1. If you sow to the flesh you repeat corruption and spiritual death (Gal. 6:8)
  2. If you sow to the spirit you repeat the fruit of the spirit and eternal life (Gal. 6:9)

 

Wealth Creation

Material

  1. Educating and assisting fellow Christians to develop wealth creation skills is Scriptural

The Apostle Paul warned the Thessalonian church against idleness and avoiding work.

10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are mbusybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and 3exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ nthat they work in quietness and eat their own bread.[15] (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12)

 

  1. Wealthy and/or influential Christians can be a great blessing to ministry endeavours

Now it came to pass, afterward, that He went through every city and village, preaching and 1bringing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God. And the twelve were with Him, 2 and acertain women who had been healed of evil spirits and 2infirmities—Mary called Magdalene, bout of whom had come seven demons, 3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others who provided for 3Him from their 4substance.[16] (Luke 8:1-3)

  1. Be careful not to focus only on heaping material wealth

 

Spiritual

Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus

19 “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and 8fared sumptuously every day. 20 But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, 21 desiring to be fed with 9the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to oAbraham’s bosom. The rich man also died and was buried. 23 And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

24 “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and pcool my tongue; for I qam tormented in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Son, rremember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented. 26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed, so that those who want to pass from here to you cannot, nor can those from there pass to us.’

27 “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, 28 for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ 29 Abraham said to him, s‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 But he said to him, t‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, uneither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”[17] (Luke 16:19-31)

 

  1. Where your possessions are there will your heart be also

Rich Young Ruler

Mark 10:17–27; Luke 18:18–27

16 oNow behold, one came and said to Him, p“Good 4Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, 5“Why do you call Me good? 6No one is qgood but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, rkeep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, s“‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 t‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, u‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have vkept 7from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, wgo, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that xit is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but ywith God all things are possible.”[18]  (Matt. 19:16-26)

 

  1. Being rich towards God is far better than being rich in material things

13 Then one from the crowd said to Him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 But He said to him, n“Man, who made Me a judge or an arbitrator over you?” 15 And He said to them, o“Take heed and beware of 3covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.”

16 Then He spoke a parable to them, saying: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. 17 And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ 18 So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, p“Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; qeat, drink, and be merry.” ’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night ryour soul will be required of you; sthen whose will those things be which you have provided?’

21 “So is he who lays up treasure for himself, tand is not rich toward God.”[19]
(Luke 12:13-21)

 

  1. Not all financial gifts are acceptable before God

The great entrapment of the Church caught up in amassing wealth will be presumption that all gifts given for any work of God they have accomplished is automatically acceptable before God. They are seen as a just reward for the ministry’s efforts.  In the story of the prophet Elisha, we see that God did not accept a well intentioned gift of gratitude.

Naaman’s Leprosy Healed

5     Now aNaaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was ba great and honorable man in the eyes of his master, because by him the Lord had given victory to Syria. He was also a mighty man of valor, but a leper. 2 And the Syrians had gone out con 1raids, and had brought back captive a young girl from the land of Israel. She 2waited on Naaman’s wife. 3 Then she said to her mistress, “If only my master were with the prophet who is in Samaria! For he would heal him of his leprosy.” 4 And Naaman went in and told his master, saying, “Thus and thus said the girl who is from the land of Israel.”

5 Then the king of Syria said, “Go now, and I will send a letter to the king of Israel.”

So he departed and dtook with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold, and ten changes of clothing. 6 Then he brought the letter to the king of Israel, which said,

     Now be advised, when this letter comes to you, that I have sent Naaman my servant to you, that you may heal him of his leprosy.

7 And it happened, when the king of Israel read the letter, that he tore his clothes and said, “Am I eGod, to kill and make alive, that this man sends a man to me to heal him of his leprosy? Therefore please consider, and see how he seeks a quarrel with me.”

8 So it was, when Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why have you torn your clothes? Please let him come to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

9 Then Naaman went with his horses and chariot, and he stood at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 And Elisha sent a messenger to him, saying, “Go and fwash in the Jordan seven times, and your flesh shall be restored to you, and you shall be clean.” 11 But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ 12 Are not the 3Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13 And his gservants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his hflesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and ihe was clean.

15 And he returned to the man of God, he and all his aides, and came and stood before him; and he said, “Indeed, now I know that there is jno God in all the earth, except in Israel; now therefore, please take ka gift from your servant.”

16 But he said, l“As the Lord lives, before whom I stand, mI will receive nothing.” And he urged him to take it, but he refused.

17 So Naaman said, “Then, if not, please let your servant be given two mule-loads of earth; for your servant will no longer offer either burnt offering or sacrifice to other gods, but to the Lord. 18 Yet in this thing may the Lord pardon your servant: when my master goes into the temple of Rimmon to worship there, and nhe leans on my hand, and I bow down in the temple of Rimmon—when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the Lord please pardon your servant in this thing.”

19 Then he said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him a short distance.

Gehazi’s Greed

20 But oGehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, said, “Look, my master has spared Naaman this Syrian, while not receiving from his hands what he brought; but as the Lord lives, I will run after him and take something from him.” 21 So Gehazi pursued Naaman. When Naaman saw him running after him, he got down from the chariot to meet him, and said, “Is all well?”

22 And he said, “All is pwell. My master has sent me, saying, ‘Indeed, just now two young men of the sons of the prophets have come to me from the mountains of Ephraim. Please give them a talent of silver and two changes of garments.’ ”

23 So Naaman said, “Please, take two talents.” And he urged him, and bound two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of garments, and handed them to two of his servants; and they carried them on ahead of him. 24 When he came to 4the citadel, he took them from their hand, and stored them away in the house; then he let the men go, and they departed. 25 Now he went in and stood before his master. Elisha said to him, “Where did you go, Gehazi?”

And he said, “Your servant did not go anywhere.”

26 Then he said to him, “Did not my heart go with you when the man turned back from his chariot to meet you? Is it qtime to receive money and to receive clothing, olive groves and vineyards, sheep and oxen, male and female servants? 27 Therefore the leprosy of Naaman rshall cling to you and your descendants forever.” And he went out from his presence sleprous, as white as snow.[20]  (2 Kings 5:1- 27)

 

Bible References

Note: All Bible quotations are from The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

 

Case Study Examples

Case Study 1

This is what was reported in a local newspaper in Uganda – The Sunday Vision, Published on: Saturday, 7th July, 2007

Note: Exchange rate approx.:  1750 Uganda Shillings equals 1$ US

Are pastors corrupting God?

http://newvision.co.ug/news_photos/1183818357PASTOS.jpg

 

A BEAUTIFUL woman in her late 20s walked into the Sunday Vision offices one evening. She was in mourning over her car, which she said had been taken by pastors Ronnie and Betty Badda of Liberty Praising Centre, Luzira.
According to her, Pastor Betty called her during a service and told her that God had asked her to give her car to the church. Pastor Betty promised that God would answer the woman’s prayers in three months if she agreed to donate the car. With the promise of a wedding in three months’ time, and a life in the US thereafter, the woman surrendered the car and its log book to the pastors.
But none of their promises came to fulfilment, despite months of prayer and fasting.
The woman had bought the car using a bank loan that she is still paying off. Before taking the car, the pastors had asked her to “sow” her household items, two phones and millions of shillings, which she did.
A Sunday Vision undercover reporter posing as a desperate, heartbroken woman went and prayed at the Badda’s church for three months. She recorded her experiences in a gripping three-part series. We bring you the second part of the series


 

Prayers

I approached Pastor Betty following earlier instructions from her husband Pastor Ronnie Badda that I should see her. After praying for a short time, she stopped and informed me that God had promised me a miracle.

“God is trying to show me something about you but I’m not sure what it is. I will continue praying for you,” she revealed. We continued praying.

Several minutes later, she claimed she had seen a dark bangle on my hand. I feigned deep concern and asked her what the bangle meant, but she said that God had not shown her its full meaning. “We need to pray very hard,” she informed me before handing me over to a pastor seated nearby, for more prayers.

While waiting to talk to Pastor Betty, I had watched this pastor pray for several other people. He would start by smearing the person’s forehead with oil.

Next he would lay his hands on the person’s head in prayer. Most of the people he prayed for would either scream or tremble violently before falling.

I pictured myself shaking and falling all over the place and decided to forego the oil ritual. He tried very hard to convince me, arguing that the oil was harmless, but I stood my ground. With his right hand on my head, he prayed that the demons of rejecting his oil flee from my life. He tried to push me to the ground, but I refused to fall, which compelled him to pray even harder. He eventually gave
up after praying for me for over 10 minutes.

Before I left, Pastor Betty advised me to attend the second service, which is referred to as Evening glory. I agreed. The evening service, I soon discovered, was just a continuation of the morning one. It ended after 8:00pm, by which time several people had been scared into sowing.

One elderly lady, probably in her 60s, was told that her decision to attend the evening service had prompted God to intervene and save her daughter from a fatal road accident.

“God has shown me a vision in which one of your daughters is involved in a very bad accident. A truck collided with the taxi in which she was travelling, and her head was severed by the truck. She died instantly,” Betty announced.

The congregation gasped and shook their heads at the sad news. “However,” she reassured them: “God has decided to prevent the accident because this lady decided to dedicate this whole day to Him by staying here to pray.”

Looking dazed, the old lady couldn’t stop shaking her head in gratitude, as the people around her shouted “Amen”.

Pastor Betty continued to taunt those who thought spending the whole day at church was just wasting time.

3rd Sunday March 4
We had a guest pastor, who was simply introduced as “Musumba” (pastor). When I later asked Pastor Badda for the musumba’s name, he told me he was called Pastor Kiiza. However, he could not recall his first name or home church.

Dark, skinny and of medium height, Pastor Kiiza was introduced by Pastor Betty, as a living testimony of the benefits of sowing.

Pastor Betty informed us that God had cured Pastor Kiiza and his wife after years of painful battles with AIDS. The pastor testified to this in his sermon.

“I was cured because of constant prayer and sowing. Some of you don’t know the source of our testimonies. It’s sowing. If you want to see God blessing you, sow. Every seed you sow brings a similar blessing. Pledging to sow something is your insurance in heaven. You have to sow every month so that the seed you’ve sown brings all that God promised you to fulfilment. Each time you pledge and honour the pledge, God will help you when you call upon Him in times of trouble,” he said

At the end of the sermon, Pastor Kiiza invited members of the congregation to come forward with their seeds.

He started with those willing to pledge and sow sh100,000, followed by those with a seed of sh50,000.

Pastor Betty was the first to sow sh100,000. She was followed by seven other people. The pastor’s call for a seed of sh50,000 was heeded by over 30 people.

As more people moved forward, Pastor Kiiza reminded them and those still seated that: “God’s blessings to you are determined by what you sow. Once, I was praying for people during a service. A woman came to sow sh500. When I asked her what she wanted, she said that she wanted God to give her a house.

I asked her what kind of house she expected from sh500 and she said she wanted a three-bed-roomed family house in a nice place. I laughed. I asked her if she expected God to build her such a house using the sh500 she had brought. She said it’s what she had.

“I told her that that’s what God would use to build her a house that she should not expect the kind of house she wanted. Later she came back and told me that God had indeed built her a house in a swamp with many mosquitoes.”

By the time he ended the ‘little story,’ more than half of the congregation was at the front with pledges of between sh100,000 and sh5,000. I pledged to sow sh100,000.

The ushers wrote down our names, the amount we pledged, when we shall ‘sow’ it and the problems we wanted solved so that the pastor could pray for us. Most people pledged to sow between sh30,000 and sh50,000.

When Pastor Kiiza finally sat down, the host pastor, Ronnie Badda, got up and asked people who had come with their seeds to sow immediately.

Moved by Pastor Kiiza’s long sermon on the benefits of sowing, several people paid up on the spot.

Badda warned the rest that they should not just pledge and expect the pastors to pray for them; God would not answer their prayers.

March 26
I made a distress call to Pastor Ronnie, claiming that the relationship with my boyfriend was getting worse. I also told him that my ex-boyfriend had come to my home and brought me his car keys.

My story was that my ex-boyfriend had insisted that I keep the keys until I decide whether to take the car or not.

I wanted him to advise me on what to do. Pastor Badda wanted to know if my ex-boyfriend had also given me the log book. No, he hadn’t, I answered.

The pastor promised to pray for me and asked me to go for counselling on Thursday. I promised to turn up with the sh100,000 I had pledged the other Sunday.

March 28
I took the sh100,000 as promised. Pastor Badda was very happy. As we prayed together, he informed me he had received a vision from God telling him that I was going to get a promotion at my place of work. I reminded him about my ex-boyfriend’ s car offer. Should I accept it? He asked me what I wanted, and I told him that I, of course, wanted to accept the car.

He thought for some time before suggesting that we pray. After praying for some time, he claimed God had sent him a vision in which I had accepted the car and I was driving happily. However, I had driven straight into a wide bottomless hole.

“I had not understood the message at first, but I have asked God to show me its meaning. He has shown me that the hole represents disease. I don’t know if your ex-boyfriend is sick yet or not, but God has made it clear that he will suffer from AIDS. It is clear that God is warning you not to accept the car, because if you do, it will come with many strings attached. You might end up getting AIDS. Don’t accept the car,” he warned.

Seeing my disappointment, he consoled me, saying I should be patient because God would give me my very own car within a short time.

We prayed again before I left. During prayer, he got another vision in which he saw me driving a brand new car and assured me that I would get a car by the end of April.

“That’s why I’m telling you not to take your ex-boyfriend’s car. The one you will get will come without strings attached,” he said. He further told me that he had got a vision in which my current boyfriend was cheating on me with a light-skinned girl.

I had mentioned this girl in our earlier discussions and told him that the girl in question was called Brenda. “In fact,” he said, “he has no intentions of leaving Brenda because he loves her very much.”

My face took on a troubled, hurt look on receiving the news. I asked him whether I should leave my boyfriend, but he insisted that I should be patient with him. “Be patient. Continue praying and sowing. God will turn your boyfriend’s heart to you and he will love you again. In fact, I see you getting married before the end of this year. You wait and see,” he said. I left with a confused look, requesting him to continue praying for me.

March 29
Pastor Badda called me, asking me at 3:00pm to call him back.

When I did, he informed me that God had sent him a vision telling him to go to Hoima for a mission the following day.

However, he added, he didn’t have money to sponsor the mission. But God had told him (still in the vision) that I might be of help.

He was hesitant in his request, since I had just sowed sh100,000. “I’m sorry for bothering you. I don’t know how you are doing, but God really needs this mission done. Unfortunately, it is very sudden yet I don’t have enough money. I am really sorry for bothering you, but if you can help in any way, your contribution will be welcome.”

I did some quick thinking. I highly doubted the story, since he never mentioned it had not the previous day in church. I quizzed him about it, but he insisted he had just received the call (he first said a vision) a few minutes earlier informing him about the mission. It was to last a week.

I asked him how much money he needed, but he refused to specify the amount and instead insisted that I give him whatever I could get. All the time he was apologising for bothering me at such short notice.

I told him it was okay but insisted that he tells me how much money he needed. “In all, we need around sh300, 000,” he finally said.

I gasped in surprise. “Any contribution you can make is welcome. We are leaving very early tomorrow morning, so we need to collect the money today,” he said.

I told him that I needed to run to the bank and see if my salary had been deposited yet. I hung up with promises to call him before the end of the day.

I immediately ran to my editor and we decided that I should give him sh100,000, with an excuse that I couldn’t make sh300,000 because they hadn’t deposited my salary.

He did not pick up his phone when I called back. I sent a message asking where to meet him. He replied that he was attending the evening service, so I should go to the church after the service. It was approaching 6:00pm. He called me a few minutes to 7:00pm with a request that I go to the church. I refused, because I had another appointment in town. We agreed to meet at Communications House. He got there after 8:00pm. We stood at the steps to discuss my ex-boyfriend’s car offer and the Hoima mission.

He said the mission was actually the opening of a new branch of his church in Hoima, to be followed by a fundraising drive. He would return on Tuesday. A lengthy discussion about my ex-boyfriend’s car followed, at the end of which he advised me to accept it. “How about AIDS?” I asked him as he pocketed the money. He smiled knowingly and said: “You know what, you take the car. We shall pray to God to cancel all those problems. We have to pray very very hard, and have faith. I have no doubt that God will hear our prayer and cancel all those plans.”

 

This is what was reported in a local newspaper in Uganda – The Sunday Vision, Published on: Saturday, 7th July, 2007

Note: Exchange rate approx.:  1750 Uganda Shillings equals 1$ US

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Case Study 2

There are many cases in this website

Christian News Reports – Scam Archives - http://www.the-garret.com/scams.htm

---------------------------------------------------------------

Case Study 3

English fraudster gets 20 years for US church scam - http://www.nextwebsecurity.com/News2/7-14-07a.asp

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Case Study 4

December 01, 2004 – 08:37
Anger Over Bahamas Church 'Scam' - http://www.bahamasb2b.com/news/wmview.php?ArtID=4452

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 Case Studies 5

Minister Accused Of Stealing $9M From 1,600 Churches - http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/04/national/main671648.shtml

 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

This Article - Published September 2007

horizontal rule

[1]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

n [John 14:15, 23]

o [John 1:14, 17; 14:6]

p [Rom. 6:14, 18, 22; James 1:25; 2:12]

q Lev. 25:42; [Matt. 3:9]; Luke 3:8

r Prov. 5:22; Rom. 6:16; 2 Pet. 2:19

s Gen. 21:10; Gal. 4:30

t [Rom. 8:2; 2 Cor. 3:17]; Gal. 5:1

[2]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

y [1 Cor. 15:45]

z John 8:32; Gal. 5:1, 13

[3]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

c [John 6:35–37]

d [John 13:15]; Eph. 4:2; [Phil. 2:5; 1 Pet. 2:21; 1 John 2:6]

6 meek

e Zech. 9:9; [Phil. 2:7, 8]

f Jer. 6:16

g [1 John 5:3]

[4]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

y John 6:48, 58

z John 4:14; 7:37; Rev. 7:16

a Is. 55:1, 2

b John 6:26, 64; 15:24

c John 10:26

d John 6:45

e [Matt. 24:24; John 10:28, 29]; 2 Tim. 2:19; 1 John 2:19

6 certainly not

f Matt. 26:39; John 5:30

g John 4:34

h John 10:28; 17:12; 18:9

i John 3:15, 16; 4:14; 6:27, 47, 54

[5]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

e Phil. 4:11; Heb. 13:5

4 NU omits and it is certain

f Job 1:21; Ps. 49:17; Eccl. 5:15

g Prov. 30:8, 9

[6]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

e Phil. 4:11; Heb. 13:5

4 NU omits and it is certain

f Job 1:21; Ps. 49:17; Eccl. 5:15

g Prov. 30:8, 9

[7]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

h Rom. 16:17

i 1 Cor. 5:1

j 1 Thess. 4:11

1 NU, M they

2 Lit. for nothing

k 1 Thess. 2:9

l 1 Cor. 9:4, 6–14

m 1 Tim. 5:13; 1 Pet. 4:15

3 encourage

n Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12

[8]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

v [Rom. 12:2]; Gal. 1:4; James 1:27

w Matt. 6:24; James 4:4

x [Eccl. 5:10, 11]

y 1 Cor. 7:31; 1 Pet. 1:24

[9]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

d Prov. 11:24; 22:9; Gal. 6:7, 9

4 with blessings

e Deut. 15:7

5 compulsion

f Deut. 15:10; 1 Chr. 29:17; [Prov. 11:25]; Rom. 12:8; [2 Cor. 8:12]

g [Prov. 11:24]

h Ps. 112:9

6 NU omits may

i Is. 55:10

7 NU will supply

j Hos. 10:12

k 2 Cor. 1:11

l 2 Cor. 8:14

m [Matt. 5:16]

n [Heb. 13:16]

o 2 Cor. 8:1

p [John 3:16; 4:10; Rom. 6:23; 8:32; Eph. 2:8; James 1:17]

[10]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

a Acts 7:2; 1 Cor. 2:8

b Lev. 19:15

1 bright

2 vile

3 Lit. look upon

4 differentiated

c Job 34:19; John 7:48; 1 Cor. 1:27

d Luke 12:21; 1 Tim. 6:18; Rev. 2:9

e Ex. 20:6

f 1 Cor. 11:22

g Acts 13:50

h Acts 11:26; 1 Pet. 4:16

i Lev. 19:18

5 Lit. receive the face

j Lev. 19:15; Deut. 1:17

k Gal. 3:10

l Deut. 27:26

m Ex. 20:14; Deut. 5:18

n Ex. 20:13; Deut. 5:17

o James 1:25

p Job 22:6

q Prov. 21:13; Matt. 18:32–35; [Luke 6:37 ]

r Mic. 7:18; [Matt. 5:7]

s Rom. 12:8

[11]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

k Luke 19:12–27

l Matt. 21:33

m [Rom. 12:6; 1 Cor. 12:7, 11, 29; Eph. 4:11]

n [Luke 16:10; 1 Cor. 4:2; 2 Tim. 4:7, 8]

o [Matt. 24:47; 25:34, 46; Luke 12:44; 22:29, 30; Rev. 3:21; 21:7]

p [2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:8]

q Matt. 24:45, 47; 25:21

r [Ps. 16:11; John 15:10, 11]

s Matt. 18:32; Luke 19:22

t Matt. 13:12; Mark 4:25; Luke 8:18; [John 15:2]

u Matt. 8:12; 22:13; [Luke 13:28]

v Matt. 7:23; 8:12; 24:51

w Ps. 112:10

[12]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

a Matt. 13:1–15; Mark 4:1–12; Luke 8:4–10

b Luke 8:4

c Luke 5:3

d Luke 8:5

e Gen. 26:12; Matt. 13:23

f Matt. 11:15; Mark 4:9; Rev. 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22

[13]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

i 1 Cor. 9:11, 14

j [Rom. 2:6]

k [Rom. 6:8]

l 1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Cor. 4:1; 2 Thess. 3:13

m [Matt. 24:13]; Heb. 12:3, 5; [James 5:7, 8]

n Prov. 3:27; [John 9:4; 12:35]

o Titus 3:8

p Rom. 12:13

[14]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

m 1 Tim. 5:13; 1 Pet. 4:15

3 encourage

n Eph. 4:28; 1 Thess. 4:11, 12

[15]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

1 proclaiming the good news

a Matt. 27:55; Mark 15:40, 41; Luke 23:49, 55

2 sicknesses

b Matt. 27:56; Mark 16:9

3 NU, M them

4 possessions

[16]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

8 lived in luxury

9 NU what fell

o Matt. 8:11

p Zech. 14:12

q [Is. 66:24; Mark 9:42–48]

r Job 21:13; Luke 6:24; James 5:5

s Is. 8:20; 34:16; [John 5:39, 45]; Acts 15:21; 17:11; [2 Tim. 3:15]

t [John 5:46]

u John 12:10, 11

[17]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

o Matt. 19:16–29; Mark 10:17–30; Luke 18:18–30

p Luke 10:25

4 NU omits Good

5 NU Why do you ask Me about what is good?

6 NU There is One who is good. But

q Ps. 25:8; 34:8; Nah. 1:7; [Rom. 2:4]

r Lev. 18:5; Deut. 4:40; 6:17; 7:11; 11:22; 28:9; Neh. 9:29; Ezek. 20:21; [Gal. 3:10]

s Ex. 20:13–16; Deut. 5:17–20

t Ex. 20:12–16; Deut. 5:16–20; Matt. 15:4

u Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:39; [Rom. 13:9; Gal. 5:14; James 2:8]

v [Phil. 3:6, 7]

7 NU omits from my youth

w Matt. 6:20; Luke 12:33; Acts 2:45; 4:34, 35; 1 Tim. 6:18, 19

x [Matt. 13:22]; Mark 10:24; 1 Cor. 1:26; [1 Tim. 6:9]

y Gen. 18:14; Num. 11:23; Job 42:2; Is. 59:1; Jer. 32:17; Zech. 8:6; Luke 1:37

[18]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

n [John 18:36]

o [1 Tim. 6:6–10]

3 NU all covetousness

p Eccl. 11:9; 1 Cor. 15:32; James 5:5

q [Eccl. 2:24; 3:13; 5:18; 8:15]

r Job 27:8; Ps. 52:7; [James 4:14]

s Ps. 39:6; Jer. 17:11

t [Matt. 6:20; Luke 12:33; 1 Tim. 6:18, 19; James 2:5; 5:1–5]

[19]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

a Luke 4:27

b Ex. 11:3

c 2 Kin. 6:23; 13:20

1 Or in bands

2 Served, lit. was before

d 1 Sam. 9:8; 2 Kin. 8:8, 9

e [Gen. 30:2; Deut. 32:39; 1 Sam. 2:6]

f 2 Kin. 4:41; John 9:7

3 So with Kt., LXX, Vg.; Qr., Syr., Tg. Amanah

g 1 Sam. 28:23

h 2 Kin. 5:10; Job 33:25

i Luke 4:27; 5:13

j Dan. 2:47; 3:29; 6:26, 27

k Gen. 33:11

l 2 Kin. 3:14

m Gen. 14:22, 23; 2 Kin. 5:20, 26; [Matt. 10:8]; Acts 8:18, 20

n 2 Kin. 7:2, 17

o 2 Kin. 4:12; 8:4, 5

p 2 Kin. 4:26

4 Lit. the hill

q [Eccl. 3:1, 6]

r [1 Tim. 6:10]

s Ex. 4:6; Num. 12:10; 2 Kin. 15:5

[20]The New King James Version. 1996, c1982 . Thomas Nelson: Nashville

 

 

 

 

 

Home ]

Send mail to webmaster@BillionSoulsForChrist.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2005 - 2006 Billion Souls For Christ
Last modified: 23-09-2007 12:47 PM +1100