A Christian friend of mine is reading one of Joyce Meyer’s books. If you haven’t heard of Meyer, she is a popular health and wealth author/radio & TV teacher/conference speaker who believes God is our sugar daddy.
A Christian friend of mine is reading one of Joyce Meyer’s books. If you haven’t heard of Meyer, she is a popular health and wealth author/radio & TV teacher/conference speaker who believes God is our sugar daddy. The evangelist has been criticized for her “conspicuously prosperous lifestyle.” According to my friend, Joyce’s books are “uplifting.” She didn’t like hearing that some of her favorite author’s teaching is theological heresy. To my friend’s way of thinking, if a book makes you feel good, doctrine isn’t all that important.
What galls me is that Joyce Meyer’s books are carried by “Christian” book sellers. Worse, her books have sold a gazillion copies thanks largely to Christians. Joyce Meyer is both wealthy and influential. Albeit not as influential and wealthy as Oprah--but give her time.
One of Joyce Meyer's unorthodox beliefs is that Jesus Christ atoned for our sins in hell. The Christian Research Institute's statement on her teaching says this:
The following quote is from her 1991 booklet, The Most Important Decision You Will Ever Make, she teaches a hallmark doctrine of Faith theology, namely, that Christ had to suffer in hell to atone for our sins and be born again:
"During that time He entered hell, where you and I deserved to go (legally) because of our sin...He paid the price there.…no plan was too extreme...Jesus paid on the cross and in hell….God rose up from His throne and said to demon powers tormenting the sinless Son of God, “Let Him go.” Then the resurrection power of Almighty God went through hell and filled Jesus...He was resurrected from the dead ¾ the first born-again man." (http://www.equip.org/articles/the-teachings-of-joyce-meyer/ )
Traditional orthodox Christianity does not teach that Christ’s work of redemption was completed by suffering in hell and being born again. What it does teach is that Jesus atoned for our sins on the cross. According to John 19:30 “When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.”
Orthodox Christianity teaches that Jesus’ shed blood was sufficient for the atonement of our sins. The moment Jesus uttered the words "It is finished" our sin debt was paid in full.
What the Bible says about prosperity and success is far different from what Joyce Meyer teaches. For example, Joshua 1:8 says, “This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
Does this mean Christians will be influential and financially secure? No. According to my NIV commentary: “Many people think that prosperity and success come from having power, influential personal contacts, and a relentless desire to get ahead. But the strategy for gaining prosperity that God taught Joshua goes against such criteria. He said that to succeed Joshua must (1) be strong and courageous because the task ahead would not be easy, (2) obey God’s law, and (3) constantly read and study the Book of the Law – God’s Word. To be successful, follow God’s words to Joshua. You may not succeed by the world’s standards, but you will be a success in God’s eyes – and his opinion lasts forever.”
To “meditate therein day and night” does not mean believers are to go into an altered state of consciousness to draw closer to God. Christian meditation, as opposed to Eastern meditation, entails reading Scripture and stopping to ponder the meaning of a passage. God’s people are not to adopt Medieval mysticism to “draw closer to God.” Far from it. We are told to stay away from paganism. In Deut. 18:6-13 God says to the Israelites, “When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead. Anyone who does these things is detestable to the Lord…”
Despite God’s command to stay away from paganism a large number of believers have adopted pagan worship practices. Their inspiration comes from false teachers whose books are sold/promoted through so-called Christian publishers and book sellers. Quite frankly, a lot of books by so-called Christian authors have no business being sold in a Christian market! Don’t get me wrong. I am not advocating book burnings. What I am advocating is the removal of out-and-out heresy. Proprietors who have a mind to do this might want to start by removing the books/CDs of the “Prosperity Gospel” Word-Faith cult (http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/word-faith.html ) . A cult? you say with steam coming out of your ears. Allow me to explain. The Word-Faith movement is viewed as a cult because it is a “false, unorthodox, extremist” sect of Christianity (dictionary.com). In other words it is counterfeit Christianity. Those who teach Word-Faith theology are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Jesus warned us about them: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Mat 7:15).
The book for the serious Christian to get into is the B.I.B.L.E. (Believers' Instructions Before Leaving Earth). God has given us His inspired, inerrant, and authoritative Word so that we will learn about Him and His ways. In the beginning our Creator chose to reveal who He is, His nature, His thoughts, His character and His secret plan of salvation in the Scriptures. Knowing what God says will help believers grow strong in His mighty power.
Marsha West is a religious and political-based writer. Until recently Marsha was owner and managing editor of the Email Brigade website and the EMB News
Report for over 20 years. She is currently co-owner and editor of Berean Research and general editor of the Christian Research Network. Marsha’s articles have been published widely, both online and in print. Her articles appear on Berean Research, Christian Research Network, News With Views, RenewAmerica and Web Commentary. Visit her resource website: http://onsolidrockresources.com