In an age of tolerance, modernism, acceptance, Christendom finds themselves engulfed in heretical views that have truly compromised the church. With the number of popularized heresies within denominations, it is difficult to see who is teaching biblical Christianity. With the known televangelists tickling the ears of men, it is difficult to see what their motives are and whether they really care about the salvation and discipleship of their listeners. While some may care, many of them may be so lost in false doctrine that they cannot be trusted to give true edification. Many may actually be deceptive in their teachings, or attempt to paint their beliefs as less radical so that unsuspecting Christians will go to their church.
One of the duties of the man of God is to serve as a guardian against the false teachers who would exploit it for their own gain or contort the Scripture to fit their doctrine. Therefore, I would like to expose a few of these people by giving a brief list of some popular Christian teachers to avoid.
1 – Joel Osteen
With a congregation of about the largest in the world, and a viewing audience of about 100 million, Joel Osteen is a face known throughout all of the world. He is one of the most likable and friendly men, and most regard his sermons are very uplifting and positive. Most feel as though Osteen’s sermons have changed their life for the better, that he has truly helped them to live their best life now. Despite that, many men of God have had very negative reviews of Osteen. Doctor John MacArthur says of him, “He is a Pagan religionist.” Paul Washer says, “He is a false teacher.”
Why is that? Osteen teaches what is known as the prosperity gospel. That is to say that he teaches that Jesus came so that we could live in health, wealth, and general happiness. This is in contrast with biblical Christianity, which reveals that Christ, and all of his apostles were murdered for the sake of truth. We live not for our own happiness, but for being in a loving relationship with God – whatever the cost.
Osteen instead teaches that one can have their best life now by applying principles to their life. He explains that a resolution for our goals is that we can just declare something, and then achieve it. He is a glorified seminar speaker, using rhetoric to offer bad advise to achieve carnal desires. Joel tickles the ears of men (offering them cash, cars, health, ect.) and makes money on that promise. Jesus is a word that he sprinkles over his teachings to appeal to the Christians. Jesus said that it would not be profitable for us to gain the world, yet lose our soul. That is what Osteen teaches us to do: gain the world, lose our soul.
2 – Joyce Meyer
Similar to Osteen, Meyer teaches the prosperity gospel. She teaches that Christ offers abundance in worldly value. The evidence that these teachers usually provide is their own financial success. Meyer assets are probably worth close to a billion dollars. Being on the top of the Ponzi scheme, one could expect that. But even more radical than the prosperity gospel is her doctrine.
Meyer teaches that Jesus went to Hell, and paid the price for the sins of mankind, despite that Jesus called out, “it is finished,” marking that the debt for sin was paid. She teaches that Christ stopped being the Son of God when he was crucified, and she teaches that she is no longer a sinner. (Citation for these radical claims) As it can be easily perceived, these are doctrines in stark contrast with the word of God, and indeed, she claims that we cannot find her teachings in the Scripture, but need a special revelation from God. This woman is a false teacher to be avoided.
3 – Todd Bentley
Called a ‘fire-starter’ and ‘anointed’ by many charismatic ministers, Todd Bentley is known as very influential within that movement. His was the spirit behind the Toronto blessing of the 1990’s. Of course, his ministry came to crashing halt when it was discovered that he was involved in a romantic affair with a member of his ministry. He later returned to ministry.
As part of the charismatic movement, Bentley is known for uncontrollable laughter, making animal noises, sporadic twitching and vibrating, and even kicking women in the face. All of these are said to be manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Of course, they are not. Bentley is a charlatan, and while tens of thousands of people follow him, he is one of the most dangerous Christian ministers in the world. Avoid Todd Bentley, and warn people of him.
4 – Benny Hinn
Benny Hinn has been exposed as a false prophet by the word of God and other men of God, and in fact, even a documentary crew. Despite that, of course, he still has hundreds of thousands of followers, because people do not care what the word of God says, and only care about their religion. Hinn attempted to prophecy the destruction of homosexuals, the death of Castro, and numerous other eschatological claims. None of them came to pass. Of course, measured against the word of God, Moses revealed that we will know if a prophet is truly from God, if what he says comes to pass.
Hinn is known also for his emotional outbursts and assaults on his congregation. Although, to be fair, his assaults on his congregation, he argues, is a manifestation of the Spirit. Without reserve, Hinn violently shoves people (men, women, the ill, the elderly, and children) around, to the ground, across the room, and so forth, all as an attempt to “heal” them. He has done this even after he severely injured somebody.
In response to critics, Hinn threatened to weaponize the Holy Spirit. Avoid Benny Hinn.
5 – David K. Bernard
While at the outset, Bernard may seem a much less radical man than the rest of the list, he is just as dangerous. He is one of the leading scholars of the UPCI, which is known to many as the Jesus Only movement. He teaches that only his church, and people who are baptized by his ordained ministers, are saved. He compares his movement to the Protestant reformation, in that there are thousands of years of orthodoxy that he is calling into question.
Bernard rejects trinitarian theology, in favor of modalism, and teaches that if you disagree, then you are an unsaved heretic. He teaches that ecstatic tongues are necessary for salvation. Now the reason that Bernard is so radical is that, like the other teachers on this list, is that he is wearing sheep’s clothing. Many people would consider him a fellow brother in Christ because he claims to be a Christian. But Bernard condemns the entire body of Christ aside from his bizarre denomination. Thus, he rejects salvation by grace through faith (even though he claims to affirm it). If he truly accepted the New Testament plan of salvation, he would not condemn the body of Christ. If he really did believe that salvation comes by grace through faith, as he claims, he would not condemn the rest of the body of Christ. But he does.
This man is doctrinally confused, has the power to mislead people, and condemns people who trust in Christ. Avoid him.
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