Megachurch Margin Calls

It is very difficult for any organised church when its giving level falls below what is needed to maintain its staff, services or buildings.  It can happen to any church, and is most likely when the congregation level dwindles.  In the established denominational churches, we might see buildings or land sold, or congregations combined, or ministers going part time.  I have no idea what the situation is at CCC Oxford Falls of course, but understand they are merging some of their ministry colleges into a single entity.  That could be another kind of cost cutting measure.

I haven’t yet seen a local megachurch crumble financially, but am beginning to wonder if we will, given this global credit crisis, and the potential pressure this may place upon congregations.  Whether the congregation dwindles due to disillusionment when prosperity teachings don’t seem to work in the middle of a recession, or just doesn’t give as much because of the increased financial pressure they are under, the result could be the same.

Megachurches must surely have huge expenses.  Buying buildings, fitting out buildings, maintaining or renting buildings; staff, furniture, phones, vehicles, advertising, you name it.  Some have inherited debts from building campaigns – or possibly from failed investments or failed church plants.  At least their interest rates are falling.

Will we see a version of a margin call in these churches when bills cannot be paid, especially in churches that have debt? Is it possible that congregation and giving levels will fall below some critical amount and huge losses must then be incurred?  With a focus on youth, how will they keep enough mature earners to survive?  People’s spending abilities apparently peak in their late 40’s to early 50’s, en masse.  One thing is for sure – it would be very difficult to sell a megachurch building in a hurry to raise funds, and people have put their hearts and lives into raising those buildings – to sell one would feel like a travesty.

How will the teaching change – if it changes – under that kind of pressure?  Will it become completely money focussed, or will it change its focus to value other kinds of prosperity, such as relational riches including those found in our relationship with our Father and each other.  Or will they just get more miracle offering speakers in for fundraising.

Its a huge potential problem for any church that relies on numbers to maintain a single enormous facility.  If they fail, what are the consequences for a prosperity based mindset?  Are churches in hired halls or houses who keep their debts and ongoing running costs down to be commended rather than looked down upon for their apparent lack of material success?

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RavingPente


51 thoughts on “Megachurch Margin Calls

  1. Phil Pringle said at a service earlier this year that he and his wife were no longer going to draw a wage but step out in faith for the Lord to provide. Having said that he then announced that there were offering envelopes on the seats for those who wished to “partner” with Phil and Chris Pringle! Aaaaagh!!!

    Could anyone else do that – there are some needy on-staff pastors down there? My idea of a step of faith would be not to tell anyone! Doesn’t the prosperity gospel work so well anymore? Doesn’t stop them from pushing that line during the offering.

  2. And it’s people our age (older) that are leaving, taking our generous offerings (not tithes) with us. It’s the older generations that have been exposed to good, foundational teaching that are leaving because they are being “starved” out – the Lord’s instruction to feed My sheep being ignored for the pop pyschology/lifestyle coaching (thumbs up to the Thinking Theologian).

    We are delighted to have found some fellow refuges at an Anglican church – they are enthusiastic, committed and, well, still a little charismatic. Looking forward to a great community.

  3. Yes, it would have more impact if several older members left than if many youth left. If its not relevant to the older members, then eventually the financial support base would erode.

    I left there years ago because at the time, the teaching seemed to focus mostly on giving to the exclusion of other subjects, due to the building campaign focus, and like you say, I felt ‘starved’ for teaching. I even tried the part time Bible College, thinking that maybe they kept the ‘real’ teaching for college, rather than the weekend sermons – so I did try to find it within the church. I only lasted 3 weeks at the college – couldn’t find the depth I was after at the time. (I don’t wish to label the current college based on my experience back then, but that was what happened.)

    Back then PP used to indicate that the Holy Spirit had inspired him during the offering talk (or springing off from the announcements), and there was no time left for the planned sermon. After that went on for a while, I became excruciatingly bored with the whole thing, and moved on – where I found far more satisfying teaching on a broad range of topics.

    So that’s pretty similar to what you are describing now.

    I’m glad you’ve found some fellow charismatic refugees… I know some others at another Anglican church. Perhaps the Anglicans need to watch out for this!!

  4. This isn’t going to interfere with PPs plan to spend 8 million upgrading CCCOFs broadcasting equipment is it?

  5. It’s probably a real plan, at the moment.

    I expect that plans can be revised. Especially if you’d rather spend 2 million on salaries etc.

    The problem for very large church organisations that have only recently been purchasing land and buildings etc, is that they can’t quickly release cash from the investment. The big problem for CCC is that they will have to be able to make repayments on the debts incurred.

    Since a lot of debt is on a variable rate, that’s ok at the moment. However, with incomes falling and many debts on a fixed rate, this then can become a huge problem.

    I am reminded of the man who took his future for granted. He didn’t say “God willing”.

    Comparing CCC/Hillsong with the american scene is like comparing chalk and cheese.

    The NAR is far more dangerous as it is definitely trying to re-write the whole teaching and practice of the church. Inventing new apostolic teaching, and doctrine.

    Stay well away from dominionism and Kingdom Now theology!

    Shalom.

  6. I’ve been saying a lot of ‘God willing’ lately. All our plans have changed in the past year! We are in good shape, but I’ve certainly been reminded that whatever we plan, it is certainly God willing.

    If I recall correctly, PP was actually very practical about the CCC building – I seem to remember that originally he raised funds before spending them, rather than borrowing then trying to spend it. If he did do this, and continued to do it, then debt might not be a problem at CCCOF, unless they have issues with debt inherited from elsewhere, like CentreWest.

    So it is possible that its maintenance, forward plans and running costs that would be an issue there. Other churches that borrowed big would have more trouble.

    Even running and maintenance costs are big in a big church with a youth orientation though, and could become a challenge if we enter a recession.

    I just saw a report on the effect of this crisis on the British housing market – its kind of unthinkable, except it has actually happenned, with values falling 20% for two years running. Megachurches over there would be setting the example of how these organisations cope, I guess; and likewise in the US.

  7. well, I kinda knew that Phil had raised a lot of money before the expansion but was unsure if it had totally covered the initial outlay.

    But, if he was sensible and raised all the funds first, then great! That’s actually a counter-cultural approach to buying stuff these days.

    Still, I am far less concerned about Phil Pringle’s prosperity teaching than I am about the blatant immorality of Todd Bentley, who has clearly decided to have his cake and eat it. I feel sorry for Jessa who, according to Jesus own words, is still an adulteress even though she is now legally married to a man with a track record for fornication and adultery with interns.

    By the time she is 6 months pregnant on her first child, he’ll be carrying on again. I know, because he likes it and can get away with it. He’ll be on the road with his stage show … punching old ladies in the face, kicking men in the crotch when they tell him they have prostate cancer or testicular cancer.

    When he gets off stage with loadsa money in his pockets, he’ll then take advantage of yet another young, impressionable female intern with no strong morals.

    By 2012 he’ll be married again. Probably a shotgun marriage that one.

    Until then, Jessa will never be able to relax around staff in the new Fresh Fire USA offices. Unless they is old and preferably ugly.

    The problem with Todd is that he has more in common with the witch of Endor than with a Christian.

    Is Todd a believer? Well, his track record is of a man who takes God’s grace so lightly that serious sin is ignored, overlooked and then ignored. Such a person is likely to be told by Jesus, “I never knew you.”

    For Todd to be back in a Pulpit by the summer, is a slap in the face of Jesus Himself. God’s Wrath is being revealed very clearly and it will be directed at the church. First in America but then everywhere where immorality in the pulpit exists.

    Shalom

  8. Eeek! That’s pretty shocking, especially the immediate plans for Bentley’s restoration to ministry.

    I couldn’t make a judgement call on his marriage or remarriage, but it does seem unnaturally fast to be talking of restoring someone to a very prominent ministry role. Average congregation members seem to take a lot longer than a few months to re-establish themselves after such major upheaval with such complicated or serious moral issues to address. Most would probably serve in some more humble capacity for some time at least.

    I did notice the appeal for donations at the end of the article, after the big emotional appeal.

  9. I’m pretty sure 8 million is the figure, he said it in servies at least twice (and I know if he had said 800,000 I wouldn’t have baulked as much as I did, yeah it was definitely 8 million).

    PP has bragged of being only one of two churhces in Sydney he knows of being completely debt free. I don’t there is currently a big debt issue there with CCC but who knows.

    The probelm with the american stuff is that it leaks into the CCC/Hillsong scene. I think PP regards himself as an apostle, I think he has very much picked up on the Apsotilic reformation idea (i.e. the idea that the role of “apsotle” has been missing from the church and that once it is resrored to it the church will be all victorious).

  10. Bull, you are right about repeated behaviour. If Todd Bentley is as you describe, it will happen again eventually. Time will make things obvious.

  11. Phoenix, I have been told that PP is an apostle, by leaders within the movement. This is one of the things that is appealed to for authority; it gives their churches an ‘apostolic covering’, which you leave if you leave that church. (Unless you find another apostle to follow.)

    It makes sense of my memories if CCC is debt free. That means that PP may have been visionary, but he has also been a great deal more practical and careful than many.

    If he is true to his past then, he won’t spend $8M until he’s raised it.

    If CCCOF guaranteed the debt for Centrewest, there may be debt issues for them to contend with.

  12. Yeah I’m sure he won’t spend the 8 million unless its raised, that’s not what worries me, its the raising it process that worries me.

    Oh Centrewest – didn’t think of that (it just clicked who Centrewest is – for some reason I was thinking of the Canberaa CCC that went belly up and was going to say they didn’t guarantee that – I guess they may have gauanteed Centrewest though)

  13. Yes, the raising process is the issue I think. Causes lots of problems. Which could be exacerbated by the pressure caused on congregations by the credit crisis.

  14. If Todd was really repentant, he’d give up the pulpit.

    He’d get a proper job. But a real job doesn’t pay … the offering from a healing meeting is mega-bucks. He becomes a CEO and can employ interns. If he got a trade and became a plumber or a builder, then he’d only really be able to employ himself. Money would be much harder to come by.

    I have no respect for Todd Bentley. He has grieved the Holy Spirit. He has made fun of the Trinity and he has taken God’s Grace far too lightly.

    As far as apostles are concerned, we are all apostles.

    ‘Apostle’ means ‘sent one’. We have all been sent out by Jesus. The problem with the NAR is they do not uphold the doctrine and creed of Jesus and the 12 Apostles teaching in the New Testament. The NAR invents it’s own. They accept doctrine from the lips of ‘Angels’, like the Mormons and Muslims did. Even when it contradicts scripture.

    The NAR is hellbent on taking the church deep into heresy. They also promise to kill all those who will not accept this new teaching. Google ‘civil war in the church’ and you will find a ‘prophecy’ from the elijah list that says that the church will be split into blues and grays like in the american civil war and the NAR are the victorious union and those who reject the new apostles are the defeated confederacy who are put to death.

    Now that is pretty frightening. The NAR will be able to dress it all up as a fulfillment of prophecy when Christians are killed by them.

    It’s not a prophecy … it’s a murder pact.

    The stakes are high. Pray for your leaders.

    Shalom.

  15. I’ve heard before that Apostle does mean “sent one”. Some argue that the gift of being an apsotle is the gift of starting new churhes. I don’t have a problem with that, if that is the sense in which they are using the term apostle.

    The problem with NAR of course is that by the term apostle they mean (or so it would appear to me) someone who is like the original 12 Apostles (who were in a position to write scripture – by way of their personal experience of Jesus physical/bodily presence on earth – and their being chosen by him as one of only 12 closest disciples – not that most did write scripture but if they did I’d certainly listen).

    I get the feeling that NAR think they can utter words which become on a par with scripture authority wise. I think Paul talks about them (prophetically) when he talks about “super apostles”.

    Yes certainly the NAR is hell bent on taking the church deep into heresy, very deep.

  16. People will feel financial pressure to give when finances are the clear indication of God’s favour on you.

    It’s easier to overlook this when things are financially rosy. You think that it’s not such a big deal. However, I expect that Phil will start putting emotional and spiritual pressure on his people if they slow down their giving.

    That’s just plain out of order. But it will always happen because the people put up with it.

  17. Just a thought. Is it not more important about where a man’s heart lies?

    Is extravagance a demonstration of true faith and courage or of greed and materialism . Is a small hovel a demonstration of simplicity or of false humility. Is cautious planning the act of a wise steward or a fearful servant? Are daring projects based on the knowledge that we already have riches in heaven or are they excited by the riches we can accumulate for ourselves on earth? Are failed projects a curse or a blessing? Are the wonders we create a testimony to the ingenuity of men or the glory of God? When we succeed do men’s reputations increase or Christ’s reputation increase? Are difficult (or impoverished) times seen by others as punishment or reward? Are the programs that we invent cause people to praise men or praise God? Do our actions draw people to our church or His church?

    The only construction that will last for all eternity is the living one that Christ is building.

    By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.

    1Cor 3:10-15

    For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

    Hebrew 4:12-13

  18. The secret about wealth is contentment.

    Paul tells us that is that he was content when he had plenty or was in want. That is the secret. The problem with money is that the more you have, the less contentment you have.

    Money itself, is not a problem. We all need it to pay for food and lodging. To pay for resources used in church and so on. The problem is only to do with what is going on in our hearts. It is true that we can be proud of humble circumstances as much as we can be proud of bountiful circumstances.

    But it does appear to be the case that the less you have, the less you really need.

    I am a techno geek, and love technology. But we don’t really need any of it to live. We don’t need electricity even. But the more we get the more we desire to get.

    “Now, I have got a 32inch LCD tv with DVD player and 6.1 speaker system”

    “That TV sounds small … got a 42inch one”

    “Got me a 56 inch telly!”

    “6.1? … 7.1 DENON system mate”

    it goes on and on.

    The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.

  19. Does more money make you less content or more contentment makes you want less money 😉

  20. Any congregation has the potential to suffer loss during this recession. This could range from staff cutbacks to having their property repossessed. This is a reminder of our fragility and dependence on God’s grace. It may not be a sign of divine judgment.

    Whether or not we are affected by the financial crisis is a separate issue to whether or not we have been(or will continue to be) true followers of Christ.

    “As Jesus started on his way, a man ran up to him and fell on his knees before him. “Good teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?…………………..”

  21. more food makes me more content … until I feel bloated.

    Then I need to sleep. Bliss.

    Is that gluttony?

    🙂

  22. “It may not be a sign of divine judgment. ”

    I quite agree.

    It could be.

    How we cope as a body of believers is actually the main thing. If members lose everything in the recession, do we pull together or do we simply allow them to sink or swim with whatever national provision is on offer from local government?

    It’s a fantastic opportunity to show the communities around us how the Agape love of Christ operates. I am not optimistic at the moment.

  23. Here is an interesting question with a political flavour. Does charitable giving have a negative correlation with government welfare availability?

  24. Bull:
    “The NAR is far more dangerous as it is definitely trying to re-write the whole teaching and practice of the church. Inventing new apostolic teaching, and doctrine.

    Stay well away from dominionism and Kingdom Now theology!”

    Vanity Gospel. I call all this under the name of one banner: ‘Latter Rain’.

    Thank God for you Bull! I’m so where you are with this kinda stuff at the moment! If you’ve got any good material on the KCP, i’d love to keep in contact with you through specks_and_planks@hotmail.com.

    I’d love it though if you can try to keep the KCP, Overcomers, EL, MSM, NAR, Kingdom Now, Joel’s Army, Grey/Blue Coat, 3rd Wave, IHOP, Burn24/7, MSOG… stuff, if possible, separate from articles, if possible like this one and have articles of their own.

    I know there might seem to be a lot of similarities, but it may de-rail the thread of the article topics while bringing different focus on certain aspect of the ‘Latter Rain’ movements instead.

    This isn’t a warning. It’s just a way to keep the conversations unjumbly.
    Thanks mate.

    Bull:
    “It’s easier to overlook this when things are financially rosy. You think that it’s not such a big deal. However, I expect that Phil will start putting emotional and spiritual pressure on his people if they slow down their giving.”

    Talked to someone from CCC not long ago.
    I was talking about how the basic necessities aren’t there anymore like humble and genuine prayer and genuine love. They agreed but expressed excitement with upcoming Sundays labelled as ‘Supernatural Sunday’.

    You’ve got Dayspring with their ‘Dayspring School of Supernatural Ministries’…

    http://www.dayspring.com.au/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=95&Itemid=101

    Enspired by Bill Johnson’s Bethel ‘Bethel School of Supernatural Ministries’…

    http://www.ibethel.org/schools/ministry/?page=128

    The Latter Rain ruckus is hitting CCC and many churches in NSW and it’s sticking. Burn24/7 is of the IHOP movement too which is spreading it’s roots through many different denominations.

    It’s the vanity gospel striking the Sunday services of CCC swept in by the third waves from America. I said to the CCC girl some other time, ‘Let me guess. Everyone was prayed for eachother expecting to see signs and wonders rather then really care for the person in front of them. She tried to say no but failed. I was sad too. For her and for CCC.

    I believe in the supernatural, but heaven forbid to pursue them or put them at higher cost then knowing well the person of Christ and His Ghost, the Holiness of God, repentance, ‘Christ Crucified’ and the very gospel central truths.

    phoenix:
    “I get the feeling that NAR think they can utter words which become on a par with scripture authority wise.”

    You should read the intro to Rick Joyner’s ‘Final Quest’. That serpent of a man says he is in a most deceptive manner. He is a spiritual prostitute as most are from the movement. He truly lacks discernment too.

    – – – – –

    Back to CCC. Talking to many dis-illusioned people there. Many are looking for a real encounter with God. Many are not feeling close spiritually with other members of the church and desperately just want prayer. They don’t like the fact that the gospel message isn’t preached much either.

    Disillusionment seems to be the phase and the word for those talking about there experiences at the moment. They missed the mark again with Supernatural Sunday. That’s alright! Steve Munsey at their Presence conference will make all things better again and bring in a financial blessing to the buildings of CCC and projects.

    BTW. Love your challenging questions R.E.

    S&P

  25. from

    http://www.ibethel.org/schools/ministry/?page=128 :

    Academic Overview

    The academic instruction at BSSM is unique because it is taught by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers – not by professors or theologians. This gives the teaching a kind of living perspective with five-fold distinctions. BSSM has many powerful guest speakers throughout the year but the primary teaching is accomplished through our twenty-two staff members.

  26. The problem with a desire to only see phenomena (signs and wonders) is that the only ones that can be conjured up include the falling over, laughing hysterically, grunting like animals, supernatural stripping off (getting naked … I kid you not!), and other types of things that do not require the presence and power of The Holy Spirit.

  27. Nothings is new. Be firm. Remain faithful.

    Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains.

    Matthew 24:4-8

    We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved.

    Romans 8:22-24

    For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Romans 8:38-39

    Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
    He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

    He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son.

    Revelation 21:1-7

  28. yeah Bull. I know. I’ve seen it a few times in churches. Masquerading spirits of so-called light.

    Christ is the True Light.

    John 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

    And he gives us His light which is His life.

    John 1:4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men.

    John 1:9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.

    If you got to a church that starts dabbling in such hocus-pocus, a simple prayer like ‘God, if this is of you, let it be. If this is not of you, let it cease’.

    His light will come forth and expose the angelic masqueraders. For the enemy can only counterfeit and not be the true light. God’s light will outshine and therefore expose these truths.

    I’ve heard a testimony where this simple prayer helped prevent a church accepting a false revival in the 1980’s. The so-called laughing revival.

  29. Bull,

    The full biblical context of the ‘love of money’ quote:

    If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

    But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

    1Tim 6:3-10

  30. S&P:
    “You should read the intro to Rick Joyner’s ‘Final Quest’. That serpent of a man says he is in a most deceptive manner. He is a spiritual prostitute as most are from the movement. He truly lacks discernment too”.

    Oh don’t get me started on Rick Joyner. I read his book at the urging of my sister and mother who were really into it at the time when it first came out (when copies were selling like hot cakes at Koorong – you’d walk in the door and they’d be piled 6ft high). (Fortunately she’s since come to see the light since).

    My jaw hit the floor after reading the intro and I didn’t pick it up again until I finished the book. Quite an experience reading a book like that and everyone else thinks its amazing – I’m thinking is this the great delusion or something.

    Yes I did notice the ‘this isn’t scirpture its just a novel so don’t critisize me – but actually it really is scripture’ intro.

    I love the way (not) he wears the cloak of humility throughout the novel and goes to heaven and finds that all the “greats” are actually in awe of him and he’s greater than them all – if I were him I’d want a refund on that cloak of humility he was given – ‘oh but I can’t be boasting I was wearing the cloak of humility see it says it right here’- lol.

    I also like how he goes to heaven and gets told by Paul that when Paul wrote that he ‘was the worst of all sinners’ he was actually speaking about his time as a Christian (not his life before finding Christ) and that as such everything Paul wrote in the bible is suspect and to be not to be really trusted.

    It really makes me wonder if he devil doesn’t have a sense of humour (albeit an evil one), just the stupidity level of it all.

  31. “I also like how he goes to heaven and gets told by Paul that when Paul wrote that he ‘was the worst of all sinners’ he was actually speaking about his time as a Christian (not his life before finding Christ) and that as such everything Paul wrote in the bible is suspect and to be not to be really trusted.”

    Really?? I’m going to try and look that up. That’s a bit shocking.

  32. Just read a book review, written by a Pentecostal, of Rick Joyner’s ‘The Call’ and ‘The Final Quest’.

    http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/thecall.html

    It states that Joyner says that ‘his vision was in a ‘trance’ state that was 2 levels higher than the one the apostles were in the “vision” was supposed to be in the “trance level”, or two levels higher than the level of inspiration under which the apostles wrote the New Testament!’

    This puts Christians in the position of having to decide whether the NT or Joyner’s writings are more important, since it seems that Joyner claims that his work is more inspired! I guess you’d have to let the more inspired work outweigh the less inspired one.

    So what is left to stake our faith on, if one believes Joyner? If the Bible is only a bit inspired, how do we know which bits to trust; obviously some of it must be wrong – especially since Joyner felt the need to correct his earlier inspired work – which itself was even more inspired than the NT.

    I’m a bit horrified to know that some churches take this stuff extremely seriously and therefore must give Joyner greater authority than scripture, and greater authority than the NT apostles.

    I don’t know much abuot this stuff, but it sounds like a real worry.

    We probably should do a thread on it – I know so little about it that I probably am not the person to start it. Although I would be educating myself, I guess.

  33. I just looked it up for you RP. I don’t have the book myself anymore but a search on the net brings up this up

    quoting form here (don’t know ho they are but they have the info I was looking for)

    http://spiritoferror.wordpress.com/2007/04/30/%E2%80%98apostle%E2%80%99-joyner-meets-apostle-paul/

    Red Flag 2: Joyner twists Paul’s words.

    Joyner also says that Paul claimed — at the end of his life — to be “the greatest of sinners” (pages 132-133).

    Paul did, of course, call himself the chief of sinners in 1 Timothy 1:15, but he wasn’t referring to his present status at the end of his life. If one reads that verse in context, it’s clear that Paul was referring to the time before he was saved, when he was guilty of persecuting Christians and blaspheming Christ. Read the context here: 1 Timothy 1:12-16. Yet, Joyner claims that Paul was speaking about the present, not past. Joyner says:

    “I was being honest when I wrote near the end of my life that I was the greatest of sinners. I was not saying that I had been the greatest of sinners, but that I was the greatest of sinners then” (page 132).

    I don’t understand why Joyner would twist Paul’s words like this — whether he does it intentionally or whether Joyner really doesn’t know how to read the Bible in context.

  34. “I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel—which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!

    Galatians 1:6-9

    Is Joyner adding to the gospel? Depends on what one means by the gospel (‘Evangelion’). In the preceding verse, Paul seems fairly clear what the gospel is:

    “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

    Is there better news than this?

  35. Joyner is both adding to and subtracting from the gospel. He is subtracting from the gospel by suggesting that some bits (namely the bits that Paul wrote) aren’t as authitative as others – see previous link – (actualy its all scripture).

    While the heart of the gospel is the salvation message, salvation by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, who is God, and who died in our place to take the penalty for our sins so that we can have eternal life – I believe that the whole bible from start to finish is gospel.

    If one thinks that adding to or subtracting from the bible is just fine, so long as you leave a few key verses alone, they are gravely mistaken.

  36. Evangelion (‘Good News’) fulfilled in Christ:

    “We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.”

    Ephesians 13:32

    The fulfillment of the law and prophets:

    “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.

    Matthew 5:17-18

    The authorship of Scripture:

    “..from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    2 Timothy 3:15-17

  37. Well that was a very interesting link, Phoenix.

    I am actually a bit shocked by this. I find it very difficult to believe that someone would raise their own words to the level of scripture or above, and claim to be Christian still. I am actually astonished!

    I guess I haven’t paid much attention to Latter Rain stuff, or Joyner. I have friends and friends of friends who seem to regard Joyner highly, and talk about his prophecies from time to time. Since I’d not read anything he wrote, I had no position on him.

    Now, after reading about his claims, I have to wonder if my friends who follow his prophecies actually know that he claims greater authority for his words than for those of Paul. Surely any Christian who knows this, and who also is aware that you don’t add or subtract from scripture, and who believes that all scripture is ‘God-breathed’ or inspired, surely that Christian would feel they had no choice but to regard Joyner as highly suspicious.

    The guy may be sincere, but also deluded or deceived. Or he may be a charlatan taking deliberate advantage of the reluctance of many Christians to believe badly of other Christians. One thing seems apparent – he is raising himself over the apostles of the past, based on his own words and claims alone, and contradicting scripture. Based on these measures, he does look like a false apostle.

  38. RP said:

    ‘I have friends and friends of friends who seem to regard Joyner highly’

    Despite all his great visions Paul preferred to regard Christ highly. 😉

    “For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

    1 Corinthians 1:17-18

    “To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s may rest on me.”

    2 Corinthians 12:17-18

    Note the context in which Paul uses the phrase ‘power of Christ’

  39. On reading Joyner’s quotes implying Paul being in awe of him I was tempted to make a flippant comment about Paul would really say. On hearing people say that churches actually believe him and take his word as equal to or greater than scripture it did not seem so funny any more.

    “The Shack” makes the point that whether you are a Christian or not is not what matters to Jesus. I kind of get their point in that “Christian” is not even what the brethren called themselves – it was how others thought of them. It is not your identity that matters.

    When I attended Anglican churches we had the creed and being a Christian was about having the right set of beliefs – confirmation was about passing the test and getting the key beliefs right. But this does not really matter either. I doubt the murderer on the cross next to Jesus would have passed, then again I suspect the Adversary would.

    I now believe that what matters is to know Father, or rather to be known by him because only in him is life and only in being joined to him by remaining in Jesus do we possess that life.

    I have no doubt that Joyner is a Christian and has religion and knows the key beliefs. But these things I have read him say tonight don’t sound like they come from my Father. And I don’t think I would here Jesus boasting like that or rubbishing Paul as dodgy. This is serious stuff.

    Sounds more like lies from the Father of lies which if people are swayed by this man is very sad. But then, Jesus says his own know his voice and will not follow another. It is very very sad. 😦

    Yet another reason not believe and do what you are told by men but to get it from your real Father via your true Head. No “covering” but Jesus.

  40. RE – these people do regard Christ as the Most High! However, I think they are very open to ‘new revelation’, and take the modern office of Prophet (capital ‘P’ intended) seriously. They would see this as part of their obedience in their walk with Christ. They would regard Jesus as paramount, and yield to these people as they see them as authorities in Christ; as the receivers of current revelation.

    Now I am not agreeing with their choice of prophet, apostle, or whatever. I never heard the term ‘five-fold’ preached at my church. Some doctrines seem to be transmitted by osmosis, rather than from the pulpit, so it can take a while to realise that more than what we see in the Bible is believed/taught in these circles. I don’t even know if my friends have questioned this. I am pretty sure that not all members of the Pente churches I’ve attended would take Joyner seriously. Still a lot of them would. But I suspect without really examining his claims.

  41. There is a Reformation saying:

    Sola scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
    Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
    Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
    Solus Christus (“through Christ alone”)
    Soli Deo gloria (“to God’s glory alone”)

    Anything less or more empties the Cross of its power.

    One of you says, “I follow Paul”; another, “I follow Apollos”; another, “I follow Cephas”; still another, “I follow Christ.”

    Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Were you baptized into the name of Paul? I am thankful that I did not baptize any of you except Crispus and Gaius, so no one can say that you were baptized into my name. (Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.) For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with words of human wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

    1 Corinthians 1:12-17

  42. Hey RP. I sent an e-mail to you about my spoof-up of Rick Joyner’s vision of the Final Quest involving Rick being the Lord of the Lord’s army- how Jesus abandoned his army and played peek-a-boo in a garden- and how His Jesus lied- how salvation and prayer are simply levels to ignore and to climb passed in Christian maturity.

    Remember it?

    Joyner is a snake and lives in evil through the delusions he refuses to examine and test against scripture. I am not afraid to say it. He IS Christian, but has opened himself up to spiritual prostitution and it’s sad. I do agree strongly with Heretic. I believe nothing can separate us from the love of God for those who believe. But he spreads his tumorous and cancerous practices and teachings through the body of Christ.

  43. The book is dangerous.
    It pushes dangerous doctrines (which Joyner denies).
    It encourages mysticism, gnosticism, spiritism, necromancy and aspects of New Age concepts.

    Other biblical errors he pushes:
    ‘Jesus’ says the 3rd heaven is the Garden.
    Paul is the writer of Hebrews.
    The cloud of witnesses is a literal cloud of witnesses.
    The ‘Lords Army’ being the church.
    The church civil war.
    The greatest revival is still to come.
    The overcomers.
    Paul didn’t run the race good enough… and many more. They’re high-lighted in my book.

    I want to make a common mistake made in interpreting the ‘chief of sinners’ scripture that many Christian’s misquote because of translational error. In my next post I will do it.

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