C3 GIVING SERMON: REVIEW
We encourage you to read the whole transcript first.
Pringle begins by acknowledging the verse “applies clearly to salvation”, and that “every believer in the world should know it”. A name-drop of Billy Graham’s fondness of the verse is mentioned, perhaps to lend credibility to Pringle’s own (but dissimilar) message based upon it. Pringle’s message, as he instructs his congregation, is “to actually own that scripture as our own so that we actually- we actually align ourselves; our emotions and our will, our intentions with God Himself”. In order to properly realise this he claims, “we need to put ourselves in there and say, ‘I so love the world, that I will give the only begotten son’. He then specifies how this is done, “… all of this is done through you giving…”, which he reiterates later, “We will so love the world that we will give sacrificially”.
Pringle’s message, that we are to realise John 3:16 as ‘our own’, is not one focused upon personally realising the words of Jesus in this scripture and believing the gospel to be saved; there is little of this content to be found in Pringle’s address. His message is what we can provide for the church organisation when thinking about this verse using substitution: God the Father is to be replaced by ourselves, and Jesus to be replaced with money. And more specifically, this is to be focused upon the expansion of C3 through funding.
In the address based upon this great gospel passage there is also a noticeable lack of prompt to explain and share the gospel over prompting to share one’s wallet (credit card services and all).
While there is a legitimate place for providing support in mission work, it is disconcerting when one distorts the focus of scripture to do so. Likewise the methods used in the giving sermon to solicit funding further on are concerning and some deceitful.
DISHONEST USE OF STATISTICS AND FIGURES
To justify continued calls for funding, Pringle begins to manipulate phrases, words and figures. He does this to justify a false claim he made in an earlier sermon to which his own congregation seemed sceptical of.
In his message Phil Pringle does not seem to know basic arithmetic:
56 people + 36 wanting to plant a church + 16 churches rebranded + 2 church plants ≠ 120 Church Plants
We are almost forced to believe that Dr. Phil Pringle doesn’t have a basic knowledge of church missions and biblical terminology. Pringle is calling ‘church planting’ a “group of pastors” to be “thirty six churches” and “a guy in Bulgaria who has sixteen churches” who possibly “wants to hook” into the C3 movement.
It should be noted a church plant is a process that results in a new local church being established and should not be confused with church branding which is more factually what Pringle is doing. A branded church is an established Christian church that chooses to be branded with another church’s name, mission and motivation.
Pringle continues to make dishonest and unsupported claims suggesting that his organisation is responsible for one church being planted every day in Jesus’ name. Pringle says, “I know you were doubting out there but it’s okay. I have my moments too. And so you and I believing together- we’ll start to see ten churches a day being planted and growing.”
Pringle begins to mix his phrases through his address so that it becomes difficult to know what Pringle actually means when he says the following:
“We gotta reach this world. And every time a church is planted, it’s not about the numbers or all this kind of thing. They’re exciting. But it’s about how many more thousands of people will come to Christ all around the world today. And C3 churches all around the world, they’ll be about two thousand people that will come to Christ.”
At first glance, Pringle seems genuine in saying, “it’s about how many more thousands of people will come to Christ all around the world today,” though it’s “not about the numbers.”
However, previously in his message to garner funding he only talked about the number of churches that were being added to his movement, not how many people “will come to Christ all around the world today”. We can rightly conclude he is still talking about the 120 churches he was talking about previously because he confirmed that these churches were coming into the C3 Movement, “right now in Jesus’ name. That’s just in four weeks time”.
Pringle continues, “That’s just in the existing churches. Now once these new ones are coming in. And they come into Christ, they become disciples, they become empowered and they become ministries themselves”
It is important to ask whether more accurately these alleged thousands being saved from his aforementioned C3 church ‘plants’ are not rather those people in existing churches being rebranded into the C3 fold. This is flawed thinking to confuse such people who join the C3 banner with salvation into Christ. The conclusions we come too after such dialogue is not good.
If Pringle is saying churches who join C3 “come into Christ, …become disciples,” “become empowered” and “become ministries themselves”, that would make C3 a cult. That is, if Pringle believes their movement is the only true church with the right teachings and formulas for salvation then he himself has set his movement to be a cult. Pringle’s doctrine on the tithe and baptism can lead to a grim conclusion that his movement is a cult. (Articles will be written on this later.)
The other conclusion that can be drawn, which is most likely the case, is that Pringle is employing support of his 20/20 vision. The below video would actually explain his use of language in this video (watch at 1:28):
(Bear in mind, that he also states that a revival is coming to the local church, implying that they are dead.)
Pringle possibly uses this language to establish that his prophetic 20/20 Vision is well on its way to being complete. In his alleged God-given visions, he continually emphasises 1000 churches being planted by the year 20/20. In wrongly applying the phrase ‘church plant’ for churches that are actually being branded into the movement, he is trying to convince his congregation that his 20/20 Vision is on its way to completion.
Either way – his use of manipulative language to demonstrate his prophecies and visions are from God, should be concerning.
TITHING INTO THE KINGDOM
Phil Pringle later goes on to say,
“My deepest purpose- and deepest purpose- is that I am unwilling that anybody should perish and I will use all the forces I can get a hold of to bring people to Jesus Christ, to make them born again. Amen!
And so that is why here every week without apology, we will say, ‘let’s bring our tithe and our offerings into the House of God’.”
In the above quote, Pringle boldly declares that “every week without apology, we will say, ‘let’s bring our tithe and our offerings into the House of God”. This is a false and heretical doctrine not founded upon honest use of the scriptures*[i], but is taught in C3 Churches to persuade people to give ten percent of their income. Russell Kelly does a good job exposing this false doctrine in the link below.
The close association of ‘unwilling that any should perish’ with this pronouncement to provide funding to C3 is designed to bolster the emotional weight in which congregants are expected to do so. Pringle’s very heroic-sounding statement is a lie and hugely problematic to the ‘born again’ Gospel he is claiming to profess. Jesus said,
”Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God… Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must be born again…’” – John 3:3, 5-7
We are born again through the Spirit, also known as the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17; 15:26; 16:13; 1John 4:6). John continues, “the Spirit who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth” (1 John 5:6). Jesus also says the Spirit of Truth “will guide you into all the truth…” and “… He will glorify Me [Jesus]” (John 16:13-14).
The Scriptures teach that through the preaching of the gospel, the Spirit of Truth will “bring people to Jesus Christ, to make them born again”. Pringle in this sermon is not bringing people to “Christ Jesus through the gospel” (Ephesians 3:6). Not only is he not bringing people to Jesus, he is substituting this by dishonest means, encouraging his congregation to fund his movement. And perhaps little has changed in since Paul said, “Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ” (Galatians 1:7).
THE PERSUASION BEHIND THE PRAYER
Here’s a summary of the number of figures he drops in this short giving sermon.
90, 48, 8, 2, 58, 36, 16, 6, 120, 120, 120, 1, 1, 3, 6, 1, 4, 1000s, 2000, 90, 48, 700 000 000, 500,
“… Four weeks ago… they told me there that there were forty eight people … eight people … two churches … added up to fifty eight churches… and that was thirty six churches… who has sixteen churches… like six week… grown by nearly a hundred and twenty churches in the whole movement… a hundred and twenty- a hundred and twenty churches… We are planting one new church- growing by one new church every three days… now I said that to you about six weeks ago… ‘I’m looking forward to the day when we are gonna be growing by one church a day’… that’s just in four weeks time… we’ll start to see ten churches a day being planted and growing… it’s not about the numbers or all this kind of thing… many more thousands of people… be about two thousand people… and winning ninety people… we’re praying over forty eight new churches… several hundred million people around the world … behalf of the church and behalf of the thousands of people who have been saved… Hundreds of thousands of people who have been saved… the hundreds of thousands that are going to be saved…”
“Father, I thank you that this is not just about numbers and it’s not just about money. It’s about the souls of men and women being saved for eternity. And Lord there is no other higher purpose in all the world that we can give ourselves too. So we pray that Lord, as the love of God and the will of God are our own, that Jesus you’ll equip us and enable us to give sacrificially, to give our best, to give our all for the great purpose for salvation and the building of the church, in Jesus name.”
It’s important to observe how Phil Pringle starts using larger figures towards the end of his sermon. This prayer is about numbers and it is about money. Why? The imagery he has put into the minds of his audiences at this point is “hundreds of thousands [of people] … going to be saved”. As soon as he says “It’s about the souls of men and women being saved for eternity” the imagery of “hundreds of thousands that are going to be saved” will come flooding back. This negates Pringles previous sentence in his prayer to God. With the visual imagery of thousands going to be saved, he revives his initial request, giving money. More concerning perhaps, Pringle appears to be lying to God through prayer, while manipulating his people through this same prayer.
Throughout this talk, Pringle has continually re-enforced the link between church numbers to money and then, ultimately, to ‘salvation’. Once again the challenge is this; how accurate is Pringle’s ‘blue-print’ for the church compared to the message for the true church?
While Pringle prays to God that it is not about numbers – he makes it about numbers. While Pringle prays to God it is not about money – he makes it about money. Pringle’s vision has become the ‘important part’ of his prayer. Money and numbers have become the persuasion behind the prayer.
Phil Pringle has demonstrated that he has not practiced truth in this 10 minute sermon. Because of his misuse of scripture; his disregard of the Godhead; his distortion of facts and numbers and his justification of false claims and lies we are deeply grieved for what the congregation has to endure.
How can Pringle say that his ‘deepest purpose’ is using ‘all the forces [he] can get’, ‘to bring people to Jesus, to make them born again’, if he can’t even present the Father, the Son, the Holy Spirit, the gospel and even the written scriptures AND himself honestly to the church and the unsaved? If you read his whole sermon, Phil never once preaches the message of the gospel. Yes, he makes grand proclamations, visions and shares his dreams in the name of Jesus. But never once does he preach Christ’s death or resurrection when he preaches the message of salvation. What he does to salvation can be summarised as a creative method of substitution; he makes it the power of men and their means, rather than the power of God.
“…For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom; but we preachChrist crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.” – 1 Corinthians 1:22-24
If you feel lead, please pray for Phil Pringle and those caught in the C3 movement. Also consider sharing this information with anyone you may know that is considering joining this movement or may already be a part of it. It is our hearts desire that all men come to a saving knowledge of the Lord that is based on His word of truth.