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‘Do Not Be Surprised’ has mentioned C3 Church Watch in an article on the Presence Conference 2012. Their article addresses the issues of the ministers speaking at the event like John Bevere, Kong Hee and of course Phil Pringle.
‘Do Not Be Surprised’ writes,
Steven Furtick and the Presence 2012 Conference
It seems that April 10-13 will be a time of “fresh anointing, enlarged vision and amazing empowerment” in Sydney, Australia. The Presence Conference, sponsored by Phil Pringle and C3 Church, plans to make waves at Darling Harbour during these days. The powers behind Presence describe their expectations thusly:
We believe that as we gather together at Presence the heavens will be opened over your life and you will experience a greater outpouring of his anointing, blessing, vision and miracles. (Online Source)
This offers a vivid picture of the event and is in fact very telling of the direction in which the speakers at Presence will likely wander. Scheduled speakers for Presence 2012 include Phil and Chris Pringle, Kong Hee, John Bevere and Steven Furtick. In understanding the doctrine that is held by the Pringles, Hee and Bevere, it may cause one to question why Steven Furtick, who has been embraced by leaders within America’s evangelical community, would choose to participate in this event. The description provided above already betrays its Word Faith intentions, and Furtick’s fellow speakers undoubtedly perpetuate these erroneous doctrines in their own ministries.
Phil Pringle, senior pastor of C3 Church and the architect behind Presence, clearly and unashamedly teaches things such as positive confession, visualization, the power of attraction and the prosperity gospel. At the blog C3 Church Watch, Pringle’s teachings are compared against those of Rhonda Byrne, author of the New Age bestseller The Secret. The similarities are startling, and should cause concern to rise within any Christian. Below, Pringle’s teaching on visualization is compared with that of Byrne:
Ronda Byrne also teaches on visualisation:
“Visualization is the process of creating pictures in your mind of yourself enjoying what you want. When you visualize, you generate powerful thoughts and feelings of having it now. The law of attraction then returns that reality to you, just as you saw it in your mind.” – Rhonda Byrne, The Secret, 2006, pg 93.
Pringle also teaches on visualisation (watch how he approaches scriptures with his experiences):
“A long after that experience, I looked back and realized that many of the elements I had seem in the imaginations in my mind were a duplicate of what actually happened [sic]. I had stumbled on to a principle of God. As I investigated the Scriptures, it became obvious to me that God spoke to His servants from the beginning of time through visions and dreams. Here we’re looking at the vision of faith. As soon as a real faith for anything arrives in your heart, you will see that thing.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 94-97.
“In Ephesians 3:20 Paul says that “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think.” The Greek word for “think” here is “no’eo.” This literally means “to conceive and perceive.” Once we are visualizing some-thing, God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above it.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 103.
“Gods movies [sic]. There is a screen within our mind upon which three projectors are jostling for prime time… He [God] has a projector with a preset, wonderful destiny as the main feature. As we enter the Spirit through praise and worship, God will form His vision within our thinking. We pray the prayer of faith. The vision of the answer comes to mind and we see it, in living colour… Once the vision of the fulfillment of your dream has been planted in your mind, bring it to your prayer life. Each time you pray bring the picture to mind and meditate on it. See it happening. Destroy all the images of failure. Replace them with the image of success.
Right now in my life I spend much time dreaming over my visions of faith. I know this works. I would be a fool to ignore it. Remember, one of the mightiest keys in the Kingdom of Heaven is faith. Vision is a major part of faith, for we walk by faith and not by sight. Faith is directly contrasted to natural eye sight.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 103.
C3 Church Watch also offers insight into some of Phil Pringle’s teaching on prosperity and tithing. Unsurprisingly, he falls in line with so many seeker-driven pastors today who teach that one’s money is cursed until it is redeemed with the tithe:
“When Paul told the Philippians that God would supply all their need… their generosity would trigger one of the most powerful spiritual laws in existence. It is the law that the widow of Zarephath discovered when Elijah told her to give away her last meal… For the provision of God constantly to be at work in our lives we must activate the laws of God.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 153.
These are the giving laws recognised in the Word of Faith Movement such as the ‘tithe’ and ‘seed faith’ heresies. Believers are taught to obey these so they may be graced or favoured with the Gods miracles. This is salvation by works. As a result, Pringle curses Christians by the very ‘faith’ he says we must live by.
“This especially applies in the world of tithing. Tithing in one sense is not actually giving. The tithe belongs to God, not to us. Malachi the prophet says that when we keep the tithe we are actually “robbing God”.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 155.
“When we withhold the tithe we bring upon ourselves a curse.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 156.
“Thirdly, WHEN we sow determines when we will reap. We need to sow well before we plan to reap. The time to sow is not when you have a need. You are to be constantly sowing your world with generous actions of faith. Oral Roberts has called this “seed faith”. Anyone who plants a seed has faith that it will become a plant in time. We all realize that it’s not going to happen overnight, but faith and patience inherit the promises of God.” – Phil Pringle, Faith, 2001, pg 156-157.
The teachings of Phil Pringle, then, are indeed some to be carefully watched. In the March 17, 2012 episode of Fighting for the Faith, Christian apologist Chris Rosebrough offers a helpful critique of a recent Phil Pringle sermon (the sermon review begins about 1 hour in). The reader is encouraged to listen and come to understand the methods being employed by Pringle in his teaching.
Kong Hee is another speaker scheduled to appear at Presence 2012. Hee was examined briefly in the post, T.D. Jakes Joins Fellow Word Faither-ers at Vision 2012, wherein it was noted,
Hee pastors City Harvest Church in Singapore. His biography on the Vision 2012 website reads as follows:
Kong Hee is the founder and senior pastor of City Harvest Church (CHC), Singapore—a Spirit-filled Pentecostal church that was birthed in 1989. With just 20 members at its inception, the church has grown to an average weekly attendance of over 24,000 members today with 71 percent first-time converts.
Through his visionary leadership, CHC has become widely known as one of the most dynamic and innovative churches in the Far East. The keys to the remarkable growth experienced by City Harvest Church are vision, faith, commitment, a desire for excellence and effective discipleship.
After more than two decades of pastoral ministry and training disciples for the kingdom of Christ, Kong maintains a passion to see lives changed by building contemporary, relevant and anointed strong local churches in Asia. (Online Source)
It is not difficult to see why Hee’s church grew to such a large capacity. Clearly he is a man who teaches exactly what the people want to hear. The video below shares a full-length message delivered by Kong Hee entitled, “Nine Reasons Why Jesus Was Not Poor:”
Some interesting points to note in this “sermon” are Hee’s claims at approximately the 7:50 minute mark that, “[Jesus] would take you out to a nice restaurant! [Our Jesus] is not a cheapskate Jesus!” Or perhaps the reader would be curious to hear Hee’s rather interesting interpretation of the feeding of the 5,000 (approximately 9 minutes in).
Some more notable Scripture twists in this message are: at approximately 24 minutes in, Hee perverts 2 Corinthians 8:9; and at 31 minutes and following, Hee declares, “If we worship a poor Savior, we will always be poor.” Not long after this, he says, “prosperity and wealth are our rightful inheritance,” and, “a poor Savior can’t get you out of poverty,” to which Hee adds a familiar distortion of the promise of the 30, 60 and 100-fold harvest (Matthew 13:8ff). Indeed, throughout the entirety of this sermon, Hee unapologetically, unflinchingly and unconscionably twists the holy Word of God.
Not surprisingly, Phil Pringle has preached at and even sits on the advisory board of Kong Hee’s church in Singapore. It is clear that these two men share a similar theology, as well as corresponding goals and a shared “vision” for the church.
This brings us to John Bevere who, along with Steven Furtick, is named as a “featured guest” for Presence 2012. Bevere and his wife, Lisa, founded Messenger International. According to the website,
Messenger International exists to help individuals, families, churches, and nations realize and experience the transforming power of God’s Word. This realization will result in lives empowered, communities transformed, and a dynamic response to the injustices plaguing our world. (Online Source)
John Bevere has authored numerous books, including one entitled Relentless: The Power You Need to Never Give Up. Throughout this book, Bevere is found to consistently point the reader not to Jesus, but to him or herself. Greatly exaggerating the idea of the Christian’s unity with Christ, Bevere states:
So the question now becomes, Who is Christ? this is where an unrenewed mind once again steals from the children of God. when many think of Christ, they think of only Jesus Christ, almost as if Christ is His last name. These dear people don’t think of anyone else other than our Great King who died on the cross and was resurrected. yes, the name Christ does refer to our Lord and Savior, but let’s see what God’s Word says.
Paul tells us, “Now all of you together are Christ’s body, and each one of you is a separate and necessary part of it” (1 Corinthians 12:27, NLT). We believers, together, are Christ’s body. Each of us is a vital “body part.” Jesus is the head, we are the body; it’s that simple!
… When you think of yourself, do you think of your head as being separate from or different from your body? Would you call your head by one proper name and your body by a different proper name? Of course not. You are one being – one person.
In the same way, Christ’s head and His body are one. Jesus is the head, and we are different parts of His body, so we are one in Christ. So when you read Christ in the New Testament, you need to see not just the One who died on the cross but also yourself.
(John Bevere, Relentless, 18, emphasis added)
In the book, Relentless, when Bevere describes a characteristic or function of Christ, he follows it up with some form of the question, “would you say the same thing about yourself?” This gives the impression of elevating the Christian nearly to a place of deity. Indeed, it tends to remind one of the blasphemous and heretical “little gods” doctrine of the Word Faith teachers.
In his well-known book, Charismatic Chaos, John MacArthur exposes the erroneous “little gods” doctrine.
[Kenneth] Hagin, whom most major Word Faith teachers acknowledge as a major influence in shaping their theology, has said, “If we ever wake up and realize who we are, we’ll start doing the work that we’re supposed to do. Because the church hasn’t realized yet that they are Christ. That’s who they are. They are Christ. (MacArthur, Charismatic Chaos, 334).
It certainly seems from Bevere’s quote above, and from even a brief perusal of his book, that he believes the Christian to be Christ, just as Hagin has asserted. MacArthur continues,
Thus have the Word Faith teachers deposed God and put the believer in his place. From that basic error nearly all their other fallacies flow. Why do they teach that health and prosperity are every Christian’s divine right? Because in their system, Christians are gods, deserving of those things. Why do they teach that a believer’s words have creative and determinative force? Because in their system, the believer is sovereign, not God. (Charismatic Chaos, 335)
Indeed, at the very least, Bevere believes that man is sovereign over the earth. While God has commanded man to “fill the earth, and subdue it” (Genesis 1:28), on page 16 of Relentless, Bevere takes this to mean that, “You and I, not God, are in control of how life is run on this planet.” Yet, the Christian knows, and the Psalmist reminds us that,
The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof,
the world and those who dwell therein,
for he has founded it upon the seas
and established it upon the rivers. (Psalm 24:1-2)
Herein lies the great danger of Bevere’s earlier statement, that the believer actually is Christ. For if the earth is the Lord’s, and the Christian is equal with God, then the logical conclusion is that man is sovereign over the earth. Indeed, if man is Christ, how much more authority must he possess? And thus we find one of the obvious thrusts of Relentless, that man must come to recognize, acknowledge and use the authority that has been granted him as one who is, in essence, Christ.
Knowing all of this, then, what ought one think of Steven Furtick’s involvement in Presence 2012? Furtick has been lovingly embraced by leaders such as James MacDonald and Mark Driscoll. Yet, he has done little to hide his desire to grow his skills and influence among the Word Faith crowd. Furtick has lauded the work of infamous Word Faith teachers T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer. Many of Furtick’s own sermons either hint at or in some instances, blatantly promote dangerous Word Faith teachings (examples of this can be found by visiting some of the links below). His special invitation to speak at Presence 2012, then, ought not surprise. However, it still should elicit concern. With its language of a “fresh anointing,” and “vision and miracles,” Presence 2012 appears to go beyond the familiar Word Faith teachings of “health and wealth,” and into the realm of signs, wonders and manifestations.
It would most certainly be encouraging if those who who have embraced and promoted Steven Furtick as a trusted teacher of God’s Word were to express concern and apprehension over his appearance at Presence. Yet those same men have themselves embraced another, T.D. Jakes, who for years has taught the heretical doctrines of the Word Faith movement. Thus the cry for “unity” continues to come at the expense of truth, and so the silence, though deafening, does not come unexpectedly.
Ok I am just a little bit confused here. It seems that almost any Word of Faith pastor is a heretic in your opinion? From what I have read on your site, you don’t believe in prosperity, your don’t believe in healing, you don’t believe in prophesy, you don’t believe in tithing or anything much at all….what parts of the bible or christianity do you believe in? What denomination of churches do you support of attend or are you a Mormon or JW? Just wondering if you are a christian believer or not, because from what I have read on your website, I would assume that you do not believe in God, Jesus or christianity?
“Ok I am just a little bit confused here.”
Obviously. (It seems that lala hails from la la land).
hey zorro…. more like zero.
lighten up dude.
No worries, troglodyte, I’ll be sure to do that.
“From what I have read on your site, you don’t believe in prosperity, your don’t believe in healing, you don’t believe in prophesy, you don’t believe in tithing or anything much at all.”
In regards to prosperity – we recommend you read ‘Jesus and Money’ by Ben Witherington III.
In regards to healing and prosperity – we recommend you read the bible. We definitely do believe in healing and prophecy.
But tithing? Although it is in the bible, it is not a Christian practice.
sure i can read books by randoms if i had time to burn. i do read the bible, which is where i read jesus saying “you should tithe, yes” -Luke 11:42
you can say to read this and that, but you dont answer the real question from lala – “What denomination of churches do you support or attend” – lala seems genuine, and you let zorro troll them on your site. shows a real lack of judgement and love to me tiger, neither of you know where this person is in their walk.
so im guessing you dont attend a church anymore… yes or no?
Leonie D. said:
Jesus was not yet crucified and resurrected and so the New Testament
(after the death of the Testator) not begun.So he was still under the Old Testament .That is why He spoke of tithing .No word tithing in the new Testament which begins after His resurrection.Now though we are told to give as God has prospered us. Our example is Jesus who gave all He had His whole life.We have reduced Jesus example down to 10% of our income given to a church building .No we are to give everything we have our whole lives not a Tithe to pay the wages of able bodied men ( who should be working with their hands so they can give to those in need) nor to expand our bricks and mortar – the building is not the Church the Born again believers are the Church.
Trog, here ya go buddy, eat some meat.
After the Law
The statement that tithing was “after the Law” is not true. Part of the error comes from not considering when the Old Covenant ended and when the New Covenant began. When Jesus referred to tithing, the Law was still in effect. It didn’t end until he died on the cross. Jesus was living during the Law and speaking to people who were under the Law.
Jesus mentioned tithing three times in the New Testament. In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42, Jesus acknowledged to the Pharisees that they tithed and should do so. He described how they tithed the minute quantities of their herbs, but he rebuked them for omitting the weightier matters of the Law, such as judgement, mercy, and faith. He wasn’t teaching the importance of tithing. He was condemning their moral corruption and the fact that they took self-righteous pride in their tithing.
There is only one other record of Jesus mentioning the tithe. In Luke 18:9–14 he told a parable about a Pharisee who gave tithes. Again, he was rebuking the Pharisees for the pride they took in their religious activities. This statement from Jesus actually foreshadows the fact that tithing would not be part of the New Covenant because the other man in the story was justified by God without tithing.
The statements Jesus made on tithing were not instructions to the church for life in the New Covenant. His death, burial, and resurrection did a radical work in the spirit realm that forever changed the way that man relates to God. Although his statements on tithing are recorded in the section of the Bible that we call the New Testament, they really occurred during the Law and pertained to that period of time.
Hebrews Chapter 7
Another mistake that causes people to think that tithing was “after the Law” is a misunderstanding of Hebrews chapter 7, which is the only reference to tithing that is truly “after the Law.” That passage of scripture has nothing to do with tithing in the New Covenant. Tithing is only mentioned as part of a comparison between Melchizedek and the Levitical priesthood.
The book of Hebrews proclaims the superiority of the New Covenant. It says we have a better hope, better covenant, better promises, better sacrifices, better substance, better country, better resurrection, and better outcome of our faith. It shows that Jesus has a better name and better blood, and that we now have a better cleansing of sin, a better conscience, and a better relationship with God, entering the true holy place in the heavenly realm.
Hebrews chapter 7 is arguing that Jesus is a greater priest than any priest in the Old Covenant. To make his point, the writer is first proving that Melchizedek was a greater priest than any priest in the Old Covenant. That will prove that Jesus is also greater because Psalm 110 had prophesied that Jesus would be a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
The writer of Hebrews bases his argument on the fact that Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe. How does that tithe make Melchizedek greater than all the Old Covenant priests? Hebrews 7 uses the following logic.
When Abraham gave the tithe to Melchizedek, all of Abraham’s unborn descendants were symbolically in his loins;
which means that the tribe of Levi and all the Old Covenant priests were in his loins;
which means that all the Old Covenant priests were there paying that tithe to Melchizedek;
which means that when Abraham received the blessing from Melchizedek, all the Old Covenant priests were also there receiving the blessing from Melchizedek;
therefore, because the one who receives the tithe and gives the blessing is greater than the one who gives the tithe and receives the blessing, Melchiz-edek is greater than the Old Covenant priests.
And because Melchizedek is proven to be greater than the Old Covenant priests, that proves Jesus is also greater because he is a high priest after the order of Melchizedek.
In Hebrews 8:1 the writer sums up what has been said:
Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens;
This verse clarifies the writer’s purpose for bringing up the subject of Abraham and Melchizedek—to show that we have a greater high priest. He wasn’t teaching tithing to the church either directly or indirectly.
Higher Spiritual Paradigm
It is true that Jesus is a great high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek and that Melchizedek received a tithe from Abraham. However, we have a completely different and much higher relationship to Jesus Christ than Abraham had to Melchizedek. It calls for a totally different way of life than that which was appropriate for Abraham.
The tithe that Abraham gave to Melchizedek is also different than the tithe that is taught in church today. It was not the basis of his financial blessing. It was given after Abraham was already exceedingly rich. It was not the basis of getting answers to any of his prayers. It was not a required or suggested part of his covenant with God. It was not something he had to do to avoid a curse. It was a tithe on something that he was not even going to keep. There is no scriptural basis to say that it was more than a one-time event in his life.
Why do Christians fight to pattern their relationship to God after the example of a man who would have given anything to trade places? New Covenant giving is based on a different spiritual paradigm than what we see in the life of Abraham. Consider Abraham’s relationship with God compared to our relationship with God through Christ:
Abraham had not been redeemed by the blood of Jesus.1
Abraham’s sins were not remitted (totally forgiven and washed away) they were only temporarily covered and overlooked.2
Abraham had not been baptized into Christ by the Holy Spirit.3
Abraham was not in an actual spiritual union with God.4
Abraham’s old nature had not been crucified with Christ.5
Abraham had not been born again and spiritually re-created with God’s own divine nature in him.6
Abraham was not a son of God with the same standing as Jesus Christ in God’s family.7
Abraham had not been made the righteousness of God. (His faith was only counted for righteousness.)8
Abraham could not say, “It is Christ that lives in me.”9
Abraham was not the temple of God. God did not dwell in him.10
Abraham did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit to lead him.11
Abraham had not been delivered out of the power of darkness and translated into the kingdom of God’s Son.12
Abraham had not been made alive with Christ, raised up with him, and seated with him at the Father’s right hand.13
Abraham had not been blessed with every spiritual blessing in heavenly places in Christ.14
Abraham was not a joint owner of all things through spiritual union with the resurrected Christ.15
Abraham did not have access to all authority in heaven and earth through the name of Jesus.16
Abraham could not do the same works as Jesus and even greater works that Jesus said we would do, nor could he grow up into full stature in Christ.17
Christians who fight to follow the principle of tithing haven’t seen the reality of living in Christ as a son of God. When they see the new and higher way of life in Christ they will leave the old inferior ways behind. We can learn some things from Abraham about faith, but the resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is the only true model for living and relating to God for a born-again Christian. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 11:1, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Paul was following the resurrected Christ, not the Christ before the cross who was living under the Old Covenant and fulfilling the obligations of the Law.
Total Change of Paradigm
Some believe that the absence of teaching on tithing in the book of Acts and the epistles shows that it was so universally accepted it didn’t need to be mentioned. That conclusion misses the real issue. The New Covenant is a total change in the way man relates to God. The change in relationship is the reason why tithing isn’t mentioned. It doesn’t need to be mentioned. It’s a nonissue. It’s irrelevant. The church has largely missed the meaning of the New Covenant.
In Acts chapter 15 we find the church in Jerusalem disputing about how the Law should pertain to the new gentile believers. This was about twenty years after the resurrection and the Jewish believers in Jerusalem were still deeply entrenched in an Old Covenant mentality. After much deliberation, James finally spoke up and said that the gentiles should not be troubled with all the aspects of the Law that the Jewish believers still kept.
The leaders in Jerusalem concluded that they would give the gentile believers only four instructions: abstain from eating food offered to idols, from eating blood, from eating anything strangled, and from fornication. This was the sum total of their instructions to the gentiles. But even some of these instructions were based on faulty theology. Paul made it clear in 1 Corinthians chapters 6, 8, and 10 that eating food offered to idols is not an issue if you have a revelation of the truth in Christ.
If tithing was as important as it is said to be, the church leaders in Jerusalem would have certainly mentioned it. This was their perfect opportunity to communicate the most important truths of the New Covenant to all the gentile believers. But even though the church in Jerusalem was hung up on the Law, only beginning to realize that a gentile did not need to convert to Judaism first before they could become a disciple of Jesus Christ, tithing was still not part of their instructions to the new gentile believers.
The church in Jerusalem exempted the gentiles from keeping the Law, but failed to realize they didn’t need to keep it either. Their faith in Jesus was mixed up with an obsolete mentality about the Law, so they created a modified set of laws for the gentiles to live by. The carnal mind cannot comprehend the New Covenant. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal it. The new relationship to God through Christ operates differently than everything before it. Laws, rules, principles, regulations, guidelines, formulas, methods, and systems do not define the New Covenant. There is only one issue, that is Christ himself living within.
Christians are free to tithe because they are free to give as they purpose in their heart, but tithing has no special recognition or benefit in the New Covenant. Why go backward and seek after the kind of spiritual life that Abraham had? Why not pursue what is available to us in Christ today? The issues now are faith and following the leading of the Holy Spirit, not tithing. The very life that Christ now has is available to those who will enter into that dimension of life with him. But to do so we must leave behind the old, carnal ways of religious tradition.
It cannot be overemphasized that the key to life for a Christian is an understanding of what it means to be in Christ. Most of the church has not been taught that. Some who think they understand that truth are unknowingly negating it with other teachings and practices. Tithing is one of those practices that distracts people’s attention and keeps them from the fullness of life in Christ.
The New Testament has much to say about giving that is not based on tithing. Those other teachings are often overlooked because tithing has been adopted as the foundational truth on the subject. In many cases the whole spirit of giving has been distorted and what is being taught is much different than what we see in the lives of Jesus and the apostles.
That’s from this website – http://tekoapublishing.com/books/tithing/index.html