The famous preacher Charles Haddon Spurgeon once said,
“A time will come when instead of shepherds feeding the sheep, the church will have clowns entertaining the goats.”
Do you think that a C3, CHC or Hillsong Pastor comes across more like an entertaining clown rather than a faithful shepherd? Chris Rosebrough from Fighting For the Faith wrote an exceptional article what the role of the pastor should be. Sadly, we do not know any C3 pastors or Hillsong Pastors who reflect the role of a proper biblical Christian pastor.
When you call these pastors out on their antics their responses are predictable and consistent and usually go something like this:
Church Attender: Hey pastor, why don’t you ever preach exegetical sermons? I feel like I’m not being fed here because your sermons usually only contain 3 or 4 verses taken out of context in order to teach some relevant life principle.
Pastor: Why are you so selfish? The church doesn’t exist for you. It’s not about you.
Church Attender: Hey pastor, why did you have the worship team begin our Easter service with AC/DC’s Highway to Hell rather than a song proclaiming Jesus’ victorious resurrection from the grave? AC/DC is worldly at best and satanic at worst and that blasphemous song should not be brought into God’s house.
Pastor: Why are you so selfish? The church doesn’t exist for you. It’s not about you. Church isn’t for the already convinced its for the not yet convinced.
Church Attender: Hey pastor, why are you preaching about movies rather than preaching God’s Word like 2 Tim 4:1-3 commands?
Pastor: Why are you so selfish? The church doesn’t exist for you. It’s not about you. Our church exists for people who are not yet believers.
Notice that each time the pastor answers using the standard seeker-driven talking point and doesn’t answer the question but makes a blanket claim that the church doesn’t exist for believers and therefore the person asking the question is guilty of selfishly believing that the church exists for them.
Anyone who’s been railroaded by these tactics knows that something is way off about these claims being made by seeker-driven pastors but don’t exactly know how to put their finger on the problem or know how to put it into words. This post will help you do that.
Notice that every time the word pastor has appeared, thus far, in this post that I’ve bolded it and underlined it. That is to help you spot the irony of the statements being made by seeker-driven pastorsand that irony will help you identify the underlying error in their tactics and methodologies.
Here’s the irony…No where in scripture does it say that the church exists for unbelievers. BUT, there are clear passages that state that pastors and elders are to serve the church. Therefore, it is ironic and foolish for a pastor, whose job is to serve the church to justify methods that don’t serve Christians by claiming that the church doesn’t exist for believers.
Here are the key passages that address this topic. We’ll begin by first looking at the passages that discuss spiritual gifts. The reason for this is that the ability to teach God’s word is a gift given by the Holy Spirit to certain people within the body of Christ.
The Purpose of Spiritual Gifts is to Build Up the Church Not The World
The Bible teaches that God, The Holy Spirit gives different gifts to different believers for the building up of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:4–7). Teaching is one of the gifts that the Holy Spirit gives to pastors and this gift is to be used specifically for believers.
“(In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth? He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,”
In clear and unambiguous language God states that shepherds (pastors) and teachers in the church exist to equip the saints (not unbelievers) and to build up the body of Christ (not the world). This is clear and irrefutable.
Those Who Have the Gift To Teach Are Commanded to Feed Christ’s Sheep by Teaching the Word of God
The duties of shepherds and teachers within the church are governed by the instructions given by Jesus Christ.
“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him,“Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” (John 21:15–17)
Notice that in this passage Jesus doesn’t tell Peter to entertain goats or dazzle the world. Instead, Christ soberly and firmly reinstates Peter after he’d denied Jesus three times. And Peter was reinstated into ministry and that ministry was to shepherd and feed Christ’s sheep. These commands by Jesus to Peter stuck with him his entire life. Peter himself would later exhort elders (pastors) with these words:
“So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight,not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you;not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.” (1 Peter 5:1–4)
This shepherding language is also use by the Apostle Paul when he addresses the elders of the Church of Ephesus. Here are Paul’s words of exhortation:
“Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.” (Acts 20:28–31)
It’s clear from these passages that pastors are not literal shepherds and that Christians are not literal sheep. All of these images are metaphors that help create a mental picture of the difficult and sacrificial work of pastors. So, when Jesus told Peter to “feed my sheep” what was Jesus referring to? What does a Pastor/Shepherd feed Christ’s sheep with?
The answer is simple, the Word of God, and two passages will suffice in demonstrating this fact:
“[Jesus] answered, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (2 Timothy 3:14–4:4)
No commentary is needed for these verses because they clearly teach that God’s Word is ‘sheep food’ and that pastors are to be feeding the scriptures to Christ’s sheep.
The Bottom Line
The next time you hear a seeker-driven pastor attempt justify his shallow sermons and entertainment driven stunts by claiming that “the church doesn’t exist for believers”, kindly inform him that regardless of who the church exists for, his job exists to serve believers and Christ’s sheep and that if he won’t do his job that he’s rebelling against Jesus Christ Himself.
Source:Chris Rosebrough, For Whom Do Pastors Exist?, http://www.letterofmarque.us/2012/10/who-do-pastors-exist-for.html?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=for-whom-do-pastors-exist, 19/10/2012. (Accessed 23/02/2013.)
Phil Pringle is heavily influenced by the prosperity cults. He endorses, speaks or works alongside some of the most heretical persons such as Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Brian Houston, Yonngi Cho, Kong Hee, Kenneth Hagin, John Avanzini, Pat Robertson, Oral Roberts, John Maxwell, Rick Warren, Dale Bronner, Bill Johnson, T.D Jakes, Tommy Tenney and so on. The article below addresses false teachers who Pringle either endorses or who is influenced by their ministries.
The below article uproots Pringle’s false Christianity and does a solid job presenting readers with the facts of scripture. Unlike Pringle, we encourage readers to pull out their bibles (or visit our resources on the left) to do a bible study on this article below.
The Bankruptcy of the Prosperity Gospel: An Exercise in Biblical and Theological Ethics
Just over one hundred years ago, the renowned pastor and statesman Charles H. Spurgeon spoke these words to the then-largest congregation in all Christendom:
I believe that it is anti-Christian and unholy for any Christian to live with the object of accumulating wealth. You will say, “Are we not to strive all we can to get all the money we can?” You may do so. I cannot doubt but what, in so doing, you may do service to the cause of God. But what I said was that to live with the object of accumulating wealth is anti-Christian.1
Over the years, however, the message being preached in some of the largest churches in the world has changed. Due, in part, to the rise of several ungodly philosophies and movements,2 a new gospel is being taught today. This gospel has been ascribed many names, such as the “name it and claim it” gospel, the “blab it and grab it” gospel, the “health and wealth” gospel, the “word of faith” movement, the “gospel of success,” the “prosperity gospel,” and “positive confession theology.”3
No matter what name is used, though, the teaching is the same. Simply put, this egocentric gospel teaches that God wants believers to be materially wealthy. Listen to the words of Robert Tilton, one of the prosperity gospel’s most well-known spokesmen: “I believe that it is the will of God for all to prosper because I see it in the Word [of God], not because it has worked mightily for someone else. I do not put my eyes on men, but on God who gives me the power to get wealth.”4
Teachers of the prosperity gospel encourage their followers to pray, and even demand, of God “everything from modes of transportation (cars, vans, trucks, even two-seat planes), [to] homes, furniture, and large bank accounts.”5 By closely examining the faulty theology and errant biblical interpretation of the teachers of this movement, this study will prove that the prosperity gospel teachings regarding the acquisition and accumulation of wealth are ethically incorrect.
The Theology of the Prosperity Gospel
“Theology is important,” wrote scholar Millard J. Erickson, “because correct doctrinal beliefs are essential to the relationship between the believer and God.”6 A corollary to this statement is that an incorrect theology will lead to incorrect beliefs about God, His Word, and His dealings with men. The thesis of this paper is that the prosperity gospel is constructed upon a faulty theology. Consequently, many of its doctrines, including the teachings concerning wealth, are erroneous. While it is beyond the scope of this study to examine in detail all of the specific doctrines of prosperity theology, there are four crucial areas of error relating to their teachings on wealth that may be isolated and examined. These areas are the Abrahamic covenant, the Atonement, giving, and faith.
Prosperity Theology and the Abrahamic Covenant
The theological basis of the prosperity gospel is the Abrahamic covenant.7 While this is good in that prosperity theologians recognize that much of Scripture is the record of the fulfillment of the Abrahamic covenant, it is bad in that they do not maintain an orthodox view of this covenant. Prosperity theologians hold an incorrect view of the inception of the Abrahamic covenant; what is more germane to the present study, however, they hold to an erroneous view concerning the application of the covenant.8
Researcher Edward Pousson best stated the prosperity view on the application of the Abrahamic covenant when he wrote, “Christians are Abraham’s spiritual children and heirs to the blessings of faith…. This Abrahamic inheritance is unpacked primarily in terms of material entitlements.”9 In other words, according to the prosperity gospel, the primary purpose of the Abrahamic covenant was for God to bless Abraham materially. Since believers are now “Abraham’s spiritual children,” they consequently have inherited these financial blessings of the covenant.
Prosperity teacher Kenneth Copeland wrote, “Since God’s Covenant has been established and prosperity is a provision of this covenant, you need to realize that prosperity belongs to you now!”10 Referring to the prosperity theology of Kenneth Hagin, author Harvey Cox wrote, “Through the crucifixion of Christ, Christians have inherited all the promises made to Abraham, and these include both spiritual and material well-being.”11 To support this claim, prosperity teachers such as Copeland and Hagin appeal to Gal. 3:14, which says “that the blessings of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus. . . .”12 While it is not an understatement to say that the problems with this argument are legion, two glaring problems need to be addressed. First, in their appeal to Gal. 3:14, prosperity teachers ignore the second half of the verse, which reads, “That we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”13 In this verse Paul clearly was reminding the Galatians of the spiritual blessing of salvation, not the material blessing of wealth.
Second, prosperity teachers claim that the conduit through which believers receive Abraham’s blessings is faith. This completely ignores the orthodox understanding that the Abrahamic covenant was an unconditional covenant.14 That is, the blessings of the Abrahamic covenant were not contingent upon one man’s obedience. Therefore, even if the Abrahamic covenant did apply to Christians, all believers would already be experiencing the material blessings regardless of prosperity theology.
Prosperity Theology and the Atonement
A second cracked pillar upon which prosperity theology stands is that of a faulty view of the Atonement. Theologian Ken Sarles wrote that “the prosperity gospel claims that both physical healing and financial prosperity have been provided for in the Atonement.”15 This seems to be an accurate observation in light of teacher Kenneth Copeland’s comment that “the basic principle of the Christian life is to know that God put our sin, sickness, disease, sorrow, grief, and poverty on Jesus at Calvary.”16 This misunderstanding of the Atonement stems from two errors that proponents of the prosperity gospel make.
First, many who hold to prosperity theology have a fundamental misconception of the life of Christ. For example, teacher John Avanzini proclaimed that “Jesus had a nice house, a big house,”17 “Jesus was handling big money,”18 and He even “wore designer clothes.”19 It is easy to see how such a warped view of the life of Christ could lead to an equally warped misconception of the death of Christ.
A second error of prosperity theology, which also leads to a faulty view of the Atonement, is the misinterpretation of 2 Cor. 8:9. Without exception, this is the verse to which prosperity teachers appeal in order to support their view of the Atonement. The verse reads, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”20 This problem with this interpretation is, of course, that in this verse Paul was in no way teaching that Christ died on the cross for the purpose of increasing anyone’s net worth materially. In fact, Paul was actually teaching the exact opposite principle.
Contextually, it is clear that Paul was teaching the Corinthians that since Christ accomplished so much for them through the Atonement, then how much more ought they empty themselves of their riches in service of the Savior. This is why just five short verses later Paul would urge the Corinthians to give their wealth away to their needy brothers, writing “that now at this time your abundance may supply their lack.”21 Commentator Philip E. Hughes wrote of 2 Cor. 8:9, “The logic implicit in the statement of this great truth is too obvious for anyone to miss it.”22 Apparently, however, the champions of the prosperity gospel have indeed missed it.
Prosperity Theology and Giving
One of the most striking characteristics of the prosperity theologians is their seeming fixation with the act of giving. Students of the prosperity gospel are urged to give generously and are confronted with such pious statements as, “True prosperity is the ability to use God’s power to meet the needs of mankind in any realm of life,”23 and, “We have been called to finance the gospel to the world.”24 While at face value these statements do indeed appear to be praiseworthy, a closer examination of the theology behind them reveals that the prosperity gospel’s emphasis on giving is built on anything but philanthropic motives. The driving force behind this emphasis on giving is what teacher Robert Tilton referred to as the “Law of Compensation.”25 According to this law, which is supposedly based on Mark 10:30,26 Christians need to give generously to others because when they do, God gives back more in return. This, in turn, leads to a cycle of ever-increasing prosperity.
As Gloria Copeland put it, “Give $10 and receive $1,000; give $1,000 and receive $100,000;… in short, Mark 10:30 is a very good deal.”27 It is evident, then, that the prosperity gospel’s doctrine of giving is built upon faulty motives. Whereas Jesus taught His disciples to “give, hoping for nothing in return,”28 prosperity theologians teach their disciples to give because they will get a great return. One cannot help but agree with author Edward Pousson’s observation that the stewardship of “the prosperity message is in captivity to the American dream.”29
Prosperity Theology and Faith
A final area of prosperity theology that merits investigation is that of the doctrine of faith. Whereas orthodox Christianity understands faith to be “trust in the person of Jesus Christ, the truth of His teaching, and the redemptive work He accomplished at Calvary,”30 prosperity teachers espouse quite a different doctrine. In his book, The Laws of Prosperity, Kenneth Copeland wrote that “faith is a spiritual force, a spiritual energy, a spiritual power. It is this force of faith which makes the laws of the spirit world function. . . . There are certain laws governing prosperity revealed in God’s Word. Faith causes them to function.”31 This is obviously a faulty, if not heretical, understanding of faith. Later in the same book Copeland wrote that “if you make up your mind . . . that you are willing to live in divine prosperity and abundance, . . . divine prosperity will come to pass in your life. You have exercised your faith.”32 According to prosperity theology, faith is not a theocentric act of the will, or simply trust in God; rather it is an anthropocentric spiritual force, directed at God. Indeed, any theology that views faith solely as a means to material gain rather than the acceptance of heavenly justification must be judged as faulty and inadequate.
The Biblical Interpretation of the Prosperity Gospel
As has already been demonstrated in this paper, the hermeneutics of the prosperity movement leaves much to be desired. Author Ken Sarles wrote of the prosperity teachers that their “method of interpreting the biblical text is highly subjective and arbitrary. Bible verses are quoted in abundance without attention to grammatical indicators, semantic nuances, or literary and historical context. The result is a set of ideas and principles based on distortion of textual meaning.”33 Indeed, a survey of the volumes of literature produced by the prosperity teachers yields numerous examples of such misinterpretations. As was the case in the theological study of this movement, an analysis of all such examples of misinterpreted texts would fall beyond the scope of this study. However, it is possible to choose one verse as an example and to examine both the prosperity gospel and orthodox interpretations of the text.
A suitable verse for this study is 3 John 2.34 In this verse, the Apostle John wrote, “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.”35 This verse is interpreted by prosperity teachers to mean that God wants all believers to “prosper in all things.” Furthermore, their interpretation of this verse makes clear their claim that material prosperity is inseparably linked to spiritual growth. Oral Roberts, regarded by many to be the father of the prosperity gospel movement, claimed at the beginning of his ministry, during a time of search for direction, that God miraculously led him to 3 John 2, which he understood as a revelation of the prosperity gospel.36
Another faith teacher who has built his ministry around this faulty interpretation of 3 John 2 is Kenneth Copeland. Author Kenneth Kantzer noted that “Copeland misinterprets this [verse] as a universal promise,”37 and writer Bruce Barron remarked that “the Copelands use these words so often that they appear to be the key verse of their ministry.”38 A careful study of 3 John 2, however, reveals that this verse is not a carte blanche approval of prosperity gospel teachings.
Those who use 3 John 2 to support the prosperity gospel are committing two crucial errors, the first contextual and the second grammatical. First, con-textually, one is wise to note that John’s purpose in writing 3 John 2 was not to teach doctrine; it was simply to open his letter with a greeting. This is not to say that doctrine cannot be derived from a nondoctrinal passage, for all Scripture is profitable for doctrine, but it is to say that one must be sensitive to the original author’s intent. Therefore, the claim that 3 John 2 teaches the doctrine of prosperity ought to be regarded as suspect at best. Second, one is wise to note the meaning of the word “prosperity” as it occurs in this verse. The term translated “prosperity” is a form of the Greek word eujodovw. This word, which is used only four times in Scripture, does not mean to prosper in the sense of “gaining material possessions,” but rather means “to grant a prosperous expedition and expeditious journey,” or “to lead by a direct and easy way.”39 The wording of modern translations such as the New International Version even reflect this nuance of the word.40 Therefore it is evident that teachers who understand 3 John 2 to teach prosperity theology are misinterpreting the text.
Through this study of the theology and the biblical interpretation of the prosperity gospel, one may discern five clear reasons why this movement’s teachings concerning wealth are incorrect:
1. The prosperity gospel is built upon a faulty understanding of the Abrahamic covenant.
2. The prosperity gospel is built upon a faulty understanding of the Atonement.
3. The prosperity gospel is based upon a faulty understanding of the biblical tachings on giving.
4. The prosperity gospel is based upon a faulty understanding of the biblical teachings on faith.
5. The prosperity gospel, in general, has been constructed upon faulty biblical interpretation.
Aside from these five specific theological and biblical arguments against the prosperity gospel, and without even considering the practical implications of this movement,41 there is perhaps one general, summary reason why the prosperity gospel is a wayward gospel: its faulty view of the relationship between God and man. Simply put, if the prosperity gospel is correct, grace becomes obsolete, God becomes irrelevant, and man is the measure of all things. Whether it is the Abrahamic covenant, the Atonement, giving, faith, or the biblical interpretation of any given verse, the prosperity teacher seeks to turn the relationship between God and man into a financial quid pro quo transaction. As scholar James R. Goff noted, God is “reduced to a kind of ‘cosmic bellhop’ attending to the needs and desires of his creation.”42 This is a wholly inadequate and unbiblical view of the relationship between God and man and the stewardship of wealth.
Note: This article was originally published in Faith and Mission Vol 16, p. 79ff. Published with permission.
1 Tom Carted, ed., 2,200 Quotations from the Writings of Charles H. Spurgeon (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1988), 216.
2 While it is impossible to trace the prosperity gospel back to an exact starting point, there are at least three movements from which it draws its ideas. One is the experience-centered Christianity which was birthed in the mind of nineteenth-century theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher and has come to fruition in the form of the twentieth-century Charismatic movement. A second philosophy that gave rise to the prosperity gospel was the “positive thinking” school of Norman Vincent Peale. Indeed, scholar Harvey Cox wrote concerning the prosperity gospel that “it owed much to the ‘positive thinking’ of the late Norman Vincent Peale.” Harvey Cox, Fire from Heaven (Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley, 1995), 272. The third modern movement that has influenced the prosperity gospel is simply the “American dream,” or materialism.
3 For the purpose of this paper, the phrase “prosperity gospel” will be used.
4 Robert Tilton, God’s Word about Prosperity (Dallas, TX: Word of Faith Publications, 1983), 6.
5 David Pilgrim, “Egoism or Altruism: A Social Psychological Critique of the Prosperity Gospel of Televangelist Robert Tilton,” Journal of Religious Studies, 18.1-2 (1992): 3.
6 Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 1985), 28.
7 This important covenant is mentioned numerous times in the writings of the prosperity teachers, i.e., Gloria Copeland, God’s Willis Prosperity (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1973), 4-6; Kenneth Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1974), 51; idem, Our Covenant with God (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, 1987), 10; Edward Pousson, Spreading the Flame (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1992), 158; and Kenneth Copeland, The Troublemaker (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Publications, n.d.), 6.
8 Prosperity teacher Kenneth Copeland articulated his movement’s view of the inception of the Abrahamic covenant best when he wrote that “after Adam’s fall in the Garden, God needed an avenue back into the earth;… since man was the key figure in the Fall, man had to be the key figure in the redemption, so God approached a man named Abram. He reenacted with Abram what Satan had done with Adam. . . . God offered Abram a proposition and Abram bought it.” Kenneth Copeland, Our Covenant with God, 10.
14 That the Abrahamic covenant is an unconditional covenant can be demonstrated by four facts. First, the covenant ceremony in Genesis 15 was unilateral. In fact, Abraham was asleep. Second, no conditions are stated in the covenant. Third, in the restatement of the covenant in Gen. 17:7,13, and 19, the covenant is called “everlasting.” Finally, the covenant was confirmed despite Abraham’s continued disobedience and lack of faith.
15 Ken L. Sarles, “A Theological Evaluation of the Prosperity Gospel,” Bibliotheca Sacra 143 (Oct.-Dec. 1986): 339.
16 Kenneth Copeland, The Troublemaker, 6.
17 John Avanzini, “Believer’s Voice of Victory,” program on TBN, 20 January 1991. Quoted in Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1993), 381.
18 Idem, “Praise the Lord,” program on TBN, 15 September 1988. Quoted in Hanegraaff, 381.
22 Philip E. Hughes, The Second Epistle to the Corinthians, New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans Publishers, 1962), 300.
23 Kenneth Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity, 26.
24 Gloria Copeland, God’s Will Is Prosperity, 45.
25 Theologian Ken Sarles rightly noted that “the Law of Compensation [is] the bedrock of the prosperity movement.” Sarles, 349.
26 In Mark 10:29-30, Jesus stated, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sister or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My sake and the gospel’s who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time—houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions—and in the age to come, eternal life” (NKJV). Other verses that the “Law of Compensation” is based upon include Eccl. 11:1, 2Cor. 9:6, and Gal. 6:7.
30 J. D. Douglas, and Merrill C. Tenny, eds., The New International Dictionary of the Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing, 1987), s.v. “faith.”
31 Kenneth Copeland, The Laws of Prosperity, 19.
33 Sarles, 337.
34 Sarles says that this is an “often quoted verse” in the prosperity movement. Sarles, 338. Hanegraaff wrote that 3 John 2 was a “classic example” of prosperity misinterpretation. Hanegraaff, 223. Gordon Fee called 3 John 2 “the basic Scripture text of the cult of prosperity.” Gordon Fee, “The ‘Gospel’ of Prosperity,” Reformation Today 82 (Nov.-Dec. 1984): 40. Bruce Barron wrote that 3 John 2 was “the ‘Old Faithful’ of prosperity proof texts.” Bruce Barron, The Health and Wealth Gospel (Downers Grove, IL: Inter Varsity Press, 1987), 91.
36 For a full account of Roberts’ miraculous revelation concerning 3 John 2, see Barron, 62.
37 Kenneth S. Kantzer, “The Cut-Rate Grace of a Health and Wealth Gospel,” Christianity Today, vol. 29, June 1985, 14.
38 Barron, 91.
39 Joseph Henry Thayer, The New Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1981), s.v., “eiio86w.”
40 “Dear Friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well” (3 John 2, NIV).
41 There are numerous practical implications that arise from the prosperity gospel view on wealth. While it would take a lengthy treatise to explore and explain them all, three are important enough to be considered here. First, the prosperity gospel incorrectly implies that poverty is a sin. Teacher Robert Tilton even said that “being poor is a sin.” Robert Tilton, “Success in Life,” program on TBN, 27 December 1990, quoted in Hanegraaff, 186. Likewise, Kenneth Copeland wrote that “poverty is under the curse of the Law.” Copeland, Laws of Success, 51. Second, the prosperity gospel “appeals to the poor and the sick to put more faith in the ultimate fulfillment of their desires than in the Word of God.” Sarles, 343. Third, when the prosperity gospel does cause positive changes in a believer’s life, the prosperity teacher gets most of the credit, and when the believer does not experience prosperity, the blame is usually left upon that individual. For example, Robert Tilton offered several reasons why some believers did not experience blessings: “Individuals lacked faith, refused to follow his directions, and criticized Tilton’s ministry.” Pilgrim, 7.
42 James R. Goff, Jr., “The Faith That Claims,” Christianity Today, vol. 34, February 1990,21.
Source: David Jones, The Bankruptcy of the Prosperity Gospel: An Exercise in Biblical and Theological Ethics, http://bible.org/article/bankruptcy-prosperity-gospel-exercise-biblical-and-theological-ethics, Accessed 09/01/2013.
Note: C3ChurchWatch has permission to published this article.
If a leader or teacher is misleading a congregation to tithe, this should inform you that they are either:
1. A false teacher. Or
2. an unqualified teacher.
Pat Mesiti and Phil Pringle can fall under either category.
At the bottom of this article is an old transcript of Phil Pringle allowing Pat Mesiti to con people to give money to Pringle’s organisation. Pringle allowed Mesiti to manipulate people to give money to Pringle. Pringle did not correct Mesiti’s content or conduct. He allowed Mesiti to mangle many scriptures and have him use greed and fear to convince people to give up their cash to Pringle. In the process, Pat Mesiti publicly misled the members of Christian City Church.
Mislead 1: The Statement God Never Made
“… God said to Adam and Eve, he said ‘you can have any tree you want, except that one there, that’s mine.’”
God said that? We encourage you to read Genesis 2 and 3. This is blasphemy. Phil Pringle and Pat Mesiti had no problem lying about God. God said nothing about the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil being His in Genesis. They made this up to convince people to give them their cash.
Mislead 2: Mesiti Witnesses Against His Own False Theology
Later, Mesiti says (emphasis ours):
“Little while ago I was speaking at a church, this was quite awhile ago actually ….(laughter)….we won’t go there…..anyway….”
He is alluding to Hillsong. The fact that he was speaking at Hillsong tells us this was before his fall, (hence why he does not talk about it). Mesiti then slips this (emphasis ours):
“And I get there and the worship’s going on …and then they receive the offering…and the Holy Spirit says to me…”I want you to take that 2 and a half thousand dollar cheque and put it in the offering”….and I said ‘Lord, this is all I’ve got’.
All Mesiti has got? In slipping this, he has undone all that he is trying to do: convince C3 Church members that they need to give money to God so “your barns will be full.” How can he teach that God wants people to give him cash so he can bless them financially back? He isn’t practicing what he is preaching. Why did he have no money? He continues…
“Within a month’s time …I was at a meeting..and a man came up to me and said….’this is not for the ministry….this is not for any of the ministries you’re involved with …this cheque is for you…and he gave me a cheque for $25,000 US….”
Is this simply band aid cash before he was publicly exposed visiting prostitutes? His heavily edited and faulty account only proves he is a false witness to his own false theology. In fact, when you read the entire script below, he exposes his own false theology.
Mislead 3: Teaching The Bible Says Something When It Doesn’t
Pat Mesiti later said:
“We’re the pearl of great price. God never argued….Jesus never debated the issue. He just did it. And we in turn are asked to value something. One of those things we’re asked to value…is the House of God.”
We need to understand that the Bible talks about the House of God being Christ and His Church (the church being the people). Not so with Pringle and Mesiti. They often define the ‘House of God’ being the building.
Not only does Mesiti force people not to question his teaching by forcing obedience on them, Mesiti and Pringle provide the illusion that God or the bible says “we’re asked to value… the House of God.”
You will not find this teaching in the bible that we are to value a physical building known as a ‘House of God’. This is another lie to get Christians to give money to Phil Pringle’s organisation.
Mesiti flattered Pringle before the C3 congregation. Notice how Mesiti links the favour of God to Phil Pringle’s apparent material success. Is this how a Christian measures God’s grace?
“You know, Pastor Phil being number one on the podcast does not surprise me, because how many know the favour of God is on this man of God? Can you give me a good ‘amen’?”
Mesiti acknowledges how much Pringle’s teaching impacted him and his life, mangling Psalm 133 in the process. So much so, he seems to link Pringle as a Messianic figure.
“… After being under his teaching – under his ministry, means the favour of God is on us, because whatever falls on his beard, the oil (PP: “ooh!”) coming down from the beard of our Lord, did you like that? (PP “more oil, more beard”).”
The favour of God is on Pat Mesiti because he was under the teaching of Phil Pringle (and Pringle’s oily Messianic beard)? Pringle did not correct this bible garble.
Mesiti also mangled the scripture Proverbs 3:9. Mesiti said,
“I’m going to ask you to honour the Lord, value the Lord with your offering, and bring the Lord his firstfruits… your barns will be full.”
This is biblical incompetence on Mesiti’s part. Proverbs is written to Jews who were under the ordinances of God. If they obeyed the commandments of God, God would indeed materially bless them as a nation. If they didn’t, He would curse them. However, Mesiti’s use of this passage is inciting people to give money so they can get. This is the greed factor that prosperity preachers often use to motivate people to give money to them. Pringle did not correct this bible garble.
The church is grafted into the promises of Israel revealed in Christ – but the Church is not Israel. The Law was designed to point out to Israel the fact that none can fulfill it’s requirements. Only one man perfectly honoured the Lord and His Laws and that was Jesus. What Jesus accomplished was far greater than material success. Jesus did not promise believers material blessings but something greater: eternal life.
Because Christ freely gave Himself, so we can freely receive His salvation, we are called to freely give NOT OUT OF COMPULSION. Scripture clearly calls us to give cheerfully through what He has done on our behalf. (2 Corinthians 9:7.)
Instead of allowing the gospel being the motivating factor, Mesiti binds and curses the congregation by placing them under the death and condemnation of the Law, offering no freedom in Christ. By reading a portion of Malachi 3 telling Christians to tithe, the association is connected to the fact that if one does not tithe, the believer is cursed. This is not Christianity and is a false theology that destroys people. Pringle did not correct this bible mis-application.
THE DECEITFULNESS OF PAT MESITI AND PHIL PRINGLE
In closing, Pringle endorses the teaching and mentions this in his prayer to his ‘god’,
“People who have got debts they can’t manage…are gonna find ways out of it. But Lord the foundation of your prosperity in our life…is the tithe. So father as we bring this sacred finance to you …we thank you Lord that it unleashes power and principles into our world that are unstoppable.”
Sacred finance? This is Pringle’s god and not Christ. What Pringle calls “sacred finance”, Jesus opposes saying, “The deceitfulness of riches choke the Word” (Matt 13:22). According to Pringle, these “sacred finances… unleashes power and principles into our world that are unstoppable”. Really? And the bible says that where?
According to Pringle the monetary tithe is “the foundation of your prosperity in our life”. To pray such a thing to a God is disgraceful. At least Pringle is honest that Jesus is not his foundation.
In the end, did Pat Mesiti message on money choke the Word? Yes it did. Did Pringle endorse Mesiti’s unbiblical teachings that choked God’s Word? Yes he did. With this in mind, it is best to know not to trust Pat Mesiti or Phil Pringle when there is a bible in front of them. They are not qualified to preach.
Below is the full transcript of the giving sermon.
Everybody say ‘firstfruits’ (firstfruits)
Wednesday 30 August, 2006 – 17:30 by Hill$ong Squad in Default
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(Phil Pringle) “We are going to receive our tithe and offering right now, as everybody could get ready to give.
Pat Mesiti is going to come and encourage us with our giving this morning. Thank you very much Pat. God bless you.
(Pat Mesiti) Morning church. (Good morning) Are you excited? (yeah)
You know, Pastor Phil being number one on the podcast does not surprise me, because how many know the favour of God is on this man of God? Can you give me a good ‘amen’?
And you know, after being under his teaching – under his ministry, means the favour of God is on us, because whatever falls on his beard, the oil (PP: “ooh!”) coming down from the beard of our Lord, did you like that? (PP “more oil, more beard”).
I was thinking of growing my moustache, but I’d look too much like my mum. (PP:laughter) and my mum wouldn’t really approve.
Turn to the Word now, now that I’ve got your attention.
Church, if you need an offering envelope, please raise your hand.
If you’re giving by credit card – before you fill anything out, can you just let me share for 2 or 3 minutes from the Word of God, because we can just go through the same old motions, you know, of oh, this is my tithe; I’ll just write it out…
And you know, if you want something (inaudible) God before, you’ve got to do something you haven’t done before.
And….that’s how I’ve worked.
And I want to read a passage of scripture from Proverbs Chapter 3:9….it says this…
Honour the Lord….can you all say that with me ‘honour the Lord’ (honour the Lord) with your possessions (with your possessions) ..and the firstfruits (and the firstfruits) of all your increase (of all your increase) …..don’t repeat everything or we’ll be here all day.
But honour the Lord, that literally can be translated there to mean this… value the Lord with your possessions. (PP:’wow’).
Now that’s not talking about the tithe; we get to that in the next portion.
But value the Lord, do you value, do I value the Lord?
You see, I’ve discovered in life that one of the principles of life is this. You can tell how much you value something by the price you’re willing to pay. (PP: ‘that’s the truth’)
So to the guy who says to the girl, ‘honey, I’ll climb the highest mountain, swim the deepest ocean, cross raging rivers, but if it’s raining on Sunday can you get your own way to the restaurant.’
Doesn’t really value.
And then I’ve discovered this about value, that in the absense of value, you’ll always argue price.
When you value something you don’t argue over price, you see, the Lord never argued the price of what it would cost to redeem our soul.
And we are here as recipients of God’s value towards us.
We’re the pearl of great price. God never argued….Jesus never debated the issue. He just did it.
And we in turn are asked to value something.
One of those things we’re asked to value…is the House of God.
Can I get an ‘amen’?
And God says in His Word; He says ‘bring the whole tithe’.
Notice it doesn’t say ‘give the tithe’. It says ‘bring it’.
Because, this may be a shock, but titheing isn’t giving; you can’t give back to God, what’s already His.
You can only take it from him.
And you see, there are some things that God has reserved for Himself, which brings us to the second portion, that says…’and with the firstfruits, ‘everybody say ‘firstfruits’ (firstfruits) …that’s the first portion…it goes way back, way back, way back into Genesis.
This is not law, this is Genesis. This is pre-law, where we get the covenant of marriage from.
And God says ‘honour me…bring to me…the firstfruits…the first portion…the tithe.’
I’ve often wondered, when I’ve read the book of Genesis; when God said to Adam and Eve, he said ‘you can have any tree you want, except that one there, that’s mine.’
I wonder if there was ten trees in the garden.
Folks this morning…I’m going to ask you to honour the Lord, value the Lord with your offering, and bring the Lord his firstfruits, and watch this, here’s what he says……everybody say ’so’ (so) …so your barns will be full.
A little while ago……..how many of you liked that bit in the scriptures?
You see God never asks you to give something where he doesn’t fall back. God is El Sheddai, the God of plenty, not El Cheapo the Lord, the tightwad…
Little while ago I was speaking at a church, this was quite awhile ago actually ….(laughter)….we won’t go there…..anyway….
But I remember I was speaking at a church and I received a cheque from a corporate function I spoke at …and the Lord said to me…”I want you to put that in the offering tonight”.
And I went….’but I’ve already tithed and I’ve already given to the building fund ..and I need this’.
And God says ..”well, I need it too”.
And I’m arguing with God and then I got to church late, hoping that the offering would be over with….(laughter).
Don’t laugh at me…some of you do that…
And I get there and the worship’s going on …and then they receive the offering…and the Holy Spirit says to me…”I want you to take that 2 and a half thousand dollar cheque and put it in the offering”….and I said ‘Lord, this is all I’ve got’.
And God said….”well, that’s all you’re gonna have”
He said…”now you have an option……you can keep what’s in your hand..and I’ll keep what’s in mine….or you can let go of what’s in your hand..and I’ll let go of what’s in mine.”
Within a month’s time …I was at a meeting..and a man came up to me and said….’this is not for the ministry….this is not for any of the ministries you’re involved with …this cheque is for you…and he gave me a cheque for $25,000 US….
So I got 100 fold ….and the exchange rate…..(PP:’amen) (applause)
Come on church…let’s receive our tithes. I’m gonna hand over to Pastor Phil ..to pray over the offering.
Let’s be generous this morning. Let’s bring our tithe..and let’s bring our first fruits to the Lord. Pastor Phil?
(Phil Pringle) Wonderful, thank you sir, God bless you. Amen. Folks let me pray for you…while you bring your tithes and your offering to the Lord.
Father, we thank you right now as we stand here. People who are trying to buy their homes in Sydney, feeling that the prices are high ….are going to find very real opportunities…for them to break through into a whole new era of living.
People who have got debts they can’t manage…are gonna find ways out of it.
People who are having arguments in their houses over money issues….
Father…you’ll bring solutions.
People will find their way to manage their finances better.
But Lord the foundation of your prosperity in our life…is the tithe.
The opening of windows over our lives…the opening of opportunities and blessing comes from what we’re doing right now.
So father as we bring this sacred finance to you … we thank you Lord that it unleashes power and principles into our world that are unstoppable.
So thank you for the blessing Father on every gift given right now in Jesus’ name..and everybody said ‘amen’.
God bless as you give folks.
Go ahead ushers, thank you.
If you’re on the internet ..watching today …you can go to the upper right hand corner of your web page and you’ll find a giving area.
And those of you who use the EFTPOS machine…you’re welcome to do so at the end of the service.
If you needed an envelope for your giving…because you didn’t have a newsletter….there’s a tear-off section on that you can get…but if you need an envelope…please make sure you get a hold of one….to fill out the details of your credit card if you’re using a credit card for giving.
Length of offering talk – 7:50 min.
Source: By Hill$ong Squad, Everybody say ‘firstfruits’ (firstfruits), http://hillsong.bigblog.com.au/post.do?id=65489, 30/08/2006. (Accessed 14/11/2011.) *Cached link: http://web.archive.org/web/20070502235421/http://hillsong.bigblog.com.au/post.do?id=65489.
Some people still may be skeptical about Pringle’s connections to New Thought/Occult influences. Here is another article that explores these associations. Pringle gets a casual mention alongside other problematic preachers and non-Christian teachers.
We have Herescope’s permission to reproduce this article.
HIS BELIEFS, HIS ASSOCIATIONS, HIS MISSION
By Gaylene Goodroad
When I finished my online E-booklet, My Life in “The Way”, exposing the Buddhist/Taoist/New Age roots of the martial arts, I also documented the inseparable relationship to its Western point man, Chuck Norris. Norris is a martial artist, actor, author, political activist—and professing Christian—which necessitates the need for discerning Christians influenced by his celebrity to weigh his beliefs, his associations, and his mission with the Bible.
CHUCK NORRIS: HIS BELIEFS
Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them
As I documented in My Life in “The Way”, Mr. Norris kept his 1988 autobiography, The Secret of Inner Strength: My Story, very secular. While there is no mention of a Christian conversion or belief in the Lord Jesus Christ, he admits to being influenced by New Thought/Human Potential gurus, Napoleon Hill and Dr. Joseph Murphy. Mr. Norris routinely utilizes and affirms the use of visualization techniques throughout his book while recounting famous karate matches with other notable martial artists. Commenting on this practice I wrote:
Much could be said concerning the occult/metaphysical nature of the human potential movement, but suffice it to say, it is NOT Christian. Napoleon Hill was given his formula of success—the “Supreme Secret”—from unseen visitors on the astral plane calling themselves “The Venerable Brotherhood of Ancient India.” They taught Hill the power of visualization and his famous maxim, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.” His most popular book, Think and Grow Rich, influenced millions. This demonic philosophy is behind such motivational teachings of the late Norman Vincent Peale, Robert Schuller, and Rhonda Byrne, author of The Secret.
With prompting and inspiration from his second wife, Gena, Norris wrote a second “Christian” autobiography, Against All Odds, in 2004. In it, Mr. Norris says that he trusted Christ as his Savior at age 12 (sometime in 1952), while making a commitment to Him sometime later after going forward at a Billy Graham Crusade. Despite this public profession of faith, Mr. Norris fails to recant neither his New Thought/Mind-Science techniques nor the core philosophies of the martial arts—teachings and practices that are completely incompatible with true Christianity. Also troubling is an underlying “might makes right” attitude inherent in the fighting arts. On page 30, Mr. Norris records this story:
The ambushers beat him up badly [an Air Force policeman] and robbed him. [He] was a black belt in tang soo do. When the slicky boys found this out, they were so horrified at the potential reprisal they might suffer, they printed an apology in the local paper. It did them no good. When somebody messes with one black belt, he or she is challenging the whole organization. One of our members tracked down several of the attackers. He killed one and injured two. The police arrested him, and he was sentenced to three years in prison. He was back out on the street in two weeks. The lesson was clear: Mess with one member of our group, and your messing with all.
The Bible says that murder is wrong and that vengeance belongs to the LORD.
On the contrary, Mr. Norris has retained this unbiblical mixture of beliefs and practices and has made them a primary part of his life’s work. I documented his most disturbing belief (and teaching) in my E-booklet:
Forty-four years after his professed conversion, and in between his two autobiographies, Chuck Norris published another book in 1996 entitled: The Secret Power Within: Zen Solutions to Real Problems. This book is a real problem for Christians. The reader discovers the “secret power within” on pages 127-130: “Ki: The Universal Power.” “The fact is that everyone has ki, which is really little more than a technique of visualization allowing one to utilize the internal energy that we all have and letting it flow through the body…”
On page 36 of My Life in “The Way”, I made this observation followed by a probing question:
By now, the Christian reader is rightfully confused regarding the source of Mr. Norris’ “secret inner strength,” and “secret power within.” Has he made the same deleterious leap as Michael Chen and Rev. Jordan in equating the impersonal “ki” force (kundalini power) with the Holy Spirit of the Living God—the third person of the triune godhead? Has he unwittingly become a de facto false teacher of Far Eastern mysticism in woolen garb like this author did before fully repenting—and renouncing the martial arts? Let the evidence speak.
CHUCK NORRIS: HIS ASSOCIATIONS
For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you
(1 Cor. 11:19)
It has already been established that Mr. Norris’ faith is a heady mix of Christianity, New Thought and Zen Buddhism. A closer inspection reveals that his peculiar brand of Christianity is strictly of the charismatic Word-Faith variety. He has been a motivational speaker for T.D. Jakes Ministries and the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), as well as Ed Cole Ministries. He will be a featured speaker at the 2010 Lion’s Roar Global Men’s Summit in Dallas in November, a ministry of the Christian Men’s Network (CMN) begun by the late Cole. Dr. Cole was nurtured under the ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson, becoming an Assemblies of God pastor within two years of his conversion. He later became a men’s motivational lecturer and the inspiration for Promise Keepers. Cole has mentored many influential men including Bill McCartney, John Maxwell, Pat Robertson, Kenneth Copeland, Oliver North, Kong Hee, Sunday Adelaja… and Chuck Norris. Adelaja, a key New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) apostle and 7 Mountain/Sphere Mandate promoter, has led teaching seminars with Norris, ex-New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Mel Gibson. Among many Word-Faith notables, Norris will share the Lion’s Roar Summit platform with Mike Hayes, Kong Hee, Brian Houston, Jack Hayford, Eddie Long, Phil Pringle, and Jim Garlow, Christian right activist and chair of Newt Gingrich’s ReAL (Renewing American Leadership).
Norris endorsed Joel Osteen’s 2004 book, Your Best Life Now, and in the introduction to his latest book, Black Belt Patriotism, Mr. Norris commends Rick Warren’s Purpose Driven Life. Mr. Norris received an honorary doctorate from Liberty University in 2008, the same school that hosted the “Awakening 2010 Conference” in April that featured prominent Dominionists, and that invited Mormon Glenn Beck to deliver its 2010 Commencement Address.
Chuck Norris, along with his wife Gena, is also on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools (NCBCPS), which appears to be a commendable organization until a closer examination is made. The vice president of this council is (Ret.) Col. Jim Ammerman, an apostle in C. Peter Wagner’s International Coalition of Apostles (ICA), a component of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR), and personal friend to John Hagee and Kenneth Copeland. Among the luminaries on the NCBCPS Advisory Board, is Janet Folger Porter, the May Day Event organizer who lost her Faith2Action radio program on VCY America after Herescope posted a series of articles exposing her ties to Dominonism. Porter, like Norris, also writes a column for WorldNetDaily.
Also noted is NCBCPS Advisory Board member, David Barton, a patriotic Dominionist and historical revisionist, who has influenced not only the NCBCPS curriculum, but Fox News host Glenn Beck and the Texas State Board of Education. Barton’s version of history is also a prominent feature of Norris’ latest book, Black Belt Patriotism, How To Reawaken America.
Todd DuBord, Chuck Norris’ chaplain (TopKick Productions) and researcher, was interviewed on Wallbuilders Live! (Barton’s radio program) in March of 2009 by Rick Green, a former Texas legislator marked by ethical improprieties who failed an attempt at becoming a Texas Supreme Court Judge in April 2010—despite glowing endorsements from David Barton… and Chuck Norris. In the radio interview, DuBord referred to Black Belt Patriotism as a “Christian Cultural Manifesto,”
…A hardcore look at what our Founders believed and a way to reawaken America and to get back to that vision—very similar to what Wallbuilders is all about. In fact, we [Chuck and Todd] use many, many resources from Wallbuilders and always appreciate your guy’s ministry.
David Barton also has strong ties to former House Speaker, Newt Gingrich, founder of Renewing American Leadership (ReAL), and possible presidential candidate in 2012 —who also has a working relationship with Chuck Norris. In 2008, Norris appeared in drilling ads for Gingrich’s American Solutions for Winning the Future campaign. In May, Norris was a featured speaker at the National NRA Convention in Charlotte, N.C., alongside Gingrich, Sarah Palin, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., Lt. Col. Oliver North, and Glenn Beck, who frequently features Barton on his TV/radio program, and related special events.
Chuck Norris has not only thrown his celebrity behind a famous Word-Faith author (Osteen), a Texas Supreme Court judge hopeful (Rick Green), but also endorsed former Republican Arkansas Governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee for president in 2007-2008. Incredibly, Huckabee appeared in an ad with money preacher, Kenneth Copeland, in the December 2007 issue of Charisma magazine and spent a week on Copeland’s TV daily broadcast, the Believers Voice of Victory—at the same time that the Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation into the Copelands (and several other multimillion-dollar Word-Faith ministry moguls). Instead of distancing himself from Copeland, Huckabee accepted a $29,000 personal donation from Copeland, held a fundraiser at the Copeland estate raising upwards of $100,000 —and even appeared in a live webcast pastor’s conference sponsored by Kenneth Copeland Ministries requesting emergency funds. One report says that following Huckabee’s plea, $111,000 in cash was raised for Huckabee, with an additional unspecified amount given in campaign pledges presumed to be in excess of a million dollars.
As mentioned previously, Chuck Norris is a columnist for WorldNetDaily (WND), a conservative online news source founded by Joseph Farah, a Dominionist sympathizer with radical right views. Farah just re-released his Dominionist-leaning 2005 book, Taking America Back: A Radical Plan to Revive Freedom, Morality, and Justice, as well introducing his latest work, The Tea Party Manifesto: A Vision for an American Rebirth earlier this year. In September, WND and Farah will host the “Taking America Back Convention,” in Miami, FL. Speakers will include author, political commentator, and syndicated columnist Ann Coulter, Rep. Michele Bachmann R-Minn., constitutional lawyer Michael Farris, Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), Alan Keyes, Christian right political activist, and Bible teacher Chuck Missler (Koinonia House).
CHUCK NORRIS: HIS MISSION
Brethren, join in following my example, and observe those who walk according to the pattern you have in us. For many walk, of whom I often told you, and now tell you even weeping, that they are enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction, whose god is their appetite, and whose glory is in their shame, who set their minds on earthly things. For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior the Lord Jesus Christ
Despite the personal notoriety, Chuck Norris considers his life’s mission to be KickStartKids, a martial arts program for at-risk school children that former President H.W. Bush helped him start in 1992. Norris has said, “martial arts training provides them [at-risk children] with the core values and philosophies associated with leading a productive and healthy life…” According to Norris, those “core values and philosophies,” taught in the KickStart program, square with the Bible. “The martial arts is a philosophy that is pretty much the principles in the Bible. Even though we can’t talk about Jesus, we can talk about what Jesus talks about in the Bible—love, loving your neighbor, being good people.”
It has previously been established that the root philosophies and underlying values of the martial arts are completely at odds with the Bible. Nevertheless, Mr. Norris has a vision to establish this program in every school in America, growing his nearly 7,000 students into 24,000,000 and beyond. All the proceeds from Norris’ book sales and projects like his World Combat League, airing on the Versus Channel, go to KickStartKids. In 2009, Norris received the McLane Leadership in Business Award by President Bush Sr., “for his service to America’s youth.” Accepting the award, Norris told the audience, “I’m a product of what martial arts can do for you, it turned my whole life around…It changed a young, insecure, nonathletic kid into a world champion and renowned actor.”
In keeping with his “service to youth,” Chuck Norris and Pastor Todd DuBord wrote The Official Chuck Norris Fact Book in November of 2009. The book (published by Tyndale Publishing) is a compilation of mythical sayings (in the spirit of Paul Bunyan) with inspirational messages woven in—“many of which reintroduce Americans, particularly our youth, to our Founder’s America.” These Chuck Norris “facts” have become an Internet phenomenon, such as “Chuck Norris puts the laughter in manslaughter,” and “There are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, Chuck Norris lives in Oklahoma.” Norris has even become a cult hero among American—and Iraqi forces.
Norris posed the following questions in a March 2009 column posted in WorldNetDaily, “How much more will Americans take? When will enough be enough? And, when that time comes, will our leaders finally listen or will history need to record a second American Revolution? Six months later, Norris wrote a piece entitled: “The Secret Weapon in America’s Revolution.” Here is the “secret weapon”:
I believe young people will play a critical role in reawakening and returning America again to its Founding Father’s vision, ways and principles…I believe there exists a latent power in this particular generation that waits to be awakened and reveal its full potential…I’m not talking about selling them on a partisan platform, but a patriot one (as our Founders had.)…
(This sounds alarmingly like Dominionism’s “New Breed.”) In the Black Belt Patriotism chapter entitled, “Calling All Millennials!,” Norris gives this charge to his younger readers:
We need you to help us reawaken America and rebuild what our Founding Fathers started…If you’re a Millennial, consider this an invitation. We need your help. I need your help to join me and millions of others in a revolution (or, if you will, a rebelution), not to abandon the principles of the past but combine them with social action in the present to build a better tomorrow. In other words, it’s time to make some noise!
In the introduction to this book, Chuck Norris makes this statement: “I’ve committed the rest of my life to help Old Glory rise again to her heights of splendor.” He followed his remarks with a visit back to the Alamo (coincidently the same locale for the Patriot Pastor’s Tea Party Rich Scarborough held July 7), proudly detailing the human casualties in this infamous battle. He concluded the historical narrative by saying, “They lost that battle but would provide the inspiration to win the war. Their fighting spirit rallied the new found republic and still does to this day. So when you think all is lost in America, remember the Alamo!”
Human beings were killed in this armed revolution. Is this the kind of “revolution” he has planned for the youth—the Millennials— of America? Decide for yourself. Norris closes this intro with a quote from General Sam Houston, former governor of Texas and leader of the Texas Revolution of 1835.
We view ourselves on the eve of battle. We are nerved for the contest, and must conquer or perish. It is vain to look for present aid: none is at hand. We must now act or abandon all hope! Rally to the standard, and be no longer the scoff of mercenary tongues! Be men, be free men, that your children may bless their father’s name.
C3’s Chris Pringle Butchers the Gospel In Job to Teach Prosperity Heresy
I’ve already reviewed one message from the Presence Conference in Sydney and have already seen enough to convince me that no one should attend this conference unless as a rescue mission to evangelize the lost that can only become more lost than they were before by believing anything that’s taught here. But we are building a case and making an argument and, keeping that goal in mind, there can never be too much evidence.
For more on the entire C3 Church Movement headed up by Phil Pringle and his wife, a great source is C3Churchwatch blog.
So this time I am reviewing a “sermon” that makes Steven Furtick seem like a breath of fresh air. Chris Pringle already has a strike against her as I consider her preaching because she is a woman who is not only defying the biblical mandate against women teaching groups including men, but further defies God’s word because she holds the office of co-pastor of C3 Church in Sydney with her husband Phil Pringle. Since the Bible clearly forbids women from holding this office in the church, we know right off what low regard Ms. Pringle has for the authority of God’s Word.
But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet, 13 For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve.” (1 Tim. 2:12-13).
“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach (1 Tim. 3:2)
So there’s one strike, but she has enough strikes to finish off a full lineup through all nine innings! These are the big strikes, which accompany the strikes against her throughout the sermon. First, this message is not about Jesus. It is not taken from the Bible. It is not about the gospel. It is, however, packed with narrative of the history of C3 church, with a heavy dose of anecdotes from the life of Phil and Chris Pringle.
The title of Chris Pringle’s message is “The Scent of Water”. Before you write off that title as ridiculous, in all fairness, that phrase does appear in Job 14, but she fails to present a message that really has anything to do with water or anything that water represents. Instead, she centers the message around the idea of seeds and trees. Sometimes the seed is a dream, sometimes it’s a person. Sometimes the tree is your dream, sometimes it’s you and sometimes it’s the church. Sometimes you’re supposed to bury your seed and let it die. Sometimes you’re supposed to be the seed and reach up to the “scent of water”. Sometimes you’re supposed to shut it in a woodshed and forget about it. (You think I’m kidding, don’t you. Just wait and see for yourself.) As erratic as her imagery may be, her speaking style is more so. I lost count of the times she interrupted herself. Chris Pringle is a world class bunny trailer.
I also sense much untruth in her little stories. I would lay bets that the anecdote supposedly pulled from their early marriage in the middle of this message is more of a yarn or a tall tale. I will make a case for that notion, but admittedly can’t prove it. But my suspicions are not unfounded.
Sidebar to Address an Annoying Habit Among Modern Worship Bands.
I’ve been told by my husband, who used to play keyboard for a worship band, that what I witness at the beginning of this video is called “vamping”. Here is what I’m talking about. The video opens with the end of a worship song. There is no telling what song, because the way they draw out the finale always comes out sounding the same. The female vocalist always wails emotionally above the sound of the band, following no particular melody and maybe repeating stock phrases such as “Oh, Lord” or “We love you, Jesus”. The guitars are pounding one or two chords over and over and over, and the drums draw out a final cymbal-crashing finale over several minutes. All of this is provided with a backdrop of a video of a glittery waterfall pattern, designed to mesmerize. Everyone on stage is most definitely caught up “in the Spirit” because they have their eyes squinched tight and hands raised. So this is called “vamping”? That’s appropriate, I think, considering it’s obviously designed to seduce.
noun 1.a seductive woman who uses her sensuality to exploit men.
verb 2. to use feminine charms upon; seduce.
Here I’ll start the “play-by-pay” of Chris Pringle’s morning session. I started out making links that go straight to certain spots in the video, but that started becoming too time consuming so they cease about 20 minutes in:
0:40 Music leader asks everyone to pray for floodgates to open on their neighbor. Sounds dangerous! C3′s hazard insurance premiums are going to go through the roof!!
1:15 Music Leader starts speaking in “tongues”. No interpreter. And I know from personal experience that this is a skill that you can learn to exhibit on demand. Not buying it though he’s making it more believable than some do. Chris Pringle’s efforts, which are on display towards the end of this video, display a need for more practice to be convincing. The music leader follows his burst of babble with a series of bumper-sticker phrases back to back – altogether lacking in meaning or grammatical sense.
2:52 Finally winding down the “vamping” to outline agenda for the evening.
3:43 Encouraging crowd to applaud a pastor in the audience from Lausanne, Switzerland. Ahhhh, Lausanne, hometown of the ecumenical movement. He’s being congratulated for breaking 600 in attendance at their particular C3 site. These interludes between music and message are giving me flashback to my days in sales. They sound suspiciously like they’re conducting a sales rally, complete with shout-outs to the regional managers who put up the best numbers, etc.
Good grief. Pastor from Lausanne being called up to the stage and asked to pray for everyone, but could he do it in French.
5:22 Swiss Pastor prays in French. I guess we’re going back to the Dark Ages, where it’s acceptable to lead worship in a language the congregation doesn’t understand. He does follow with a separate prayer in English, not a translation, just a different prayer in English. He was way more excited while he prayed in French. Too bad we’ll never know what he was excited about. This was followed up with much silliness from the worship leader about how cool French sounds. Music leader actually instructed audience to make a silly French sound in unison.
8:03 Introduces “Pastor” Chris, listing her many amazing qualities.
10:20 He finally finishes praising “Pastor” Chris, who now takes the stage. She proceeds to pay it forward and praises the crowd for theirmany worthy qualities, and becoming verklempt out of love for her people.
11:30 ”I believe in you, all that God has for you,” she declares. Then she has a moment where she says something more honest than maybe she herself realizes: “This is not a teaching session so put away your notebook.” Kind of begs the question, just what kind of session is this?
“It’s going to start popping, out of the earth, out of your heart, out of your lives.” Will this require medical attention?
13:00 Introduces daughter, Rebecca, who “works like a Trojan horse”. Odd simile. She is aware, isn’t she, that Trojan horses are made of wood and require the effort of multiple other people just to get them point A to point B?
13:17 Presenting Pastor Phil’s paintings on stage up for sale. She says anyone who things they’re in “fat city” are under a delusion. They need to sell art to pay their bills. So we’re supposed to believe that Phil Pringle is a starving artist? Really? How about selling the Rolex on your wrist, Pastor Phil? That would pay a lot of bills.
14:14 She starts engraining the concept that money is a “supernatural seed”. Very smooth little insertion of the concept here. “We sow that supernatural seed, and now it’s your turn.”
Does sales pitch for Phil’s paintings, complete with the claim that they are “anointed” with the same power that rests on Phil. That’s a bold assertion. By the way, I am an amateur artist and have even painted some through the years. In my amateur opinion, these are not particularly spectacular paintings. I mean, they’re okay. They remind me of greeting cards. And I think I remember from the review I did of the Furtick sermon that they sold one of these for about $30,000. These definitely do not rate that kind of price tag. The only way people are paying that much is because they believe the Spirit of God will somehow come with paintings. Click here to view where she’s showing them on stage.
I am thinking that the punishment for actually has got to worse for collecting money claiming to sell the Spirit than for trying to buy it. And the punishment for the latter was certainly bad for Simon the magician:
18 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money,19 saying, “Give me this power also, so that anyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” 20 But Peter said to him, “May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 You have neither part nor lot in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 Repent, therefore, of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 For I see that you are in the gall[c] of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity.”
15:37 Chris introduces Bif and Kim Tyson, members of C3 whom I sense are about to be exploited to tug heart strings and to get emotion flowing in the room. The wife is in a wheel chair and is paralyzed from the waist down from a car accident a year ago. That is certainly horrible and sad but doesn’t it literally add insult to injury that they are about to let themselves be used like puppies are used to sell paper towels?
16:37 ”Bif’s story [the woman in the wheelchair], in my heart, has something to do with the supernatural seed” gushes Chris. She is working hard to insert that “seed” concept whenever possible. Later in the conference, Phil Pringle shamelessly uses this so-called principle to draw money from the attendees.
Chris says they are “sowing their supernatural seed” as she presents as a gift one of Phil’s paintings to the couple. Wow that’s a tiny painting! They chose one so small that I can’t recognize what it’s a painting of. Big applause though. Uh, Pastor Chris. There’s a verse I’d like to share with you:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. (Matthew 6:1)”
18:03 Soundman Jordie comes to fix mic which is rattling against earring. Did she just make a pass at him?! She was obviously joking, but ew! He’s probably a quarter of her age and she’s the pastor’s wife… or actually she’s one of the pastors.
18:49 She says, apologetically, “I’m going to get to the Bible.” Promises, promises…
19:10 Gratuitous insertion of reference to her making love to her husband. She apparently received these particular earrings while they were… you know…. Thank you so much for that image. Where’s the Ambien? I’m going to need a dreamless sleep tonight. She also decides to share that the mic is caught in her bra. It’s kind of embarrassing the antics they go through to get it untangled. Raucous laughter from the audience.
20:29 ”It’s all about this seed—this relationship”. Oh, I forgot that one. The seed is also a relationship. Got it.
20:38 Okay, this is starting to bug me. She is using Jordie’s mom as an illustration but has forgotten her name. This is the fourth or fifth time within only about 20 minutes of combined Chris Pringle/Phil Pringle footage that I have witnessed them forgetting somebody’s name among those that works on their staff or are part of their church. This is supposed to be the flock they’re shepherding and they don’t even care enough about these people to remember their names! Each time they stumble like this, they try to whitewash over it with flattery. She immediately starts to refer to Helen, whose name she forgot, as her sister.
20:46 Tells story about Wendy (Jordie’s mom) and how she had brain cancer and wasn’t a Christian. She was brought to Jesus and healed of her brain cancer. Jesus did not receive any glory for this, but these things were credited to the life-changing power present in the connect groups at C3. Not a WORD about God, about Jesus, about his healing Power! This is going to be a very long message.
21:35 ”This awesome, supernatural seed is going va-va-va-va-va in the earth.” What is that word? Is that a va-va-va-va-verb?
21:53 Chris refers to the so-called prophecy regarding the filling of the Warragamba Dam.
I have to insert here that there is absolutely nothing so far that would clue anyone in that this is a Christian gathering. Chris is now talking about “God’s supernatural power”. What god? Which god? I think I’m going to stop capitalizing god (as well as her “holy spirit”) until she gives some reason to do otherwise.
22:06 She is just babbling at this point. She is making no sense, but she believes whatever she’s babbling “with all her heart”
22:26 ”You have literally been drawn here by the scent of water.” I think you need to look up what “literal” means. A few sentences later, “There’s something that happens in a seed that’s in the earth… something that’s hidden…. dark, black, possible even dead. I know that the holy spirit today is going to revive and turn things around, supernaturally as you and I lift up, look up to the scent of water.” I refuse to capitalize this woman’s holy spirit.
23:05 Chris Pringle has a severe case of A.D.D. She gets scattered and stalls and follows every possible bunny trail. For instance, she just came to an abrupt stop to address the band behind her. She realizes they had not been dismissed and wondered if they minded still being on stage. She then inquires of someone in the front row (Phil?) if the band is distracting. I have to answer for her not half so distracting as her self-inflicted interruptions! She then shows remorse for bringing up the subject, thinking they might feel unwanted and tells them that she loves having them up there because they’re her kids, all of them, and she’s “Momma Chris”. Then immediately admits to not knowing the name of the girl on the drums, which rather spoiled the effect of her little speech.
Informed of the drummer’s name, Chris is flustered as if she ought to have known her name. (Yes, she should have.) Chris then remarks on their striking resemblance to Erica and Darlene. This gives evidence that she doesn’t know any of them well or their faces would be quite distinct from one another. A brief attempt to get back on track lasted about two seconds before stops again inquire how she’s doing on time. At this point, this is a valid concern since her various self-inflicted interruptions have probably eaten up the clock. It shows a lack of respect for those in the audience who paid money for this conference. She seems quite unprepared and doesn’t seem to concerned, though, that she’s wasting the time they paid for.
24:28 Starts talking about Steven Furtick’s message and how she had a flashback to her life in the80s while Steven was preaching.
25:00 Chris asserts that that her holy spirit moves and speaks in those times our mind wanders. She’s making a case, it seems, that those with A.D.D. are spiritually gifted. She’s encouraging an undisciplined mind here and making it a virtue.
25:18 Chris says the holy spirit wants to get us to reach up to the scent of water. If this is true, her holy spirit is going to have to train me how I reach for a smell and what water smells like exactly.
25:44 Out of the blue, interrupts herself again to tell the audience that she has lost 10 kilos and not 12 as she had claimed yesterday. This couldn’t be more out of place. I think she has no ability to keep thoughts that pop into her had from popping right out of her mouth.
26:55 Another bunny trail to announce Phil’s 60th birthday is next month. Feels the need to share their vacation plans and says something that I gather is inappropriate, but she’s using Australian slang, with which I’m unfamiliar. It might be really bad for all I know, so I’m going to not quote her.
26:28 Says guiltily and apologetically, “I’ve got to get onto the message. I’ve almost read a scripture… It’s part of a scripture.” We’re almost a half-hour in. That would be nice. But is that all we’re probably going to get? A verse? Part of a verse? “Don’t worry about what I’m saying. Just pick up the good vibes. Okay?” Wow… she’s getting her theology from the Beach Boys?
26:56 ”I’m going to get to this little supernatural seed, and it’s a trick. There’s a trick in the supernatural seed. It’s actually in the natural seed as well.” This sentence makes absolutely no sense to me! I’m lost. Chris then circles back to continue to her earlier story about her flashback to the 80′s. Here, Chris talks at length about the history of C3 and its humble beginnings. ” Phil was, blah, blah, blah… and I was blah, blah, blah… and we were blah, blah, blah….” Can we have something more along the lines of “Jesus did…”, “God ordained…”, and “His Spirit has…” and pull from their story that’s already been recorded for us?
29:06 ”Some things, we can’t see but god can see. It’s hidden in the earth. We don’t know it yet. Some of your pastors and leaders are there right now.” I have a prediction that the magic trick for getting the seed out of its hiding place is to plant more seeds. In the world of rosperity preachers, “seed” always means money.
29:37 ”Every day, we were reading this book by T.L. and Daisy Osborne. A Daily Guide to Miracles.” Hmmm…. This is the title of a book by Oral Roberts. The actual title is A Daily Guide to Miracles and Successful Living through Seed-Faith. When I look up the authors she just cited, I find that T.L. Osborn was Roberts partner in street evangelistic meetings in the 1930′s. Here is my first piece of evidence that she’s making this story up. If this book had so much meaning to them, she would have remembered who wrote it. What I suspect really happened is that she pulled this quote off of Osborn’s website and assumed it was Osborn’s quote. Then decided to build an entire fictitious anecdote around the quote.
30:20 ”The holy spirit said to me ‘Go home and get that painting’” Claiming direct divine revelation, but as we’ve covered already, no reason to believe this is the Lord. She does this so many times in this hour-long message, it would make the review far too long to cite every instance.
30:44 ”T.L. had said in this chapter, ‘take your very best, the cream of your heart, and sow it to God.’” As we already covered, if this came from the book, Roberts said it, not T.L. This quote was hand-picked as words well-crafted to move the audience to take their “best” and give it away and this will unleash god’s blessing. She’s priming the pump to convince them to give away their best. She said this about the one finished painting and it really doesn’t make much sense: “Right then and there, I sowed Sydney. I sowed Sydney; I put it in the earth. I covered it up. And I shut the woodshed door.” Chris has stopped making sense. She sowed Sydney? Is Sydney the earth? Is Sydney a seed? How do you “sow” a city? I suppose Chris would accuse me of not seeing with my spiritual eyes. I don’t think that’s the problem though. This language, all of it, is foreign to the language I find in scripture.
31:50 ”I know, as I was praying this morning, the Lord said to me some of you have to shut the woodshed door. You’ve got to shut the door and trust god with that seed.” This cracks me up! I can’t help hearing now the recurring line from the movie Cold Comfort Farm: “I saw something NASTY in the woodshed!” And by the way, what she shut in the woodshed was Phil’s only finished painting, the only means by which they would possibly make any money. I have a REAL hard time believing that these people passed up the chance to auction off a painting like this. She has it up there as a prop on stage and I have a hard time believing that this painting survived all these years because of sentimentality. I’m thinking he painted this one for the occasion, or maybe to have many occasions where they use this same story.
32:50 Chris finally reads from Scripture:
John 12:24 “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”
Now the Amplified: “I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just one grain, it never becomes more, but lives by itself alone, but if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.”
The Message: Listen carefully. Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.
33:55 And then, as if she’s summing up that one verse (do we really need a summary of one verse?) she says, “Even though you can’t see it, the tree is definitely in the seed”. I think she’s missed the point of the passage. This is wheat, not an acorn. It multiplies rather than grow into one big thing. But that doesn’t fit her purposes of preaching about big dreams, so she’d rather ignore that. Not to mention the whole passage surrounding this verse is about denying yourself and taking up your cross, which would sound quite foreign coming out of Chris Pringle’s mouth. Now she’s going back into their life story and talking about how attractive Phil was back then. Says something about Phil in bicycle shorts. Ugh! Please stop!
34:44 While riding his bike in 1980, god spoke to Phil and asked him to go to Littleton. The lesson here, apparently, is they let Sydney die (their desire to have the church in Sydney) and so a door opened in Littleton. This is law, not living under grace. It’s a quid pro quo.
35:30 She says that if the seed (and it’s left to your own creativity and imagination as to what your particular seed might be) is buried in the earth, “leave it dead because something’s about to happen. Here’s what I’m going to say. It’s not just about planting a church…. Growing a church… It’s the DNA, the supernatural connections of the DNA in that seed is what is going to cause that seed to go POP! Snap, Crackle, Pop in the earth!” Again, she’s speaking a foreign language.
36:30 Chris is still talking about her life and of trees and seeds. She keeps producing strange sound effects to describe the rumbling seed as well as many sentence fragments and incomplete thoughhts.
36:58 ”The lord said, I’ve given you this city.” This is a grand claim indeed. Sort of the opposite of what Jesus did when he turned down being given all the kingdoms of the world. This is not biblical language unless you go all the way back to Joshua where God commanded the Israelite army to commit entire cities to destruction. We have been given a very specific kind of authority, according to Matthew 28:18: To proclaim the gospel, to batize and to teach all Jesus commanded.
37:04 Chris makes a statement you can tell she’s proud of. She utters, as if an oracle of god, “When we want to, we’re not ready. When we’re ready, we don’t want to.” This amazing insight drew a round of applause. I guess it just sounded so deep and inscrutable, the audience decided that it must be amazingly wise. Phil is in the audience grinning, as if his wife has just proven her utter genius. She follows this up with, “When we’re cocky, god’s not interested. When we’re freaking out, crapping our pants. We’re ready. When we’re hiding in the wine press…That’s when god puts our hand on us.” Crass language aside, this is again a quid pro quo. We receive from God when we have our act straight.
37:55 We need to make sure we do it right. (More law, no grace, no gospel. It’s all about what we have to do. Have you got anything for someone who doesn’t have it all together?) We must do what god wants because we have to make sure the conditions are right for the seed to go “pop”. (Wow I’m glad to have exited this religious culture full of pressure to make sure we’re “doing it right” so that we don’t “miss God’s will”. It’s very freeing to know that we do not have the ability to get in God’s way. He’s quite a bit stronger than us.)
38:05 ”We need to listen to our leaders and make sure it’s the right place, the right time.” Okay, this is a biggie. She’s asserting that she and Phil are god’s mouthpiece and the populace had better listen to them or their seed’s not going to “pop”.
38:24 Getting Veklempt again, thanking her husband for listening to the holy spirit. “Thank you, babe!”
39:12 Still talking about the story of C3. Asks C3 Pastors to stand up to be honored with applause for, I guess, letting their seed die. It’s interesting that the one verse she’s read so far happens to be one that does not mention Jesus. This is natural since Jesus was the one who said it, but we the audience doesn’t know that because she didn’t read the verse in context.
39:49 ”Look at you! This is our seed! This is our DNA!” Veklempt.
39:58 Chris has an honest moment: “My message is in sort of bits. I’m sorry. But that’s just how I am. I’m all in bits.”
40:15 Chris introduces a little gum tree prop. Still talking about the story of the beginning of C3 church.
41:20 ”The supernatural seed is protected by the power of the holy spirit…. That’s why Habbakuk says, “Wait, wait, wait… keep your expectations high. Just wait…” Habbakuk says what?? Well, it could be she’s talking about this. It’s a popular verse among those who expect special revelation from God. But what this verse is talking about waiting for is God’s judgment, which is quickly approaching:
Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it
For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end—it will not lie.
If it seems slow, wait for it;
it will surely come; it will not delay. (Habakkuk 2:2-3)
Chris continues on to give the pastors there a pep talk. Chris says if they don’t have that “positive expectation”, then get with someone who does. This sounds like “Hitch your wagon to a star.” Again, this brings me back to my sales days, except it’s starting to be more reminiscent of my very first sales job in Mary Kay.
42:08 That’s why Habakkuk says, “Write it down. Make it real plain. Date it.” I see the write it down part, but not the “date it”. That sounds more like a quote from a book on setting goals. And Habakkuk was told something specific to write down. Is she claiming everyone there is to expect revelation with the same authority as what Habakkuk received?
42:40 Now talking about the original land purchase back in 1980. How is this not boring the audience to tears? But she’s treating it like some story that will effect life change: “The story of C3 church is the power of God unto salvation for everyone who believes”. Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound right.
42:50 Chris is now reminiscing about a tree-planting day C3 celebrated, which I predict will turn out to be a momentous event with great spiritual significant. Chris and Phil planted a tree which looked like it was going to die which, of course, is just like your vision which looks sick and dying.
44:07 ”He used to be a tree-hugger, my man, when he was on acid.” Niiiiiice.
44:30 Big picture of big tree put up onto the screen. This is supposedly proof that if you just believe, your dream can grow from a sickly little seed… or tree… or bad idea… or something… like… ummm… never mind.
44:54 The holy spirit said to her to get a painting and bring it today – a painting of two women fetching water. Chris assumed it must have special meaning for “someone here today” to not give up. “Draw water. Draw water from the wells of salvation.” What? Is that a verse? If it is, she must have just googled it so she could throw in a verse at this point. But she didn’t cite it so I’ll look it up. Here it is in context:
You will say in that day:
“I will give thanks to you, O Lord,
for though you were angry with me,
your anger turned away,
that you might comfort me.
2 “Behold, God is my salvation;
I will trust, and will not be afraid;
for the Lord God is my strength and my song,
and he has become my salvation.”
3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. (Isaiah 12:1-3)
Chris Pringle has managed to quote the one verse in the passage that implies our part in the matter. God as our savior is absent from anything she quotes.
45:17 Speaks for a while on how we should speak nice things to our little tree and hug it and don’t be mean to it and criticize our tree. Awww… poor little tree. /sigh/
46:15 Rains are coming, floodgates of heaven are open. This is really kind of boring me. This is boilerplate prosperity-speak. When did the sappy music start? I didn’t notice. But it’s apparently time for it, because she’s gotten to the “You could be here today…” part.
46:35 ”We want you in the family tree. Turn to your neighbor and say, ‘I’m in your family tree’” This is a versatile tree. She’s shifted her metaphor. The tree – it’s a dream, it’s a church, it’s everything but what was originally intended in the text.
46:51 ”Here’s my scripture, and it’s the scripture of my message.” She says in a tone of voice that says, oops, I sure got off track, because she proceeds to cite a verse that she hasn’t even mentioned yet: Job 14:7 “Even a tree has more hope.” What? Let me look up this verse:
For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease.
What translation is she reading from? And she only read a third of one verse. She’s talking about this as if this verse is about giving encouragement to people who have been discouraged in their dreams. How dare she compare the type of thing she’s talking about with what Job went through. He lost all his children. He’s covered in boils. He lost his fortune in a moment.
47:28 Reaching up to the “scent of water” again, then proceeds to finish reading Job 14:7 and a few more verses following. Oh, so here’s where the “scent of water” came from. The plant reaches up to the scent of water. She said the “holy spirit quickened this verse to her.” In other words, she was reading this and suddenly was filled with her own bright ideas. Here is what she read:
For there is hope for a tree,
if it be cut down, that it will sprout again,
and that its shoots will not cease. Though its root grow old in the earth,
and its stump die in the soil, yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put out branches like a young plant. (Job 14:7-9)
Here is what follows it:
But a man dies and is laid low;
man breathes his last, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake
and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and rises not again;
till the heavens are no more he will not awake
or be roused out of his sleep. Oh that you would hide me in Sheol,
that you would conceal me until your wrath be past,
that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! If a man dies, shall he live again?
All the days of my service I would wait,
till my renewal should come. You would call, and I would answer you;
you would long for the work of your hands. For then you would number my steps;
you would not keep watch over my sin; my transgression would be sealed up in a bag,
and you would cover over my iniquity. (Job 14:10-17)
This is the gospel! She’s right on its doorstep! This is about how we are like that tree, cut down, seemingly dead, but only asleep. And Job is trusting God to call him on the last day, but after his wrath has past and that his sins stay buried, but he will rise up at his voice. This is about the resurrection on the last day.
For we know Job says later in chapter 19:
For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,(Job 19:25-26)
Wow, she’s right on the doorstep of a beautiful gospel passage, but she has absolutely no interest in that, because that will not help her and Phil build their C3 kingdom.
48:00 Getting crowd whipped up. She repeats various concepts about seeds, saplings, and scent of water and throws in some tongue babbling.
49:00 ”I’m going to tell you a little story”. Oh, goodie! It’s story time with Mama Chris. Oh my goodness, what comes next is just painful. She mentions someone in the band who she says she loves. Chris says she’s his “white mama”. And she says then that of course he’s got a mother. She proceeds to succumb to the irrational need to mention her ethnicity. She stumbles between whether to call her white or colored and you can tell Julian is uncomfortable and embarrassed for her. Why was that information even necessary? It just provided an opportunity to put her foot in her mouth. Chris goes on to explain that she has added him into her family tree and he’s now one of her sons. Julian just got married and apparently Chris performed the ceremony.
50:05 Chris says god wants us to see the invisible, supernatural seed of destiny in young men and young women. Okay… seed of destiny. Got it.
50:30 /sigh/ Now she’s talking to the little tree.
51:50 Starts singing snippet of some rain song.
51:40 She’s going to pray over Julian and he’s going to represent a seed of the future in our churches represented here to breathe upon this new seed.” She instructs all the musicians in the audience to stand up to be prayed over and she prays for god to “pop that seed in him.” She ends “In the name of Jesus.” First mention of Jesus.
53:00 Now talking more about C3 and what they do… blah, blah, blah. Then more about Chris’ life story. “God spoke to me… I had this revelation: everywhere I went, all the fruit, all the seed, all the trees, that were coming up with new life were through the church.” Scratch, scratch, scratch those itching ears. She then says she made a vow that she was not going to make Kone famous but make Jesus Christ famous. And may I say… epic fail. You are showing yourself inept at making Jesus famous. She spends the next several minutes telling Chris Pringle’s story. Also tells about some girl in Uganda with a tragic story, and C3 became her hero.
58:37 LOL! Is Phil Pringle asleep!?
59:05 Video about girl in Uganda. Apparently a testimonial of how much better her quality of life is now thanks to C3.
1:01:00 Instructing everyone to lift their hands to heaven to the “scent of water”.
1:01:25 Praying. Floodgates of heaven and more “pop, pop, pop”. “Up, up, up” over and over again. “Thank you Lord that you rebirth vision.” He does? Where do you find that in the Bible? “Let that dream flicker, flicker, flicker. Breath upon it holy spirit.” She’s apparently now seeing all sorts of things and relaying what’s in her mind’s eye.
1:03:19 Instructing everyone to pray in the spirit, then starts babbling. Making up her own repetitive song now, full up nonsense about rising and stretching and coming out of the earth. I’m so ready for this to be over. I’m pretty sure what she’s doing right now is supposedly prophetically singing, singing what are supposedly words from the lord over the people interspersed with tongue-babbling.
1:05:12 Now declaring seeds are popping and churches are coming out of oblivion. Coincidentally, I find myself wishing for oblivion at this point. “Send us to the graces of the earth.” Pardon? That sentence has no meaning. Music has been growing constantly in intensity. But soon softens. She’s getting ready for the hypnotic portion. She’s talking in that rhythmic way. It doesn’t matter what she says. It’s rocking the brain to sleep. “Paint your brush across our souls Lord, so that we’ll be attractive to others. So we’ll be irresistible.” That sounds just a bit like a description of the devil. He is covered in a disguise as an angel of light.
1:08:08 Putting in plug to register for a Women’s conference.
1:08:36 Music leader comes up. Giving instructions for stuff happening later that day aaaaand… we’re done.
Please pray for these people who have attended these conferences that they may hear the real gospel, that the Lord of the Harvest would send workers into the field. And pray for the wolves, these deceivers to be exposed.” – Cindy Stokes, C3’s Chris Pringle Butchers the Gospel In Job to Teach Prosperity Heresy, Thoughts From My Reformed Self, http://thoughtsfrommyreformedself.com/2012/05/12/c3s-chris-pringle-butchers-the-gospel-in-job-to-teach-prosperity-heresy/, 12/05/2012. (Accessed 19/05/2012.)
Below is the transcript of Phil Pringle’s Sunday morning resurrection offering talk.
“Well we’re going to receive our tithes and offerings right now. A resurrection offering. And if you look on your seat, you’ll find a card. And obviously we’ve put out more seats this morning. So if you haven’t got a card and you need one to record credit card details to put in the offering bag, please raise your hand. And an usher will look after you. Just raise it up and wave it around and an usher will make sure you got one. That will be great. Thank you.
There’s an Eftpost machine people use at the end of the service as well. Thank you.
Hebrews chapter eleven and verse one says, ‘Now faith is the substance of things we hope for and the evidence of things we haven’t seen’. James also says that, ‘Faith without works is dead’. So to say, ‘I believe’ but not do anything about that faith is- it’s a faith that doesn’t have any effect on your life or for anybody else’s for that matter. When we come to an offering, that is one of the great acts of faith that you can get involved in.
The Bible talks about giving in exactly the same way as sowing seeds. When Paul talks about giving he talks about sowing seeds, he’s not giving an agricultural lesson, he’s talking about the giving of our finances is exactly the same as putting seeds in your garden out the back. Now if you put no seeds in there, put no seeds in your garden and you say, ‘Lord, I’m praying that I’ll have a great harvest of tomatoes over there and potatoes of here and carrots over there, it doesn’t matter how hard you pray, nothing is going to happen, because there are some basic laws that you’ve got to observe when you’re sowing seed. And that is, number one, you’ve actually got to sow the seed. Put it in the ground. And you can lay hands on it, you can speak to the ground, you can do all kind of things. But faith steps out and actually does something. It actually puts seed in the ground.
Now here’s the thing. That scripture we looked at said, ‘it’s evidence of things not seen’. When you go up to Bunnings Hardware store and you buy a packet of seeds, you say, ‘I want to grow some apple trees’. Okay, so you open up the packet and inside you see all these seeds, but on the outside you see the picture of a tree. And you can say, ‘I thought I was buying a tree’. But you look inside and all you’ve got is seeds. You’re saying, ‘I’ve got ripped off. Bunnings ripped me off’. They didn’t rip you off. They said, ‘You’ve got the potential of that tree inside this packet’. There’s the evidence. You’ve got a vision – evidence, visual evidence – of what’s going to happen in the future if you plant the seed.
And so when you and I step out in faith – and faith is measured, often by the level of our stepping out. Paul goes on and says, ‘Look! If you just plant a few seeds here, that’s all the harvest you’re going to have. But he says, ‘If you sow so abundantly, you sow without restraint, no holding back, you’re going to find yourself reaping a harvest of abundance in your life.’
And I know we live in a world where lot of negative news about finance, economy and housing and jobs today. But we live under a different economy. As soon as you ask Christ in your life, as soon as you put yourself under the government of God, you’ve entered into a totally different realm of economics. And his realms are obviously higher than anything earth’s got [scripture please?]. He’s risen from the dead for goodness sake. If He can beat death, He can beat a GFC. If He can beat death He can beat any debt you’ve got in your world. All you gotta know is that it takes the sowing of a seed.
Even Jesus said about Himself when he died, ‘Unless a seed falls into the ground and dies, it’s going to remain alone. But if it dies it’s gonna bring forth a lot of fruit’. The reason you and I are here this morning is because one seed was sown. That one human life died in the ground and it’s risen again. That exact same principle applies to our giving here this morning. God has such a longing in his heart to bless you, to liberate you from a lot of the anxieties and stresses that come in a world of economics like we’ve got today. And so right now, why don’t you and I get involved in a resurrection offering? A victorious offering! One that rises from the dead!
You might say, ‘My finances are dead’. Well here’s a moment to resurrect them. Here’s an opportunity to take hold of a principle that God’s put in our hands. Step out in faith. Trust Him that that’s going to work just as surely as you putting a seed in the ground at home. This is going to be like that for your life right now. Don’t miss out on the opportunities God puts in our way every week at church. We can take a hold of this and say, ‘You know what? I’m going to break through this week in Jesus name’. Let’s take what we’re giving and get ready to give.
Heavenly Father, right now, what a privilege, what an honour, to celebrate the birth, the death and the resurrection of the greatest life ever lived: Jesus Himself. And we pray here today Lord that as we follow your ways, not our ways, as we opt for obedience, rather than just staying outside in the desert world of people who have never subscribed to the ways of God.
Heavenly Father right now, we come to you with this offering – a generous offering, an offering of faith for a breakthrough in our financial world, for breakthrough in our economics, in our family, in our housing, in our jobs – and we’re believing here today Father that nothing can hold us down in the grave but by the power of your grace, you’ll raise up every area that’s been killed, every area that’s been crucified , every area that’s been dead in our world today, with a mighty victory. In Jesus name.
Please read Genesis 3 before reading the below blog post by Phil Pringle. Next time someone says ‘Look how fruitful Phil Pringle is’, point them to this article.
Phil Pringle blogs,
“Genesis 3:6 “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes…”God is not just utilitarian. He is also an artist. He creates beauty pleasant to the eyes. Creation not only gives us food and resources for life but beauty for the soul. We cannot afford to underestimate the power of art to feed the soul with beauty. Christians are like trees. Our congregations, churches, music, preaching should be ‘pleasant’ to the eyes, ears and soul of people everywhere. The idea the church should be austere, ascetic is wrong. Hardly anyone remembers Savonarola and his ‘bonfires of the vanities’, but everyone in the world recognises the enduring witness of Michelangelo’s ‘Sistene Chapel’ ceiling and Da Vinci’s ‘Last Supper’ (considered ‘vanities’ by religionists). God’s thumbprint in creation is ‘beauty’, something man can never match! See you in beautiful glorious church!“ – Phil Pringle, Beauty, http://philpringle.com/_blog/Phil_Pringle_Blog/post/Beauty/, 27/10/2009. (Accessed 13/05/2012)
D.R. McConell Observes Faith Teachers Connections To Occult Practice
Ralp Waldo Trine
New Thought Leader Ralph Waldo Trine (1866-1958) is widely-read of all New Thought writers. He has influenced many big names, including E.W. Kenyon, Kenneth Hagin and the infamous Henry Ford.1
D.R. McConnell (B.A., M.A., in theological and historical studies), offers insight into the Word of Faith Movement in his book ‘A Different Gospel – A Historical and Biblical Analysis of the Modern Faith Movement‘. McConnell traces the history of the Word of Faith Movement from Hagin to Kenyon to Kenyon’s influences at Emerson College.
McConnell provides convincing evidence that Kenyon’s work was plagiarised by Kenneth Hagin. Kenyon was influenced by various other metaphysical cult experts such as Ralph Waldo Emerson (who Pringle quotes in some of his books), Mary Eddy Baker and Ralph Waldo Trine. Many Word of Faith teachers look up to Copeland and Hagin and have been influenced by writers like metaphysical cult writers Ralph Waldo Trine, Ralph Waldo Emerson and E.W.Kenyon.
Ralph Waldo Trine wrote a book called ‘In Tune With The Infinite’, written in 1897. D.R. McConnell quotes R.W. Trine in his book ‘A Different Gospel’ (pg. 173 in pdf which you can download two quotes down):
“This is the law of prosperity: When apparent adversity comes, be not cast down by it, but make the best of it, and always look forward for better things, for conditions more prosperous. To hold yourself in this attitude of mind is to set into operation subtle, silent, and irresistible forces that sooner or later will actualize in material form that which is today merely an idea. But ideas have occult power, and ideas, when rightly planted and rightly tended, are the seeds that actualize material conditions.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 104. (Emphasis mine)
“It is significant to note that Trine attributes the confession of prosperity to “occult power.” Trine believed that “thought is a force, and it has occult power of unknown proportions when rightly used and wisely directed.” This usage of occult powers is, of course, a practice that the Faith teachers would publicly reject. Nevertheless, the Faith teachers must come to grips with the fact that those who began the practices of positive mental attitude and positive confession attributed their ability to acquire riches to psychic and occultic power. For example, Trine advocated the occultic practice of visualization as a means to become prosperous. He instructs his followers in the art of visualizing prosperity through mental suggestion and verbal affirmation.” – D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel…, The Doctrine of Prosperity, 1988, pg. 173-174.
McConnell quotes Trine again on pg. 175 (which you can read in the pdf on pg. 104):
“Suggest prosperity to yourself. See yourself in a prosperous condition. Affirm that you will before be in a prosperous condition. Affirm it calmly and quietly, but strongly and confidently. Believe it, believe it absolutely. Expect it, keep it continually watered with expectation. You thus make yourself a magnet to attract the things that you desire.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 104.
D.R. McConnell also says,
“… the doctrine of prosperity is the result of two influences, one cultic, the other cultural. First, it is the result of metaphysical influences upon the founding father of the Faith theology, E.W. Kenyon. The metaphysical cults, particularly New Thought and the Unity School of Christianity, were the first to propogate the idea that God will make rich all those who know “the laws of prosperity” which govern the universe. Through Kenyon, this cultic belief entered the Faith movement and was expanded by Hagin and the other Faith teachers to a degree which even he himself would never have approved.
Second, the doctrine of prosperity is a gross example of the church’s cultural accommodation to the worldly values of American materialism. It is a direct contradiction of the examples of the Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul, and all the heroes of the faith, who were “destitute, afflicted, ill-treated, men of whom the world was not worthy” (Heb. 11:37,38). The doctrine of prosperity is not worthy of such men.” – D.R. McConnell, A Different Gospel…, The Doctrine of Prosperity, 1988, pg. 173-174.
It is these metaphysical cult teachings that largely influence the Word of Faith/Prosperity Movement and the teachings of Phil Pringle’s C3 Movement. If you examine the teachings of Phil Pringle, the WoF teachers he looks up too and the leaders he influences around the world, you will notice the similarities between C3’s teachings and the teachings of the metaphysical cults.
In Pringle’s language, Pringle defines ‘faith’ as a “creative force”, “creative power of God”, “positive feeling”, “currency”, “attitude” and “knowing something no-one else does”. Read here:
An Example: Comparing Pringle’s Teaching To New Thought Teaching
Pringle continually emphasises how Christians must correctly use their faith to get what they want, often misusing scriptures in doing so. Ralph Waldo Trine earlier emphasised how much our thought force is based on “occult power of unknown proportions”. McConnell didn’t quote Trine on the following (emphasis mine):
“Recognize, working in and through you, the same Infinite Power that creates and governs all things in the universe, the same Infinite Power that governs the endless systems of worlds in space. Send out your thought. Thought is a force, and it has occult power of unknown proportions when rightly used and wisely directed send out your thought that the right situation or the right work will come to you at the right time, in the right way, and that you will recognize it when it comes. Hold to this thought, never allow it to weaken, hold to it, and continually water it with firm expectation.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 103.
There is no doubt that the C3 Movement has fallen ill to these dangerous occultic doctrines. For example, Pringle would often use Habakkuk 2 to teach the same thing as Trine.
“And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.” Habakkuk 2:2-3
In context, this passage is about God instructing Habakkuk to write down a vision that is about Israel’s coming destruction. If anyone heeds the prophets vision, they are to take heed of the coming destruction. Those who flee, should not return. They may not see any sign of the destruction coming, but Habakkuk says it will not tarry.
“WRITE IT DOWN! “Write the vision and make it plain on tablets.”
Vision is to leadership what oxygen is to lungs. Essential! It’s the difference between life and death for a leader. Vision must be written down. Don’t just leave it in your imagination. Write it down. All the time. Receiving a vision is important. Writing it down is more important. The magic of a vision is in it being written down. What’s your vision? Write it down. Again and again.” – Phil Pringle, The Leadership Files Vol 2, File 42. Write It Down.
Pringle would twist the scripture and teach his church to write their personal vision down, run towards their vision and wait for it to come to pass. Pringle will use scriptures like this not knowing that he is echoing similar teachings to Trine: “Hold to this thought [Pringle: vision], never allow it to weaken [Pringle: write it down, make it plain and run for it], hold to it [Pringle: wait for it (or as he says, ‘Tarry’)], and continually water it with firm expectation [Pringle: financially support and commit to God’s house to see the vision come to pass]“.
In the process of writing this article (13/04/2012), Chris Pringle even mentioned this scripture in passing to describe this exactly on the last day of Presence Conference. This is just one example how the Pringle’s accidentally misuse scripture to justify this false doctrine.
It is worth noting that Pringle felt God warn him about dabbling in New Thought/ New Age teaching (emphasis mine).
“A number of years ago, in the pursuit of understanding management, I familiarized myself with a great variety of available business management materials and a lot of the positive mental attitude books that go along with them. Some of the material found its way into my preaching and teaching. I felt a growing discomfort in my spirit, without really understanding what it was.
One day, as I was reading a Deuteronomy 22:9, “You shall not sow your vineyard with different kind of seed, lest the yield of the seed which you have sown and the fruit of your vineyard be defiled,” I realized I could not afford to have a bag of mixed seed. I felt convicted to purify my message so that the material would only reinforce what the Word already says.” – Phil Pringle, You The Leader, 2005, pg 213.
Pringle may have obediently removed himself from worldly “business management materials and a lot of the positive mental attitude books”. But he did not disconnect himself fully from these subversive or subtle influences within or on the fringe of problematic prosperity-driven, WoF churches. For example, Laurie Beth Jones, Zig Ziglar, Bob Harrison, Pat Robertson, the Schullers, the Osbornes, Benny Hinn, John Avanzini, Kong Hee, Yonngi Cho, Peter Wagner, John C Maxwell (just to name a few) are influenced by the New Age and New Thought (or occult) teachings and principles which Pringle is influenced by.
As a result of Pringle’s focus and desire to see results and outcomes, in his driven philosophy that ‘the ends justifies the means’, Pringle has turned his ‘means’ and central ‘Christian’ doctrines into a hybrid faith. At best – his faith is not Christian at all – but echoes a New Age faith at best.
To end this article, we would like people to consider Trine’s teachings with Pringle’s teachings. Take note that Trine has no problem attributing his practices to occultism and pagan philosophies.
“Send out your thought – thought is a force, and it has occult power of unknown proportions when rightly used and wisely directed send out your thought that the right situation or the right work will come to you at the right time, in the right way, and that you will recognize it when it comes. Hold to this thought, never allow it to weaken, hold to it, and continually water it with firm expectation.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 104.
“THERE is a golden thread that runs through every religion in the world. There is a golden thread that runs through the lives and the teachings to all the prophets, seers, sages, and saviors in the world’s history, through the lives of all men of truly great and lasting power. All that they have ever done or attained to has been done in full accordance with law.
What one has done, all may do. This same golden thread must enter into the lives of all who today, in this busy work-a-day world of ours, would exchange impotence for power, weakness and suffering for abounding health and strength pain and unrest for perfect peace, poverty of whatever nature for fullness and plenty.
Each is building their own world. We both build from within and we attract from without. Thought is the force with which we build, for thoughts are forces. Like builds like and like attracts like. In the degree that thought is spiritualized does it become more subtle and powerful in its workings. This spiritualizing is in accordance with law and is within the power of all.
Everything is first worked out in the unseen before it is manifested in the seen, in the ideal before it is realized in the real, in the spiritual before it shows forth in the material. The realm of the unseen is the realm of cause. The realm of the seen is the realm of effect. The nature of effect is always determined and conditioned by the nature of its cause.
To point out the great facts in connection with, and the great laws underlying the workings of the interior, spiritual, thought forces, to point them out so simply and so clearly that even a child can understand, is the author’s aim. To point them out so simply and so clearly that all can grasp them, that all can take them and infuse them into everyday life, so as to mold it in all its details in accordance with what they would have it, is his purpose That life can be thus molded by them is not a matter of mere speculation or theory with him, but a matter of positive knowledge
There is a divine sequence running throughout the universe. Within and above and below the human will incessantly works the Divine will. To come into harmony with it and thereby with all the higher laws and forces, to come then into league and to work in conjunction with them, in order that they can work in league and in conjunction with us, is to come into the chain of this wonderful sequence. This is the secret of all success. This is to come into the possession of unknown riches, into the realization of undreamed-of powers.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 1 – Preface, pg. 2-3.
“Within yourself lies the cause of whatever enters into your life. To come into the full realization of your own awakened inner powers is to be able to condition your life in exact accord with what you would have it.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 1 – Preface, pg. 4.
“The moment we fully and vitally realise who and what we are, we then begin to build our own World even as God builds his.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 1 – Preface, pg. 6.
“Within yourself lies the cause of whatever enters into your life. To come into the full realization of your own awakened interior powers is to be able to condition your life in exact accord with what you would have it.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 1 – Preface, pg. 4.
“The optimist has the power of seeing things in their entirety and in their right relations. The pessimist looks from a limited and a one-sided point of view. The one has their understanding illuminated by wisdom, the understanding of the other is darkened by ignorance. Each is building their world from within, and the result of the building are determined by the point of view of each The optimist, by their superior wisdom and insight, is making their own heaven, and in the degree that they make their own heaven are helping to make one for all the world beside. The pessimist, by virtue of their limitations, are making their own hell, and in the degree that they make their own hell are they helping to make one for all mankind.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 3 – Prelude, pg. 9.
“Faith is nothing more nor less than the operation of the thought forces in the form of an earnest desire, coupled with expectation as to its fulfillment. And in the degree that faith, the earnest desire thus sent out, is continually held to and watered by firm expectation, in just that degree does it either draw to itself, or does it change from the unseen into the visible, from the spiritual into the material, that for which it is sent.
Let the element of doubt or fear enter in, and what would otherwise be a tremendous force will be so neutralized that it will fail of its realization. Continually held to and continually watered by firm expectation, it becomes a force, a drawing power, that is irresistible and absolute, and the results will be absolute in direct proportion as it is absolute.
We shall find, as we are so rapidly beginning to find today, that the great things said in regard to faith, the great promises made in connection with it, are not mere vague sentimentalities, but are all great scientific facts, and rest upon great immutable laws.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 5 – The Supreme Fact Of Human Life, pg. 23.
“Fear and lack of faith go hand in hand. The one is born of the other. Tell me how much one is given to fear, and I will tell you how much they lack in faith.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 6 – Fullness Of Life – Bodily Health And Vigor, pg. 41.
Thoughts of weakness actualize weakness from within and attract it from without. Courage begets strength, fear begets weakness. And so courage begets success, fear begets failure. It is the man of faith, and hence of courage who is the master of circumstances, and who makes his or her power felt in the world. It is the man who lacks faith and who as a consequence is weakened and crippled by fears and forebodings, who is the creature of all passing occurrences.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 9 – The Realization Of Perfect Peace , pg. 84.
“We need more faith in everyday life – faith in the power that works for good, faith in the Infinite God, and hence faith in ourselves created in His image. And however things at times may seem to go, however dark at times appearances may be, the knowledge of the fact that ‘the Supreme Power has us in its charge as it has the suns and endless systems of worlds in space.’ will give us the supreme faith that all is well with us, just as all is well with the world. ‘Thou wilt keep in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on Thee.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 9 – The Realization Of Perfect Peace , pg. 85-86.
“We are then led into the full realization of the fact that all things work together for good to those that love the good. Then the fears and forebodings that have dominated us in the past will be transmuted into faith, and faith, when rightly understood and rightly used, is a force before which nothing can stand. Materialism leads naturally to pessimism. And how could it do otherwise? A knowledge of the Spiritual Power working in and through us as well as in and through all things, a power that works for righteousness, leads to optimism. Pessimism leads to weakness. Optimism leads to power. The one who is centered in Deity is the one who not only outrides every storm, but who through the faith, and so the conscious power that is in them, faces storm with the same calmness and serenity that they face fair weather, for they know well beforehand what the outcome will be.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 9 – The Realization Of Perfect Peace , pg. 86.
“Affirm this, believe it, expect it. If you do this in full faith, you will somehow feel the intuition the moment you come to the right one, and this intuition will be nothing more nor less than your own soul speaking to you. When it speaks then act at once.
If you get the situation and it does not prove to be exactly what you want, if you feel that you are capable of filling a better one, then the moment you enter upon it take the attitude of mind that this situation is the stepping-stone that will lead you to one that will be still better. Hold this thought steadily, affirm it, believe it, expect it, and all the time be faithful, absolutely faithful to the situation in which you are at present placed. If you are not faithful to it then the chances are that it will not be the stepping-stone to something better, but to something poorer. If you are faithful to it, the time may soon come when you will be glad and thankful, when you will rejoice that you lost your old position. “– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 104.
“Faith, absolute dogmatic faith, is the only law of true success. When we recognize the fact that a man carries their success or failure with them, and that it does not depend upon outside conditions, we shall come into the possession of powers that will quickly change outside conditions into agencies that make for success. When we come into this higher realization and bring our lives into complete harmony with the higher laws, we shall then be able so to focus and direct the awakened interior forces, that they will go out and return laden with that for which they are sent. We shall then be great enough to attract success, and it will not always be apparently just a little way ahead. We can then establish in ourselves a center so strong that instead of running hither and thither for this or that, we can stay at home and draw to us the conditions we desire. If we firmly establish and hold to this center, things will seem continually to come our way.” – Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 106.
“The great fundamental principles of all religions are the same. They differ only in their minor details according to the various degrees of unfoldment of different people. I am sometimes asked To what religion do you belong?’ What religion? Why, bless you, there is only one religion, the ‘religion of the living God! There are, of course, the various creeds of the same religion arising from the various interpretations of different people, but they are all of minor importance. The more unfolded the soul the less important do these minor differences become. There are also, of course the various so-called religions. In reality, however, there is but one religion.
The moment we lose sight of this great fact we depart from the real, vital spirit of true religion and allow ourselves to be limited and bound by form. In the degree that we do this we build fences around ourselves which keep others away from us, and which also prevent our corning into the realization of universal truth; there is nothing worthy the name of truth that is not universal.
There is only one religion. ‘Whatever road I take joins the highway that leads to Thee,’ says the inspired writer in the Persian scriptures. ‘Broad is the carpet God has spread, and beautiful the colors He has given it.’ ‘The pure man respects every form of faith,’ says the Buddhist. ‘My doctrine makes no difference between high and low, rich and poor, like the sky, it has room for all, and like the water, it washes all alike’ The broad-minded see the truth in different religions; the narrow-minded see only the differences,’ says the Chinese.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 119.
“When one comes into and lives continually in the full, conscious realization of oneness with the Infinite Life and Power, then all else follows. This it is that brings the realization of such splendors, and beauties, and joys as a life that is thus related with the Infinite Power alone can know. This it is to come into the realization of heaven’s richest treasures while walking the earth. This it is to bring heaven down to earth, or rather to bring earth up to heaven. This it is to exchange weakness and impotence for strength; sorrows and sighings for joy; fears and forebodings for faith; longings for realizations. This it is to come into fullness of peace, power, and plenty. This it is to be in tune with the Infinite.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 124.
“There is something in the universe that responds to intrepid thinking. The POWER that holds and that moves the stars in their courses sustains, illumines and fights for the brave and the upright. Courage has power and magic in it. Faith and hope and courage are great producers – we cannot fail if we live always in the brave and cheerful attitude of mind and heart. He alone fails who gives up and lies down.”– Ralph Waldo Trine, In Tune With The Infinite, Chapter 11 – Plenty Of All Things – The Law Of Prosperity, pg. 124.
1. “It is interesting that Henry Ford, pioneer of mass produced automobiles, attributed his success directly to having read “In Tune with the Infinite.” After reading the book, Ford ordered it on mass, and distributed copies freely to high profile industrialists. It’s a true mark of how powerful the book was and still is!” Ralph Waldo Trine, http://ralphwaldotrine.wwwhubs.com/, (Accessed 11/01/2011). (Pringle also loves quoting Henry Ford.)
Some interesting comments have emerged on C3ChurchWatch in regards to Phil Pringle and his ‘your best life now’ god. We hope to find out more information on these claims.
It has been stated:
“when I was at School of Creative Arts, Phil told a story about a local council member who apparently vehemently opposed the approval for the current Oxford Falls campus. Phil drew the story out, claiming that this guy said that he would rather a tyre burning dumb [sic] be put there than Phil’s CCC church.
Phil then wrapped the story up by stating that this councillor died in a “mysterious car crash.” His moral to the story was that you don’t touch the Lord’s anointed. Phil was saying that the guy died as a result of opposing the C3 movement. Unbelievable but true.” – https://c3churchwatch.wordpress.com/about/#comment-669
“The way we heard him tell the story is similar, a “subtle” implication that those who were opposing Phil were actually opposing God Himself. And the stories about Warringah Council? Heard plenty, though not that particular one.” – https://c3churchwatch.wordpress.com/about/#comment-674
If you have seen Phil Pringle in the past also make similar comments, if you have audio or video of him saying such things, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or feel free to comment on this post.
Edit 10/01/2014: Phil Pringle has recently retold the story of the women who opposed him in his sermons on the 29th of December 2013. Please read.
“… we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming.” Ephesians 4:14
Pringle says in his below advert to his church.
“Above all I feel that it’s really important to feed his sheep. And the food for God’s flock is the Word of God. It’s not my thoughts or anything else. It’s the scriptures being brought to life. And that feeds God’s people and builds the church. I think most of the discipling processes, most of the growing processes, most of God speaking to people, etc. even supernatural ministry, can take place through the preaching of God’s Word.” – Phil Pringle, SUNDAY NIGHT CHURCH // DOORS OPEN 5.30pm , Youtube,http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ZILrlQNqMw, Uploaded by CCCOF on Dec 6, 2011.
It is clear that he is either double-minded on this issue or lying.
Pringle says this truth:
“… if we find ourselves trying to find Scriptures to validate pet theories we are attracted to, we may compromise the power of the Gospel… This approach to Scripture is dangerous. It is a bag of mixed seed.” – Phil Pringle, You The Leader, 2005, pg 213.
However, Pringle promotes that he and others should preach a bag of mixed seed.
“What we preach is what we get. We are farmers sowing seed. If we are unhappy with the harvest we’re reaping, we should sow different seed. If we want different results, we preach different messages.” – Phil Pringle, You The Leader, 2005, pg 215.
Pringle has made it obvious that he comes with a mindset, an agenda to get what he wants from his congregation. From knowing he has an agenda, it is right to conclude that sometimes Pringle, “feeds God’s people” to get what he wants from them. This is manipulation. And Pringle will tell you,
“I don’t approach Sundays with an attitude of, “What message shall I preach?” but rather, “What do we want to achieve in our church at this time?” That desired end result determines what and how I preach. Then, within the particular message, I ask myself, “What am I trying to achieve here? What one thing am I attempting to say? What do I want these people to have or do at the end of this time?’
Then I follow the plan.” – Phil Pringle, You The Leader, pg. 234.
In other words, he doesn’t trust the bible. He doesn’t trust the Word of God enough to open it and just let the text speak for itself. Pringle says,
“Words and deeds are seeds we sow. As a leader I soften the soil (the hearts) of the people I lead. I remove weeds and pests from the young plant. I arrange the weather, warm, sunny, watery encouragement. Then I harvest the crop fully grown.” – Phil Pringle, The Leadership Files Vol 2, File 38. Seeds, 2002.
In the above quotes, Pringle says it is HIMSELF that preaches. It is him who gives what he wants to get people to do what he wants. How can he say in the video, “And the food for God’s flock is the Word of God. It’s not my thoughts or anything else. It’s the scriptures being brought to life”?
It get’s worse, as Pringle says,
“Often I haven’t even got any idea at all what I’m going to talk about cos I spend most my week gearing up for Sunday morning… So I leave myself kind of free for whatever the Lord wants to lay on my heart for Sunday night.” – Phil Pringle, Your Best Life: 11:05-12:10, 31/01/2009.
With that in mind, the entire video comes across like a facade than an actual portrayal of how Pringle prepares many of his sermons. This is hypocrisy. Jesus said,
“So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full.” – Matthew 6:2
In calling the religious leaders hypokritēs, (ὑποκριτής), Jesus is calling them the “actor, stage player, a dissembler, pretender”. This is exactly how Pringle is behaving in this instance in the above video. He is acting. He is pretending. This isn’t humility. This isn’t honesty. He has the stage. He has got his show.
It should be clear that Pringle:
1. Does not feed his sheep.
2. Preaches messages that are based on his own vain philosophies.
3. Does not rely on the Word of God to disciple Christians and grow Christians.
4. Does not rely on the Word of God to speak to Christians.
Sadly, he has continually demonstrated his ability to mangle and pervert the teachings of God for his own gain. Pringle has a track record of being biblically incompetent. The article below is continually being updated on C3’s bad handling of the bible: