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It seems obvious that Word Faith celebrities have created their own personal Jesus. With their egregious teachings and extravagant lifestyles, they, like the Mormons, Socialists, JWs and many others, have formulated their own acquiescent Jesus. No doubt they should be added to our “Designer Jesus Collection.” Certainly they have Bibles and claim to speak with biblical authority, but are these Bibles any more than props to authenticate their ministries to their Christian “target audience”? Do they actually study the Bible verse by verse in context, or do they just pluck out verses they believe they can use to support their rather outlandish teachings and ignore the context, as JWs and other Scripture twisters do?

Recently, Kenneth Copeland purchased a private jet. He wouldn’t want to deny himself this luxury and suffer the indignities and slings and arrows that come with flying First Class, where he may find himself seated amongst who knows what horrible characters in the main cabin. According to Kenneth Copeland and Jesse Duplantis, flying commercial would be flying in a tube full of demons.

When we have had to fly, we have always flown coach. Maybe things are different in the First Class section of the plane, but we have never personally thought of fellow passengers as demons! I guess that post 911, we should admit that any of us could encounter evil persons on an airplane, but that is not an everyday occurrence. We have had to put up with a few crying babies or thoughtless seatmates who may hog the armrest and such, but demons? Really??? Maybe Copeland and friends employ special glasses as were used in the movie They Live, which enabled main character, Rowdy Roddy Piper, to identify which of the people he rubbed elbows with were just ordinary folks and which were evil aliens intent on taking over the planet! Glasses like that could come in very handy to the church today, especially if they were “apologetic glasses” that could identify false teachers! Sadly, we don’t have any such glasses, but here’s one possibly little known Bible clue for identifying false teachers. False teachers in the Bible often used their supposed “service to God” to greatly enrich themselves.

Of course, Creflo Dollar also needed his own private jet. Jesus surely wouldn’t want him to suffer either. According to Pastor James David Manning  in his “Manning Report” T.D. Jakes also owns private jets worth in excess of 100 million dollars! His ministry is so valuable we wouldn’t want him to deny himself, now would we?

Popular Word faith teacher, Paula White, was unequivocal when she stated:

“Anyone who tells you to deny yourself is from Satan.”1As reported by Sandy Simpson in “Paula White’s Incredible False Teaching” on 10/31/2007

Hello?? What do she and the other prosperity celebrities do with Hebrews chapter 11? Have they ever come across this chapter? Hebrew 11 offers up a veritable “Who’s Who” of biblical heroes, who not only “denied themselves” a pleasure or two but often suffered severely in their stand for righteousness. We read, “By faith Abel …, by faith Noah …, by faith Abraham …, by faith Sarah …,” and, after the text describes what they accomplished by faith, it gives a litany of what they denied themselves in verse 13:

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth.

They denied themselves more than temporal comforts; they even laid aside the expectation of living to see the promises fulfilled in their lifetimes.  But it doesn’t stop there. The descriptions of their sacrifices continue, including this one in verses 24-25:

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin.

No private jet for Moses. He chose to deny himself the luxuries of being the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, which would have guaranteed him a life of great comfort and ease, choosing rather to suffer with the people of Israel, who were common slaves.

The author of Hebrew continues, “And what more shall I say?” and builds to his last point:

Some were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated … (11:35-37)

As he closes his recitation of their righteous self-denial, he states that these saints were heroes, not people deluded by Satan.

If Paula White is to be believed (and many or her followers do believe her), Jesus Himself is a minion of Satan! Remember, she stated:

“Anyone who tells you to deny yourself is from Satan.”

Yet Jesus Himself stated to His disciples in Matthew 16:24 (and also Mark 8:34 and Luke 9:23):

“…If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.”

Her statement is shocking in its brazenness. Jesus clearly told His disciples (and all within hearing of His voice) that they were to deny themselves. This is not even an obscure text!  Yet White seems to feel perfectly justified in casting His words aside. Is she really that ignorant of the Scriptures, or does she consider herself above the Scriptures? It must be one or the other, and neither one is good.

We are blessed to know and work with many people who are in “God’s service.” Some work in the church; some are in parachurch ministries that assist the church in its work. We do not personally know anyone who is getting rich doing apologetics or counter cult ministry. It’s just not the place you want to go to rake in the big bucks. 😊

We are not saying there is something inherently wrong with riches, but, we surmise, great riches do not usually go hand in hand with doing God’s work. There are likewise not many church pastors living high on the hog, even here in America. But the small sacrifices made here in America do not deserve to be compared to those made elsewhere.

There are pastors in China (and elsewhere) who would deny themselves food just to be able to have an entire Bible in their possession. There are pastors and missionaries in Mexico, the Philippines, Malawi and other places who would love a solid basic biblical education and perhaps a bicycle to be able to get from church to church in the various villages. The cost of a 65-million-dollar jet would go a long way to funding such missionary endeavors, but that would require a certain amount of self-denial which, according to Paula White, is from Satan.

There is much more serious self-denial going on in such places as North Korea, Iran, and much of the rest of the world. Indeed, serving God in many places around the world may cost believers their livelihood, personal safety, or even their lives. These are the heroes in our day, the ones like those of whom the writer of Hebrews said:

“the world was not worthy…”(11:38)Ω

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End Notes

End Notes
1 As reported by Sandy Simpson in “Paula White’s Incredible False Teaching” on 10/31/2007