This past Sunday I mentioned in passing the popular (false) doctrine of goes by titles like “Word of Faith Movement” or the “Prosperity Gospel” or the “Health-n-Wealth Theology.” The basic idea is that we are God's children and He wants his kids to have the very best of everything—jobs, cars, houses, clothes and (perhaps) Rolex watches. Those who have real faith in God and who act on their faith in the right way will receive these material blessings from God. I suggested that the Greek word for this (with a nod to our vice-president) is "marlarkey."
I didn't realize that my sermon illustration Sunday was “ripped from the headlines.” I happened across these two stories in the news aggregate this morning—
- Peter Popoff, the controversial televangelist who amassed millions from his so-called "prophetic anointing" is now hawking baggies of "miracle spring water" that promises to rid its drinkers from financial debt. The wealth-attracting water is being marketed through Popoff's website and cable TV infomercials.
- Todd Coontz, the founder of RockWealth International Ministries and a national televangelist is telling viewers that if they will act obediently and send his ministry a minimum of $300 (“a recovery seed donation”), they will receive a “supernatural change” in their lives and be blessed with “God's triple favor anointing.”
Why do to these guys make such ridiculous claims? Well, because people send them huge amounts of money! Popoff was rather famously exposed on the Tonight Show years ago (back when some guy guy named Carson was doing it). Watch this clip from Inside Edition—
Popoff is now back on TV with a whole new following doing the same old shtick and making millions hand over fist. Should that surprise us? Peter says “in their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories?” (2 Pet 2:3). He calls them “experts in greed” who follow in the steps of Balaam the prophet (2 Pet 2:14-16). Jude warns about “shepherds who feed only themselves” (Jude 12). Paul says they these guys “think that godliness is a means to financial gain” (1 Tim 6:5). So it should not come as a total shock to us that there are shady charlatans who try to use God as a way to make a quick, dishonest buck.
The question is. “Why do people keep sending them money?” I mean, how hard is it to Google “Peter Popoff” before you send in your check for the miracle water cure for financial debt? It took me 10 seconds to find the above clip on YouTube (I had seen the segment years ago live on Johnny Carson... back when I could sit up past 9:30 at night). This information is there for anyone to check, and yet this guy makes money hand over fist claiming to be have little baggies of holy water from God. Ultimately, Popoff and his ilk are making millions telling people what they want to hear. False teachers will be held responsible to be sure (2 Pet 2:3), but then so will hears with itching ears who pay these guys to tell them what they want to hear (2 Tim 4:3-4)
3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.