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Wealth And Position

By Malcolm B Heap, Midnight Ministries

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The Christian TV network TBN (Trinity Broadcasting Network) started reaching out into the UK early this year (2015). On our TV set it is on channel 65 – (5 x 13) which is interesting for a start.

As Helena sits for hour after hour, laboriously pushing away demons from people in her intercession, she watches some of what is on that channel.

I happened to come in from the garden when a programme by John Hagee was on. He was sitting on the spacious stage of his large church auditorium while another slick preacher was performing. Some would call it preaching, and it is, but it is also performing.

He was preaching, not just for content, but also for effect. He was trying to artificially generate audience response. Of course, the old well worn dogmas such as the Good Friday to Easter Sunday tradition were being repeated, funnelled into gullible people’s minds as if unquestioningly correct.

I sensed in my spirit how tiresome all this is to God. There’s a man, who looks good and sounds good to most believers, but who is lifted up in front of more than a thousand people as if he is an authority on what he is preaching about. He’s paid to do it. That’s his job. He probably gets paid very nicely, “thank you very much.” And through it all, John Hagee gets elevated, too, as he sits importantly, alone on the stage off to one side behind “the preach”.

What a statement of body language! “This is my church here, don’t you forget. And, don’t forget that I’m the one in charge. I’m important round here.”

Why else does he need to be on stage while the guy is preaching? Surely it’s a subtle statement of hierarchic domination. Those familiar with Pentecostal tradition would argue that point, but then most of them are unfamiliar with the fact that hierarchy in the church is the biggest single factor limiting the spiritual growth of members. Nor do they realise that hierarchic setups are satanically influenced. They are not God’s ideal. And in the Church, such government is actually illicit!

No wonder God is so upset by all this preaching that passes for His work on earth! They are taking His name in vain while they pontificate over God’s people.

Then at the end of the man’s discourse, John Hagee comes forward to address his flock as if he were Abraham or Moses, imparting a blessing to them as he reminds them that they are in God’s sanctuary.

God’s sanctuary!!?  Doesn’t the man know that a building is no longer God’s sanctuary, nor a place – Jerusalem is no longer God’s sanctuary, contrary to what Hagee believes that Jerusalem is still the apple of God’s eye? Doesn’t he know that God’s sanctuary is composed of the welcoming hearts of God’s faithful ones who receive His Spirit?

I get very disconsolate when I hear preachers parroting their old false dogmas, misrepresenting the words of God in the Bible. I groan inside and wonder how long it will be before they can be taken out of the way so that God’s people can receive the truth. These ‘men of God’ are blocking pure truth reaching them. Their very presence is a dominating influence that shuts out the full light of God, and artificial light replaces much of it in their auditoriums.

The domination of man – of leaders – goes all the way back to the beginning. Nimrod set the trend (Gen 10:8-9). And throughout history ever since, others have clambered up to get their share of wealth and primacy. (See God’s Church – Whose Authority?)

You wouldn’t think that such motivation is behind what you see in TV evangelism. But a lot of it is. Thankfully, not all preachers are motivated thus. Yet, ones who started out small in their own eyes, with genuine motivation to share the Bible truths they understand (or think they understand), have, all too often, got trapped by the ‘success’ of their operations. They have got lifted up by power and wealth.

Contrast their ministry with that of Elijah – who was rejected by the establishment, had to run for his life, was supported miraculously by God and by a widow – and the difference is striking. These men have popular acclaim, a good following, plenty of dosh coming in, large churches, and an elevated position.

That position is their downfall (Is 2:11,12,17,18). Everything that is lifted up will be brought down, so says the Almighty against all idolatry and pride.

Wealth and position were the two things false religious leaders sought in Jesus’ day (Luke 16:14). May today’s preachers take heed!

June 2015

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