The reaction to my comments on Creflo Dollar Why Creflo Dollar is not Welcome in Scotland has been astonishing. Especially from a number of Christians who are hurt/annoyed/angry/disappointed/shocked/horrified…..
Rather than deal with the many responses which vary from the ‘How dare you criticise the anointed prophet of the Lord’ to the ‘I’m not sure if its very nice or correct to speak publicly in this way – why not just have a quiet word?” approach, I was just going to let it all go, until I received this astonishing message from a Church of Scotland minister, Rev Frank Campbell. I reproduce it in full.
I write as a minister of the Church of Scotland who is also a partner with Creflo Dollar Ministries. wonder, Mr Robertson, if you have actually listened to Creflo, or read any of his material?
Like you, I struggled with the idea that God might actually want to see the resources of this world in the hands of His church, so that His church can use those resources to help others, rather than in the hands of unbelieving sports and entertainment megastars, or – worse – those who make their money trading drugs or weapons. Yet I learned that my prejudices against what is often called the “prosperity gospel” were just that – prejudices, unsupported by scripture. Please check, for example, Proverbs 10.22, Psalm 35.27, 3 John 2, Proverbs 13,22 with Psalm 112,9 speaking of an end-time double wealth transfer,
To put things into perspective, the main thrust of Creflo’s teaching is not on money but on the overwhelming grace of God and His commitment to the salvation of humanity – see Hebrews 9,12, 1 John 2.2, 1 Timothy 2.4, 2 Peter 3.9 – and the free availability, through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus, of God’s blessing for all who will simply receive from Him.
Also to put things in perspective, Creflo & Taffi pastor churches in New York on Saturdays and Atlanta on Sundays, and there is no Greyhound bus between one and the other over night!! The plane is but a tool of the job, to get the Good News of Jesus out as far and as fast as possible … and indeed Creflo & Taffi spread the Word all over the globe. It is no different in principle to the church car that some of us use to get around our rather smaller parishes. And as regards inviting the members to contribute toward the cost, is it really so much more offensive than the appeals of many other churches for money to maintain and repair stained glass windows and such like?
Whilst I totally respect your right to disagree with Creflo’s teaching, I’m not sure that such intemperate and personalised attacks reflect any great credit on a denomination that, up to now, I have had a high regard for. Also, I think it would be helpful for you to have fuller information on how Creflo Dollar Ministries uses the resources entrusted to it, before making sweeping statements unsupported by balanced evidence.
I would very much like to send you some of Creflo’s teaching material. Would you be willing to give it a fair hearing in the light of God’s Word?
What a stunning message! My flabber is truly gasted! There is so much in your email that completely astonishes me. However I want to thank you for your message and the spirit in which it was written.
It also gives me the opportunity to point out the main problems with Creflo Dollar coming.
“I struggled with the idea that God might actually want to see the resources of this world in the hands of His church, so that His church can use those resources to help others” –
I confess I don’t struggle at all with the idea that God wants to use the resources of this world, which are after all his, to enable his church to grow. But could you explain how having several cars, including a Rolls Royce, a mansion in Atlanta and a penthouse in New York and a $60 million private jet is using resources to help others?
Incidentally another correspondent accused of not believing that God wants to bless his people. Of course I do…I just don’t equate that blessing with being materially rich. Although I do accept that everything we receive materially is a blessing from the Lord and I am delighted to accept such gifts. For example a lovely Christian couple gave us a weekend in a lodge on Loch Lomond. It was a gift from the Lord. But there is a difference between receiving these gifts and seeking them. There is a difference between receiving and telling your congregation that if they give to you they will get ten times back – as though giving to the Lords work was the ultimate investment scheme!
2) What on earth is an ‘end time double wealth transfer’?
What kind of religious gobbledygook is that? Did David, Solomon and John know this is what they were writing about? And your use of Scripture is highly selective and indeed contradictory to your position. Lets just take the verses you cite in support of preachers taking offerings to buy $60 million private jets.
Proverbs 10:22 – How convenient that you leave out v.2 “Ill-gotten treasures are of no value,” and you totally negate the teaching of Jesus and Paul that in this world we will have trouble.
Psalm 35 – has nothing to say about the subject. Indeed it is a song about someone who is poor and in trouble – not a prosperity Gospel preacher who is naming and claiming it.
3 John 2 – again says nothing about the subject. However there is an appropriate comment on this in v9. “I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us.” Creflo Dollar ministries is all about Creflo Dollar (and Tami)…the clue is in the name. He loves to be first.
Proverbs 13:22 – again says nothing about the subject. However v. 17 is appropriate – “A wicked messenger falls into trouble, but a trustworthy envoy brings healing.”
And then my favourite miscitation from you.
Psalm 112:9 “He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures for ever; his horn will be lifted high in honour.” This is God giving his gifts to the poor. It does not justify a multi-millionaire evangelist fleecing the poor in order to further his own nest. I am reminded of U2 –
” I can’t tell the difference between ABC news, Hill Street Blues, and a preacher on the Old Time Gospel Hour stealing’ money from the sick, and the old. Well the God I believe in isn’t short of cash mister”.
3) Can anyone seriously ‘pastor’ a church in New York on Saturdays and Atlanta on Sundays?
That’s like me saying I pastor in Dundee on Saturdays and Madrid on Sundays. You do realise that there are commercial planes hourly between the cities? More importantly what does any of this have to do with NT ministry? It’s more like a rock star doing gigs. In the church there are no rock stars, and the only celebrity is Christ. You talk about getting a sense of perspective. If you take off the Dollar tinted glasses and look through the lens of Scripture I would suggest your perspective would be a lot more realistic.
4) A private jet is no different from a car that we use for visiting?!
I can think of one – $60m dollars worth! I am sitting writing this in my office after cycling to work in the freezing cold. It would be nice to have a second car so that I would not have to do this but rather than hinder my ministry it has helped. Why? Because I get to see the city, meet people and pray. I have invented prayer cycling! Tell Mr Dollar and I’m sure he will turn it into a programme which he can market to the gullible.
5) What is the difference between maintaining and preparing a stained glass window and a congregation paying for a preacher’s private jet?
The key is in the word ‘private’. The stained glass window is for the glory of God and for all to see. The private jet is for the private comfort of the preacher.
6) You think my language is intemperate and personalised?
You ain’t seen nothing yet! Do you struggle with the language of Elijah (‘where is your God…has he gone to the toilet?), Paul (I wish these false teachers would go the whole way and castrate themselves!), or Jesus ‘you white washed tombs – twice dead’? If your ‘high respect’ for the Free Church has been shaken by my critique of a false teacher like Creflo Dollar then I’m not sure we want your respect.
What evidence would you like me to have that changes the fact of jets, cars, houses, millionaire salaries etc.? Would you like me to have the evidence about how this preacher of the Good News was so filled with the fruit of the Spirit that he was arrested for assaulting his daughter and the charges were only dropped because he agreed to undertake an anger management course?
7) Creflo’s Teaching
I would very much like to send you some of Creflo’s teaching material. Would you be willing to give it a fair hearing in the light of God’s Word?
At last we come to something we can agree on. Of course we should evaluate teaching not on the basis of rumour and gossip but on the basis of the teaching itself. Your assumption seems to be that I have not heard or evaluated Dollar’s teaching before.
I have a confession to make. I occasionally do something that I suspect is sinful because it has such a bad effect on me. I don’t mean to do it, and I try not to do it often, but sometimes I give into temptation, I hit the keyboard and it comes up on the screen. I am of course talking about pornography – the spiritual pornography of God TV. Of course there are some good things in it – like there apparently used to be some good articles in Playboy – but overall it is the most depressing kind of spiritual exploitation and false teaching. And of course Mr Dollar has plenty money and so is able to pay to get his teaching on there often. You do realise that it is not on there because of its quality but because Creflo Dollar ministries pay for it? Anyway after I got your message I was a wee bit convicted and thought (as I often do) – maybe you’ve got this wrong? Maybe you were a wee bit over the top. So I prayed and then switched on the Internet and turned to God TV. And lo and behold, guess who was on? Yep – you got it. Mr Dollar. And I got the whole of his latest message. Let me give you a summary of the notes, but in case you doubt you can access it here – http://www.creflodollarministries.org/Watch-and-Listen?slug=Enforcing-Spiritual-Laws&returnUrl=%2FWatch-and-Listen&type=Video&page=1
Clip 1 – Creflo Dollar – Enforcing Spiritual Laws – published April 13th, 2016
“You see God’s power comes to pass through us. He doesn’t do anything independently of us. He’s not doing something aside from us. God uses flesh …. The no 1 reason people don’t receive from God is because they don’t operate in their authority. That’s the number one reason that Christian people don’t receive from God their healing, their deliverance, their prosperity. It’s because they’re not operating in their authority. You have authority, ladies and gentlemen. Believers have authority. You have a right to command. And while you’re praying sometimes you need to be using your authority because when God gave you the authority – to heal the sick, to raise the dead, to cast out devils – when he gave you authority over over all the works of his hands, you can pray all day long but he’s not going to do anmything that he has authorised you to do…It’s not enough for you to believe that Jesus can do it. It’s not enough to believe that Jesus can heal you, that Jesus can deliver you, that Jesus can prosper you, but you must now believe that you can do it too. Boy that’s radical…You’ve been in church, some of you, all your life and nobody’s ever said that to you… [Christians] keep going to God and asking God to do something that he has authorised you to do!”
That’s not radical. Its blasphemous, abusive, soul destroying heresy. Can I ask how many people you have healed? Raised from the dead? According to Creflo if people get sick its because YOU are not exercising your authority.
“You have so much authority that you can either authorise the devil to execute his will to destroy you or you can authorise God to execute his will to bless you….The words of your mouth will authorise the devil or it’ll authorise god. There is nothing that the devil has that you don’t have authority over. He can’t do nothing to you unless you authorise him or give him an inroad where he can come and do it. He needs your authority to hurt you….boy, that’s radical….that’s amazing… We have power over the devil… over all of his lies etc.”
I can ‘authorise’ God to save me?! God needs me to authorise him? Do you realise how blasphemous that is?
“What good is it for you to believe that Jesus can do it, if you can’t do it? That’s frustrating…. It’s not enough for you to believe that God can do it, but you must believe that God has given you spiritual authority and spiritual power to do it…We need to start walking around like little Jesus’s….I believe Jesus can do it.. and I believe I can do it…”
In the context it is clear that Creflo is not talking about having the character or the Holy Spirit of Christ. He is talking about us walking round and doing what Jesus did – healing, raising the dead. Which makes me wonder why Creflo needs a jet at all – surely he can just fly through the air? He has the authority!
“Now I’m putting the responsibility on you. You can no longer put it on the devil. You can’t put it on God. I am saying it is your responsibility. You have been given the power. You have been given the authority. And whatever you do in the name of Jesus it’ll be done….ooh we are raising up a supernatural church .”
No- you are raising up a dumbed down church of gullible Christians who are being suckered by a showman shyster.
And in case you have any doubt about what he is saying he gives the example of an evangelist who sees all his family die and is told by God, ‘its your fault’ because you did not take authority. This man was at the deathbed of his only remaining relative, his sister. He was told it was his fault she was sick. He prayed. And he was told that prayer was not enough. He needed to take the authority. His sister died and he was told that it was his fault she died. So then he took authority and commanded her to come alive and lo and behold, she was raised from the dead. This man then went on to have a ministry of raising the dead. Dollar tells us that this man went on to heal over 500,000 people and was so effective that the State of Washington gave him authority to open up a hospital! Does no one see the flaw in this story? If you are healing people why do you need a hospital?! Do people really fall for this garbage? Its more like Steve Martin than Jesus Christ –
And then at the end of the programme we are told that we can believe, receive and say ‘its mine’. We can take control of our emotions. We can say ‘I won’t be depressed. We can enforce the spiritual laws. We must not put it off , we can get a set of this weeks dynamic teaching… from the heart of Dr Dollar (why from the heart of Dr Dollar – I want preachers not to tell me their heart, I want the heart of Christ!)… we are guaranteed spiritual success, HEALING ETC… all for a ‘love gift’ of $45 OR MORE.
Frank – this is the doctrine of demons. This is an abusive and Godless misuse of the name of Jesus taking the beauty and glory of the Word of God and turning it into an opportunity to make money. It is from the pit of hell.
And that is why I speak. To do otherwise would be to betray my Lord and Saviour. To do otherwise would be to open up my own people to spiritual abuse and harm. The Gospel according to Dollar is cruel, exploitative and a denial of Christ.
Two days ago I was at the bedside of a poor elderly woman who was dying. As I was in her wee room, and listening to her laboured last breathes (she died a couple of hours after I left) – I prayed with and for her. According to Dollar I sinned – because I did not claim authority over death. I did not heal her and I did not raise her from the dead. I am thinking of also of the member of my church who is in hospital now having been operated on for cancer, and the friend who has just had an operation for a brain haemorrhage, or the loved one in a land far away who is sick (the jet would sure come in handy for visiting them!). I don’t claim the authority to heal them. I pray to Jesus and I trust in his goodness, power and grace, to heal, to wound or to take them to him. I have good news for the poor – and it is not that they can be rich or have power – but that they can know, have and love Christ – who to know is eternal life.
Yesterday was an astonishing day for me. I received articles and messages from the Atheistic Secularists, religious right-wingers who want me banned from the Gospel Coalition and several others who poured out abuse in a social media hate fest. I have debated with the most liberal gospel deniers in your own church and yet I have to say this; of all of them, by far the most depressing and dangerous is the doctrine of the man you are defending. As it comes with an evangelical coating it is therefore far more likely to influence the faithful than the liberal nonsense of the likes of Scott McKenna. I was so disturbed by this that I could not sleep last night.
I believe that the teaching of Dollar and others like Joyce Meyer, Kenneth Copeland, Cindy Jacobs, Bethel Church and Joel Osteen (note the pattern – all mega rich preachers of the prosperity gospel) is impacting the church here in Scotland. I have friends in charismatic churches who tell me that it is causing havoc amongst their congregations – who are being blown here and there by every wind of doctrine.
So I speak out. And I encourage other Christian leaders to do the same because at the moment I feel like I am the only one saying anything (although many agree) and therefore it’s far too easy to just personalise it, attack the messenger and ignore the message.
For example this tweet came from a Destiny leader
“Do you put as much passion into seeing the lost saved as you do into tearing into other leaders?”
The Dollar Corporation do the same thing. In an Atlanta newspaper they stated:
“It’s our intention to fulfil our commitment and, hopefully, be a blessing to those in attendance,” Bolton said. “We don’t care to speculate on what sounds like a local, competitive or political matter. Where there are humans, there will be divisions and differences.”
This is not a little local difficulty as though I was engaging in some kind of church politics because I am jealous of Destiny or any other church. This is about the Gospel. It is about Christ. I don’t care two hoots about church politics. I care about the people of Scotland, I care about the glory of Christ, I care about the Church being fed this spiritual poison and it being endorsed by those who are supposed to be their under shepherds, protecting the flock from the wolves.
So I leave you with three challenges:
- To Creflo Dollar and your ‘ministry’. Instead of spending $60 million on a private jet, if you really want to advance the kingdom of Christ here in Scotland, give us the $60 million and we will plant 60 churches. Just change the comfort of sitting in a leather seat for seeing many gathered round the Throne in heaven. That seems to me a good deal.
- To Destiny and others who have invited Dollar. In the name of God and for the sake of Christ, withdraw your invitation. If you really care about the Gospel in Scotland take courage and turn away from this false teaching. It’s not too late.
- To all the Lord’s people. Let’s not listen to the junk food coming out of the corporate Christianity exemplified by Dollar and others. Let us listen to Christ, speaking through his Word. Let us repent for our coldness, sin, politics and lack of passion. Let us get back to the basics of prayer, the Word, the fruit and gifts of the Spirit. Maybe your church is not the latest snazzy thing you see on God TV, but if it is faithful to the Lord it is the most beautiful place to be on earth. We do not have silver and gold to offer, but what we have we give. We have Christ! We are the richest people in the world.
“If you want to fly, don’t buy a private jet with the sacrificial gifts of the Lord’s people; wait for the Rapture.”
Here is why this is so wrong….it really allows the world to mock and abuse….I’m afraid that John Oliver is largely right in his critique