(an update – the Scotsman carried this story on the 4th of May -You can read it HERE )
Forgive me for calling you by your first name but since we both profess to be Christian brothers I think it is appropriate. We have other things in common – we were both born in 1962 and we are both pastors in the Christian church. But there I guess the similarities end. You have a church of some 30,000 members, I have one with 125. You have two Rolls Royce’s and a private jet; I have a leased car and pushbike! To you that might sound like jealousy, to me it just indicates the different worlds we live in and the different theologies we have. You of course are a world famous tele-evangelist, with your own ministry and TV show; I am an unknown Scottish Presbyterian minister. So why am I writing you? Why should you listen to me?
Because you are coming to my country in a few weeks and I have been challenged by the church that is inviting you after I gave a somewhat critical response to a question I was asked from a Scottish newspaper about your forthcoming visit. I then wrote this blog – Why Creflo Dollar is not Welcome in Scotland There was as you might expect quite a response. I understand that it even made it into your local Atlanta paper, where one of your staff indicated that it was just a little local difficulty, with the implication being that this was some kind of turf war where we were a bit jealous about your coming to another church.
I met with the leaders of that church who invoked Matthew 18 and asked why I had not consulted you first, before writing in public. I told them that I did not think you would even read my letter, never mind respond, but they did not agree and suggested that I was still in the wrong not to do so. I don’t agree with their application of Matthew 18 (see Don Carson on the misapplication of Matthew 18) but nonetheless I want to respect their desire and write to you.
Firstly I want to apologise if I was wrong in my assumption about your willingness to listen and also if I have misunderstood your teaching and theology.
Secondly I want to ask you about that theology. I have listened to several of your sermons and it seems clear to me that you specifically teach what is understood as the prosperity gospel, of the ‘name it and claim it variety’. I listened to your latest series on ‘taking authority’ and it seemed to me that you believe Christians have only to ‘take authority’ and claim wealth and health. Could you let me know if my understanding is correct? Did you ask your congregation to finance a $65 million jet for your ministry?
Thirdly, if you do teach this Prosperity Gospel, I would issue a plea to you as a Scottish pastor, who is seeking to communicate the Good News in a society which is increasingly ignorant of Christ, or hostile to him. Please don’t come. Your visit will only cause harm – to the Church, to the culture and to those of us who have to stay and work here. The name of God will be ‘blasphemed amongst the Gentiles because of you’. (Romans 2:24).
Fourthly, if you do come then I would simply ask that you be prepared to discuss/dialogue with myself in public about what the Lord really says and wants. You know how when Peter came to Antioch Paul publicly rebuked him to his face (Galatians 2:11)? Lets meet and discuss in public. If I am wrong you can show the church and the world and I will be corrected and taught the way of God more perfectly. If you are wrong then the same applies to you. What is there for either of us to lose? The God who answers by fire, let him be God.
I would also like to invite you on your way to Aberdeen to pop in for a wee cup of tea and we could have that same discussion in our own small studios here in Dundee at the Solas Centre for Public Christianity.
If you have a heart for the cause of the Gospel here in Scotland, or for the name and honour of Jesus Christ, then I would urge you to listen to my plea. If you refuse to do so then I feel bound by my love for Christ and his gospel to do everything that I possibly can to resist the cancerous poison of a false theology which assaults the poor, the weak and the sick; and which makes a mockery of the cross of Christ. I have no interest in church politics, ‘turf wars’ or any other such examples of the worldly spirit that so often invades the churches. I seek only the glory of Christ and the good of his church.
You are clearly a man with considerable communication gifts – imagine the good that could be done if you used them to preach the Gospel (and yes I am suggesting that if you add to the gospel the whole prosperity doctrine it is not the Good News to the poor that you are preaching)? I look forward to hearing from you ASAP.
Yours in Christ
David A. Robertson
Pastor of St Peters Free Church
Moderator of the Free Church of Scotland (a small denomination in Scotland with about 15,000 people in 100 churches).
Dundee, Scotland 30th April 2016