I just wanted to share my thoughts and warnings about false prophets– especially those who use religion or organized religion as a means to manipulate and harm others. I also want to warn about those who would use religion for personal financial gain and prestige and prosperity at the expense of others.
What bothers me is the notion that someone can stand up and make claims as a “prophet” or make claims that he or she has some sort of secret insight or personal connection to God or Jesus that no one else can possibly have. And with this secret insight, they would guide people to give up more than they can reasonably afford for the purposes of helping this “prophet’s” ministry. I am especially concerned with the messages these so-called prophets propose or preach.
For one thing, if anyone tells you that earnest prayer and contributions to such and such ministry will multiply your prosperity ten or twenty or hundred-fold may in fact be misleading. You may feel good about the contributions you make and you may be ensuring treasures in heaven, possibly… but you may also be bankrolling this prophet’s extravagant lifestyle and posh luxuries. Be wary about giving to any ministry that does not hold itself accountable and does not answer direct questions as to where the contributions go towards. Does the money the ministry raises go towards feeding the homeless, providing medical needs to those in poverty, or providing shelter and safety to victims of domestic violence for example? What does the ministry do exactly with the funds it raises?
Prayer alone will not make anyone rich financially. Money does not fall from the sky. God does not provide in that manner. God gives us talents, skills, intelligence, and wisdom. God opens doors of opportunity for which we can work, be employed, and be productive to earn our daily bread. Be wary of prophets promising quick and easy answers to financial troubles that come with strings attached– like financial contributions.
I am always wary of “prophets” or televangelists that are more busy trying to sell you something– books, videos, prayer shawls, beads, necklaces, etc. than actual preaching from the Bible. Religion and faith and hope and salvation is not something you can buy. Jesus offered his ministry and teachings free of charge. He offered salvation and healing free of charge. The price we pay for our salvation is belief that Jesus sacrificed himself for our sins! The price we pay for being among the body of Christ is our willingness to love one another as neighbors, love our God, and to seek forgiveness of our sins. There is no money on this earth that can buy us a ticket to heaven. It is by the grace of God alone that we are truly saved.
We strive to be better people, we try to live according to examples that Jesus had expressed and displayed. We try and do God’s work with the gifts He has given us. It is that simple. You don’t need to give some “prophet” your credit card information or dole out half your life savings or kids’ college funds to be among some elite membership of Christians.
The offerings you provide to a local church will probably do so much more positive and productive work than a contribution to some mega-church or Crystal Cathedral or whatever. Local communities need the support of local congregations for food pantries, homeless shelters, senior caregiving, veteran services, support groups for alcoholics, abuse victims, and ordinary folks who could use a helping hand.
If the words of a “prophet” ever contradict the commandments of Jesus… if there is ever a message of hate or discrimination… if there isn’t love in the words of a so-called prophet, then right there you should know the prophet is a false one. If he or she doesn’t speak from the Bible, she or he isn’t really speaking with God or Jesus or the Holy Spirit.