Many times the victims of false teachings (like prosperity gospel and word of faith) are never seen. Some perish in their new found teachings with wads of green money stuck between their teeth. Others wither out in oblivion far from these churches, empty handed with promises of riches and endless frustrations. Why are popular teachers hastily given the rubber stamp of approval without due consideration of the human cost of their destructive teaching?. Thabithi Anyabwile has an interesting article in which he highlights and puts a human face to this discussion. Meet Sean, here is his story…
I am, to be really honest here, very upset by the passé attitudes [towards Jakes] of these brothers (and pastors, I might add). I’m upset for a few reasons, but If I’m being honest, the main reason why I’m so disturbed by this is because the prosperity gospel nearly killed me. Literally. I was so sick I was on the verge of death. I was lying in a hot bath with a temperature of 96 degrees, way beyond dehydrated, and literally dying with mercury poisoning. My mother was crying over my naked body, begging me to go to the hospital for treatment. “NO!” I insisted. How could I put faith in a doctor? “God is my ultimate healer! In him alone will I place my faith!”
I did eventually receive treatment, but I was still being ravished by this heresy. When I married my beautiful wife, Amber, I taught her (with the Bible of course), that there would be no taking of medicine in MY HOUSE! We would be faithful. When we were dead broke I refused to get a job because “God had promised me (through Canton Jones, no less) that I would be a buisness CEO, fortune 500, of course. How could I not have faith in that word of prophesy?
And there were a hundred other things that nearly destroyed my life and marriage. Would you care to guess who my MAIN teacher was? Who I followed as if he himself were Jesus? Who I tithed to regularly? Who’s books I read faithfully? Who’s sermons I purchased? Who’s dress I imitated?
Yes, you guessed it. TD Jakes.
My brother, this man is not merely confused, he is a wolf. God’s gracious staff saved me from him. But don’t get it twisted. Under my fur I still bear many scars that he gave to me with his powerful bite.
Now, not everyone has had the same experience as Sean and Amber. And not everything in Sean’s experience can be attributed to the preacher. But we can’t deny the connection between belief and behavior. If the belief is faulty chances are the behavior will be faulty also. Picture Sean. Picture many more like Sean, falling into life-changing and sometimes life-threatening behaviors because they’ve believed a self destructive and erroneous teaching.