What Is The Gospel? – Part 6

For the other parts of this series, see the end of this post.

10. The Gospel – False Gospels

The gospel of the death, burial, and resurrection is the one true gospel. That is the only gospel that is to be preached. God came down in love in the person of Jesus Christ so that all who believe might be set free from the bondage of sin. That’s it. Period. Done.

Obviously, though, we know that there are many false gospels that are being preached in many churches today. One that I feel passionate about is the health, wealth, and prosperity “gospel.” This presentation has the following phrases attached to it: “You can have what you say,” “The reason you haven’t been healed is that you don’t have enough faith,” “We can write our own ticket with God if we decide what we want, believe that it’s ours, and confess it,” “He wants you rich and healthy,” “What is the desire of your heart? Name it and claim it by faith, and it is yours!” These phrases are examples of the “spoken word theology” or rhematology.

Below is a list that I put together of some prosperity “preachers” and the lines they have used. These came from videos on YouTube from Hank Hanegraaff’s “Christianity in Crisis.” I did verify some of them, however, in their original sources and they are true – and some of them are quite scary.

Benny Hinn

“Man is a little God”


“Women used to give birth from their sides”


“Nine persons in the Trinity”


“Adam used to fly”



Paul Crouch

“I am a little God”



Kenneth Copeland

“Jesus did not claim to be God”


“Adam was God manifested in the flesh”


“Jesus’ little wormy spirit suffered in hell”



Larry Huck

“Jesus was not the only begotten Son of God”



Fred Price

“Our sickness limits God”


“Praying Thy will be done is stupid”


“I’m following Jesus’ steps by driving a Rolls Royce”


“God can’t do anything in this earth’s realm without permission”


“Jesus was confined in hades”



Marilyn Hickey

“Speak to billfolds to create money”



Robert Tilton

“The AIDS virus is a demonic spirit”


“Not only is worrying a sin, being poor is a sin”



Creflo Dollar

“Jesus didn’t come as God because He fell asleep in the boat”



Joseph Good

“Jesus was not God here on earth, only a man anointed by God”



William Branham

“Trinitarianism is of the devil”



R.W. Shambach

“That spirit of poverty is broken when you give $5,000”



Kenneth Hagin

“Jesus was the first person ever born again”



Hobart Freeman

“True Christians don’t get sick”

Other prosperity preachers that aren’t included on this list are T.D. Jakes, Joyce Meyer, Rod Parsley and Joel Osteen, just to name a few. Now, I have written against Joel Osteen previously, but I do not believe that he is near as bad as some of the ones above. I don’t think that he would say most of what the other people have said, but he makes my list because he preaches a “gospel” of “self and wealth” and never seems to preach the one true gospel. All of these “preachers” seem to be conforming to the world’s standards – trying to live a good life and build wealth. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” We are not to conform to the world, but we are to await the Kingdom of God. We are not citizens of this world (Phil. 3:20). I like the following quote by John Piper:

“What will make the world taste (the salt) and see (the light) of Christ in us is not that we love wealth the same way they do. Rather, it will be the willingness and the ability of Christians to love others through suffering, all the while rejoicing because their reward is in heaven with Jesus. This is inexplicable on human terms. This is supernatural. But to attract people with promises of prosperity is simply natural. It is not the message of Jesus. It is not what he died to achieve.” – John Piper

The point here is to not criticize the prosperity “preachers” (although it is easy to do), but to tell you that we must preach the one true gospel – that Jesus died, was buried, and was resurrected to save us from our sin so that we can escape eternal torment. Here is what some other men had to say on the preaching of the gospel:

“Let this be to you the mark of true gospel preaching – where Christ is everything, and the creature is nothing; where it is salvation all of grace, through the work of the Holy Spirit applying to the soul the precious blood of Jesus.” – Charles Spurgeon

“If the Lord’s bearing our sin for us is not the gospel, I have no gospel to preach.” – Charles Spurgeon

“There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.” – R.C. Sproul

“We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum.” – A. W. Tozer

“If Jesus had preached the same message that ministers preach today, He would never have been crucified.” – Leonard Ravenhill

“If the gospel were more faithfully preached, there would be fewer people professing to believe it.” – A. W. Pink

Another false gospel that is emerging is that of the emergent church. I have just begun to study this so called theology. It is not necessarily wrong to be “emerging” in the sense of tradition, but what absolutely cannot be “emerging” is doctrine. Doctrine has to be closed; you cannot compromise just to please. This seems to be similar to the way of the prosperity preachers – they are too seeker sensitive. Again, to be seeker sensitive is not wrong, but when a preacher compromises doctrine, systematic theology, and most importantly the Bible, then it is completely out of line with the gospel.

A good example of this is a response from an emergent church leader, Brian McLaren. In the February 7, 2005 issue of TIME Magazine, McLaren was asked what he thought of gay marriage. His answer was: “You know what, the thing that breaks my heart is that there’s no way I can answer it without hurting someone on either side.” TIME called this “a kinder and gentler brand of religion.” I call it false doctrine and an abdication towards the gospel. Is the gospel offensive? Potentially yes; but I believe it is only offensive to someone who does not believe in its fully infallible and sufficient message. When I am better able to understand the beliefs of the emergent church, I may be able to go into better detail; but for now, I just wanted to touch the surface of this clearly false preaching of the gospel.

Other Parts:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

– Adam Smith

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2 thoughts on “What Is The Gospel? – Part 6

  1. cindyinsd says:

    Great posts, Adam. I stumbled across this one and had to go back and read the whole series. Very sound. I, too, am interested in the “emerging” church. It’s hard to get a feel for just what they believe. I think it varies from one to another. From what I’ve been able to find out, the emergent thing kind of makes me uneasy.

    I’ve subscribed to your blog and look forward to reading your final post on this series as well as the other great stuff I’m sure you’ll be coming up with.

    Grace and Peace to you,


  2. Yes Adam, cindyinsd is correct. You have done an excellent job on this series. Concerning the comments made by the ‘prosperity preachers’ of our day, sooooooooo sad. Sad that many, and maybe even some believers, are so ignorant of God’s word that such blatant false teaching would even have a place.

    In 2 Peter 2:14 we are told that the false teacher has “eyes full of adultery and cannot cease from sin, beguiling unstable souls’. The key to thwart these deceivers is to know the word of God. Thanks Adam for standing upon it.


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