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Temporal Blessings Are Not The Gospel

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God can bless you with children, but having children isn’t a part of the Gospel message. Some saints cannot conceive, some do not desire children, and others had to bury their children.

God can bless you with a good job, but having a good job isn’t a part of the Gospel message. Some saints do not have a good job and others do not have a job at all.

God can bless you with a spouse and a good marriage, but having a spouse and a good marriage aren’t a part of the Gospel message. Some saints are single, some do not desire marriage, and others do not have a good marriage.

God can bless you with wealth, but having wealth is not a part of the Gospel message. Many saints are not wealthy, some do not desire wealth, and others have lost their wealth for the sake of Christ due to persecution.

God can bless us with many things in this world, but these things are not the Gospel message.

When we turn temporal blessings into the Gospel message, we are adding onto Christ’s finished work on the Cross and changing the Gospel message which makes it “no good news at all” (Galatians 1). Scripture firmly forbids this.

There is a danger in turning temporal blessings into the Gospel message:

1) It creates a false standard of “salvation” or “blessedness” that many saints will not measure up to because they do not have the temporal blessings that were added onto Christ’s finished work on the Cross. This leads saints who adhere to this false standard of “salvation” or “blessedness” to unrighteously judge other saints who do not have these temporal blessings as “unsaved” “lacking faith to claim the promises of God” “less spiritual” or “in sin or disobedience.”

2) It leads saints to be puffed up against one another and think that they are spiritually-superior or “more favored by God” than saints who do not have these temporal blessings.

3) It draws the focus away from Christ and places it on temporal things, which leads to covetousness and idolatry.

4) Most tragic of all, it empties the Cross of Christ of its power by adding onto Christ’s finished work on the Cross which dilutes the pure unadulterated Gospel message. The Gospel that Jesus and the apostles preached is to be proclaimed in its PURE UNADULTERATED FORM, not modified to suit our temporal desires and circumstances.

Temporal blessings can change because they are not immutable/unchanging — only God is immutable/unchanging. Children can change. Your spouse can change. Your marriage can change. Your job, career, or employment status can change. Your financial status can change. But one thing that will never change is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ which is the Gospel message.

It is through Christ’s finished work on the Cross that we are saved, reconciled with God, made right with God, receive the Holy Spirit, set-apart and anointed, made complete through our union with Jesus, blessed, and pass from death to eternal life. Notice that every blessing of the Gospel is hidden in Christ in Heaven. This is why the Scripture says “Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.” (Colossians 3:1-3)

I thank God for the blessings He has given me, because I know that it is only by His mercy and grace that I receive anything. Being justified before God and knowing that the Creator is a gracious and merciful God who personally entered into His own creation to demonstrate His love by paying the price for OUR SINS so that we can be saved, is the best thing to ever happen to me. There is no greater revelation that I can receive, and there is no greater blessing than that. I have experienced the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10. I have seen and felt His goodness. Even when everything in my life is going wrong, the Holy Spirit within me rejoices in the Son of God, and it is there that I find my contentment — not in the temporal blessings.

Temporal blessings have their place, but they should never sit in the place of Christ and the Gospel on the throne of your heart.

If your salvation is based on a false ‘gospel’ of Jesus+temporal things, your faith can be shaken because temporal things change. But if your salvation is based on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ — your faith is rooted by a steadfast anchor and an immovable rock. For Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He does not change, and His redemptive work on the Cross does not change. “It is finished.”

May our faith rest in Christ alone and His finished work on the Cross, and not in temporal blessings that are not eternal and are subject to change.

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‪#‎JesusIsTheGospel‬ ‪#‎NotTemporalThings‬ ‪#‎DontAddOntoTheCross‬

“Apostolic Submission” Or False Tradition? [Demetrius Sinegal]

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The gentleman in the image below is Demetrius Sinegal.

His official website says that he is a “senior prophet,” “senior pastor,” “chief apostle,” and “presiding bishop.”

Sinegal

On July 29th, 2014, Sinegal posted the following statement on his official Facebook page:

“There should be no greater voice in your life than that of the one who’s covering you profess to be under. You can’t be under one’s covering, and be consecrated/affirmed by another. You can’t be a member of one church yet tithe to another. Submit where you are submitted. Apostolic covering, sonship, and/or relationship does not mean daily conversation, it means daily covering. Something done in the heavens, manifested in the earth. True covenant relationship means you treat those you are in COVENANT with equal to or better than a “big name” you honor or are impressed by. It means KNOWING the value of those you’re in relationship with.”

Demetrius Sinegal

Since Sinegal has an on-going series for people who are tired of church, I thought it might be helpful to explain some of the reasons why Believers are tired of church using his own words as an example.

1. Believers are tired of leaders who exalt themselves to the place of Christ.

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There should be no greater voice in your life than that of the one who’s covering you profess to be under.” (Demetrius Sinegal)

This statement would be true if Sinegal were saying that there should be no greater voice in your life than God’sBut that is not what he is saying.

He is saying that there should be no greater voice in your life than his which amounts to idolatry because he is exalting himself to the place of Christ. This goes directly against Scripture which teaches that there should be no greater voice in our life than God’sSee Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 13:4, John 10:27, and Hebrews 3:7-8.

If there is no greater voice in your life than Sinegal’s, then he has successfully usurped the voice of the Lord Jesus in your life which is Antichrist.

The term “Antichrist” not only means an adversary of Christ or an enemy of Christ. It also means “in the place of Christ,” as in someone or something that exalts itself to the place of Christ as a false messiah.

In a church-setting, the spirit of Antichrist masquerades as someone or something very holy, and insinuates itself to a place in your heart that only Jesus should have.

While it is true that we should listen to Biblically qualified elders (Ephesians 4:11-12), their voice is not greater than God’s. Nor is their voice greater than any other Believer’s including your own, because we are all equal as children of God through faith in Jesus Christ (Galatians 3:26-28).

To say that “There should be no greater voice in your life than that of” Sinegal’s contradicts the word of God and goes far beyond the Biblical role and authority of elders.

Some of us are practicing a version of Churchianity that is based on the Old Covenant where God primarily spoke to the children of Israel through prophets (Hebrews 1:1-2). It is time to come out of the old and into the new. In the New Covenant, God has filled us with the Holy Spirit and given us the ability and the privilege of hearing Him directly and obeying His voice.

If there is no greater voice in your life than Sinegal’s, not only have you allowed him to become your “personal jesus,” but you have shortchanged yourself of the New Covenant blessing of personally hearing from God.

As it is written in the Scriptures, ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who listens to the Father and learns from him comes to me.” (John 6:45)

But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.” (John 14:26)

Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the assembly.” (Revelations 2:29)

If you are a leader and you are interested in running off Believers — teach people that there should be no greater voice in their life than yours.

2. Believers are tired of leaders playing God and smothering them with “spiritual covering” dogma.

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Throughout Sinegal’s statement, he referred to “covering.” But he wasn’t referring to the covering of God’s Spirit. He was referring to the “spiritual covering” dogma which exalts a man to the place of God as your “covering.”

Nowhere in Scripture does it directly state or remotely imply that spiritual leaders function as a “spiritual covering” over God’s flock. But instead, the Scriptures teach that God is our covering:

“I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert [covering] of thy wings. Selah.” (Psalm 61:4)

He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4)

“O God the Lord, the strength of my salvation, thou hast covered my head in the day of battle.” (Psalm 140:7)

And the Lord will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night: for upon all the glory shall be a defense. And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the day time from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert [covering] from storm and from rain.” (Isaiah 4:5-6)

“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” (Isaiah 61:10)

“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord God.” (Ezekiel 16:8)

“I clothed you in embroidered cloth and gave you sandals of badger skin; I clothed you with fine linen and covered you with silk.” (Ezekiel 16:10)

“And of Benjamin he said, The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.” (Deuteronomy 33:12)

Spiritual leaders can do many wonderful things such as teach, preach, counsel, prophesy, reprove, warn, watch and pray. But they cannot cover your soul.

In order for a person to cover your soul, they must be omnipotent (all-powerful), ever-present (everywhere that you are), and omniscient (all-knowing). Spiritual leaders do not possess these qualities, only God does.

God is the only one who has the ability to cover your soul everywhere that you go, protect you from unseen spiritual forces of darkness, and guide you through every situation because He knows the past, present, and future. Spiritual leaders simply do not have the power and knowledge to cover your soul.

If you believe that Sinegal is your “spiritual covering,” then who was covering you before you met him? Who was covering you when you first got saved? Wasn’t it God?

If God was covering you before you met Sinegal and when you first got saved, then why do you need Sinegal to “cover” you now?

Who convinced you that you need somebody new to cover you? It couldn’t have been God, because His word says that He is our spiritual covering. It had to be a man who convinced you that you “need” him to “cover” you. Oh, and also send him 10% of your income.

God was Adam and Eve’s covering.

God was Abraham’s covering.

God was Isaac’s covering.

God was Jacob’s covering.

God was Joseph’s covering.

God was Moses’ and Aaron’s covering.

God was the prophets’ covering.

God was John the Baptizer’s covering.

God was the apostles’ covering.

Yet modern-day leaders teach Believers that they are our “spiritual covering” and that if we say God is our covering we are in “rebellion.” Well, here is what God has to say about that:

“Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin:” (Isaiah 30:1)

God said “woe” unto those who cover with a covering that is not of His Spirit. He called it a sin, because trusting in the flesh for covering is idolatry.

It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.” (Psalm 118:8-9)

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.” (Jeremiah 17:5)

The “spiritual covering” dogma cannot be found in Scripture nor the writings of early Believers. It came from the Discipleship/Shepherding Movement of the 1970’s and 1980’s which tried to make Believers “accountable,” but resulted in cases of spiritual abuse.

While spiritual leaders do serve an indispensable role in the body of Christ, their role is not to function as the “spiritual covering” of God’s flock. That role belongs to the Spirit of God alone.

Many Believers find it offensive and off-putting when we come together to fellowship and worship God and find ourselves dealing with a leader who tries to insert themselves over us as a “spiritual covering.” As if to imply that we were “uncovered” and exposed to the attacks of the enemy before we attended their church.

Who was covering us before we walked through the door? And how on earth can a mere human being cover an entire congregation? Can they project some sort of magical forcefield over everyone and cover our souls everywhere we go? The very idea is mystical, pagan, and unbiblical.

If your goal is to repel Believers, then teach man-made doctrines that aren’t in Scripture like, “You can’t be under one’s covering, and be consecrated/affirmed by another.”

3. Believers are tired of greedy leaders trying to control what we do with our own money.

You can’t be a member of one church yet tithe to another.” (Demetrius Sinegal)

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One of the biggest “church repellents” are leaders who contradict what the Scriptures teach about tithing and giving, and dictate how much money Believers “must” give, and where we are and aren’t “allowed” to give our own money.

The false doctrine of “tithing your income” is unbiblical and contradicts the tithing laws in Scripture. It is a mutation of Biblical tithing and violates the New Covenant doctrine of cheerful giving:

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” (2 Corinthians 9:7)

There is no tithe or 10% in the New Covenant. We each decide how much to give.

And when we give, we give voluntarily and gladly of our own free will — not because we felt pressured to give.

We give in proportion to our income, which means that those who have more are expected to give more and those who have less are expected to give less, so that no one will be burdened while others have it easier. This brings equality in the body.

Give in proportion to what you have. Whatever you give is acceptable if you give it eagerly. And give according to what you have, not what you don’t have.  Of course, I don’t mean your giving should make life easy for others and hard for yourselves. I only mean that there should be some equality. Right now you have plenty and can help those who are in need. Later, they will have plenty and can share with you when you need it. In this way, things will be equal.” (2 Corinthians 8:11-14)

If you would like to see examples of cheerful giving in the New Covenant, read Acts 2:42-47 and Acts 4:32-37.

Notice that in both passages, the saints were not commanded to give a tithe or 10%. No set percentage was given. Instead, they gave in response to their sense of unity and shared life in Christ and in response to the preaching of the Gospel.

The apostles did not tell the saints to “tithe” and tell them that they were “robbing God” and “cursed with a curse” if they failed to do so. They testified powerfully to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ is superior to the tithe, the Old Covenant system of Law, the Levitical Priesthood, and Melchizedek. He is greater than the tithe and He produces more spiritual growth and more fruit than the tithe.

When leaders reach back to the tithe, they are going back to something that is inferior to Jesus in order to provide for their organizations, agendas, and lifestyles. Just because a certain method brings in money doesn’t mean that it is the best method, the most effective method, a Scriptural method, or acceptable to God.

Many organizations bring in money, but their methods are not Biblical, do not build up the faith and character of the saints, and do not please and honor God.

Preaching the Good News motivates a higher level of giving than the tithe, because the tithe binds people to 10%, whereas the Good News sets people free to give everything they have for the Kingdom. Leaders will never successfully emulate what happened in Acts 2 and 4 by teaching the false doctrine of “tithing your income.”

Spiritual leaders have authority to teach what the Scriptures teach about giving. They have authority to encourage Believers to give generously and be rich in good works.

They have authority to instruct Believers to provide materially for evangelistic efforts (the local and global preaching of the Gospel), widows and orphans, the sick and shut-in, the elderly, the persecuted and imprisoned, the homeless, and saints who are in need.

They have authority to instruct Believers to provide materially for their own households, pay off their debts, be good stewards of their finances, and leave an inheritance for their children.

Spiritual leaders do not, however, have authority to dictate how much Believers must give. They do not have authority to bind Believers to 10% or any other amount in the name of God. They do not have authority to forbid Believers from giving to another church.

If a Believer regularly fellowships with one church and decides to give money to another church, that is their right to do so. Forbidding them from giving money to another church is divisive, sectarian, greedy, and Satanic.

Nowhere in Scripture does it directly state or remotely imply that if you regularly fellowship with one church, you are not allowed to provide materially for another church. We are all one body in Christ, with one Lord, one Faith, and one Baptism. So when we give to a Church, it benefits the same body of Christ that we are all a part of and brings glory to God just the same.

Sinegal sounds like he is attempting to hoard his supporters’ money all to himself by forbidding them from helping other churches. This is a divisive religious mentality and Paul the apostle spoke against it in his first letter to the Church at Corinth.

“I appeal to you, dear brothers and sisters, by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, to live in harmony with each other. Let there be no divisions in the church. Rather, be of one mind, united in thought and purpose.” (1 Corinthians 1:10)

The apostles encouraged the saints to give generously to different Churches in need. Sinegal does the opposite. He reminds me of a man named “Diotrephes” in 3rd John. Diotrephes forbid the saints in his fellowship from helping Believers outside of their group.

Fortunately, God is using social media to connect Believers around the world and across the nation, and bringing the truth to light through Biblical discussions about tithing, giving, and financial accountability in the church.

From what I am hearing, many Believers are burnt out and fed up with false teachings about “tithing their income,” “sowing a seed,” “firstfruits offerings,” and man-made prohibitions like “You can’t be a member of one church yet tithe to another.”

Leaders who persist in promoting such nonsense at the expense of sacrificing truth and integrity do so to their own detriment and create more Believers who are ‘tired of church.’

If you would like to study about the history of tithing in Scripture and New Covenant giving, click here.

If you would like to discuss tithing and giving, I invite you to join the following Facebook group by clicking here.

4. Believers are tired of leaders using “submission” to control them.

Submit where you are submitted.” (Demetrius Sinegal)

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I believe in Biblical submission, which is first rendered unto God, and secondly unto man (e.g., your spouse, fellow Believers including elders, and civil authorities).

Scripture teaches that submission in the body of Christ is mutual and conditional.

Mutual means that our submission is reciprocated. It goes both ways. The attitude that “you have to submit to me, but I don’t have to submit to you” is carnal, worldly, prideful, and contrary to the teaching of Christ. In the body of Christ, we walk in humility and submit to one another.

Conditional means that our submission is based on conditions, certain requirements being met, or certain terms. The conditions or requirements being that we are submitting to the word of God and the will of God.

Our submission to man is conditional, because man is capable of evil, sin, abuse, error, deceit, wandering astray, and rebellion.

If we submit to someone who is in error, we will end up in error with them. If we submit to someone who is a blind guide, both of us will end up in a ditch. If we submit to someone who is in rebellion to God, they will lead us into rebellion. If we submit to someone who teaches false doctrine, we will become a participant in their evil deeds and God will hold us accountable.

If submitting to a person puts us in disobedience to God, we do not submit to that person. “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) 

Submission comes with consequences and God will hold us accountable for who or what we submit to. For this reason, it is critical that we use discernment in our submission and do not blindly submit to anyone just because they are a leader.

The problem is not with Biblical submission. The problem is when the words “submit” and “submission” are intermingled with false teachings and used to control Believers.

The words “submit” and “submission” are trigger words in the minds of many professing Believers. These words are used to provoke or initiate a desired course of action — the action being a slave-like, docile, passive, servile, subservient position of blind unthinking unquestioning obedience to leadership.

As Believers, we must keep our thinking caps on and use discernment at all times. Do not assume that a teaching is Scriptural just because it is sprinkled with the words “submit” and “submission.” If/When a teaching has error in it, do not submit to it. And do not submit to leaders such as Sinegal who promote false teachings and desire to be the greatest voice in your life.

5. Believers are tired of “spiritual father” wizardry.

Apostolic covering, sonship, and/or relationship does not mean daily conversation, it means daily covering. Something done in the heavens, manifested in the earth.” (Demetrius Sinegal)

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I already addressed the subject of “covering.” Man does not possess the ability or authority to cover someone’s soul. Only God does. Putting the word “apostolic” in front of the word “covering” doesn’t magically make it Scriptural. There is no such thing as “apostolic covering” and the original apostles would detest the very idea because it exalts man to the place of God.

Now to address this hocus pocus called “apostolic sonship”. . .

The false apostles of our time promote a bastardized heresy called “apostolic sonship” wherein they elevate themselves as “spiritual fathers” and subjugate their supporters as “spiritual sons” and “spiritual daughters.”

They normally promote this heresy by ripping Scriptures out-of-context from Paul’s letters and mashing them together with Old Testament Scriptures.

The Scriptures overwhelmingly emphasize the Fatherhood of God and our sonship to Him. This is important because one of the reasons why Jesus sacrificed His life was to reconcile us back into peaceful fellowship with God the Father as sons and daughters. Not “apostolic sons and daughters” — but sons and daughters of God.

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become sons of God. They are reborn—not with a physical birth resulting from human passion or plan, but a birth that comes from God.” (John 1:12-13)

For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father! The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God,  and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” (Romans 8:14-17)

And I will be a father to you, And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:18)

 “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father! Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” (Galatians 4:4-7)

Also see 1 John 3:1-2.

Once again, the Scriptures overwhelmingly emphasize the Fatherhood of God and our sonship to Him. Yet the false apostles of our time overwhelmingly emphasize “apostleship fatherhood” and “apostolic sonship.”

They elevate themselves as intermediaries or “middle-men” through whom we receive our Divine inheritance, anointing, and ministry. This contradicts the Scriptures which teach that there is only one Mediator between God and man, the Man Christ Jesus, and it is through Him that we receive our Divine inheritance, anointing, and ministry.

This sinful tendency of man to elevate himself above others as an intermediary between God and man through the use of honorific titles such as “apostolic father” is precisely why Jesus rebuked and warned against such behavior:

They love to receive respectful greetings as they walk in the marketplaces, and to be called ‘Rabbi.’ “Don’t let anyone call you ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don’t address anyone here on earth as ‘Father,’ for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don’t let anyone call you ‘Teacher,’ for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant.” (Matthew 23:7-11)

For the most part, the concepts of “apostolic sonship” “apostolic fathers” and “apostolic covering” reinforce an unbiblical caste-system in the church, infantilize Believers, and ‘birth’ illegitimate sinistries ‘ministries.’

They try to justify their doctrine of “apostolic sonship” by paralleling themselves with Paul the apostle and his relationship with Timothy, yet they do not preach the same Gospel that the apostles preached, they are not training anyone to be disciples of Jesus like the original apostles did (they train people to be disciples of themselves), they do not take care of the poor like the original apostles did (they talk more about people taking care of them), they preach themselves not Christ and Him crucified, and they do not risk their lives to bring the Gospel where it has never been heard before and raise up new Churches.

Their sinistry ‘ministry’ websites are full of self-promotional advertisements, glamour shots of themselves, quips, quotes, cliches, and man-made doctrines, NOT the unadulterated doctrine of Christ. They are NOTHING like the original apostles. Nothing.

In the body of Christ, we are all brothers and sisters and sons of God the Father. Our sonship is in Christ Jesus, not in any man or woman with a superiority-complex claiming to be an “apostolic covering, father, or mother.”

6. Believers are tired of bondage created by unbiblical covenants.

True covenant relationship means you treat those you are in COVENANT with equal to or better than a “big name” you honor or are impressed by. It means KNOWING the value of those you’re in relationship with” (Demetrius Sinegal)

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The phrase “covenant relationship” is another trigger word.

This phrase brings to mind an agreement or partnership that is entered into with various commitments and obligations spelled out.

Many leaders use this phrase to bind people to themselves and their organizations, and obligate people to financial commitments and other man-made requirements, rules, and regulations.

In many cases, these “covenant relationships” are used as tools to control what people think, believe, feel, say, do, where they are ‘allowed’ to fellowship, what they are and aren’t ‘allowed’ to listen to/watch/or read, what they wear, where they live/work/attend school/and socialize, who they marry, what they are or aren’t ‘allowed’ to do in their marriage, how they run their own households, whether they are ‘allowed’ to leave or stay in a certain church, and how they spend their money.

In my experience, research, and observation — “covenant relationships’ are legalistic and facilitate the abuse and micromanagement of Believers. Nonbiblical covenants unto leaders and organizations have a tendency to supplant the role of the Holy Spirit and infringe on the blood-bought freedom of the saints.

When leaders speak of “covenant relationship,” use discernment and ask yourself if they are talking about the New Covenant or a marriage covenant, because these are the only 2 covenants spoken of in the New Testament.

The New Covenant was instituted by the shedding of Jesus’ blood. We entered into this Covenant by faith in the Son of God and His redemptive work on the Cross. A marriage covenant is instituted by God and unites a man and woman in holy matrimony.

The New Testament says nothing about entering into “covenant relationships” with leaders and organizations. This is an unbiblical concept.

Our covenant is with God through the shed blood of Jesus. And if you are married, you are in a marriage covenant with your spouse. There are no other Divine covenants instituted and acknowledged by God in the New Testament.

Mr. Sinegal seems to be more concerned about being treated “equal to or better than” the popular pulpiteers of our day. This is not the mentality of a real servant of God and a real apostle, but the mentality of a high maintenance Narcissus.

The fact that he thinks he’s being “mistreated” by people giving THEIR OWN money to someone other than him shows that he has NO IDEA what it means to suffer for Christ.

While true men and women of God suffer persecution overseas, false apostles in America are more concerned about whether their supporters treat them equal to or better than T.D. Jakes.

I leave you with the words of our Senior Pastor and Chief Apostle — no. . . not Demetrius Sinegal — the Lord Jesus Christ.

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25-28)

“. . . whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12)

I’m Not Looking For “An Exciting Worship Experience” — I already have Jesus

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A while back, I received a glossy flyer in the mail from a newly planted ‘church’ in a city near us.

Being the vigilant and inquisitive person that I am, I wanted to know a little more about this new “church plant,” so I looked them up online.

Their official website says that you can expect an exciting worship experience.

What’s wrong with that you ask?

Well, nothing. . . if that’s the only thing you look at.

But if you look at this statement about an “exciting worship experience” along with other ingredients, you will see a bigger picture develop.

Their official website reveals that this organization was planted by a larger association which endorses Rick Warren and is a part of the purpose-driven, culturally relevant, seeker sensitive, emergent, “church growth” movement.

Now, when I look at the phrase “an exciting worship experience” in this context, it seems like more of a selling point to attract customers.

The purpose-driven “church growth” movement is a big business, and those who are involved in marketing its institutions understand something very simple: if you want to attract customers, grow the customer base and increase profits — you have to lure people in with excitement and entertainment.

In many cases, this type of religious marketing is very effective at attracting crowds, because many many people are absolutely obsessed with excitement and entertainment.

Indeed, the adrenaline rush and the “religious high” of “an exciting worship experience” can be addictive, even more addictive than drugs, alcohol, and sex.

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For many of us, it is challenging to just sit still and quiet our minds or read a book in silence. How could we?

With our smart phones ringing, buzzing and beeping all times of the day and night, hours upon hours of background noise from the TV, music and videos streaming online, and almost constant notifications from social networks — we are overstimulated.

Sometimes when we are praying or reading the Bible, things that we saw and heard on TV or online pop into our mind and distract us from focusing on the Lord.

Our minds are overloaded with sounds and images of frivolous entertainment and our carnal senses are overindulged by earthly amusements.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that entertainment and excitement are ‘sinful’ or that once you become a Christian your life should be boring.

Entertainment and excitement have their place. But not as a selling point or a gimmick to attract ‘customers’ to a business that calls itself a ‘Christian church.’

When we experience an exciting moment in worship, let it be orchestrated it by the Spirit of God, and not manufactured by the flesh.

If the aim of providing “an exciting worship experience” is to attract and retain members and increase financial profits — then we’re not really worshiping God, but ourselves and the institutions we have built.

When an institution attracts people with “an exciting worship experience,” they have to keep inventing new gimmicks with higher levels of excitement to hold the interest of supporters. Just like a crack addict, they have to smoke more and more crack in an attempt to recreate the first high that they experienced.

What happens when these people don’t find the “worship experience” exciting anymore? Do they drift off into the New Age Movement or the signs and wonders movement to find a more exciting “worship experience”? Do they become bored and head for the nearest exit?

For many people (like myself), advertising “an exciting worship experience” accomplishes the exact opposite — rather than attracting me, it is a deterrent which discourages me from attending.

I’m not interested in attending institutions that view me as a potential customer and try to lure me in with “an exciting worship experience.” I honestly find that type of soliciting an insult to my intelligence, a degradation of true worship, and a gimmicky substitute for Biblical fellowship.

True worship is about denying ourselves, taking up our cross daily and following Jesus. It’s about walking in the Spirit and abiding in the truth of Jesus Christ. It is about assembling with other Christians to hear the teaching of God’s word and do the “one anothers” listed in the New Testament. It can be exciting at times for sure. But other times, it is not so exciting.

Jesus worshiped the Father in Spirit and truth 24/7. Would you characterize His life as “an exciting worship experience”? Jesus worshiped the Father as He wept in John 11:33-35. Was He excited then? No. He was expressing grief and empathy.

Jesus worshiped the Father while He prayed for strength in the Garden of Gethsemane. Do you think He was having “an exciting worship experience” in that moment? I don’t think so. I think that He was under an immense amount of physical and emotional stress.

Was Jesus having “an exciting worship experience” when He suffered and died on the Cross? I don’t think so. Yet He worshiped the Father by submitting to His will to the point of death on the Cross.

I could bring up countless other examples from Scripture demonstrating that worship has nothing to do with excitement, thrills, chills, and goosebumps. Yet we seek after “an exciting worship experience” based on emotionalism and our own happiness, not the will of the Father.

The Lord was not focused on giving people “an exciting worship experience.” He was focused on preaching the Good News of salvation, inviting sinners into the Kingdom of God, and making disciples.

He rolled up His sleeves and did the dirty work that the scribes and Pharisees didn’t want to do.

Jesus said “if I be lifted up, I will draw all men unto Me. Are we lifting up Christ to draw men unto Him, or are we lifting up “an exciting worship experience” to draw men unto our own organizations?

Some professing Christians have replaced Jesus with “an exciting worship experience.”

We have replaced the Lord of glory with contemporary worship music, professional lighting, dry ice smoke machines, hip and trendy stuff, and slick marketing. And then we wonder why the number of “dones” and “nones” are on the rise and Western ‘Christianity’ is losing the youth.

Who do we think we’re fooling?

We claim to be seeking Christ, but the truth is that many of us are seeking a fix or a “hit” like a religious junkie. And it seems that we have overdosed, and it’s time for us to go into rehab and detox.

We know how to entertain, we know how to dance, we know how to rap theology, we know how to sing, we know how to play instruments, we know how to look and sound trendy, we know how to attract crowds with trinkets, we know how to give people goosebumps and have “an exciting worship experience”, but we don’t know how to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make disciples who follow HIM and bear good fruit that remains.

Many Believers are not falling for it anymore because we are DONE with this superficial presentation and religious performance calling itself “church” “Christianity” “faith” “worship” or whatever.

Nothing and no one can compare to the reality of Jesus Christ and walking with Him in simplicity and freedom. Not rock bands. Not Christian rap. Not the best vocalists in town. Not slick projector presentations. Not huge flat screen monitors at the front. Not stage lighting. Not a high-tech sound system. Not a cafe in the foyer. Not the best musicians on this side of heaven. Not a dance team. Not a ‘Christianese’ self-help sermon. Not a skinny-jeans-wearing ‘pastor.’

Jesus doesn’t need anything or anyone added onto Him to make Him ‘more appealing’ or ‘more attractive’ to anyone — not even an “exciting worship experience.”

If people don’t want Jesus for who He is, then let them be. God isn’t desperate. Mankind is in desperate need of a Savior, and those who recognize their desperate need for Him will trust in Him and worship Him for who He is without any additives.

Jesus+Nothing=EVERYTHING.

If you know this, then an “exciting worship experience” is no comparison!

I end this article with a passage about the Supremacy of Christ.

“15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.

16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.

17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.

18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,

20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:15-20)

Stop trying to excite people and preach Christ!~

Don’t Be A “Ride or Die Chick” [Set Free Femininity]

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Hip-hop music glorifies the “ride or die chick” as the ideal woman that women should strive to be in their relationships with men.

Judging by the lyrics of these ridiculous songs, this means that women are expected to have casual sex with men that they aren’t married to, love and coddle grown men who refuse to be law-abiding citizens, aid and abet such men in criminal activities, settle for a promiscuous man (who has children all over the place) and tolerate all of the drama that comes with promiscuous playboy behavior, place themselves (and their children) in danger by fooling with dysfunctional animalistic violent men, give diehard loyalty to men who do not marry them, settle for the “wifey” title as if it makes them special, and “stand by their man” while suffering through years of emotional turmoil, abuse, drama, manipulation, constant lying, childish behavior, post traumatic stress disorder, financial instability and outright craziness.

Ladies, some of you have been told that by putting up with this wretched chaotic self-serving behavior, that you are being “loyal” to your ‘man.’ #NoFelicia

That is not “loyalty.” That is settling for a toxic unstable bottom feeder and a life of sorrow and mediocrity.

You are not a doormat, an ATM machine, a motel or a “kick it spot” for some man and his “homeboys,” a Taxi service or a chauffeur for a grown man (his “homeboys” and relatives), an accomplice, an enabler, a sex toy, or a baby-making machine.

You were created in the image of God and you are more valuable than all of the diamonds in the world.

elegantladyIf a man tells you that he needs a ride or die chick, a “down chick”, or any sort of “chick” that would put up with trifling behavior, support his bad decisions, and put him before your own well-being, aspirations and personal relationship with God. . . . you need to RUN.

Loyalty is a good thing, but ONLY when it is properly placed.

Do not give your loyalty to a promiscuous playboy who has an unofficial harem of women and/or babies all over the place.

Do not give your loyalty to a man who wants to fornicate with you, make you his personal sex toy, impregnate you with out of wedlock children and move onto the next unsuspecting woman.

Do not give your loyalty to an animalistic man who is undisciplined and has no self-control over his sexual urges.

Do not give your loyalty to a man who acts like a thug (whether he actually is a thug or just pretends to be one), a hustler, commits crimes, despises civil authorities, glorifies hood behavior/street culture/criminals, and refuses to be a law-abiding citizen and earn an honest living.

Do not give your loyalty to a man who wants to live with you unmarried and play house.

Do not give your loyalty to an anti-intellectual man who talks down on education, academic pursuits, lifelong learning, is jealous of your academic accomplishments, and discourages you from going to school and reaching your academic goals.

Do not give your loyalty to a man who is abusive, threatening, violent, overly aggressive and dangerous, and condones violence against women and children.

Do not give your loyalty to dishonest slick man who breathe lies, manipulation, concealment and can’t get his story straight.

Do not give your loyalty to a broke gold-digging financially unstable man who would use you for a place to stay, save money, eat for free, drive your car, borrow money, or financially use you in any manner.

Do not give your loyalty to a man who expects you to treat him like you’re married to him, yet he refuses to marry you and give you his last name.

The vow to love a man “in sickness and in health, for better or for worse” only applies to MARRIAGE — not “boyfriend/girlfriend relationships” “dating” “talking” or “just kicking it.”

Don’t ever let some self-entitled man convince you to give him a level of loyalty that is only reserved for a HUSBAND and WIFE.

Do not give a man the benefits of marriage if he has not married you and given you his last name. Calling you his “wifey” does not count. And saying that he “plans on marrying you some day” does not count either. I say this because some men out there expect MARITAL LOYALTY without a marriage covenant. And sadly, some of you ladies are actually giving it to them! Please STOP, cease and desist this sort of behavior immediately.

Marital loyalty, perks, and benefits are reserved for MARRIAGE ONLY.

Too many women (and children) have been hurt, abused, used, torn apart, destroyed and even murdered, all because they were trying to be a “ride or die chick” to a crazy dysfunctional man.

Too many women think that they have to settle for bottom-of-the-barrel men, lower their standards, and put up with trauma and insanity in order to be “down” “supportive” and “loyal” to men who don’t care about them. This must stop.

You don’t have to accept chaos and drama. You can be at peace.

You don’t have to accept heartbreak and depressed feelings. You can be happy.

You don’t have to accept constant setbacks and dreams deferred. You can progress and move forward in life.

You don’t have to accept being a doormat. You can be valued, loved, appreciated and cherished.

You don’t have to accept the pain, suffering and drama that comes with being a “ride or die chick.” You can be an elegant woman who is protected, provided for, and treated like the beautiful rose that you are.

Are You Still Waiting To Be “Released” Into Ministry?

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“And Christ gave gifts to people–He made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to have the work of caring for and teaching God’s people. Christ gave those gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger. This work must continue until we are all joined together in the same faith and in the same knowledge of the Son of God. We must become like a mature person, growing until we become like Christ and have His perfection.” (Ephesians 4:11-13, New Century Version)

I am truly thankful for those men and women of God who labor faithfully in order to bring God’s people to spiritual maturity and equip us to do the work of ministry.

Indeed, it is a blessing to have mature saints in our lives who use their gift to stir up our gift, and prepare us to serve in whatever capacity the Holy Spirit has gifted us.

But unfortunately, there exists a segment of religious leaders who (be it intentionally or unintentionally) misuse their influence and misuse Scripture to keep Christians on ‘house arrest’ (confined to doing approved and assigned “church work” in their church-building and organization) and hinder them from serving in other ways and other places and fulfilling their ministry.

These leaders forbid and discourage Christians from carrying out the work of ministry by saying things like, “God hasn’t released you yet”, “You haven’t been released, or “You can’t go forth in ministry until I release you.”

With all of this religious jargon about being “released”, you would think that they were talking about convicted criminals being “released” from prison, not born-again Christians serving in ministry.

While these very same Christians are told that “God has not released them yet”, their leaders place them in positions and activities that God did not appoint them to and have nothing to do with their spiritual gift.

This spiritual-mismatching of Christians in ‘ministries’ that are unrelated to their spiritual gifts is done to fulfill the ‘needs’ of the institution, keep them occupied, and prevent them from becoming discontent by giving them the impression that “God is using them.” The truth is that man is using them and holding them back from being used by God.

If God Has Called You, Then You Don’t Need To Wait On Man To “Release” You

Some of you have been called and prompted by the Lord to minister your spiritual gifts, but you were told that you have to “wait for the man or woman of God to release you” into ministry and give you “permission” and their stamp of approval.

Some of you have been told that you aren’t allowed to open up your house for fellowship, worship, or to make disciples in your community, because “you haven’t been released”, “licensed”, or “ordained.”

Some of you have been taught that if God truly called you to preach, teach, serve, or minister, then He would have revealed it to your leader FIRST. Therefore, since your leader claims that “God hasn’t revealed it to them yet”, you are to “sit under” them and “be obedient, humble, submissive, and patient” until “God shows them that it is time to release you.”

Nonsense.

If the Lord has gifted you and commanded you to serve in some capacity (especially if He has commanded you REPEATEDLY and sent you confirmations) then you should obey the Lord already and stop waiting FOREVER for a leader to “release” you.

If this applies to you, I am not saying that your leader is unsaved, evil, or false, or that you should be disrespectful, rude, and unkind to them just because God has called you to minister in some way and they are telling you not to.

You can be obedient to the Lord and do what He is telling you to do, and at the same time respectfully disagree with your leader and if they still don’t approve, that’s on them. It is not within your control nor is it your responsibility to make everyone understand your walk with God and the work He has given you to do.

I am quite sure that your leader wouldn’t stop preaching and teaching just because someone told them that “God hasn’t released them yet” or “God hasn’t shown them that He called your leader to do x, y, z.”

Does This Mean That We Don’t Have To Be Accountable To Anyone?

No!

I am definitely not saying that we shouldn’t seek prayer, counsel, and support from fellow Believers (especially mature experienced saints). 

There is wisdom in a multitude of counselors and the prayers of the righteous are very effective. We definitely need prayer and wisdom before carrying out a work that we believe God has called us to.

Yes, we are ultimately accountable to the Lord first and foremost. But the Lord also holds us accountable through sisters and brothers in the Faith. So we should always remain open and receptive to the insight and instruction of brethren.

If we are not prepared or spiritually-fit for a task, then we should be humble and listen to the Lord’s warnings whether He is speaking to us directly by the Holy Spirit, through Scripture, or through brethren.

The qualifications of an elder/shepherd in Scripture are pretty clear (1 Timothy 3, 1 Peter 5:1-3, Titus 1:6-9). If you do not possess these qualifications, then you are not qualified and should not aspire to this service.

But if you want to be an elder/shepherd anyway, do not ignore the valid concerns of leaders who rightly warn you that you are not qualified and claim that you are “obeying God and not man.” That is pride and religious ambition speaking, not “obedience to God.”

Having zeal without knowledge, zeal without the qualifications, and zeal without counting the cost can damage yourself and others.

Make sure that you have prayed about it first, consulted the Holy Scriptures, and consulted with brethren for prayer, insight, and counsel.

The bottom line: Don’t be a loose cannon. But do obey the Lord AND be accountable if you ARE qualified and God is repeatedly prompting you to carry out the work of ministry — even if some may believe that “God hasn’t released you yet.”

Why Do Some Leaders Hold Christians Back From Serving?

There are a few reasons why:

Control: Some religious leaders are controlling for whatever reason. The idea of people ministering outside of their control and influence unsettles them, because they feel the need to dictate and micromanage ministry and control other people’s spiritual gifts.

Religious leaders can only provide guidance, counsel, instruction and give their opinion. But they have no authority from God to control all ministerial activities and confine people to assigned ‘church work’ within their organization.

Fear: Some religious leaders are afraid of what might happen if Christians take on a more active role in the priesthood of all Believers. They say that they want people to ‘step up’ and serve, but at the same time, they are scared of God’s people stepping out in faith and serving in different ways and different places.

Insecurity: Some religious leaders are insecure. They derive their sense of security from their special status as “THE” man of God. If other people begin ministering, they may lose their special status and influence. They don’t want anyone to ‘surpass’ them in ministry, become “more successful” than them, and start thinking that they know more than them. This makes them feel insecure.

Unbelief: Some religious leaders lack faith in God’s ability to lead and guide us in our spiritual gifts. They talk about faith, trusting God, and the Holy Spirit, but they really don’t trust God to lead and teach His people how to minister. They seem to think that they can do a better job than the Holy Spirit.

Distrust: Some religious leaders don’t trust God’s people to serve responsibly and Biblically. They want people to trust their leadership, but they don’t trust God’s people. It’s sad, but some religious leaders have a very low view of the people they serve. They think that Christians who aren’t leaders are less competent than they are.

Other reasons are jealousy, financial gain, false ideas about leadership and ministry, and a competitive mentality.

It breaks my heart to see men of God who have been called to preach, but they are relegated to ‘church work’ and told not to preach outside of the church-building until their leader “releases them.”

It breaks my heart to see saints who want to open up their homes for fellowship, worship and discipleship — but they are told to bring people to the church-building instead and not to minister in their homes because they have not been “ordained”, “licensed”, or “given permission” by leadership to minister in their own homes.

It breaks my heart to know that God has called saints to do greater works through dreams, visions, prayers, and confirmations from other saints — yet they remain paralyzed and scared to minister because a leader hasn’t “released them yet.”

It is time for the body of Christ to rediscover the priesthood of all Believers — a doctrine that is given lip service, but often neglected.

It is time for the body of Christ to actively serve and reject the control of leaders who suppress their spiritual gifts instead of equipping them.

Fellowship is not a spectator sport, or a time to just sit, watch, clap, sing, and get tingly feelings — but a time to get equipped so that we can GO OUT and fulfill the work of Christ.

If your church is more of a religious daycare center where people are entertained, babysat and kept busy with religious activities than a place where saints are matured and equipped — you might want to pray, seek the Lord, and evaluate.

Even in the secular educational system (which we know has its problems), students are expected to grow, develop, and get educated and equipped to the point that they graduate and use their skills in the real world. But Churchianity seems to be a “school” where the students are kept in the same class, in the same grade level, and rarely graduate to put their knowledge and skills to work in the real world. This is not normal.

I remember a woman who bragged that she “sat under” her “pastor” for TWENTY-FIVE years before “being released” into ministry. To me, that is not something to brag about, but something to be sad about.

When Jesus called His disciples to Himself, He anointed them and shortly thereafter sent them OUT to preach. Then 3 years later, Jesus returned to the Father and left them with the instruction to “go into all the world” and fulfill His work.

If Jesus only spent 3 years on earth with His disciples, then why would any leader have someone “sit under” them for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS??

Jesus filled His disciples with the Holy Spirit and trusted them to do His work. Yet some leaders today don’t even trust congregants to hold prayer meetings and Bible study in their house.

Jesus trusted His disciples to spread the Gospel across the Roman Empire, Asia, and into Africa. Yet some leaders today don’t even trust congregants to share the Gospel on a local street corner.

The body of Christ is spiritually-competent to carry out the Lord’s work, not because we think that we are competent in ourselves, but because we are confident in the competence of our LORD in Heaven.

If the Lord gifts you, qualifies you, and tells you to “GO” and man tells you to “STAY” — what will you do? Which voice will you listen to? Who will you obey?

“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ. All glory and power to him forever and ever! Amen.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)

“. . . Take heed to the ministry which you have received in the Lord, that you may fulfill it.” (Colossians 4:17)

“Sow A Seed” Manipulation [False ‘Apostle’ Sylvia W. Cunningham]

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Before I get into the main topic of the article, I’d like to make two things clear:

Number 1. I firmly believe in, teach, and regularly practice New Covenant giving.

A simple definition of New Covenant giving is giving like Jesus.

This means ministering to people free of charge and meeting urgent needs (e.g., food, clothing, shelter, evangelism/mission work, visiting the sick and imprisoned, medical care, transportation, educational needs, and helping fellow Christians who are suffering persecution).

I believe that generous giving should come naturally for Christians, because we have received God’s generous free gift of eternal life in Christ Jesus.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:16).

“For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

The greatest act of giving was Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross. In it, God demonstrated His love, mercy, grace, and generosity towards us. I believe that this should be the centerpiece from which our giving flows in the New Covenant.

“We know what real love is because Jesus gave up His life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.” (1 John 3:16-18)

I felt the need to state my position on giving, because some professing Christians will judge your motives and assume that if you speak against “sow a seed” manipulation, then you must be “stingy, selfish, greedy” and “you don’t believe in giving.” Well, that isn’t true. I believe in giving and I encourage God’s people to be generous.

My goal is not to persuade anyone NOT to give. My goal is to urge professing Christians to use discernment and recognize when they are being persuaded to give through manipulation and false teaching.

Many professing Christians seem to believe that as long as they give money to a “church” or “ministry,” then that’s all that matters and they have done their service unto God.

They don’t use discernment and inspect the teachings and methods that are used to raise funds. All it takes is a Bible quote and an emotional plea, and like well-programmed robots, they automatically and unquestioningly fork over cash.

Professing Christians are more skeptical and wary of people who ask them for money outside of church. But when it comes to giving to a “church” or “ministry,” they tend to set aside their common sense and logic, and ignore all of the warnings in Scripture about false shepherds making merchandise of men.

There is a reason why Jesus told us to be as wise as serpents and as gentle as doves. It is because we are like sheep in the midst of wolves.

The people of God need to be more careful and discerning when anyone asks us for money, whether it’s someone outside of the church or someone with the title “pastor, bishop, apostle, prophet, evangelist, minister, reverend, etc.”

It is important that we give. But it’s also important that we give according to the truth of God’s word, not manipulation and false teaching.

God is big on giving — and He’s also big on TRUTH. Do a Bible search on the word “truth”, and see how many times it appears in Scripture. The results will show you that truth is of utmost importance to God. Is the truth important to you? Do you have a love for the truth?

Jesus said that He is the Truth (John 14:6). He said that those who worship the Father must worship Him in Spirit and in truth (John 4:24).

In John 8:31-32, Jesus said that if we abide in His word, then we will know the truth and the truth will set us free.

Truth and freedom go hand in hand.

Galatians 5:1 says that it was for freedom that Christ set us free. If someone is manipulating you to give them money based on a lie, then they are putting you back in spiritual shackles and infringing on your freedom in Christ.

God wants us to give freely — not in response to manipulation, intimidation, threats, scare tactics, or greed.  

When we give freely and cheerfully according to the truth of God’s word, it glorifies our Father in Heaven, builds up the body of Christ, displays Jesus to the world, and reaps a bountiful harvest. This is the type of giving I support.

But I do not support the type of “giving” that is based on false teaching, manipulation, and misleading people. No born-again Christian in their right mind should support that.

Number 2. This article is not an “attack” on Sylvia W. Cunningham. She is not being “bashed” “slandered” or “persecuted by the devil.” She is being held accountable to the truth of God’s word.

Ms. Cunningham has a public platform. And when a religious leader manipulates people publicly, they will be addressed publicly. A public platform brings public scrutiny.

Many religious leaders seem not to understand this. They think that they can say and do whatever they please with no accountability, and that anyone who addresses their error is “attacking” them.

Oh, they love to talk about others being “accountable” to them, but when the tables are turned and they are the ones being held accountable for sinful conduct and false teaching — all of a sudden they play the victim and claim that they are being “persecuted by the devil.”

They claim to be so anointed, spiritually mature, and humble. But when people admonish them and reprove their errors, they become extremely prideful, angry, and childish. Honestly, I find this sort of behavior shameful for people who claim to be Christian leaders.

Being corrected on Facebook is not persecution in the slightest. Persecution is suffering for righteousness sake — not being reproved for teaching error.

Christians overseas are suffering real persecution, while religious leaders in America claim that the “devil is attacking them” because someone corrected something that they said on Facebook.

As children of God, we must learn the difference between persecution and correction, and learn how to accept both.

Moving onto the main topic of the article. . . .

Sylvia W. Cunningham is the founder of Ecclesia Worship Center located in Fredericksburg, Virginia.

ef5c9c_4e56ca4647384918b7c294f70bc06495.jpg_1024On August 5, 2014, Ms. Cunningham posted a status on her Facebook page stating that one of her supporters came to Ecclesia Worship Center two weeks ago and made a donation, and now, this supporter’s settlement check is on the way. See the screenshot below.

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Ms. Cunningham’s post suggests that this person’s settlement check is on the way because she “sowed a seed on the altar.”

At first glance, this would seem to confirm or prove the seed-faith teaching that if you “sow a seed” (give money) to a “church” or “ministry,” then God will be so pleased that He showers you with financial blessings.

People who don’t pay close attention may find Ms. Cunningham’s post convincing and be persuaded to “sow a seed” into her religious organization — hoping that they too, will receive a financial miracle. Well, not so fast. . . .

I am glad that this person’s settlement check is on the way. However, it is misleading for Ms. Cunningham to suggest that this person’s settlement check is on the way because she made a donation to Ecclesia Worship Center. Why is that?

If you look at the comments in the screenshot, on August 7 the supporter posted an image which shows a portion of the letter.

The letter shows that the settlement amount of $6,097.52 was previously agreed upon by the insured and the claimant. Therefore, the settlement was already on the way, and this is not an example of someone “reaping a financial miracle” because they “sowed a seed.”

Even if the claimant never gave one penny to Ecclesia Worship Center, she still would have receive a settlement check of $6,097.52 because it was already agreed upon by the insurer.

Sylvia W. Cunningham is not the only religious leader who has falsely claimed that someone received “miracle money” or some other miracle as a result of “sowing a seed” into a religious organization.

Many other Word-Faith leaders have made similar claims that someone gave money to their organization, and in response, received financial miracles, healing miracles, and other miracles.

These false testimonies create false hope and are used to manipulate people to fork over cash, increase donations, and increase the personal wealth of false teachers and false prophets in the church. This is misleading, dishonest, and manipulative.

“Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves. You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. . .” (Matthew 7:15-16a)

“But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them. In this way, they will bring sudden destruction on themselves. Many will follow their evil teaching and shameful immorality. And because of these teachers, the way of truth will be slandered. In their greed they will make up clever lies to get hold of your money. But God condemned them long ago, and their destruction will not be delayed.” (2 Peter 2:1-3)

The Truth About “Sowing A Seed”

A lot of this chatter about “sowing a seed” comes from the Word-Faith doctrine called seed-faith giving.

Some professing Christians would say that “seed-faith giving is a Biblical teaching based on the spiritual law or principle of sowing and reaping.” But the truth is that it’s a mixture of truth and error, which makes it a religious deception.

While it is true that God is pleased by our faith and obedience, it isn’t true that we must fork over cash to a “church” or “ministry” in order to get God to bless us or move on our behalf.

While it is true that generous giving reaps blessings, it isn’t true that these blessings will always be material (money, good health, houses, cars, etc). Nor is it true that these blessings will always be received in the here and now. There are eternal rewards that we will not receive until the world to come.

Paul the apostle said that God has good things in store for us that we cannot even imagine. Seed-faith giving takes the focus off of the eternal, and places the focus on temporal earthly things.

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.” (Colossians 3:1-2)

Seed-faith giving teaches that “if you have a need, then sow a seed” — the ‘seed’ being your money. The message is, if you want God to bless you or move on your behalf, then you need to pay up.

This teaching does not come from God and the Holy Scriptures, but from the late Oral Roberts, a popular Word-Faith leader.

This “sow a seed” scam has raised an obscene amount of money and quickly spread like cancer throughout the church world.

Even religious leaders who would not describe themselves as Word-Faith teach seed-faith giving because it such an effective way to rake in loads of cash.

One of the problems with seed-faith giving is that it is based on Word-Faith heresy.

Word-Faith heresy teaches that God wants us to be wealthy, healthy, and happy, and if we think positive, speak positive, and most importantly, give LOTS of money to Word of Faith leaders — God will be so pleased that He blesses us and makes us rich. If you believe this false ‘gospel’ and you do not understand what is wrong with it, I encourage you to watch A Call For Discernment by Justin Peters.

Word-Faith leaders claim that if you want to receive this prosperity from God, then you need to give them your money as a “seed.” It is a very slick way of leeching free money from unsuspecting people under a false pretense of “sowing into the kingdom.”

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Jesus Never Defined Seed As Money

In every Scripture where Jesus used the word “seed”, He never ever defined it as money. Yet many religious leaders speak of ‘seed’ primarily as money. This is a problem.

In Luke chapter 8, Jesus taught a parable about a farmer who went out to plant his seed. But the seed wasn’t money — the seed was the word of God.

This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is God’s word.” (Luke 8:11)

In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus taught the parable of the wheat and the weeds. In verses 36-43, He explained the meaning of this parable and He defined the good seed as the people of the Kingdom– not money.

Jesus replied, “The Son of Man is the farmer who plants the good seed. The field is the world, and the good seed represents the people of the Kingdom. The weeds are the people who belong to the evil one.”

In 1 Corinthians 3:6-7, the seed was the Gospel message, the word of God — not money.

I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.”

1 Peter 1:23 the “imperishable seed” is the word of God — not money.

“For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

2 Corinthians 9 & Seed

In 2 Corinthians 9, Paul used the word “seed” in reference to material assistance.

Remember this—a farmer who plants only a few seeds will get a small crop. But the one who plants generously will get a generous crop.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)

It’s important to note that Paul didn’t tell the saints at Corinth to “sow into his ministry.” The collection wasn’t for him. It was for poor persecuted Christians in Jerusalem. NONE of the offering was spent on operating costs and luxuries. ALL of it went to Believers who were in urgent need.

Seed-Faith Giving Encourages People To Give Out Of Selfish Motives

When we give, the most important thing is not how much we give, but WHY we give. In other words, our motives. God is not looking at the amount, but at our heart.

Our giving should be motivated by love, grace, mercy, faith, and a desire to glorify our heavenly Father. But seed-faith giving encourages people to give out of selfish motives — in order to get something for themselves.

When Jesus said Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” He was not talking about money and implying that if we give money to a religious organization, God will make us rich and wealthy.

If you read the entire chapter, Jesus was talking about how we treat others and being compassionate just as our heavenly Father is compassionate. The way that we treat others will be measured back to us. If we don’t forgive others, then God won’t forgive us. But if we’re merciful, God will show us mercy. “The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” (Luke 6:38)

Word-Faith leaders have taken a passage about showing compassion to others, and twisted it into a false teaching about giving THEM money in exchange for earthly riches, good health, a happy marriage, etc.

The Seed-Faith Heresy Contradicts The Gospel Message

The Gospel message teaches that God saved us by grace through faith — we didn’t earn it. It was a free gift of God’s love and grace. Grace means unmerited favor and unearned blessings.

The seed-faith heresy turns the Gospel message of grace on its head by teaching people that they have to “pay up” to buy God’s favor.

Christian giving should reflect the Gospel message of grace. But it isn’t grace when money is given out of selfish motives.

A gift is something given voluntarily without payment in return.” If you donate money hoping to earn a blessing from God, your donation is not a gift. A gift is given voluntarily, freely, and without any strings attached or an expectation to receive something in exchange.

Let’s say for example that it’s your friend’s birthday and you buy them a gift. Do you expect them to give you money in exchange for their birthday gift? Does the gift have strings attached and you expect them to do a favor for you in exchange? Of course not. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be a gift — it would be a business transaction or an attempt to manipulate your friend into giving you want you want. This is not how God operates and this is not how God wants us to operate.

We give freely because we have received freely. We give to show others the love and grace of God. We give because we believe in the Son of God. We do not give because we are trying to receive something in exchange.

Seed-Faith Giving Portrays God as a business or a prostitute who performs favors in exchange for money

The teaching that “if you have a need, sow a seed” misrepresents God as a business or a prostitute.

A business will only provide goods and services if you pay them. A prostitute only performs favors in exchange for money. But God does not take care of us in exchange for money. He is not a business or a prostitute.

If you think that you have to fork over cash in order for God to bless you or give you favor, may I re-introduce you to the True and Living God, Jehovah Jireh — the Great Provider.

He is a gracious, merciful heavenly Father who provides for us and meets our needs because He loves us, not because we give Him anything.

jireh

In Matthew 7:26, Jesus said “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?”

In the surrounding context, the Lord was teaching us not to worry about whether our needs will be met, and to trust God to provide for us. Jesus pointed to the birds of the air as an example of how God provides. The birds of the air don’t sow any seeds, yet God provides for them.

Aren’t we more important than birds? Yes we are. But sadly, some of us have been taught that God won’t provide for us unless we “sow a seed.” This distorts who God is. If the Lord doesn’t require birds to “sow a seed” before He meets their need, then He most certainly won’t require His children to “sow a seed” before He meets our need. As we seek His Kingdom and His righteousness, He will take care of our needs because He loves us.

In John 10, Jesus said that He is the Good Shepherd who takes care of His flock and leads us to good pastures. Jesus did not say that we must “sow a seed” before He leads us to good pastures and gives us abundant life. We receive “life more abundantly” by grace through faith, not by our own works.

Even during the Old Covenant, when the children of Israel traveled through the wilderness God took care of their needs. He provided them with water, quail, manna, shelter, and kept their clothes from wearing out.

At this time, the children of Israel had not even tithed yet or given a firstfruit offering (they did not give their first tithe and their first firstfruit offering until after they entered the promised land). Yet God provided for them in the wilderness because of His mercy and kindness.

Ho! Every one who thirsts, come to the waters; And you who have no money come, buy and eat. Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. “Why do you spend money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and delight yourself in abundance.” (Isaiah 55:1-2)

The book of Galatians speaks against the idea that we can earn God’s favor and blessings by doing religious works.

We do not give money to earn God’s favor or get Him to move on our behalf. We give because we love God and we love people. Giving is what we do because God has provided for us and we want to “pay it forward” by providing for others, not because we are trying to get God to provide for us.

God even provides for unrighteous people who don’t serve Him — that is how kind He is. He shines on the just and the unjust. If we think that we have to “sow a seed” to earn God’s kindness, then we do not understand who God is.

Oh how I pray and yearn for God’s people to know and embrace His love for us. It is not based on what we put in the offering plate. It is simply who He is. For God is love!

Seed-Faith Giving Leads People To Give Under Pressure

2 Corinthians 9:7 says “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 

God wants us to give cheerfully, not because we feel pressured to give.

But when a leader has trained you to think that “God won’t move on your behalf” “meet your need” or “release your blessings” unless you “sow a seed”, that puts you under a certain amount of pressure to give.

You feel like the Lord won’t answer your prayers and bless you unless you fork over some cash to a “church” or “ministry.”

Your desire to see God move in your life becomes tied to your ability to give money away. God doesn’t want us to give under this sort of pressure. We are not walking in our blood-bought freedom if we are under bondage and pressure to give money away so that God will meet our needs.

Next time a religious leader tells you to “sow a seed”, ask them to “sow a money seed” into your bank account and see what they say. If they refuse to sow financially into your life, then why are you sowing financially into theirs? Where is the reciprocity?

If they claim that they “sow spiritual things” into your life and you support them by “sowing money” into their “church” or “ministry” — direct them to the New Testament where Jesus and the apostles sowed spiritual things AND material things (food, clothing, money, etc) into people’s lives.

Leaders are suppose to lead by example, and not just by preaching at you. So if they are constantly telling you to sow material things into their “church” or “ministry,” but they are not sowing material things into your ministry and helping you in your time of need — they are actually using you to serve themselves instead of serving God by serving you.

Some of these leaders should have more than enough money by now. Some of them have six figures or seven figures in the bank. Why do they still “need” you to “sow a seed”? Who is in greater need? You or them? Who has more resources at their disposal? You or them?

If they have more money than you, then why are they asking you for money? Shouldn’t they be sowing into your life? Does it make sense for someone who has less to “sow a seed” into the “ministry” of someone who has more?

If seed-faith giving really works, then why don’t these leaders give away their entire savings? Theoretically, they would reap a greater amount in return, right? But we all know that they will never give away their entire savings, because they know that seed-faith giving isn’t true and there is no guarantee that you will become richer by giving money away.

The purpose of seed-faith giving isn’t to enrich those in the pews. It’s meant to enrich those in the pulpit who tell everyone else to “sow a seed” into their organization.

Instead of giving to false apostles who manipulate their supporters with false testimonies, give to those who are truly in need and support ministries that are honest, Biblically sound, and financially accountable.

You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.” (2 Corinthians 2:17)

We reject all shameful deeds and underhanded methods. We don’t try to trick anyone or distort the word of God. We tell the truth before God, and all who are honest know this.” (2 Corinthians 4:2)