Eternity is rushing towards us.
You and everyone else must be ready.
Getting Your Attention
Certain things in life just catch your attention. Whether good or bad, they just seem to grab you. Well, here you go! When I watched this video, my attention was most definitely grabbed. See if you can figure out why:
One thing to realize in life is that people will, at times, practice something calledÃ‚Â ambush journalism.Ã‚Â Reporters catch someone off guard and put a microphone and camera in their face. That tactic is really prevalent with cellphones nowadays. People seem to want video of everything at every moment. Part of the reason they do that is to catch someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s faults or record one of their mistakes to try and make that video go viral. Sadly, that is the world we live in today.
As Christians, we always need to be on guard. We want to be ready for whatever might come before us. It doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean we will be perfect in how we handle those situations, but unexpected and unscripted moments are a part of life.
Deflecting the Questions
Remember, you always have the right to say,Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“No, thanks,Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â and walk away. You donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to answer everyoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s questions. Mr. Copeland could have just said,Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“No, thank you,Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â closed his car door, and went on his way. He chose not to do that, and now, there is a video of him with 2.8 million views and counting.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“You kind of caught me off guard here.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Well, no, she actually didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t. Mr. Copeland likes to talk. That is not an issue for him. Again, he could have just closed the door and continued on with his day. What he didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t like were the tough questions. Getting people to think is one reason why we ask good questions when talking and witnessing to them. DonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t his donors have a right to know how the money they gave him was spent?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“He made the airplane so cheap for me, I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but buy it!Ã¢â‚¬Â
I am actually looking for a new car. The sixteen-year-old one in the driveway has served me well! That is kind of a long time to have a car. You can rest assured that you will never hear Mark say,Ã‚Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“They made that Ferrari so cheap for me, I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t help but buy it!Ã¢â‚¬ÂÃ‚Â I promise you that!
Did you see his eyes flare as he was answering the reporterÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s questions? Something is wrong here. His pride was coming through his answers. That was easy to spot. But did it look a bit evil to you? I talk to tons of people, and the only people I see with eyes bugging out like that are enraged sinners. That is about it.
Also, look at the comments below the video. All of those comments cannot be coming from fellow believers. Even the world knows something is very wrong with his eyes and facial expressions. So how come the world can figure it out, but true, biblical Christians wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t call it out?
I like to give the benefit of the doubt to older people. Mr. Copeland is 82 now. The body and the mind change over time. No big deal. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s part of the wearing-down process that happens because of the fall. But something is not right here.
Living for the Gospel
The reporter, Lisa Guerrero of Inside Edition, asked Mr. Copeland directly, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why have you said that you wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fly commercial? You have said that itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s like getting into a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœtube with a bunch of demons.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢Ã¢â‚¬Â
I could literally write an entire book about the encounters with people I have met on airplanesÃ¢â‚¬â€from passengers to flight attendants and even a few pilots along the way. I pray for whoever I will sit next to, and some of those encounters have been off-the-charts. I have even had some neat emails from people I have witnessed to and given books to on flights. And Mr. Copeland is worried about hanging out with sinners? Sinners sin. That is what they do. Jesus was known as a Ã¢â‚¬Å“friend of sinners.Ã¢â‚¬Â Is that the reputation that you have?
Ã¢â‚¬Å“IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m a very wealthy man.Ã¢â‚¬Â
That is a true statement, but did he say that in pride or humility? WouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t we rather hear someone talk about all of the ministry work they have accomplished or about how much of their wealth they have given away, rather than hearing about their own wealth? Mr. Copeland has claimed that he is worth over $1 billion. That doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t mean a hill of beans when someone dies. What are you doing with your time, talents, and treasure for Jesus?
It is good to hear him talk about investing $20 to $25 million with the poor, but I am going to be honest here: After watching this video, I would really want to know where that money went, and did it really get to the poor. I would definitely want to look at their financial disclosures. You would not believe the overhead in some of these organizations, which they never tell you about when they solicit money.
One thing I noticed in the film clip was that he never witnessed to Lisa, the interviewer. If he had, it would have been there for all of those 2.8 million viewers to see, if it was not cut out.
Partnering with Error
So how do most of us know about Kenneth Copeland? It is because of TBN. TBN has been the largest promoter of the prosperity gospel for decades now. The prosperity gospel teaches that GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s will for believers is to be healthy and financially prosperous, and that faith, positivity, and giving money will bring them wealth and security. KennethÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s TV show is aired on TBN, and, of course, he is always a favorite guest when they are doing fundraisers to support the network.
TBN will go down in history as one of the biggest promoters of false doctrine in the world. Period. That channel is loaded with false teaching. Matter of fact, it is very hard to find good, solid biblical teaching on that network.
If you look at the roster of speakers, you will also find names like James Merritt, David Jeremiah, and Robert Jeffress. For the most part, people consider them to have solid teachings. So here is a simple question: What are they doing on that heretical network? Have you ever heard them call out the false teaching on that network? If they did, what do you think the response would be?
As I was driving in my car today, I was listening to a Christian radio station. One of those three teachers was on the air, and his show was critiquing what is wrong with the prosperity gospel! Fantastic. But wait! Will he do the same during his show on TBN? Will he go to the leadership of TBN and voice his concerns?
I hear the argument that TBN is Ã¢â‚¬Å“just a platform.Ã¢â‚¬Â So no big deal who else is on that platform, as long as we can get the message out. Is that true? Of course, it is not true.
Since TBN is the root issue here, I wonder if any of the evangelical teachers involved have cared for the souls of the Crouches or the TBN staff by witnessing to them. Did any of those so-called Ã¢â‚¬Å“solidÃ¢â‚¬Â teachers witness to Paul or Jan Crouch before they died? Or how about Matt Crouch, the current president of TBN?
So are we or are we not supposed to call out false teachers? TBN has, for years and years, used the money of elderly believers to support its false teachings. When have any of those evangelical men confronted TBN and called them out on this?
TBN is a money-making machine that rakes in tens of millions every year. And ministries on that network help makeÃ‚Â those profitsÃ‚Â a reality.Ã‚Â Is teaming up with TBN and their false gospel really a wise thing to do? Peter received a public rebuke from the Apostle Paul for publicly eating with the Judaizers.Ã‚Â Paul didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need Peter, who was on the side of truth, teaming up with the Judaizers who had a different gospel.Ã‚Â Paul also warned the Corinthians not to eat with any who are calledÃ‚Â brothersÃ‚Â if they are covetous, extortioners, etc.Ã‚Â If Paul didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want believers sharing a table with such men, how much more not partnering with them in ministry? And why do you supposeÃ‚Â Jesus made a whip and overturned the tables of the money changers? His righteous stand was to prevent the religious leaders from fleecing the flock. If JesusÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ anger flared because they turned religion into a making-money endeavor, how much more does that apply to TBN?
2 John 10-11
If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds.
Counting the Cost
Is it really worth the tarnish on someoneÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s ministry to be associated with that heretical network? And, of course, the answer isÃ‚Â no.Ã‚Â But our flesh always thinks bigger is better. We can reach more people. More people will see our products, so it has to be of God. That is not true. Some of the most prolific ministries you will hear about in Heaven are ones you might never hear about down here.
To be honest, I have been on TBN before. An acquaintance invited me to be on one of their shows about 15 or 20 years ago. So I went out to LA to be on that show. My discernment was very low. I made a mistake. I would never do it again.
Matter of fact, they invited me to come back on! I told them, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Sure, I would,Ã¢â‚¬Â and added, Ã¢â‚¬Å“as long as I can call out the false teachings on your network.Ã¢â‚¬Â Hmmm . . . they didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem to want me to be a guest on their show any more! Oh well, I am just fine. I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need to be on that network to serve the Lord. God is big enough to use each one of us as individuals, as a church, or as ministers without partnering with false prophets.
As you can imagine, those evangelical ministries receive letters from viewers asking if they believe the same things as the false teachers on that network. And, of course, one thing you learn from the business world is that you might hear from one person out of every hundred who have the same viewpoint or concerns. So is it worth a ministryÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s reputation to be lumped in with the numerous false teachings of TBN? We are not supposed to be partnering with people who promote worldviews or ideologies that are unbiblical and heretical. Sure seems simple enough, but undoubtedly, not in our day and age.
2 Corinthians 6:11-18
O ye Corinthians, our mouth is open unto you, our heart is enlarged.
Ye are not straitened in us, but ye are straitened in your own bowels.
Now for a recompence in the same, (I speak as unto my children,) be ye also enlarged.
Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?
And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?
And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.
And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light:
(For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;)
Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.
Drawing the Line
So what is the conclusion of this matter? It is rather simple. If you do not draw a line of delineation between the truth and the false teachings of others, you are giving an implicit or tacit endorsement to that false teaching. Simple.
I do much less conference speaking these days. Why? Because if there are false teachers at that conference and I am one of the speakers, then people will assume that Mark must believe what those other teachers believe. They will assume that if he shares the same stage with them and doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t say anything about their unbiblical teachings, he must be in agreement with them. To me, I would much rather have a smaller ministry than one that grew bigger because it associated with false teachers to gain an audience or sell a book. And, by the way, what is a small or big ministry anyway? God might have a completely different definition of ministry than we have down here.
Just in case you were wondering, Christianity will be just fine when TBN goes by the wayside. How do I know that to be true? It was just fine before there was a TBN, which means it will be just fine after there is no more TBN! Pretty simple.
And instead of actually thinking that God needs some network to get the gospel out, how about going over and talking to your next door neighbor about the Lord? Or handing out some gospel tracts on the streets? Or sitting next to someone at the mall and having an eternal conversation with them? That is how ministry has been done throughout history, and that is how it will be done until Jesus returns.
So remember to make a clear distinction between you and any false ministry or false teaching. People need truth in these final days, and they donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t need truth and lies mixed together as they are trying to find out who the real Jesus is.
Until the nets are full,
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.