God, Greed and (Prosperity Gospel): How Truth Overwhelms a Life Built on Lies by Costi Hinn

Costi Hinn’s book takes us through his spiritual journey from his upbringing in the prosperity gospel, to his desire in serving alongside his uncle Benny Hinn- one of the biggest names in the Word of Faith/prosperity gospel.  Discussed in the book is Costi’s gradual concerns of his family’s theological beliefs to his conversion, including exposure to sound doctrine and pursuit of pastoral calling.

The book separated twofold: autobiography and doctrine, providing easy comprehension to non scholarly believers. It is not just a study of the prosperity gospel but a personal story of one coming out of its deceptive grasps. Moreover, its about someone whose uncle is one of the most well known names in the movement. But by God’s grace, Costi’s eyes were opened to that with contradicts Scripture. Yet these preachers proof text their theology, claiming that it’s “divine revelation” from the Lord. However, such claims are debunked with a proper study of the Bible in context.

Furthermore, the book features a biblical understanding of health and wealth to promote healthy discussions with loved ones still in the movement. Costi Hinn has done a tremendous testimony in which many more in the movement will  open their eyes and leave, by God’s grace. So  that is you, please get this book to learn in-depth and answer any questions you have. It is one worth reading over and over again. I know, because I couldn’t put it down! In an age where false teaching is the norm, the demand of exposing it’s deceit is greater than ever. May there be a revival of sound preaching of The Word of God in the church today!

Notable in-book quotes

“By an early age, as a part of the Hinn family, I viewed Jesus Christ as our magic genie—rub him right, and he’ll give you whatever your heart desires. I quoted verses from the Bible like Psalm 37:4, which says, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart,” and John 14:14, where Jesus says, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.” The meaning of these Scriptures was so obvious to me: believe in Jesus Christ, ask for things by saying, “In Jesus’ name,” and you’ll have whatever you want. Seriously—that simple. Not difficult to understand. Besides, it sure seemed to be working for us!”

“What are we? Pastors? Celebrities? Both? It just didn’t add up. I was beginning to think that there was a difference between being well known for faithful ministry and behaving like this. Shouldn’t money be a tool for doing more ministry? I’m sure it’s okay for a pastor to own a home and be paid an adequate salary to care for his family, but tens of millions of dollars are going into our houses, cars, jewelry, hotels, and shopping. Could the critics be at least just a little bit right?”

“The sovereignty of God matters to Christianity, and we could go as far as to say that it is un-Christian to deny the sovereignty of God. The prosperity gospel certainly denies the sovereignty of God to the extent that it demeans God to the position of a puppet and elevates man to the position of a puppet master who makes confessional demands by faith. It does this by considering faith as a force and God as the one who must respond to our faith. This is a heretical twisting of true faith.”

“When we get the sovereignty of God wrong, we get God wrong. When we get the abundant life wrong, we get Jesus wrong. When we get faith and confession wrong, we get salvation wrong. Why is that a huge deal? Because all roads that the prosperity gospel paves lead to hell.”

“I’ve got good news for you: the abundant life is about the security of your soul for eternity. The abundant life is not a comfortable seventy years, courtesy of the prosperity gospel and leading to infinite suffering in hell if you don’t follow the biblical Christ as your Savior.”

“Without Jesus, heaven would be hell. All the health and wealth this world can offer can never compare to the vast riches of abiding with the Son of God for all eternity. Jesus is everything. The prosperity gospel makes human satisfaction to be material and Jesus to be the cherry on top. If it makes Jesus a central focus, it’s that he is the main avenue to getting what you want. This version of Jesus is a shell of who he really is. The prosperity gospel promises people the abundant life that Jesus offers only to deliver a gospel with no Jesus at all.”

No Bible = No Discernment

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6

In this day and age, messages across churches today are superficial at best. It is water-less clouds, fruitless and twice dead trees (Jude 12). It is all form; no substance. It is merely a shell without an interior. Yet such messages are preached to the masses weekly! The end result? No true spiritual growth as there is no right dividing the Scripture. For Scriptures is food for the soul, and such nutritious food it is! Take that away, and you’re left with junk that leaves souls spiritually malnourished and theologically deficient.

Spiritual discernment goes undeveloped as there’s no biblical buildup! Thus becoming prone to deception of “every wind of doctrine”. People run to and fro to big name preachers who love to promote their doctrine to the churches “in God’s name” in order to legitimate their message. They run around claiming that the Bible/ theology isn’t enough and that their teaching is exactly what the church needs! “You can’t grow without this message”, they say. Yet such claims bring to mind the words of the apostle Paul,

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,  let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received,  let him be accursed.” -Galatians 1:8-9

Yet because of no rightly dividing the word of Truth, the sheep are falsely divided in heresy. No true Word , no spiritual growth, no discernment. Destruction awaits.

Theology Matters 3: Jesus

As discussed in my first post, it is imperative in understanding God as the Bible intends. Likewise, it applies in understanding Christ in His person and work. A lack of biblical interpretation of Christ begets many misconceptions of Christ. For instance, Christ is a great moral teacher. Nothing more, nothing less. Some would even take a step further in denying Christ as historical, rendering him as some sort of metaphor or an ideal. Nevertheless, Scripture provides the final say concerning Christ. That should and always should be the case. Remember, the Bible is the inspired Word God in which history is incorporated.

Christ is the one whom crushes the serpents head (Gen 3:15), in which His kingdom will be established forever (2 Sam 7), He is the one who was crushed for our iniquities and our transgressions (Is 53). Prior to His earthly ministry, His coming was foretold in the OT as the Messiah. Moreover, it points to Him (John 5:39). This is essential as it lays a foundation in understanding the Gospel as the a whole. As seen throughout Scripture, Christ is its focal point. Such display is placed on Christ as the Messiah in which we come to know God (John 17:3). Simply put, know Christ, know God; or no Christ, no God. This is the experience of the gospel, to know Christ! He is God’s love on display (Romans 5:8).

Now what has Christ done? Christ redeems us from sin through imputation of righteousness, reconciling us to God. Just as Adam was our representative, now Christ is our representative in  which we become children of the most high God. He offers us the Holy Spirit who convicts us of us, sanctifies us in unrighteousness, and leads us into all truth regarding Scripture, by making us more Christlike in character (Rom. 8:29). Presently, Christ makes intercession for us (Heb. 7:25) as is always with us to the end (Matt. 28).

That being said, we acknowledge Christ as Scripture’s fulfillment. The Bible is not about us, it is about Him. What does that say for us ? That we need Him each and everyday. He is not to be a side character in our story but the focal point in His story through our lives. Furthermore,  that we may spread the message of the Gospel and testify about what Christ has done in our lives.

Christ’s Call to Reform the Church by John MacArthur (Book Review)

Repentance is not often touched upon in churches today, yet we are called to do so.  Discussed in this book are the 7 churches of Revelation, Christ’s indictment of them, followed by the end result. What can be appreciated in this book is the relevancy of biblical principles that still apply today! Each church is a case all on it’s own and Jesus deals with them all. That should speak volumes to churches today. Wherever they are at, Christ holds them accountable. It is His church, after all. It is His bride in which He will come back for and judgment begins at the house of God (1 Peter 4:17).

The historical detail in the book is well appreciated as brings these churches to life. It showed that these churches were indeed places in history and how each church operated in its surrounding society. That should also speak volumes as it should make us question: are we being salt & light in our location?  Scripture also plays a big part here as a crucial element to the church. A church that does not live by the word of God is susceptible to corruption.

In closing, I thoroughly enjoyed this book as a sober reminder to the church. It is in dire need of reformation. That of course is not easy as many have deviated away from God’s Word, settling for outside sources instead. This book is also to the complacent Christian whom like the church Ephesus, lost their first love. Yet God shows mercy and calls us to run back to Him. It is time for a renewed commitment to Christ. It is time to reform the church. Don’t delay!

Notable Quotes

“This climatic reality of the church: God redeems sinners to build His church and uses their transformed lives to reflect the majesty of His glory, whereby He draws more sinners to Himself. That awesome, blazing glory of the Lord shines through the church, illuminating a lost and dark world.”

“Fading love for Christ the forerunner of spiritual apathy.”

“Consider this: for Christians there is no such thing as meaningless suffering. The Lord is always refining us, always sharpening us for the building His church”

“If there is any hope for a new reformation and revival today, it is that the church will submit to the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, that it will faithfully proclaim the message of justification by grace alone through faith alone, that God’s people will devote themselves to glorifying Him in all things, and that they hold fast to the gospel of Jesus Christ in loving devotion to their Savior”.