Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teaching Faith to Faith Teachers: Don't Spend a Dollar on Dollar

Creflo Dollar is one of the popular Word of Faith teachers in our day. I have witnessed fellow Christians recommend his ministry to recent converts looking to better understand their newfound faith. His Changing Your World television program is aired nearly twice a day on the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN). His website says this about Dollar:

"Recognized for his cutting-edge revelation and humorous, pragmatic approach, Creflo Dollar enables thousands to experience restoration, healing, and financial breakthrough as a result of applying simple, biblical principles to their lives."

Indeed, like many Word of Faith teachers, Creflo Dollar's charisma, style and pizazz give him great appeal to Christians lacking experience discerning biblical truth from error. But his doctrinal deviancy goes beyond the false "give to get" prosperity message he and his contemporaries preach, nor does it stop at the false claim that what we speak becomes reality. He goes further, muddling the very nature of God and the identity of Jesus Christ. He likewise confuses the nature of man, calling us "little gods." And he insists that you Christians are not sinners saved by grace: "you're God!"

Later in this series we'll look at his "word of faith" message and his strange teachings surrounding the nature of God and that of man. Today, however, I want to concentrate on his "prosperity gospel." As we'll see, Creflo Dollar insists that Christians are promised financial abundance. He distorts the clear meaning of Scripture to guilt his listeners into giving him money, promising that God will "increase" and "multiply" the gift, returning to the giver monetary prosperity. Thus, his message is a glorified "give to get" scheme, contradicting the clear biblical teaching that we are not to seek to attain wealth.


A major emphasis of Creflo Dollar's ministry, and that of many other Faith Teachers, is financial prosperity. In fact, it would appear that to him, "prosperity" is the very definition of the gospel of Jesus Christ, at least to the poor: "What’s the Gospel to those who are poor? Prosperity! What’s the Gospel to those who lack? Prosperity! And if you don’t preach it, then you won’t be able to do anything about the poverty situation" (Creflo Dollar, Praise the Lord, TBN, April 1, 2004).

If that were all Dollar had said, one might be able to dismiss it as having been taken out of the context of his overall ministry. But that's just the beginning. If we are to believe him, we are not "whole" until we become financially prosperous:

"Now, last night we began to deal with the relationship between peace and prosperity, … and we'll look at it again tonight, it says, 'my soul is far from prosperity.' Why? 'Because my soul's far from peace because I forgot prosperity'...We established last night that you are not whole until you get your money...Well, you need to hear about money, because you ain't gonna have no love and joy and peace until you get some money!… You got to get some MONEY!" (Creflo Dollar, TBN, July 20, 1999)

It goes on. According to Creflo Dollar, why must we be saved? Why did Jesus die for our sins? Those questions are answered at his church's website:
"Why must I be saved? You should be saved because God loves you and wants you to be saved (John 3:16; 1 Timothy 2:3,4). Jesus died for your sins so that you can have the abundant life of prosperity and health!" (World Changers Church--New York, emphasis mine)

I could go on and on listing quotes from Creflo Dollar that demonstrate just how dollar-focused (excuse the pun) his "gospel" is. Many others have done just that; I've simply scratched the surface. The point is, this is NOT the true gospel of Jesus Christ as recorded in Scripture. Jesus healed many sick and cast out demons, but He never gave nor promised financial abundance to the poor. In fact, He and Paul are in agreement with the rest of the Bible in teaching us to avoid an emphasis on seeking money:
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal." (Matthew 6:19-20)
"If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content. But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (1 Timothy 6:8-10)
"Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, 'I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU,'" (Hebrews 13:5)
"Do not weary yourself to gain wealth, cease from your consideration of it." (Proverbs 23:4)
Perhaps you're thinking I'm overemphasizing Creflo's focus on money and prosperity. Give this video a watch:

Do you still think I'm overemphasizing his focus on money and prosperity? Note how this "sermon" apparently begins:

"Hallelujah. All through the Bible, wealth is... is... is acquired; wealth is gained. All through the Bible! Now, listen. Here's been the deal: 'How come, then, brother Dollar man, when mine gonna come in?' Alright, watch this. I'll tell ya why it hasn't come in: You ain't givin'...you ain't givin' the blessin' none to work with. You ain't givin' the blessin' nothin' to multiply!"


First, Dollar suggests that because the Bible mentions the acquisition of wealth, that somehow that means we as Christians should expect it as well. This is patently illogical. Simply because Scripture describes some individuals attaining financial abundance does not mean the Bible prescribes it. In fact, if memory serves me, a very small minority of figures in Scripture are described as wealthy, and many of them are pagans. And as we've already seen, Jesus and the rest of Scripture agree that acquisition of wealth should not be one of our goals.

This is not the only place in just this one sermon where Dollar twists the meaning of Scripture. At two minutes into the video (2:00) he says this:

"'Yeah, but brother Dollar I ain't got but two dollar and fifty cent. What is that with all the very thing I gotta do?' Same as that two piece fish dinner. You take the not enough and give it to Jesus, then He will bless it and the next time you see it it'll be in the over and above."

The "two piece fish dinner" Dollar refers to here is the miracle in which Jesus feeds five thousand people with just five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:9-14). This has nothing to do with money, nor any other principle of "multiplying" blessing. Jesus performed this miracle, not to teach a principle of giving to get--which is Dollar's warped exegesis--but to feed those for whom He had compassion and to lay the groundwork for what He would teach shortly thereafter (v. 26ff).

He twists the Bible again starting at six minutes and forty-six seconds into the video (6:46) saying:

"Get ahold of this now. Begin to allow the blessing to multiply your material investments. Now if you'll notice in the book of Mark they sowed in three different grounds and did not get a harvest until they sowed in good ground. Are you listening to me? So just sowing won't get it...If you're hooked up with some crook that's not preaching you, you know preachers get mad 'Well y'all need to give some money.' Well give them some spiritual things! You have no right to expect anybody to give offerings if you're not giving them spiritual things. If you ain't teaching nothing you ought not to get nothin'."

Creflo Dollar here refers to a parable Jesus gives (Mark 4:3-8) in which some of a sower's seeds fall to the roadside and are eaten up by birds, other seeds fall on rocky ground and wither away, still other seeds fall among thorns and are choked by them, and finally some seed falls upon good soil, grow and increase, yielding a much more abundant crop. But what is the meaning of this parable? Jesus tells us! He explains (Mark 4:14-20) that the sower is one who sows the word. The different soils are hearers of the word. And the good soil are those who accept and believe the word, the multiplied harvest being other believers who hear and believe through them.

Now, for what reason does Dollar distort this parable? It is evident that his reason for distorting the clear meaning of the Bible is to convince you to give him money. Despite Jesus' clear explanation of His own parable, Creflo says Jesus is wrong, and instead tells us that the parable's meaning is that we must give our money to the right teacher. This is Creflo Dollar's gospel: Give ME what little money you have and God will bless and multiply it back to you. At one minute and twenty-one seconds into the video (1:21) he says:

"You're not giving...You're not giving the blessing anything to multiply. It's gonna take the involvement of some materials. If you need money, it's gonna inv... it's gonna take the involvment of money, so it can be multiplied...You're gonna have to get involved with your money."

Creflo Dollars wants your money. He knows you're skeptical, but that's the devil's doing. He says at two minutes and twenty-four seconds into the video (2:24):

"But we are so afraid...Now, now, now check out what the devil's been doing. We are so afraid to sow because we are convinced that every preacher is trying to take your money. And when every, when any preacher does steal and misuse money, the devil makes sure he puts it all on the television and you immediately think that all preachers are exactly like that ol' scum that did what he did. Not everybody is stealing money...We gotta get rid of the fear. Afraid to sow 'cause the word might not do what it said...But now check this out: You're never gonna know this if you don't apply what I've preached to you. And you're gonna join the guys picketing outside. Because now, you're gonna have to search for an excuse to justify why you didn't get what the word said you can have. And it's never never God's fault, it's always your fault."

The devil scares you into thinking that every preacher wants to steal your money, but "we gotta get rid of the fear." And how do we do that? By applying what Creflo Dollar preaches, namely, that we give him our money. And why do we do that? Because the word promises if we give him our money we'll get a bunch more money back. And if we don't do that, then why don't we achieve financial prosperity? It's never God's fault; it's always our fault.


As we'll see later in this series, there is much more which Creflo Dollar teaches that goes contrary to Scripture. But this "give to get" scheme is central to his gospel, and manipulates suffering souls into sacrificing what little they have in the hopes of becoming rich. Meanwhile, it is Creflo himself who grows most wealthy, while his followers are led to believe a false gospel that distorts the central message of Christ. Please, brothers and sisters, don't spend a dollar on Dollar.


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