"...When He [Jesus] saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Matt 9:36

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Beware of Pastors and Churches Who Threaten You With Death For Daring to Oppose Them or Their Ministry Visions

In the very early days of this blog, I received an email from a fellow church member who in so many words said that I was in danger of dying of a heart attack for daring to blog about my church and pastor, and that I should immediately shut down my blog. As I recall, the person based their warning on another person they knew who had died suddenly after opposing or speaking against a pastor.

Since that time, the man who sent me that email has apologized, and I think he too has left our former church. I don't know if he still believes a blogger like myself might be struck dead by God at any moment for their disobedience - but in the 5 years since receiving that email I have noticed a trend in "men of God" and their followers in proclaiming holy death warnings on those who oppose a man of God, or those who dare to stand in opposition to a ministry vision of the man of God, or even those who don't deliver 10% of their gross income to the church offering plates.

We saw Steve Gaines do this just recently, misusing scripture by insinuating that the fate of Ananias and Saphira described in Acts 5 might befall members of Bellevue Baptist Church who don't tithe. I've heard ministers here in my own city stand in the pulpit and insinuate that church members who don't support the pastor's expansion plans might have to soon be buried. These warnings often go something like this: "I knew some men who dared to oppose me [or my vision or my church or my TV station], and I buried them soon after. You can interpret that anyway you like..."

Below is a classic example: Paul Crouch issues a death warning to those who might bring harm to Trinity Broadcasting Network. Crouch and his son in the video below call TBN "God's plan and purpose" and anyone who might "get in the way" may suffer an untimely death. Crouch says "I've attended the funeral of at least two people who have tried [to harm TBN]."


Readers, beware of pastors who try scare tactics couched in scripture and claims of spiritual authority. Actually when a pastor tries this, you know they really are not a "pastor" but a charleton. This is spiritual abuse, plain and simple. David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen in their excellent book "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse", point out these "scare tactics" as evidence of misplaced loyalty that abusive religious systems will demand from their members. Johnson and Van Vonderen devote an entire chapter to how scripture is misused to abuse people in the church. They start out quoting Titus 1:9-11:
"Hold fast the faithful word...for there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families, teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain." (Titus 1:9-11)
Johnson and Van Vonderen describe this sort of abusive leader:
"Instead of using the Word as a sword to pierce through to the thoughts and motives of their own hearts, many spiritual leaders have used it as a stick to drive others, for a variety of reasons: to keep others from holding them accountable; to protect their image; to keep funds coming in; to build religious kingdoms in order to bolster their own spiritual self-esteem. In other words, it's possible that some leaders teach the Word for personal gain, not to heal and to free."
So readers, beware when your pastor tries the scare tactics to gain support for their ministry vision - whether it be for starting a new satellite church, or a new vision for the church, or for a building program - by declaring that their vision is directly from God, and that it is God's own vision that members are obligated to support.

And if your minister points to some experience in the past where they performed the funerals of church members who opposed their ministry vision - run for the exits while you hold on to your wallet. If your pastor portrays himself as a God-appointed prophet sent to deliver you from your spiritual ignorance, take that as a sign that God wants to "deliver you" by moving you to another church.

Find a church where the pastor and staff are humble and where they respect the priesthood of the believer and congregational rule in determining God's will for the church. These churches and ministers are out there, but you have to look hard and be discerning.

When you find one, you will wonder what took you so long to break free from the mega church, rock star-preacher mentality.

46 comments:

Anonymous said...

Was part of your court settlement that you can never mention Mac and his actics again? You should change the name of this blog to SBC Watchdog.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of Paul Crouch...simply Google three words: Paul Crouch Scandal.

You will see why this guy has to threaten death against anyone who might talk against him. Paying someone $435,000 not to sell their story about his homosexual relationship with them is well documented. And currently, going after his own granddaughter for exposing over $50 MILLION dollars Paul and Jan have siphoned off from "God's money" to keep for themselves. But, I guess since TBN did so much good over the years, Jesus will be happy to see all of Paul's mansions and jets and millions Paul has accumulated with "God's money." And the fundraising telethons continue and people continue to give. Why?

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many "Godly" men that served these pastors and gave thousands to them, have also "been buried?" If Paul Crouch has only buried 2, and Mac Brunson only buried 3, I guess the odds are with you if you oppose them. I would guess they have buried 100s that didn't oppose them. So those kinds of threats, while not only heretical, also don't make any sense.

Anonymous said...

To May 3, 2012 10:24 AM - Tom doesn't have to mention Mac by name ever again on this blog. When he talks of abusive preachers, wolves in sheep's clothing, arrogance, and personal riches gained from siphoning off money from God's people, and making death threats if you oppose him, then all the readers that know Mac will think of Mac and if the shoe fits...

Anonymous said...

Our Church was trying to buy property to expand and one of the neighbors would not sell.

The neighbor said "It will be a cold day in Hell when I sell my property to the Church."

2 months later the neighbor died and the Church got the property at a huge discount.

God is good!

Anonymous said...

I wanted to address the comment by anonymous 10:34m. I have a couple of issues with your statement. (1) You are gloating over the death of a person and laying the death at the hands of God. (2)You are gloating that your church obtained more property and not having to pay a proper amount for it. (3)Do you even consider that it should have been the mission of the church to expand the kingdom of God into the heart of this person(if they were not a believer)before you tried to expand the kingdom of church property?

Anonymous said...

Anon May 3, 2012 10:34 AM - Is it wrong for me to think you are a LIAR? Or that you are so GULLIBLE you heard someone in your social club say this and you are just regurgitating it? So which is it? Liar or gullible? (The third option is you are telling the truth and can easily provide links to the name of the church and the name of the deceased.)

Jonathan Saunders said...

To May 3rd, 11:47 am

Read my entire comment before thinking I am coming against you.

Many things that happen do not make it on the internet. Just because someone dies doesn't mean I can provide a link to a news story about it...some deaths just are not news worthy. This doesn't make them gullible or a liar to not have this proof...this does not mean I agree with their statement.

To May 3rd, 10:34 am:
WOW, there is nothing Christian whatsoever about your attitude toward that persons death. You can not prove WHATSOEVER that God killed that person. Sometimes life just happens...years of overeating or drinking or drug abuse or alcoholism or all of the above. Genetic heart disease...you are very jaded.

Also, Peter NEVER gloated int eh deaths of Ananias and Saphira...the BIBLE says that GREAT FEAR fell on the Church...NOT JOY. It also was not for the economic gain of the Church that God killed them...it was for their lie to the HOLY GHOST!

Please do not attach the name of Christian to your attitude because their is NOTHING Christian about it.

Anonymous said...

Anon May 3 10:26 AM -

"many false prophets will arise and mislead many" Matt 24:11

It's unfortunate but many people really believe that TBN and their preacher friends are the real deal.I find it interesting that it says "many" not a few.

Anonymous said...

"Our Church was trying to buy property to expand and one of the neighbors would not sell."

"The neighbor said "It will be a cold day in Hell when I sell my property to the Church."

"2 months later the neighbor died and the Church got the property at a huge discount."

"God is good!"

That settles it. The TROLL is just trying to be funny. Well done.

Anonymous said...

One of the most famous cases involved Hank Hanegraaff a few years ago. Hank was criticizing the holy laughter revival going on in Florida (Brownsville Assembly). The pastor of the church at the time stated to his congregation that if Hank didn't stop criticizing his church, that the Holy Spirit was going to kill him in 90 days.

Hank had some fun with it and started doing a countdown as the days went by on his radio show.

It became less entertaining when he and his family started receiving death threats.

Hank prophesied that he would not die (2 days before the deadline) and stated "we will see who is the true man of God."

Immediately the pastor called Hank and apologized.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe AZ.

Look at this quote..it is TRUTH!

"The same God who instituted the death penalty for murders is the same god who instituted the death penalty for rapists and for homosexuals, sodomites and queers!

That's what it was instituted for, okay? That's God, he hasn't changed. Oh, God doesn't feel that way in the New Testament ... God never "felt" anything about it, he commanded it and said they should be taken out and killed.

You know why God wanted the sodomites in the Old Testament to be killed? You know why every good king of Israel, the Bible says they got rid of the sodomites in the land? You know, the good kings that came after the bad kings who had allowed the sodomites to infest their land, they had infiltrated ... King Asa got the sodomites out of the land, Jehoshaphat exterminated the sodomites that were left from the days of his father, Asa. Why? Because the sodomites are infectious, that's why. Because they're not reproducers, that goes without saying, they're recruiters."

He stands with Bill O'Reilly...
Look at these words..
...Now, look, if somebody wants me, it somebody twisted my arm and tells me to pray for Barack Obama, this is what I'm going to pray, because this is the only prayer that applies to him: 'Break his teeth, O God, in his mouth. You know, as a snail which melteth, let him pass away. Like the untimely birth of a woman, that he thinks -- he calls it a woman's right to choose, you know, he thinks it's so wonderful. He ought to be aborted. It ought to be, 'Abort Obama.'

Finally..he ends this Bible sermon with this nugget...

" I'm not gonna pray for his good. I'm going to pray that he dies and goes to hell. When I go to bed tonight, that's what I'm going to pray. And you say, 'Are you just saying that?' No. When I go to bed tonight, Steven L. Anderson is going to pray for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.

You say, 'Why would you do that?' That our country could be saved.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT STEVEN???

Small Town Preacher said...

I guess I went to the wrong seminary and learned from the wrong pastors/mentors. One of the first things I did in my current church was preach through 1 Timothy and teach the church how to fire me for abandoning the Gospel and the Word for anything else. I figure it would help keep me in line if I knew they knew how to get rid of me.

Silly me.

Guess I should start attending the FBC Jax Pastors Conference to learn how to keep the sheep in line.

John H said...

Small Town Preacher--

I think you learned from the same folks that taught me. As pastors, we're here to serve and equip and make sure that we are not the crucial one the church relies on, but that they rely on their own Bibles, their own faith, and the Lord Jesus.

I attended, shortly after college, a church that started going down this road: God strikes opposition dead. My wife and I got out when we saw that there was no real likelihood of return. The music was great, the fellowship was great, but the authority was getting to be too much--so if you're in a church like that: GET OUT! QUICKLY! I know you will miss your friends but it's headed a bad route and you have got to get clear.

Because if they think you're doomed to die or that you're incapable of reading the Word and following the Spirit, they will not do right.

Anonymous said...

"WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT STEVEN???"

I think you need a psychologist. Not a psychiatrist. You need someone who is qualified to prescribe medication.

Anonymous said...

I knew a guy (and so do you) that tithed and served at the church as a deacon and leader for years. He died suddenly in his sleep. I knew another man (and so did you) at church who was a faithful deacon and tither and he dropped dead in his yard while doing yard work. Both men were no older than in their 50s. I knew a faithful pastor's wife who slipped and fell in her own kitchen and died a sudden and violent death, and so do you. So I guess if you are a faithful tither and churchmen and woman of God, watch out! I know a homosexual man that was paid $435,000 by Paul Crouch and he continues to live on. Preach it. "God is Good"

New BBC Open Forum said...

These kinds of posts always remind me of this:

In his book, Too Great a Temptation, Joel Gregory describes the reaction of Charles Stanley at their infamous little airport meeting/marathon (which included Jerry Vines, Adrian Rogers, and a handful of other mega pastors) to save Paige Patterson from being fired by the trustees of Criswell College...

After opening the meeting I [Gregory] let the visiting dignitaries have their say. And have it they did. These pastors were not in the habit of interference from laymen in their churches. They ruled like kings. They proceeded to lecture the trustees [of Criswell College] at length concerning the person and value of Paige Patterson. Jerry Vines and Charles Stanley were clearly hot. Stanley recounted his own battles at First Baptist, Atlanta. On his accession to the pastorate, an oligarchy of laypersons opposed him. He then spelled out to Bo Sexton [trustee chairman] and the trustees the horrible things that had happened to the families of those who opposed him: disease, death, divorce, etc. The implication was clear: if you touch Paige Patterson, God will get you. I was sitting next to Bo and thought he would explode.

New BBC Open Forum said...

Anon 4:11,

A psychiatrist is an M.D. and can prescribe meds. A psychologist cannot. I agree there are several people hanging out here today who would benefit from proper psychotropics.

Of course, there's probably a good explanation. We're leading up to the closest and largest full moon of the year on May 5, 2012. If you don't think the full moon and the days immediately before affect certain people in strange ways, you haven't hung out at a hospital ER or dealt with the public for any length of time.

Buckle up!

New BBC Open Forum said...

Was part of your court settlement that you can never mention Mac and his actics again? You should change the name of this blog to SBC Watchdog.

Sorry, that handle is already taken, but FBC Jax Watchdog's court settlement doesn't apply to the existing SBC Watchdog or anyone else.

New BBC Open Forum said...

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT STEVEN???

This STEVEN ANDERSON?

LOL!

Anonymous said...

Adrian Rogers died and didn't have a clue about the mess he was leaving behind. A young man protecting Rogers' legacy kept silent for seventeen years was perhaps relieved that he could come forward in 2006 and finally see some justice. The Rogers' family should appreciate this young man and his contribution to Dr Rogers' religious legacy.

Mark said...

I do not listen to or receive teaching from any minister who is part of TBN. That includes Ed Young. Sorry, they are a bunch of crooks. They are after only one thing- the almighty dollar.

Anonymous said...

LWF and Charles Stanley are after your money in addition to TBN.

Julie Anne said...

Good grief. I hate spiritual abuse.

My former pastor added one more person to the lawsuit and added more complaints against me (took phrases from my blog). Two days in a row, Anonymous posted: "Jezebel!"

I've received no death threats yet . . . .


What are these pastors thinking?

Anonymous said...

Sean Harris of Fayetteville NC.

Another example Baptists can all follow with pride.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/02/north-carolina-pastor-sean-harris-urges-parents-to-man-up-and-punch-effeminate-children/

Anonymous said...

"Do not rob the poor, because he is poor... for the Lord will take up their case and plunder those who plunder them." Proverbs 22:22-23 ..I'd say theses To pathetic Liars probably don't read this verse...

Anonymous said...

What if TBN is right?

God struck down people all the time in the Bible.

I don't have a problem with that happening today.

We have a guy in our Church that gives the Pastor fits.

If he dies, we will know why.

Vengeance is mine says the Lord.

I really do worry about some of the heretics on this blog.

Get right with God and love your Pastor.

God don't play games.

Anonymous said...

TBN is an embarrassment to true Christianity and those that appear on the network are an embarrassment also. The same holds true for Daystar and Mike Murdock's favorite hangout,Inspiration network.

Anonymous said...

"What if TBN is right?"

Not a chance.

"God struck down people all the time in the Bible. I don't have a problem with that happening today."

Not even if it was you?

"I really do worry about some of the heretics on this blog."

I'm worried about you TROLL. The Bible warns people about worshiping men instead of God.

God don't play games.

Anonymous said...

I like the statement "at least two people" ok at the most how many funerals have you attended?

Anonymous said...

Proverbs 17:11
An evil man seeks only rebellion, and a cruel messenger will be sent against him

Wait a minute...GOD says...
"I will send a cruel messenger against critics? Whew..scary stuff.

Deuteronomy 28:47-48

Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joyfulness and gladness of heart, because of the abundance of all things, therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.

God says he will put a hurting on you if you keep messing with my Servants...this is serious stuff.

I am leaving this blog...I smell sulfur in the air.

Satan has been here

Anonymous said...

Anon 6:13. . .good news for the fans of W/D! You got one thing wrong however as the Lord has blessed this blog and many of the readers.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

"true Christianity"

"true man of God"

And who defines or what is that?

Anonymous said...

Hey Anon 8:10...shut up.

Leave Dr. Rogers alone.

Dr. Rogers was anointed.

If you are going to attack Dr. Rogers, at least be man enough to put your name out there instead of hiding behind your momma's computer.

Anonymous said...

"Dr. Rogers was anointed."

you mean appointed?

and who witnessed his Moses experience?

Thy Peace said...

NYT > Family Battle Offers Look Inside Lavish TV Ministry (TBN Fight Offers Glimpse Inside Lavish TV Ministry)

Anonymous said...

I wonder where the pastors got the idea that death may suddenly take those who oppose them??

Anonymous said...

Why does God bless TBN the way that He does?

Why does God bless Ed Young Jr. so much...Ed has a 10,000 square foot home and an amazing life.

Why does God bless Pastor Mac with a nice home and a super nice car and an amazing family?

Could it be that THEY are doing God's will?

Could it be that their enemies (Watchdog) are jealous of the blessings of God?

Bitterness is like cancer...

Anonymous said...

who says they are doing God's will and God is blessing them? Prosperity is a reward for hard work!

Anonymous said...

Now listen and again I say listen.Stanley, Merritt,and other so called Baptist leaders, this is what you give legitimacy to when you appear on these charlatan networks. I guess that,now listen,book and tour sales are apparently more important to you. Did you listen?

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't being threatened w/ death only work for an audience who was superstitious?

Anonymous said...

Material prosperity cannot be used as a sign of God's blessing. Consider the scriptures on this point:
Jeremiah 5:27-29
27 ‘Like a cage full of birds,
So their houses are full of deceit;
Therefore they have become great and rich.
28 ‘They are fat, they are sleek,
They also excel in deeds of wickedness;
They do not plead the cause,
The cause of the orphan, that they may prosper;
And they do not defend the rights of the poor.
29 ‘Shall I not punish these people?’ declares the Lord,
‘On a nation such as this shall I not avenge Myself?’

Anonymous said...

"Why does God bless TBN the way that He does?"

You are confusing being rich with being blessed by God, TROLL.

Read the story of the rich young ruler. He walked away sad because his riches were more important to him than God.

It is harder to a rich man to get into heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.

Your FAIL rate is in tact, TROLL.
100%!!!

Victorious said...

Psalm 73:12 Behold, these are the wicked; And always at ease, they have increased in wealth.

Anonymous said...

An Unlikely Ally,

Les Puryear posted this on his blog last month. Even Les has noticed this problem with mega-church pastors.

"Megachurch pastors are a funny breed. The ones with whom I am acquainted are really pleasant, godly guys but they all have the same flaw. Their flaw is in their church they always get their way any way they choose to get it."

"This past year we saw the megachurch mentality in full view when SBC President, Bryant Wright, took it upon himself to appoint a committee to study a name change for the SBC. The only problem with that was President Wright did not and does not have the authority to appoint a committee which has not been approved by the messengers of an annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention."

"Apparently President Wright either did not know about this little detail or he did not care. Megachurch pastors are so used to getting their own way, that Wright was probably operating out of megachurch mode by instinct."