I wasn’t going to say anything, but somehow I am compelled to. I’ve repeatedly observed on social networks especially on Facebook and YouTube how Christians criticize, mock, and ridicule certain ministers. Usually, this is done either by heresy hunters and those who feel it is their calling as spiritual policemen to blow their whistle on whom they believe to be false prophets and teachers, thus protecting the naive flock from their heretical doctrines and statements. Others will criticize their lifestyles and their wealth and make an issue out of that. I’d like to address everyone on this matter. As it’s been rightly said, if the shoe fits, wear it.
Let me start off by saying that I consider myself a pretty strong holiness preacher. For those who know me, they can verify that I do not mince words when it comes to preaching the plain truths of God’s Word. Most of my blogs and articles bear witness to that. At times I will also point out error in the body of Christ, but you will not find me ever calling out names of anyone. I will not touch any of God’s ministers this way publicly. Now if someone is cultish or leading people in an obviously and potentially harmful way, I may address it as God leads me.
At times the apostle Paul had to name-call to warn the churches of false ministers and harmful doctrines. But to criticize a brother or sister publicly, I won’t do it. God has taught me that He is responsible for them and if I am really concerned I should just pray for them like they are my own children.
Why do we feel the need to criticize and even mock ministers like Joel and Victoria Osteen or Kenneth Copeland or Benny Hinn? These are God’s servants and ministers, and to Him they will stand or fall – to Him they will give account. I happen to know a little bit more than some of you about these ministers, and frankly, most Christians who criticize them have no clue about their calling and what’s it like to be in their shoes. Do I agree with everything these ministers say and do? Not any more than I would agree with everything you say and do. At times, after some hindsight, I’m not so sure I even agree with everything I say and do myself.
These men are all called of God. They have a particular function and anointing to do what they are called to do. We must discern the body of Christ and the ministries of everyone within His body (1 Cor. 11:29-31), especially those who have unusual anointings or special areas of grace. Joel Osteen has a ministry of mercy. An older minister who knew his Dad told me that this had been prophesied to him. Thousands of people’s lives have been transformed through his ministry. How can you dare even touch that? Even if I thought he was a false teacher, for the sake of his family’s legacy and the great ministry his father had, I would never touch that ministry. By doing so, I would be touching God and the anointing and mandate on that entire ministry.
My heart was broken when Christians began to lash out at Victoria Osteen’s recent statements. Why do we have to make a mockery of ourselves before the social network world? We are only hurting the cause of Christ and tainting the reputation of the Church and the body of Christ by being so contentious and airing out our differences for the world to see. I find that we are most notorious for criticizing parts of the body of Christ that we simply do not understand. We need to keep our mouths shut. Blowing out someone else’s candle does not make your own shine any brighter. Let’s judge ourselves in these matters. That will keep us busy enough that we won’t have time to judge others.
So what if Victoria said what she said? Maybe she meant something else by it. Did it ever occur to you that her statements could’ve been taken out of context? Maybe she is sorry and has already repented. She could be so broken over it right now and be crying out to God at the exact time that you’re sitting there as a judge mocking and ridiculing her for her statements. You’re on the devil’s side when you do this for he is the accuser of the brethren. Is that the way you want God to treat you? May I remind you that it is the merciful that shall receive mercy.
Do you want to talk about Kenneth Copeland? That man has given away more money to help ministries, charities, and churches than anyone I know. He has given away cars, airplanes, and tents to help ministers preach the gospel near and far. So what if you don’t agree with his prosperity doctrine? Are you an expert in money matters? Do you know everything the Bible says about money? I can find many wealthy characters in the Bible who were God’s people. If you feel like he’s in real danger of losing out with God, why don’t you pray for him as if he were your own son or father?
What about Benny Hinn? Once again, he is a man who is called of God. He has had more miracles than most modern day ministries. Satan targets these kind of ministries, and they need our prayers, not our criticisms. The late Oral Roberts told Benny that he was one of the few miracle ministries that was still around, and that the devil had taken out most of them. Thousands of people’s lives have been miraculously healed and saved through his ministry. Why do you feel it is your right to speak against such a man?
If you believe any of these ministers to be in the category of those in Mat. 7:21-23 then you should be broken-hearted over it and petitioning the Father for them, interceding on their behalf.
Why do I feel it is important to address this? For the sake of the love and unity in the body of Christ. It seems we have more strife and division over doctrine than anything else. Can we appreciate men and women of God for the specialty of their ministries and the grace they carry, though they be very different than you? Not every minister will reach everyone. There are diversities of ministries and different operations of the Spirit in each of them to meet different needs in people and express the multi-dimensional character of our God. Can we quit de-emphasizing their emphasis so we can emphasize ours?
For years Christians heavily criticized the late Kenneth E. Hagin. I was privileged to attend his school and know his life from the inside, and to this day, he is the greatest man of God with the deepest knowledge of God of any man or minister I’ve ever known. This one example has taught me that people on the outside know squat about most of the ministers they criticize. You don’t live with them. You don’t walk with them. You don’t know them. All you hear is what they teach. You are free to judge their doctrine for yourself but dont’ judge their heart and publicly criticize them, or use social networks to rant about them.