The State of the Church in America
Jun 02, 2008
Charles Fillmore has proven to be one of the most influential forces in the modern Church in America. His promotion of "Scientific Christianity" has resulted in the enthronement of the human mind and the human will, unseating God Himself.
Fillmore was simply an atheist in Church robes. Now let it be known that although my views naturally differ from atheists, I do not dislike atheists or agnostics. In fact, I often find them more refreshing than Christians, because many of them are honest in their beliefs. I like people who are either hot or cold. What I cannot stomach is one who pretends to be a Christian in order to try to subvert Christians and turn them to their own opposite view. Such was the case with Fillmore, who used biblical terminology and pretended to be a Christian, while he was, in fact, a classic atheist.
Worse yet, his views found fertile ground in many other groups, such as Norman Vincent Peale's "Power of Positive Thinking" and Robert Schuller's "Positive Christianity" (a term used by Fillmore). The entire Prosperity Movement of Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin, so popular today in its greed-appeal, added a personal God to Fillmore's "impersonal force." But in practice, God is called "God" as mere lip service, for He is regularly viewed as man's servant. He is there to do man's will, but is bound by some spiritual law to do only what man tells him to do.
I first ran across this idea about 35 years ago when a woman commented on Isaiah 45:11, which says (KJV),
"Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel and his Maker, "Ask Me of things to come concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands, COMMAND YE ME."
Read out of context, it was explained that God was telling us to command Him to do things, as if He were man's servant. More than that, it was said that God would do nothing without such a command, that He was virtually helpless to act on our behalf without our telling Him what to do.
Later, I read the context and discovered that this entire chapter is about the sovereignty of GOD, not the sovereignty of MAN. And the above verse is actually worded in the form of a question, not a statement of fact. In its context, God is making the point that He is so sovereign that He can even direct the heart of a Persian King (Cyrus by name in verse 1). Verse 5 says,
"For Jacob My servant's sake, and Israel Mine elect, I have even called thee (Cyrus) by thy name. I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known Me."
The next verses tells us WHY God called Cyrus by name without that Persian king's conscious awareness.
"That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west that there is NONE beside Me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. I form the light and create darkness. I make peace and create evil. I the Lord do all these things."
Then God gives examples of His sovereignty. If rain falls, or if righteousness "rains down," God did it. If the earth opens up and brings forth salvation, God created it. Woe to those who dispute or disagree with the way God works. Does the "clay" (men) have the right to disagree and dispute with the Potter (God) about how He does things? Should men accuse God of being handicapped, saying, "He has no hands!"?? Should a baby tell his mother, "What are you begetting?"
Then verse 11 reads, "concerning the work of My hands, command ye Me??? In other words, are you telling ME what to do??? Who do you think you are?
The entire context shows that God is questioning man's right to tell Him what to do. Man lacks the wisdom and power to create. So what gives man the right to tell the true Creator what to do or how to do it?
Men have thus twisted Isaiah 45 to mean precisely the opposite from what God was actually saying. It was meant to be a statement of the sovereignty of God. Instead, it has been turned into a statement of the servanthood of God and the sovereignty of man. Is man's mind really the true creative force, as Fillmore postulated? Who is really the God of the Universe?
Man is not the Creator. Man imitates God on a lower level. God creates; man begets. Man's work of begetting is a derivative of God's creation. Without God's creation, man could not beget or do anything. Man can take what God has created--such as wood--and make something out of it. But man lacks the power to create wood.
The Prosperity Doctrine, as it is usually practiced, makes men into gods, telling the Creator what to do. It teaches men to command God, and to do so repeatedly with "positive affirmations" like children who insist upon getting their own way. The textbook is right out of Napoleon Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich.
The Prosperity Doctrine, like so many other doctrines, has borrowed a secular idea from the world and has merely added God in it for "flavoring." But at its root, it is nothing more than the pernicious idea that Paul warned us about in 1 Timothy 6:5, "supposing gain (profit, wealth) to be piety(godliness)."
There are many very wealthy ministries out there who flaunt wealth, expensive cars, jets, and mansions, because these things are their "evidence" of spirituality and godliness. There are too many such preachers to name. Creflo Dollar is said to have about 700 million dollars and will probably be the first billionaire evangelist. Are we supposed to be impressed by his spirituality? Many are, but count me out. I prefer truth to money.
I am NOT saying that money is bad, or that Christians ought to be poor. But neither should prosperity be the goal and evidence of spirituality. This idea came directly from Charles Fillmore, who taught that anyone can do this, regardless of which religion one follows--or no religion at all. He taught that this ability to obtain wealth by the power of the mind is inherent in all men and was not dependent upon any relationship with a personal God. In this he was correct, for the Prosperity Doctrine really has nothing to do with one's relationship with God! Fillmore redefined "spiritual" to mean "metaphysical" and made it secular. The Prosperity Prophets have taken Fillmore's idea and made it a spiritual doctrine.
Our affirmations ought to be responses to God, not the other way around. We are called to know the will of God and to bear witness to it, not to expect God to bear witness to what we think God ought to be doing for us.
The enthronement of man's mind means the preachers get richer. Most of the people get poorer as they make their multi-millionaire preachers richer. The poorer they get, the more guilty they feel for not having enough "faith." And to help the people raise their level of "faith," let's take up one more offering. I'll take the money and throw it up into the air. What God wants, He can take. The rest I'll spend on my new private jet.
This is what the Charismatic movement has become. From its genuine beginnings, it has fallen to new lows. Money has become the true god of the Charismatic movement. This new god has enslaved many genuine believers, even as Egypt enslaved the Israelites many years ago. It is time that Christians cry out to God, not for more money but to be delivered from the god of money and their profit-prophets.
Perhaps that is what God is doing today by crashing the American economic system. The gods are falling, and everything will be shaken that can be shaken, so that only those things which are of His Kingdom will remain standing.
Dr. Stephen Jones