J. Lee Grady recalls an interesting event from the past this week in his Fire in My Bones article for March 7, 2008.
Apparently in 1999, Kenneth Hagin Sr. called many of the leaders of the prosperity movement’ together to read some of them the riot act. He warned them that some were distorting his teachings but more importantly distorting the Bible. He was hoping to bring correction to the movement he had founded before he passed on.
Here are some of the points he was addressing that was also covered in his last book- The Midas Touch:
1. Financial prosperity is not a sign of God’s blessing. Hagin wrote: “If wealth alone were a sign of spirituality, then drug traffickers and crime bosses would be spiritual giants. Material wealth can be connected to the blessings of God or it can be totally disconnected from the blessings of God.”
2. People should never give in order to get. Hagin was critical of those who “try to make the offering plate some kind of heavenly vending machine.” He denounced those who link giving to getting, especially those who give cars to get new cars or who give suits to get new suits. He wrote: “There is no spiritual formula to sow a Ford and reap a Mercedes.”
3. It is not biblical to “name your seed” in an offering. Hagin was horrified by this practice, which was popularized in faith conferences during the 1980s. Faith preachers sometimes tell donors that when they give in an offering they should claim a specific benefit to get a blessing in return. Hagin rejected this idea and said that focusing on what you are going to receive “corrupts the very attitude of our giving nature.”
4. The “hundredfold return” is not a biblical concept. Hagin did the math and figured out that if this bizarre notion were true, “we would have Christians walking around with not billions or trillions of dollars, but quadrillions of dollars!” He rejected the popular teaching that a believer should claim a specific monetary payback rate.
5. Preachers who claim to have a “debt-breaking” anointing should not be trusted. Hagin was perplexed by ministers who promise “supernatural debt cancellation” to those who give in certain offerings. He wrote in The Midas Touch: “There is not one bit of Scripture I know about that validates such a practice. I’m afraid it is simply a scheme to raise money for the preacher, and ultimately it can turn out to be dangerous and destructive for all involved.”
The movement started out with a sound observation made by Hagin that “God was not glorified by poverty and that preachers do not have to be poor.” However, some of the excesses and greed within the movement bothered even ‘Dad Hagin’ before he died in 2003. Unfortunately his warning went largely unheeded.