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Concocted doctrines

(© 2018 American Gospel Motion Picture, LLC)

Documentary

Concocted doctrines

American Gospel: Christ Alone dismantles popular ‘prosperity gospel’ teaching

A woman quits her job after hearing her pastor’s prophecy. She falls into financial ruin within two months. Who’s to blame? She is—she probably didn’t have enough faith. A man is born with cerebral palsy, and now as a grown adult, he’s still limping on crutches. Who’s to blame? He is, because God never wants Christians to suffer. At least, that’s the teaching of the “prosperity gospel,” a prevalent theology that the documentary American Gospel: Christ Alone tears down using Scripture and real-life testimonies.

In many ways, American Gospel is like an unflinching, theologically rich sermon. And as with any good sermon, there’s an outpouring of urgency, grief, righteous anger, conviction, and (ultimately) joy.

The film weaves together the voices of pastors, theologians, and average Christians to expose the “satanic” lies and distorted truths within the Word of Faith movement. In one interview, Constance Troutman weeps about how these false teachings deceived her into losing everything. In another, Costi Hinn details the perks he once enjoyed traveling with his uncle, faith-healer Benny Hinn: flying on G-IV private jets, blowing $20,000 per night on fancy hotels, chauffeur service in white Bentleys. At some point, Costi Hinn says, he began having trouble sleeping at night, thinking of the desperate parents of dying children giving their best financial offerings to ministers who used it to fund extravagant lifestyles.

The message is clear: False doctrine is dangerous, and now this American-born gospel is spreading all over the world. But American Gospel doesn’t just highlight the problems—it also presents the solution in the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ: We are sinners who deserve nothing but condemnation, but Christ absorbed all the wrath of God on the cross and imputed His righteousness to us. That should be convicting to all Christians—after all, how often do we place self-glory and earthly comforts above our Lord?

Comments

  • Brendan Bossard's picture
    Brendan Bossard
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 06:54 am

    Those who blindly follow false prophets share responsibility for their own grief, because they did not check the Word of God for themselves.

  • Narissara
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 10:59 am

    We do have the responsibility to check the Word of God for ourselves.  But in some parts of the world, that may be easier said than done.  Third world countries don’t have the same resources we do.  Well-intentioned but uneducated pastors looking for mentors unwittingly turn to these prosperity gospel preachers through TV and radio and incorporate what they say into their own teaching.  Then, too, there are groups who may be allowed into restricted countries for humanitarian aid, and while they may not be able to bring many Bibles, they can pass along their beliefs orally and infect the people they serve.  In America, we have a smorgasbord of literature, TV, podcasts, etc., to choose from. The discerning among us are capable of filtering out the garbage.  But functional illiteracy among Americans is estimated to be about 1 in 7 adults.  These people make easy prey for false teachers, with all their sophistication. 

    I visited my local Christian bookstore a few weeks ago looking for a gift for someone recovering from surgery.  I don’t go there very often, and with good reason.  The shelves are full of books by false teachers and make up about 70 percent of the inventory, compared to about 15 percent that Bibles make up.  The other 15 percent was just a lot of junky trinkets.  I walked out with a CD of jazz-arranged hymns by an artist I had never heard of and hoped for the best.  Every purchase of this garbage helps finance its spread all over the world.  

  • Bob C
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 11:26 am

    Hey Narissara - The "YouVersion" of the Bible is avalaible for free, in dozens of languages, for cell phones.  

  • Narissara
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 02:40 pm

    True, there is that.  Those kinds of resources are extremely valuable.  I just don’t know what kind of access people in restricted nations have, or how many people in third world countries have smart phones.  

  • CJ
    Posted: Fri, 05/03/2019 03:15 pm

    Where and when can this documentary be found? The article does not say. 

  • Martin Brook
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 12:46 am

    CJ I rented it on Vimeo for about 5 bucks.  Well worth it!

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 10:58 am

    According to the film’s website, it is available to download or stream at Vimeo, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.

  • Vista48
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 06:52 am

    Never in history has so much information been at our very fingertips, and yet so many are so easily fooled. Why? As P.T. Barnum figured out, they desperately wish it to be true. But God is not anybody's genie-in-a-bottle. To think thus will ultimately lead you into error.

  • Mel1979
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 10:12 am

    This seems like a well worth watching documentary. I would love more information about who put it together and where we can find it to watch it.  Thank you

  • Web Editor
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 10:58 am

    According to the film’s website, it is available to download or stream at Vimeo, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and Google Play.

  • Kingdomnetworker's picture
    Kingdomnetworker
    Posted: Sat, 05/04/2019 02:49 pm

    I have seen the film. It is well worth watching. It describes an ongoing movement that distorts the gospel of Christ, sometimes beyond recognition. Prosperity Gospel has infected much of the Caribbean and Africa (we lived here 20 years) where the culture strongly discourages questioning the authority of a "Pastor". Watch the documentary, study the Word, and pray that you may not be deceived. The truth will set you free.

  • Steve Shive
    Posted: Tue, 05/07/2019 07:55 am

    I look forward to seeing this documentary. Over the years I've seen this lie perpetrated on unsuspecting seekers. They fall for it for various reasons but it smacks of smug arrogance (maybe ignorance of their situation?) to expect untaught, 3rd world, even Western seekers to see through this fraud. 2 Peter especially makes it clear where the fault, guilt and divine retribution lies. Losing one's savings or other monies does not necessarily mean they have lost salvation a much more important asset. In the end we all do carry final responsibility for our eternal decisions. But Benny Hinn, Reverend Ike, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagan et al carry a heavy debt to be paid in that final reckoning.

  • Narissara
    Posted: Tue, 05/07/2019 12:21 pm

    Imagine how non-believers must feel when they’re told by someone better off than they are that the reason they’re so poor and miserable is that they’re not Christians.  It’s got to smack of self-righteous smugness. It goes against James’ teachings against favoritism of the wealth (Jas 2:1-4) and of not putting faith into action (Jas 2:14-17).  And it’s not that different from what the world teaches — go to college, take on massive debt, get a white collar job (because no self-respecting person would take a blue or pink collar job, right?) and live beyond your means, but by all means, live the good life.  

  • World member
    Posted: Wed, 05/15/2019 12:39 am

    Did anyone else recieve a warning from YouTube when you attempted to click the link on the trailer? Not only did I receive a warning "This video may be inappropriate for some users" but YouTube would not play the video until I confirmed my age was over 18.