Much has been said recently about the social problems plaguing the inner cities — crime, out-of-wedlock birth, lack of education. We can trace the problems, to some extent, back to the breakdown of the family in those communities. But along with that is a more systemic problem of a breakdown in the churches — a failure to teach right theology and biblical truth at a time when it is most desperately needed. In particular, the “prosperity gospel” preachers have taken advantage of some of the most vulnerable in our society — the poor, the elderly, the sick — by falsely teaching that Jesus is some sort of lucky charm sitting up in heaven waiting to grant our wishes for material wealth and physical healing. They claim the only thing holding God back is our failure to send enough money to some big-haired Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) star sitting on an ornate, fake throne.
The prosperity preachers say that all that stands between a poor (or sick) person and a huge payday (or good health) is a lack of faith and a donation to the ministry of the preacher. They perform before massive crowds, including Joe, sitting in his living room in Paducah, Kentucky, and claim that God is telling them — right at that very moment (or later if you’re DVR’ing the show)— exactly what He wants each and every member of the audience to do at that very moment. It’s preposterous, but these charlatans find easy prey in those who are in dire financial circumstances or who suffer with physical ailments. John MacArthur has said that it “is no different from the lowest human religions—a form of voodoo where God can be coerced, cajoled, manipulated, controlled, and exploited for the Christian’s own ends.” It’s no different than the way state lotteries take advantage of the poor with promises of a life of ease for the small price of a Powerball ticket — except that the preachers claim to be speaking for God, which is sobering and tragic at the same time.
Earlier this year Reformed (as in Reformed theology) rapper Shai Linne called out some of those preachers in a song called “Fal$e Teacher$“. And he names names — Benny Hinn, Paula White, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, TD Jakes, and others — acknowledging in the song that “today the only heresy is saying that there’s heresy.”
His music is startling in a hip-hop culture known for profanity and violence. Linn raps about hardcore Christian theological truths that many seasoned Christians can’t speak about intelligently — limited atonement, amillennialism, the hypostatic union.