Christian influencers, superstar pastors, and women preachers accused of heresy, false Gospel, and called “false teachers”
1. Women pastors
For example, female preacher Jen Hatmaker is criticized for pushing “gay unions,” Joyce Meyer’s prosperity gospel, and Beth Moore’s casual relationship with Jesus.
Beth Moore: “Talking to a different Jesus”
The first wrong thing about Beth Moore is being a woman pastor, which she claims she’s not. Her charismatic ministry has touched millions of believers worldwide, with more than 50 million books sold.
According to Josh Buice of G3 Ministries, Moore’s Biblical take is mostly allegorical—her method of spiritualizing Biblical text and making it say something other than what the original author intended.
Justin Peters calls her troublesome with her faulty Biblical hermeneutics. John MacArthur mentioned her a couple of times as a prime example of heresy in the church.
“God tells me a secret; He knows upfront I’m going to tell it! By and large, that’s our deal.”
In short, Beth Moore has a deal with God. In her book ‘When Godly People Do Ungodly Things,’ she claims to hear God’s voice in her heart and talk to Jesus like He was her neighbor. After all, “what a friend we have in Jesus.”
“Come and play… I also love how I could tell by the sweet tone of His silent voice that He was smiling…” “I built a snowman… I laugh with God; He laughed with me. I am so in love with Him.”
Moore wants to believe she has an intimate and profound relationship far deeper than we have. Justin Peters calls her experience the modern version of the ancient heresy of Gnosticism.
Moore said, “Jesus tells me what to do” (through her casual conversation with him). John MacArthur criticized her shallow and casual revelations from Jesus. He said, “Her only defense is that she is the author of the scripture or author of a higher scripture than God, or you get personal revelation.”
Jesus is like, “How ya doing this morning, Beth?
Moore is an LGBTQ ally
In Moore’s book ‘Praying God’s Word,’ she deleted a paragraph that referenced homosexuality as a sin, so it sounds less controversial.
She removed “… promiscuity, pornography, and homosexuality as undermining the sanctifying work of Christ” from the electronic version of the book because the phrase ostracizes those struggling with it.
Moore is known for her stance as an LGBTQ ally, advocating for a deeper understanding and inclusion of the LGBTQ community, which is her loving way of accepting progressive LGBTQ in Christ’s community. The problem is that the Bible does not gloss over this issue.
This support is evident in her public statements and actions, where she has consistently shown solidarity with LGBTQ individuals and their struggle for equal rights and acceptance.
In 2021, Moore left the Southern Baptist Convention group (SBC) because of SBC’s conservative stand on doctrines, such as same-sex marriage. SBC wouldn’t also allow her to be the lead pastor.
She then began to rebuke SBC by side-swiping them in certain doctrinal positions. She also accused them of “not wanting people of color in powerful positions.”
She also “liked” a tweet by Kristen Howerton, who said “Do not treat the protests as a new mission field. Do not lead people in prayer… be a Christian voice in the crowd or share God’s love or witness to people, or fight systemic racism and racial violence.”
Doing so is out of place and may just be a waste of time. However, Moore, just like the rest of her female colleagues, is also collectively advocating for a silent stand on LGBTQ issues by saying these things.
Joyce Meyer: The Gospel of claiming and receiving
Claiming Jesus can talk to us casually is a growing trend among women pastors such as Moore and Joyce Meyer. Aside from this kind of gnostic intimacy, they preached on speaking in tongues and the prosperity gospel of “claiming and receiving.”
Joyce Meyer is known as the “apostle of hope,” guiding those with financial burdens and emotional hang-ups to tap into God’s healing power. But when it comes to repentance, like Joel Osteen—she has little to say.
She teaches that Christians can confess sins they have not committed (e.g., Mark 11:24) with no negative consequences. She tells those who believe in demons and the power of Satan that they can pray them out of their bodies like they were colds or diseases.
Meyer also reinterprets scriptures to make them more relevant today. For example, the issue of tattoos is a clear pagan practice in the Bible, but she taunts it by flaunting her tattoos and blatantly reworded Isaiah 49:16.
She turns her tattoo into a “religious label,” justifying and promoting these markings.
Empowering, bold, but self-seeking
For the most part, Joyce Meyer’s sermons are empowering. She uses the Bible to get across her point. But on closer look, she tends to focus on self-improvement, similar to Joel Osteen’s “my gospel,” rather than the glory of Christ alone.
Other female preachers like Priscilla Shrier use John 10:27 as the go-to verse and trivialize it, explains Peters. Recently, Lindy-Ann Hopley, a female pastor, apparently called for a “Christian revival” and claimed Jesus walked into her room and proposed to her with a ring in His hand.
2. Moralistic Therapeutic Deism
Benny Hinn, the poster child of “Wealth Transfer”
When it comes to Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD), Benny Hinn can be considered the father of the modern prosperity gospel. He labels himself as a mentor and apostle for a growing army of Christian leaders.
Benny Hinn teaches that if believers give generously to his ministry, they will receive a financial blessing from God. He also claims that some people are not healed of their diseases because they have not given enough money to his ministry. [Tim Challies]
In the 80s and 90s, he claimed that God would strike people dead if they questioned him and other “men of God” like TBN founder Paul Crouch who also had the same premise.
Wealth transfer, a demonic ideology
Benny Hinn is notorious for taking scripture out of context. For example, he twists Luke 6:39 to mean “wealth transfer” to encourage people to give. He explains that the context of financial return may come in the future.
The verse in Luke is about the measure you use against judging others, as well as forgiveness which God will accord to you if you generously forgive others. Giving because you will get something in return is self-serving.
The faulty interpretation of “Wealth transfer” begins with the “heresy” of New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) teaching known as “The Great Transfer of Wealth.” Groups associated with NAR are Bethel church, International House of Prayer (IHOP), and a long list of smaller churches and pastors who adhere to implicit teachings of the prosperity gospel.
God would strike people dead if they questioned Benny Hinn.
Joseph Prince, the face of “hypergrace”
Prince has been accused of ignoring the need for confession and repentance. But it could all be semantics. For example, Prince wrote, “We don’t have to confess our sins to be forgiven. We confess our sins because we are already forgiven.” [Destined to Reign, page 53]
In short, forgiveness depends not on what I do but on what Jesus has done. However, his excessive emphasis on grace can polarize a believer and assume sinning is OK. Hence, it becomes “cheap grace.”
Undoubtedly, the emphasis on grace by Singapore’s prominent charismatic preacher, Joseph Prince, is healthy, says Paul Barker of Gospel Coalition.
Word of faith teacher
Joseph Prince has had a lot of good things to say. He comes out like a mature Christian full of grace and knowledge. However, his message leans on the prosperity gospel, a product of moralistic theism.
For example, Prince said, “You are destined to reign in life. You are called by the Lord to be a success, enjoy wealth, health, and a life of victory. It is not the Lord’s desire that you live a life of defeat, poverty, and failure.“
What he said is a mix of Biblical truth taken out of context and what Satan would say to tempt us to worship him.
Prince is also a “Word of Faith” teacher. It means that faith is a force, and words contain that force. Words, when spoken in faith, unleash their power. Hence, the foundation of the prosperity gospel: When you name it, you claim it.
Steven Furtick, the unqualified “motivational speaker”
Steven Furtick is charismatic and popular among the young generation. However, critics brand him as a “motivational speaker” that makes people feel good and tickle their ears.
God broke the law because it’s all about you
Two of Furtick’s empowering but heretic claims are “God broke the law for love” and “the process of discipleship is not about changing you, but revealing who you’ve been all along.”
Steven may seem right because God did “break His son” for the love of humanity. But to say God broke the law is against His character. Likewise, the process of discipleship is to transform people for God’s glory. It’s not about us but all about Jesus.
Furtick: Everyone is a preacher
Steven Furtick said that “Teaching gift has always been in you. You just had to get passed what you had put on yourself. The idea that I’m not a preacher, I am just a little girl, I don’t have anything to say, that [ability to preach] was always in you.“
John MacArthur described Furtick in one word: “Unqualified.”
The Bible is clear; not everyone is a preacher (1 Corinthians 12:7-17). Neither is there “modern apostles” or revelations from Jesus.
Steven Furtick in one word: “Unqualified.”
The ambiguity of Rick Warren
Author of the highly acclaimed Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren, has encouraged many people to get closer to God. However, he and his wife have also been embroiled in bipartisan politics and the woke ideology of racial justice, unbecoming of any church leader.
Warren was asked during an Obama campaign, “What does your Christianity mean to you?” His reply: “It means I’m saved, and I’m forgiven.” John MacArthur, who watched his interview on TV, said his response was ambiguous.
“What does that mean by what, by whom, from what to what?” MacArthur said. The correct answer is that: “Jesus is Lord! He is my Lord and my Savior. There is no other Lord. and there is no other savior!” he said.
“Comfortable ambiguity has captivated Christianity today where you don’t have to commit to anything because you might be intruding in someone’s sensibility because they might disagree with you.,” MacArthur pointed out.
Joel Osteen, the poster child of MTD
Joel Osteen, Benny Hinn, and Steven Furtick are said to incorporate scriptures in their preaching rarely. What they teach is summarized as Moralistic Therapeutic Deism or MTD.
Osteen has at least 25 million followers worldwide. Many love him because he often talks about positivity and how to be blessed. However, just like other preachers of pop Christianity, he dilutes what it means to be a faithful follower of Jesus.
For example, in his book ‘The Power of I Am,” Osteen quotes 64, “I am…” In other words, to be a follower of Jesus points to what we get from Him rather than His glory. The book is built on the assumption that God will grant you your heart’s desire if you can say all the right things.
I am blessed.
I am prosperous.
I am successful
I am talented.
I am wise.
I am healthy.
I am happy.
I am confident.
I am attractive.
I am anointed.
Mike Winger vs. Joel Osteen
In 2022, Mike Winger posted a video about Joel Osteen where he exposed his misuse of Bible verses 14 out of 15 times in one sermon. However, Osteen asked YouTube to take it down, claiming copyright for the clips Winger used.
Winger created another video without using Osteen’s clips, claiming that, 93 percent of the time, Joel Osteen misinterpreted Biblical passages.
Osteen misinterpreted passages 93% of the time.
3. Woke pastors
Wokeism is most evident among Evangelical Lutherans (ECLA). Episcopals and Methodist churches admit trans pastors, lesbian priests, and same-sex marriage ceremonies, including “transgender baptism” among Unitarian or Universalist churches.
Brandan Robertson’s “Queer holiness”
Millennial “gay” pastor Brandan Robertson is a progressive TikTok and YouTube preacher. He tells his followers that Jesus is effeminate, there is no hell, and homosexuality (Queer holiness) is not a sin.
Robertson cherry-picks scriptures and translates Jesus’ words to mean something else. For example, polyamory is fornication and an adulterous relationship. He said the following:
“As a minister of the Gospel of Jesus, your relationship (polyamory and open relationships) is holy. They’re beautiful, and they are welcomed and celebrated in this space. We call all of us to the same standards that we seek to follow Jesus.
And all of our relationships seek to be honest, respectful, self-sacrificial, consensual, and loving with your partner. When we live into this standard, we can be sure we’re on the path to wholeness and holiness.”
4. Embroiled in financial and sexual misconduct
Sex scandals among pastors are a growing trend in the United States. Perhaps one reason why church attendance has rapidly declined.
Zacharias led a very successful ministry that took him around the world. He was dubbed as one of the most critical apologists of the century. He mentored celebrities and church leaders, but a double life beneath it—is Ravi Zacharias in hell?
In 2022, an Indiana pastor confessed to adultery with a woman who was just 16 years old. Incidents like these have become so familiar that it’s also becoming an acceptable sin.
After the pastor finished his speech, the congregation gave him a standing ovation for his “humble confession.” In short, they applauded his efforts instead of showing absolute remorse.
For many years, Hillsong has been embroiled in various scandals. Recently, Carl Lentz, criticized for a lopsided theology, was fired in November 2020. Lentz committed adultery that Hollywood calls “entanglement.”
5. Christian musicians and singers
Hillsong Australia has been spreading the Gospel of Jesus through songwriting and inspiring music since the early 1990s. Decades after, the “music institution” has been embroiled in several Hillsong scandals.
Besides Hillsongs, Bethel is also a thriving church with popular pop Christian music. However, the Bethel church has shady doctrines.
The song “Blessings” by Jobi Kari has a powerfully inspiring message, but recently, Jobi has allegedly supported LGBTQ theologians. She is associated with preachers Joyce Meter and Jack Hayford, whose Biblical interpretation has been questioned.
Back in 2014, Jars of Clay lead singer Dan Haseltine appeared to support same-sex marriage. “I just don’t see a negative effect to allowing gay marriage. No societal breakdown, no war on traditional marriage? Anyone?” Haseltine said. In 2018, Dan posted that his question hadn’t changed.
Amy Grant and Chris Tomlin
In 2022, Christian musician Chris Tomlin performed in Meyer’s church, drawing flak for promoting the “false teacher.” Filled with dazzling lights, the stage fired with emotions, and people praised God. However, it may just all be feeling. After all, Joyce Meyer is allegedly a product of false doctrines.
The same year, legendary Christian singer Amy Grant hosted her niece’s gay wedding. Naturally, she was praised by the LGBTQ community and rebuked by some Christian leaders.
Becket Cook, who lived a gay life before coming to Christ, said, “Christians should not attend gay weddings… I would never go to a gay wedding (again)…“
There are many other ways to show love to family members who are LGBTQ, but going to their wedding is a red line for Cook, referring to Amy Grant. “It’s dishonoring God, it’s confusing your witness. It’s bad for you as a Christian to be present (at a gay wedding). It’s kinda giving approval,” he also said.
It’s dishonoring God, it’s confusing your witness.
6. Wealthy “modern apostles”
Pastor Guillermo Maldonado is co-founder of El Rey Jesús, the largest and fastest-growing Hispanic church in the USA known for performing miracles and prosperity gospel. He claims to be an apostle of Jesus.
In 2021, his wife, who refers to herself as prophetess Ana Maldonado, filed for divorce.
According to court papers, their estate could be worth as much as $120 million, which is less than half of the reported wealth of Kenneth Copeland, the richest evangelist to date.
Benny Hinn is also a millionaire with an estimated $60 million worth. Like Maldonado, he labels himself an “apostolic Leader” and an “apostle,” according to his website.
In 2007, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar, Paula White, Eddie Long, and Kenneth Copeland, dubbed the “Grassley Six,” were included in a Senate investigation concerning church finances. However, none were found guilty of misconduct.
Christians who became wealthy after becoming a preacher
In recent years, many pastors in the United States have been called out for living extravagant lifestyles when they became pastors.
For example, celebrity pastor James MacDonald co-founded a megachurch, Harvest, and lived in a mansion. He was later accused of misappropriating church funds.
Pastors who are listed as multi-millionaires and billionaires
Paul & Jan Crouch
Paula & Randy White
Edir Macedo (B)
Kenneth Copeland (B)