The Forced Resignation of Jerry Falwell, Jr. Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg When It Comes to Malfeasance In the Ministry

My Prophecy Against Phony Churches

and Their False Teachings

by Minister Paul J. Bern

This past week on the Lame Stream Media, I noticed that Jerry Falwell, Jr., son of the TV evangelist Jerry Falwell, was forced to resign his position as head of Liberty University in South Carolina after evidently getting caught up in a bisexual love triangle with his wife and another younger man. You probably know by now that this little incident is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to corruption in the ministry in modern Christian churches of today. Having written a Sunday message about financial corruption in government and the churches just a few months ago, I will skip over that for now. Today, I want to alert everyone who reads this to be aware of certain other teachings that are being taught in some churches as being factual and prophetic when in fact they are neither. These three erroneous teachings, in no particular order, are the ‘prosperity gospel’, the “pre-tribulation rapture”, and tithing”. Allow me a little of your time to sort through these because this is stuff that people, be they Christian or otherwise, need to be made aware of. Otherwise one may find themselves on the wrong road, forcing them to back-track. I cannot stand idly by and allow this to occur, so here we go.

First and foremost, in the “prosperity gospel”, also known as the “Word of Faith,” the believer is told to use God, whereas the truth of biblical Christianity is just the opposite – God uses the believer. Word of Faith, or ‘prosperity theology’, sees the Holy Spirit as a power to be put to use for whatever the believer wills. The Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person who enables the believer to do God’s will. The prosperity gospel movement closely resembles some of the destructive greed sects that infiltrated the early church. Paul and the other apostles were not accommodating to or conciliatory with the false teachers who propagated such heresy. They identified them as dangerous false teachers and urged Christians to avoid them. The pursuit of wealth is a dangerous path for Christians and one which God warns about: “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs” (1st Timothy 6:10). If riches were a reasonable goal for the godly, Jesus would have pursued it. But He did not, preferring instead to have no place to lay His head (Matthew 8:20), and teaching His disciples to do the same. Let’s also not forget that the only disciple concerned with wealth was Judas, and we all know what happened to him.

James chapter 4, verses 13-15 clearly contradicts the prosperity gospel: “Now listen, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.’ Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.’” Far from speaking things into existence in the future, we do not even know what tomorrow will bring or even whether we will be alive. Instead of stressing the importance of wealth, the Bible warns against pursuing it. Jesus warned, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12:15). In sharp contrast to the Word of Faith emphasis on gaining money and possessions in this life, Jesus said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal” (Matthew 6:19). The irreconcilable contradictions between prosperity teaching and the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is best summed up in the words of Jesus in Matthew 6:24, “You cannot serve both God and money.”

The second of the 3 false teachings is the so-called “pre-tribulation rapture”, which is based on the rapture of the Church as written in 1st Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 15-18, among other places. In this passage of Scripture, the Lord returns for His people, his Church, and for His Bride, which are one and the same. The ‘rapture’, as it’s called, coincides with the Great Tribulation as foretold in the books of Revelation, Daniel, Zechariah and others in the old and new testaments. The reign of the Antichrist, as foretold in Daniel chapter 12, will last for exactly three and a half years.

But in the very next sentence it says that prior to that, there will be a period of 1,335 days (about 3.6 years) of turmoil upon the earth, with wars, plagues, pestilences and much death being inflicted on humankind. It is this period of time that signifies the first part of the Great Tribulation (as prophesied in Matthew chapter 24 and Luke chapter 21), that is in question by these “pre-tribulation” believers. The “pre-tribulation” rapture simply says that all followers of Christ will be taken up at the very beginning of the combined 7-year tribulation period (that is, the 1,335 days plus the 3.5-year reign of the Antichrist just before Jesus’ return).

But this implies that Christians – particularly American Christians – will (allegedly) not have to endure any of the Great Tribulation period. Brothers and sisters, nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible clearly states in Revelation 13, verses 6-7, “He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander His name and His dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.” “He” in this passage refers to the Antichrist, and he clearly will wage war against Christianity – and the Antichrist will win up until his end comes, which it most certainly will.

Any Christian – including Catholic, Protestant and Jewish Christians – who think they will escape persecution in the terrible times soon to come is ill-informed and dangerously naive. If any US resident who is in the top 2% income bracket is reading this thinks they can stay safely barricaded in their gated and walled communities during the time of the Great Tribulation – which according to prophecy will likely begin any time now – I’m sorry but you are all sadly mistaken. I realize I’m not going to be winning any popularity contests (especially here in the US) for making that statement, but it is in your own best interests that the truth be told.

The rule of the Antichrist will be global, meaning he’ll be running the North American continent just like everywhere else. And yes indeed, some American Christians are going to wind up getting killed for refusing to worship the image of the Antichrist or take his mark. I fully expect to be one of these fortunate individuals. Yes, I wrote “fortunate” out of due deference to the apostle James, who wrote: “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promise to those who love him.” (James chapter 1 verse 12) Jesus himself said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for their righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5, verses 11-12) So I tell you boldly that we are not to fear persecution when it comes, and it is surely coming! Instead, the Bible commands us to embrace it.

The last thing I need to mention here is ‘titheing’. The word ‘titheing’ has its roots all the way back in the Old Testament to the books of Moses, in this case to Leviticus – it can also be found elsewhere too, but for the sake of brevity let me side-step that for now. The definition of titheing is the giving of 10% of one’s net worth, or in ancient times one’s crops or livestock, to the Lord. This had two purposes. The first and most important was as an atonement for sin, and the second was as a donation towards the upkeep of the Temple in Jerusalem as well as to the High Priests for their sustenance. But that was the Old Law, or Law of Moses as it is still called in synagogues to this very day. Jesus Christ was the final sacrifice which fulfilled Levitical law, which says there must be shedding of blood for our sins. Sorry if that seems too graphic for some people, but I didn’t write any part of the Bible, I’m only a messenger.

But on Resurrection Sunday when Jesus rose from the grave to live forever and to be seated eternally at his Father’s right hand, the New Testament, or law of Christ, not only supplanted but entirely replaced the Law of Moses. A new deal took effect – a fresh covenant. Jesus Christ is the new sacrifice, He is the new covenant and the fulfillment of the old one – all at the same time. Only Jesus can do that. What does the Bible tell us about this? “You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, for all of you who are baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3, verses 26-29)

OK, so if we are all heirs due to the sacrifice of Christ, then we are also all equals, am I right? At the very least, we would be Jewish by adoption in the eyes of God, but not so in the eyes of men. So, it no longer matters how much we put into the offering basket, because Jesus has paid the price for us all. This teaching about tithing is cut from the same cloth as the ‘pre-tribulation rapture’ and the ‘prosperity gospel’. Virtually all of the modern churches are teaching the Old Testament concept of tithing, the giving of 10% of the profits, or of one’s income, for the support of the Temple at Jerusalem and all the Levitical priests.

Today in most churches, its members are still expected to “tithe” 10% of their income because the pastors haven’t read their Bibles in so long they have forgotten what’s in it. Sacrifice can also be done in far more ways than merely giving money. The apostle Paul wrote something that I think is very timely concerning the modern Christian church and its “teachings” about titheing. “If the willingness is there”, Paul wrote, “the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.” And again it is written, “As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury. He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins. ‘I tell you the truth’, he said, ‘this poor widow has put in more than all the others. All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.’” (Luke 21, verses 1-4)

Notice that this is exactly the opposite of what most of the modern evangelical/Christian churches are teaching, especially those with a strong television presence. Instead of sending our money to the TV evangelists, donate it to your own churches where you congregate, or to the charity of your choice. Give what you can to others first, and to the church second, according to your ability. “I desire mercy”, Jesus said, “not sacrifice”. The size of your offering does not matter. Real Christians will not judge your offering. Only the bogus ones will size you up. The one true God won’t judge your offering either.

The Sharp Contrast Between the Early Churches and Most Modern Ones When It Comes to Financial Management

The “Social Gospel” is Backed By the Scriptures

by Minister Paul J. Bern

The book of Acts chapters 2 and 4

For this week’s commentary, I will be further clarifying what I mean by the “Social Gospel” as it applies to each and every one of us. Some inquiries are coming from certain “conservative Christians” who accuse me of being a socialist pastor and writer. Several individuals have demanded proof of what I am teaching and preaching about. ‘Proof’ in my mind means proof from the Scriptures. Proof can only be ascertained by the original and untainted Word of God. When we do this we find this brand of gospel steers clear of American politics as it focuses on what really matters most – taking care of others in need.

Early Christians – the “church of Acts”

A look at the early church and how it functioned, and its doctrine.

Acts chapter 2, verses 32-47

32) God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33) Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34) For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand 35) until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’ 36) Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. 37) When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’ 38) Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39) The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’ 40) With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, ‘Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.’ 41) Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The Fellowship of the Believers

42) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43) Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44) All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45) They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46) Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47) praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

A Kingdom Established

We begin this journey in Jerusalem. The Twelve, and all the other disciples with them, were gathered in the upper room when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them. He was taken up into the skies, then two men appeared, saying the He would return as He had left. So it happened. After a few days, the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who waited. The true ecclesia (that is, Greek for church) was born, and His kingdom has since been established upon earth. It reminds me of how Elisha saw Elijah come by, slaughtered his ox, barbecued it on the embers of his plow and greeted his parents, never to see them again. It takes real discipline and deep faith to take such a radical step. Seek ye first His kingdom….(Matt. 6: 33)

Communal style living Introduced

Soon, communalism was established. Like Jesus said to the rich young man, these people sold whatever they owned and pooled the proceeds. Jesus also taught us not to collect treasures upon earth, but in heaven. In doing so, there was no lack and all looked after another (see that, all you 1%-‘ers?). Then a man named Ananias, together with his wife Sapphira, tried to pocket a portion of the proceeds of the gift they brought to Peter. This concerned the sale of some land, and they were trying to cheat on the Holy Spirit. Soon, they were both dead! It reminds me of that Old Testament story of the man who had buried a treasure in a corner of his tent, causing the defeat of the Israel. Seek ye first His kingdom….

God’s Economy

Haggai delivered a decisive message from the Lord, stating that we have lack because we do not build His temple first. The accusation is that we lived in houses of faced stonework and wood paneling, while His house lies in ruins. The promise is given that blessing will follow when the foundations of the Temple are laid, which is what I am doing here, just as thousands of others are doing it. Seek ye first His kingdom….

Is It Sin To Have Assets?

By no margin is it sin to have wealth, yet the legal position is that nothing belongs to either you or me, but to the Lord alone. We are merely in a fiduciary capacity and, if He calls upon you to give all you have, you simply will have to do it. Does this sadden you? Think how the yuppie geek in Jerusalem had felt (Matt. 19: 16-22). Abraham was blessed, so was Job and all the others.

RG (Bob) Le Tourneau, inventor of the bulldozer, went bankrupt several times but ended up wealthy beyond imagination. Even the 5% he eventually kept for himself was so much that he gave most of that away as well! He did sign a contractual partnership agreement with God. It’s like a document made expressly for yourself to the Lord. Seek ye first His Kingdom….

Animosity in Heaven

The obscene wealth of the Vatican gets lamented daily, as I see one post after another stream by. It is just strange that few mention the tremendous wealth of some Protestant churches, pastors or televangelists, etc. In Jeremiah it is said that their fraud is what fattens them.

Fraud in the temple? Yes! Malachi lamented, saying that “if only someone would nail shut the doors of the Temple!” (see Malachi 1:10) He continued by challenging us to take a sick or lame animal as an offering to the White House, or to the Queen of England, or to President Vladimir Putin. Imagine showing up there with a lame duck or a dead chicken under your arm; will the royal leaders be glad to see you? Malachi goes on by saying that His people defraud Him – they rob Him by being untruthful in their supporting of His work, as they keep the best to themselves.

While being wealthy, or even owning a house or a car is no sin, not serving Him with your net worth is stealing from Jesus. Just know that you do not own a thing, as even earning it through hard work is a privilege through Grace. Seek ye His kingdom first….

The Lazy Butts

The Bible never teaches that those who do not work, should not be eating. It only addresses laziness, by clearly stating that those who do not want to work, should not be eating!

Who do I give to?

  • Widows –- by death or divorce
  • Orphans –- by death or divorce
  • Levites –- the unpaid workers in His field, such as organic missionaries, of which I am one
  • Foreigners –- the brother or sister from afar, who is in need, legally or not

Seek ye His kingdom first……..

Admonitions for Church Leaders, and Encouragements for the Faithful

Admonitions to Church Leaders

With Encouragements For the Faithful (part 2)

2nd Peter chapter 2, verses 1-3, 13-14, 17-21

by Minister Paul J Bern

Last week as we completed Part One of this two part series, we heard from and/or read the words of the prophet Ezekiel, who lived in the sixth century BC. His words, as he was led by the Spirit of the Lord, were a condemnation of those in charge of these various institutions. Last week, we focused on Ezekiel chapter 34 from the Old Testament. This week I’m going to elaborate on the Second Book of Peter chapter 2, with particular emphasis on that apostle’s warnings about false churches and phony pastors. Like last week’s message, this will be another prophecy against many modern churches, this time as written by Peter the apostle. So let’s go to 2 Peter chapter 2 for our first warning from him.

1) But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them – bringing swift destruction on themselves. 2) Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3) In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” (2nd Peter 2, verses 1-3)

In 2nd Peter chapter 2, Peter described and harshly condemned the false teachers who had entered the church. He promises their destruction, which will be brought by God. Peter also shows the impact of their lies on those who might believe them. Who are these false teachers? They were not strangers who showed up spouting false doctrine in a full frontal attack against the community of Christians. Instead, they came from within the church. They were sneaky. They “secretly” introduced their destructive heresies, or “lies about the truth.” This passage highlights a few of the more serious sins involved, but not all possible details. Peter didn’t fully reveal all of the contents of their false teaching. This was deliberate, so that the point is not lost: any false teaching is a problem, not only some specific doctrinal error. By leaving this description general, Peter ensured that his meaning would be applied in all such situations.

All this has been repeated, as well as amplified, in the modern churches today. The Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches were once one organization united in one faith, but that hasn’t been true for well over 1,000 years. The Protestant denominations are splintered into literally thousands of highly diverse churches, none of whom seems to be willing to reconcile their differences with the other dissimilar faiths, not even for the purpose of unity. Some churches are nothing more than cults of personality surrounding the pastor. Others, like the ones in verse 3, are ‘money churches’, also known as ‘prosperity gospel’ churches, and all are led by well dressed, slick looking and smooth talking “pastors” who want 10% of their congregations incomes each and every week. Never mind that the Bible doesn’t say it, or read it, like that. This brings me to 2 more verses further down in our text for today.

13) They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you. 14) With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed – an accursed brood!” (2nd Peter 2: 13-14) Doesn’t this passage of Scripture read like a description of modern politicians? What about as some modern ministers (trust me, I’ve met a few along the way)? I don’t know of a single person who has not yet become thoroughly disgusted with government corruption at all levels here in the early 21st century. Based on verse 13, I would say there is a day coming soon where all the corrupt officials in government, in the military, in our schools and within the law enforcement profession are going to have their day in court. Lord Jesus, please let that day be soon! And now let’s close out this week’s commentary in verses 17-21 of chapter 2.

17) These people are springs without water and mists driven by a storm. Blackest darkness is reserved for them. 18) For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. 19) They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity – for ‘people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.’ 20) If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21) It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”

I would say verse 17 is pretty self-explanatory. Any time we hear the promise of riches in exchange for our undying devotion to someone boasting that he or she is an agent of the Lord Almighty, 2nd Peter chapter 2 and verse 17 sums up how we should view such individuals. “For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of the flesh, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error. They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity….” Such people are hypocrites, Peter wrote, and they often suffer from hidden addictions like pornography, gambling and other compulsive behaviors, not to mention substance abuse issues. Whatever or however they preach and teach as these “springs without water” are doing, you can be sure that, when no one is looking, these false ‘prophets’ are into all kinds of lewd behavior and “depravity”.

The last 2 verses of this week’s message bear a little extra scrutiny. “20) If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.” Assuming that the world was at least as corrupt back then as it is now – and you can be sure about that – is it any wonder that people can get caught up in its entanglements? This is no excuse for the actions of those kinds of people, but the world we live in is filled with distractions of every imaginable variety. Television, video games and the Internet are the three main culprits as far as I am concerned, along with the other vices I listed in the paragraph above.

If one escapes “the corruption of the world”, only to find themselves “again entangled in it”, that person, whoever he or she might be, can and should extricate themselves from their lives that are lived only for themselves. They should, and often do (but not always, tragically), put as much distance between themselves and the abusive relationships they were in as they possibly can. Still, the fact that those who get up and get away from bad, negative or abusive people or situations do so because they manage to muster up the guts that it takes to succeed. They also pray a lot. A whole lot, sometimes being in a state of prayer all day long.

The ones who never make it back home to the Kingdom are those in verse 21: “21) It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.” The “sacred command” that Peter was referring to was from his own version of the Gospel, which ended up getting deleted when the Bible as we know it today was first compiled, which occurred between about 300 and 400 AD. The only remaining quote we have left on that topic is Matthew 28: 16-20, also know as “the Great Commission”. But let’s go back to 2nd Peter verse 20 for moment so I can tie this all together: “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and are overcome….” The key words here are “and are overcome”. Some people get entangled in the world’s sinful ways of depravity and are able to free themselves. The only way to do this is to let Jesus take charge of your life. Go ahead, ask him right now, he is waiting there for you. There is no substitute for the real thing, and the powerful presence of Jesus Christ is all you will ever need.

So if all those who are believers, but who have become entangled in the evil nature of this world, want to untangle themselves, let them call out to the Lord, and he will hear their cry. Remember that there is no shame in asking for help. Feel free to call out at most any time, and the Lord will most definitely assist you. “Never will I leave you,” Jesus said, “and never will I forsake you”. Otherwise, if we do nothing about ourselves, making no effort to improve ourselves at all, God will shut those lazy people into outer darkness, “where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. These challenges set before us by God Almighty when he created us are the measuring rod of human character. So it’s incumbent on us all to make sure we measure up. Otherwise, we will be like those who “are again entangled in it and are overcome….” No one in their right mind would want to end up in that place where their own condemnation is just and deserved. Remember, God is watching us all. Not to look for an opportunity to punish, but to look for opportunities to lift us up. Because that’s what He’s there for.