That NEW Adage

A pressure-relief valve about God, and just about everything else.

Yes, God is my Father, but He’s also my Big Brother

Back in May, I bought a new horn, remember? I posted a picture of it…

It came with some problems that I shoved to the back of my mind — not wanting to disappoint my wife, and not wanting to think that all the waiting was in vain.

It was made in Taiwan, which until recently had been known for making substandard quality saxophones. I did over a year of research on this particular brand and came to the conclusion that Taiwan was the new Japan in the sense that where they once had a bad reputation, they now were becoming leaders in the industry with brands such as P. Mauriat competing favorably with the big brands, Selmer, Keilwerth, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa — the BIG 4.

So, I contacted the “owner,” the guy who’s name is stamped on the bell of the horn, and placed an order. The main selling points were that these horns were of pro quality but two or three  thousand dollars less than what a comparable one would cost, and that I would have one-on-one contact and consultation with the main guy. You can’t expect that from Selmer!

The one I ordered was their newest model, a copper horn which was about a thousand dollars more than the ones I had been researching. It was way more than I had prepared to spend, but it was so unique… There was something about having something that no one else has.

I received an e-mail from the owner’s “partner” confirming my order. He told me that the demand for this new model was more than expected, and that I would have to wait at least a month. I ended up waiting almost four.

In May I finally got it! When I opened it, there were some problems… It had been damaged in shipping, and one of the key guards was bent. There was a lot of room for the horn to move inside the case, and it had obviously been bumped around.

I guess there was a look on my face, because as soon as I opened the box, Kathy asked me with anticipation, “So, you LIKE it?!?”

“Yeah,” I said, but there was something in the back of my mind…

The brace that holds the body of the horn to the bow was bent as well, and off track. I assumed this was all due to the shipping.

I got out my tuner to see if the horn played in tune, and it did from the lowest note until I got up to the palm keys (I realize that I am speaking in esoteric terms, but you’ll get the gist), where the Eb and E were waaaay sharp! This was disconcerting, but I attributed it to my not having a new tenor in eighteen years.

And there was a problem with the way the left-hand palm keys fit my hand. One key was too high, and another too low, making it hard for me to move with speed.

I got the horn set up by a technician who called it, “a beautiful lookin‘ little horn” disdainfully. I sneered at him and just wrote his opinion off to not recognizing the name. He fixed most of the damage and lightened up some of the springs, quickening the action a bit. But the ergonomics were basically unalterable.

Long story less long, I contacted the “owner” and his “partner” about the problems (and some others I haven’t mentioned here), and was told basically to keep them appraised. Not the first-hand customer service I expected, but I wasn’t eager to have to box up and ship the horn back and wait months more for it to return.

So I played the horn — which sounds a lot better than my well-run old Selmer — in good spirits ignoring that fading ringing in the back of my mind.

I had been steadily checking the internet for reviews of this horn by other players, when after work one night, I was reading and discovered that the two guys from whom I bought the horn had split!!! The owner was continuing to sell horns out of his home as usual, but under different names. The partner was now in the saxophone business on his own.

Not only that, but I found out that the split was over the very model horn I have!

It turns out that the horn was NOT made in Taiwan, but in CHINA! They are known industry-wide for making junk horns in pink and blue and red and orange that play way out of tune and are basically thrown together.

I did NOT spend all my money for a Chinese saxophone! Shoot, I had JUST grown accustomed to the idea of a Taiwanese one! All those nagging fears had been justified.

I e-mailed the owner in New York, and went to tell my wife what had happened. It was after 4 AM Wednesday.

The next morning, he called me. Now, this guy is not a shill. He has almost thirty years in the business making mouthpieces for well known heavyweights.

What he told me shocked me. He said that I did not buy the horn from HIM! That I bought it from the other guy, and that I should contact him if I wanted my money back, but good luck, “cause he still owes ME money!”

I was groggy from sleep, and did not say the things I would have said had I been fully coherent.

I e-mailed the other guy (I don’t really want to name names based on how this all played out) in Austin Texas(!) and asked what the process was for getting a refund since the horn was basically misrepresented.

HE responded that two months was too long for a refund, but that he would be willing to pay for any repairs. He vouched for the quality of the horn.

Now fully awake, I called New York and got into an only somewhat heated back-and-forth. I told him first how sorry I was that his reputation was being damaged and that this must be awful for him, but that to ME this was world-shaking because it was all the money I had, and that I make my living with my horn.

 He seemed to wash his hands of the matter, telling me repeatedly — as though ANYONE would see it — that I did NOT buy the horn from HIM, that I bought it from the other guy!! I threw every logical point at him: “YOUR name is on the horn! I ordered it from YOUR website with YOUR name on it! YOU advertised that these were YOUR products, and YOU stood behind them. I contacted YOU about buying a horn! He was YOUR partner (He was not my partner! He was just my distributor!) He worked on YOUR behalf…!”

He deflected every argument. “So, I’m basically screwed, hunh? I gave you guys my hard earned money for one thing, I got another, and I’m just screwed?”

“No, no, you’re not screwed. I’m gonna make it right for ya.” in his New York brogue. “All ya gotta do is contact the Attorney General of your state, blahblahblah, blast ‘im on the internet, blahblahblah and when I get proof that you’ve done everything you could, then I’ll see what I can do. Butcha didn’ buy the horn from ME, blahblah…”

I was a ball of stress! I felt awful. But through the whole thing, there was a calmness in me. As angry and stressed as I was, I said to God, “YOU gotta work this out for me, ‘cuz I can’t!” And I didn’t fly off the handle and start cussing folks out like many thought I should.

I had to play it cool withthese guys because they had my money and they were spread out all over the country. I had NO leverage. One wrong word from me, and they could just hang up the phone and act as though I never existed. I couldn’t make unreasonable threats and demands because I — as my father says — had my arm in a lion’s mouth!

I posted the bones of the case on a popular saxophone forum. Nothing slanderous and derogatory. By that night, I got a note from the ex-partner (the owner HAD publically called him that) suggesting that we try to come to a reasonable conclusion… maybe I could swap this horn with one of the ACTUAL Taiwanese models (which cost LESS money).

We talked on the phone, the ex-partner and I, for over twenty minutes the next day. He told me what he had in stock, the properties of the horn, and about all the controversy. He gave me a different perspective, of couse, from the one of the owner. Both of them were angry at each other, and I just happened to be the dude that bought th first horn in this new batch and got entangled on this mess.

He was extremely helpful, attentive, and apologetic. This was the kind of customer service I expected from the owner and NEVER got. It was Thursday.

By MONDAY I had the other horn. IMG_2089

It was GREAT! Undamaged, and in a cool case that allowed for no movement. And it played almost by itself! Big, booming sound, perfect ergonomics, and in tune all the way up. Just a great horn!

This was what I wanted all along.

All that was left was to work out the amount of money for the other horn. There was about a $700 difference in price, and the thought of that last pending battle gave me just the slightest anxiety. “God, work it out.”

Two days ago, I sent an e-mail to Texas, saying compactly, “I LOVE this horn! What is the next move from here?”

This was his reply:

I have been trying to think about what would be appropriate and fair to you regarding the situation you got caught up in.  

 I continue to believe the MAC 20 is also a great horn.  It is different but still a terrific horn.  I know you have had your MAC 20 adjusted and that you have it setup for you etc.

Derrick, I think in view of all you were put through that you should just keep both horns. The MAC 8 is my gift to you.  All I ask is that you be fair with your assessment with both horns on any reviews you may wish to write.  I am not asking that you say anything you don’t believe in your heart and if you really feel the MAC 20 is not a good horn you should simply state your reasons.  I respect whatever your opinion is good or bad.  

Blown away was I!! He went from “No refund,” to “just keep both horns!!!”

I never thought it would work out this well. At best , I thought I would have to make an even swap. At worst, I thought I would just have to come to love a horn I only liked. My wife would have felt forever that we got beat.

I can’t express the emotion that I felt as I read that e-mail. Not that I get to keep these two pretty things, these material items — but that through seemingly insurmountable circumstances, God pushed me out of my way and fought the unseen bully into submission.

He made me keep my cool, showed me the moves to make — the perfect balance of firmness and compassion — and he worked it all out.

Some may say that the guy in Texas only made a smart business move. I agree it was smart to treat a customer right.

Some may say that he only let me keep the horn because he wouldn’t be able to get rid of it. But I say that were that the case, why send me another one? The horn is in better shape now than when it was new, and he could have sold it as new, or taken a few dollars off it and gotten a LOT more than the difference in price between it and the one he sent me. But he let me have both.

GOD did this. And there is no remaining doubt in my mind that He really does fight for me. He really is concerned about the ins and outs of my daily life. He really does intercede.

I never had a brother. I had to fight my battles and learn all the hard knocks myself. But in God, I HAVE that Brother. In fact, He has ALWAYS been there… Like the time when that gang of boys surrounded me at the bus stop and had a three inch long pin a millimeter from my eyeball. I had to smooth talk my way out of that close call, and the LORD was in my ear telling me what to say.

He has always told me when to fight, and when to get out of the way and fight the bullies who were too big to engage.

Closer than a brother.

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August 7, 2009 Posted by | Christ, Christian Life, Christianity, God, Jesus, Music, Music Business, Near Misses, Saxophone, The Nature of God, Work, Writing | 2 Comments

On the Mind of God…

You can’t put the ocean in a bathtub, but you can get enough water to get clean!

You may not know how the mechanism of the Trinity works, but as you may not know how a car works, you can still drive it with skill.

You may not know all the intimate details of how Jesus can be both fully God AND fully man, but you can know that that is precisely what Scripture teaches.

You may not understand how God can effect His will perfectly, but you can know that the Bible teaches that He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and completely sovereign.

You may not know how to explain salvation, but you can know that, if you have let Him,  Jesus paid your bail, and cleared your record. You can know that Jesus didn’t have to arm wrestle His subject, Satan, for any keys!

You can know that when you hear someone saying that you have to spend money to have God meet your needs, they are flat-out lying, based on even a first grade reading of the Bible!

You can know that Christianity is different from every single other belief system. Because God won’t let you take any of the credit for saving yourself.

February 22, 2008 Posted by | Adage, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, Faith, False Teachers, Juanita Bynum, Paul Crouch, Paula White, Prosperity Gospel, TBN, The Nature of God, Trinity | 2 Comments

“The Defense Rests. The Defense is Sleepy.”

The following is a conversation I had with a person on this blog in the form of a comment he, or she left in response to a post (“Charlatan’s Web”) I wrote about Word of Faith charlatans and their obsession with materialism. I felt the need to publish it in this form because I wrote so MUCH! No, really, I felt that it summed up the feelings of those in the WoF congregation, and identified why a defense of orthodoxy is necessary. I mean not to offend by posting this since his comment was made public. The first portion of what follows is his comment, unedited. The second section is mine. I hope this reaches some.

He said:

  i think you guys are missing everything! what’s wrong with being a christian and have the blessing of the Lord over your family and wealth? can we not be rich and righteous. there’s nothing wrong with money, it’s the love of money that is wrong. we can have victory over any circumstances in our lives because Jesus went to the cross, died, and rose from the dead to take the authority from the devil and gave it back to us humans. that authority to speak and have power was once lost when Adam gave it away in the garden of Eden. if you truly listen to the message from ministers from WoF is that we’re giving all the glory, honor, and everything we own to God. it’s through obedience, faith, and spirit led that we’re blessed. “if you seek the kingdom of God first, then he will add everything onto you.” to see a harvest you must plant a seed and feed that seed with your faith. that seed is going to help bless someone and i don’t care who it is as long as God see that i am obeying him someone will come my way to help me. i say that it is true we give our 10% that belongs to God and offerings on top. it’s through giving that i have become a better person…now, i’m not rich! but i’m rich in the holy spirit and i’m in line for my blessing. when someone gets blessed with what they hoped for…i don’t get mad or jealous…i’m like…wow, God is great. if you look in the old testament kind david and other kings were rich…and he did a lot of things that would not get away today. he was a murderer and committed adultery. CNN & FOX, would have a field day about a man of God who did that. but look God forgave him and he repented and his wealth passed on. people think that Jesus was poor…it never said that in the bible…why would God send his only son to be broke…Jesus talks a lot about prosperity through God. i don’t think anyone of us has ever took money advice from a bum.

  • Comment by hmmm..  October 11, 2007
  • I  replied: 

      No, the fact is that I think that you are missing a couple of things… First, the point is not that I think God wants everyone poor, which is the straw-man argument the WoF uses, but that He wants us CONTENT in whatever state we find ourselves, as the Bible teaches. And the VICTORY that we can have in our “circumstances” is to be resigned to God’s will, whatever that is.

    Jesus did not go to the cross for that or any authority, but to RECONCILE us to the Father, to HEAL the rift between us, NOT to heal cancer or such, which is the proper, broad context of Isaiah 53:4, 5. The PHYSICAL portion of that passage was completely fulfilled in Matthew 8:16-17. Please read it. And please read the context– before and after– any such passage you hear quoted. No matter WHO teaches it. This is your Christian duty.

    That stuff about Adam having lost the “authority to speak and have power…” Please show me where the actual BIBLE teaches that. And other of the teachings of WoF teachers that take authority- and divinity– from God, and give it to man.

    I humbly suggest that WoF ministers do NOT give glory to God (precisely by claiming that men are in any way god material), but they usurp the glory of God and give glory to “Faith,” man and mammon! They brag about STUFF, and whip folk into frenzies about all the STUFF God is trying to get to them. They tell sick people that their lack of faith, not God’s sovereignty, is alone the reason for their sickness. This is dangerous.

    In the Sermon on the Mount, which is where you got your quote about “seeking first the kingdon of God…”, PLEASE note that the context of the entire sermon is not about being rich. And the near, specific context of your statement, Matthew 6:33, clearly shows that The LORD is not speaking of being rich and diabetes-free, but of being CONTENT, and worry-free. Please notice that.

    I cannot stress this next point more strongly: Please notice that in the SAME chapter, Jesus tells us “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth… store up for yourselves treasures in heaven,” for your heart will be where your treasure is!!! That is to say, if you focus so strongly on earthly wealth and materialism, that is what you will worship.

    The Bible never says that Jesus was poor? Allow me to differ! Everything about his life says He was poor. There is no shame in being poor. He “Made Himself nothing,” His parents were of meager means, He was born in a stinking sheep stable, “birds of the air had nests, but the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head.” Five-member churches have treasurers, so spare me the Avanzini, T.D. Jakes quotes. I could go on. He even told a RICH guy to go and sell everything he had in order to follow Jesus. But the guy loved his stuff too much.

    And SEEDS in the Bible are more likely DEEDS than MONEY! That is a ploy to get ours.

    We who decry the false teacher are not doing so because we are “jealous” of their money. I certainly am not! As a matter of fact, it is ALWAYS the WoF adherents whom I constantly hear gleefully yelling about “the wealth of the wicked being lain up for the just!” and delighting in being “the head, and not the tail.” (Didn’t Jesus chastise His disciples for arguing over status?)

    Yes, David was rich. As was Abraham, Solomon, Job, Joseph and many others. But the often-missed point is that many saints were dirt poor. And they were no more less blessed than the rich ones. God is able to work through ALL, rich, AND poor. This shows that financial status is no determinant in being blessed by God. And I never heard Creflo or any of the others quote the passage about asking God to make us content in whatever state we find ourselves. We don’t have to lie on Jesus’ tax bracket in order to rationalize our desire, not for God, but for what is in His HAND!

    God says His strength is made known through our weakness. And if we get our status from what we have, rather than in the service of God, we essentially say we don’t need His help, and the reward we get here is all that we will get!

    Finally, find out what true prosperity is. God sent “His only Son to be broke,” as you say, perhaps because in that way, the lowest of the low can beseech Him and identify with Him. I bet you can’t “touch the hem of Creflo Dollar’s garment” without getting a beatdown! Also, God came in meager humanity and can identify with OUR hunger, pain, and weakness.

    Come on up in your thinking. Life is not all, not even MOSTLY, about money! Money should be our servant, not the Master whose presence we so fervently desire! That is all I am trying to say here.

    I am not trying to belittle you or disrespect you. It is just that I can’t stand seeing people robbed in broad daylight. God bless you, Derrick.

    This is what they want: They want your MONEY. Period. They don’t want you informed. They don’t want you scholarly or Berean. They want you GREEDY! They want you like chirping baby chicks– open-mouthed and empty-minded. They don’t love God OR you. Only your pennies and quarters. Read your bibles. During the week. Learn about CONTEXT! This will eliminate a lot of the Scripture-pretzelizing that goes on in a lot of churches.

    I don’t say this because I want your money. Maybe this endeavor will send up timber, as the old folks say, although I want a BRICK mansion, not a wooden one! I only write about crooked preachers because they are biblically-armed robbers, and it is Christian work to make a citizen’s arrest, as that theologian, Barney Fife, would say.

    I thought I would have a lot of people reading about some of the other stuff I’ve posted. I’ve written about race, parenting my boy, Max, atheism, music, and lots of other things, but nope! False teachers seem to be the squeaky hinges that need all the grease!

    October 12, 2007 Posted by | Charlatans, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, Frederick Price, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Pulpit Pimps, T.D. Jakes, TBN, Televangelists, The Nature of God, Word of Faith | 7 Comments

    The Boy Who Cried “Wolf!” Was Right. Once.

    I, being a musician, am up till the wee small hours of the night. in what is perhaps not the best expense of my time, I usually end up watching televangelists on networks such as, BET, TBN, the Word network, and the God Channel (how presumptuous!). Some may call me a “heresy hunter,” or some other such derisive term designed to steer one’s focus away from “the  man behind the curtain.” (see: “The Wizard of Oz”) In my mind, I am fulfilling a Biblical mandate to defend and protect the faith which was handed down to us. I don’t “hunt” heresy. I am simply a Christian who is learning about the Lord, and who sees a need to defend His character as I would my earthly father if he were being constantly lied on and misrepresented. I NOTICE heresy. I don’t get caught up in the charisma or the personality of a “Mand of Gawd.”* God is not Santa, and these hucksters are not His little helpers. They’re more like little “self-helpers!”

    “Pastor” Kerney Thomas, is a popular (I guess) late-night info-preacher, that is known for his empassioned, almost tearful pleas on behalf of those poor souls who need his healing power, his healing hankies, his anointed oil, and YOUR money. So that you may know him when you see him, he looks like Clifton Davis**, and he frequently breaks into these sudden, startling shouts when the power of GOD! is released on someone, whether in person or through the teevee screen. He apparently is so anointed that his healings are effective on tape at three-fifteen in the morning when all the ladies with the green dresses on, and nebulous migraine headaches are asleep! Wow!

    One problem: If he is so good at healing folk — through the power of GOD!– why is he going bald?

    Can’t GOD!, grow hair?

    Why does he heal the chicken parts, the backs, and legs, and necks of people who are still overweight and still wear glasses?! Wouldn’t a true God be able to restore sight and take off a few pounds? It is interesting that Bruh*** Thomas only heals that which cannot be seen. Through the power of-GOD!

    If God– the REAL God– can make a man out of some DIRT (which He did), can’t He replace a leg? If He can raise someone who has been dead for days, can’t he put an eye into an empty socket? On teevee? Yeah, Benny Hinn, or some other one, always tells stories about people being raised from the dead watching his program, or what happened in some revival in east Africa somewhere, or in Iowa forty years ago, but we never see it on teevee. All we see are people getting up from wheelchairs (that were probably given to them on the way in! Robert Tilton!).

    Rather than join in the chorus of “Fake!, Fake!,” many of those claiming Christ would rather squelch the cries by calling us heresy hunters. Rather than examining these public teachings, which should rightfully be scrutinized, they launch websites casting  judgments on people who are simply pointing out the wolf. But all the while, they say that it is wrong to judge… Why don’t they see the contradiction in their diction? It is as if they are saying, “It’s wrong to hate, so I hate those who hate me.”

    These people are the Discovery Channel hyenas that feed on the old and weak wildebeest and zebras in the teeming, needful herd, and just like hyenas, they laugh sarcastically at us all for not being learned and able enough to protect them. So, if I had only two choices, I’d rather be a “Heresy Hunter” than an accomplice to the pillage of the poor!

    *Man of God, Preacher

    **Used to be an actor, now a TBN host.

    ***Brother

    September 3, 2007 Posted by | Benny Hinn, BET, Charlatans, Christianity, Common Sense, Faith, Faith Healer, False Doctrine, False Prophets, False Teachers, Humor, Kenneth Hagin, Kerney Thomas, Logic, Pulpit Pimps, Religion, Robert Tilton, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, The Nature of God, Truth, Word Network, Word of Faith | 3 Comments

    The Passion of The Christ II: THIS time, It’s PERSONAL!!

    I’ve got this great idea for a movie: This hero comes to save mankind and is wrongfully put to death. He goes to hell and engages in this epic three day battle with Satan, the ruler of hell. It is a war of unrivalled proportions, the hero wrestling the devil for his keys to death and hell emerges victorious with the keys clutched in his upraised hand!

    One problem, though: that script has already been written by Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, and their brand. While the Bible says that it wouldn’t take God three days to whup NObody, and that Jesus paid the whole debt ON the cross, the Word of Faith faithful feel the need to punch up God’s script with an extra action scene. ( The archangel Michael already beat the devil once!)

    And another thing; Satan doesn’t rule hell! Hell is where he and his folk will be cast at the end of all things. If he were “in” hell, how was he “slithering” through the garden whispering in Eve’s ear? How was he in the presence of God debating Job’s trust or lack of trust? Why should we beware a roaring lion who lives in hell? How could he seek and devour us from there? He is not omnipresent! Revelation says that Satan was hurled to the EARTH with his angels. Even a little common sense and logic would shut these guys up.

    And down.

    These people kill me! Putting spinning, chrome rims on a Gullwing Mercedes! Gold-plating the Hope Diamond to make it shine! Putting rhinestones on an Armani suit! Putting wallpaper on the Sixteen Chapels! (I know!) Trying to shellac the Mona Lisa! (Personally, though, I don’t get her. She looks like Benny Franklin.)  The Atonement is a flawless fact as it is.

    The Bible is a wonderfully woven tapestry.

    Why try to make it better than God already did?

    “It is finished.”

    “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.”

    “This day you will be with Me in Paradise.”

    Jesus’ work was done on the cross. Price says that ANY man could have died on the cross if that was all it took, that He had to go to hell to finish the work. Yeah, any PERFECT man! You know one? Another one?

    Let’s study our bibles, folks, so we can shut these racketeers- I mean- raconteurs down.

    August 27, 2007 Posted by | Atonement, Charlatans, Christianity, Common Sense, Creflo Dollar, False Prophets, False Teachers, Frederick Price, God, Hell, Hermeneutics, Humor, Jesus, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, Logic, Pulpit Pimps, Redemption, Religion, Salvation, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, The Nature of God, Word of Faith | 2 Comments

    Scrutiny Is Mutiny!

    The following is a letter I wrote to the famous Word of Faith preacher, Creflo Dollar a few years ago. He is a prosperity preacher in the line of Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Joel Osteen, Clarence McClendon, Frederick K.C. Price, Rod Parsley, and many others. It was in response to a horrendously unbiblical doctrine he and his ilk espouse which suggests that mankind can and should aspire to Godhood. It also makes God submissive, in a way, to men in the “earth realm.”

     This appears to be a foundational tenet of the WOF movement, which is marked by a desire, not for God, but for the STUFF God has. Prosperity. Health. They also characterize “faith” as a substance one uses, through words, to accomplish one’s personal will. It is my opinion that they are charlatans, who have become rich at the expense of their uninformed followers. They populate the “Christian” airwaves to the point where they have become what many, if not most, mistakenly believe to be true Christianity. TBN, with their periodic “Praise-a-thons,” often feature the aforementioned “celeverends” along with other false prophets such as, Benny Hinn, Juanita Bynum, and Paul Crouch. We are often the butt of ridicule because of them. Rolling old women for their last dime! I am sick of it. We have to defend God in the face of this wanton materialism.I spent so much time complaining about this particular program, that one friend suggested that I do something about it, so I, having recorded the program (I still have it), wrote him, going line by line. The letter is, therefore, quite long and if you do read it, you have my gratitude. The crowning insult is that after having done all this work, sending this uncomplementary letter (14 handwritten pages!) via hardcopy AND email, What I received in return was a FORM LETTER THANKING ME FOR MY FINANCIAL CONTRIBUTION AND ASKING FOR MY INFORMATION SO THAT I COULD MORE EASILY SEND MORE!!This guy cannot fear the God he claims to know! Thank you in advance for your time. Feel free to be outraged.

    Dr. Creflo Dollar Worldchangers.orgI was recently watching your program (Developing Faith in the Anointing, the week of February 19-23) and I saw a number of things that disturbed me greatly. I was frustrated and dismayed at what I heard, and at the behest of a friend, was left with no option but to write you.

    I am a Christian who takes seriously the exhortation of Jude to “contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints.” Jesus left us with a Gospel that was pure and in no need of our embellishment, and daily I see the outline of that Gospel fading and changing into something base and tainted.

    It seems that the average “Christian” today has only a cursory knowledge of the belief system he lays claim to. Just enough to send him down that, wide path that leads to misery and teeth ground to powder! They glance sidelong at the light God put in us all, but instead of walking toward it, they head in the opposite direction toward the gospel of Earthly Pleasures.

    Everywhere I turn, I seem to bump into someone who thinks that what Christianity is about is doing enough good deeds to go to heaven. And more and more, I run into amateur poets naming and claiming, believing and receiving, blabbing and grabbing, confessing and possessing ad nauseam! They treat the sovereign God of the universe as some sort of pinata to be smashed open and pillaged at their own will. They ignore the fact that God has never agreed to grant us ANYthing outside of His will. The Bible teaches us repeatedly that we are to ask of God those things that fall within HIS will, not ours. If I want a wife, and God says “no,” I cannot simply reach up and symbolically snatch it out of His hand! If I want a new job or a new car or a house, no amount of faith will give it to me unless God says so.

    We are to wrap ourselves around the desires of the Lord, but instead you and an increasing number of others are teaching, in a transparent attempt to appeal to our basic human desire for material possessions and physical well-being, that God is a piece of string to be tied around our fingers. We with the wisdom of gum wrappers!! And when our prayers are not answered to our liking, you make us feel that our faith is lacking rather than noting that perhaps an all-knowing God knows what is best for us. Or that perhaps the “preacher” is not who he claims to be.

    These and other of your teachings are disillusioning countless millions, and turning them from the true Gospel that has for us far, far more than our ephemeral satisfaction! “Store up for yourselves treasures in HEAVEN. . . .” “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. . . .” But bibles are left unread and multitudes leave their churches (if they even go at all) and God until next Sunday. They don’t study His word, and therefore, place themselves at the feet of whatever wolf wears the best sheep suit.

    Our culture is hopelessly materialistic. We run ourselves ragged in pursuit of the sybaritic lifestyle Epicurus spoke of. We want as much money as we can get and all it can buy. We want offices on the top floor, personalized parking spots and license plates, mansions with views, fame, glory, and bodies free from pain.

    And, seemingly, in response to this societal hue and cry, certain men of the cloth have created a god that answers all these demands. This god is not unlike the genie in the Arabian tale, only this one will grant an unlimited number of wishes. If you want a promotion, click your heels together! If you want your debt wiped out supernaturally–fold your arms and blink! If you want your cancer healed–wiggle your nose! If you want a loved one raised from the dead–say abracadabra! Presto! If you suffer in your life in any way, it is only because you don’t have enough Faith in the genie to invoke his power. He is at your beck and call, there to be bent and twisted to your will! Isn’t that wonderful?!

    Where was he when Paul was suffering imprisonment, torture, and infirmity? Where was he when all those disciples–those who ate, slept, and walked with Jesus–were killed for believing in Him? Where was the genie when Christians in the early church days lived in the catacombs beneath Rome to escape persecution? Where was he when martyrs throughout the ages willingly gave their lives in the fellowship of Christ’s suffering? If only they had known, it could have all been avoided; the lions, the suffering, the misery, the beheading, the burning at the stake.

    Instead, they held fast to a God that taught that to follow Him would bring suffering. This God says that in our weakness His strength takes center stage. This God says that, for many of us, a life of ease can bring forgetfulness and self-reliance. This God says that rather than laboring and hoping for corruptible material possessions, the true prize is unseen and unfathomed. This God says that in following Him, you forfeit your life for that which is greater. This God is not a respecter of men and cannot be bent to the will of any man. His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not ours. Our genius is less than His foolishness. His love is for our souls, not our pocketbooks and our soft bellies.

    My point is that so many Christians today are easily led and misled by what they see and what they want. They don’t know the whole truth, and so much of what is out there is–at a glance–just an unreasonable facsimile. We have so much blind faith in the man in the pulpit that–unlike the Bereans–we are subject to whatever he says without scrutiny (scrutiny is mutiny!). If the pastor says “ask and receive,” we believe it without exploring the CONTEXT that proper interpretation demands. If the pastor says “move mountains,” we don’t wonder why none of us has ever moved one. We just go along to get along–at the expense of proper exegesis and countless souls.

    As I mentioned at the outset, your program bothered me to the point of response. While I possess no doctorates or ordinations, I consider myself a member of the priesthood of all believers. How could I watch problematic teaching go forth and not be moved to some kind of action? While you may or may not agree with the content of this letter (if I pray–in Faith–that your doctrine changes, will it?), the Bible speaks loudly enough. It is my desire that you take a look at your teachings and their potential harm to your followers.

    At the beginning of your program, you stated that God has set in motion laws that He Himself can’t contravene. While this is partially true in the sense that two plus two will always be four, and that God, being Holy, cannot sin, your purpose for making this statement is an attempt to make the sovereign God of the universe subject to something or someone other than Himself. This is evidenced by your repeated and persistent use of such terms as “illegally,” and “no legal authority.” How appalling to suggest that the God who owns the earth and the fullness thereof, (Psalm 24:1) the God who does whatsoever He pleases (Psalm 115:3, 135:6), the God who dresses Job down unequivocally can be constrained by anything!

    You say that God cannot do anything in this “earth realm” without a physical body, but you provide no biblical basis for the assertion. Remember that even if you were able to twist some verse from the Bible to support this far-fetched claim, context demands that it be reconciled with the overwhelming number of verses that proclaim God’s ultimate “authority!”  The God of all that is will not contradict Himself.

    You say that Adam was created with blood type “G,” insinuating that he was some kind of  direct representation of God. As though when you looked at Adam, you saw God. You appear to take the fact that God gave Adam “dominion” to mean he (Adam) was in ultimate control. However, Adam was in dominion in the same sense that we “own” our bodies, and that we “own” our material possessions, and that the house I rent is mine. Once again, the context of the Bible as a whole makes this unmistakably clear. Rather than Jesus being the last Adam, you seem to view Adam as the first Jesus. Any baby Christian knows that Adam sinned, God cannot sin and therefore Adam can in no way be God. Besides, God Himself said that there is, was, and will be, only one God–big “G” or little “g.”

    A little later on, you go to Matthew 5:1, where Jesus drives the demons from the man at Gerasa. The Bible says that the man, seeing Jesus and immediately knowing Him, ran up to Him and fell to his knees in the posture of genuflection, and begs the Lord not to torture him. By all indications, he appears to react to Jesus the way a subdued bully would his conqueror. Verse ten says that he “begged Jesus again and again.” He is in the presence of the Almighty God and knows it.

    You, however, place the demons in the position of telling Jesus where He can and cannot be (to the amens of your flock), and what He can and cannot do, “You can’t touch me!” (Wagging his finger in Jesus’ face!) You say that where the demon was right was in the fact that God has no legal authority to be “on this planet if You don’t have a physical body.” You assert that God can’t operate in this “earth realm” since Adam supposedly gave God’s power to do so over to Satan when he sinned in the garden. Were this true, how does God destroy the earth by flood, or destroy Sodom and Gomorrah by fire, or cause the walls of Jericho to fall, or protect the Israelites with a pillar of fire, or part the Red Sea, or rain manna from the sky, or cause Balaam’s donkey to speak, or interact with Old Testament figures on dozens and dozens of occasions? This is an absurd assertion. Your scenario plays out like a novel, and a bad one, full of contradictions and loose ends!

    I am led to believe, and I may be wrong, that the fact that you (and those of the same ilk) express the need for God to have a “physical body” in order to operate “on this planet” is some desire to elevate humanity to the level of some kind of deity. You would not be the first. Creation has been aspiring to the throne of God from the beginning. Satan told Eve that to eat of the forbidden fruit would make her like God. Satan himself was tossed out of heaven for that desire. The builders of the tower of Babel attempted to reach heaven. So you may be in well-known company.

    You go to 1John 4:1-6, which illustrates that those who deny that Jesus Christ (God in human form) came in the flesh are false prophets. You use this passage to promulgate your theory that God needs a physical body to cast out demons. In your dramatization, you have demons with their hands on their hips sassing God, saying, “What in the world are you doing here, God? . . . I don’t have a physical body, and You don’t have a physical body. . . . You can’t fool me with that body on.”

    Now, according to you, the demons are addressing Jesus (they called him “God”), but they say He doesn’t have a body. Then, in the same statement, you say He has a “body on.” This seems like jibber-jabber, but I’m just a layman. You seem to have my Lord and Master relegated to playing a cosmic game of  “Simon Sez.”

    Next, you send Jesus to hell “illegally” to orchestrate a prison break. Jesus is like Richard Burton in “Where Eagles Dare,” dressed up as a German officer, or a damned soul sneaking around the dungeon unlocking cells and finally throwing off His disguise in triumph, to Satan’s horror. Trumpets blow a fanfare as Satan realizes he’s lost! Even though your god triumphs in his undercover cop role, your version of events is not biblical, and that is the point. The nature of God is the crux of this issue.

    You say Jesus was in hell for three days and nights, but nowhere does the Bible advance this assertion. You use as confirmation Acts 2, saying “He suffered the pains of death.” Acts 2:24 actually says that “God raised Him from the dead, freeing Him from the agony of death. . . .” Obviously, this passage speaks of Jesus’ torture and suffering on the cross, and the manner in which He died, so your declaration that Jesus went to hell for our redemption needs, and will not find, further proof.

    Jesus said “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit.” When He breathed His last, He said “It is finished.” Was He just talking about His life? Or the work He came here to do? The context confirms the latter. He told the thief on the cross that “today” he would be with Jesus in paradise. When the Bible spoke of Jesus being in the heart of the earth for three days and nights, clearly it was speaking of the grave, not hell.

    It seems to my uneducated ear, that when you say that Jesus was the “first born of many brethren,” you are implying that “since there is a first one . . . there’s got to be a second one . . . like Him and a third one . . . like Him ( and a) fourth one . . . like Him,” that you, a mere mortal man in no way deific, are “somewhere in the number” of beings like God. This worries me, and seeing the cheering thousands in your congregation, and the frequency with which you appear on the air, I would hate to think that this throng of humanity could be led to believe they could possess the attributes of divinity, as well as believe these other misconceptions of God’s nature.

    “Did Jesus come to this earth functioning as God?” you ask. The Biblical answer is “yes,” but in perhaps the cleverest twist of the program, you say “no.” Here you walk your listeners through a mine field, deftly avoiding true facts that could blow your whole tale to oblivion. You say that He had to come as a man in order to be an example to a man. First of all, Jesus came to earth to be the perfect sacrifice, the sinless Lamb, not to show us how to walk on water, and raise the dead and to be perfect. Those things, along with His other miracles and proclamations served to prove He is God.

    Of course, His humanity was an example to us–service, humility, love, self-control–but He came as God and said so! Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), and the Jews tried to stone Him, saying He claimed “to be God.” These people, well affiliated with Scripture knew what Jesus was saying. He said in John 8:58, that “before Abraham was born I am.” “I Am” is the name of God told to Moses in Exodus. Philippians 2:5-11 has Paul asserting Jesus’ deity. His deity is precisely the reason He was able to be sinless, despite what you say, otherwise we wouldn’t have needed Him, and somewhere else in history there would be evidence of perfect, sinless people.

    It seems once again, in my crude thinking that this is a further attempt to snatch for yourself the attributes of God: the ability to do what He did, and to “develop your Faith to do any of the things you read about.” To those like me who would claim mere humanity, you say, waving your hands in praise, “I’m trying to tell you you ain’t just a man.” Dangerous.

    Next, you move to James 1:13 in your first step in busting Jesus from His Supreme position to that of mere human. James 1:13: “God cannot be tempted by evil.” Question: Did Jesus come as God? (See where this is going?) You then go to Psalm 8:5 where David, in praise of God’s glory, says “You made Him a little lower than the angels.” While you say that the word “angels” in this verse is translated “Elohim,” there are a few definitions for this word, and the CONTEXT once again determines the meaning. (The cynic in me sees that in order to complete your scenario of Jesus being less than God, for however short a time, you must twist passages to make your case.) Man is created a little lower than angels, and Psalm 8 is speaking of man, based on verses 6 through 8. While “Elohim” does mean “God in Hebrew, it also can describe representatives of God, such as judges, and angels in this case.

    The New Testament passages, Hebrews 2:7 and 2:9 use the Greek word, “Angelos” (It is very slick how you went to the Old Testament to get the word “Elohim!” Wasn’t the New Testament written in Greek?), meaning “angels.” (Notice the plurality of the word, while there is only one God) While the Psalms passage is speaking of man, the Hebrews passage is showing Jesus in His humanity. Since the Hebrews passage uses the word “angels,” the Bible, not contradicting itself, is clearly quoting the Psalms passage in a parallel comparison. Therefore, Jesus in Hebrews was made a little lower than the “Angelos” as was man in Psalms. He kept His deity (Philippians 2:5-11).

    And what is that mish-mosh about birth certificate? You inquire of the devil, “Do you have a birth certificate?” And when he cannot produce one, you order him out of your house. Concerning the current practice of addressing the devil, many of today’s Christians could benefit greatly from reading Jude v. 8, and 2 Peter 2.

    By the time you get to Hebrews 2:9 you have taken what thousands of years of biblical scholarship interpreted, and changed it in a matter of minutes! How proud you must be to have corrected such a glaring oversight. Now, men are “more than just men,” and Jesus is less than God!

    How many of your followers go home and check for themselves–as we are instructed to do–to see if your new revelations are true?

    Now, with the table set, since Jesus is apparently not God anymore (for a little while), you can have Him subject to the pressure of temptation. You have Satan presenting Jesus with all the kingdoms of the world. You say that it had all been turned over to him, which is false. Remember, the earth and everything in it belongs to God, according to Scripture. You say, “that’s exactly what Jesus came for,” and Satan says, ‘You bow down and worship me, I’ll give you everything back!’ “Don’t you think that was pressure on His flesh?!” you ask. First of all, Satan can’t give God what already belongs to Him! Secondly, Jesus didn’t come into the world and endure unimaginable suffering for stuff! Finally, was it pressure on His flesh? No! If it were, we’d still be in our sins waiting for someone better to come and save us.

    You further attempt to demonstrate your point by illustrating an example where Jesus, when challenged by Satan that He turn stones into bread, reaches out to do it with His right hand and clamps His left hand over it to stop Himself. You are clearly saying that Jesus almost commits this act. You portray Jesus as almost taking Satan at his offer, which clearly contradicts Jesus’ own teaching that we sin even when we think of committing a sinful act. So, if Jesus mulls over the possibility of giving in to Satan’s temptation–for even a nanosecond–we are doomed. God cannot sin. (Were the “angels” who attended Jesus after his temptation in Matthew 4:11 “Elohim,” too? If so, do you have gods attending God?)

    Many people mistakenly think that this “temptation” means that Jesus rubbed His chin, cocked His mouth to one side, rolled His eyes upward, and at the last second said “. . . Naw, no thanks.” This would violate the law of contradiction that a perfect God cannot break. What “temptation” means in this instance, is that Satan held a fresh, hot loaf of bread under Jesus’ nose, and the Saviour didn’t sniff. Jesus was made an offer–one that He didn’t consider accepting. If a moth threatens a Greyhound bus on the highway, does the bus even for an instant feel threatened? Context goes a long way toward eliminating apparent contradictions in the Bible.

    If you haven’t torn this letter to pieces by now, God bless you (even if you have). A lot more could be said, but this is a letter, not a book. All that I am attempting to do in this undertaking is shed some light on some problematic issues. The body of Christ is plagued enough from without with heresies of many varieties. If we claim to be of Christ, our doctrine and teaching need to be evidence of that.

    The vast majority of Christians seem to be as vulnerable to flawed theology as non-believers, and those called to teach should be careful when tampering with the unplowed field of naive, searching minds. Teachers are held to a stricter standard and are responsible for leading or misleading God’s children. I would hate to think that you are fully aware of this fact and purposely say such disturbing things.

    The true Scriptures are infinitely more interesting, suspenseful, and dramatic than any story invented by our weak human brains. Those thousands and millions drawn to your church and your telecasts will be just as enthralled by the truth, and their souls will be eternally more advantaged.

    “With gentleness and respect”

    Derrick L. Williams

    He still preaches this stuff to this very day. Just check YouTube.

    August 21, 2007 Posted by | Atonement, Benny Hinn, Bishop Clarence McClendon, Christianity, Creflo Dollar, Faith, False Doctrine, False Profits, False Prophets, False Teachers, Frederick Price, God, Hell, Jesus, Joel Osteen, Juanita Bynum, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Paul Crouch, Praise-a-thon, Prosperity Gospel, Pulpit Pimps, Religion, Rod Parsley, TBN, Televangelists, The Bible, The Nature of God, Word of Faith | 26 Comments

    A GODly ANTIHISTAMINE

    My cousin has died. He was the big brother l always wanted, but never had.
    It hurts awfully, but not as much as it did yesterday.
    Tomorrow will be just a little easier.
    What helps is the knowledge that he, being a believer, is gone from his body, but there with God.
    The cold water to the face is the fact that each one of us will have to step up to the front of this life line and give our mortality back to our Maker.

    Death is an ink stain on the fabric of life.
    No matter how many times we scrub it, no matter how clean it looks,
    the stain, the hurt, the fact, will never be completely gone.
    And it is our own doing.

    God, who cannot bear the company of sin, is like one of those bubble-kids without an immune system who cannot bear the presence of the merest germ. The environment must be completely pure.

    The fact that one person at the dawn of time committed one seemingly insignificant internal transgression- no murder, no theft, no lie, no assault…- caused God such discomfort, if you will, that the ENTIRE creation suffered. Tornadoes, plane crashes, rapes, cancers, heart failures, carnivorous animal attacks. Arthritis, senators, torn cartilage, cross-burnings, job stress, cavities, chicken pox, murder. Hypothermia, abortion, divorce, perversion, K-cars, BEETS.
    All because of one sin.

    HE sneezed and the whole universe got the cold.

    The thing is, though, that God Himself solved the problem. (This is the beauty of the Christian way that separates it from any other belief system. How can proclamation of this worldview be deemed arrogant? When no merely human hand can take credit?)
    We have proven incapable of fixing it ourselves anyway. He clothed Himself in the very kind of flesh which was at the genesis of the issue.
    He was, in Jesus, the antihistamine that mankind needed to stem the allergic reaction.

    Look at it like this: Jesus took upon Himself the punishment for our crimes. He did the time, so to speak, for our contamination of God’s pure, sinless environment.
    (And if you think you don’t deserve to be punished for what some guy may or may not have done thousands of years ago, you have committed enough transgressions of your own to suffice. Check your records!)

    In doing so, He allowed us to be viewed by the Father through righteous-tinted lenses. We, still being wretched and depraved, are allowed access to fellowship on ACCOUNT of Jesus’ sinless life and work on the cross.

    In the same sense, when l sneeze uncontrollably in early spring, l take some form of histamine blocker to assuage it. While l am still covered in pollen, l live as though free. This is Jesus! My allergies still exist, but l am assured of being able to go out into the world knowing that the Medicine is unfailingly, unceasingly effective.

    July 5, 2007 Posted by | Death, God, Jesus, Salvation, Sin, The Fall, The Nature of God | Leave a comment