Heresy in My Email Box

Last fall, I bought a live album recorded in the 1980’s off the artist’s [Mylon LeFevre] website. Seems he followed his parent’s footsteps and ended up in the ministry. As it turns out, this guy had died about three weeks before I placed my order. Anyway, I ended up on the ministry’s email list. This was my first direct exposure to the Pentecostal end of Christendom in many years.

The artist’s wife is carrying on the ministry and she is palling around with Kenneth Copeland.

Tomorrow, April 5th would have been Mylon’s and my 26th wedding anniversary. It was the day Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, along with my Pastors, George and Terri Pearsons, set me apart and ordained me into full time ministry.

Copeland is a guy I haven’t crossed path with since my second year of college. I had a roommate that played Copeland’s radio show in the dorm room. I’m sure he’s the radio preacher that I heard claim that if you were in prison and gave your life to Christ that not only would God forgive you of your sin, but you would be forgiven in the eyes of man and be released from prison. Apparently, when Jesus makes you free, he really makes you free.

A few days ago, I received a new email update that just blew my mind. I will quote the relevant part below and then we can talk further. I tried to find a URL with the same content but was unable to locate a copy in cyberspace. As a result, I will quote extensively to show that I am responding in context.

God recently instructed me to make a petition for the future of this ministry. We’ve started a new chapter and turned the page. God is writing my story and He’s writing yours too. As we trust Him, it will be a beautiful story. But in order to move forward, we must focus on what we know, NOT on what we don’t know. The Word is always our safe place. God is not a man that He can lie. His Word will never return void. Job 22:28-29 AMPC says we “DECIDE and DECREE a thing, and it shall be established for (us;) and the light [of God’s FAVOR] shall shine upon (our) ways.” Did you get that? We decide, not God. The verse continues to explain when situations arise that tempt us to be discouraged, we SAY, “There is a lifting UP!” So, I declare we’re going UP in this ministry!

Emphasis in the original.

First the biblical passage Job 22: 28 – 29 (KJV)

Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways. When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

Who was speaking, to whom, and what was the context?

The book of Job is about a man sorely tested by Satan—with God’s permission—and then three friends of Job try to comfort him by being critical of Job and trying to prove to him that he deserved the punishment.

This chapter of dialogue is spoken by Eliphaz. Eliphaz believed that riches and material blessings were proof of a person following God and being upright. This is a popular myth that many still believe is true to this day. This myth was very evident in the time of Jesus and is seen throughout the Gospels. The belief is that the rich are so because they obey God and are blessed; likewise, the poor are poor for disobedience. Scripture makes it clear that this might be the case but not always. The rich might very well be rich by stealing and being greedy or criminals or obtaining their wealth in immoral ways. A quick read of Psalms or Proverbs makes this abundantly clear. For example, Psalm 73: 12 “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” Clearly prosperity does not equal godliness.

In 1710, Matthew Heny stated this on the passage in Job.

The answer of Eliphaz wrongly implied that Job had hitherto not known God, and that prosperity in this life would follow his sincere conversion. The counsel Eliphaz here gives is good, though, as to Job, it was built upon a false supposition that he was a stranger and enemy to God.

Job Chapter 22 Commentary

OK, so the passage in Job is not spoken by Job or God. The book makes it plain that Job was righteous and did nothing to deserve punishment. Thus, the only righteous characters in Job are Job and God. Every other character in the book is wrong in one way or another. Anyone that understands the book knows that all advice given to Job by his friends was in error. Thus, when you see this passage being brought forth as the way to conduct your life, beware. A yellow or red flag should be waving in your mind.

Let’s go through the paragraph one step at a time.

“God recently instructed me…” Like in an audible voice or via friends or His Word? I grant that God talks more than we listen but …

“We’ve started a new chapter and turned the page.” OK, your husband died, and your life continues.

“God is writing my story and … yours”. We trust Him. We are faithful to Him.


Now comes the set-up. There is a sense in which this can be an orthodox Christian thing but not necessarily. She is in essence saying we walk by the light God has given us and we don’t know everything; like maybe the future, but we trust Him.

“The Word is always a safe place.” Really? The Word is a sword. Or if you prefer, “And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.” Matthew 21: 44. The Word shows us our need and God’s remedy. I wouldn’t describe that as “safe.” The use of “safe” here harkens back to Narnia where the question was asked as the whether Aslan was tame.

Then she quotes part of Numbers 23: 19

God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

And then Isaiah 55: 11

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

This verse is often understood as God’s Word going forth to either bring men to salvation or hardening their hearts for judgement.

“The special “word” which the prophet has here in mind is the promise, so frequently given, of deliverance from Babylon and return in peace and joy to Palestine. But he carries his teaching beyond the immediate occasion, for the benefit of the people of God in all ages.

Pulpit Commentary

Finally, we arrive at the central thesis of the entire email; namely, the verses from Job which I previously quoted.

Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

Job … says we “DECIDE and DECREE a thing, and it shall be established for (us;) and the light [of God’s FAVOR] shall shine upon (our) ways.” Did you get that? We decide, not God.

Red flag alert.

“We decide, not God.”

Folks, this email is claiming that we can tell God to do something, and He MUST do it? Wow. This is a bold and arrogant statement.

The Pulpit Commentary notes that this verse has “a touch of audacity.” No kidding.

Gill’s Exposition states, “Strictly speaking, this is only true of God, whose decrees are unfrustrable, whose counsel shall stand, and the thoughts of his heart be established to all generations; and frequently so it is, according to an usual saying, man appoints, but God disappoints …”

Gill’s Exposition

Is this what Matthew 21: 22 means? “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”

Clearly this author would say “yes” with no caveats or restrictions. Name it and claim it. God must do what we decide. Doesn’t that make us God or at least make God, not be God?

Here again there is the implied condition (as in Matthew 7:7) that what is asked is in harmony with the laws and will of God. If it were not so it would not be asked in faith, and every true prayer involves the submission of what it asks to the divine judgment.


Munster’s Hebrew Gospel reads it, “in prayer, and in faith”; and the Arabic version renders it, “in prayer with faith”; both to the same purpose, and aptly express the sense of the words, which design the prayer of faith; or that prayer which is put up in the strength of faith; and is of great avail with God: for whatever is asked in faith, agreeable to the will of God, which is contained in his covenant, word, and promises, and makes for his glory, and the good of his people, shall be given …

Gill’s Exposition

Does God really give us a blank check to give us anything we like? Is He really the giant ATM or Santa Claus in the sky? Must God do what we tell Him?


God makes it clear that His ways are not our ways.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. — Isaiah 55:8

For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. — Isaiah 55: 9

Jesus said if we ask anything of the Father that we shall receive.

And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. — Matthew 21: 22

However, it must be in accordance with His will.

And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. — I John 5: 14 – 15

James, the brother of Jesus, said it this way:

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” — James 4: 3

If you look a little further at the Scriptures, you will see that Eliphaz was wrong. We don’t tell God what to do. He is the Great King. We are to come before him in the name of Jesus and make our request according to his will. Sometimes God will grant our petitions to him, but he is under no obligation to do so. God will do what is best for us and quite often it is the hard way and not the easy one.

“Naming and claiming” or commanding God to do something just because we want it, is the clay spitting in the potter’s face. It’s more than a spiritual tantrum, its open rebellion against God. You can ask God for a million dollars or a new house or a cure for your cancer, but He is under no obligation to give it to you. The Scriptures are clear that we are to depend on Him. If anything, the trails of this life show us just how shallow and superficial such “stuff” is.

In a heartbeat, I’d trade everything I have, just to have my son back. I’d gladly give up my material possessions and my very life to see my son returned, but the truth is I have no control over such things. My wife and I pray daily and weep often that he is lost. His loss is a daily burden on both of us.

God doesn’t promise us a life of easy and prosperity; instead, he asks us to take up our cross and follow him. None of us is promised tomorrow. We certainly don’t have the right to expect anything from God, but he gives us generously as he sees fit.

Lastly, you will find that a form of judgement from God is giving us what we want.

His judgment, at least on this side of eternity, is to give sinners exactly what they want in preparation for the final day of judgment. And this is manifestly just, for sinners not only sin, but they take the extra step of justifying their sin and the sin of others. They approve of sin—calling evil good and good evil—and they encourage others to do so as well [Romans 1] (v. 32).

The Sins of the Gentiles

Prosperity, as the world defines it, is often just a way for God to turn up the heat on folks when judgement day rolls around. Anyone claiming that God must do anything we tell him to do is preaching “another gospel” and not the one delivered once and for all to the saints.