Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth.
-the apostle Paul
Nearly two decades ago Hank Hanegraaff’s award-winning Christianity in Crisis alerted the world to the dangers of a cultic movement within Christianity that threatened to undermine the very foundation of biblical faith. But in the 21st century, there are new dangers-new teachers who threaten to do more damage than the last.
These are not obscure teachers that Hanegraaff unmasks. We know their names. We have seen their faces, sat in their churches, and heard them shamelessly preach and promote the false pretexts of a give-to-get gospel. They are virtual rock stars who command the attention of presidential candidates and media moguls. Through make-believe miracles, urban legends, counterfeit Christs, and twisted theological reasoning, they peddle an occult brand of metaphysics that continues to shipwreck the faith of millions around the globe:
“God cannot do anything in this earthly realm
unless we give Him permission.”
“Keep saying it-
‘I have equality with God’-talk yourself into it.”
“Being poor is a sin.”
“The Jews were not rejecting Jesus as Messiah;
it was Jesus who was refusing to be the Messiah to the Jews!”
“You create your own world the same way God creates His.
He speaks, and things happen; you speak, and they happen.”
A modern crisis in Christianity continues to deepen as an ever-increasing number of 21st century prosperity preachers, ranging from Joyce Meyer to T. D. Jakes, convinces devotees that what happens in your life is a result of the words you speak. If you are healthy and prosperous, words created your reality. Conversely, if your baby dies or your spouse contracts cancer, you are the prime suspect.
According to one of America’s most popular prosperity preachers, Joel Osteen, “The moment you speak something out, you give birth to it. This is a spiritual principle, and it works whether what you are saying is good or bad, positive or negative.”
Osteen’s words are eerily similar to those of New Thought practitioner Joe Vitale-contributor to Rhonda Byrne’s The Secret. When asked by Larry King whether a nine-year-old Florida girl who was brutally murdered attracted this horror to herself, Vitale responded, “We are attracting everything to ourselves, and there is no exception.”
While Faith preachers such as Osteen have noteworthy differences from New Agers such as Vitale and Byrne, they are united in the belief that the force of faith is so powerful that even the Master of the Universe is bound by its irrevocable reality.
In Christianity in Crisis: 21st Century Hanegraaff pulls back the veil and exposes fatal flaws and feel-good fallacies that are spreading like cancer within the body of Christ. But this is a cancer that has a cure. And Hanegraaff shows us the way back to spiritual health and wholeness.