Last year an informant visited Trinity Foundation and told us stories about the apparent contradictions of a prominent televangelist. While promoting himself as a faith healer, the televangelist is secretly a germaphobe. He limited contact with his employees while preaching that we shouldn’t have fear.
In contrast, Italian Catholic priest Giuseppe Berardelli recently died from the coronavirus after voluntarily giving his respirator to a younger person struggling with same virus. Berardelli’s sacrificial life decision is a bold picture of John 15:13, which says, “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.”
As the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has grown, televangelists and so-called prophets have exploited the tragic health situation with false prophecies and fundraising appeals. The Apostle Paul urges believers to test prophecies in 1 Thessalonians 5:20-21. Let’s take a look at some of them.
On February 28th the Elijah List published a prophecy from TBN personality Shawn Bolz. The headline turned out to be a lie: “The Lord Showed Me the End of the Coronavirus – The Tide Is Turning Now!” Since issuing that prophecy, the number of reported coronavirus cases has more than doubled and more than tripled in the US. The tide hasn’t turned yet.
Bolz isn’t alone in promoting this false narrative that the coronavirus is ending rapidly because of divine intervention. On the same day the Elijah List posted Bolz’s prophecy, it also published Danny Steyne’s article “Coronavirus: The Pandemic Is to Be Faith, Not Fear.”
Steyne writes, “A few hours later, I heard the Lord say, ‘And NOW, I’m going to unleash My superheroes in this hour. They will bring this virus to a full stop, and because of the way it will be suddenly stopped, many will believe in Me. They will move by love accompanied by faith, unknown to men but known by God.'”
The Lord did not say that. There has been no full stop.
While leading a service on God TV, Cindy Jacobs from the ministry Generals International, said, “We are going to decree that the coronavirus will cease worldwide … And we say in the name of Jesus, virus you are illegal.”
Jacobs is using a technique known as positive confession.
The apologetics website Got Questions explains, “Positive confession is the practice of saying aloud what you want to happen with the expectation that God will make it a reality. It’s popular among prosperity gospel adherents who claim that words have spiritual power and that, if we speak aloud the right words with the right faith, we can gain riches and health, bind Satan, and accomplish anything we want.”
God isn’t a genie or a Santa Claus whose purpose is to grant our wishes or desires.
Many televangelists and so-called prophets are endangering the public by discouraging people from doing things to contain the coronavirus. One such dangerous message comes from grabbing a single Bible verse—Psalm 91:10—”No evil shall befall you, nor shall any plague come near your dwelling.”(KJV) (The NET version says, “No harm will overtake you;
no illness will come near your home”).
Many Christians and Jews cling to its metaphorical meaning, i.e., for God’s encouragement or help in times of danger (the Hebrew word for plague (nega) can also mean leprosy, wound, stripes, stricken, etc). However, many televangelists apply that verse specifically to COVID19—consider Joseph Prince’s YouTube sermon clip titled “Why No Virus Can Come Near You.”
Whether you believe this was written for a specific time period long ago or believe it has an allegorical meaning, please don’t endanger others by disobeying various authority’s cautionary guidelines.
The coronavirus has already been turned into a money making opportunity. Prosperity gospel preacher Kenneth Copeland, speaking pointing his finger at viewers who have lost a job to coronavirus, “Hey, your job is not your source. If it is, you’re in trouble. Jesus is your source. Whatever you do right now, don’t you stop tithing, don’t you stop sowing offerings” (at 5:10 into video, emphasis is Copeland’s). At the end of the lengthy video he commands (at 2:26:40) the Corona virus “I command it to DIE and fall out of your body right now!” (emphasis is Copeland’s).
The Bible gives a different message in 2 Corinthians 8:12. If anyone is living paycheck to paycheck and loses their job, God doesn’t expect us to give what we don’t have.
There’s more. According to a recent New York Times article by Katherine Stewart, these two televangelists in particular, and perhaps more, are asking entire megachurch congregations to defy social distancing orders by attending church services.
Rodney Howard-Browne of The River at Tampa Bay Church in Florida, famous for his “Holy Laughter” revival years ago, mocked people concerned about the disease as “pansies” and insisted he would only shutter the doors to his packed church “when the rapture is taking place.”
And on March 15, Guillermo Maldonado, who calls himself an “apostle” and hosted Mr. Trump earlier this year at a campaign event at his Miami megachurch, urged his congregants to show up for worship services in person. “Do you believe God would bring his people to his house to be contagious with the virus? Of course not,” he said. Our eyes are on your private jet and large house, Mr. Maldonado. 😉