Demystifying the Prosperity Gospel. The South African Case Study

A Paper written for the SABC News Documentary Production, 4th March, 2019
Feature Article Demystifying the Prosperity Gospel. The South African Case Study
APR 20, 2019 LISTEN

Who is the face of poverty in South Africa?

The most accurate answer would undoubtedly be ―an African woman‖. Many poor women – and a high number of them are single mothers – face insurmountable economic and emotional challenges while raising their family without any support from their partners or ex-husbands.

The State has played its part in introducing child support grants and throwing its weight and resources behind family courts to make it easier to claim for child support from deadbeat dads. Sadly, the long queues at maintenance courts attest to the fact that many men still need to be forced to look after their children.

It is these socio-economic conditions brought about to a large extent by the legacy of apartheid and a dominating patriarchal system that still make it difficult for women to be treated equally and fairly in all spheres of our society.

It is equally these conditions that make our women and girl-children targets of unscrupulous pastors who masquerade as men of God who can solve all their problems at a strike of a magic wand.

Why then would these women subject themselves to be humiliated and forced to eat grass, drink petrol, get their vaginas ―biscuits‖ to be examined in front of television cameras and their faces ―doomed‖? Is it not for false promises of miracles that will wipe away all their financial, emotional and spiritual woes?

I am yet to see these ―prophets of doom‖ pitch their tents in affluent suburbs of our country. Why is that? The facts above provide all the answers. Their target is the poor and vulnerable in our society and those are black women and young children.

Take the charges that have been put to Nigerian ―rapist pastor‖ Tim Omotoso. Omotoso is head of the Jesus Dominion International Church and was arrested at the Port Elizabeth International Airport for allegedly having molested and raped at least 30 young women who attended his church.

The allegations surfaced after an SABC Special Assignment investigation. At the time of writing this article the 58-year-old married father of three was preparing to go to court to apply for bail.

Without pre-judging Omotoso‘s case, it is important to point out that there are far too many men of the cloth who misuse the trust bestowed unto them by vulnerable black women. The exploitation of black women is a race and a class issue; hence you will never see the tents go up in affluent and white areas. Their targets will never be white men or white women.

Even the black elite, who go to churches such as the Rhema Bible Church, go there because they want to belong and worship. The miracle pastors don‘t go for this class of people by promises of miracles that will never manifest, because these classes of people won‘t just fall for it.

Data from StatsSA also confirm that unemployment in South Africa affects largely African women. Even those that are employed are paid far less than their white, Indian and coloured counterparts. Black women earn almost as much but have a higher unemployment rate than their male counterparts, while the opposite is true for whites.

StatsSA‘s gender statistics show that black women are also the group with the worst unemployment rate. ―Women of all races aged between 15 and 64 have higher unemployment rates than men in the same age bracket, with black women having the worst unemployment rate of 32.5 percent.‖

According to StatsSA deputy director-general Kefiloe Masiteng, one in three women live below the poverty line with an income of R305 or less, while 31 percent of men live below this line.

The higher figures of women below the poverty line was a result of an increase in female- headed households, she said, adding that women were more likely to be expected to look after orphans or relatives and so become the head of the household.

Traditionally male-dominated industries such as mining, construction and transport remain a boys‘ club, with a quarter of the entire male workforce being employed in one of these sectors, compared with just 5 percent of employed women, the StatsSA report said.

So, African women are still sitting on the bottom-rung when it comes to economic empowerment in South Africa, meaning a huge section of our population still consists of mainly poor and unemployed black women.

It is this section of our population that is being targeted by all these dubious churches led by people who call themselves pastors and yet are just a bunch of scammers after nothing else but money and anything of value they can strip from their female victims.

Whoever said religion is the opium of the people was prophetic because these tsotsis who call themselves pastors are using poor women‘s vulnerability and their faith that their dire situation will change if they pray hard enough or buy into the notion that this ―man of God‖ will be able to intercede on their behalf and create miracles that will bring prosperity and material gain.

The ―pastors of doom‖ use promises of marriage, money and jobs to lure people who are desperate for employment, for houses, for money and for a better life in general. They promise instant miracles and coerce their congregants into parting with their hard-earned cash, while they (pastors) smile all the way to the bank.

All stakeholders including government and big business need to up the ante and heed calls to transform the economy and empower women, especially the black African woman. Black women have played a pivotal role in our liberation struggle. The fact that they are still at the bottom of the economic ladder 21 years after democracy is a shame and a scandal.

As the adage says, you educate a woman and you educate a nation. I would add that you empower a woman and you empower a nation. Our children depend on it. And they are the future of this country.

Historical Background

Prosperity theology (sometimes referred to as the prosperity gospel, the health and wealth gospel, the gospel of success, or seed faith) is a religious belief among some Christians, who hold that financial blessing and physical well-being are always the will of God for them, and that faith, positive speech, and donations to religious causes will increase one's material wealth. Prosperity theology views the Bible as a contract between God and humans: if humans have faith in God, he will deliver security and prosperity.

The doctrine emphasizes the importance of personal empowerment, proposing that it is God's will for his people to be blessed. It is based on interpretations of the Bible that are mainstream in Judaism (with respect to the Hebrew Bible), though less so in Christianity. The atonement (reconciliation with God) is interpreted to include the alleviation of sickness and poverty, which are viewed as curses to be broken by faith. This is believed to be achieved through donations of money, visualization, and positive confession.

It was during the Healing Revivals of the 1950s that prosperity theology first came to prominence in the United States, although commentators have linked the origins of its theology to the New Thought movement which began in the 19th century. The prosperity teaching later figured prominently in the Word of Faith movement and 1980s televangelism. In the 1990s and

2000s, it was adopted by influential leaders in the Pentecostal Movement and Charismatic Movement in the United States and has spread throughout the world. Prominent leaders in the development of prosperity theology include E. W. Kenyon, Oral Roberts, A. A. Allen, Robert Tilton, T. L. Osborn, Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar, Jesse Duplantis, Kenneth Copeland, Reverend Ike, and Kenneth Hagin.

Prosperity theology has been criticized by leaders from various Christian denominations, including within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, who maintain that it is irresponsible, promotes idolatry, and is contrary to scripture. Secular as well as some Christian observers have also criticized prosperity theology as exploitative of the poor.

Prosperity churches place a strong emphasis on the importance of giving. Some services include a teaching time focused on giving and prosperity, including Biblical references to tithing; and then a sermon on another topic which follows the offering. Prosperity church leaders often claim a specific blessing can be exchanged for the money being donated to their ministry; some have been reported to instruct worshipers to hold their donations above their heads during the prayer.

Congregants in prosperity churches are encouraged to speak positive statements about aspects of their lives that they wish to see improved. These statements, known as positive confessions (distinct from confessions of sin), are said to miraculously change aspects of people's lives if spoken with faith. Prosperity churches also encourage people to "live without limits and cultivate optimism about their lives. T. D. Jakes, pastor of The Potter's House non-denominational mega- church, has argued in favor of prosperity, rejecting what he sees as the demonization of success. He views poverty as a barrier to living a Christian life, suggesting that it is easier to make a positive impact on society when one is affluent.

While some prosperity churches have a reputation for manipulating and alienating the poor, many are involved in social programs. Underlying these programs is a theology of empowerment and human flourishing with the goal of releasing people from a "welfare" or "victim" mentality. Many prosperity churches hold seminars on financial responsibility. Kate Bowler, an academic who studies prosperity theology, has criticized such seminars, arguing that though they contain some sound advice the seminars often emphasize the purchase of expensive possessions. Hanna Rosin of The Atlantic argues that prosperity theology contributed to the housing bubble that caused the late-2000s financial crisis. She maintains that home ownership was heavily emphasized in prosperity churches, based on reliance on divine financial intervention that led to unwise choices based on actual financial ability.

Most churches in the prosperity movement are non-denominational and independent, though some groups have formed networks. Prosperity churches typically reject presbyterian polity (or governance) and the idea that a pastor should be accountable to elders; it is common for pastors of prosperity churches to be the highest organizational authority figure. Critics, including Sarah Posner and Joe Conason, maintain that prosperity teachers cultivate authoritarian organizations. They argue that leaders attempt to control the lives of adherents by claiming divinely bestowed authority. Jenkins contends that prosperity theology is used as a tool to justify the high salaries of pastors.

The South African Case Study

Interviews conducted with former pastors of Enlightened Christian Gathering (ECG) indicate that Prophet Shepherd Bushiri of is not a true man of God, but someone whom the devil is using to fulfill the scriptures, according to what Jesus said that towards the end of the world, ―there will be many fake/false prophets‖ who will deceive many, even the chosen ones will be deceived as it is with 100,000 members who attend church services at ECG and over 1 million following him on television, Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Prophet Bushiri, born in Mzuzu Malawi, Bushiri‘s both parents were both Muslims. Shepherd Bushiri was converted to Christianity through his classmate called Paul Banda in Grade 7. At first, Shepherd Bushiri was a true man of God who was called to preach the good news of the second coming of Jesus Christ before Urbert Angel initiated him into Satanism.

The following are true testimonies from 10 Pastors who used to work closely with the Malawian born Prophet in Pretoria South Africa.

According to the ECG pastors, Shepherd Bushiri started as a God fearing young man in Malawi preaching the true gospel during his school days. God was using him mightily to prophesy to people and praying for them as well as preaching the good news. God even made Prophet Bushiri to acquire wealth at a tender age and was extremely intelligent in class as he was clearly chosen to work for God despite coming from a muslim family. But things changed when he visited Urbert Angel of Zimbabwe in 2008 where they agreed that he should be his spiritual father.

In 2009. Bushiri was admiring Urbert Angel on TV and was eager to emulate him. So he went to Zimbabwe several times trying to meet Urbert Angel and it was only his 8th time that he met him. Urbert Angel explained to him how he was using satanic powers to attract thousands and money to his church. Urbert Angel himself introduced Bushiri to marine spirits which gave him powers after sacrificing blood and agreeing to be sleeping with married women and those unmarried including virgins.

In short brothers and sisters, Bushiri entered into a covenant with Prophet Urbert Angel who became his spiritual father. Instead of helping Prophet Bushiri to grow spiritually in God‘s ways, Urbert Angel introduced Bushiri to a spiritual satanic woman of the sea whom he was worshiping. This means the spirit of the Living God left Bushiri and the spirit of the woman of the sea entered him immediately. Since then, Bushiri, despite being very rich has never enjoyed life on earth and the most unfortunate part is that he cannot come out of this evil as he is extremely deep into sin.

Within a year of being initiated to the satanic world by the woman of the sea, Bushiri started performing great miracles and wonders, more than the man (Urbert Angel) who made it possible for him to be initiated. He started praying for the sick, and the sick got healed, the lame started walking and miracle money became the order of church service. Urbert Angel was also a good friend of Prophet Makandiwa as they were getting powers from the same sources.

And when Prophet Urbert Angel was expelled from Zimbabwe for performing questionable miracles, Prophet Shepherd Bushiri was made to shift from Malawi to South Africa. Initially, Bushiri wanted to relocate to Zambia his mother‘s homeland, but things changed after he was told by a young pastor that he was not a true man of God and that he needed to repent. That meant in Zambia, there was a true man of God who detected through the spirit that Bushiri was using satanic powers he got through Urbert Angel.

After sometime, with the help of Urbert Angel, Prophet Bushiri relocated to Pretoria, South Africa, where he is based currently. 40% of people he went with to open a church in South Africa were Zambians while 60% were from Malawi. This was a special instruction from the evil woman of the sea who said his helpers should come from his motherland and fatherland. Since the man is the head of the house, it meant that majority were to come from Malawi his fatherland.

Before Bushiri finally shifted to South Africa, a Nigeria Pastor by the name of Prophet Jeremiah Omoto Fufeyeni visited him in Lilongwe as he wanted to be prayed for and increase his spiritual powers. But instead of praying for him, Prophet Bushiri took him to Prophet Urbert Angel who in turn convinced him to be equally initiated just like he had done to Bushiri. The successful initiation into advanced Satanism meant that two great men had been lost to the devil. In short, Prophet Urbert Angel, Shepherd Bushiri and Jeremiah Omotoso had completely abandoned the word of God of salvation to start preaching richness, prophecies, miracle money as well as indulging in sexual activities.

The sad part is that the three men also initiated their wives and children as this was the command from the satanic woman of the sea. Today, even their wives and children are able to perform prophecies and wonders just like their parents.

Prophet Bushiri shifted to South Africa and soon his church grew up within a year because of numerous heart moving miracles. It should be noted that the woman of the sea who was now giving spiritual powers to these men, laid down conditions of which one of them was for the prophets to start having sex with virgins, married women and other girls who attend their church services. Please note that, the woman of the sea did not allow these prophets to sleep with any other woman apart from those that were attending church services from their churches.

Up to now, these three prophets who include Prophet Shepherd Busiri are still having sex with different kinds of women who attend their church services. What is surprising is that they commit adultery with the full knowledge of their wives and their protocols that are equally initiated. Bushiri himself has not less than 40 children born from his female congregants with over 100 abortions from within his church members. This information is also known by his wife Mary and his Wisemen and members of the protocol who in many occasions facilitate abortions.

The secret behind committing adultery is that if you sleep with one woman, then you will be able to prophecy from one to six people. This means if you sleep with two, then you are assured of prophesying to 12 people and the trend goes on. So this brings us to the biblical 666. One woman u sleep with, u have to prophesy to 6 people. But if the prophet has failed to sleep with any woman outside marriage that week, it means he will not be able to prophesy as the power to do so can only be activated through sex outside marriage. The more women you sleep with, the more people you speak to and the more new members visit your church as well as the more you increase your spiritual powers.

According to what I witnessed at ECG, nearly all leaders there including those that are well known in singing are all wicked people who indulge in sex outside marriage with their own church members.

Since he went to South Africa, Bushiri has slept with more than 500 women to boost his powers and the same is correct with Prophet Jeremiah Omoto of Nigeria and Urbert Angel and many more pastors, evangelists and wise men connected to ECG

The issue of these three major prophets having sex outside marriage is well known by their wives and close church members who can‘t disclose to reasons known by themselves.

Just like the name ECG (Enlightened Christian Gathering), the title of Major 1 was actually given to him by the woman of the sea. Prophet Urbert Angel is actually called Major, Shepherd Bushiri is Major 1 and Jeremiah is major 2. Note that the titles for Urbert Angel and Jeremiah are not very much heard because the sea woman recognizes Bushiri more than the two this time.


Although the woman of the sea provides accurate prophecies, her spirit does not work well if there is no amount of crookedness in how the prophecies and hearings are conducted. In certain cases, Bushiri and his friends (Urbert Angel, his spiritual father, and Jeremiah his spiritual brother) have to use tricks to perform fake miracles. The following are examples of fake prophecies and fake miracles;

1. PHONE NUMBERS: In most cases, the so-called spiritual sons to the prophet collects people‘s phone numbers and hand them to the prophet who will then shout it in church as a prophecy.

2. MIRACLE MONEY: There is actually no miracle money, what happens is that those people in church who shout that they have received money had actually submitted their account numbers and are always aware that there will be church technicians who will be depositing funds to appear as miracle money. Prophet Bushiri and his two friends have never performed miracle money since he was born. The money you see reflecting in people‘s phones is always deposited by church money experts just to fool people. The same money people take as tithes and offering is used to fool people as miracle money. This trick is known by all those close to prophet Bushiri. God can really give miracle money but the truth is the miracle money seen in

Bushiri‘s church is always stage-managed, no wonder it is just received by those within South Africa and those outside that have been paid to accept to lie to people.

4. MISSING DOCUMENTS BEING FOUND: Am sure some of you remember a woman in ECG who found her documents that were lost many years ago. Indeed the documents were found in one of the church members. But was this really true? The answer is NO. The documents put by a group of church members who had hatched a plan with Bushiri himself and the woman after she received $3000. The papers were taken to ECG by a woman herself and placed in one of the prominent church members, after which money was paid to the actors, and many were deceived, and weak women even started crying without realizing they were being tricked by a false prophet.


Does Prophet Bushiri really able to fix broken things spiritually? The answer is NO. All those people you hear calling ECG/Prophet Bushiri after prayers that their fridges and stoves have been fixed are just hired deceivers; to cheat people that there is a God in ECG who is working. The trick behind is to be fame and pull crowds. This is satanic.


Some months back, the internet was filled with news that angels have been seen and captured by cameramen in ECG. This was all lies. There was nothing like that. The man who made those angels left ECG to his home country Zambia after he differed with Bushiri over money he was to be paid for the trick he had made of deceiving people. Brothers and Sisters, there has never been angels in ECG‘s church, that was all lies by a false prophet. Sometimes even his wise-men do fake angels and shout ―dad, an angel appeared when you were praying‖, and they show a white thing which is all fake, computer generated. God forbids!!


Bushiri has never walked in the air since he was born, even his both parents that are still alive know this. The clip showing him walking in the air is fake. Two people stage-managed that by providing him with where to hold, no-wonder the cameraman had to zoom showing only legs without showing suspended hands. Again Wise man David together with his friend were responsible for this trick.


At one time, an old white man who was said to be very sick was taken in front after he shouted for help. After intense prayers from Bushiri, the man walked. Brothers and Sisters, that was stage managed. The man was not even sick, it was just intended to fool people no wonder its only done to limited people. That is not to say Bushiri does not pray for people and they walk, he does that but rarely as the powers are controlled by the woman of the sea.


Mixture of chemicals are used. In science, some chemicals produce fire when mixed or tempered with. Bushiri and his fellow deceivers utilize that to deceive people just to encourage them to be attending church services just for money.


When he was in Ghana years back, Bushiri told Ghanaians that he does talk to Jesus and Angels. This is not true but lies peddled by a false prophet. Although they are true men of God who used to talk direct to God in the past, Bushiri has never ever talked to Jesus Christ but parade himself as a man who talks to God just for people to worship him (Bushiri) but not God.


Unless those people who just pretend to be dead while they are alive, Bushiri has never made any person to come back from the dead. People are paid to pretend to be dead just to deceive the elect.


Although there are stagemanaged prophecies and miracles, almost 90% of Bushiri‘s prophecies are accurate. As a person that has been working with Bushiri I can confirm that he rarely gives fake prophecies. But the trick is how he manages to do them. While, just as I told you in the start, the more number of women he sleeps with, the more he prophecies. If he sleeps with 5 women in the week, then he will be able to prophecy to 30 people. The ratio is actually 1 to 6.

13. In ECG,

Many women both married and unmarried have slept with the prophet but are fearing to disclose for fear of losing the cases as Bushiri has huge influence not only in South Africa, but Africa as a whole. Bushiri used money and influence to shame and silence people that try to expose his satanic and alcoholic behavior.


Bushiri‘s wife Mary is a woman who 100% knows the behavior of Bushiri and his tricks but fears to come out because of money, fame and fearing to be killed by Bushiri and his agents. Mary Bushiri who runs a facebook page, also assists Bushiri in aborting the girls and women he sleeps with. The woman of the sea does not allow her prophets to sleep with young girls using a condom, hence a lot get impregnated.


Bushiri‘s greatest enemy currently is Apostle Makananisa of South Africa as he has seen that God is using him mightily to deliver deceived people. On Sunday 11th February 2018, Bushiri paraded Prophet Rodds and Ntemba to try to dent the image of Makananisa. The kingdom of

God is suffering violence because of false prophets who don‘t want to be rebuked and corrected for fear of losing fame. Just like TB Joshua and Pastor Chris, Makananisa is trying, by all means, to serve God in truth and spirit, but the devil the deceiver in Prophet Bushiri and Jeremiah Omoto is fighting back with full force. A lie may try to live for a while, but the truth lives forever. It won‘t be long before Bushiri is completely exposed and all those following him blindly put to shame. Bushiri is not serving the LIVING GOD, but the satanic god of the sea.

After Prophet Ntemba and Rodds were rebuked for sleeping with women in Charis Church, the demons in them fought back by trying to expose Apostle Makananisa when Bushiri knows so well that Makananisa serves the Living God.

16. BUILDING THE PERMANENT ECG CHURCH: As a way of getting money by false pretence from people, Bushiri and Urbert Angel cheated people that they wanted to build a new church. The pictures were displayed. But once the money was collected, Bushiri invested the money into his own businesses and took some for sacrifice in the sea. Up to now, Bushiri has stopped talking about building a church. This is sad.


17. EQUATING HIMSELF TO GOD: Bushiri has blasphemed God many times than how his followers think. At one time, Bushiri said many people in Africa are in povert because they refuse to believe in him. Bushiri many times attempts to mock God (God cannot be mocked) by trying to tell his members that he is the only true prophet of God when deep down he knows satan is using him. He tries by all means to portray himself as a powerful man who cannot die, and people worship him instead of God.

18. PREACHING PROSPERITY: Out of 100 sermons for Bushiri, only 10 talk about salvation, the rest are centered on prosperity. Now, this is not the making of Bushiri, but the marine spirit he worships. Bushiri mostly preaches about prosperity not salvation. To him, its better a person enjoys life now and suffer after death.

19. INTERVIEWING PEOPLE BEFORE CHURCH SERVICE: In ECG, there are men and women assigned to interview some people and give the information to Bushiri before church service. Bushiri meets people sometimes interview them and tell them how to answer during

fake prophecies that are stage managed. But that not to say all prophecies are fake, some are accurate depending on how many women the prophet has slept with that week.

20. WHAT GOD DOES BUSHIRI SERVE: Prophet Bushiri is NOT a man of God or Jesus Christ despite mentioning his name. The Bible says you shall know them by their fruits. As a member of ECG I can tell you that Bushiri does not worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob or the God of Misheck, Shadreck and Abedinego. What he worships is a different God and not Jesus Christ the Son of the Living God, Bushiri is a good example of FALSE PROPHET whom Jesus Christ prophesied about.

21. DEMONIC MANIFESTATION IN CHURCH: Sometimes, demons do manifest and confess in church. This is not stage managed but true to fufil what is written in the Bibile that you shall drive demons in my name. The funny part of demonize is that even a non-Christian can drive them out provided it is done in the name of Jesus. So Bushiri drives away demons in the name of Jesus Christ and they go but yet he does not do the will of God. Jesus said, ‗people will come to me on the last day and say Lord we used to drive away demons in your name but I will tell them that go away, i don‘t know you‖



As one of the signs of Jerusalem‘s destruction, Christ had said, ―Many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many‖ [Matthew 24:11]. False prophets did rise, deceiving the people and leading great numbers into the desert. Magicians and

sorcerers, claiming miraculous power, drew the people after them into the mountain solitudes. But this prophecy was spoken also for the last days. This sign is given as a sign of the second advent.—The Desire of Ages, 631 (1898).

We shall encounter false claims, false prophets will arise, there will be false dreams and false visions, but preach the Word; be not drawn away from the voice of God in His Word.—Selected Messages 2:49 (1894).

I have been shown many who will claim to be especially taught of God, and will attempt to lead others, and from mistaken ideas of duty they will undertake a work that God has never laid upon them. Confusion will be the result. Let everyone seek God most earnestly for himself that he may individually understand His will.—Selected Messages 2:72 (1893).


Correct and sound doctrine is crucial to salvation and growth in spiritual maturity. It comes as no surprise that God warns us many times in Scripture to be aware of false teaching. Christians need to be able to recognize false teachers in order to know when they are being led down a path that God did not intend! The following Bible verses will help you determine whether someone is teaching false doctrine and how you should handle the deceptive teacher.

Ezekiel 13:9

Chapter Parallel Compare

9 My hand will be against the prophets who see false visions and utter lying divinations. They will not belong to the council of my people or be listed in the records of Israel, nor will they enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the Sovereign LORD.

Jeremiah 23:16

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16 This is what the LORD Almighty says: ―Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.

Luke 6:26

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26 Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.

Matthew 24:24

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24 For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Matthew 16:11-12

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11 How is it you don‘t understand that I was not talking to you about bread? But be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.‖ 12Then they understood that he was not telling them to guard against the yeast used in bread, but against the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

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3 For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Acts 20:28-30

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28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.

2 Peter 3:14-18

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14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him. 15 Bear in mind that our Lord‘s patience means salvation, just as our dear brother Paul also wrote you with the wisdom that God gave him. 16 He writes the same way in all his letters, speaking in them of these matters. His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction. 17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

1 John 4:1-6

Chapter Parallel Compare

1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.2 This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 3 but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard is coming and even now is already in the world.4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than

the one who is in the world. 5 They are from the world and therefore speak from the viewpoint of the world, and the world listens to them. 6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

Matthew 7:15-20

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15 ―Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep‘s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. 16 By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? 17 Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.

2 Peter 1:12-21

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12 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. 13 I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body, 14 because I know that I will soon put it aside, as our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.15 And I will make every effort to see that after my departure you will always be able to remember these things. 16 For we did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 He received honor and glory from God the Father when the voice came to him from the Majestic Glory, saying, ―This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.‖ 18 We ourselves heard this voice that came from heaven when we were with him on the sacred mountain. 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no

prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet‘s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Titus 1:6-16

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6 An elder must be blameless, faithful to his wife, a man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being wild and disobedient. 7 Since an overseer manages God‘s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain. 8 Rather, he must be hospitable, one who loves what is good, who is self-controlled, upright, holy and disciplined. 9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. 10 For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. 11 They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of Crete‘s own prophets has said it:

―Cretans are always liars, evil brutes, lazy gluttons.‖ 13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.

2 Peter 2

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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. 4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment; 5 if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; 6 if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; 7 and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the depraved conduct of the lawless 8 (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)— 9 if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from trials and to hold the unrighteous for punishment on the day of judgment.10 This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the flesh and despise authority. Bold and arrogant, they are not afraid to heap abuse on celestial beings; 11 yet even angels, although they are stronger and more powerful, do not heap abuse on such beings when bringing judgment on them from the Lord. 12 But these people blaspheme in matters they do not understand. They are like unreasoning animals, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like animals they too will perish. 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! 15 They have left the straightaway and wandered off to follow the way of Balaam son of Bezer, who loved the wages of wickedness. 16 But he was rebuked for his wrongdoing by a donkey—an animal without speech—who spoke with a human voice and restrained the prophet‘s madness. 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. 22

Of them the proverbs are true: ―A dog returns to its vomit,‖ and, ―A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.‖

Matthew 23:1-29

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1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 ―The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses‘ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people‘s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them. 5 ―Everything they do is done for people to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels on their garments long; 6 they love the place of honor at banquets and the most important seats in the synagogues; 7 they love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces and to be called ‗Rabbi‘ by others. 8 ―But you are not to be called

‗Rabbi,‘ for you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 And do not call anyone on earth

‗father,‘ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. 10 Nor are you to be called instructors, for you have one Instructor, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 13 ―Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You shut the door of the kingdom of heaven in people‘s faces. You yourselves do not enter, nor will you let those enter who are trying to. 15 ―Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when you have succeeded, you make them twice as much a child of hell as you are. 16 ―Woe to you, blind guides! You say, ‗If anyone swears by the temple, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gold of the temple is bound by that oath.‘ 17. You blind fools! Which is greater: the gold, or the temple that makes the gold sacred? 18 You also say, ‗If anyone swears by the altar, it means nothing; but anyone who swears by the gift on the altar is bound by that oath.‘ 19 You blind men! Which is greater: the gift, or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20. Therefore, anyone who swears by the altar swears by it and by everything on it.21 And anyone who swears by the temple swears by it and by the one who dwells in it. 22 And anyone who swears by heaven swears by God‘s throne and by the one who sits on it. 23 ―Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. 24 You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel. 25―Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean. 27 ―Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. 28 In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness. 29 ―Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. 30 And you say, ‗If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.‘