Reading the Papers
Connie W. Adams
The Healers and the Pact of Plenty
I am on the mailing list of some of the better known "faith healers" of the day. For well over a year now they have been getting stronger and bolder with a new gimmick to bring money into their hands and it is apparently producing a veritable windfall. They call this new approach the "Pact of Plenty." It is being used by Oral Roberts in his paper, Healing Waters, and by T. L. Osborn in his paper, Faith Digest, to mention two of the better known "healers."
I have before me the November and December, 1971 issues of Faith Digest and these are typical of others throughout the year. The center spread shows a born of plenty with a Bible in the background and a well dressed family seated at a table on which is spread a sumptuous feast. The argument runs that God has promised to bless, even financially, those who put him first, not just in the sense of the necessary things of life, but with the fineries as well. They cite passages in which promises were made to Israel about their crops not failing and apply passages in which God made promises to Christians. Then they assert that three things will be done by participating in this "Pact of Plenty":
(1) Their "need of the month" will be met by a "miracle."
(2) Souls will be saved in the world-wide harvest.
(3) They will receive "an abundant return - a financial increase according to God's Covenant."
In order to make this work, each person is to send $5 a month, or whatever he can afford. This is called "seed money." Then he is to keep his "Pact of Plenty" slip with his bills, then sit back and wait for a miracle and for financial prosperity. To prove that it works, they use the same kind of evidence they have used for years in proof of miraculous healing - personal testimonials. They are carrying page after page in the papers now of testimonials from people who claim all sorts of financial gain from this. Here are some of the "evidences":
"I received your letter which spoke of planting seed-money in the soil of God's work and expecting a FINANCIAL HARVEST (their emphasis). I immediately took part in his PACT. I had a payment of $500 due on a note, and received $1000. Our retirement benefits were due and we had waited so long that we had just about given up. Then, after sending the "First-fruits" we got a check for $300.95 and another one for $204.80.
A couple in Elyria, Ohio claimed staggering debts, back taxes and past due bills. Osborn reports:
"But within THREE MONTHS after entering His 'Pact'. God blessed them so much that every past-due account was settled, a new car was purchased, and the couple had money in the bank. Their business, which then employed only one person, now has grown to a staff of 151."
Another claimed a "200 Award"; still another a "1000 Gift"; yet another "$450 in Answer to Prayer"; another a "New Home and Bonus"; another "Receives Job and Car." Those were all headlines of testimonials.
Thus, an unblushing appeal is made to covetousness. Talk about the love of material things, this is it! While it is true that God promised to bless Israel as long as they served him and the Christian is promised that "the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears open to their prayers" (I Pet. 3: 12), yet God does not promise to make us rich or that if we obey His will we will suddenly or miraculously receive a raise, a new car or a new house. Many of God's most faithful children have been poor all their lives. Paul told Timothy to warn those rich in this world's goods lest they become "high-minded" and "trust in uncertain riches" (I Tim. 6:9-10, 17-19). Covetousness is called "idolatry" (Col. 3:5). Matthew 6:33 says one should "seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things (needs of life, CWA) will be added." This promises necessary things - not financial riches.
In articles in these papers this year it has been asserted that God means for us to have new cars and new houses. Yet, experience demonstrates that many of the wicked prosper a great deal more, in material things, than the righteous. Is this evidence that God approves them? The righteous man may live all his life in humble circumstances while some worldling lives in a mansion surrounded by all the luxuries. But the servant of God has riches the sinner does not have. He has forgiveness of sins, the advocacy of Jesus Christ, the promise of a way of escape from temptation, the assurance of times of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, and the promise of all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ. Beyond all that, there is the hope of heaven after this life. To usher one into these blessings he must be taught the truth of the gospel, must obey it from his heart and live faithfully in God's service.
Roberts, Osborn, et at, do not even teach the gospel plan of salvation, nor the truth about the kingdom, the second coming of Christ, miraculous gifts and a host of other things. They regularly and systematically pervert the scriptures to prove their views. They are telling people that by sending them $5 a month to help spread their false doctrine around the world that God is going to give them a better crop, or a new car, or a new house or a raise. People who send money to these merchants of deception are bidding Godspeed to their evil deeds and sharing in their guilt (2 Jno. 9-10).
Peter said "And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you" (2 Pet. 2:3). In reality, these men are setting people up for a great let-down which the people will blame on God. If the "Pact" gives God credit for a financial blessing, then who gets the credit for a loss of job, sickness, or bankruptcy? They will make infidels of those who suffer any kind of reverse after sending their "seed-money." In fact, I have already seen a letter being circulated by one bitter man to whom this has happened. I never cease to be amazed at the gullibility of some.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 18, pp. 9-11