Are they interchangeable?

By: Derrick P. Rodgers

To which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (2 Timothy 1:11)

Far too many Christian leaders are becoming disinterested with preaching and teaching the simplicity of the gospel of Jesus Christ and training biblical disciples. It appears as if the simplistic preaching of the Cross of Christ has grown to a place of elementary irrelevance.

Because of this posturing, there has become a surge of great interest in becoming more significant than preaching the gospel. Thereby, many have opted out of functioning in the capacity of a “preacher of the gospel” in order to widen their scope by becoming an inspirational and empowerment specialist with the intent to covenant with and develop all people, which includes both Christian and non-Christian. As a result, these leaders have relinquished their biblical titles and functionalities from being Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers to becoming mentors, coaches, empowerment specialists, and motivational speakers. This particular movement has formulated the functionality of being a biblical preacher of the gospel as less appealing and quite menial.

While some attempt to merge the two vocations together as being one and the same, the Bible does not define them as such.

The contention with preachers attempting to become motivational speakers is that it causes them to severely compromise fulfilling the call of God due to continually adhering to the essential articles of motivational speaking. Preachers of the gospel are led by Gods holy word to encourage people to trust in God and not in self, whereas, motivational speakers for the most part encourage men to to pursue “self help” methods, which cause men to exclusively rely on, and trust within their own abilities, talents and inner being.

Motivational speaking is preferably geared toward inspiring and motivating people to do better in a specific field or skill to become successful, resulting in the speaker becoming financially wealthy.
There is nothing wrong with inspirational instruction within itself. We all need to be empowered and inspired by the Holy Spirit. There’s nothing wrong with people doing better; however, despite its good implications— any inspiration that leads you away from the truth, is deception. The truth of God’s word cannot be replaced for good works or well-intentioned inspiration. This applies to both the teacher and the recipients.

Suffice it to say; when you are regarded as a preacher of the gospel, the platform of motivational speaking more than often requires that the name of Jesus, His ways, His word and His will be avoided. Nonetheless, a selection of His principles may be encouraged to practice with the assurance of not mentioning His name or connecting the source of the principle to His sovereignty. While some do function in the church as motivational speakers, you can be sure that it has and will conflict with yielding to the call of God as being a biblical preacher of the gospel.

Now, why would the Lord call someone into something that restricts them from mentioning His name, establishing the source of the encouraged principles and decreeing His unadulterated word? Christian leaders must decide whether they’re going to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ according to His Holy word, which produces genuine salvation or compromise the gospel and proclaim empowerment and inspiration absent of biblical instruction, which promotes the cravings for wealth and the appetite for personal success.

While there may be a viable demand for empowerment and inspiration and it may appear to be good and encouraging, the preacher of the gospel is held accountable to God and must fulfill the will of the Father and not the will of the people. Preaching something that is “good and acceptable by men” in the place of obeying the call of God— now becomes “bad and unacceptable by God” within the context of being a preacher of the gospel.

I realize that there are people who are motivational speakers who happen to be Christians, but people who are called to be preachers of the gospel of Jesus Christ are held to a different set of standards and requirements than a motivational speaker.

Over the years this “empowerment behemoth” has produced an onslaught of empowerment conferences and seminars from: prophetic empowerment, apostolic empowerment, women’s empowerment, men’s empowerment, faith empowerment, wealth empowerment, success empowerment, economic empowerment, youth empowerment, leadership empowerment, women of color empowerment, children empowerment, destiny empowerment, Asian women empowerment, and the list goes on and on.

While canvassing the uninformed and marginalized individuals among us, the leading empowerment specialists in the church today are installing “self doctrine” and “success theology” by weaving in terms and phrases under the guise of their celebrity platform, hype, and emotion. Some of the following terms and phrases are as follows:

“Architects of our own future”:

This phrase indicates we can create, design and construct our own future apart from God’s grace. The Bible says we are God’s building and He is the one that provides grace to His people. (Jeremiah 29:11; 1 Corinthians 3:9)

“PERSONAL power” or “YOU have a special power inside of YOU”:

This term encourages men to look within themselves and harness a personal or special power that they possess to accomplish desired success. While many assume this power refers to the Holy Spirit, it does not. The implication of this power resonates in all people and to be considered a universal power for all of mankind, which has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of the Bible.

Christians operate on the frequency that we can do nothing without Christ. John 15:5. We place our trust in Jesus and not in self, and we do not operate apart from the Holy Spirit. (Psalms 118:8).

They promote “the law of attraction”:

This phrase means if YOU think it, confess it and believe it, it will come to YOU. This is connected to one’s own “personal power,” which is also recognized by some as “New Thought.”

Christian believers are not to be exercising the release of “mental energies” to attract success or anything for that matter. Christians are encouraged by scripture to develop the mind of Christ, be instructed by the word of God and guided by the Holy Spirit of God. (Philippians 2:5; John 16:13).

“One of the keys to success and prosperity is for YOU to passionately decree YOUR greatness”:

“Repeat after me, I have the authority to cause money to appear out of thin air. I have a money tree growing in my backyard”:

Again, these phrases are promoting the greatness of YOUR power or abilities to emotionally create success and prosperity. One of the most distinct practices of this phrase would be the exercise of Christians confessing the infamous statement (Money Cometh to Me). This is done by exercising the motion of pulling a spiritual slot machine lever with the hopes of hitting the jackpot.

Confessing or chanting the nefarious statement, “Pull that Lever, Money Cometh to Me” provides the illusion that God is some spiritual casino, that if you confess the right combination of words or sow that magical financial seed, God will release a pot of money upon you.

How did something so clearly related to casino gambling formulate into an established doctrine in the house of God? Maybe because some have successfully communicated that gain is Godliness. (I Timothy 6:3-10)

“The devil does not have control over your life, YOU have control. YOU are the author of YOUR own destiny”:

This phrase present a mixture of truth and error. True, the devil does not have control over your life unless you open yourself because of practicing sin and disobedience to God and His word. (Ephesians 4:25-27)

The Bible says, “looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith….” (Hebrews 12:2) Therefore, empowering Christian believers to believe they are the author of their own destiny is false.

They promote a doctrine entitled “The brand called YOU”:

This doctrine solidifies the promotion of “self” with the sole focus on YOU promoting your talents, skills and abilities with intent to build a successful ministry of the sort. Branding may be good for business. However, within the Kingdom of God we are called to promote Jesus Christ our God and King. Branding YOURSELF, YOUR name, YOUR ministry, etc, for the purpose of becoming financially wealthy and successful is not the biblical positioning we see in the scriptures from holy and righteous men who represent God. (1 Timothy 3:2-4; Galatians 6:17).

They teach how to monetize your gifting to maximize financial wealth:

This line of instruction corresponds with the empowerment doctrine entitled “the brand called you.” It encourages Christian leaders to utilize their gifted abilities such as speaking or the ability to effectively articulate to make money. This approach has propelled many Christian leaders down a path of abuse and treachery of utilizing theirs gifts to fulfill their end game, which is to fleece God’s sheep for finances all in the name of empowerment and success. These empowerment specialists will go as far as price charging the saints for “preferred seating” when attending their meetings and if you can’t attend the meeting you can be solicited to view the meetings online for a monetary fee. It’s called “pay per view” or “online streaming.” These items are different streams of income and wealth building avenues resulting from monetizing their gifts. (2 Corinthians 2:17).

This empowerment apparatus has forged stock within the walls of the church and has cleverly established “another gospel” that is causing God’s sheep to look to self and not to God. It is causing Gods sheep to pursue success instead of sacrifice and it is attracting false converts by the masses merging the church and world. This perversion of the gospel alters the minds and motives of the saints, which leads down a wrong path into many foolish and harmful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

If you are in the role of a preacher of the gospel and you are currently passionate about exclusively empowering and inspiring people with the hopes of becoming financially wealthy, why not resign as a preacher of the gospel, become a motivational speaker, and stop attempting to fuse the two. The display of coexisting only confuses emerging Christian leaders and not to mention the embedded deception that misguides people and the lack of nutritional word being administered to God’s sheep.

Jesus never said go into all the world and empower men to become financially secure and successful. However, He did say go into all the world and make disciples of men, meaning to become Christ-like, and lovers of His word. Let us return to, preaching Christ and Him crucified, perfecting the saints, and making disciples of Jesus Christ.
For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11)

According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. (1 Corinthians 3:10)

Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil. (Ephesians 4:25-27)

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (1 Timothy 3:2-4)

And he said to them all, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it. For what is a man advantaged, if he gain the whole world, and lose himself, or be cast away? (Luke 9:23-25)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. (Jeremiah 17:7)

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. (John 16:13)

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: (Philippians 2:5)

And did not spare the ancient world, but saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood on the world of the ungodly; (2 Peter 2:5)

To which I was appointed a preacher, an apostle, and a teacher of the Gentiles. (2 Timothy 1:11)

For which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle—I am speaking the truth in Christ and not lying— a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth. (1 Timothy 2:7)

How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? Romans 10:14 (NKJV)
It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man. (Psalms 118:8)

I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. (John 15:5)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. (Proverbs 3:5)

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. (Jeremiah 17:7)

If anyone teaches otherwise and does not consent to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which accords with godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but is obsessed with disputes and arguments over words, from which come envy, strife, reviling, evil suspicions, useless wranglings of men of corrupt minds and destitute of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain. From such withdraw yourself. Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
(I Timothy 6:3-10)

Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. (I Timothy 6:17)

At least we are not commercializing God’s word like so many others. Instead, we speak with sincerity in the Messiah’s name, like people who are sent from God and are accountable to God. 2 Corinthians 2:17

From now on let no person trouble me by making it necessary for me to vindicate my apostolic authority and the divine truth of my Gospel, for I bear on my body the brand marks of the Lord Jesus the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me! Galatians 6:17 (AMP)

For the rest let no one trouble me, for *I* bear in my body the brands of the Lord Jesus. From now on let no person trouble me by making it necessary for me to vindicate my apostolic authority and the divine truth of my Gospel, for I bear on my body the brand marks of the Lord Jesus the wounds, scars, and other outward evidence of persecutions—these testify to His ownership of me! Galatians 6:17 (Darby)