Renowned American preacher, Dr Creflo Dollar, recently concluded his three day speaking engagement in Nairobi. He had been invited to the country by Deliverance Church Kenya, under Bishop Mark Kariuki. Dollar spoke on various topics, the most publicized being “Love, Sex and Relationships”. Now, many things have been said about Dollar’s visit. A brief scan through my Facebook Timeline is enough to reveal that people’s views on him have not been unanimous.
There are those who are avid followers of his program on TBN and their libraries are stocked with Dollar’s books. They celebrated the visit and even expressed a lot of excitement over finally getting a chance to see the much admired man of God “in the flesh.” Others, however, have not been so kind to Dollar’s visit. Numerous posts have sprung up in the form of tweets, Facebook status updates and notes, blogs and memes… warning people to stay away and avoid this “false teacher.”
The latter posts have often been followed by a heated comment section, with some people expressing genuine confusion, wondering what is wrong with Dollar’s teaching. I don’t need to go deep into this, you have probably already come across a few. In this post, I simply wanted to highlight something about the way Dollar used the Bible in one of his sermons in Nairobi recently. It was a sermon on “Love, Sex and Relationships” and you can catch the whole thing on YouTube.
I will only use the first 20 minutes to highlight a pattern that recurs in the whole 60 minutes of the sermon. Dollar begins by reading Genesis 2 and afterwards attempts to show how this passage is God’s blueprint for a healthy marriage.
He has some great points. In fact, most of his points are good, and I agree with him. For instance, Dollar believes and teaches that:
- “A proper, suitable, fit help for a man, according to the blueprint, is a WOMAN. A cow, a bird, or even another man would not be a proper, suitable, fit help for him.” God is for opposite-sex marriage, not same-sex marriage.
- “A man is calculative, a woman is intuitive. God designed them that way. A woman is made a lot smarter than a man, she’s got a built in system that lets her seize quickly about things that are going on.” While this is not a point that is explicitly taught in the Bible, it is one that can be generally observed in life, and I agree with it to the extent that it is not being taught authoritatively.
- “Listen up men, it is important that you communicate with your wife. It is important that you communicate the vision for your house, what you plan on doing with the money…” That is also a no brainer. Communication is essential to the success of any relationship.
But then there are some things Dollar says that make you go, “Well, I am not so sure about that.” For example, when he says things like:
- “One of the reasons God made a woman is because of the two trees He put in the garden. God wanted man to discover and eat from the tree of life so that we would live forever. He gave the woman enough intuition to know they needed to go to the center of the garden, because without her, the man was just foolishly wandering around the garden.” Well, I am not so sure that’s why (or even one of the whys) God put the woman in the garden.
- “Adam was not talking to his woman. Had he been talking to her enough, she would have known about the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She would have known that they were not supposed to touch that tree. But instead, Adam allowed somebody else to come in and talk to his partner and mislead her.” Well, I am not so sure about that either. Because I remember clearly in Genesis 3 the woman telling the serpent: “God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’” Eve definitely knew about the tree.
So, what is the problem? Why the apparent mixture of things that are in the Bible and things that are obviously opposed to the Bible? If you listen to the first 20 minutes of the sermon from which I picked the above examples, you will realise that all those five points are delivered in an intermixed way. The questionable points are justifications for the good points and vice versa.
For example, Dollar uses the argument that Adam did not tell Eve about the tree, to show why it is important for men to communicate with their wives. The END (communication) is good, and noble even, but the MEANS to that end is simply anti-biblical.
At another point in the 20 minutes, Dollar is teaching on love and submission in marriage. This is what he says:
“By nature, men are naturally submissive… But God wants men to take on the role of loving. Women naturally know how to love. But God says, men I want you to love your wife as Christ loves the church. Women I want you to submit. Instead of you doing what’s easy and natural to do, [God] says I challenge you know. You who is easy to submit, I want you to love, and you who is hard in submitting, I want you to submit. And when we do that, we begin to grow together. When you come together in marriage, there is an elimination of weakness.”
That is another classic example of anti-biblical MEANS leading to a biblical END. Submission and love are commended and commanded by God. The BIble actually teaches that husbands should love their wives as Christ loves the church. It also teaches that wives should submit to their husbands. These ENDS are biblical. But how does Dollar make his case? By appealing to some sociological research stereotype – that men are naturally submissive and women are naturally loving – and then putting some strange motives in God’s mind: that God wants to pit these two together and mix things up.
Do you find any problem with this kind of teaching? Or are you willing to late false and anti-biblical reasoning slide since the goal is a noble one? Do you care HOW we get to holiness or is it just a matter of opinion as long as the END is justified?
You see, Dollar believes (and teaches) that what he has just outlined above is “foundational stuff”. He says it is “God’s blue-print”. But what happens to the Berean who hears Dollar say “Eve did not know about the tree because Adam did not tell her”, and then opens Genesis 3 and realizes “Eve ALWAYS knew about the tree and she even knew it was a command from God.”?
Should such a student simply consider it an oops moment on Dr Dollar’s part? Or is this a pointer to where Dollar’s authority lies when it comes to interpreting the Bible? Is Dollar elevating the Bible over what we consider to be “the most logical explanations” or is he simply reading what is “naturally true” into the Bible? Does it even matter?
Think about it, and respond appropriately.
For the fame of His name,