A Closer Look at the Teachings of Joyce Meyer
A friend of mine mentioned the famous televangelist Joyce Meyer to me one day and suggested that I read one of Meyer’s books. So I read the book my friend had just read: Managing Your Emotions: Instead of Your Emotions Managing You, published in 2002, a book that is representative of the books Meyer sells by the millions.
Early in her book Meyer warns;
“There is a lot of spiritual ‘junk’ being offered today, and some of it sounds so good and feels so right. Make sure what you are following is in line with the Word of God and is initiated by His Holy Spirit.” p 81
Are Joyce Meyer’s teachings “in line with the Word of God”?
Let’s take a look…
SAVED BY FABULOUSNESS
Meyer sets the tone early in her book; “My husband and I have a fabulous life” she writes on page 59, “Many times things are so wonderful for us I feel like a fairy princess.” “Here I am traveling all over the world,” she continues, “people are coming to hear me speak, I’m on radio and television, and God is opening doors to me everywhere I go – I am so blessed!”
And her readers? Meyer, equating herself with Abraham, goes on to tell them, “God will bless you too – if you will walk in His ways and trust him to be your recompense, your very great reward, your vindicator.”
Note the “if”. Meyer crams her book full of these “if”s and “unless we”s –piling up an endless list of hurdles that she insists her followers must jump before they can hope to approach the “wonderful” “fairy princess” “fabulous” life, the “blessed” life that she supposedly has and that she assumes they want.
“If we are willing to control our emotions, God will bless us.” “…if we are being obedient to the Word and will of God and are being led by His Holy Spirit, we have nothing to fear from our enemies.” “If we do things God’s way, we will experience God’s victory.” And the clincher: “Unless we are obedient to God’s Word, the Word will have no effect on us.”
“Each of us,” she explains, “can be as blessed as Abraham was, if we will be as faithful and obedient as he was.”
Meyer’s message is clear enough; she is so “blessed” because, according to her, she is as “faithful and obedient” as Abraham was. As for you, in Meyer’s book you’re not there yet.
Meyer’s error here is hard to over-emphasize; from the beginning of her book her teaching rejects the Bible’s.
To start, Meyer ignores the simple fact that in the story of Abraham, there are no “ifs”. Nothing that God promises to Abraham is conditional on Abraham’s behavior, all is an unearned gift from God’s grace. Yet Meyer asserts, “God told Abraham that if he would obey Him, God would bless those who blessed him and curse those who cursed him.” It actually says nothing of the kind. It simply says “Go” … “and I will make of you a great nation. … I will bless those who bless you, and him who curses you I will curse and through you all the people of the earth will be blessed”
There is no “if”.
Later, in Genesis 15, when God says to Abraham “Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great,” there is no “if you will walk in His ways” as Meyer claims –there is no “if” at all. Meyer ignores what the story actually says, rejecting God’s grace and replacing it with her own long list of conditionalities, over and over depicting herself as admirably fulfilling them. To the followers of the televangelists, who have been taught a perverted concept of faith, this may seem insignificant, but it represents the difference between the useless self-righteousness that Meyer teaches and the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ that the Bible teaches.
In the fourth chapter of Romans, Paul examines the same story of Abraham that Meyer discusses above. His conclusion is simply the opposite of Meyer’s.
It’s important to read Paul’s words in Romans closely, in their context:
“What then are we to say was gained by Abraham, our ancestor according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.’ Now to one who works, wages are not reckoned as a gift but as something due. But to one who without works trusts him who justifies the ungodly, such faith is reckoned as righteousness.’” Romans 4: 1-4
First, Paul makes clear that it’s not because Abraham was “faithful and obedient” and “walked in His ways” that he was promised a blessing by God, as Meyer insists –it was because of Abraham’s faith in God, which was “counted to him as righteousness” rather than any deeds of his own.
Second, it’s perfectly clear that “blessed” in Meyer-speak does not mean accepted by God through faith, it means “raking in the money”, as we’ll see in Chapter 3. Abraham received a promise that “through you all the people of the earth will be blessed”, and that “blessed” refers to the access by faith all will have to salvation through the death of Christ. But Meyer isn’t interested in that for herself or her followers. She makes it clear that she has earned her “blessed”, “fairy tale” life of wealth and fame through her own actions, brought about by her own will, not by faith in God. “It takes a constant act of the will to choose to do things God’s way,” Meyer insists, referring, as always, to herself as the ideal.
“All we have to do today,” Meyer breezily states on p 53, “is what Moses had to do -obey.” Her ignorance of the story of Moses is telling –Moses was denied entrance into the promised land because he disobeyed God, yet Meyer presents herself as doing what even Moses could not and teaches her followers that they can do the same if they just have the will power, like she, supposedly, does.
But Moses followed God by faith and the reward he was looking for was the same as Abraham’s -not money, power or a supposedly “blessed”, “fabulous life” like Meyer’s, all of which he gladly rejected, but eternal life with God.
“By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a short time. He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward.” Hebrews 11:24-26
Meyer’s rejection of the biblical principal of salvation by faith is clear.
Her disdain toward her own followers is equally clear; “To receive from God what he has promised us in His Word,” she writes on p 54, “we must obey the Word. ‘Yes’, you may say, ‘but I have been doing the Word for a long time and I still don’t have the victory!’
Then do it some more.”
The apostle Paul teaches the opposite, again from the fourth chapter of Romans;
“Therefore, the promise comes by faith, so that it may be by grace and may be guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring—not only to those who are of the law but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham.” Romans 4:16
Clearly, Meyer neither knows nor teaches this faith.
Salvation by faith is an essential doctrine of Christian belief. It means that our reconciliation with God and the righteousness that comes from it is not earned by our actions but by putting our faith instead in Christ’s –specifically his self-sacrificing atonement for the sins of the world on the Cross. It’s “by his wounds that we are healed” and it’s by giving up faith in our own actions and putting our faith instead in His completed work that we receive that healing.
“For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith.” Phil 3:9
“By grace are you saved, through faith; and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God –not by works, so that no one can boast.” Eph 2:8
And since Meyer rejects this essential biblical teaching, she boasts plenty;
“Do you want to continually bruise Satan’s head, as I am doing in my life and ministry?” asks Meyer later in the book (p172). You’re not doing it, it is assumed, but she, of course, is. “God fills every room in my heart, so that I am filled with His light.” “I walk in light and peace and joy,” Meyer continues (p82). “You can say the same thing if…” –yet another in her endless stream of “ifs” –“if you will open your heart to God and allow Him to fill every part of you with His life-giving Spirit.” Meyer paints the picture; “every part” of her is filled with God’s “life-giving Spirit” and since you aren’t there yet, you must follow her advice to get there. And of course, you can’t just “open your heart” and receive God’s spirit as a gift from God’s grace –that would be too easy. Her followers must first do everything Meyer tells them to so they can “sooner or later” get there; “… if you will stay on that narrow path and leave all your excess baggage behind, sooner or later you will find the peace, joy and fulfillment you seek.” (p 63)
Jesus, unlike Meyer, puts no such hurdles in the way of His followers;
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” John 7:37
And you don’t need to do anything Joyce Meyer says to receive it, you need instead to come to Christ and put your faith in him rather than in yourself –or in Joyce Meyer.
Early in her book (p66) Meyer states flatly, “I firmly believe that no person will ever walk in God’s will and ultimately in victory if…” –still another of Meyer’s “if”s –“if he takes counsel with his emotions.”
But according to the Bible, “the victory” is not, as Meyer constantly insists, the result of our actions, whether “controlling our emotions” or “walking in God’s will” –it’s our faith;
“For whatever is born of God overcomes the world; and this is the victory that overcomes the world, our faith.” 1 John 5:4
Seeming to contradict herself (as she often does) at one point Meyer even writes: “I needed to know that God loved me unconditionally and His love was not something I could buy with works or good behavior.” (p44) But how does she go about this? By putting her faith in Christ’s death on the cross as the proof of God’s love? “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us,” says 1 John 3:16. Of course not –it’s not in what Jesus did that Meyer puts her faith but in her own efforts: “Through the process of continual study and meditation in this area, I became rooted and grounded in God’s love as the Apostle Paul encourages us to do in Ephesians 3.”
Unsurprisingly, that’s not at all what Paul says. It’s not “continual study and meditation”, or any work on our part, that grounds us in love, but faith;
“I pray that he would give you, according to his glorious riches, strength in your inner being and power through his Spirit, and that the Messiah would make his home in your hearts through faith. Then, having been rooted and grounded in love, you will be able to understand, along with all the saints, what is wide, long, high, and deep— that is, you will know the love of the Messiah, which transcends knowledge, and will be filled with all the fullness of God.” Eph 3:16-19
It’s apparent that Meyer rejects faith because faith means abandoning self-will, what Nietzsche called “the will to power”, the driving force behind Meyer’s ideology. An essential point of Meyer’s book is her contention that “we fight against our emotions –by using our will to make a decision to follow God’s Word (p23).” Meyer is saved by her doing, her will, her effort – all to her credit and glory, not Christ’s. She claims she is using her will to follow God’s will, but in doing so she makes it plain that she refuses to abandon her own will in order to believe in Christ –she’d rather believe in herself. There’s no more “worldly” philosophy than this; the rejection of faith in God and in Christ’s atoning death on the cross for faith instead in one’s self. Meyer claims to be preaching the gospel but she is doing the opposite; rejecting faith in Christ and teaching others to do the same.
One only needs to read the titles of her recent books to perceive the spirit of the religion of the self-will that Meyer is preaching: “Never Give Up!: Relentless Determination to Overcome Life’s Challenges”, “Winning the Battle in Your Mind”, “Overcoming the Obstacles to Your Happiness”, “21 Ways to Conquer Anxiety, Fear, and Discontentment”, “Overcoming Your Need to Please Everyone.” The message is repeated over and over again; it’s all about one’s self and one’s efforts –“conquering”, “overcoming”, “winning” –not about giving up on one’s self-will and instead putting one’s faith in Christ, who by the sacrifice of his own life conquered death, overcame the world and purchased eternal life for all who put their faith in him rather than in themselves.
“This is the work of God, to believe in the one whom he has sent.” John 6:29
That one is Jesus, not Joyce.
I LOVE ME THIS I KNOW, JOYCE MEYER TELLS ME SO
Meyer admits that she wasn’t always the example that she holds herself up to be in her book. She describes her earlier life:
“I was a controller and manipulator. I was out of control emotionally. I was depressed. I had mood swings. I had a bad attitude, a horrible self-image, and low self-esteem. I didn’t like myself or anybody else.” p 191
How did Meyer find deliverance from this fallen state? Does she seek repentance and God’s healing grace and forgiveness? Of course not, repentance would be “pitiful and not powerful” as she puts it. Meyer finds her salvation not in the Word, but, as we shall see, in the principles of the self-help gurus:
“Finally I had to learn to just look myself in the mirror and say, “Joyce, I love you just the way you are, and I am going to get along with you. I am not going to be against you anymore.” p 210
In her book, Meyer claims her transformation comes, not by repenting of her behavior and putting her faith in Christ and his atonement for the world’s sins, but, as always, by her own effort –in this case by loving herself. And for those who aren’t happy with their own behavior, Meyer admonishes them not to look to Christ for their salvation but at themselves in the mirror;
“Look at yourself in the mirror every morning and say, ‘I like you. You are a child of God. You are full of the Holy Spirit. You are capable. You have gifts and talents. You are a neat person –and I like you.’ If you do that and really believe it, it will work wonders in overcoming a shame-based nature. ” p 209 (More on a “shame-based nature” later.)
Meyer claims that her basis for this teaching is in the gospels, when someone asked Jesus;
Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?
Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt 22:36
About this, Meyer writes;
“He must have meant that it’s as important to love ourselves as it is to love others. But it is not enough to love ourselves, we must also like ourselves… If you don’t like you, you are going to have a hard time liking anyone else.” p 206-7
But Meyer, as she regularly does, is reading into the biblical text something that is simply not there. She doesn’t explain how it could be semantically possible to simultaneously love one’s self and not “like” one’s self. She also never explains why her word should take precedence over the words of Christ, who makes no such differentiation. She simply expects it. She is, after all, Joyce Meyer and Jesus in Meyer’s book is, well, just Jesus –neither her Lord nor her Savior but rather her personal assistant, there to confirm how wonderful she is. (“There’s nothing wrong with you,” she claims Christ personally tells her elsewhere in the book, “but there is a lot right about you.” p 178)
Of course the Word nowhere teaches that we are to love ourselves or that doing so will “work wonders” or that not doing so will keep us from loving others. It teaches instead that we should put our faith in God, who alone has the power to “work wonders”. It teaches we should first love God no matter how we feel about ourselves. And it teaches;
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34
This is Christ’s “new” commandment, that we love others not as Joyce Meyer selfishly loves herself but as Christ selflessly loved us, a love that cost him his very life, the greatest love of all.
The “wonder working” power of self love, as Meyer describes it, is a concept that comes, not from the Word, but directly from the stack of writings by self-help gurus from which Meyer has derived many of the underlying principles of her teachings.
“If there is a panacea or cure-all to life, it is self-love,” wrote Paul Solomon, famed “psychic”, “seer” and channeler of the “universal mind”, fifteen years before Meyer’s book.
The end notes of Debbie Ford’s book, The Secret of the Shadow, which came out three years before Meyer’s, claim that Ford “has opened the hearts of thousands, bringing them the gift of self-love and emotional freedom.” Ford’s message, like Meyer’s, is that rather than living a life of loving others after Christ’s example, we should instead “embrace all of who we are, the good, the bad, dark and light”. “I think I would tell everybody that you have the right to love all of who you are,” writes Ford. “That’s when we return to wholeness.” Ford claims inspiration from Lazaris, a “spiritual teacher” “channeled” by Jack Purcel , the poet Rumi (“become the idol of yourself”), and New Spirituality advocate Neale Donald Walsch.
Pop psychologist and regular Oprah guest John Bradshaw, famous for popularizing the “inner child” concept, wrote in his best-selling 1988 book, Healing The Shame That Binds You, “Total self-love and acceptance is the only foundation for happiness and the love of others.” Though she never mentions or acknowledges him, Meyer lifts many of her most appallingly unbiblical teachings directly from Bradshaw, particularly in her “Rooted in Shame” chapter, and her final chapter “Restoring the Inner Child”. The “shame based nature”, which Meyer refers to repeatedly and treats as scripture, comes directly from Bradshaw’s books and is found nowhere in the Bible.
In his 1994 best seller, The Six Pillars of Self Esteem, the hugely influential pop psychologist, Nathaniel Branden explained “People who do not experience self-love have little or no capacity to love others.” Branden is famous as the father of the “self esteem” movement, for his adulterous affair with Ayn Rand, and also for his atheism; “Anyone who engages in the practice of psychotherapy,” he wrote, “confronts every day the devastation wrought by the teachings of religion.” Along with his teachings on self-love, Meyer preaches Branden’s popular theories about the importance of self-esteem (which have since been disproven) as gospel truth.
Melanie Beattie wrote about “that sacred space we call self-love. It is a portal and a gateway. How we find it is a mystery; so is its power to get us to the next place.” Beattie’s book was called Stop being mean to yourself: a story about finding the true meaning of self-love and came out in 1998, four years before Meyer’s book. Beattie is also the author of the 1986 best seller Codependent No More, a book Meyer draws from liberally, often lifting entire sentences almost verbatim. Beattie more than once acknowledges her debt to Branden in her book. Meyer never acknowledges anyone.
Meyer’s “look at yourself in the mirror” prescription is from deeper in the self-help grab bag. Norman Vincent Peale prescribed it decades ago in his 1952 book The Power of Positive Thinking, and it’s been repeated in the self help books constantly since. “Look at yourself in the mirror every morning,” he wrote, “and say ‘I am a success.’ “ Although Peale’s goal is “success”, Meyer’s is something different: salvation from the “shame-based nature”, not by faith in what Christ did but by faith in what you do –verbally declaring your own self-love.
This is Meyer’s procedure throughout her book; she takes the principles of the best-selling pop psychologists and self-help gurus, twists and distorts Bible verses to fit them, throws in some pious platitudes, and magically transforms it all into a tax-exempt “Christian ministry”. For every new fad in the self-help genre Meyer brings out a Jesussed-up version in response. But Meyer’s religion is built on the religion of the Self, not the religion of the Savior, on the sand of pop psychology, not on the Rock of Christ and his teachings.
The apostle Paul warned;
“There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud...” 2 Timothy 3:1-2
And Meyer has twisted and perverted the teachings of Christ into just another tool to transform her followers into lovers of themselves and money too, just like Joyce.
Not surprisingly, after advocating in her book the “wonder working” power of self-love based, falsely, on the command to “love your neighbor as yourself”, Meyer never goes on to bother with the “love God” and “love your neighbor” that Christ taught. It’s not the life of loving God and loving others that’s the goal in Meyer’s book, but a life of God loving me and I loving myself. It’s all about “me”. Meyer writes;
“Stop blaming yourself and feeling guilty, unworthy and unloved. Instead begin to say, ‘If God is for me, who can be against me? God loves me, and I love myself. Praise the Lord, I am free in Jesus’ name, amen.’ ” p 213
But we are not free in Christ because we declare we are, any more than we are lottery winners because we declare we are –it is not our words that free us but Christ, the Word incarnate Himself, who does;
“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
And the freedom that Christ brings is the result not of our self love but of his selflessness;
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that, free from sins, we might live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2.24
This healing, the soul-healing result of mankind’s reconciliation with God, was accomplished 2000 years ago by Christ’s atonement for our sins. And it is received by faith and not by our efforts, as the Bible teaches over and over but Meyer either doesn’t know or refuses to believe.
We can “stop blaming ourselves” when we believe that Christ took the blame for us. We can “stop feeling guilty” when we believe both that we are sinners in need of atonement and that Christ’s death atoned for all our sins. And we can know what love is, not when we love ourselves but when we accept the boundless love of Christ;
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.” 1 John 3:16
“…whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” Matt 20:26-28
This is the love of God that was revealed to the world in Christ –a love that inspires those who believe in Him to love, not themselves, but God and to serve, not themselves, but others.
BLESSED BY MAMMON
“Beware, and be on your guard against every form of greed.” -Jesus
Meyer often boasts in her book of her “blessedness”; recall her proclaiming in the first chapter “I am so blessed!” But what exactly does Meyer mean by “blessedness”? Is it faith or the righteousness that comes by faith, or the forgiveness of all our sins, or knowing God in Christ, or loving God and others? Unfortunately, none of those are a priority in Meyer’s book.
When Meyer was questioned by a local newspaper about her $20 million office complex, full of millions of dollars worth of antique furniture, the $10 million private jet, the $4 million family “compound” (see link below), the half million dollar vacation home and the fleet of personal luxury cars worth hundreds of thousands, all paid for by her “ministry”, her response was curt and unequivocal: “there’s no need for us to apologize for being blessed.”
There is a serious problem with Meyer calling herself “blessed” due to her “fabulous” wealth. It’s not just the fact that Meyer claims her “blessedness” is somehow earned by her supposed obedience, as we saw in the first chapter. The problem is that it completely contradicts the teachings and spirit of Christ on the subject of just who is and who isn’t “blessed”;
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
But woe to you who are rich,
for you have already received your comfort.” Luke 6: 20, 24
Jesus calls the poor “blessed” and denounces the rich? Meyer is again either ignorant of or intentionally rejecting Christ’s clear teaching.
By denouncing the rich, Jesus was speaking entirely within the biblical tradition.
“Why should I fear in times of trouble,
when the iniquity of my persecutors surrounds me,
men who trust in their wealth
and boast of the abundance of their riches?” Psalms 49: 5
“Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches.” Ps 73:12
“Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread.” Proverbs 30:8
What both Jesus and the Psalmist call “daily bread” is clearly not enough for Meyer, to put it mildly.
In her book, Meyer talks at length (p135-136) about a particular solid gold watch she coveted, but had postponed buying while she considered a less expensive, merely gold-plated, version. When her husband Dave unexpectedly gifted her the solid gold watch, along with an expensive suit and gold ring to match, Meyer exults, “I thanked the Lord that I had had the sense to let Him work out His plan for me”, otherwise “… I would have ended up with a cheap watch that I would not have been happy with very long.”
The “cheap”, gold-plated version, by the way, cost $800 in 2002.
Meyer, who boasted in the book “I am filled with peace and joy” makes it very clear where her joy comes from; “when Dave presented me with that 14-karat gold watch I had wanted so badly, I was filled with joy.” (p135)
“Joy” is hardly the emotion the Bible teaches is in order here;
“Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. … Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire.” James 5:3
Meyer goes on in her book about purchasing her new house, apparently the multimillion dollar family compound mentioned earlier –paid for, like everything else, by Joyce Meyer Ministries. “I knew the house was a gift from the Lord” she writes on p 137, describing it as “a good financial investment for us”. Ever the example to her readers of “Managing Your Emotions” Meyer explains how she didn’t get overly excited about it, as she might have in the past. Instead she was “filled with calm delight”. Why? Because by being too excited “sometimes we take away the joy and blessedness that should exist between us and the Lord when He does something special for us.”
This, according to Meyer, is where she finds her “joy and blessedness”, not in Christ and his atonement for the world’s sins and reconciliation with God but in gold and real estate.
After washing his disciple’s feet, the work normally of the lowest servant, Jesus put an “if” before his disciples and pronounced a blessing if they obeyed it;
“For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” John 13:17
Here’s a promise of a blessing Meyer is not taking up. Meyer knows these things, but doing them she isn’t.
Meyer has a multimillion-dollar mansion and a $500,000 summer home. Jesus was homeless. Meyer has a private jet and a fleet of luxury cars. Jesus had a borrowed donkey. Jesus’ example was one of utter humiliation, of being what Meyer mocks as “pitiful not powerful”, of washing his disciples feet, as if he were the lowest kind of slave, and of giving up everything, including his life, for others. Meyer’s example is one of exalting herself over others, of power and fame, of gaining millions of dollars in property, cars, jewelry, clothes and more from her “ministry” –all paid for by her followers, who gain nothing in return but the poisonous anti-gospel that Meyer is selling them.
The contrast could not be more stark and Jesus’ warning above to “be on guard against all forms of greed” could not be more applicable.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He [i.e. Jesus] said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.” Luke 16:13
While televangelists rail against things like abortion and gay rights, they greedily contaminate themselves with the one thing that Jesus describes as detestable, what he calls the “unrighteous Mammon”, a “wicked idol” –money. And, like Meyer, they equate that money with “blessedness”. Could Meyer, who constantly sets herself up as the example, possibly be more unlike Christ’s example? Could she be more out of line with the Word of God?
The “prosperity gospel” that Meyer preaches convinces her followers not only that Meyer is so much more “blessed” than they are due to her millions, but that if they don’t have money themselves they are somehow “cursed”. The Bible, fortunately, everywhere teaches the opposite.
A faithful man will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. Proverbs 28:20
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? … Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? James 2:5-7
Paul warned in First Timothy against those who teach such doctrines, who are people “…of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.” He continues;
People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. 1 Tim 6:5, 8-10
Unlike Meyer, the apostle Paul knew what true “blessedness” was -not gaining anything in this world, but gladly losing everything to keep the “exceeding great reward” of Christ and the righteousness that comes by faith in Him:
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith. Phil 3:8-9
And the Christians of the Bible found their joy, not in gold, fame and real estate as Meyer does, but in the very loss of those things for the sake of Christ, because they were looking ahead to the same “recompense”, the “very great reward” that Abraham and Moses looked for;
“Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you stood your ground in a great contest in the face of suffering… You sympathized with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Hebrews 10: 32, 34-35
The reward that true believers look for is not in this world but in the next, as Christ teaches over and over:
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6: 19-21
“All these people died having faith. They did not receive the things that were promised, yet they saw them in the distant future and welcomed them, acknowledging that they were strangers and foreigners on earth. …they were longing for a better country, that is, a heavenly one. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, because he has prepared a city for them.” Hebrews 11: 13-16
But Joyce Meyer already has her “reward”, and she has made it clear that it is squarely in this world, not in the next; “If you stay in your faith you are going to get paid,” Meyer asserts in the examination of her luxurious lifestyle by her local newspaper; “I’m living now in my reward.”
The antidote to Meyer’s corrupt teaching is, fortunately, simple:
“The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” Galatians 3:8
It’s Christ by whom the world is “blessed by God”, by faith, not money.
There is much, much more that could be written to show just how completely “out of line with the Word of God” Joyce Meyer’s teachings are. Her followers are being led, not to heaven, but to the ditch, not to love and serve God but to love and serve themselves. She is leading them to a life of arrogance, greed, self-aggrandizement and self-love, a life “just like Joyce”, a life that is in every way the opposite of the life that Christ taught and the example he gave.
After reading these few chapters, the truth should be clear: to follow Joyce Meyer is to reject Jesus Christ.
If you’ve read this far, please leave a comment. All comments are appreciated.
For an excellent indepth critique of Meyer’s books Beauty for Ashes and Approval Addiction in pdf format by a different author please click here.
For more examples of how Meyer twists scripture to fit her “affirmation coach” role, click here.
For the testimony of a former Joyce Meyer follower click here.