Is there a new ‘gospel’ on the street? Listening to much of evangelical Protestantism one might think so. ‘Breakthrough’ teaching/preaching is all the rage these days, and has been for a couple of years now. But is it new? This blogger would give you an emphatic “NO!” answer. It’s been around for decades, first in a relatively small charismatic/Pentecostal sector of Christianity but now all over the evangelical landscape.
This post mentions a specific ministry only because this ministry promotes the ‘breakthrough’ gospel. There are many more ministries teaching the same thing as this one does. I won’t give you a list of the others – it’s too long and would distract from the purpose of this post – to inform the reader and promote further individual Berean style research.
Read on. . . .
While on Facebook the other day I received a “Suggested Post” from Nina Keegan Ministries that said this:
“IT’S TIME FOR A MAJOR BREAKTHROUGH! GOD IS AT WORK.. WATCH NOW AND LEARN MORE… GOD BLESS YOU!”
As I am prone to do, especially with the veritable plethora of ‘Christian’ posts promoting what can rightly be called the “Breakthrough Gospel”, I went all ‘Columbo’ (think short cigar smoking detective in a rumpled trench coat), and asked a question even before listening to the podcast:
Nina Keegan Ministries reply:
I found the above response to my question very interesting because neither passage teaches receiving personal ‘breakthroughs’, however I suppose you can superimpose that thought over the text (this is called eisegesis), and itching ears will perk up and applauding comments abound.
In our 1 John passage, John is stating the purpose of his writing ‘that we may know we have eternal life (the believer’s assurance). He then counsels his readers that if they pray ‘according to God’s will’ God will respond.
Proverbs 16 is a collection of moral, ethical and spiritual precepts, one of which tells us simply that when we are committed to the Lord and doing his will, our thoughts and plans will find success.
There is nothing in either passage that promises personal breakthroughs in every area of our lives. We are promised a measure of God given success in our endeavors when we are committed to his will and ask according to his will, not our desires.
Then I listened to the podcast and it was even more interesting. The above passages were not even mentioned in the podcast! Here’s the gist of the podcast’s teaching:
That ‘Jesus IS the ‘breakthrough’ was made clear from the beginning of the podcast, in those exact words. I have no issue with that statement, but we need to know what ‘breakthrough’ means. The ladies are quick to tell us:
According to the Nina and Michelle, it can mean addictions, finances, jobs, relationships – whatever you can think of. Your experiences are ‘proof’? They provided lots of experiences.
If we need a breakthrough, we need only pray the promise then declare and decree it into existence. According to the ladies, that’s what God wants us to do. On our way to receiving the breakthrough concerning the aforementioned addictions, finances, jobs, relationships, etc., we also need to break free from any bad thoughts, or a ‘slave mentality’ like the Israelites had as a result of their bondage in Egypt. It’s only when you are free from a slave mentality that you can declare and decree in faith.
Passages taken out of context:
Php 4:13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me (achieve a desired breakthrough).
That was Paul speaking to the Christians at Philippi, reminding them he had learned to be content in any situation, during hard times and good times. It’s NOT about obtaining personal breakthroughs, as implied by these ladies.
The ladies also trotted out Proverbs 29:18 “Without a vision, the people perish.” quoting the first half a KJV passage that actually says : “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.”
The ESV, and other translations render it more understandable to our non-KJV minds:
Pro 29:18 Where there is no ‘prophetic’ vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.
In other words, where God’s prophets aren’t among God’s people to remind them of the law, they tend to sin more. This passage has absolutely NOTHING to do with needing to have a vision of the ‘breakthroughs’ we desire in order to see them realized!
And of course, according to the ladies, God will supply everything you need for your breakthrough. But you need to also ask yourself “What has God said you are going to do and you haven’t done it?” This seemed to be about small steps God is telling you to climb on the way to your big breakthrough.
That brings us to their real reason we should all be experiencing breakthroughs in our lives………..wait for it………. Are you ready?
Jesus went to the Cross, and gave up his life for OUR breakthroughs! That’s right! It’s right there in Isaiah 53, and here’s the ‘irrefutable’ logic:
1. Jesus received 39 stripes/lashes.
2. There are 39 major diseases/disease categories.
3. Physical healing is therefore available for every believer as part of the atonement.
4. Since we need all sorts of healing (from addictions, poor finances, bad jobs, bad relationships, etc.), our breakthroughs were ALSO part of the atonement!
First of all, the 39 stripes = 39 diseases theory has no basis in scripture, although it’s been trotted out for years to prove we could have perpetual divine health in this life. In fact, we are not told in scripture how many lashes Jesus received. We can surmise that it was either 39 or 40 because 40 was the maximum allowed by Roman law. Sometimes the counting stopped at 39 to make sure the law was not broken due to miscounting.
Furthermore, that there are 39 major diseases/disease categories has no basis in science other than a single mention in an AMA journal by one doctor. I was able (with the help of Goggle) to find estimates of 10, 17, and 22 disease categories, with 22 being preeminent in medical journals.
So let’s take a look at the passage in Isaiah that tells us “by his stripes we are healed”:
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed. (Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV)
The obvious referent for the ‘stripes’ mentioned at the end of the passage is ‘our transgressions’, or sins. Physical healing and personal breakthroughs are NOT reasons Christ died.
As the Apostle Paul stated:
“3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures…” (emphasis mine).
Physical healing from all diseases in this life was never part of the atonement, and neither are personal ‘breakthroughs’. The teaching that they are is pure poppycock, balderdash, rubbish (take your pick).
The ladies concluded their podcast by declaring and decreeing breakthroughs for everyone watching, no matter what the need. The comments section was full of ‘Amens’ from those whose itching ears were satisfactorily scratched. If they decreed it for you and it doesn’t happen it’s your fault h for not having a vision, not taking the little steps God is telling you to take, or for not declaring decreeing it yourself, with sufficient faith of course. This is classic Word of Faith heresy.
So what? What’s wrong with people feeling good about the possibility of ‘breaking through’ – of having hope for the future? Nothing at all, unless of course it’s false hope.
I wonder how many have believed for their breakthroughs, decreeing and declaring until they were blue in the face, never saw them realized and gave up on their faith. How many have thought their personal desires were also God’s specific desire their lives? No doubt, some are, and some are legitimate needs. Some are nothing more than wants.
Are we to ignore the examples in scripture that seem to tell us we don’t always get what we want? Paul and his thorn in the flesh comes to mind. He prayed three times to have it removed but God taught him that His grace is sufficient.
At the end of the day, Christ’s death was all about our sin. If we experience blessing in our lives as a result of believing in Christ for forgiveness of our sin, it’s an outcome. The ‘breakthrough’ gospel is NO gospel at all. The same Apostle that clearly defined the gospel also had something rather harsh concerning those who would preach a different gospel:
“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8 (Paul)
Perhaps someone you know has been enticed by this ‘breakthrough’ gospel that has flooded evangelicalism. Perhaps you have at one time, maybe under another name. I know I did. Let this post be an encouragement to you and if it is, pass it on.
I rest my case. . . .