Like others that have appeared on
late-night USA TV (Robert Tilton, etc), he promises money and miracles
to those who send money to him. His show looks more like a “get rich
quick” scheme than a religious program. Don ads a little trinket to his
message: a green handkerchief. I want to
explain why this guy is a false teacher and why people should be warned
Don Stewart lives in a million dollar mansion in the States. Prayer requests which are sent to him have been found in a dumpster (once the money/checks are removed). Just read this article to learn more about the hypocrisy and fraud in this man’s life and ministry. The article is well documented.
Now to my own experience and thoughts:
I decided to call the
telephone number just to see what would happen. When the show was on TV
(midnight) the lines were busy. This is quite sad, since it means people
are falling for this con. I called the next day and got an answer. The
staff member asked for my phone number (which I refused to give—don’t
need more telephone solicitors) and my address (which I did give).
Within a few days the magic hanky came (it was about a six-inch square
cloth, which can be made very cheaply here). The letter said I’m
supposed to write how much money I need then put the hanky on my wallet.
I’ll tell you more about the letter’s other instructions later. Let’s first talk about the "holy hanky" and the Bible verse that Don uses to support the practice. It is true that handkerchiefs and aprons which touched Paul did heal the sick (Acts 19:11-12). But Don’s use of this Scripture is wrong for several reasons:
This is only mentioned once in the New Testament. We never read that this practice was intended to be passed on to others. Jesus, for example, healed a man by spitting in the ground and putting the mud in his eyes (John 9:6). Why not mail out spit-mud pies to everyone?
Paul never asked money from or promised money to those who received handkerchiefs. You cannot find one New Testament example of Paul promising money or “financial miracles” in the way Don describes. You will find plenty of warnings about the worship of money, which Don conveniently ignores (along with the gospel itself).
The New Testament emphasis is on God’s power, not any object or method of healing. Watch Don’s show and you’ll see people holding on to the hankies as if they are the Holy Grail. This is idolatry, not to mention that the before-mentioned people look like complete idiots.
Don claims that the handkerchief is a “point of contact” with him, as if we need him for miracles. I do not believe that he ever even sees any of these hankies in the Philippines. It is simply a ploy to make more profit.
Miracles for Sale?
The first letter I received
offered suggestions as to how much I should contribute. Amounts
ranged from 200-500 pesos ($4 to $10). If this is not bad enough,
I received another letter within a week. Suggested contribution
ranged from 270-770 pesos ($5 to $15). Included was a promise of
seven miracles. Inflation must be affecting the price of miracles!
The organization calls it a “miracle faith seed,” but the point is
obvious: send us money and we promise a miracle.
I can think of one New Testament example of someone who wanted God’s power in exchange for money. His name was Simon the Sorcerer:
"And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee. For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me." —Acts 8:18-24
God’s message to those who
want to buy miracles: REPENT! Simon was smart enough to repent.
I hope anyone who reads this will show the same wisdom.
Warnings in the Bible
Consider some of the following warnings regarding false religious teachers. We should be careful who we listen to!
"Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." —Matthew 7:15
"Which devour widows' houses, and for a shew make long prayers: the same shall receive greater damnation." —Luke 20:47
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron." —1st Timothy 4:1-2
"But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." ―2nd Peter 2:1-3
If you truly want God's power and blessing in your life, then you need to realize that you'll likely be poor, rejected, and suffer persecution for your testimony for the Lord. We are warned in 2nd Timothy 3:12, "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." This is the exact OPPOSITE of what the lying televangelists are telling us! In Luke 16, Lazarus was the righteous man, who was carried by angels into Abraham's bosom; yet, Lazarus was poor while on earth, a beggar, and the dogs licked his wounds. The rich man went to Hellfire, where today's televangelists are headed. We don't hear any televangelists preaching against the evils of Catholicism, or the evils of homosexuality, or the evils of abortion. Instead, all we hear is about how we can get rich, healthy, and live happily-ever-after simply by sending in a donation. Shockingly, millions of people send in BILLIONS of dollars each year to these dishonest shysters! Benny Hinn alone took in over $100,000,000 last year. These evil televangelists know not the God of the Bible.
Lazarus never found health, wealth, or prosperity in this earthly life. There is NO guarantee in the Bible that we will have an EASIER life on earth just because we become a Christian; BUT, we are promised a BETTER life (John 10:9,10)because Jesus will be by our side (Hebrews 13:5) and Heaven our eternal home (John 14:1-2). In Acts 7, the Apostle Stephen was stoned to death. In Acts 12, the Apostle James was beheaded by evil king Herod. The Apostle Paul was continually being persecuted, stoned, criticized, imprisoned, and mocked for his Christian faith. How can the selfish message of today's greedy televangelists be reconciled with the Word of God. They cannot!
1st Peter 1:7 states, "That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ." God says that the trial of our faith (i.e., the problems, heartaches, and struggles of this life) are more valuable THAN GOLD. You'll never hear this truth from today's greedy televangelists. Literally, the problems in your life are more valuable in God's eyes than you having a lot of money. Why? It's because unshakable faith comes from having our faith shaken. Hebrews 11:6 tells us that we CANNOT please God without faith. Anyone can have faith when things are going good; but it takes the faith of a man like Job to hang-in-there when everything is going bad. Today's rotten-to-the-core TV preachers won't tell you this. It is because of their false preaching and malicious lies that most people today associate health, wealth, and prosperity with being right with God. Nothing could be further from the truth of God's Word.
Most of the wealthy people in this world are also the most evil, and some of the most righteous people are very poor. Social standing, financial status, nor health condition have anything to do with our being right with God. The Apostle Paul gave up a wealthy life to serve God. He became poor. Paul was imprisoned, beaten, and persecuted horribly for God. He suffered from a "thorn" in the flesh (which most theologians believe to be a health problem). We read in 2nd Corinthians 11:27 concerning the Apostle Paul... "In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." This is realty. If you want God's blessings, then you need to obey the Bible. There is no other way. You can send all your money to any televangelist you want; but it won't bring you God's blessings.
Bible-believing Christians who live for God, take a stand against sin, separate from the heathen world, and obey the Bible generally don't get rich in this world. In order to be accepted by the world today, Christians are being pressured to accept the sins of the Homosexual Movement, abortion, feminism, divorce, Harry Potter, ecumenism, and New Age philosophies. The genuine Christian who loves the Lord WON'T compromise on these issues!
The bottom line is that God won't bless anyone who is not a born again Christian, i.e., one who trusts upon the precious blood of Jesus Christ to forgive his or her sins. This excludes all self-righteousness; such as, baptism, sacraments, church membership, forsaking sins, et cetera. Only by faith alone in Jesus Christ can a person be saved. Greedy televangelists, like Don Stewart, fail to tell people that God WON'T bless an unsaved person (Psalm 7:11; John 3:36). Nor will God bless a Christian who deliberately lives in sin; thus, grieving the Holy Spirit. It is important to realize that God's blessings and judgments for the believer will not be officially dealt out until the Judgment Seat of Christ (2nd Corinthians 5:10). Some believers who live in sin enjoy the good life here on earth; while others believers who strive to live right for God suffer, and bad things continually happen to them. God will serve justice at the Judgment Seat of Christ. God hates a false balance more than anybody... "A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight" (Proverb 11:1). God would not be a fair and just God if He fails to balance the scales of justice. 1st Thessalonians 4:6, Romans 12:19, and Romans 14:12 tell us that God will judge each and every person for the good and bad done throughout their life.
I've said all this simple to point out that God is not going to bless you simply because you send money to a TV preacher. Even if you are saved, and are trying to live for God in the power of the Holy Spirit, God will not bless you for sending money to some greedy televangelist. What you ought to do is find a soulwinning ministry and get involved. Use your money to support your own soulwinning efforts. If money is what you want, then you will never be right with God. Most people today are selfish, self-righteous, and self-conscious. It's all about me, myself, and I. Greedy televangelists prey upon the covetousness of foolish people, and get rich in the process. Don't be a fool.
"And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." ―2nd Peter 2:3