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My Mistakes
by Carol Berubee

Page 1 of 1

What is a teacher to do if he finds himself doubting what he used to believe? What is expected of a teacher who comes to understand that what she has been teaching has been wrong?

I want to publicly declare that some things I have taught in the past are wrong. Some of these mistakes may have led people to make wrong decisions. I want to go on record with an apology and an explanation of these teachings.

The Word of Faith Movement

When I was saved by the Lord back in 1997, I had attended church only once in my life. No one in my family was saved and we never went to church. When I was about 11, my mother decided we should all go to church. My brothers and I had to "try it," and if we didn't like it, we didn't have to go again. Needless to say, my parents went to church by themselves after that! They attended for another year or so and that was the end of that.

When I was saved at age 31, I had spent my adult life Godless and churchless. I really didn't know what to do because I knew that my one Sunday in church was horrendous. I couldn't stomach the thought of going to church again. Yet, I was drawn to learning more about my Savior. So, I found myself listening to TBN on the television. I had no prior knowledge, so what they said seemed to make sense. I began to buy into the idea that God saved us to have wonderful, abundant (Read: financially blessed) lives.

I began sending checks to various ministries and when there was no more money in the bank to cover the checks, I began donating with my credit card. The TV people were explaining how God would especially bless those who gave what they DIDN'T have. That was me. And I was faithfully waiting for my blessing.

Two years later, I finally took the plunge and started attending a church. I was still waiting for my financial blessings. But now, though -- through the teachings of Joyce Meyer and T.D. Jakes -- I was convinced that I just had to step out there and see what happened. I had just earned a Master's degree in Applied (Research) Psychology the year before, and I had been told by some folks at my new church that God would not have allowed me to earn that degree if He didn't want me to use it for Him. I felt uneasy about that and tried to explain that I had made the decision to enter the Ph.D. program but quit after earning the Master's because I felt that the Lord wanted me to get out. But these people at church, coupled with the teachings from TBN, convinced me that I had to take a leap of faith.

I quit my job (a job the Lord had given me just six months earlier) and started my own business that would glorify God. It was an utter failure. I spent the next nine months living off my credit cards, going $10,000 in debt, and continuing to send donations to TBN people. I was convinced that my ship had to come in soon. Finally, after nearly nine months of utter terror, I gave the Lord an ultimatum: Either He brought some money my way by October 5, 1999, or I would quit this business and beg for my old job back.

Nothing happened. There was no money. God was silent.

In November 1999, I began working back at my old job for less pay than what I was making when I had left. But it was money that I desperately needed. I was more than humbled. I was utterly humiliated.

During the first two years of my Christian walk, I was soaking in all that these "prosperity teachers" had to say. During those nine months of trying to "work for God," I had been teaching people, via my website, that God operates through the law of sowing and reaping. I was recommending books that would help people to accumulate wealth based on God's laws of prosperity. Today, I deeply regret having been a part of such a monstrous lie, not because I was duped but because I had tried to convince others that they should go into debt, if necessary, for the Kingdom of God.

Today, I understand that God does want us to be "cheerful givers," but He does not demand that we give more than He has given us. I also learned a lot more about the Word of Faith teachings, only part of which is the "prosperity gospel." Through my experience, I came to have a deep hunger for the Word. I wanted to know what is true and what is false. I wanted to know more about these teachers on TV and how it was that they were twisting the Scriptures. I learned that the Word of Faith teachers are extremely dangerous, not only because of the "prosperity gospel," but because of their views on the nature of Christ and the nature of man.

If you want to know more about the Word of Faith teachings, I highly recommend Tricia Tillin's old site, Cross+Word, now being administered by Into Truth. One word of caution: I have not read everything on that site and cannot speak toward the many other subjects Tillin has researched. I read everything about the Word of Faith movement and found it very useful.


Despite my disastrous experience with the "prosperity gospel," I still believed that God honored our tithes and offerings by multiplying them. It's just that now I was a little more careful about how much I gave and to whom I gave. I no longer gave to TBN or TBN people. I was tithing at church and fully expected to be financially blessed by that. In 2002, I was asked by the pastor to speak to the congregation on tithing because he knew that I was passionate about it. I stood before hundreds of people and gave a brilliant teaching from Exodus and Joshua that had people excited. Too bad I was wrong.

Tithing is an Old Testament "law" or "principle" that we do not see in the New Testament Church. We see "offerings" in the New Testament epistles, but not tithing. Please read a very brief explanation of the Old Testament tithe here.

I would only add that in the New Testament, we see that Yeshua was the firstfruits (tithe) to the Father. His sacrifice satisfied the requirement. The offerings are different. Throughout the Church epistles, we see that we are to give of our time and energy and money, but only as the Lord leads and only as the Lord provides. Let me put it this way: If you are in debt, why would God want you to tithe instead of pay your debt?

In Romans 13:7-8, Paul says that God desires we "owe no one anything." We have a responsibility to pay our debts. We need to pay them as soon as possible. Once we have paid what we owe, we are free to give as God desires. I am convinced that if we really gave as much as the Lord wants us to give, it would be more than the ten percent tithe. But again, we have to be careful that we give where God wants us to give, when He wants us to give. It is not a formula.

Jesus Died Spiritually

When The Passion of the Christ came out in February 2004, I was opposed to it because it is Catholic. I still am opposed to it for the same reasons. The problem is that I had said something on an audio recording that I made concerning the movie. On that recording, I had said that Jesus suffered spiritually far more than He suffered physically because sin separated Him from Father.

I don't think that I was saying that "Jesus died spiritually" in the sense that the Word of Faith teachers (and others) use the phrase. Word of Faith teaching involves an extreme view of the JDS doctrine so that Jesus was the first born again man. (This is not to say that everyone who believes that Jesus died spiritually also believes that He was born again in Hell.)

I have completed a teaching on this subject and it is posted here.

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