Creflo Dollar has built a multi-million-dollar ministry on the message that "it is the will of God for you to prosper in every way." He preaches that Christian conversion and disciplined steps of Bible study, meditation, tithing and other actions can lead believers to supernatural blessings and "total-life prosperity" promised by God.
Dollar indicates that he received the vision for "World Changers Ministries 'Christian' Center" in 1986. He held the church's first so called worship service in the cafeteria of Kathleen Mitchell Elementary School in College Park, Georgia, with only eight people in attendance and successfully receiving over $100 in contributions from those present. Over the years the "ministry" has grown rapidly and was renamed World Changers church International (WCCI). As of 2007, the congregation has grown to 30,000 members with $69 million in revenue (gross cash collections) for 2006. The congregation moved from its original cafeteria location to a modest-sized chapel, adding a weekly radio broadcast and four services each Sunday. On December 24, 1995, WCCI moved into its present location, the 8,500-seat sanctuary known as the World Dome. At a cost of nearly $18 million, it is claimed that the World Dome was built without any bank financing.
Dollar also has many satellite churches in New York City and Battle Creek, Michigan. All that, plus Dollar's Change Your World TV broadcast and Arrow Records recording label, reportedly have combined budgets exceeding $80 million. His critics regard the "prosperity gospel" as a corruption of broader biblical messages. In 2007, U.S. Senator Charles Grassley named Dollar and other evangelists in a financial investigation, citing lavish lifestyles (in Dollar's case, including Rolls Royces and homes in Atlanta and New York worth millions) and questioning their use of money collected from churchgoers and viewers. Dollar has denied any wrongdoing.
It is common for teachers of false doctrine to redefine the nature of God. A Jehovah's Witness denies the three-personed nature of the Godhead, considering Jesus to be the archangel Michael incarnate. A Mormon considers Jesus to be one of many gods and the spirit brother of Lucifer. It becomes painfully apparent that without a correct understanding of the nature of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, people find themselves worshipping a false god.
Creflo Dollar teaches that "Jesus didn't come as God, He came as a man, and He did not come perfect... 'How many of you know the Bible says God never sleeps nor slumbers? And yet in the Book of Mark we see Jesus asleep in the back of the boat. This ain't no heresy. I'm not some false prophet. I'm just reading this thing to you out of the Bible.'' (Changing Your World, December 8, 2002).
This teaching flatly contradicts John 1:14, which reads 'The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us." The Word—God in the person of the Son, i.e., Jesus Christ—became flesh, not the other way around, and to claim that God was anything less than perfect is heresy. Jesus was the God-Man and as such He had human limitations, such as having to eat and sleep like the rest of us.
Dollar's next strategy is to elevate man to the status of godhood. "I'm gonna say to you right now that you are gods, little "g." You are gods because you came from God and you are gods" (Changing Your World, September 15, 2002).
Isaiah rejects Dollar's claim when he writes, "'You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me''' (Isa. 43:10).
Dollar attempted to prove while in conversation with Kenneth Copeland that we have equality with God:
"In Philippians chapter 2, I want you to look at verse 5…. 'Let this mind, let this attitude be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.' So now, what mind, what attitude is it that you want me to make sure that this same attitude is in me?… 'Who being in the form of God thought it not robbery to be equal with God.'…Now, if I'm to take what he said here and put it on, then my whole attitude now should be I have equality with God….Now somebody says, well it's hard to think that way. Well, keep saying it….Talk yourself into it" (Believer's Voice of Victory, May 23, 2002).
God has already responded to Creflo. "To whom will you compare me? Or who is my equal? says the Holy One. Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name" (Isa. 40:25-26b). It is nothing less than blasphemy to try and claim that we have equality with God.
In context, Philippians 2:5-11 tells us that just as Christ, who is greater than us, humbled Himself, so we are to humble ourselves in relation to each other. This is just the opposite of Dollar's explanation. He is asking his followers to exalt themselves, while Jesus makes it clear that "whoever exalts himself will be humbled" (Matt. 23:12).
Psalm 111:10a states, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." By treating God as an equal to himself, however, Dollar doesn't appear to exhibit any reverential fear of Him whatsoever.
Having led his followers to believe that they are little gods who have equality with God, it follows that they should have everything their hearts desire. They thus believe that they simply can't be happy without money. "See, there are some people that believe not in prosperity….They don't want to hear about that God is a God that wants to put money in your hand….Well, you need to hear about money, because you ain't gonna have no love and joy and peace until you get some money!'" (Praise the Lord, TBN, June 20, 1999)
This teaching inevitably leads to a different gospel than the one in the Bible. Dollar questions: "What's the Gospel to those who are poor? Prosperity! What's the Gospel to those who lack? Prosperity! And if you don't preach it, then you won't be able to do anything about the poverty situation." (Ibid., April 1, 2004)
Jesus often healed the blind and the lame, but the Gospels fail to give us a single example of Jesus bestowing riches on the poor.
Dollar maintains that material possessions are important for preaching the gospel "because you have a world of people out there that don't know your Jesus, but when they start seeing you with their stuff, they're going to want to know how you got it and they'll want you to introduce them to the Jesus that's able to open doors up without the college degree" (Ibid., April 6, 2000). Dollar's gospel has people coming to Jesus for material gain instead of love for God and forgiveness of sins.
Word of Faith teaching holds that God wants his people to be financially prosperous, as well as have good health, good marriages and relationships, and to live generally prosperous lives. Word of Faith teaches that God empowers his people (blesses them) to achieve the promises that are contained in the Bible. Because of this, suffering does not come from God, but rather, from Satan. As Kenneth Copeland's so called ministry has stated, the idea that God uses suffering for our benefit is considered to be "a deception of Satan" and "absolutely against the Word of God" (Understanding Chastisement, "Knowing Your Enemy", paragraph 3). Additionally, if someone is not experiencing prosperity, it is because they have given Satan authority over their lives. God will not do anything at all unless the person invites him to. However, Word of Faith preachers seems to have forgotten the fact that prosperity is not a sign of righteousness. The example of the righteous Job in the Bible, who was suffering tremendously with God's permission, seems to be non-existent to them.
God's Word teaches that He can heal anyone, make rich and poor, anytime, but that He does not heal everyone or makes everyone rich, every time. Paul learned this truth when God explained why his thrice repeated prayer for personal healing was not granted (2 Corinthians 12:1-10); and, also, when one of Paul's faithful helpers, Trophimus, was unable to accompany him because of sickness (2 Timothy 4:20). When we pray for healing or some material gain for ourselves or others, we must never forget that such healing or material gain is always God's prerogative based upon what He knows is best for each of His children, not upon "demanding" or "claiming" such prosperity or healing.
Scripture clearly teaches us not to labor for earthly goods. Matthew 6:19-20 says, "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."
The Word of God promises that trials will come "so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Pet. 1:7).