A bestselling author and the engine behind both Joyce Meyer Ministries and the TV/radio program Enjoying Everyday Life, Joyce Meyer (even at 74 years old) holds much influence in the world today: her show reaches a potential audience of 4.5 billion people, she has authored over 100 books (translated into more than 100 languages, with millions of copies being sold each year, including 32 million overall distributed free around the world), and her annual women’s conference attracts “more than 200,000 women from all over the world to St. Louis for specifically themed teachings by her and guest speakers” (and this has been the case for over 30 years). Given the mass amount of people she either reaches or potentially reaches, this is certainly a lot of influence. Furthermore, she has been teaching the Word of God since 1976 and in full-time ministry since 1980 (the former of which is a violation of Scripture, per 1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1 Corinthians 14).
As expected, one can expect someone with a lot of influence (potential or otherwise) to have a lot written about him/her from various people/groups. Rick Henderson of South Mountain Community Church wrote an article showing Meyer’s being a product of the Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith Movement (in addition to her false doctrine, financial concerns, questionable example and lack of accountability). CARM has a page about her that shows both other examples of her false doctrine and her inability to respond to questions about her teachings. Shawn Nelson from Geeky Christian wrote a very lengthy article about whether or not Joyce Meyer was a part of the Word of Faith Movement (see here for a plethora of information about the movement’s false doctrine). Berean Research and Michelle Lesley both have a plethora of articles about Joyce Meyer (including one showing that Meyer taught that Jesus was tormented in hell by Satan and demons, which is not in the Bible anywhere). Finally, Pastor Chris Rosebrough at Pirate Christian Radio has reviewed a plethora of her messages, including but not limited to:
- how she twists and adds to Scripture, which is bad (Deuteronomy 4:2; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18-22),
- how she felt God told her to tell people, “if you’re gonna complain about something, don’t bother to pray about it”, which Rosebrough calls “utterly blasphemous” since this attitude is not found anywhere in Scripture to describe God, and
- her appearance with Beth Moore, a false teacher (see my post on Moore for more information on Beth Moore).
Despite the mass amount of information that points out the (essentially) bad of Joyce Meyer, not everyone appears to be in agreement with her being a false teacher. In fact, Ravi Zachariahs, the same guy who edited the all-time classic book Kingdom of the Cults by Walter Martin, said in an interview in late 2012 on Joyce Meyer’s TV program that God has “used her”, calling her “such a great Bible teacher.” While he has recanted statements in the past, he has yet to recant this one (at least publicly). Is he correct in his assessment? This article attempts to answer that question by arranging the mass amount of existing information in determining whether or not Joyce Meyer is in fact the “great Bible teacher” Ravi (and perhaps others) label her to be. Given the mass amount of existing information about Joyce Meyer, it will be difficult to add unique information to it. Nevertheless, this article will certainly attempt as much.
I mentioned that CARM had a page about her. CARM gives good Scriptural refutation to her false teachings, as shown:
What does Joyce Meyer teach?
For the most part, Joyce Meyer preaches a positive, biblical message that is of great value to many people. We applaud her desire to be biblical, to point women to godly submission and humility, to trusting God, being loving, to have value based on what Christ has done for us, etc. These are all good. However, there are some very significant errors that we need to address. Some of them are so bad that she is outside of biblical orthodoxy and must be considered a false teacher. Let’s take a look at what Joyce Meyer has said.
Following is a list of quotes from Joyce Meyer, along with responses.
Jesus stopped being the Son of God: “He could have helped himself up until the point where he said I commend my spirit into your hands, at that point he couldn’t do nothing for himself anymore. He had become sin, he was no longer the Son of God. He was sin.” (http://storage.carm.org/joycemeyer/joyce-meyer-Jesus-became-sin-stopped-being-son-of-God.mp3)
- Response: This is heresy. Jesus did not ever stop being the son of God. Essentially what she is saying is that Jesus stopped being divine, the eternal son, second person of the Trinity. This is an attack on the very nature of Christ and it is a dangerous false teaching. Joyce Meyer needs to repent and retract this statement. There is no place in Scripture that says Jesus stopped being the son of God. She’s adding to the word of God and placing in the hearts and minds of listeners false doctrine.
Jesus was born again: “The minute that blood sacrifice was accepted Jesus was the first human being that was ever born again,” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neKsa_74w7k&feature=related)
- Response: This is just plain wrong. Being born again means to be saved from the wrath of God for a person’s sins (Eph. 2:1-3), to have a new birth (John 3:3), and to be regenerated (2 Cor. 5:17). Mrs. Meyer is simply wrong biblically. Why does she teach this? It can only be because she has bought into many of the errors of the Positive Confession movement where many say that Jesus lost his divine nature, went to hell, finished the atonement in hell, and was born again! These are serious errors.
Jesus paid for our sins in hell: “He became our sacrifice and died on the cross. He did not stay dead. He was in the grave three days. During that time he entered hell, where you and I deserve to go (legally) because of our sin. He paid the price there.” (The most important decision you’ll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, may 1993, page 35)
- Response: This is blatantly wrong. Jesus did not pay the price of our redemption in hell. He paid the price on the cross. It was finished on the cross when he said, “It is finished,” (John 19:30). Also, consider the following verses:
- Col. 1:20, “and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
- Col. 2:14, “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us and which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”
- 1 Pet. 2:24, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.”
Jesus went to hell in our place and was tormented: “Jesus paid on the cross and went to hell in my place. Then as God had promised, on the third day Jesus rose from the dead. The scene in the spirit realm went something like this: God rose up from his throne and said to demon powers tormenting the sinless son of God, ‘let him go.’ Then the resurrection power of Almighty God went through hell and filled Jesus. On earth his grave where they had buried him was filled with light as the power of God filled his body. He was resurrected from the dead — the first born again man.” (The most important decision you’ll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, may 1993, page 36)
- Response: Where does she get this entirely fictitious dialogue between God and the demon powers? It is made up, not founded in scripture, and mistakenly assumes that Jesus went to hell, the place of torment and suffering after he died on the cross. The Bible does not teach any such thing. However, it does say that Jesus descended into the lower parts of the earth (Eph. 4:9). This can mean that Jesus was physically buried, or that Jesus went to Hades to inform those who had already died about who he was and what he did on the cross, or it can be referring to his incarnation as is contrasted with his ascending into heaven (Eph. 4:10). But there is simply no reason to believe that Jesus suffered in hell and finished the atonement there. See response to Quote 1.
If you don’t believe Jesus went to hell, you cannot be saved: “His spirit went to hell because that is where we deserve to go… There is no hope of anyone going to heaven unless they believe this truth.” (The most important decision you’ll ever make, by Joyce Meyer, second printing, may 1993, page 37)
- Response: This is an amazingly bad statement on her part. She is saying that you cannot be saved from your sins unless you believe that Jesus went to hell where we deserve to go. This is a false modification of the gospel which is found in 1 Cor. 15:1-4and states that the gospel is the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Nowhere in scripture are we told to believe that Jesus suffered for us in hell or that he went there. This is not only wrong, it is heretical.
We are called little gods: “I was listening to a set of tapes by one man and he explained it like this..this kind of gets the point across…he said why do people have such a fit about God calling his creation, his creation, his man not his whole creation, but his man, little gods? If he’s God what’s he going to call them but the God kind? I mean if you as a human being have a baby you call it a human kind. If if [sic] cattle has another cattle they call it cattle kind. I mean what is God supposed to call ’em? Doesn’t the Bible say we are created in his image? Now you understand I am not saying you are god with a capital G. That is not the issue here so don’t go trying to stone me or yell blasphemy at me.” “The Bible says right here John 10:34…’and Jesus answered is it not written in your law I say we are gods.’ So men are called God’s by the law…”(Joyce Meyer). (www.youtube.com/watch?v=yrP3OLCH9GI&feature=related)
- Response: In this clip she goes on to quote John 10:34 where Jesus says to the Pharisees “you are gods,” which is a quote from Psalm 82:6, which is an imprecatory Psalm of condemnation for the unrighteous judges. Psalm 82:7 says, “nevertheless you will die like men.” She then turned to Psalm 82 and went through it. The video stopped, so I do not know what she would have said about the next, all-important verse.
Joyce Meyer said she is not a sinner: “I am not poor. I am not miserable and I am not a sinner. That is a lie from the pit of hell. That is what I were and if I still was then Jesus died in vain. I’m going to tell you something folks. I didn’t stop sinning until I finally got it through my thick head I wasn’t a sinner anymore. And the religious world thinks that’s heresy and they want to hang you for it. But the Bible says that I am righteous and I can’t be righteous and be a sinner at the same time.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5dmHJdM63hk)
- Response: Mrs. Meyer needs a lesson in basic biblical theology. 1 John 1:8 says, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” Notice that John the apostle says “we.” He includes himself with sinners. Also, Paul said in Rom. 7:19-20, 24, “For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me…24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from the body of this death?” Is Joyce Meyer better in Christian character than John and Paul? I think not. Mrs. Meyer fails to recognize her own sinfulness, and so mistakenly denies her own sinfulness. I can only conclude that this false teaching comes from pride because it certainly isn’t biblical.
The host of hell were literally on Jesus and were laughing: “They were having the biggest party that had ever been had. They had my Jesus in the floor and they were standing on his back jumping up and down laughing. And he had become sin. Don’t you think that God was pacing, wanting to put a stop to what was going on? All the host of hell were upon him. Upon him. Up on him. The angels were in agony. All the creation is groaning. All the host of hell was upon him. Up on him. They got on him. They got him down in the floor and got on him and they were laughing and mocking. Ha ha ha ha. You trusted God and look where you ended up. You thought he’d save you and get you off that cross. He didn’t, ha ha ha.” (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwNfOaxIcOMhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SwNfOaxIcOM)
- Response: Where did she get this – in the sacred Book of Joycemeyeronomy? It is certainly not in the Bible, and yet she has no problem teaching it as an authoritative truth. Does she not know that the Bible says not to exceed what is written (1 Cor. 4:6)? She has done exactly that. She is in grave error and has violated God’s word that says that Jesus bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and finished the atonement on the cross (John 19:30) – not in hell at the hands of demons! There is no way demons were literally standing ‘on’ Jesus. Meyer is in gross error!
Joyce Meyer gets revelation knowledge: “The Bible can’t even find any way to explain this. Not really that is why you have got to get it by revelation. There are no words to explain what I am telling you. I have got to just trust God that he is putting it into your spirit like he put it into mine.” (http://storage.carm.org/audio/joycemeyer/joyce-meyer-revelation-knowledge.mp3)
Response: Revelation knowledge? Is she on par with the apostles who received revelation knowledge from God himself? Or how about the Old Testament prophets? Does she, like them, also receive revelation knowledge from God? If so, how would we know if it were true or not? The answer is simple: we test what she says against Scripture, and it is obvious that she is getting a lot of things from somewhere else that contradict the word of God.
Clearly, CARM does an excellent job refuting Joyce Meyer’s false teachings with Scripture. However, as you can see, many of the cited primary sources are either old audio, non-existent video (some of the YouTube links are no longer available) or from a 1993 book. This is the year 2017. Much can happen in 24 years. Heck, I did not become a Christian until a few months before my 23rd birthday (before I was a Christian I was heavily engaged into idolatry). It is certainly possible for Joyce to have changed her tune from years past. However, has she done so? Let’s take a look.
While the existing information suggests Meyer has not changed her tune from the early 90’s (or perhaps earlier), we need to see her statement of faith to see both sides of this coin. When we examine Joyce Meyer’s “What We Believe” section of her website, we see the following:
What We Believe
Statement of Faith
The Bible is the infallible Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and contains every answer to man’s problems.
There is one God, existing eternally in three persons: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.
God is Love and He loves all people. It is His desire to reach out to those who are poor, oppressed, widowed or orphaned, and to heal the brokenhearted.
Man is created in the image of God but separated from God by sin. Without Jesus we cannot have a relationship with God.
We can have a personal relationship with God through salvation, God’s free gift to man. It is not a result of what we do, but it is only available through God’s unearned favor. By admitting we have sinned and believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, and accepting Him as Lord, we can spend eternity with God.
We believe in water baptism, as taught and demonstrated by Jesus, as the way for believers to identify with the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a gift from God. He helps empower the believer to develop the character of Christ and live every day in God’s will.
God gives all believers spiritual gifts. They are for the strengthening of God’s people (the Church) and proof of God’s existence and power to unbelievers. The gifts of the Spirit are active and relevant today.
Sanctification is the ongoing process of allowing God’s character to be developed in us.
Divine healing is active in the lives of people today through Jesus, who is the Healer. Healing includes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual restoration.
The Bible describes hell as a real place. It is a place of suffering and a place of permanent separation from God for those who die without accepting Christ. God’s desire is that no one be separated from Him for eternity, which is why He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to earth.
Jesus will return and take all those who have accepted Him as Savior to be with Him for eternity.
While I am happy that she has a statement of faith with Scriptures after every statement (and some of these statements are legit), there is a problem here. You will notice that each Scripture citation has a hyperlink (that’s not the problem). Each hyperlink takes you to the chapter and verse of the respectively cited book (that’s not the problem either). However, each hyperlink leads to the Amplified Bible. This is a problem because the Amplified Bible is a bad translation (like the Herephrase known as The Message, only not as bad). Why? Because it unashamedly and relentlessly adds to God’s Word (which, as mentioned, is bad, per Deuteronomy 4:2, Proverbs 30:6 and Revelation 22:18-22). There is no way she can be “such a great Bible teacher” by using such a bad translation of God’s Word. The fact that this major problem exists so early right out the gate (and on Meyer’s “Statement of Faith”, no less) should catch the attention of anyone who follows her. Furthermore, it shows that she has not changed her tune from her blasphemy in the early 90’s (perhaps older, given the unknown dates of the aforementioned audio/youtube clips). How can she have changed her tune if she is still using a translation that unashamedly and relentlessly adds to God’s Word?
This article already mentioned a plethora of information showing Meyer’s false teachings. One final, recent work (from August 15, 2017) concludes this analysis. Justin Peters shared an article from 828 Ministries that shows Meyer’s teaching of the “relationship over religion” heresy. In this article, Anthony Wade, the author, explains how Meyer’s proof-texting and inability to rightly handle God’s Word leads to her false teaching. He refutes her with Scripture in doing so.
Why the simple citation of Wade’s article instead of an analysis of said citation? At this point, the comparative work has already been done. As a result, any further work on her only adds more evidence to the fact that she is a false teacher and not the “great Bible teacher” that Ravi Zachariahs and (perhaps) others label her to be. The citation only proves that the comparative work has not stopped and will not stop until she comes to repentance. Furthermore, given the aforementioned mass influence (potential or otherwise) she holds, it is necessary to keep warning until she does repent despite any potential backlash (which Wade got for his article). After all, at age 74, Joyce Meyer is not getting any younger.
To conclude, one would do well to mark and avoid Joyce Meyer (Romans 16:17). She is a false teacher that is teaching for shameful gain what she ought not to teach (Titus 1:10-11). One would also do well to pray fervently that she repents from her false doctrine (1 Timothy 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 5:17). Instead of teaching falsely, she needs to do a complete 180 by teaching about how God, being the loving but just God that He is, sent the infinite god-man Jesus Christ to die on the cross and rise from the dead to pay the penalty for our sins and purchase the free gift of heaven for us since we are sinners who cannot save ourselves (1 John 4:8; Exodus 34:7; John 1:1, 14; Isaiah 53:6; 1 Timothy 1:15; Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9; Romans 3:23; Matthew 5:48). We receive this free gift of heaven (eternal life) through faith, which is a trusting saving faith in Christ alone and not mere head knowledge (Acts 16:31; James 2:17). While Joyce Meyer’s statement of faith has plenty of Scripture, it is pointing to a bad translation that is aiding her false teachings. Furthermore, given her influence, these false teachings are potentially (if not certainly) leading many astray. It is clear she has not changed her tune from the early 90’s (or perhaps earlier than that, given when she started). Like Anthony Wade, Chris Rosebrough, CARM and the many others that have compared her teachings to God’s Word, let’s keep the comparative work going as we pray for her repenting from her false, dangerous teachings.