Author, pastor at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church (soon-to-be lead pastor at Redemption Church in South Carolina), the main guy in his show The Book of John Gray on the Oprah Winfrey Network (aka OWN) and speaker at the 2016 Code Orange “Revival” (an evening featuring a who’s who of false teachers, including Louie Giglio, Craig Groeschel, Joyce Meyer, Christine Caine, Dharius Daniels, Carl Lentz, Levi Lusko and Steven Furtick), John Gray (born in 1973 and a preacher since age 21) is certainly a rising name in the evangelical world. In an effort to test all things and hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21-22), this article compares John Gray’s teachings to God’s Word to see if he is a sound handler of God’s Word. This article also gives a commentary on the aforementioned show.
As the first sentence of this post noted, Gray is a pastor at Lakewood Church. This church is pastored by Joel Osteen, the most popular Word-Faith prosperity preacher in the world. Despite the popularity, Osteen is known for preaching an “empty gospel.” The church itself has one of the shorter “what we believe” sections I have seen, as shown by the below screenshot:
While the section has some good things noted, it is void of any Scriptural support, thus making it incomplete at best. What’s worse is the church’s clear support for women pastors, as shown below via the three separate screenshots:
The church has no less than 3 female pastors. God’s Word forbids women pastors (1 Timothy 2:9-15 and 1 Corinthians 14; Pastor Chris Rosebrough of Pirate Christian Radio also offers insight from his review on Jory Micah, someone who doesn’t believe women are to be kept silent in the church). The fact Gray is associated with a church that clearly approves of women pastors is not a good thing.
Another association of Gray’s is Redemption Church in South Carolina. Gray is scheduled to replace the retiring Ron Carpenter at the church at some point later this year. The church website shows Ron and his wife, Hope, as senior “pastors”, as shown:
While this church does not have as many female pastors as Lakewood does, the fact it placed a woman under the label “pastors” shows it must approve of such a thing. This is not good. What is good, however, is the church’s statement of faith. This is posted not too far below the section on the church’s pastors:
The statement of faith above is pretty solid, for it has good Scriptural support. Hopefully Gray will leave this part of the church website alone as he transitions to that church.
As this article mentioned, Gray has a show on Oprah Winfrey’s network. Winfrey is well-known for her New Age beliefs. These beliefs are contrary to what the Scriptures say. The fact Gray would use her network as a platform for himself violates what the Scriptures say (2 John). It is also alarming.
Finally, as mentioned earlier, Gray was a speaker at the 2016 Code Orange “revival.” This event featured a who’s who of false teachers. At this point, it is clearly obvious that Gray has no problem associating himself with either false teachers or churches that are not in full obedience to God’s Word despite statements of faith that, on the surface, claim the contrary. Despite those things, they are not enough on their own to discredit Gray as a pastor. After all, “We’re all connected to each other indirectly.” Guilt by association is hardly, if ever, enough. Therefore, Gray’s sermons represent the best thing to examine to determine whether or not Gray is a false teacher.
Not much existing research compares Gray’s teachings to what God’s Word says. Thankfully, two organizations mention him either in passing or in detail. I list these sources in order of source. First, I list a brief video by an organization called WWUTT. Second, I list eight segments done by Pastor Chris Rosebrough at Pirate Christian Radio (in order of oldest to newest, spanning both Fighting for the Faith and Issues, Etc.).
- The organization WWUTT (When We Understand The Text) mentioned Gray in passing as a false prophet who uttered a false prophecy known as a blandishment (which is an empty promise that stirs up a false hope). The audio in the video is clearly Gray’s voice. The fact he engages in what amounts to fortune-telling is clearly not a good thing (Deuteronomy 18:14).
- September 13, 2016: Beginning at the 20:34 mark of this episode (which highlight’s the Gray’s aforementioned appearance at the 2016 Code Orange “Revival”), Rosebrough notes how Gray’s association with Osteen (which was noted earlier) is a bad thing. More importantly, Rosebrough notes the narcigesis Gray engages in as Gray tries (and fails) to rightly handle Acts 2:1. Gray actually reads Elevation Church into the passage (which is simply blasphemous and a twisting of God’s Word). Roseborugh also notes the other heresies Gray preaches (Word-Faith, the “quid pro quo” heresy I debunk in this semi-devotional here, etc.). In the second half of this segment, Rosebrough notes how Gray scratches itching ears (which is not a good thing, per 2 Timothy 4:1-5), narcigetes 1 Samuel 16:7, manipulates the crowd (stirring them up into a frenzy, even) and puts false teacher Steven Furtick in the same class as the Bible’s King David. This good review is a clear instance of Gray’s inability to rightly handle God’s Word.
- September 15, 2016: Beginning at the 37:34 mark of this episode, Rosebrough actually does not do a review per se. Instead, he plays an audio-video that does a comparison between John Gray and The Village Church’s Matt Chandler. Reformed Thug Life has a similar video. The point? John Gray is a clear narcigete who tries to make the Bible about you, the reader (or in the case of that “revival”, the audience member). Furthermore, Gray tries to make the reader/audience member King David in 1 Samuel. The Bible, however, as Chandler rightly states, is not about you or me. It is about Jesus (John 3:39-40, 5:39-47; Luke 24:25-27).
- October 25, 2016: Beginning at the 7:22 mark of this episode, Rosebrough notes how Gray approves of women pastors (which as mentioned earlier, is not biblical). Gray also twists 1 Kings 18. Gray does himself no favors by, instead of reading the passage in context, parachuting right into the middle of a story (as he does in verse 41 of that chapter). Rosebrough notes how the fact “Gray twists God’s Word without conscience shows he’s just like one of the prophets of Baal.” To conclude, Rosebrough rightly calls Gray a “false teacher and idolater.”
- October 28, 2016: In this episode from Issues, Etc., Pastor Chris and show host Todd Wilken discuss the aforementioned John Gray segments from the Code Orange “revival” and Gray’s narcigeting of 1 Kings 18. Pastor Chris notes some good things about Gray. Specifically, Gray is funny, engaging, witty and one with impeccable timing. Conversely, Gray’s handling of God’s Word is the worst that Rosebrough “has heard from anyone on the planet.” Rosebrough calls Gray “incapable of just basic exegetical techniques and hermeneutics.” Rosebrough also notes the same things he noted in his message reviews from the aforementioned episodes. This includes the narcigesis and manipulation.
- December 13, 2016: Beginning at the 55:14 mark of this episode, Rosebrough reviews a segment in which Keith Craft (apparently a Joel Osteen wannabe) prophesies over John Gray (who at this point is a clear Bible-twister). Rosebrough calls this thing “wicked” (it doesn’t help that prior to this prophesying in this segment, Rosebrough noted how Craft clearly twisted Ephesians 4). Craft calls Gray a “gift from God” (which is wrong since Gray is a clear narcigete and twister of God’s Word). Rosebrough calls Gray a variety of terms prior to the part that features Gray’s brief speaking (said terms include “dangerous false teacher”, “wolf” and “heretic”). Gray notes how he has an upcoming show called the The Book Of John (Rosebrough calls this thing “blasphemous”; I discuss the show a bit more later. The show is actually called The Book of John Gray). To conclude, Rosebrough calls Gray a “narcissistic eisegete” (which is true).
- March 14, 2017: Beginning at the 1:00:16 mark of this episode, Rosebrough notes how Gray, in addition to giving an affirmation on women pastors (which Gray did on point #4 of this section), twists Romans 8:18-19. Furthermore, Gray speaks in tongues during this message, which is forbidden, as Rosebrough notes (Roseborough cites 1 Corinthians 14 in his refutation). To conclude, Rosebrough asks, “Why is the church putting these clowns and buffoons in front of them, rather than exegetes who show themselves approved?” It is a good question. After all, as the links clearly show, Gray is far from a sound handler of God’s Word.
- January 5, 2018: Beginning at the 21:32 mark of this episode, Rosebrough notes how Gray fills the people’s ears with nonsense, twists God’s Word, engages in manipulation, and promotes a free book (not a Bible) by the aforementioned false teacher Osteen. Rosebrough calls Gray a “heretic who twists God’s Word, who engages in gimmickry.” This segment, in light of the other segments, simply serves as further proof that gimmickry, manipulation and twisting God’s Word represent consistent staples of Gray.
- February 13, 2018: Beginning at the 57:47 mark of this episode, Rosebrough notes how Gray twists Scripture for the 12-year anniversary of Elevation Church (pastored by the aforementioned Furtick). Specifically, Gray twists Revelation 9, Revelation 21 and Genesis 1. Rosebrough makes an interesting statement in this review; he claims the devil had Furtick’s hand in planting Elevation Church. As for Gray, this review simply serves as more evidence of Gray’s inability to rightly handle God’s Word.
While I could contribute a separate “sermon” review to add to the existing body of work done on Gray’s teachings, no less than four things should be noted. First, Gray has no problem with women pastors. The aforementioned hyperlinks and Scriptures regarding women pastors show that women pastors are not biblical. Second, Gray frequently twists God’s Word. No less than three examples show that he is a consistent narcigete. Third, Gray engages in manipulation. Specifically, he consistently stirs up his audience into a frenzy as he fills their minds with nonsense. Finally, Gray is a false prophet. This is not hard to understand in light of the clear examples that show how Gray consistently fills his audience’s minds with nonsense.
As mentioned earlier, Gray has a show on the Oprah Winfrey Network. It is called The Book of John Gray. This next section gives a commentary on the concept of having such a show.
As mentioned, Gray has his own show called The Book of John Gray. It started in April 2017. This section does not do any review of either a full episode or clips from an episode. Instead, it offers a commentary on the “why” behind doing such a show.
As this article has mentioned many times, John Gray is a pastor. The job of a pastor is as follows, in 2 Timothy 4:1-5:
I solemnly charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth and will turn aside to myths. 5 But you, be sober in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.
In this passage, the apostle Paul is writing to young Timothy. The charge Paul gives Timothy is far from light given it is in the presence of God and Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world (verse 1, see also 1 Timothy 1:15, John 1:29 and Acts 4:12). That charge? Preach the Word, regardless of level of convenience (verse 2). The reason for this is the fact the time will come (and it is already here) when people would rather have their itching ears scratched by false teachers’ mythical teachings than hear true teachings from those teachers who both teach sound doctrine and have showed themselves approved as fine handlers of God’s Word (verses 3-4; see also 2 Timothy 2:15). The point in mentioning this passage is to demonstrate that John Gray, in having a show, has a fine opportunity to preach the Word to a world that needs to hear the truth of God’s Word.
Unfortunately, based on this interview he did in talking about his show (at a time when it was about to make its debut), it appears this show makes little to mention of Jesus Christ (the interview does not mention His name at all). Instead, the show portrays Gray’s “life as a minister and family man.” Furthermore, he talks a little bit about his book, I Am Number 8. He briefly discusses how, in the book, he connects the life of King David (found in 1 and 2 Samuel) to the reader (which, based on the aforementioned notations of his twisting of that story during the 2016 Code Orange “revival”, is not a good thing since we are not David).
Gray and his wife said other various things during this clip. First, he discussed how the show needs to be the intersection of faith and family. Second, his wife said she had a dream about them being on Oprah. This was supposedly the confirmation that their show should be on that network (OWN). Third, Gray said faith “is the filter through which we live our lives.” As true as it sounds, it is also vague given he cites no biblical text to support that statement (or anything else he says; Hebrews 11:1 and 3:14, among others, would have helped him in that particular instance). Finally, Gray recalled a conversation he had with a friend of his. His friend told Gray that Gray’s family would be something that “people could connect to.” While there is nothing inherently wrong with a family having some kind of connection with another, the fact is that the main focus for this show is on anything but Jesus Christ. Instead, it is on John Gray. However, as mentioned, Gray is a pastor. His job is to preach the Word. Furthermore, because he is a pastor, he will also incur stricter judgment (James 3:1). Instead of preaching the Word in his show, he is mostly preaching self, drawing the viewers onto himself (and he can save nobody) instead of on Jesus Christ, the only way by which mankind may be saved (Acts 4:12).
Romans 11:33-12:3 offers some good perspective here:
Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways! 34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who became His counselor? 35 Or who has first given to Him that it might be paid back to him again? 36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever. Amen.
12 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.3 For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith.
Here, the apostle Paul praises God for His wisdom, knowledge, unsearchable judgments and unfathomable ways (verses 33-36). Because of that (even including what came before Romans 11:33), he exhorts his audience to offer themselves as living and holy sacrifices acceptable to God, transforming themselves by the renewing of their minds so they may prove what God’s will is (Romans 12:1-2). In verse 3 of that chapter, he exhorts his audience not to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think.
I’m sure that John Gray sincerely means well in his having his own show. However, one can be sincere and also sincerely wrong. Whether John Gray likes it or not, having a show that draws more people to self than Jesus Christ is basically tantamount to thinking more highly of self than one ought to think. It is clear that Jesus Christ is not front and center of that show. Instead, it is John Gray himself. Because he is a pastor, this emphasis on self rather than Christ is simply unacceptable.
LIMITATIONS TO THIS POST/CONSIDERATIONS FOR FUTURE STUDY
This post briefly mentioned one of Gray’s books. It should be noted that none of Gray’s books were examined as part of this post. Future posts may dedicate a book review to one of his books. However, given what has been explained already, it is doubtful any books would be any different from what has already been observed about Mr. Gray.
As mentioned earlier, John Gray is “funny, engaging, witty and one with impeccable timing.” There is no doubt about those things. The man certainly has a lot of talent. In fact, he was apparently a former backup singer for Kirk Franklin. He would certainly make a good coach or motivational speaker (if he is not one of those things already).
Unfortunately, Gray has put those clear talents in the background in favor of a job that, based on his clear inability to handle God’s Word, he should not have. He has, on multiple occasions, proven to be both a false prophet and devout narcigete who flagrantly disobey’s God’s Word with both his approval of women pastors and false teachings/prophecies. The fact he has a show that draws so much attention to himself instead of the the God of the Bible makes this all the worse given what has been mentioned already.
As nice and talented a guy as Gray is, he is not a good source of theology. As a result, it would be good to mark and avoid John Gray (Romans 16:17). Please pray he repents of his consistent false teachings. May he understand the severe errors of his teachings and, as a result, repent.