If you haven't already, read our Church Check for Changing Pointe here. Continue below for our Red Flag Report on this Charismatic, Prosperity Gospel Preaching church in Yakima, Washington.
The biggest red flags we spotted at this church were signs of financial exploitation, labor exploitation, and spiritual abuse relating to Charismatic and Prosperity Gospel teachings.
In this first Red Flag Report for Changing Pointe Church in Yakima, Washington, I'm going to cover all the signs we've seen so far that point to financial abuse and exploitation. Financial abuse is the easiest form of spiritual abuse to spot in a local Christian church today, but I also believe it's the most common form of spiritual abuse in the Christian Church.
Financial abuse within the context of a local Christian church involves the
church’s abuse of spiritual power or authority to control or take advantage of the
economic resources of congregants under the authority they claim as Christian pastors or leaders. For example, the twisting of Scripture to financially benefit from the donations of the church and expecting congregants to defer to the church leaders’ false interpretation on teachings about money. This is frequently done through the false preaching of tithes in Christian churches, as are the commonly twisted stories of the Widow’s Mite and calls for generosity throughout the Bible. Another example could be the way many pastors use the pulpit as a platform for advertising and selling books, rather than teaching the Bible.
Financial abuse/exploitation is a red flag of spiritual abuse and a form of abuse by
itself. There are multiple red flags of financial abuse at Changing Pointe Church that
I’ve noticed so far. Here are each of them.
#1: False Teachings on Tithing & Money
Evangelical, Protestant, and non-denominational Christian churches typically practice financial abuse/exploitation by either applying Old Covenant tithing to Christians, changing the definition of tithing to fit the church’s financial desires, or by abusing and twisting biblical passages on Christian generosity. CP appears to do all of this and more.
Financially abusive Pentecostal and Charismatic churches are infamous for their twisted
teachings on money and tithing through Health and Wealth doctrines, or what many
know as the Prosperity Gospel. From what I’ve seen, this is exactly what Changing Pointe
teaches, and there are a number of former members of the church who have confirmed this from their own experiences. Here is what a few of them have said regarding the church’s teachings on tithing and money:
“... Teaching of tithes/offerings biblically inaccurate. Example: saying that when you don’t give, you are breaking your covenant with God and not under His covering (I’m pro giving + generosity)...”
“... sermons are full of prosperity gospel messages, the creed is culty and questionable, cherry picks verses often...”
“... They teach that if you do not give them money God will curse you.
... They teach that if you give them money, God will bless you.
... They’re teaching on offering and tithes is based on old testament principles, that we are free from in the New Testament, since there’s no longer a “temple structure. Teaching the requirement of 10% income for a new testament believer contradicts Paul’s teaching that we are supposed to give what we have decided in our heart (1 Corinthians 9:7)...”
“... When it came time to tithe, I was always questioned on my tithe and
to be 100 honest I wasn't tithing at the time... The reason why is because we were making decisions if we're going to keep the power on or shut it off. Now I know with word of faith and the prosperity gospel, you tithe and you tithe the new tithes and it's kind of like you give to a mob boss and the reason you give to that mob boss is for protection. As long as you give to him well then he's going to bless you...”
We can also confirm what former members and leaders of CP state about the church’s
teachings on money and tithing by looking at G12’s teachings on this subject. As we’ve
already stated in the Church Check, Changing Pointe is a G12 church, which is a
Charismatic cell church discipleship strategy. Below are only some of the twisted
teachings regarding tithes and offerings from the G12 website:
“... When you offer or tithe, this becomes an argument in your favor. When someone does not tithe, an evil spirit shows up before God with arguments to accuse that person. You may remember the centurion who had a sick servant and the elders went to Jesus and said to Him: Lord, it is worthy that you grant him this, because he loves our nation, and he has built us a synagogue. That was an argument in favor of the centurion.
“This means that when you have a need, in the spiritual world the angels appear before God and tell the Lord that it is worthy to grant you what you need. These angels will be presenting the report of the offerings that we have given, of how we have blessed the church, of how we have used the finances for the Kingdom of God and that becomes an argument in our favor...”
“...If you have not given correctly to God, you should break that curse. In order to do that, arguments in favor are also needed. Give an extra offering to cancel those arguments, and you will break every financial curse. Then make a covenant of faithfulness with God...”
“When the Lord says that Abel gave a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, He is referring to the fact that the excellence of a Christian is determined by the way in which he gives.
“... God rescued one of the pastors on my team from a terrible life he had before. Hardly
converted and just getting to know the Vision, he made a covenant with God. He declared that of the seven days of the week, he was going to dedicate six to the Lord, leaving only one for himself and his work. And that's how he did it: He worked only one day, but on that day God blessed him so much that he made all the profit for a week in just one day of work. On the other six days, he was dedicated to doing God's work: calling, visiting, and consolidating people...”
“...Perhaps your affliction is in the financial area and you suffer debts. Or maybe the affliction is a disease, a pain, or an oppression. But no matter what the affliction is, there is a way to be free from pain and anguish...”
The Prosperity Gospel and Word of Faith movement are both rooted in unbiblical
Charismatic and Pentecostal views on Scripture, but they’re also spiritually
exploitative, and therefore, abusive. If you don’t tithe what the church demands, you
will be “cursed”, “unprotected”, and even your salvation is questioned, if not outright
rejected as illegitimate. These teachings not only degrade the Gospel of
Jesus Christ as something earthly, material, and fleshly, but they also turn God into
what Daniel Bender accurately called a “mob boss,” who threatens and punishes you if
you don’t pay Him and blesses and protects you if you do. Needless to say, this is a
huge red flag of spiritual abuse and exploitation.
We can also observe CP express these teachings by watching their online services. One particular service I watched recently exhibits their false and exploitative teachings on tithing and money at around 40 minutes into the service, which you can watch here. Around 40-42 minutes into this service, one of the women speaking behind the pulpit claims her “bottom line” increased when she chose to make giving to the church a priority over her other bills and financial responsibilities:
“... I remember there was a time where I would look at my bank account and say, ‘okay, this week, no I can’t this week, I will next week,’ but when I changed it to the top of right after my paycheck and put it right in there, I will tell you that my bottom line just began to increase. I can say I don’t know how, but I think you know how, and I know how. There’s only one way, and that’s through Him, right?...”
The teaching that unless you give money to your local church leaders, you will be
cursed, unprotected by God, or financially punished, is un-biblical, spiritually abusive, and a form of spiritual extortion by threatening people with God's wrath if you don't donate more money to the church. This is one way in which financially abusive churches manipulate Scripture for dishonest financial gain, but there are plenty of others, many of which CP also employs, including the false teaching and misuse of biblical tithing. To learn more about tithing and how abusive churches like CP exploit and lie about it for financial gain, please read our recent article on the truth about tithing.
#2: No Financial Transparency
I have attempted to contact the church multiple times to find out if they’d be willing to
share any financial information, or anything else about the church. Not only have they
ignored me entirely, but according to what multiple former members and staff of the
church have stated, CP leadership hasn’t been financially transparent with the church
In a Facebook review of the church (linked above), The Honest Messy Life makes several
comments regarding how the church handles finances. Here is one in particular where
they mention the lack of financial transparency:
“... Never saw a report of where the finances went during the 9 years I was there. Maybe a pie chart or something but not an official report with specific numbers...”
Another former staff member of the church, Daniel, published a video describing his experiences in a “spiritually abusive church” on YouTube to help other Christians recognize red flags of abuse and avoid finding themselves in a similar situation. The spiritually abusive church Daniel is referring to is his former church, Changing Pointe Church in Yakima, Washington. In this video, he describes the lack of
financial transparency he observed in the church:
“... Another thing that... you should watch for is, see if you can see what the books are. Ask them to see what comes into the church and what goes out. You’ll have a hard time finding that. At least back when we were there and we’ve had several people that have recently left the state that they’ve asked for the church finances and they’re given a general kind of deal, but not really the church finances...”
Daniel then describes how the church he currently attends handles their finances and
how financially transparent they’ve been, even to the point of sharing the pastor’s
salary. As you may have already noted in the Church Check for CP, we don’t know anything about Pastor Eli’s salary. Daniel rightly asserts that a church that isn’t financially transparent is displaying a huge red flag that the leaders are bad stewards of church donations. I would add this is also a red flag that the church is potentially mishandling church funds.
If you’re trying to find a church that’s financially transparent, or you want to check your
own church for transparency and accountability, check out this article on how to check
your church for financial transparency and accountability.
If you’re looking for a church that’s financially transparent, accountable, or even shows
a concerted effort to be a good steward and recipient of the generosity of God’s people, I wouldn’t recommend Changing Pointe Church in Yakima, Washington.
So far, I’ve observed harmful and unbiblical teachings on tithing, generosity, and prosperity, which are all exploitative and spiritually abusive. We also see a complete lack of transparency and financial accountability, which is a red flag that financial misconduct might be a problem, but this further abuses and exploits the church’s donors, who have a right to see the church’s financial information.
Check back with us in the following weeks for our next Red Flag Report for Changing
Pointe Church. We have several new Checks and reports for other churches and ministries waiting in the wings as well. Until then, church checkers, please beware of wolves in sheep's clothing. Protect yourselves by examining everything in your local church, use Christ-like discernment, tell the truth, and please do not feed the wolves.