What is the seed-faith doctrine? The seed-faith teaching is part of the false prosperity gospel doctrine whereby followers are taught to “sow” or “seed” money to a prosperity preacher and then expect a “harvest” from God.
For example, the concept of the seed-faith teaching is that if you “seed” $10 then you must trust God to give you back $100. Or if you “sow” $1000 then you must trust or expect God to give you a car, a new job or a “harvest” of money that is more than the amount you initially “seeded” to the ministry.
Therefore believers of the seed-faith doctrine are taught that the more money you “seed” or give to a seed-faith preacher or his ministry – the more money or “blessings” that God will give you in return.
The seed-faith teaching is widely taught around the world mostly within the charismatic movement or within prosperity gospel churches. This teaching has not only destroyed the spiritual lives of many people who have believed in this false doctrine – but this teaching has been one of the primary get-rich formulas and methods that has enriched many prosperity preachers around the world. The late Oral Roberts is one of the main people who was known to be one of the “fathers” and influential promoters of the seed-faith teaching.
Preachers of the seed-faith doctrine have twisted scriptures such as the Parable of the Sower (Mark 4:1-20) to support this false teaching.
When read and interpreted in its proper context, the Parable of the Sower does not refer to seed as being money – but the seed is actually the word of God (Mark 4:14) and NOT a “harvest” of money.
The different types of soil mentioned in the Parable of the Sower are the hearts of men and the harvest mentioned in the parable are the souls of people who have responded to God’s word and NOT money.
Therefore when prosperity preachers use the Parable of the Sower to support their seed-faith doctrine they are actually twisting the scriptures in order to manipulate and coerce people for their personal monetary gain.
Prosperity preachers have also twisted Matthew 17:20 where Jesus compares faith to a grain of mustard seed and that one’s faith can move mountains.
Again, when Matthew 17:20 is read in context, Jesus does not speak in relation to giving so-called “seed-faith offerings” nor is Christ teaching that people will acquire a multiplied return of their money if they “seed” their money to a prosperity preacher.
Problems With The Seed-Faith Doctrine
2 Corinthians 11:4 ESV
For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.
The seed faith doctrine creates a false concept of God. The seed faith doctrine is a false teaching that twists the true meaning and context of scriptures so that it proclaims a different Jesus and a different gospel. This false teaching also manipulates people to give or “seed” money under the influence of a different spirit or an impure motivation.
Through this doctrine, God is falsely seen as one who can be bribed or manipulated by money. God is also falsely seen as one who is only motivated to act when He sees the “sacrifice” of “seed money”.
In fact, the god of the seed faith doctrine is NOT the TRUE God of the Bible – but instead, the god of the seed faith doctrine is a different god – it is the god of mammon (money).
Matthew 6:24 NKJV
“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”
• The seed-faith doctrine makes the prosperity preacher richer whilst making his followers poorer, desperate for wealth or anticipating the arrival of a false promise.
2 Peter 2:3 KJV says that false teachers will exploit you with false words because of greed and that “through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you”
• Preachers of the seed-faith doctrine have gone as far as promising salvation and deliverance from curses and problems if followers “seed” their money to them or their ministries. The Bible however is clear that salvation or deliverance cannot be paid for by money. Salvation and deliverance is only through the blood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross alone.
1 Peter 1:18-19 says “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
• The seed-faith doctrine encourages its followers to give so that they can get. Therefore the giving is motivated by selfish gain or a “what’s in it for me” attitude. The giving is done from an impure motive of personal covetousness and personal monetary gain.
• The seed-faith doctrine manipulates and uses coercive techniques. Therefore followers are coerced into giving out of guilt and out of a spirit of legalism. Followers are made to feel guilty that their lack of “seeding” enough money is the reason for their problems in life.
2 Corinthians 9:7 says “Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver”.
So according to 2 Corinthians 9:7 the teaching and attitude concerning Christian giving is that one should give cheerfully as each person has decided in his/her own heart and not under coercive or manipulative techniques.
• The seed-faith doctrine creates a false god who lacks sovereignty and who can be controlled based on the amount of money that you “sow”. The false god of the seed-faith doctrine is transactional and this god is motivated to act only through money that is “seeded”. Therefore without the “sacrifice” of money – the god of the seed-faith doctrine will not “bless” the giver.
• The seed-faith doctrine energizes the flesh of man and undermines the dangers and warnings of desiring riches.
1 Timothy 6:8-10 says: “But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs.”
1 Timothy 6:10 says that the love or craving of money causes people to “wander away from the faith” and that it pierces people with many pangs. The untold reality is that the seed-faith doctrine has destroyed many people’s lives around the world and it has negatively affected their faith in God entirely.
What Would Jesus Say About the Seed-Faith Doctrine?
Jesus did not ever ask for so-called “seed-offering” money from any person who needed His help. Unlike the seed-faith preachers, Jesus did not teach that God will materialistically or financially reward those who “seed” money into the pockets of prosperity preachers. Jesus did not ever teach that “seeding” money is a pre-requisite for experiencing God’s answer to prayer or God’s deliverance and salvation as many seed-faith preachers preach.
Jesus taught His disciples when He sent them to minister into various towns to not request payment from those they had helped. Jesus did not teach His disciples any seed-faith doctrine or that God responds depending on how much or how little we give money to a seed-faith preacher.
Matthew 10:8,9 ESV – (Jesus speaking) “ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay. 9 Acquire no gold nor silver nor copper for your belts,”
Acts 3:6-7 ESV – But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong”.
Often during Jesus’ ministry and as He taught His disciples, the people who had need of God’s help were often poor, broke, desperate, sick, helpless and hopeless.
Jesus did not also teach that if anyone has a physical or spiritual need, then one must give “seed” money or give a “seed offering” in order to activate God’s hand. God is not activated by money and nor does God choose “seed” money as being a means by which He makes decisions. God acts and responds out of His own sovereign will and NOT out of the will of man (Luke 22:42 and Matthew 6:10).
The seed-faith doctrine has misguided many people and given people a false perception of the true nature of God. Imagine if your young child told you that he wanted to “seed” to you $10 because she wants you to give her $1000 in the future. Surely, it would be a strange, manipulative parent-child relationship.
God does not require money in order to bless anyone. God is sovereign and He does and chooses to do whatever He desires within His perfect will. God cannot be bribed by “seed” money or by the manipulative techniques of the seed-faith doctrine. God cannot be controlled. The only “god” that can be bribed or controlled with money is a false god – the mammon god.
How To Give Correctly & Wisely
In the New Testament dispensation we are not under the ceremonial or sacrificial laws of the Old Testament but we are under grace. The death of Christ on the Cross and His resurrection ensures that we are not subjected to the ceremonial laws of the Old Testament in relation to the types of offerings and sacrifices because Jesus Christ became the ultimate sacrifice once and for all (Hebrews 10:1-18).
Therefore all giving of any kind must be done prayerfully and cheerfully and not under compulsion or guilt (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Our Christian giving must genuinely glorify God and be beneficial to the work of God without the expectation of a return but out of love and humility.
All giving must be done with God’s wisdom, discernment and understanding in order to avoid being conned, manipulated or coerced by false teachings and false teachers.
All giving must be done out of a pure and righteous motive.