Is Dharius Daniels a false teacher?

Category 3

Verdict: There are legitimate concerns surrounding his teachings

Preface

Part of how this Discernment ministry operates is taking in reader questions about prevalent teachers. There were multiple requests to look into Dharuis Daniels and due to him leading the field of requests, this investigation into his teachings was undergone. You can make a request here and see our answered verdicts here.

Biography

The bio on Daniels states:

Dharius Daniels is a cultural architect and trendsetter for his generation. He is the founder and Lead Pastor of Change Church. Change Church is a vibrant ministry that impacts people of all ages, socioeconomic classes, and ethnic backgrounds.

Pastor Dharius has developed a Breathtaking Ministry concept that describes the standard of excellence: a standard that is apparent in his commitment not only to ministry but also to education. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, a Master of Divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and a Doctorate of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Dr. Dharius is a certified personal coach with a versatile gift and speaks frequently in seminaries and churches across the country.

He is married to Shameka Daniels and they are the proud parents of two sons Dharius Seth and Gabriel Micah Daniels.

There’s a large emphasis on his educational credentials and not a lot of emphasis on his spiritual calling or his salvation experience. And so there is not a whole lot of information to gather. It does appear that Change Church was not always the name. Change Church was formerly Kingdom Church. This rebranding seems to have occurred back in 2017. Daniels was the senior pastor at both entities.

Change Church

As usual, it is necessary to perform a website test on a teacher’s church. Change Church is egalitarian in that Daniel’s and his wife are both listed as pastors. The statement of faith is an interesting one. It is very abbreviated on essential doctrines of the church and fairly colloquial.

Generosity

We believe that tithes, offerings, and alms are God’s financial plan for the support of His work. (Malachi 3:10; Matthew 23:23; 2 Corinthians 9:6-12)

Discipline

We believe that discipline is a gift from Christ given to His church to promote its health and productivity. (Matthew 18:15-20; Proverbs 19:18)

Change Church begins its more noticeable deviations by declaring an affirmative belief in tithing. This is more prevalent in churches that preach a Prosperity Gospel; however, this statement of faith does not approach this false doctrine. But tithing isn’t as nearly open ended as “discipline.” Discipline is not used as a spiritual gift as the recipient of this gift is the church. The passage in Matthew 18 speaks to church discipline and is the key passage overall. So the question is not what does this mean; rather, it is how is this passage applied at Change Church? Its emphasis could be cause for suspicion.

Another concern is how open ended the soteriological language the faith statement appears. The language is passive to the point that it could hint that Change Church teaches easy-believeism. This is because there it mentions salvation comes by “by trusting in the death, burial, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.” However, there is no mention of repentance or what becomes of someone who is saved. By these words, demons could be saved, because the use of the word “trust” could be read as simple acknowledgement of a historical timeline of events surrounding Jesus. These inferences are not solely conclusive in assessing the teaching of Dharius Daniels, however this is not a recommendable church.

Dharius Daniels Ministry

Dharius Daniels describes himself as a “Spiritual Leader. Cultural Architect. Generational Trendsetter.” These aren’t the most desirable attributes in a pastor, as these could describe any pagan priestess. But the only real way to assess whether Dharius Daniels is a true teacher is to listen to his teaching. A survey of his teaching will follow.

Beginning the year in 2019, Daniels, gave a message titled “Level Up.”[1] The message begins citing Genesis 32:28. But after five minutes, what could have started out as a sermon quickly devolved into a motivational speech about personal evolution whereby you, not God, does work to improve his life. It wasn’t until the 20th minute until a bible verse was cited again, but Darius Daniels seems to imply that Jacob was wrestling the Devil, instead of God or an agent of God. This is a blatant misinterpretation of Genesis 32. In the 25th minute this misrepresentation of the passage shifts when Daniels then claims Jacob saw God. But it is important to note that while Daniels does reach a less incorrect interpretation of the passage, he still used a blatant misinterpretation of verse 25 to state that the “Devil knows where to touch you” which is not corrected. He uses the shift from verse 28 to verse 30 to say that people are experiencing God in the bad times in their lives. He then suggests that Jacob was actually wrestling with himself. He uses this misinterpretation to highlight an “old me versus the new me” dichotomy.

In a more recent series titled “Hidden Figures,” he gave a message titled “I’m A Savage.” [2] In this sermon, Dharius Daniels claims that the church was corrupted by patriarchy. He uses an incredible amount of cultural Marxist language, not scripture to support the feminism he was preaching. Ironically, he uses Paul’s letters to Timothy to support this point, lacking the awareness of ministry standards in 1 Timothy.

One of the first sermons on Dharius Daniels TV seems to stay with the passage rather well.[3] I would disagree with some of his points, but it was not a motivational speech. To see if this was a pattern, an earlier sermon on a different series was chosen. The word breakthrough is often used by Prosperity Gospel types.[4] The sermon begins by citing Ecclesiastes 3:1 before arguing that this verse is not always our experience because seasons “mutate” into cycles.[5] Nevermind that winter, spring, summer, and fall are all seasons in a cycle. Nevertheless, Daniels draws a dichotomy between seasons and cycles that would fall apart under scrutiny. But despite citing multiple passages, he starts off by trying to disagree or draw a distinction from the initial passage in Ecclesiastes.

Overall, Dharius Daniels preaching using an eisegetical method, meaning he is using the Bible to say what he wants it to say as opposed to teaching his followers what God was saying. Daniels is an exceedingly deliberate speaker to the point where one questions whether he speaks this way to consume time.[6] Daniels has a tendency to take literal events in Scripture, and apply them metaphorically or allegorically in a modern context, especially with figures like King David.

Love of Money?

The older sermons on his YouTube channel are really only partial sermons. Meaning he put out perhaps three quarters of a message, and the only possible reason for doing this is so that he can sell his sermons at a higher price than music albums. His sermons series “Gladiator” sells for $25 on his website containing seven sermons. The “Breakthrough” sermons series is $15 dollars for three sermons. And these are just MP3 files. There is no supplemental material included. Some of the sermon series have study guides that are also for sale on his website. The overpriced sermons, particularly material for where majority is free online, smells like greed.

The Bible talks about false teachers often being motivated by money. Dharius Daniels Ministries consists of Darius Daniels and perhaps his wife. But the ministry by itself is no cash cow. According to their 990 EZ filing for 2018, the organization was not merely a piggy bank. The primary purpose was to throw conferences and speaking events. 2018 was the organization’s biggest year yet. It is reasonable to suspect that 2019 was a bigger year.

Overall, the ministry is not a cash cow, but could be a vacation fund, of sorts. It has the potential to be one in years to come. There is nothing conclusive about a love of money to be seen at this time.

Conclusion

Dharius Daniels is a rising star whose fame has yet to be realized. Despite this, his trajectory is readily apparent. His preaching has increasingly taken the Bible out of context, and often is devoid of a gospel call.[7] It includes egalitarianism and feminism, two ideologies incompatible with a biblical worldview centered on the gospel. No major heresies were found in his teachings, though false teachers have a tendency to get worse over time as the fruit of their ministries manifest. To call someone a Category Four, would declare them to be a false teacher. It would also have implications on how to view their salvation. Despite the dubiousness of Daniel’s salvation, this verdict will not draw a conclusion on that matter. From observing the teachings, it does not seem like he is genuinely called to a ministerial capacity in a church, despite him being bold enough to speak to issues going on in society and within the church. It does not seem he is building a New Testament church. It does seem as though in the future he will embrace false teachings, as egalitarians often do. We have not found other false teachings.

Perhaps the most disturbing thing about Dharius Daniel’s is I have yet to hear him present the gospel. Of all the sermons listened to, he never once shifted gears from teaching to evangelizing.[8] It’s almost as though he assumes his entire audience is saved which is dangerous. This was the lasting impression from listening to him. For the time being, Dharius Daniels should be avoided.

 

 


[1] Level Up | Dr. Dharius Daniels Jan 4, 2019
https://youtu.be/885CqyjkQsw?list=PLxGR0t_gzQYLc4Iz4QQMeKvCl9QswZ-TJ

[2] I’M A Savage | Hidden Figures Part 1 | Dr. Dharius Daniels May 12, 2020
https://youtu.be/ue3Q9_hWXp8

[3] The Art of War | Dr. Dharius Daniels Dec 28, 2017
https://youtu.be/xYKBR0XvDDE

[4] Sermons with provocative titles are often used during this process

[5] It’s Time For A Breakthrough| Dr. Dharius Daniels Apr 20, 2018
https://youtu.be/D_rzmyG3ybQ

[6] Recommend listening to his sermons at 1.25x-1.5x speed if you want to do further research.

[7] Perhaps there is one where his sermons are cut short. But this begs the question of why keep this part behind some sort of paywall.

[8] It is important to not that there are other sermons watched that are not specifically addressed or cited here.

One comment

  1. Lord have mercy! I have been following Dharius Daniels and listen to a lot of his sermons. I appreciate your Assesment Evangelist and respect it. However, it remains a personal opinion which is subjective, and we appreciate your honesty. I believe Dharius Daniels is a great teacher with huge revelation knowledge. I always tell other servants of God never to criticize others who carry mantles that we do not carry ourselves.

    Like

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