Reformed Articles

The “Oil-Producing Bible” Scam

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A couple of years ago, a ministry by the name His Name is Flowing Oil was hosted by a local church in our community for a series of special meetings. This caught my attention because the ministry was claiming to have a Bible that was producing oil. The claim was that oil was miraculously flowing out of the Bible into a container used to collect it, which was stated to be a manifestation of God’s presence and a manifestation of everything you think is impossible. As you can imagine, this caught the attention of many skeptics and religious people who adamantly defended the claims.

A little more than two years later, the ministry that developed under this alleged oil producing Bible based in Dalton, Georgia, has shut down following an investigation by the Chattanooga Times Free Press. The leaders of the ministry would travel to churches for special services where they would proclaim God’s miraculous power to heal the sick, grow arms and legs that had been amputated, and provide financial prosperity.  

During the services, they would anoint people with this special oil straight out of the plastic container where the oil producing Bible was held. They would also distribute vials of this oil to people, in fact, they have distributed more than 350,000 vials of this oil throughout the nation. During the investigation, it was discovered that the oil is nearly identical to the Ideal brand oil—a petroleum-derived product found at Tractor Supply. [1] Ministry leader Jerry Pearce has admitted to buying gallons oil from a local Tractor Supply Co., but he defends himself claiming to never put the oil on the Bible or in the container.

What can we learn from this exposed scam?

When we read Psalm 119, we find that the psalmist is consistently pointing back to the Bible. In fact, to be clear, he is pointing back to the content of Scripture. Throughout the entire psalm, the point is clearly made that the Bible is sufficient to direct our path and to protect us from the dangers of this broken sinful world (Ps. 119:11, 105). When we look at our world today, we see that people have many physical, emotional, financial, and most importantly—spiritual needs. However, the tragedy is that many people are being deceived by ministries that point people away from the Scripture to something else. They point to “signs and wonders” as the means by which people will receive their blessing.

God has revealed himself in the pages of the Bible. Not in a book that’s claiming to be producing miraculous oil. God has revealed himself in the actual text of Scripture—the words and sentences and paragraphs. In other words, this is why Paul instructed Timothy to “preach the Word” to the church at Ephesus (see 2 Tim. 4:1-5). He didn’t instruct Timothy to hold special miracle services or to engage the community with signs and wonders. Instead, he pointed Timothy to the content of the sufficient Word and commanded him to preach the Scriptures. If we want to meet with God, we must get serious about teaching and preaching the Bible. We must be serious minded about reading and praying through the Scriptures—rather than some special service that spends the entire time pointing people away from the Bible to something else.

The 1689 London Baptist Confession, in Article 1.1 on the Scriptures says: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.”

In John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress Christian and Hopeful are on their way to the Celestial City. As Christian and Hopeful were on their way, they noticed a pleasant-looking field. It was called By-Path Meadow. They reasoned with themselves and said, “If this meadow is right next to the way, let us step aside into it and walk there.” So, they compromised and soon enough, they felt the journey to be easier and comfortable.

Soon, they found a man named Vain-Confidence walking the same path and they asked where the path was leading. He yelled back, “To the Celestial Gate.” Christian turned to Hopeful and said, “See, didn’t I tell you?” When night came, darkness fell, and they lost sight of Vain-Confidence. He fell into a deep pit and when Christian and Hopeful called out for him, all they could hear was him groaning in the pain of death. Then suddenly, a great storm came and with torrential ran and fierce thunder and lightening – Hopeful groaned in himself, saying, “O that I had kept on the true way!”

This is how Christian and Hopeful were eventually captured and taken to Doubting Castle and placed in a dungeon.  One of the greatest scenes in Bunyan’s story is when Christian remembers that he has a key in his pocket. As the story unfolds, notice the location of the key:

What a fool I have been, to lie like this in a stinking dungeon, when I could have just as well walked free. In my chest pocket I have a key called Promise that will, I am thoroughly persuaded, open any lock in Doubting-Castle.” “Then,” said Hopeful, “that is good news. My good brother, do immediately take it out of your chest pocket and try it.” Then Christian took the key from his chest and began to try the lock of the dungeon door; and as he turned the key, the bolt unlocked and the door flew open with ease, so that Christian and hopeful immediately came out.

The lesson we learn from this book is that God’s Word was hidden in his heart so that in the midst of danger, doubt, and despair—it was not a mystical experience that occurred that led Christian and Hopeful out of the dungeon. Instead, it was the key called Promise which is a direct connection to Psalm 119:11. John MacArthur has rightly stated the following:

Preoccupied with mystical encounters and emotional ecstasies, [many] seek ongoing revelation from heaven – meaning that, for them, the Bible alone is simply not enough. [With them], biblical revelation must be supplemented with personal “words from God,” supposed impressions from the Holy Spirit, and other subjective religious experiences. That kind of thinking is an outright rejection of the authority and sufficiency of Scripture (2 Tim. 3:16–17). It is a recipe for far-reaching theological disaster. [2]

 Any church or any pastor who diminishes the preaching and teaching of Scripture and majors on extra-biblical encounters, experiences, signs, wonders, and supposed miracles is not speaking for God. Furthermore, when men like Jerry Pearce and Johnny Taylor insist that God has spoken directly to them, yet they are later found out to be scam artists—it should further validate the problem of people claiming to be hearing directly from God. Whatever they’re hearing—we can be certain it isn’t God.

Do not be led astray by false teaching. We should look to Scripture and evaluate every word taught by the lens of holy Scripture—which can always be trusted (Ps. 19). When you see preachers and teachers trying to take our attention away from God and our confidence away from his Word—it should be like warning lights flashing on the dashboard of your vehicle—something is not right and must be evaluated immediately. We must remember that the Bible is sufficient, as Thomas Watson so eloquently stated, “The Scripture is the library of the Holy Ghost; it is a pandect of divine knowledge, an exact model and platform of religion.  The Scripture contains in it the credenda, ‘the things which we are to believe,’ and the agenda, ‘the things which we are to practice.’” [3]

2 Peter 2:1–3 – But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.


  1. Read more here: https://www.timesfreepress.com/news/local/story/2020/feb/18/ministry-bible-oil-shuts-down-defends-work/515976/ — A series of chemical analyses by the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga of Pearce’s oil compared to the Ideal brand mineral oil at Tractor Supply found Pearce’s oil is petroleum-derived and is a nearly exact match to the product sold at Tractor Supply.
  2. John MacArthur, Strange Fire, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 213), 218.
  3. Thomas Watson, A Puritan Golden Treasury (Carlisle, PA, Banner of Truth, 2000), 32.