Devon Franklin: Guest Preacher, Various Locations
Franklin, famously wed to actress Meagan Good, is a Hollywood executive, author, and ordained minister. Getting his start in entertainment as an unpaid intern for Will Smith, Franklin has since climbed the ranks, building an extensive filmography along the way. His works include, but are not limited to, faith-based films such as Heaven is For Real, Not Easily Broken, Miracles from Heaven and, most recently, The Star Movie. In his latest book, The Hollywood Commandments: Spiritual Guide to Secular Success Franklin attributes his Hollywood success to his ability to find a happy middle ground between living by secular and spiritual principles. “Too often, some people are too spiritual and they don’t recognize the value of the secular, and some people are secular and don’t recognize the value of the spiritual. And what I realize is I believe success is a combination of both,” Franklin said in a recent interview with the Breakfast Club. Franklin also argues it is possible to be wildly successful in the secular world without losing one’s faith. In fact, he says God told him to write The Hollywood Commandments to teach the Body of Christ how to be successful. Telling a crowd during one of his preaching engagements, “After 20 years of tremendous favor, God said, ‘DeVon. I want you to teach what you’ve learned in Hollywood to My people.’”
Of course, that totally contradicts what Christ has already taught God's people: “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” (Matthew 6:24). Christ also warns us that worldly success (fame, fortune, materialism) can be a stumbling block to our faith and can cause a man to lose his very soul (Matthew 19:16-24; Mark 8:36-38; Luke 6:26; 1 Timothy 6:10).
Mind you, there is nothing wrong with one working in a secular profession. Paul was a tentmaker. Peter was a fisherman. Jesus was a carpenter. It also isn’t a sin to do well in one’s work. In fact, God’s word encourages us to work heartily that He be glorified (Ecclesiastes 9:10; Colossians 3:23). Being a diligent worker and a faithful steward is NOT a concept the world invented (Proverbs 5:6; Proverbs 13:4; Luke 12:42-48; 2 Thessalonians 3:10). The danger comes when one’s very existence centers more around chasing and achieving success through their work, rather than seeking FIRST the Kingdom of God, which is a spiritual endeavor (Matthew 6:33). Sadly, the former is the mindset Franklin presents in his books, on social media and in his media interviews, and it is this mindset that spills over into his preaching.
Again, Franklin is a Hollywood executive, author AND an ordained minister. While he admits he didn’t initially want to preach and has always been focused on pursuing a successful career in Hollywood, Franklin says the more he “embraced the ministry side of my talents and gifts, the more doors opened because I was really being true to myself and who God created me to be.” Nonetheless, EVERY preaching engagement readily accessible online seems to let him BE an enemy to the truth of God. Franklin’s preaching involves absolutely NO teaching or right dividing of God’s Word. Instead, he basically regurgitates the philosophy of his books, which is ultimately a prosperity doctrine. The things he says suggest he is one with a mind set on earthly things, not on things above (Colossians 3:2). Where Jesus says we must deny ourselves, take up our cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23), Franklin is instead telling us to go after everything we want out of this life.
For instance, Franklin often touts the charge to “be all God called you to be”, which sounds good. But it is merely a guise of prosperity doctrine to promote worldly ambition, because “be all God called you to be” sermons never address what God actually commands of us, which is to BE saved, BE born again, and BE holy (Matthew 4:17; John 3, and 1 Peter 1:16). Franklin doesn’t share the Gospel, doesn’t teach God’s Word, and if there be any scriptures utilized by this gentleman, it’s to justify his earthly pursuits and to encourage his hearers in the same. If one’s goal is to find ‘success’ in that sweet spot between the spiritual and the secular (the intersection of “Lukewarm Lane” and “Double-minded Way”), Franklin’s Hollywood ‘commandments’ are the way to go. But if your goal is to live as Christ says we ought, know that God was the FIRST to author how true success is achieved, and He says it’s by keeping HIS commandments, and they are sufficient: “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success” (Joshua 1:8).