Saturday, November 17, 2007
WHAT DO YOU REFORMED GUYS HAVE AGAINST "PROSPERITY" ANYWAY?!
Nothing. It's just the "prosperity gospel", in all it's insidious forms, that I hate. Why? Well, it's not because I think that money, good health and fruitful relationships are bad things. After all, as we all know, it's not money that is the root of all evil. It's the love of money that is the root of all evil. Trust me, I'm the guy who used to hold to the "pre-tribulational rapture". Not because I thought it jibed with Scripture; but because I have a low threshold for pain!
I have several problems with the "prosperity gospel". First and foremost, it just ain't biblical! Regardless of how many testimonies you may have heard to the contrary, the "prosperity gospel" is not the Gospel that courses throughout Scripture. It is a different gospel. One that the Apostle Paul calls for the pronouncement of "accursed" for it and its purveyors (Galatians 1:6-9). Ask yourself this question: What did mankind truly lose when Adam and Eve sinned in the garden? Yes, they lost the comforts of paradise. Yes, sickness now entered their experience. And, yes, all their increase would come through toil ans sweat. These things cannot be denied; but these were mere asides compared to the reality that they had now been cut off from their Creator. Before the Fall, Adam and Eve would walk and talk with Almighty God. Now, their fellowship was entirely severed. Consider this (those of you who have been fortunate enough to have had strong and loving relationships with your earthly fathers), what do you most cherish about your earthly father? What most readily comes to mind when you remember your childhood relationship with him? Is it, how much money he earned and spent on you; or, is it how vital his guidance, wisdom and support was to your growth and maturity?
The Gospel that pervades Scripture is about a loving, righteous and Holy God. Who, although He was spurned for the selfish pursuit of prosperity (a prosperity of knowledge and autonomy), sovereignly conquered sin and death redeeming a people to Himself through the precious and innocent blood of His only begotten Son.
The "prosperity gospel" misses this entire message. It indulges man's proclivity for selfish gain and personal well-being. The Word of God consistently warns us about the pitfalls of pursuing wealth and how riches become idols and enslave us. In fact it commands us NOT to pursue riches. Yet somehow the very same people who can't stop lying, who can't stop cheating, who can't stop buying bootleg DVD's, believe they can overcome the pitfalls of earthly prosperity. How foolish.
The second reason I despise the "prosperity gospel" is that it is predicated on twisted Scriptures.One of the favorites of the prosperity preachers is Mark 10:29-30.
" Jesus said, "Truly I say to you,there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for My sake and for the gospel's sake,but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life".
This passage usually gets a few folks up and running around the building. The problem is, however, these preachers always make the "houses" and "lands" literal and the "brothers", "sisters", "mothers" and "children" figurative. These they say are the hundreds of brothers, sisters and "mothers", etc. "in Christ" that you will receive. And the "persecutions" you'll receive are just the misguided jealousy and backbiting other will do because of your blessings. How convenient.
My third reason for anathematizing the "prosperity gospel" is that it puts believers in bondage. When this "WMD" of a theology (it's unfounded, get it!)fails to work for people, what's the excuse? Usually, it' s the persons fault. Either they didn't have enough faith, or there must be some secret sin in their life. My personal favorite is that it's just not their season yet. If I see another church marquis with the message "Your Breakthrough is Coming" ever again, I think I might breakthrough it with a nice rock! Some people who really want to leave their false church are actually afraid to do so because they think they might miss their "breakthrough" if they leave too soon. And these predators in the pulpit know that they hold people with this type of message. It's down right satanic.
Fourth, the "prosperity gospel" leads believers to inadvertently contend against God.
The credo of this bastard gospel is that if one has faith one should never be sick or in want. This automatically places one in contention with God when He desires to glorify Himself through sickness, want or suffering. Remember John 9:1-3. . .
"As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?' Jesus answered, 'It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him . . .'"
If the blind man had been sitting under the "prosperity gospel" he and his parents would have been binding satan and speaking sight back into his eyes. God's sovereignty and divine will would not have even been considered. The disciples and today's prosperity pushers assume sickness is due to sin. The truth is, sometimes God is glorified in sickness. A word to the predators: your arms are too short to box with God.
Lastly, the "prosperity gospel", even when it "works", gives a false sense of security. The Pharisees were prosperous; but Jesus called them "whitewashed tombs".
Solomon was prosperous; but he realized that it was all vanity, a "chasing after the wind" Dives was prosperous; but he woke up in Hades where he couldn't buy anything to drink. Oh, how much better is godliness with contentment. They're not called the "deceitfulness" of riches for nothing!
That's what this "reformed" guy has against the "prosperity gospel". I believe it is far more prosperous for us to pursue what the Westminster Shorter Catechism states is the "chief end of man". That is to glorify God and to enjoy HIM forever!
The question becomes (this is where the preacher begins to "whoop") . . .
Can you glorify God and enjoy Him forever, when you're sick and in pain?
Can you glorify God and enjoy Him forever, when you're broke and have not gain?
Can you glorify God and enjoy Him forever, when you're alone and your eyes are wet?
Can you glorify God and enjoy Him forever, when you're bank account is empty and you're deep deep in debt?
Can you glorify God and enjoy Him forever, when mother and father don't know your name?
Can you glorify God and enjoy Him forever, when wife and kids forsake you and the dog does the same?
Be Like the Bereans, Baby!!!
P.S. What did Lazarus die of the second time, anyway?