Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Emergent Monday: The Prosperity Gospel VS The Real Gospel

The Prosperity Gospel is based almost solely on Psalm 37:4
Take delight in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart
And John 10:10
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.
If the he prosperity preachers are right, God does want us to have life abundantly, but does He mean riches like a new Mercedes Benz and a villa in the south of France? Or when he says abundant life is He referring to our eternal life in Jesus Christ? To be honest the bible does say that if you follow Jesus you will get blessings one hundred fold:

29 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 farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, 30 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 farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. (Mark 10:29-30)
But notice the words "along with persecutions" have you ever heard Joel Osteen or Creflo Dollar mention persecutions? The prosperity church teaches us that God wants you to be physically healthy, materially wealthy, and emotionally happy all the time and you can have all of this through belief/faith working through prayer. Through faith-filled prayer if you use Jesus' name you will get what you ask for. And the prosperity preachers insist that suffering is never God's will.

These preachers are right on some things, but tend to downplay or ignore other parts of scripture, cherry-picking the parts that uphold their teaching and ignoring the parts that tend to blow holes in their theories. They're twisting the Gospel by omission. They preach that Jesus is merely the means to material health, wealth, and happiness. But in Matthew 6:19-21 Jesus tells us NOT to strive to attain material wealth and happiness:
19 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
And again:
15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)
And again:
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age (Titus 2:11-12)
How many bible verses are needed to convince someone that the purveyors of prosperity may not be theologically accurate? Am I saying that striving for a nice house and big car are wrong? To be honest I'm starting to believe it is, but being a weak sinner I'm not ready to adopt the hermit lifestyle so I'm going to concentrate on faith and love of Jesus as my primary mission in life and take what he gives me and insure that I pray. 

Speaking of prayer, how about that Faith Filled prayer thing? The prosperity preachers tell us that to "properly engage heaven" we must pray faithfully, decisively, forcefully, lovingly, truthfully, earnestly, and authoritatively. That's a pretty awesome list but I can't see anywhere in the bible where it says to pray forcefully or decisively, what the bible tells us directly is not on this list, to pray humbly:
14 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
A beautiful prayer of humility is Psalm 131:1-3.

When the prosperity preachers say to pray authoritatively they're saying that closing your prayer with "in the name of Jesus" you will get what you ask for. My news to them is that God is not a vending machine, you don't put in the coin of Jesus name and get out what ever you want, 1 John 5:14 states that "if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us." If His will differs from your request, guess what. Since the prosperity gospel replaces God’s revealed will with worldly prosperity, the prosperity system does not produce prayer in Jesus’ name.

And lastly, and probably most heretical, the prosperity gospel claims that suffering is never God’s will. But Jesus Himself suffered for us, and He calls His disciples to take up His cross, forsake the world, and be prepared to suffer for Him just as He suffered for us (Matt 16:24-28; John 15:18-20). Moreover, the apostles often tell us that God uses suffering to sanctify his people (2 Cor 1:3-10; 1 Peter 4:12).

If the Prosperity Gospel is the Real Gospel, if God doesn't allow suffering, why does Fox's Book Of Martyrs even exist?
1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. 2 Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; 3 and in their greed they will exploit you with false words; their judgment from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep. (2 Peter 2:1-3)

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