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Living In Grace

A Christ inspired work dealing with American Christian Culture in the New Century.

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Prosperity Gospel: Or Blessings for Bucks?

Galatians 1:6-8 (New American Standard Bible)

Perversion of the Gospel

 I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
 which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.
 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!

What is the Gospel is a question I have been asking and trying to answer and will continue to do so in the coming day.  Last time I explored the relationship of the Gospel and the Kingdom, here, and four things that were revealed through Scripture which are:
  1. The Gospel and the Kingdom are here now.
  2. The Kingdom is within us.
  3. It is a future reality.
  4. It ultimately is in accordance with God's authority and Jesus' Kingship.
With that in mind and moving on I want to discuss what the Gospel is not: It is unequivocally not a prosperity message based on the faulty reading of Scripture resulting in the giving-to-get fallacy.  The hucksterism and carnival-like atmosphere found in the name it and claim crowd is antithetical to the true Gospel and the faith that many, both past and present, hold dear.  This false Gospel of greed and seed must be exposed for what it is: a cancer in the Body of Christ.

This false teaching has become endemic in much of the Biblically illiterate modern American church and goes by many names including:
  1. Seed Faith and Harvest
  2. The Prosperity Gospel
  3. Abraham's Blessing
  4. Name it and Claim It
  5. The Word of Faith Movement
Many of its adherents and barkers trace their origins to E.W. Kenyon, William Branham, A.A. Allen, Pop Hagin, and others and their modern counterparts include:
  1. Kenneth Copeland who has stated among other things:
    "He ( Christ ) allowed the devil to drag Him to the depths of Hell as if He were the most wicked sinner who ever lived...every demon in hell came down on Him to annihilate Him..( they ) tortured Him beyond anything that anybody has every conceived..." "Jesus' deity encompasses healing, deliverance, financial prosperity, mental prosperity, physical prosperity, and family prosperity." God's reason for creating Adam was His desire to reproduce Himself.  I mean a reproduction of Himself.  And in the Garden of Eden He did that.  He was not a little like God, he was not about like God, he was not subordinate to God even...Adam in the Garden was God manifested in the flesh. "
  2. Creflo Dollar: 
    " Jesus was not God when He came to Earth, but that it was added to Him at a later time as He developed into His Sonship. "  He also has made claims that Jesus could not have been God since it was recorded that He ( Jesus ) slept and God neither slumbers nor sleeps.
  3. Kenneth Hagin has made the claims that: 
    Christ's physical death on the cross was not enough to save us, Jesus tasted spiritual death, every man who has been born again is an incarnation and Christianity is a miracle.  The believer is as much an incarnation as was Jesus of Nazareth.
  4. Benny Hinn: 
    " He ( Jesus ) who is Righteous by choice ( not, He is God and by nature He is righteous ) said ' The only way I can stop sin is by me becoming it...' He who is the nature of God became the nature of Satan " " Though we are not Almighty God Himself, nevertheless, we are divine. " When you say I am a Christian, you are saying ' I am Messiah ' in Hebrew.  I am a little messiah walking the earth. "
These heretical statements are only a jumping off point for the blasphemous teaching of some of the more prominent Prosperity Prophets and along with their spiritual offspring, the mini me's, are more than enough to disqualify them from standing in the pulpit, holding church office, or soliciting the public with gimmicky Holy Hankies, scented healing oils, or pre-fab prayer cards.  Once upon a time these same snake oil salesmen would have been tarred and feathered but now they have a world-wide platform to promulgate their lies through television and the Internet.

Does God love a cheerful giver? Absolutely.  Are we commanded to give?  Certainly.  Are pastors and evangelist justified in supporting themselves from their work for the Lord? Yes sir, but any message of bucks for blessings is a false gospel and is anathema to the Body of Christ.  Any message that dilutes the sufficiency of the Cross, the deity of Christ, the depravity of man, or the the grace of God is not the Gospel.  The social gospel will not save.  The moralistic gospel of legalism is powerless to free from sin.  The Faith movement is absent Biblical faith.

My blogging buddies, Mark and Carla, over at 3-foldcord.com, recently posted about the money changers n the temple and their modern day progeny, the Prosperity Pimps, who sell Jesus as if He were a two dollar trinket at the kiddie carnival, only their cost is much higher:
  1. Failed faith through an inability to produce on promises.
  2. Dangerous medical decisions through promises of healing
  3. Financial disaster to those who give unwittingly
  4. A parody of the Biblical Jesus  displayed to the world
  5. False Doctrine which leads to Hell
Get your healing here today for 100$
Plant your seed money reap the harvest
Give to get only 19.95$

Their is a harvest coming and those who preach such damnable heresies will have to stand before my Lord and King and reap what they have sown.

Matthew 7:21-23 (New American Standard Bible)

 21"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
 22"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
 23"And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

What Gospel do you believe in and what is its good news?

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Anonymous Carla@3-foldcord.com said...

Right on Luther! I see our last post and all the Don Stewart mini me's must have fired you up! I love the reference of the Holy Hanky! Hilarious! It was fun debating with the mini me's but sadly their arguments are hollow and their faith is blind and ignorant. I fear they do not have an easy road ahead of them. When they face a lack of healing or financial prosperity the will not only question Don Stewart but Jesus, Himself, for they only the gospel preached to them and not the Truth of the Bible.

Excellent post, and your comments yesterday were awesome!

May 7, 2011 at 1:06 AM  
Anonymous Amanda Daubenmeyer said...

I believe God wants us to be blessed. But only when money is not our god. The more God blesses me, the more I am able to reach out and help others.

I believe when we give, God gives back to us in return. For example, I felt God wanted me to anonymously mail a woman some money one time. Years later we were suddenly hit with something and our bank account was wiped out. I specifically prayed for God to send someone to do what I had done years earlier for that woman. I asked that I would reap what I had sown. The next morning my husband went to his car to go to work and there was an envelope from an anonymous person with 3xs the amount I had given.

I can share story after story when I gave out of willing heart and God gave back above and beyond what I had sown. But I can also share many stories of when I used to force my husband to grudgingly give 10% of his income and we never reaped anything except fell deeper in debt and drained our bank account.

God had to do a lot of work in our hearts before He could bring us increase. Otherwise, our increase would just be used all on ourselves instead of the needs God had prepared for us to meet.

Any preacher that preaches for you to give so you can get more for yourself is wrong. And any preacher that charges to heal you is wrong. That's crazy! Jesus didn't pass out the offering plate after He healed people.

Oops, sorry this comment is so long:) Great post. Thanks for sharing.

May 7, 2011 at 2:23 AM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

That type of gospel preaching has bothered me for some time and i have seen its impacts on the faith of those around me. Besides the article fit in with the gospel theme I am working on. I had someone tell me one time that as he walked through the parking lot of a WOF church he saw the lay people driving hondas and the staff driving mercedes. I heard that somewhere anyway.

May 7, 2011 at 5:45 PM  
Anonymous Luther@Living In Grace said...

"I believe God wants us to be blessed. But only when money is not our
god. The more God blesses me, the more I am able to reach out and help

That is one reason why Abraham was blessed.

We are to always give from a willing heart and God will bless but it does not necessarily entail financial blessings. I always thought a blessing could include keeping us from the need to begin with.

I like long comments. It means someone put some thought into it and possibly that my post evoked some thought

May 7, 2011 at 5:53 PM  

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