Wednesday, February 14, 2007

"What's your beef with 'prosperity gospel' anyway?"

Yeah, I have a beef with the prosperity gospel (and by extension, those who teach it) . Many people have asked me about it, so here it is.

I used to attend a church where this was the default mode of the church. Basically, Sin and Grace was a small refrain, Jesus and his work on the cross for us was a background tune, and the sacraments were nonexistent. Ok, one could say I'm being picky, but the fact is that when Jesus is a side note and the normal work of the church is set aside, many abuses are made possible. Though unintentional, there can be no doubt of this.

Case in Point: One woman at the church had a nerve pinched so severely in her shoulder that she was in constant pain, running down her arm into her hand. Her arm was becoming deformed. The women at the church laid hands on her and prayed over her, and the woman was given a number of things she needed to do to "receive her healing". Nothing worked. The conclusion that the women at the church came to was that this poor woman did not have enough faith. The woman left the church and she was declared "unteachable".

When I saw this woman, later after I heard what happened, I had to make it clear to her what was going on. In all the suffering and being told her faith wasn't strong enough or she didn't have enough faith, she never gave up on her faith in Christ. She had gotten her miracle alright. Nothing could separate her from the love of God.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ro 8:38-39 NIV)

Another case was of one evening the pastor was "anointing" people so that they would "baptized in the holy spirit" and be able to "speak in tongues". Later, when the ones who didn't get their anointing were taken into a back room I could wailing and anguish from another woman who, it turned out, didn't get her anointing. Although I'm not 100 percent sure, I can guess that she was questioning whether she was a Christian or not. After all, the "spirit" had rejected her and she didn't get her anointing so she could speak in tongues.

Notice I'm not mentioning anything that happened to me personally. I wont go into those details, since my own experience might be tainted. But the actions and experience of others speaks volumes to me.

Yeah, I have a beef with the "prosperity gospel". Like Paul said, "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!" (Gal 1:8-9 NIV)

No Christ, no Gospel. No Gospel, no Salvation. No Salvation, no Prosperity. No Christ... No hope.


the big test

Since someone, somewhere, has seen fit to deprive the world of Issues etc and take a huge bite out of confessional Lutheranism at the same time, I will not take up the mantle of working to see that those who did it answer for their actions.
Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More

Design by Free WordPress Themes | Bloggerized by Lasantha - Premium Blogger Themes | Grants For Single Moms