Some other gospel… This is something that has always irked me the wrong way whenever I heard it so forgive me if I rant… call it whatever you want – the prosperity gospel, word of faith, name it and claim it, your best life now, health and wealth gospel… doesn’t matter to me, but at it’s core – what is the message that is going out? Because if it isn’t of Christ and Him crucified, repentance, and what implications that has on you – I don’t wanna hear it! Recently I’ve seen a lot of posts and even heard a lot of people say things which just very frankly did not sit very well with my intellect or my spirit and really got me wondering – really? Just how biblical is that? And can you back that up properly with scripture? So I decided to delve a little deeper, I don’t want to be close minded or think I know it all – perhaps there is something I’ve overlooked and I wanted to be open to correction on this… cuz I always thought that Jesus is enough. But is it actually “Jesus and…”? Could it be that I’m missing out on this ‘abundant life’?
I think it is more important to point out the PRINCIPLES rather than the preacher. Since if you know the right principle, you can pick out any false preacher. Including myself if I were to err that way… (And please call me out on bad theology if needed!)
So…. Here’s my problem: I’m not saying that God cannot bless you financially – or even that there aren’t verses in scripture that refer to financial blessing… my problem is whether if that is God’s primary concern… ever!? Secondly, and more importantly – I cannot understand how someone can be saved without an understanding of their sin, judgement and need for repentance before a Holy God. The more I read scripture the more I’m convinced that salvation by any other path than via a Godly sorrow and even weeping and wailing for our sinfulness is quite possibly a false conversion… this ‘gospel’ of God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life – without any mention of repentance or your own sinfulness is a half truth at best! And even if you can be saved somehow without this – I would rather err on the side of being “oversaved” than to die and find out otherwise!
I am quite uncomfortable with any “man of God” who can live comfortably with himself in lavish wealth and multimillion dollar homes and cars while poor people starve. I can’t think of one example in scripture of a disciple of Jesus who lived this way… quite the opposite in fact!
I’d like to stop and say here that I don’t believe that every christian should be poor or that we shouldn’t ask for God’s blessing or to provide for our needs physically and financially or that it’s wrong to own nice things. My own dad has been an amazing testimony to me about God using someone to bless financially… BUT – it was for HIS glory. To fund missionaries, to give to ministries, to the work of the gospel. Don’t be so foolish to think that we even own anything! It’s ALL God’s…. and we are just mere stewards. That’s the principle here. (Really puts things into perspective on how you spend! When last did you stop and ask God if it’s ok to spend His money on that movie or game or other luxury item? I’m talking to myself here too!) We are not our own as christians – we’re bought with a price – the highest of prices… when you gave your life to Christ – that includes everything. Finances, relationships, health, family, friends… everything. When last have you asked God how you should steward those things instead of acting as if they were yours? Is it possible that you didn’t properly weigh the cost of discipleship? (And I’d venture to put salvation and discipleship together) Cuz though the wages of sin are paid and salvation is offered as God’s free gift to you in that sense… discipleship ‘costs’ something – it costs you everything.
Luke 14:26-33 says,
“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple.
“But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you. They would say, ‘There’s the person who started that building and couldn’t afford to finish it!’
“Or what king would go to war against another king without first sitting down with his counselors to discuss whether his army of 10,000 could defeat the 20,000 soldiers marching against him? And if he can’t, he will send a delegation to discuss terms of peace while the enemy is still far away. So you cannot become my disciple without giving up everything you own.“
That seems pretty clear to me. And begs the hard question of, “is that what your life looks like?” I think the cost that Jesus is talking about here is this: that your salvation, like the building is a process… and it is possible that the work can be started, but incomplete if the full cost isn’t taken into consideration… ie – someone who doesn’t understand what they would be giving up if they are truly to call him “Lord of ALL”, so then they turn away… this would actually be one of my arguments about people who live a backslidden lifestyle ever slid forward in the first place – was it that their building was incomplete because they didn’t count the cost properly? (But I think that’s a whole other topic for another time perhaps) And as I read scripture more – it seems more and more evident to me that what’s promised isn’t blessings in this life (financially, physically, etc) – but in the life to come. (Now again – I’m not denying that you can’t be blessed here) The predominant thing, however, that is promised; is that you will suffer.
“Your Best Life Now”???? What?!?!! Seriously?? Then what about heaven? If you’re having your best life now before you die… then I got some bad news for you about your life after…
Jesus said, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
And many more times throughout scripture – suffering seems to be almost a given (even a promise) for following Christ truly – (Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted… – 2 Tim 3:12) and most of us could relate to that – persecution for standing up for your faith is a norm. Even historically we can see this… ALL the apostles had terribly hard lives and most died gruesome deaths for the sake of the gospel. They were crucified upside down, boiled in oil alive, stoned to death, lived in exile, were beaten, poor, starving, in jail… So why then is it being promised that when you accept Christ that everything will be all honky dory? The fact is that Christ is more glorified in the midst of our suffering and trials than in abundance. That there is a beauty in the believer’s faith who can say it is well with my soul though the storms of life surround.
THIS is how we overcome… not just by some mere petty monetary means! The ultimate sacrifice was not made so that you could drive a BMW, or even that you would not struggle financially. It was so that you could glorify God with your life – in your suffering – and experience a relationship with Him (by having to trust in Him) and be rewarded by His presence. THAT IS OUR REWARD.
Name it and Claim it!!! Oh please!…. more like Blab it and Grab it… seriously? The whole positive confession thing just strikes such a horrible sour chord on my soul because it totally demeans and cheapens what Jesus came to do and reflects the same blindness of the Pharisees and other Jews who thought the messiah would come to set up a physical kingdom. James says, “You ask and no not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures.” He cuts to the heart of the matter – our desires. If our desire isn’t for more of God – we’re asking amiss. Name it and Claim it is just a rehashed way of trying to manipulate God. We can see just how little emphasis God places on physical and financial ‘blessing’ in scripture. In fact I think a lot of times – in a spiritual sense – those things can become burdens blinding us from true spiritual experience.
The positive confession thought is really trying to manipulate God to fulfil our desires when really we should be submitting our desires to God. Are your requests coming from a will that is submitted to God’s? While the prosperity gospel and the idea of controlling one’s future with his thoughts or faith is appealing to sinful man, it is insulting to a sovereign God who has revealed Himself in Scripture. Instead of recognizing the absolute sovereign power of God as revealed in the Bible, the name it and claim it adherents embrace a false god who cannot operate apart from their faith. Really we shouldn’t be concerning ourselves with how God can fit into our will, but how our will could be submitted to His.
The roots of the Word of Faith movement and the name it and claim it message have more in common with new age metaphysics than with biblical Christianity. However, instead of us creating our reality with our thoughts, as new age proponents advise, name it and claim it teachers tell us that we can use the “power of faith” to create our own reality or get what we want. In essence faith is redefined from trusting in a holy and sovereign God despite our circumstances to a way of controlling God to give us what we want. Faith becomes a force whereby we can get what we want rather than an abiding trust in God even during times of trials and suffering. The teaching really exalts man and his “faith” above God. I’d say that’s pretty much boarderline, if not over-the-line, cultic teaching!
Both the metaphysical cults and the name it and claim it teaching distort the truth and embrace the false teaching that our thoughts control reality. Whether it is the power of positive thinking or the prosperity gospel, the premise is the same—what you think or believe will happen is ultimately what controls what will happen. If you think negative thoughts or are lacking in faith, you will suffer or not get what you want. But on the other hand if you think positive thoughts or just have “enough faith,” then you can have health, wealth and happiness now. This false teaching appeals to one of man’s most base instincts, which is one reason why it is hugely popular. But God is not a vending machine!!!!
Jesus tells the rich man to go and sell all he has THEN come follow him (Matt 19:21). Then we’re told it is harder for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle. (v. 23-24) Jesus Himself is the ultimate treasure worth sacrificing everything for:
(The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. – Matt 13:44)
We’re told in Acts that the christians sold ALL they had and brought the money to the early church and shared everything! How different our churches look today!!! Have we got it all wrong??? How much times have you heard of how much more passionate and joyful the church in third world countries are than it is in the affluent west? One thing God has been challenging me with is giving to the point that you NEED God to provide! How do you expect to experience God’s provision if you already have everything? Jesus commends the widow that gave everything she had… I dunno about you – but that’s 100% and yet we struggle with 10%? Saying that – oh tithing is old testament and we’re living under grace now… then shouldn’t that make us more thankful and want to give more out of our love?! How crazy are you with your love for God? Cuz He’s pretty much loony about you… not sparing His own Son!
So here is the question that resounds then…. IS CHRIST ENOUGH!?
If everything were to be taken from you – your family, loved ones, everyone you knew and cared for, all your money, your health, your beauty, even your intellect and all earthly pleasures… is Christ enough to make you satisfied? If not – check yourself. Because maybe you’ve bought into an other gospel of “Jesus and…” Paul said that He counted all things loss and even as dung compared to gaining a knowledge of Christ.
I am NOT trying to knock anyone who is poor or truly in need and needs God to breakthrough and provide for them financially… or telling you that you shouldn’t strive to get out of poverty… not at all! Just making sure that we check ourselves as to what is our satisfaction based in. Remember Matthew 16:26. Also Jesus warns, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” – Luke 12:15.
I’m not saying this to make anyone doubt their salvation – but it is said that narrow is the path and few find it… and I think in matters of eternity, you cannot take it too lightly. I do believe that when we are His truly, we are His forever. Nothing can snatch us from the palm of His hand and we have that security – but be on guard to know the scripture for YOURSELF and don’t depend on someone else to feed you second hand bread of life. I think in terms of recognizing false teaching – we should be reading the bible at least twice as much as any other book… and also checking what any other book or person is saying theologically against what God’s word says – and this goes for my words too!
So, “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21) God does indeed bless us and wants to bless us… I believe and see that in scripture, but also I see: “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Hebrews 13:5. Our desire here on earth should not be to have our best life now but should be that of the Apostle Paul who had learned to be content “in whatever state I am” (Phil 4:11) because Christ is enough… in fact – He is more than enough.
Love u guys. Thanks for reading.