Wednesday, November 15, 2006

SELLING OUT THE GOSPEL

TIME Magazine recently ran a cover story, “Does God want you to be rich?” If you listen to proponents of the prosperity gospel, the answer is a resounding, Yes, God wants you to be rich!

To be honest, I am trying to see the relationship between a congregation’s donations keeping their minister living in opulence and the gospel. I can not find any verse stating, Any person who refuses to send generous donations to his local church minister to keep the minister in diamond pinky rings, silk suits and luxury vehicles will not enter the kingdom of God.

Now, I realize the Bible was written before the Mercedez-Benz was invented, so perhaps there is an applicable verse in the New Testament stating, All church members are required to keep their home church leader supplied with an abundance of cattle, donkeys, jewelry and robes or he will be tossed into the lake of fire with the other cheapskates. Nope, I can not find that one either.

Wait, I do find a verse which I think of when the prosperity gospel is being expounded. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Matthew 7:15.

If this sounds harsh, think about it for a moment. Is this a gospel about Jesus or a self-propagandistic “gospel”? The prosperity gospel appeals to the greedy side of humanity and sometimes to the lazy side. It would be nice to be able to send in a portion of income and never have to worry again about finances, but would material means solve all our problems and make us happy? More importantly, do riches guarantee your name will be written in the Book of Life? Wealth is not listed as one of the prerequisites of salvation.

The gospel does include riches, though. Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? James 2:5 (NIV).

God does prosper some materially but there is no guarantee of material prosperity in the biblical gospel, and you can not buy God’s blessings through adhering to the teachings of the prosperity gospel.

Although prosperity might sound tempting, don’t sell out the true gospel for riches in this life. Rather, delight in the riches of God’s mercy and grace.

Judas sold out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. How much is the true gospel worth to you? It should be priceless!

www.mercyandpercy.com

1 comment:

Vicki said...

Great post, Jan. These prosperity teachers seem to have overlooked Matthew 19:24: "Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Yep, a lot of wolves in sheep's clothing out there:-)