Friday, November 6, 2020by Reverend Dan on November 6, 2020
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth ... But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven"
First, let me say this. I love to listen to T.D. Jakes preach. He’s one of my absolute favorites. And Creflo Dollar as well – I love his easy style of communication. And every once in a while, I’ll catch a Joel Osteen sermon, and once I get past that painted-on TV camera smile, it’s usually pretty good. So, I’m not saying proponents of the Prosperity Gospel are not good preachers or Christians. They are.
My issue with the theology of the movement is that life and the world we live in is not full of unicorns and rainbows and sun-shiny days all the times. Life can be difficult, and we all suffer. There is redemption in suffering. It is instructive and we must face it and learn how to deal with it. We cannot, no matter how much money we give, avoid it.
And we are sinners. So, at some point the consequences and accountability of sin need to be understood as they relate to our relationship with God. To only hear “feel good” theology that promises health and wealth is to negate the very reason Christ came and suffered and died for us.
Is there a time for hearing about the goodness of God? Absolutely. A time to be reminded that no matter how vile of a sinner we are, God is waiting to forgive us if we repent and confess our sins to Him. But there also need to be times when we are reminded that there will come a Judgment Day and we will have to account for our lives and our actions. Those messages are rare, if ever preached, when all you’re trying to do is fill up a church with people to increase attendance and fill the coffers of the church treasure. After all, who wants to hear all that “negativity” and then give money?
So, the prosperity gospel of “you give to God through this ministry and He’ll bless you with health and wealth all the days of your life” is just not reality. Nor scriptural. And when preachers become rich from it, it is against the most basic tenet of the moral code set for pastors.
I once heard a sermon that told how to identify a prosperity gospel preacher. If serious doctrine is absent . . . if the doctrine of suffering is glossed over . . . if the scriptures are never seriously exegeted (if the preacher tells too many stories and rarely mentions the Bible) . . . if sermons never have any tension or you’re never convicted by them . . . if the greatness of God is marginalized by the prominence of self . . . and if the preacher has an exorbitant lifestyle . . . changes are you’re hearing the prosperity gospel, and not the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If this makes you listen to sermons with a little more depth and for Biblical truths, that’s a good thing. I’d recommend listen to your favorite preacher, even if he or she is on the list. But listen with the brain and good sense God gave you so that His Word will apply to ALL parts of your life . . . good and bad.
“Father, Open our eyes to the true meaning of scripture. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.”