Wednesday, September 19, 2007

"God Wants to Give Us Nice Things"

Does this make sense to anyone?
61% of Christians believe God wants people to be financially prosperous.

48% of Christians believe Jesus was not rich, and we should follow his example.

Those stats come from a very interesting Time Magazine article:
"Does God Want You to be Rich?" by David van Biema and Jeff Chu

It's a year old but still quite timely.

And I never thought I'd say this, but here's Saddleback's Rick Warren goin' all prophetic and what-not:
"This idea that God wants everybody to be wealthy?", he snorts. "There is a word for that: baloney. It's creating a false idol. You don't measure your self-worth by your net worth. I can show you millions of faithful followers of Christ who live in poverty. Why isn't everyone in the church a millionaire?"

Naturally because they lack faith, Rick. :-)

Or something.

Nah, he's right. It's baloney. It's worse than that -- it's idolatry.
Does God want you rich? He might. He also might want you poor.

"Nuts to that," says Joyce Meyer.
Well, okay, she didn't say that. But she did say this:
"Who would want to get in on something where you're miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?" asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. "I believe God wants to give us nice things."

Beautiful. This is of course why Meyer ministers in AIDS and famine and poverty-ravaged Africa.

Yes, that was a joke.

But none of this is funny.
These people are killing Christians. Killing them.

Jesus didn't die on a dollar sign, you charlatans.

Btw, our friend The Internet Monk is quoted in that article. Way to make the big time, Monkeyboy.

Here's why I hate the prosperity gospel: not just because it's a lie, a false gospel, but because it is a lie that damages people. It places the focus of their faith on stuff and circumstantial happiness. So if you don't have nice stuff, more stuff, better stuff, you naturally doubt your faith.

Why isn't the grace of God in the work of Jesus Christ enough for these people? Why isn't the glory of the atonement -- reconciliation with God! -- glorious enough?

Woe to anyone who preaches dissatisfaction in Christ alone. Woe to anyone who preaches Christ plus stuff. May they repent or perish rather than continue leading the sheep astray.


e. said...

So whats wrong with Rick Warren, btw?

Jared said...

E, I don't know. Just didn't expect to be connecting him to a prophetic rebuke of the prosperity gospel.

But not b/c I figured he'd be sympathetic to it or anything. Just was surprised to see him weighing in.

I don't have a beef with him or anything like that. I find the watchblog slander of him reprehensible.

Aaron said...

"Who would want to get in on something where you're miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?"

Ugly? So following Christ will make me handsome too? This just keeps getting better and better! Man, Jared, if we could just get the word out to the world that Jesus will make ugly people good-looking, we might be able to stop terrorism, famine, AIDS, AND global warming :)

Geez, I can't believe she really said that! That's sad, really sad. Makes me want to take all my Joyce Meyer posters off the wall and give them to the poor.

Jared said...

Do they need something else to depress them, Aaron? :-)

I got hung up on her comment about "muddling through," b/c the true gospel -- the way of the cross -- isn't a bored, depressed, empty, defeated life. I wonder if anyone is really calling for that -- "Just muddle through with Jesus!" But I admit it can sound that way sometimes when we highlight being crucified with Christ, etc.

But I think that is the prosperity gospel's perversion. It sees being crucified with Christ as a defeat; it sees a lack of financial prosperity or the presence of pain or sickness as defeat.
That's pretty much the opposite from the way Scripture treats those things.

The trick for real gospel teaching, then, is highlighting joy.

Jeremy said...

have you seen the video of what Piper thinks of the prosperity gospel?

great post man!! my in-laws are into this crap and it makes me sick and my heart hurts for them as they wait for God's check in the mail

Jared said...

Not only have I seen that, I posted it at Thinklings and on my MySpace.

Piper rocks.

Curtis said...

Good stuff. Is it just me or does anyone else think "only in America" when they hear people teach this stuff. My buddy works with Compassion Intl and you hear stories of the hospitality and joy of people living in one room huts with 10 people. Yet somehow they are happier than many of the American Christians I know, including probably me. Stuff-itis will eat your soul.

Anonymous said...

If there is one person that God wanted to be poor, I would be it. No matter what I do, I have not even a penny to my name.

I am going to admit, I am a defeated, depressed individual who is only staying alive by the grace of God.

I am that miserable, poor, broke and (no longer) ugly person that Joyce Meyer harps about. As a matter of fact I'd say it is rather supernatural how I ended up like this. I'd say my life PROVES that there IS A GOD!!! LOL!!!

But I definitely am not miserable...

I'm the one who is left with no choice but to "muddle" through until heaven. (Along with some of the other followers in the Bible. Paul is pretty much what Joyce Meyer might as well have been talking about. He was materially poor, struggling and starving as a follower of Christ. Get this, before he was a follower of Christ and when he was actively pursuing followers to put to their death, he was well fed and well liked.)

When I became a follower, I wanted to believe in the prosperity Gospel. I learned that it didn't work like that. Then I learned how it really worked, LOL!!!

I still say glory and honor be to God, because he is the one who decides what it is and what it isn't.