Last weekend, I was going about my business, when a person stopped me asking myself and I to attend the Realise event at his church which is UCKG. We have had a few separate invitations from this church. The first was to get anointed with oil by ‘the man of God’ and my wife was offered to come for an anointed rose… yes you heard me right. Anyway we played dumb and asked him what it was about without divulging the fact that we were Christians. He then proceeded to tell us how we could learn the keys to being successful. At this stage there was NO mention of God, NO mention of Jesus, NO mention of sin, NO mention of my need for forgiveness. I actually tried to steer him in the way by asking him what would happen if I became very successful (like Steve Jobs) , but died afterwards? Still nothing.
In the end, I had to tell him about his error because no doubt, if I had been a non-christian, and asked him all those questions and left, I would have left dead in my sins without any knowledge of the gospel at all. I did ask him why he never spoke to me about God and he basically said that non Christians would not be interested so he talked about the other stuff to ‘get me in’. The problem with that is if I decide not to visit their church, the very thing that has the power to save me i.e. the gospel, is the very thing that is left out in the conversation. It is hard enough going out of your way to witness to someone but when someone comes to you asking questions, we as Christians should jump at the opportunity to give them the good news.
As I said, this is not the first experience that I have had with UCKG and many times, I have had their newspapers in the post and their general thread and emphasis is about being happy and successful, but not about being righteous and being in a right standing with God. A classic example of this is their series ‘The 5 Biggest Failures of Jesus’ (I didn’t even know that he did fail, silly me)
As per their website
When we say that Jesus had failures, people’s knee-jerk response is, “No He didn’t. He’s God. He never fails at anything.” But the truth is that Jesus failed many times throughout His 33-year earthly ministry. He experienced disappointments and many times things did not always go quite the way He wanted.
But… He turned them around… every single time. Whenever Jesus experienced failure, He used it to His advantage and either turned the failure into success, or put more effort into something else that would bring more results.
‘Failure’ 1 – Jesus had no money to pay His taxes (Matthew 17.24-27) Click here
‘Failure’ 2 – Jesus was known as ‘Jesus of Nazareth’ and had no recognized degree in theology – Click here
‘Failure’ 3 – The partial healing of the blind man – Click here
‘Failure’ 4 - People of the Gadarenes reject Him (Mark 5:1-20) – Click here
‘Failure’ 5 - Many Disciples desert Him (Jn. 6:66,67) – Click here
You may say ‘What’s the problem?’ Do you see a re-occurring theme? They have twisted the scriptures to somehow make the bible a self help manual. The problem is even though on the surface, it seems to be harmless and even christian, the real focus is not about Christ but it is the gospel of YOU. The focus is on being successful in THIS life on earth. The very thing scripture tells us not to focus on
Set your minds on things that are above, NOT on things that are on earth. (Colossians 3:2)
Am I saying that it is wrong to have earthly ambitions? Not at all, but from my experience and from the many newspapers and experiences that I have had with this church, the emphasis has always been on the here and now and an example of this can be seen in the five lessons above.
Do I have any personal gripes against UCKG? Not at all but I have enough experiences to know that churches (whether it be this church or a Joel Osteen type of church) which subscribe to this type of theology is a dangerous one. I can be the most successful person in this life but the truth of the matter is, if I die without Christ, I will die in my sins and will be heading to hell