Posts Tagged ‘Evil’

 

In this post, I wrote about my reservations about God TV and unfortunately it has come to light that Rory and Wendy Alec’s marriage maybe over because of Rory’s ‘moral failure’. Wendy Alec explained what happened in a statement on the channel and you can see a small portion of it in the video below.

Now matter what your views are on them, we have to keep these two in our prayers because at the end of the day, these are two human individuals (plus their families) who are going through a very difficult time and it cannot be easy especially not only being in the limelight but being in the Christian limelight. Especially for Wendy now who has to carry on. It is hard enough dealing with this in private and they need God’s strength. HOWEVER, there is an underlying problem which is the real issue with God TV. The article below was taken from Christianity Today and was written by David Robertson

rory-and-wendy-alecThe news that God TV co-founder Rory Alec has been suspended from his post as presenter and head of the organisation, because of ‘moral failure’ has come as a shock to some in the Christian world. Others have a resigned sense of ‘oh no, here we go again’, while still others are quick to point out that we are all sinners and we should pray for and extend the grace of God to Rory and Wendy. All of these reactions are understandable but I would like to suggest that there is a danger that we won’t see the wood for the trees. The problem here is not primarily the adultery of one man, or the schadenfreude that critics of God TV might delight in. The problem goes much deeper and is something that the Church in the West really needs to get hold of.

I am not surprised at all by Rory’s ‘indiscretion’ – nor by the continual account of Christian CEOs or celebrity mega pastors being caught with either their hand in the till or their bodies in another’s bed. Why? Because whenever I have watched God TV, what comes across to me is that it is primarily about money and power. And when you have those two at the centre it’s not long before the third part of that particular unholy trinity, sex, rears its ugly head. Despite the fact that there were some occasional good things on it, I had to stop watching God TV because I used to get so depressed and angry. I have spent a great deal of time helping people whose faith, though initially boosted and encouraged by some of what they saw, eventually was battered, bruised and severely damaged by the theology and practices espoused on much of God TV. Take the example of so called ‘Missions’ weeks. They were nothing of the sort. They were purely and entirely about raising money. Now I realise that Rory and Wendy would tell us that it was about reaching one billion souls. That was hyperbolic sales talk, confusing the possibility that God TV “could” be seen on several million TV sets, with the idea that they “would” and that then all would believe. The manipulation, sales talk and constant pleading for money “for the work of the kingdom” was nauseating.

And the power. I have yet to see a God TV programme which extolled the virtues of weakness. Everything was about strength and power. Power-dressed shiny happy people beamed out of our TV screens a picture of wealth, health and success. Continually we were assured that somewhere out there was someone called Marge who had just been healed of cancer, or Tom whose marriage was about to be restored, or Dave whose business had just been boosted because of the cheque he wrote. There was nothing about Bill who had just lost his job, Susan whose daughter had just died, or Tim who went bankrupt after he mortgaged his house in order to give money to God TV. I even watched complete charlatans like Todd Bentley kick a woman in the face because ‘the Holy Spirit told him to’ and then pronounce that he had raised several people from the dead – however he could not name them because of ‘patient confidentiality’! He too of course fell into the money, power and sex trap – before GodTV, ‘graciously restored’ him and gave him yet another platform for his aberrations. And yet I know churches in the UK who were so desperate to ‘catch the anointing’ that they bought into all of this guff. This kind of TV is of more use to the New Atheist movement than it is to the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

After speaking at CLAN (the largest charismatic conference in Scotland), I was interviewed by God TV. The producer told me that he loved the interview but that there was no way it would ever be broadcast. When I asked why, his answer revealed a great deal about God TV: “Wendy wouldn’t like it”. God TV was not about what God wanted, or what the Church needed. It was the Rory and Wendy show, and the show of all those tele-evangelists who were wealthy enough to buy into it. The language was always hyper spiritual, the onstage hysteria real, but behind the scenes there were the usual power games and struggles associated with secular corporations.

And therein lies the problem. The Church is not a corporation. Nor is it an entertainment or an advertising agency. Godliness is not a way to get wealthy. Or famous. Or to have your own ‘ministry’. The Church is to be the pillar and ground of the truth. Much of modern corporate Christianity has become pillarless and groundless. As a result it has also become brainless, banal and spiritually bankrupt. And it is certainly not harmless. I was visited this week by a friend who has just returned from six weeks real mission work among the poor in Africa. In some of these really poor countries, the world of corporate, commercialised Christianity, imported from the wealthy West, has taken root. There are mega pastors selling holy water for $1000, stealing money from the old, the sick and the poor, in order to pay for their mega mansions and luxury cars. The problem with God TV is not the moral failure of Rory’s adultery. It is the moral failure of associating the Good News of Jesus to the poor with the prosperity gospel and health and wealth blasphemy of Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer.

When I write like this the objection immediately comes. Don’t be so harsh and hard. Why are you speaking against a brother and sister like this? How is that like Christ? Well – did not Jesus call the religious hypocrites of his day “white-washed tombs, twice dead”? Did not Paul tell the Galatian false teachers to go the whole way and emasculate themselves?! I have a genuine concern for Wendy – as I watched the cruelty of her live ‘revival alert’ which was much more like a Dr Phil confessional, I was so saddened for that betrayed woman. And angry with the people who continue to feed the illusion that she is the anointed one to save a billion souls. At best it is delusional, at worst it is a horrible blasphemy to have an American ‘prophetess’ screaming down the phone at her that the Lord told her directly that the endtime harvest was coming through Wendy. And it is oh so cruel. Far crueller than my words.

But some will say – “It has helped me…God spoke to me through it.” I don’t doubt that. Poison is always far more effective when coated in sugar.

Some will warn me “Don’t criticise the work of the Holy Spirit”. I totally agree. But is it not a false assumption to declare that everything that claims to be of the Spirit is of the Spirit? Is it not wrong to attribute the work of the Spirit to the delusions and manipulations of man? We are to test the spirits. And how do we test? If they glorify Christ, speak according to the Word of God and exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

Rory Alec in his statement says that we should not look at him, but look at Christ. But TV says “look at me”. This is not to say that TV cannot be used as a medium to proclaim the Gospel. There are Christian TV stations that do a good job. But it is a medium that it is very difficult to use. The Christian evangelist, preacher, TV personality must be someone whose aim is to point away from themselves and towards Jesus Christ – and not just when we have a ‘moral failure’. We exist to serve Christ and His Church. They do not exist to serve us. Like John the Baptist we declare, “He must increase, I must decrease”. Ironically even as I write this I am listening to a preacher on God TV tell us “no, no, no – he wants us to increase!”

The simple truth that we need to grasp is this: The six billion souls will be reached, not through the slick marketing, self-promoting, mega powerful corporations; nor through the hysterical delusions and manipulation of self-appointed ‘apostolic-prophetic’ ministries, but rather through hundreds of thousands of local churches humbly and lovingly proclaiming and living Christ in local communities, with the Word of God, by the Spirit of God, through the people of God. It’s basic Christianity!

Shai Linne talks about his song Fal$e Teacher$

Posted: April 8, 2013 in False Doctrine, False Teachers
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On Shai’s most recent album, “Lyrical Theology Part 1: Theology” he has a song devoted to False Teachers. This video gives a little background into why he felt it was important to address such a topic.

Listen to the song below

UPDATE: Paula White Ministries responded to this song which you can view by clicking here and see Shai’s response to their letter by clicking here

CaptureOn 14th December 2012, Adam Lanza killed his mother before driving to Sandy Hook school and opening fire killing twenty children, aged 6 and 7, and six adults. The obvious question that many people will be asking is why did God allow such a tragedy to happen? After listening to one of the fathers of the victims (who sounded like a Christian), why would God allow this to happen to one of his children? This would turn the doctrine of blessings, breakthrough and favor right on its head. If God knows everything in advance, why did he allow this to happen? Couldn’t he of stopped it? Is God evil for allowing this to happen? These are the type of questions that many people (including Christians) will be asking and nothing is wrong with that. The Psalmist asked many honest questions.  Got Questions addresses this question head on from a biblical viewpoint

Question: “Why does God allow evil?”

Answer: The Bible describes God as holy (Isaiah 6:3), righteous (Psalm 7:11), just (Deuteronomy 32:4), and sovereign (Daniel 4:17-25). These attributes tell us the following about God: (1) God is capable of preventing evil, and (2) God desires to rid the universe of evil. So, if both of these are true, why does God allow evil? If God has the power to prevent evil and desires to prevent evil, why does He still allow evil? Perhaps a practical way to look at this question would be to consider some alternative ways people might have God run the world:

1) God could change everyone’s personality so that they cannot sin. This would also mean that we would not have a free will. We would not be able to choose right or wrong because we would be “programmed” to only do right. Had God chosen to do this, there would be no meaningful relationships between Him and His creation.

Instead, God made Adam and Eve innocent but with the ability to choose good or evil. Because of this, they could respond to His love and trust Him or choose to disobey. They chose to disobey. Because we live in a real world where we can choose our actions but not their consequences, their sin affected those who came after them (us). Similarly, our decisions to sin have an impact on us and those around us and those who will come after us.

2) God could compensate for people’s evil actions through supernatural intervention 100 percent of the time. God would stop a drunk driver from causing an automobile accident. God would stop a lazy construction worker from doing a substandard job on a house that would later cause grief to the homeowners. God would stop a father who is addicted to drugs or alcohol from doing any harm to his wife, children, or extended family. God would stop gunmen from robbing convenience stores. God would stop high school bullies from tormenting the brainy kids. God would stop thieves from shoplifting. And, yes, God would stop terrorists from flying airplanes into buildings.

While this solution sounds attractive, it would lose its attractiveness as soon as God’s intervention infringed on something we wanted to do. We want God to prevent horribly evil actions, but we are willing to let “lesser-evil” actions slide—not realizing that those “lesser-evil” actions are what usually lead to the “greater-evil” actions. Should God only stop actual sexual affairs, or should He also block our access to pornography or end any inappropriate, but not yet sexual, relationships? Should God stop “true” thieves, or should He also stop us from cheating on our taxes? Should God only stop murder, or should He also stop the “lesser-evil” actions done to people that lead them to commit murder? Should God only stop acts of terrorism, or should He also stop the indoctrination that transformed a person into a terrorist?

3) Another choice would be for God to judge and remove those who choose to commit evil acts. The problem with this possibility is that there would be no one left, for God would have to remove us all. We all sin and commit evil acts (Romans 3:23; Ecclesiastes 7:20; 1 John 1:8). While some people are more evil than others, where would God draw the line? Ultimately, all evil causes harm to others.

Instead of these options, God has chosen to create a “real” world in which real choices have real consequences. In this real world of ours, our actions affect others. Because of Adam’s choice to sin, the world now lives under the curse, and we are all born with a sin nature (Romans 5:12). There will one day come a time when God will judge the sin in this world and make all things new, but He is purposely “delaying” in order to allow more time for people to repent so that He will not need to condemn them (2 Peter 3:9). Until then, He IS concerned about evil. When He created the Old Testament laws, the goal was to discourage and punish evil. He judges nations and rulers who disregard justice and pursue evil. Likewise, in the New Testament, God states that it is the government’s responsibility to provide justice in order to protect the innocent from evil (Romans 13). He also promises severe consequences for those who commit evil acts, especially against the “innocent” (Mark 9:36-42).

In summary, we live in a real world where our good and evil actions have direct consequences and indirect consequences upon us and those around us. God’s desire is that for all of our sakes we would obey Him that it might be well with us (Deuteronomy 5:29). Instead, what happens is that we choose our own way, and then we blame God for not doing anything about it. Such is the heart of sinful man. But Jesus came to change men’s hearts through the power of the Holy Spirit, and He does this for those who will turn from evil and call on Him to save them from their sin and its consequences (2 Corinthians 5:17). God does prevent and restrain some acts of evil. This world would be MUCH WORSE were not God restraining evil. At the same time, God has given us the ability to choose good and evil, and when we choose evil, He allows us, and those around us, to suffer the consequences of evil. Rather than blaming God and questioning God on why He does not prevent all evil, we should be about the business of proclaiming the cure for evil and its consequences—Jesus Christ!

Let us pray for all of those who have been directly or indirectly affected by this shooting. I honestly do not know how I would be if my children were the ones left in a pool of blood.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn – Romans 12:15

Related Posts:

 Why does God allow evil?

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 2

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 3: Pain and Suffering

 Why does God allow evil? – Part 4: If God is so powerful and so good, why do bad things happen?

If God knew people would sin, why did he make them?

Ten of my favorite blog posts on Real Christianity

Posted: October 31, 2012 in Christian Living, Evangelism, False Doctrine, False Teachers
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I cannot believe that I have been blogging for over five years beginning with How Important is Doctrine and as of today, have written 619 posts, this being my 620th. Every now and then, I go back to my old posts and re-read some of them, if not for anything else to re-encourage myself. So out of these 600+posts, below are ten of my favorite posts in no particular order and my reasons why. Just click on the titles to read the posts

1. The Marks of False ‘Christian’ teachers and teaching – OK, I am going to cheat on the first one as it was my first series (11 parts in total) called The Marks of False ‘Christian’ teachers and teaching starting with A Form of godliness. I saw so much foolishness in churches and on Christian TV and I knew that a lot of people were beginning to question a lot of things but were afraid to say anything. I just said what they were thinking. So I wrote the series and gave my reasons for doing it as I know a lot of people would think that I was just a heresy hunter. If you want to read the full series, just follow the links at the bottom of the posts

2. To tithe or not to tithe – Tithing was one of those things that kept me in bondage early on in my days and I know keeps many in bondage today. Many preachers use old testament scriptures like Malachi 3:8-12 to manipulate people into giving money and making them feel that they have robbed God if they don’t give their 10%.  That was until I searched the scriptures for myself only to find that the new testament principle of giving is proportional giving and giving out of what you have and not out of what you don’t have thus getting yourself into debt. It is also about a person giving what THEY purpose in their heart (2 Cor 9:7) . I wrote this to make it plain why Christians are not under any obligation to tithe anymore under the new covenant.

3. How do you know that you are saved (that you are a Christian)? – I really enjoyed writing this blog because it became very apparent to me that many people thought that they were Christians but they were actually self-deceived. This troubled me so I wanted to have some kind of ‘test’ whereby a person could measure up themselves to. Luckily the books of 1 and 2 John has such a test and has been one of my most popular posts that is found when people do searches, which tells me that a lot of people really do want to know if they are a Christian or not.

4. So you think that you’re a Christian. Power testimonies from former false converts – This ties in to number 3. When I heard these testimonies, I knew there were countless amount of people in this situation and I wanted to share it because I wanted others to see if they could see themselves in the mirror and if so, do something about it. The worse deception ever is to think that you are a Christian when, in fact, you are not

5. Spending Quality Time with God – This post always comes to haunt me because I know that this is something that I am constantly guilty of not doing but it is a constant reminder of where our priorities should be  

6. When your children don’t want to follow God – This post was and still is a very personal one to me. It hurts me to know that my children (so far) have decided to not follow Christ. I can only pray that God orchestrates the events in their life to point them to him.

7. Every Man’s Battle – I wrote this because it is a taboo subject amongst Christian men but can be a deadly poison if not dealt with….especially when it comes to the summer.

8. The Money Challenge – If anything, this is a shame on most of us as Christians about what motivates us to share the  gospel with others. I never want to be  Christian that as the gospel group, Commissioned, say in one of their songs that we “tend to find security in our salvation. We should constantly think about the lost”

9. Should we ever question what the man of God says – This post goes hand in hand with the post of Touch not the Lord’s anointed. Say goodbye to the untouchable preachers. The reason why I started this whole blogging stuff is because I questioned everything that I had previously heard and decided to go back to the basics of the gospel. You know, things like the cross, salvation, sin, repentance, faith, discipleship and NOT breakthroughs, blessings and divine favour which seems to be so prevalent in churches these days.

10. Christ is the only way, now you choose – I have posted many videos over the years but I love this video because it puts everything in perspective about what Christ has done and how he has provided a way out for those who have repented and put their trust in him

As per my About Me section, when I started this blog, the main reason is, if I am honest is that I was fed up of just going with the flow of what had become the norm in a lot of Christendom and wanted to get things off my chest. Most christians that I knew (including me) had swallowed the health and wealth prosperity gospel. Watching some of the preachers on TBN and God TV such as Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn without REALLY lining up what they said with correct interpretation of scripture. Some of these (and our) pastors were twisting scripture but because it was the norm, we were deceived into thinking that because everyone was saying it and because these were respected leaders, it must be true.

Over the past few years, I have been encouraged to know that many people are beginning to question what they have been fed. However, many think that they are saved but in reality are actually self-deceived because they are blinded by false promises constantly talking about blessings, breakthrough and/or divine favour. A classic example can be seen in the video below

Vodpod videos no longer available.

My message to you is this. Examine your motives for staying where you are. Are you TRULY being fed and growing spriritually or are you suffering spritually and just staying because of friends or because of loyalty to your church and/or your pastor even though they may not be preaching the gospel or may not be righly dividing scripture?  I was in that position once when I stayed out of loyalty, not because of a longing for correct use of scripture. I really depended on ‘Christian’ TV for my food. Obviously, each case will be different and it maybe that some pastors are approachable with your concerns and will seriously listen to you. In my own personal experience though, those occasions are rare. Click here and here for reasons why you should or shouldnt leave your church and please get some wise godly counsel but please don’t stay out of loyalty alone

UPDATE: When I started to write this post it was basically about what I have stated above and then I came across a few things this week which made me realise that blind loyalty comes in different forms. First check out the video below of Lexi interviewing Bishop Oliver Clyde Allen and First Gentleman (thats right, not Lady but Gentleman) Rashad. This is an example of what happens when people hold a low view of scripture and hold their opinions higher.

HT: I’m Speaking Truth

The people are all willing to ignore the explicit commands of scripture to justify their sins and you can see how their loyalty to the ‘bishop’ is as a result of this. Now I have no problems with people struggling with their sins, no matter what form it takes, whether it be homosexual sins or hetrosexual sins, but I do have a problem when people try to justify it as if God has given it the green light. NEWSFLASH: It is NOT OK.

24Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, 25because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.

26For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; 27and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. (Romans 1:24-27)

Then today I came across this news story on Sky News

At least six people have dies in Britain after being told they had been healed of HIV and could stop taking their medication, Sky News has discovered

There is evidence evangelical churches in London, Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow are claiming to cure HIV through God.

Sky sent three undercover reporters to the Synagogue Church of All Nations (SCOAN), which is based in Southwark, south London.

To tell an HIV sufferer that they do not need to take their medication anymore is nothing less than evil and deceptive (see my post Derren Brown: Miracles for Sale). Now this church follows the false teacher T B Joshua and I do not have time to go into this man but you can google his name. Many people follow this man blindly as if he can do no wrong without lining up what he says with scripture

When peoples lives are being wrecked by ministries like this, I will not stay silent and will sound the alarm. Who knows? It may save a life

DONT BE BLINDED BY YOUR LOYALTY

Taken from Desiring God

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Introduction
3:29  The glory of God.
7:16  David Wells and the weight of God’s reality.
9:00  Would you write the book the same today?
12:00 The sovereignty of God.
18:47 How do you speak of God’s sovereignty in the presence of tragedy?
22:01 How do all things work for bad for those who reject Christ?
24:14 Do you hedge on Larry King?
27:00 Unconditional election.
30:18 The importance of eternity.
34:42 How do you conceive of eternity: in heaven, on earth?
38:53 What is the Gospel?
42:00 What did Jesus achieve on the cross?
43:40 Repentance.
50:50 Why don’t you call yourself a Calvinist?
53:09 Propitiation.
54:39 Prevenient grace.
1:00:01 Total depravity.
1:03:00 Hell.
1:09:10 Eternal destiny of those who never heard.
1:12:40 The extent of the atonement.
1:17:00 Do unbelievers always do the devil’s bidding?
1:18:40 Your view of the Bible.
1:22:40 Expository preaching and doctrinal depth.
1:28:10 Rick Warren’s sacred trust

If you have watched Christian TV for sometime and attended various church healing crusades and meetings, you will know that ‘healings’ such as below have become the norm.

Have you ever been supicious of these practices? Well you should be. This week on TV here in the UK, ‘Derren Brown: Miracles For Sale’ was aired. This was the advertisement for the program.

As per Channel 4, the documentary saw….

…Derren go undercover to investigate the reality behind the faith healing phenomenon, in America, and the belief in faith-inspiring miraculous recoveries.

With the cameras in hot pursuit, Derren undergoes his toughest project yet, going in search of an unsuspecting member of the British public prepared to adopt the guise of a Pastor and miracle worker. His chosen one is then tasked with six months in which to learn the trade and flourish across the pond as a convincing Pastor.

The final phase of the volunteer’s extraordinary challenge will see them attempt to perform faith healing miracles live in Texas – will Derren’s new recruit be accepted as a faith healer or cast away as fake healer? Is the belief in divine intervention really justified or will Derren expose the industry as one giant hoax?

On his first TV pursuit into faith healing, Derren says ‘You are about to see a world where greed and deceit raise their ugly heads, where lives have been needlessly lost and where hope, the most precious gift of all is pedalled at a price’.

An example of a life that has ‘been needlessly lost’ can be seen below

For those of you who are not familiar with Derren Brown, click here for more information. Even though none of this was a surprise to me, the program approached this subject from another angle and to be honest, the world did the job that the church should have done ages ago in speaking out against these charlatans. Derren basically trained a scuba diver to become a fake faith healer called ‘James Collins’ (initials J.C.). He was taught (with some help of others including Christians including those from the Trinity Foundation) all the ‘tricks of the trade’ and even though they used deception to do this project, I for one was glad that this practice was exposed. Not suprisingly, on Facebook and Twitter, people were condemning Derren for being wrong but some of these are the same people who will no doubtedly defend the likes of Benny Hinn and Todd Bentley and wouldnt call them evil. Oh the irony.

To see ‘James Collins’ in action using the techniques that he learnt, look at the videos below

As you can see , ‘Pastor James’ was very convincing. In preparation for this exposure, they even set up a fake website called Gifts Of the Spirit Minsitry which you can visit here.

Those who prey on the vulnerable and the desperate are not just wrong, they are down right evil especially when they con people out of their money and encourage some to throw away their medicine with some having fatal consequences. Derren was interviewed about why he made the program which you can read here and I have to say that I agree with his motives.

Even though the videos below are in the How False Prophets Work post, I thought it was worth repeating them here to see how these guys work and manipulate people for their money. There is nothing new under the sun.

Marjoe Gortner, self proclaimed false faith healer

Peter Popoff Exposed

Deception is rampant in churches today but what I have seen lately is that many people are beginning to wise up and wake up to this deception and I thank God for that. However, many are still asleep and it is for those that we must continue to pray as I believe that some will be lulled into hell because they were self-deceived. Many people will also get poorer as a result, many will be blinded by false promises and many will be disillusioned with God because they never got the blessing, breakthrough or divine favour that they were promised.

One post that I definitely will recommend is A Call for Discernment by Justin Peters who addresses this in his videos. Now let me make it clear, I personally believe that God can and does heal people today but he does this in his sovereignty and not how these tricksters do it. Some people get healed but some people never get healed.

So in conclusion, do not just swallow anything that is fed to you on TV or by any preacher (even your favorite ones) but like the Bereans in Acts 17:11, check the scriptures to see if it lines up and if it doesnt, reject it.

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. (Matthew 24:24)

In the UK, unfortunately there are many African churches and ‘Pastors’ who subscribe to the health and wealth prosperity message. It is also popular in Africa itself because it preys on the poor and the desperate who will do anything to get out of their situation, even if that means sowing a seed to get them out of debt but in reality puts them more into debt. 

Please listen to this video as it is a refreshing breathe of fresh air to hear something that is not only an African problem but a church problem

Related Posts:

The marks of false ‘christian’ teaching and teachers Part 5 – The Prosperity Gospel

Money cometh and the anointing money ritual

John Piper – Why I abominate the prosperity gospel

As I have started typing this, there is one miner left to be rescued from the mining tragedy and by the time I finish, the last one would have reached the surface. As many of them were rescued, they visually showed their gratitude to God for delivering them. I for one was very grateful to God for his mercy in allowing these miners to survive after over two months

But non christians, legitimately ask the question ‘its OK for you to thank God in these situations, but where is God in situations like the Burma tragedy or the Minneapolis Bridge? Or where is God when a child dies of cancer or as a result of an idiot drinking and driving? Why dont we thank God then?

Early on in my Christian walk, even though I knew that being a christian wasnt a bed of roses, there was certain things that I didn’t expect to happen to us? I mean, no weapons formed against us should prosper….right? We are the head and not the tail….right? We shouldnt go though sickness or poverty….right? That’s not our portion…..right? But over time, I have recognised that things are not so straight-forward. The reality is, christians go through exactly the same things that non christians go through. We die of illnesses prematurely and so do our young children. We are victims of natural disasters and terrorist attacks. I’m sure there were christians who died in the Twin Towers on 9/11.  We go through marital problems are sometimes the victim of circumstances through no fault of our own. Read Luke 13:1-5 for an example. We may pray for a child to be healed and they still die. That’s just life. Preachers sometimes give people false hopes, or deceive them with false promises that disappoint many times and leave people disillusioned with God.

So how do we explain all of this? I have come to the conclusion that there is no set rules, where bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to ‘good people’. Ultimately, God is sovereign and he does things when he wants and how he wants. You may ask, well if that’s the case, whats the use in praying? If I am honest, I have asked that question many a time and have sometimes struggled with it and to this day, I do not have a complete answer even though it has partly be answered in my post Prayer and Predestination. What I do know though is that I can trust in my heavenly Father and the more I know him, the more I can depend on him, knowing more about his character and knowing that he sees the bigger picture even when I cannot see it with my finite mind. I am limited and he is limitless. My children may not like my discipline or the rules that I give them and they may even see me as a moany ogre but I see the bigger picture so that hopefully in the future, they will learn some of the life skills that I have taught them which will hopefully help them to be responsible adults in the future. And in having a relationship with them, they should know that my character is not to bring harm to them but to bring fruitfulness in them.

Sometimes we want a reason why things are the way they are. Jesus’s disciples asked the same question in John 9

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” 3“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life

In the story of Lazarus in John 11:1-45, Martha in verse 21, could not understand why God, who she knew was able, allowed Lazarus to die. Lazarus’s family prayed but Jesus delayed it so that Lazarus would die so that he would get maximum glory out of the situation. He didn’t just want to perform a healing. He wanted to perform a resurrection. This turns our man centered theology on its head because it’s not primarily about us but IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM. 

Today is a milestone in my life as it’s my 40th birthday and I am thankful to God for allowing me to see another year. I am thankful to God for everything that he has taught me even though some of it was VERY painful. Some of it was self-inflicted, some of it was inflicted by others and some of it was just life. I have not always understood why God allowed me to experience some of the things that I did but it has definitely shaped my character. What does the future hold for me in the next 40 years (God willing)? I have no idea. No doubt some of it will be painful. Some of it, I will not understand and there may be times that I might even be upset with God. But I know that God holds my future and in this fallen world, he is my ONLY hope and I can depend on him to know what’s best for me.

I will leave you with some lyrics from Trip Lee’s song Cling to you

Lord, it may get better but it may not
So when I pray God, I pray I
Would trust You whether or not the pain stops
So when the pain falls, coming down like rain drops
I just gotta cling to You

I have already expressed my disdain for a lot of so-called Christian TV these days especially when it comes to the Praise Tel Beg Fleece-A-Thons. I have talked especialy how biblical numerology is abused to manipulate the minds. I for one will continue to talk about these things that a lot of Christians want to sweep underneath the carpet at the expense of the poor and the desperate. These things are nothing more than a spiritual pyramid scheme where those at the bottom never really benefit but those at the top do. They add ‘testimonies’ on their website to show you that these principles ‘work’. They promote things such as prayer shawls and prosperity shawls but funny enough, these things never seem to work when they need money themselves, so who do they come to? The same gullible christians. J Lee Grady who also wrote the article, Say Goodbye to the Untouchable Preachers, exposes some of the gimmicks that are used.

Let’s stop the hypnotism, the guilt manipulation and the high-pressure gimmicks. It’s time to reclaim our lost credibility.

Normally I’d rather go to the dentist for a root canal than watch a telethon. But while channel surfing a few nights ago I tuned into PBS and discovered that Aretha Franklin, the legendary Queen of Soul, was hosting a fundraiser for the network. Seated at a piano, she was offering a 5-CD collection of classic rhythm and blues hits in exchange for a donation to public television.

It was simple. There were no gimmicks, no games and no strings attached in Aretha’s offer. If you gave the suggested gift, she explained, PBS would mail you a big slice of American pop culture—including songs by Gladys Knight and the Pips, Smokey Robinson, the Four Tops, Al Green and Aretha herself, singing her classic “Respect.”

My respect for PBS was still intact when the telethon ended, thanks to this low-key, no-pressure approach to fundraising. I can’t say that for some Christian networks, which have shamelessly extorted money from viewers over the years using heavy-handed guilt manipulation, hypnotic control and bizarre Scripture-twisting.

During the PBS telethon I wondered why Christian networks couldn’t simply offer music, books or other premiums instead of resorting to the typical arm-twisting and tear-jerking that we’ve come to expect. We need an overhaul in this area. Somebody needs to lead the way in pioneering a new style of on-air fundraising that doesn’t treat people like brainless zombies.

Here are five of my least favorite fundraising tactics. I wish all of them could be banned from the airwaves.

Gimmick #1: The magic Bible verse. You know the drill. The evangelist quotes Psalm 37:37 and then announces that if you will send $37.37 (“No more, no less!”) God will unleash all the blessings of King David upon you. (Hint: The phones seem to ring more frequently when the number seven is included in the Bible reference.)

Gimmick #2: The urgent, time-is-running-out plea. Before the preacher asks you to reach for your wallet, dramatic music is piped in. Then “Reverend Cheatem” talks about how the crippled man waited by the pool of Siloam, hoping that the angel would trouble the waters so he could be healed. “God is troubling the waters right now, my dear friend,” the preacher says with his eyes closed. “Go to the phones now, before it is too late. Only those who give in this holy, anointed moment will receive a supernatural blessing in return.”

Gimmick #3: The memorialized gift. One popular evangelist announced on-air that she needed thousands of dollars to build a prayer room. She promised that those who funded this noble effort would receive recognition with special brass nameplates that would be mounted on the wall of the facility. The implication was that people could buy prayer coverage, sort of like a spiritual insurance policy. (I’m not surprised—since this woman offered her loyal followers the status of “spiritual son” or “spiritual daughter” if they paid a $1,000 annual fee.)

Gimmick #4: The debt-breaking anointing. One preacher who specializes in telethons has raised millions by telling audiences that they are just one donation away from eliminating all red ink. All they have to do is give a sacrificial gift (usually four figures) to the TV network in the next few minutes. If they do this, God will wipe out their debts, no questions asked. No lifestyle changes necessary. (This technique was especially popular before the mortgage crisis.)

See how many times you hear the buzz word ‘anointing’ in the video below

Gimmick #5: The Day of Atonement offering. This particularly odd strategy has been popular in the last couple of years, especially among gullible Christians who believe God blesses anything and everything that has the word “Israel” attached to it. The preacher announces that if you write a check to their network, and wave it in the air before you mail it (preferably while wearing a Jewish prayer shawl), God will forgive your sins, restore your health, bring back your wayward children, provide angelic protection and bless you with more than a dozen other special favors.

I still don’t know what is more outrageous: That programmers allow such insanity on Christian television, or that gullible Christians fall for it year after year. Hopefully, emerging leaders in the religious broadcasting industry will restore our lost credibility by insisting on integrity, authenticity and good taste.