Wednesday, February 17, 2016

"Death, The Prosperity Gospel and Me"

                                           [art work that appeared on original article: see link below]

  "Death, The Prosperity Gospel and Me" 

 As I wrote in the "Getting Real with God" article, the prosperity gospel has infused into the entire apostate church. It is interesting to see this writer call out the delusions with the prosperity gospel and even abuse of the word "blessed".

  "The prosperity gospel tries to solve the riddle of human suffering. It is an explanation for the problem of evil. It provides an answer to the question: Why me? For years I sat with prosperity churchgoers and asked them about how they drew conclusions about the good and the bad in their lives. Does God want you to get that promotion? Tell me what it’s like to believe in healing from that hospital bed. What do you hear God saying when it all falls apart? 

 The prosperity gospel popularized a Christian explanation for why some people make it and some do not. They revolutionized prayer as an instrument for getting God always to say “yes.” It offers people a guarantee: Follow these rules, and God will reward you, heal you, restore you. It’s also distressingly similar to the popular cartoon emojis for the iPhone, the ones that show you images of yourself in various poses. One of the standard cartoons shows me holding a #blessed sign. My world is conspiring to make me believe that I am special, that I am the exception whose character will save me from the grisly predictions and the CT scans in my inbox. I am blessed.


The prosperity gospel holds to this illusion of control until the very end. If a believer gets sick and dies, shame compounds the grief. Those who are loved and lost are just that — those who have lost the test of faith. In my work, I have heard countless stories of refusing to acknowledge that the end had finally come. An emaciated man was pushed about a megachurch in a wheelchair as churchgoers declared that he was already healed. A woman danced around her sister’s deathbed shouting to horrified family members that the body can yet live. There is no graceful death, no ars moriendi, in the prosperity gospel. There are only jarring disappointments after fevered attempts to deny its inevitability."


It reminds me of when a person who may have meant well, who told me I would be healed from my extreme rare health problems if I followed certain "deliverance" steps and removed all wickedness from my life. There was this idea of "self improvement" underneath these religious words and crossing the "empowerment" rubicon, and gaining "miracles" for my life. In a way while this person would reject the prosperity gospel, it had infused into her theology.

Hasn't it infused into the IFB and elsewhere where America is deemed the "special nation" and "city on the hill" and this idea that if one doesn't make one misstep, that "nothing bad" will happen? Fear is what floats this boat of the prosperity gospel. I believe many of these people are AFRAID. Fear is what leads this idea that one can escape all suffering in this world, the "illusion of control" spoken of above. This is the FEAR that even helps advance the Pre-Trib Rapture dream.

Even for those who have otherwise comfortable and easier lives [no one escapes death or suffering in the end] these things are the hedges against any loss in their minds. Many sick people in the false church system even in the non-official Word of Faith churches, have suffered under this pressure, that enough faith or the right kind of faith will give you an automatic miracle. Comfort, empathy disappear in this guise while some of the healthy detach and tell themselves, "I am blessed and there is a reason they are not."

It is religious whistling by the grave yard. Religious appeasements of the roulette wheel-- "don't let the bad stuff happen" to me. There is religious ritualism in holding off the bad and the ugly of life. There is pride in the "guaranteed miracles" and "blessings" world.

  Luke 6 20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. 21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. 22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake. 23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets. 24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation. 25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep. 26 Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets.

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

I actually think this goes beyond money and health prosperity. I was just listening to testimonies of a local church; and I heard people saying how they had healed their family relationships and now there mother ,siblings etc. had all become Christians..I thought to myself, are they going to expect this of me. Most of my family has already refused Christ and I think I'd have to accept a lot of abuse and wickedness if I even talked to them. Does this mean I am somehow not blessed with some miracle now that I became a Christian.
This line of thinking, even if it's not consciously acknowledged is so dangerous.It can turn people away from the church and the faith.
I already did that with my family when I first turned to Christ. But they didn't really want to heal I couldn't do it alone..

Anonymous said...

Even secular people have this mentality, where science can tweek your brain so your thinking is just right and you'll never be depressed, or if you fix yourself neurologically you'll make all the right choices.If you eat perfectly (whatever that means) you'll always be healthy.
Maybe all this says it all about this country. We think we can do it all ourselves without God , without a savior.Christians and Atheists alike..

Anonymous said...

If one wants to solve the riddle of human suffering, my suggestion would be to open the Bible to the book of Job and read. The Prosperity Gospel is nothing more than a Christianized version of the New Age "Law of Attraction". I especially liked your paragraph on FEAR and it is the technique used to control most in the world today. John 16:33 - Don

Anonymous said...

SallySays

!Oh Dear!. I go to this church at the moment and it seems to conflict with what I have heard here on this blog and others. They seem to preach the prosperity gospel and preach that Jesus came to take our sufferings away. Yes I have seen people get healed, yes I have seen people who were addicts, prostitutes etc.. become assistants and pastors, pastors wives and yes I have seen families restored. There is one family that attends our church, daughters, mother and grandmother and inside the church they have overcome sickness, depression, family strifes and problems in their love life. There are all happily married now and get along.

They do tithes and they do the financial sacrifices and they seem to work for some people. I have tithed and have seen little changes in regards to my financial life.

The question is if the prosperity gospel is not under the will of God, then who is responsible for those blessings? I ask in all honesty and not to create friction as I am quite confused. Thanks

Anonymous said...

@ SallySays A couple of questions, then my answer. 1) Does your church practice biblical tongues (1 Corinthians 14:27-33) or is it a free-for-all? Does part of your church service include people getting slain-in-the-spirit with catchers (nowhere in the Bible)? http://bible.knowing-jesus.com/topics/Lying-Wonders We each must know God's Word and judge righteously. - Don

Anonymous said...

I said once that you had to wait on God for miracles and or sustenance and that because you did not wait on God but chose to rescue yourself by your own hand means that you have quenched the Holy Spirit's work in your life only getting part of the growth, learning and blessings that God intended for you, this is why you know so much scripture yet fall for many new aged conspiracy theories, like you often post about project blue beam and such nonsense, your ever learning but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth, when told about this you reject any chastening and like some spoiled child throw tantrum on this very blog and claim "people" are preaching prosperity gospel at you ...

Bible Believer said...

God may will it that some families come to healing while others must depart from their families who have rejected the gospel, for those who have had families who have rejected Christ it is more clear cut. I agree the promises of miracles and healing--see my response I am going to get to below soon, is dangerous to people's faith. Many abuse via the prosperity nonsense.

Bible Believer said...

Yes people believe in science solving all our problems and making your "thinking" and life perfect. It is almost idolatry of life itself. Eat perfectly, exercise perfectly, clean eating, paleo, new age mindfulness, they all believe they will live forever, and "nothing bad" will happen. The religious and secular intertwine with this one.

Yes this is "law of attraction" nonsense. Thank you Don, it is true about the fear.
Sallysays, if your church teaches prosperity gospel it is time for another look, if you even should stay.

Who is responsible for those blessings? Well God may bless those even in a bad church if they have made sincere prayers, but hopefully He will show them the way out with time. Some could be just natural causes too. They decide to be more nice to each other and the relationships are healed.

Bible Believer said...



To last anon, so if you do not get miracles this means you are a "Bad Christian" under chastisement. Is God supposed to be like my "fairy godfather", and grant every wish and give me a financially stable and medically healthy and good life on earth? Are you trying to teach me the "law of attraction" with God at the center that if I DO this and THAT, GOD WILL DO what I want and give me a good and perfect life? That God is a puppet on strings we are to appease and say certain words too and the automatic outcome will come true? That we have to be "perfect" so God will give us better lives? Isn't that what the corporations already teach with being "perfectly beautiful" and attaining great careers? If anything those who speak truth will pay prices in this world, no HAPPY SOCIETALLY ACCEPTABLE LIVES for them.

Ah there is some deep deception going on, in how they want to mess with people and destroy faith.

With project blue beam and the rest being "New Age" of course it is. It's all covered in Satan's lies and deceptions and false New Age teachings.

Anonymous said...

SallySays

Don, in response to your question and that particular scripture, they do not seem to practice this. We are encouraged to pray for the outpouring of the holy sprit and praise him and worship him, then encouraged to speak in tongues. The pastors also speak in tongues, therefore if someone came to our church, they will a lot of people talking loudly, some praying to God, others speaking in tongues. To get an idea, watch Jan Crouch's video on this website.

As for slain in the sprit, they don't believe in that and they believe that Benny Hinn is nothing short of fraudulent.

Abigail said...

I've been experiencing a difficult time lately. I've written about some of my losses, most heartbreakingly of my parents and all my extended family. I have been reading Job and (not to be dramatic) really relating to some of his pain and loneliness. Even when I don't comment, I read your site and think about the posts and comments. Imagine my surprise when I saw the exact discouraging false prosperity gospel preached by Job's 4th frenemy, Elihu! Check out Elihu's self-righteous preaching in Job 32-37. In Job 36:11, Elihu says,"If they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures." It is significant that even though Job's older and somewhat wiser frenemies also gave Job accusations, poor counsel, and false teachings, Elihu, Mr. Prosperity Gospel, is the only one God interrupted and reproved directly for his "words without knowledge." His preaching was so potentially faith-destroying and it still is today because it turns God into Someone we think we can control, just as you were saying,BB. It also makes us question if God really loves us at all (which is the exact false message of Eliphaz to Job when explaining Eliphaz's Satanically-inspired and terrifying vision in Job 4:18-19). Satan knows that the best way to sway our faith is to make us doubt God's love for us. He did that exact thing to get Adam and Eve to open the floodgates of misery on themselves and all the rest of us. After all, he told them, if God really loved them, why would He deny them THAT tree's fruit? Then, after managing to get Adam and Eve to allow death and suffering to enter into our lives, Satan tries to blame God for allowing it! Really the whole book of Job is false teachers pushing the ideas of the prosperity gospel and Satan pushing the prosperity gospel flipped (Job only loves You cause You give him stuff). God didn't like it much! In fact, when He tells Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to make sacrifices of repentance, He doesn't even mention a plan for Elihu to have a relationship with Him. Elihu's prosperity gospel is presumptuous, faith-destroying, Satanically-inspired, and denying of the very character of God. Poor Job to have to listen to it! WE don't have to listen to it and question our love for God or God's love for us because God already shared with us His condemnation of this false teaching. (He really let Elihu have it in chapter 38!)

Anonymous said...

Stephan from Germany

To Abigail February 21, 2016 at 7:42 PM

AMEN



Amen!




Bible Believer said...

Thanks you for those verses Abigail. Did you see my latest article where to "prove" yourself now you always have to be "improving". {aka growing richer, stronger, healthier and more popular?} I will go read Job tonight, maybe I'll post on those. The Pharisees are oppressing us with their false moral directives and proving qualifications.

Bible Believer said...

SallySays, I would leave a church that speaks in tongues. Unless they are speaking REAL languages and translating them, and I SERIOUSLY DOUBT THAT, I'd be walking out.



http://galatiansfour.blogspot.com/2010/11/azusa-street-pentecostalism-and-calvary.html

Abigail said...

Stephan and BB thanks for the encouraging comments. SallySays, I just want to share with you. I was horrified when my mother told me (before I was shunned by her) that she was dabbling in a secret prayer language. I asked what she did and she said she repeated a syllable over and over until her voice just started mindlessly spilling out unintelligible "prayers" without any mental input from her. She was sure this was the Holy Spirit with His "groanings that cannot be uttered." I pointed out that when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray, He told them to speak to God as a Father, and never suggested anything like what she was doing. I also said that what she was doing was praying "vain repetitions as the heathen do." I mean, it is exactly the way Hindus and Native Americans chant and pray and with the same resulting effect of senseless , out-of-control blathering. Also, what she was doing was uttering syllables. So how is that "groanings that CANNOT be uttered?" Finally, she was so embarrassed of this secret ritual of hers that she kept lying to me that she wasn't doing it anymore (when she later admitted she had continued) and she didn't want anyone to know what she was doing. Why the shame if it was such a spiritually uplifting habit? I am convinced that she opened herself up to demonic influences through pagan prayer rituals which have been used for centuries to channel deceptive spirits. Really, this Satanic influence in her life is the only way I can understand the change in her personality and the complete turning off of her love and affection for me. It was also at this time that she began foolishly sending her money in to Jimmy Swaggart, of all people! Be careful, SallySays. God loves you and hears your prayers to Him. Don't demand that He give you special signs and wonders to prove to you that He is there and that He is listening to His child. Needing extra proof insults Him and questions His goodness in much the same way as Job's frenemies did.

Anonymous said...

SallySays

In response to your question, there is no translation of these languages. I have ended up leaving the church in the past but than I read all these amazing stories of lives changed and let's say I was lured back even though I do not really believe in tongues so much and tithing so much and they are oh so encouraging and kind. The guy who started it seems to have so much sincerity inside of him. I have read his books and he seems to be really concern and passionate for souls.


I will read your article again regarding Azusa Street and pray for my eyes to be open this time around - Thanks.