Friday, July 11, 2008

Prosperity Again

I've previously spoken about my personal motivation to examine the "Prosperity Gospel". I'm on the Kenneth Copeland mailing list (long story). Looking back through the archives, I found this interesting gem (an article by Vinson Synan, and endorsed by Copeland).

I was never 100% happy (or unhappy) with Ken, but I guess he wants to align himself with the worst aspects of this movement...

This is a long and rambling article, let me extract the key points:

A Parable of the Three Sermons on the Mount: "one a traditional Christian teacher, one a social gospel teacher and the other a Pentecostal preacher with a salvation, healing and prosperity gospel"

I think this section spells it all out. I find it interesting that the "traditional" Christian teacher failed to mention sin. But, I guess that is Copeland's idea of orthodoxy - with that view, I'd look for an "upgrade" too...

Synan mocks the orthodox statements, "
Take comfort in your faith. Suffering builds character, and the Lord suffered, too. He will comfort you." Probably a reference to James 1 (which is always good for times of trouble): "Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: But the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away."

That brings up a good point. Jesus often talked about how blessed are the poor, and woe to the rich. Why would these preachers wish their congregants the temptation of worldly riches?

The next to last paragraph summarizes it well:
"Some critics think the prosperity message offers a mirage of false hope for the masses of the poor by saying, "If it does not wash in Bangladesh it will not wash in America." Yet it seems to be the poor are the most attracted to the message. To many poor people this teaching offers a ray of hope for better things through trusting God. Others seem to be influenced by the American lifestyle they see in American movies made in Hollywood."
This is the wrong foundation for evangelism. We cannot look at results. Paul was often rejected (or stoned!), but he did not alter the Gospel message. Our duty is to deliver the Gospel, in whole, with patience and even sensitivity. But it is God who calls, God who changes people.

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