Thursday, February 4, 2010

Greed, Gullibility, & God?

One of the more chilling statistics that I have been reading lately is that of the growing number of so called converts to the prosperity gospel in developing nations. It seems that the US has become successful at exporting the rank heresy of the prosperity gospel. It is unfortunate that this “brand” of American Christianity is growing in exponential proportions.

It is seems that the widespread acceptance of the message of the prosperity hawkers is the universal reality of human greed. The same sin nature that permeates US “Christians” is present in every human being around the world. It is easy to tap into that greed. It doesn’t matter whether someone simply thinks that they are entitled to a little or that they want the “whole enchilada” of Maseratis, Mansions, and Millions.

It is not greed alone that makes for the success of this miserable message. The prosperity gospel is packaged with God and the Bible, the message becomes heaven sent. The following quote sheds valuable light on why the message is so accepted in developing countries:

“Ironically, the prosperity gospel has found its most fertile ground in developing nations, where conspicuous and bloated consumption is the least realistic. Poorer nations are more susceptible to this lie not out of greed per se, but because of its inherent germ of truth: God does want us to be prosperous. God’s emphasis, however, is on us, not just me. Probably the most quoted Bible verse among Evangelical Christians is John 3:16. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son…” God’s heart is for the entire world, not just for me, my family, or my country. In other words, prosperity achieved through social justice is the theological corrective to the prosperity gospel.”

Another frightening report states:

“According to a Pew survey cited by Rosin, a whopping 73 percent of Latinos in America agree with the statement, "God will grant financial success to all believers who have enough faith" making the success of churches like Casa del Padre almost assured.”

The solution is not easy nor is it very palatable. The bible tells clearly that in the latter days, false teachers and false teaching will multiply prolifically. The solution seems to include both, faithfully preaching the word as accurately as possible and second, to trust God to deal with this putrid infection in his timing. These false teachers will be judged! The despair, damage, and destruction caused by their inward burning of lust and greed will be devastating. In the mean time we need to keep this message from Paul in mind:

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.

Avoid such people…continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed…preach the Word…reprove and rebuke and exhort…for the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears the will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (II Tim 3:1-5, 14, 4:1, 3, 4 ESV)