According to the generically entitled “theologian” Sam Storms, it is.
And to his credit, he brought up some salient points at Bridgeway Church in Oklahoma City, Okla. about man’s plight into this eternal quest for a payday and the pablum that necessitates it.
“For most professing believers if God is love he must promise to minimize my struggles and maximize my pleasure,” he lamented. “Many believe it’s their spiritual birthright to experience comfort and prosperity and that it’s God divine obligation to provide it.“
See, regretfully, this entire doxology has created a distorted view of the love of God. To some who attend certain megachurches or follow particular global ministries, that love is a credit card with no limit allowing God’s children to be footloose and fancy free because whatever happens, “God loves me.”
(NOTE: There is no generalization here. Many big churches and ministries are fulfilling God’s purpose, but it’s the snake oil salesmen that ruin it for everybody.)
It’s a brainwashing tactic, not a biblical exhortation, of which we have become all too familiar thanks to many misanthrope swindlers who have used it to their advantage and not for the benefit of their sheep (i.e. Kenneth Copeland, Rod Parsley, Benny Hinn and now entering the fold, Ed Young).
People give, give and give believing they are doing the right thing (admirable) and that God must give it back so “that I may lack nothing” because he loves me. See, it’s twisted because of three reasons:
- God does love us more than can we ever comprehend
- We are his children and because of that, why would he ever want us to suffer
- There is an enemy and “our Daddy can kick your Daddy’s tail in a minute”
All that is very true. However, what the sheep are not told before they are sheered is they may experience heartache despite the checks they donate. Essentially, God is the mighty purveyor of “Opposite Day” – if Satan wants me to experience lack, then God will cause me to experience abundance.
Yes… and a big no.
The so-called prosperity gospel that teaches wealth and good health is a sign of God’s favor and blessing is prevalent in the church, Storm lamented. Underlining the seriousness of the problematic theology many preachers have picked up, the Oklahoma City pastor called it a “corrosive and disintegrative pox” on the church and “a disease far more infectious and ultimately fatal to the soul than the worst bubonic plague and the affects it might have on the human body.”
Man, and I just want God to help me pay my light bill… now this?!
I see what he is saying. People are becoming sorely irresponsible with accountability, not just the malefactors exhorting but also the men and women experiencing. Aside from having favor, blessing, abundance or whatever words fit from the slimy televangelist thesaurus there, 2 Timothy 2:3 reminds us we still have an enemy because “you therefore endure hardship, as a good soldier in Christ.”
The only check that isn’t unveiled at one of these pep rally for Jesus crusades is the reality check.
If you want to sum up this walk with the Lord in one sentence, try this: God hates sin and has provided Jesus to escape it, while Satan hates you and will do everything to make you leave God.
Help us to see what you have for us, oh God.
Raise your hand if you have suffered at all this last year. Well, joy comes in the morning and for many of us, it’s been one long night. We could all use a break, and thanks to God’s grace and mercy, we got more of those than we realize.
The suffering is the clue that a blessing is coming because God works to get stuff to us and the enemy fights it every time. Sometimes the fight is so quick, it doesn’t phase you. Other times, the fight is long because the enemy is real and he fights to win.
It’s a losing battle, praise God, but a battle nonetheless.
I once heard a stoic pastor say, “Good is the worst enemy of best, because anyone can provide good but only God can give you his best.”
The prosperity gospel shows us that you shouldn’t have to wait for that filet mignon God has intended for you because if you eat all that fat-induced ground beef, you still feel full… and isn’t that satisfying? Sometimes Wall Watchers, we have to wait… but it is so worth it.
We will endure hardship while still being favored of God. We will experience a rough patch before things get smooth. We will walk through the valley of the shadow of death… but at least we are walking. We will go through hell to get to heaven.
Use whatever axiom you wish. God is real and you aren’t him, so rejoice that there is a plan and when you give money to a church or a minister, do it not to buy God’s grace but because you have some grace to give to others.
Still don’t believe me? Take it from Peter who incurred a ton of heartache and he walked next to Jesus.
Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job. Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.
If you’re abused because of Christ, count yourself fortunate. It’s the Spirit of God and his glory in you that brought you to the notice of others. If they’re on you because you broke the law or disturbed the peace, that’s a different matter. But if it’s because you’re a Christian, don’t give it a second thought. Be proud of the distinguished status reflected in that name!
It’s judgment time for God’s own family. We’re first in line. If it starts with us, think what it’s going to be like for those who refuse God’s Message!
If good people barely make it,
What’s in store for the bad?
So if you find life difficult because you’re doing what God said, take it in stride. Trust him. He knows what he’s doing, and he’ll keep on doing it. (1 Peter 4:12-19 MSG)