For those of you who might be wondering what this prosperity doctrine is all about, here’s a brief summary from the ace staff of researchers over at Wikipedia:
Prosperity theology is the teaching that an authentic religious belief and behavior in a person will result in their material prosperity. That is, the doctrine holds that material prosperity, particularly financial prosperity and success in business and personal life, is to be expected as external evidence of God’s favor. This favor may be preordained, or granted in return for efficacious prayer, merit-making and/or appropriate faith.
Other terms have been used interchangeably with prosperity theology such as prosperity doctrine, health and wealth, etc. but it is perhaps most commonly referred to as the Prosperity Gospel.
It cannot easily be argued that the Prosperity Gospel is a part of the evangelical movement. Instead, prominent evangelicals reject the teaching as non-evangelical. Furthermore, it is worthy to note that none of the major Prosperity Gospel proponents belong to well-established evangelical organizations such as the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability or the National Association of Evangelicals
The Prosperity Gospel gained more prominence in the 1980s through the teaching of the so-called televangelists, but again, this was a movement separate from mainstream Christianity.
Prosperity theology proponents promote the idea that God wants Christians to be “abundantly” successful in every way, with special emphasis on financial prosperity.
Support for the Prosperity Gospel is believed to be found by proponents in specific Bible verses and in its narratives of the lives and lifestyles of biblical characters. Critics counter that all of the verses Prosperity Gospel proponents use are taken by them out of their textual, cultural, historical and/or literary context thus falsely supporting their claims.
Following are some Bible verses used by Prosperity teachers to support their theology:
Deuteronomy 8:18 – “But you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who is giving you power to make wealth, that He may confirm His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day” (New American Standard Bible)
Malachi 3:10 – “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.'” (New American Standard Bible)
John 10:10 – “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (King James Version)
3 John 2-4 – “Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers”
What breaks my heart about this movement is that their target audience is not the rich; it’s not even the middle class. No, their target audience are the have-nots. The people who never seem to catch a break. Those who for one reason or another find themselves in want or need of a better life and a better paycheck. I’m not saying those are the only followers they have, but those are the people that have made these charlatans rich. I could go on about how they’ve misquoted scripture and taken it out of context to fit into their warped interpretations, but I’m not going to. Read your bible; it’s pretty clear. If more of us as Christians would read and study our Bibles for ourselves instead of being spoon fed bits and pieces on Sunday morning and relying on what someone else tells us to be the truth, I’m quite confident that the followers of this so-called prosperity gospel would be greatly diminished.
John Wayne Airport: Private jet owned by TBN. (Mark Boster/LAT)
Newport Beach: A TBN-owned mansion, foreground was on the market for $8 million. The network also owns one of the houses in the background. (Don Kelsen/LAT)
Among TBN’s faithful followers is Olivia Foster of Westminster, who sends the network $70 a month out of her $820 disability check. (Mark Boster/LAT)
Matthew 25:31-46 (New International Version)
40“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ 41“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’44“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ 46“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
Whether you think Rob Bell is the greatest Christian visionary since C. S. Lewis, think he is a dangerous heretic leading countless followers astray, have an opinion of him that falls somewhere decidedly between the two, or even if you’ve never heard of Rob Bell and think Nooma sounds like a chocolatey delicious carbonated beverage, please view the following parody in the spirit in which it is intended (from me, anyway). I have seen only a few Nooma videos, but one in particular I found quite moving and thought provoking. (This is not that video.) I make the previous statements in an attempt to convey that I am not anti-Rob Bell. It’s just that I find some of his mannerisms and the cadence of his speech sometimes amusing, and to point out that parody is considered by many to be a high form of praise.
While I posted this video primarily because I think it’s funny, previous comments to me about Rob Bell and other highly visible Christians also lead me to this observation: It seems to me that society in general and some Christians in particular have become increasingly polarized and intolerant of opposing viewpoints. There are those in the hard core evangelical camp that would suggest that Rob Bell and other proponents of spreading the gospel through social justice are presenting an incomplete view of the gospel at best, and at worst are spreading heresy and leading unsuspecting followers to eternal damnation. At the other end of the spectrum, some in the emergent church movement might say that evangelical Christians ignore the plight of the marginalized in society and feel that it’s perfectly acceptable to allow a man to be physically hungry as long as his soul is fed. To this point, I would offer the opinion that to some extent, both sides are right, and both sides are wrong. For a more in-depth, intellectual and insightful take on this subject, I would highly recommend The God Who Smokes: Scandalous Meditations on Faith, by Timothy J. Stoner, and The Reason for God by Timothy Keller, both of whom are WAY smarter and biblically astute on their worst day than I am on my best.
In closing, I would like to thank fellow blogger Laz for posting this video on his blog months before I posted it here, and to gently suggest that any angry Rob Bell fans voice their opposition to airing of this video here .
(Editor’s Note: The following blogpost is brought to you with our sincerest apologies and assurances that the next entry will be worth reading.)
Ode to the Neti Pot
(sung to the melody of “My Funny Valentine”)
My little neti pot
Blue little neti pot
You clean up stuff that’s in my nose
Yes, you may gross some out
Still, you clear up my snout
You wash away those allergies
Is your method less than cool
When you cause my mouth to drool
Yes, you cause my mind to freak
when my nostrils start to leak
But you work…
But don’t change your ways for me
Not if you care for me
Stay little neti pot stay
Each day is neti pot day
After raves reviews from several friends (and by “several”, I mean 3) as to wondrous healing powers of the neti pot, I purchased one yesterday. (Much to my husband’s dismay.) I gotta tell you, for me, it actually works. For those of you unfamiliar with the benefits of this little homeopathic tool, you may find this video helpful.
i am happy to inform you about my soccessful in getting a new partner in Aguru whom help me to transfered the fund into his account.so i am in Bangkok now to use my own share of $20,000000.00usd for investment.but i do not forget your effort that you made last time to make sure that this fund had transferred into your account but at the end it seem to been in vain due to the bank charges.Because of the effort i had made the check of $1,000,000.00usd which i had kept for your compersation.now contact my secretary to send the check to you whose name is REV,UBAKA EZEH / His email adress is
0022993792475free to contact or call him.make sure that if you recieve it you do let me know to share the joy together.finally, remember that I had forwarded instruction to my secretary on your behalf to receive that money.
Hold the phones! I think I’m gonna be rich! I received this email recently and apparently, Mr. Atiku has been soccessful in getting a new partner in Agura who help him transfered $20,000000 into his account! (I guess when you’re dealing with that much money, commas are no longer necessary.) Anyhoo, once I received my ONE MILLION LARGE as compersation for my efforts, I’m gonna fly all of you down to Texas for a big ol’ phat party to share the joy together. I can hardly wait!!!
So, I started another blog (http://stuffipainted.blogspot.com/). Not to worry, this will be my primary outlet for sharing my insightful, intelligent, and humble view of the world (tongue TOTALLY in cheek). The other one’s just a way to show off my daft craft and painting skills.
I’m sorry I haven’t blogged too much here lately. I’ve got some stuff I’m thinking through, it’s just not quite there yet. Stay tuned!
Have you ever been shopping at a large store and see the same shopper or shoppers numerous times in the course of your trip? I had been in Sam’s for maybe 5 minutes when I noticed a good looking young father with 2 young children. I suppose I noticed him because I typically don’t see men shopping with their kids and without their wives (with the notable exception of 7:00 p.m. on Christmas Eve). He also caught my attention because he was wearing a graphic t-shirt that said “Redeemed” and was sporting a faux-hawk. Here I am shopping for communion cups and looking forward to church the next day. Did that help form a presumption about this guy? I don’t know. But I remember thinking to myself, “I bet he’s a youth pastor or a worship leader.” The next time I saw him and his kids, he was patiently telling his cute and talkative 5 year old daughter that she could not get any cookies on this trip. “Yeah, he’s definitely in ministry — he’s so sweet to his kids!” I saw them once more before I was ready to check out. I pulled my cart up to one of maybe seven open registers, and guess who pulls up behind me in line? You guessed it — Mr. Fauxhawk. At this point, I’m feeling some connection with this little family — what with us all being Christians and whatnot. I attempted to start a conversation with him a couple of times (no doubt impressing him by my keen observational skills in surmising that he was, in fact, a pastor of some sort), but by this time his kids were getting tired and beginning to complain a bit. He wasn’t quite as sweet, but his patience was still in check. I decided to leave him alone.
Maybe this guy was in ministry, maybe not. He certainly looked the part. But he certainly served as a big object lesson for me.
Lesson 1: Since my pastor is also a close friend, I actually thought that I had overcome my tendency to put ministers on a high pedestals. Clearly I have some work to do. Our pastors and teachers ARE held to a higher standard — that’s biblical. But they are human. Even if you attend church every Sunday, chances are that you have no idea what a minister and his staff deal with every other day of the week: infidelity, broken marriages, abuse, neglect, addictions, church politics, illness, death, grief, money issues – the list goes on and on. It’s only by the Grace of God and their faith that they don’t become completely overwhelmed by it all. Sadly, many do and succumb to the same temptations the rest of us struggle with. Others simply walk away from the ministry.
Lesson 2: If you are a Christian, the world will judge you by what you do more than what you do not do; not by what you say or what you profess. Like Vince Antonucci says, “We’ve got to be the good news before we share the good news. Otherwise, the message has no integrity.” (I’m paraphrasing, forgive me if that’s not an exact quote.) You can rattle off Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and tell someone how Jesus saved you from the burning pits of hell, but if you get in your car and then cut them off in traffic, not only are you an a**hole, but you may have just added to the legions of people who turn away from God because of the people who claim to serve Him.