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Discussion in 'Christian Finance Forum' started by Angelina, Mar 26, 2014.

  1. Angelina

    Angelina Prayer Warrior Staff Member Admin

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    New Zealand
    by J. Lee Grady

    I´m not an African, but in 2008 some Nigerian friends gave me a
    Yoruba name ("Akinwale") because I have been to that country
    so often. My visits there, along with trips to Uganda, Kenya,
    Malawi, South Africa and Egypt, planted a deep love for Africa in
    my heart. My first grandson´s arrival this year from Ethiopia made
    the connection even stronger.

    I´m often asked to describe how God is moving in Africa today.
    Since I´m an optimist, I usually tell of the large churches, the
    passionate praise and the intense spiritual hunger that
    characterizes African Christianity. But there is also a dark side,
    and I think it´s time we addressed one of the most serious threats
    to faith on the continent.

    I´m talking about the prosperity gospel. Of course, I know a slick
    version of this message is preached in the United States-and I
    know we are the ones who exported it overseas. I am not minimiz-
    ing the damage that prosperity preaching has done in my own
    country. But I have witnessed how some African Christians are
    taking this money-focused message to new and even more
    dangerous extremes.

    Here are five reasons the prosperity message is damaging the
    continent of Africa today:

    1. It is mixed with occultism. Before Christianity came to Nigeria,
    people visited witch doctors and sacrificed goats or cows to get
    prosperity. They poured libations on the ground so the gods would
    hear their prayers. Today similar practices continue, only the juju
    priest has been replaced by a pastor who drives a Mercedes-Benz.
    I am aware of a pastor who buried a live animal under the floor of
    his church to win God´s favor. Another pastor asked his congregants
    to bring bottles of sand to church so he could anoint them; he then
    told the people to sprinkle the sand in their houses to bring
    blessings. The people who follow these charlatans are reminded
    that their promised windfall won´t materialize unless they give
    large donations.

    2. It fuels greed. Any person who knows Christ will learn the joy
    of giving to others. But the prosperity gospel teaches people to
    focus on getting, not giving. At its core it is a selfish and
    materialistic faith with a thin Christian veneer. Church members
    are continually urged to sow financial seeds to reap bigger and
    bigger rewards. In Africa, entire conferences are dedicated to
    collecting offerings in order to achieve wealth. Preachers boast
    about how much they paid for suits, shoes, necklaces and
    watches. They tell their followers that spirituality is measured
    by whether they have a big house or a first-class ticket. When
    greed is preached from the pulpit, it spreads like a cancer in
    God´s house.

    3. It feeds pride. This greedy atmosphere in prosperity churches
    has produced a warped style of leadership. My Kenyan friend
    Gideon Thuranira, editor of Christian Professional magazine, calls
    these men "churchpreneurs." They plant churches not because
    they have a burden to reach lost souls but because they see dollar
    signs when they fill an auditorium with chairs. A selfish message
    produces bigheaded opportunists who need position, applause
    and plenty of perks to keep them happy. The most successful
    prosperity preacher is the most dangerous because he can
    convince a crowd that Jesus died to give you and me a Lexus.

    4. It works against the formation of Christian character. The
    prosperity message is a poor imitation of the gospel because it
    leaves no room for brokenness, suffering, humility or delay. It
    offers an illegal shortcut. Prosperity preachers promise instant
    results and overnight success; if you don´t get your breakthrough,
    it´s because you didn´t give enough money in the offering. Jesus
    calls us to deny ourselves and follow Him; prosperity preaching
    calls us to deny Jesus and follow our materialistic lusts. There
    is a leadership crisis in the African church because many pastors
    are so set on getting rich, they can´t go through the process of
    discipleship that requires self-denial.

    5. It actually keeps people in poverty. The government of Malawi
    is currently under international scrutiny because of fraud carried
    out by top leaders. The saddest thing about the so-called
    "Cashgate" scandal is that professing Christians in the administ-
    ration of President Joyce Banda have been implicated. One of
    these people stole millions of kwacha from the government and
    hid the cash in a teddy bear! Most people today in Malawi live on
    less than $1 a day, yet their leaders have been known to buy
    fleets of cars and huge plots of land with money that was not
    theirs. Sadly, the prosperity gospel preached in Malawi has
    encouraged pastors and leaders to follow the same corrupt pattern.
    As a result, God´s people have been financially exploited.

    When Jesus described false prophets as wolves in sheep´s
    clothing, He warned us to examine their fruit. Matthew 7:17 says,
    "So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad
    fruit" (NASB). What is the fruit of prosperity preaching?

    Churches have been growing rapidly in many parts of Africa today,
    yet sub-Saharan Africa is the only region in the world where
    poverty has increased in the past 25 years. So according to the
    statistics, the prosperity gospel is not bringing prosperity! It is a
    flawed message, but I believe God will use selfless, broken African
    leaders to correct it.

    -Lee Grady is the former Editor of Charisma Magazine.

    DaDad likes this.
  2. rjp34652@yahoo.com

    [email protected] Choir Loft

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    Wow. This is an excellent lead post.

    I've argued against this sort of heresy for years without success. You've actually gotten your argument broken down into succinct categories and logical rationale. The wolves in sheep's clothing you speak of encourage many destructive attitudes and behaviors. The power of true religion is masked by greed both personal and corporate.

    Unfortunately the attitude isn't limited to Africa. It's firmly rooted in America too. Somewhere along the line, the idea of Christian servitude has been lost. In its place a sort of divine vending machine attitude has assumed popularity. Put a prayer in and get a favor out. It was a wide spread practice during the middle ages that does not seem to have ended with those days.

    I've attended churches that insist upon taking multiple 'offerings'. The basket is passed between Vegas style entertainment productions even as fresh hot biscuits and coffee are prepared in the balcony coffee shop above the main auditorium. The smell of toast and a rich blend of Columbian java wafts down across the congregation even as the second and third offering are taken. The spirit withers while the greedy stomach is fed.

    and people wonder why the church is in trouble, the gospel loses its power and the nation goes to hell...

    that's me, hollering from the choir loft...
  3. pom2014

    pom2014 New Member

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    God is a God of profit. But the profits God deals in are not monetary because my God is not short on cash.

    No they are spiritual profits that he hold dear and gives to his children just as any parent does.

    The profit the tailored preacher with the nice sedan talks of is mammon and will only be good in this world and not the next.

    Refuse this heresy and cling to the real profits of God.
  4. Axehead

    Axehead New Member

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    Wonder how the "prosperity gospel" is doing in the persecuted church in North Korea and Egypt and other countries? Doesn't seem to work in those countries. I wonder why? As pom2014 alluded to, God's view of true prosperity is a bit different from man's view.

    Great post on what the Western Church is exporting.

    Reminds me of a letter from Corrie Ten Boom on another topic the Western Church exported to the rest of the world:



    Corrie Ten Boom's letter of 1974 is shown below and in THIS YOUTUBE VIDEO. She comments on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view which is popular today. She relays a word of warning to us in the West from the Suffering Church in China. She exhorts us to prepare ourselves spiritually in Christ, in His Holy Word, and by His Holy Spirit for the coming trials of our faith. She tells of the Chinese Church in a former time being misinformed, unwarned, and ill-prepared for he persecutions that began in 1949 under Mao Tse Tung's Red Guards. In this letter Corrie warns that Christians in the West today are in danger of falling into a similar disaster born of ecclesiastical neglect and the resultant spiritual unpreparedness. Corrie, in classic Dutch directness plainly states that those who teach a Pre-Tribulation Rapture are among the false teachers Jesus warned us about. See Mat.24:4-5).

    Jesus went on to say that towards the end of this age His followers would be called upon to take the stand for Him. They would testify before kings and rulers. SeeLuke 21:12-19. However today's indulged Western Christians don't seem to have considered that the people Jesus was referring to might be them.
    So Corrie's message here is "a word to the wise". It should be regarded by all serious Christians as crucially important information. Without this "heads-up" Christians in the West will be left unprepared. They are unwittingly being set up for a fall, even a Great Falling Away or a Great Apostasy.

    If you have never read her letter, it is a very good read from a senior sister in the Lord who lost most if not all of her family in WWII, and she was miraculously released from a German concentration (Ravensbruck) camp, where she spent time with her sister who died in Ravensbruck.
  5. JimParker

    JimParker Active Member

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    Good post
  6. Axehead

    Axehead New Member

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  7. JimParker

    JimParker Active Member

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    While children go blind for lack of vitamin A in their diets and others die of [SIZE=12pt]dysentery[/SIZE] for lack of clean water. $225 million will pay for 15 thousand deep water wells. :(
  8. pom2014

    pom2014 New Member

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    But they've been told that God will answer any prayer he's a giant prayer vending machine for many Christians.

    Insert prayer get yummy feel good result.

    Pray for you team to win.
    Pray for the lotto numbers.
    Pray for you uncle with cancer to be healed.
    Pray that you'll make your car payment.
    Pray you'll make it to work on time.
    Pray you'll get that promotion.
    Pray you'll get the girl/guy of your dreams.

    This is more like invocation on the style heretics do.

    How about God if its your will let me be part of it?

    Oh no, that'll never do you're not in control then. You're not on the throne with God your servant.

    He's not a jinn granting wishes.

    Too often I've heard clergy play the if you ask in Jesus name it will be given card. Its heresy.

    God will give what you need not what you want.

    Maybe your team needs to lost because they are arrogant.
    Maybe that job promotion will place stress on you and your relationships.
    Maybe your uncle suffers too much and its time to come to God.
    Maybe if you won the lotto you'd go bankrupt in a year.

    We can't assume that we want is best for us.

    That is why I detest wants and focus only on needs.
  9. HammerStone

    HammerStone Well-Known Member Staff Member

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    United States
    I don't know, wasn't there a prominent pastor here in the states who "needed" the newest, most expensive private jet there is?

    It seems like Christianity is prone to lurch between the poverty and prosperity gospels when I am not sure that the message of the NT Church, particularly passages in Acts, intended for either strictly to come about. I wonder if somehow we can form a more coherent theology of wealth in that it's not morally wrong for someone to be rich, yet it's also not morally wrong to be poor nor should either the poor or rich be preferred over the other?
  10. Axehead

    Axehead New Member

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    I'm sorry I must have missed something. Who is talking about whether it is moral for a Christian to be rich or not?

    Christianity is not about morality. If it is, we are truly stuck in the OT and subject to the penalties of the moral law.
  11. pom2014

    pom2014 New Member

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    Maybe I mid-read the part of go and sin no more.
    Or sinners cannot enter the Kingdom.

    Being amoral flies in the face of no more living in sin. So if its not about morals and we can do any sin and still be covered only to do it again isn't THAT the old way?
  12. Axehead

    Axehead New Member

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    We follow a higher law than men's ideas of morality. You don't want to get on the plane of morality with men as they all have their version of morality, even from the Bible and the attacks and debate are endless as men compare each other's "morality". And then, they have their own penalties for not adhering to their version of morality.

    2Co_10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.

    The law that Christians are supposed to live by is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus which is far superior than "so-called" morality. That is why the Pharisees sought to kill Jesus. He followed a higher law and not their made up "moral" laws.

    Rom_8:2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.

    We walk after the Spirit and obey the law of Christ written in our hearts.

    God is who he is because He is God and He will lead you the way He wants to lead you regardless of what men think you should do.

    So, you may not seem moral to men, but that's ok, you are following the Lord.

    The Lord did not seem to be moral to the Pharisees, but He was not about morality, He was about obeying His Father's word.

    Yes, we are to depart from iniquity. Men who know the Lord and are abiding in Him, know this quite well. It is written in their heart.

    "Morality is part of the condition of the fall. Now endowed with the power to define good and evil, to elaborate it, to know it and to pretend to obey it, man can no longer renounce this power which he has purchased so dearly. He must exercise it. He (fallen man) cannot live without morality." (Jacques Ellul - To Will and To Do. Pilgrim Press. 1969. pg. 71)

    "Christianity has nothing commensurate with any morality. It is the essence itself of revelation that rules out all ethical systematizing and all similarity with a morality. The Christian life is not a life conformed to a morality, but one conformed to a word revealed, present, and living." (Jacques Ellul - To Will and To Do. Pilgrim Press. 1969. pg. 86)

    Hope this clarifies things.
  13. pom2014

    pom2014 New Member

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    I'm not addressing human morals. In addressing Gods commands.

    You know those two nagging ones that he calls great?

    The ones people have issues with.

    Those are the morals I speak of. You don't have those you're doomed.

    I could care less if man thinks this is ethical or moral or not.
  14. Axehead

    Axehead New Member

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    Those are not morals, those two commandments are a higher way of living (above men's morals because they conflict with them) that mere men cannot do on their own. It can only be done by the Spirit of God. Living on the same spiritual plane as Jesus Christ does not make sense to men. Loving your enemy, forgiving your enemy, doing good to those who persecute you? Men without God do not know of such ways of living (not morals).

    God calls it "walking after the Spirit", not morals.

    I'm telling you, that you do not want to battle with men over morals, you will lose every time. It is the battleground of intellectualism and humanism that the Enemy is superb at. Men will point to how immoral God was in the OT when He commanded women and children to be slaughtered. We do not live on the plane of morals, but on a much higher spiritual plane. We are bought with a price and are not our own. How moral is that? We are love slaves to Jesus. Is that moral in our time? I could go on an on. We do not walk after systematic theology and the Spirit of God will do with us as He pleases just as He did with Jesus. His will not mine. Is that moral? Being submissive to someone else's will? But we know Jesus because His love was shed abroad in our hearts. The world does not understand our devotion to Him or why we will do anything to carry out His will. It doesn't make sense to them, in fact, they think Christians are mentally disturbed.

    Even Christians are fighting over morals/beliefs, today. Look at any number of threads in this forum and look at Christians comparing their morals to others.

    Where is the Life of Christ in all of this? Far, far away....