Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday's Weekly Rap-Up - July 5, 2013

Shai Linne - Fal$e Teachers

An article on the Gospel Coalition website this morning announced that a new show will air on the Oxygen network this fall titled "Preachers of L.A." Prosperity teaching will no longer be limited to time slots between midnight and six in the morning on local networks. It's coming prime time this year.

This article troubled me, especially entering a time when seemingly every action and claim of the Christian church is called into question or as seem as hypocritical. No one should be surprised that there is now a show that chronicles the lives of pastors, especially those within the "Prosperity Gospel" arena. These pastors are generally energetic and commanding personalities, and have the ability to generate a great deal of positive thinking and hype. However, that's probably the most saddening thing about them as well. As pastors or bishops, they are responsible for teaching and administering the revealed Word of God to their congregations. Based on the clips, they seem to be more like celebrities, even needing bodyguards, as shepherding a church is apparently a physically dangerous job.

In a trailer for the show, Bishop Clarence McClendon declares that "The Bible says 'I wish above all things that you would prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers'. I believe that." This verse (3 John 1:2) is his basis for what is known as the Prosperity Gospel. One with a broad biblical knowledge should find it tough to insist that the Lord desires for us to indulge and be prosperous in money, which is the very thing we are told, that if we love it, is the root of all evil (1 Timothy 6:10).

If you're a Christian, there's no arguing that most of these men have less than stellar doctrine concerning prosperity and suffering. But, what makes me more disappointed than anything is that this show, or the clips of preachers much like the recent viral clip showing a pastor verbally attacking members of his church in front of their congregation, will continue to shape the opinions of those outside the church. These examples do nothing at all to make God look glorious. These actions are all about self.

Here in Houston, Bishop, I.V. Hilliard of the New Light Christian Center, recently asked his congregation to "sow a seed" into a transportation fund to by new helicopter blades for his personal helicopter. This "seed" that is sown is promised to bring financial prosperity within 52 days or 52 weeks. How anyone can know that is beyond me, and should come as skeptical. It's incredibly false, and takes advantage of those that are already experiencing some sort of physical or financial distress. But, sadly, this practice continues in churches, while "pastors" continue to increase their bankroll.  Even those that aren't Christians and can crack open a bible can discern that this call for "sowing a seed" or giving money to these guys is taking advantage of their congregations. This video I happened to stumble upon is from someone who does not seem to be a Christian from what I can tell, (and uses some vulgar language here and there), but he hits the nail on the head and is actually pretty refreshing to listen to!

Rapper Shai Linne recorded a response to those that thought his song, Fal$e Teachers, went too far as to attack the character of the men and women featured in his song. Shai's response is wonderful, saturated with scripture.

There's nothing wrong with being a pastor and having a comfortable lifestyle. There's nothing wrong with being able to finance a home, be a part of a neighborhood or enjoy nice things. But this type of lavish spending should honestly call into question the desires of these pastors, and their ability to steward their gifts.

The old saying goes, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." Prosperity through greed, guilt and manipulation, all gussied up and disguised as the gospel, does nothing to bring glory to God, but instead serves one's self. These men seem to set out to make the gospel more attractive through the use of money and promises of blessings and wealth. As Christians, we are not promised a life free from ailments or suffering. Actually, Paul lets us know that we should expect suffering. The gospel doesn't need promises of money or financial blessing to make it look more glorious. It should be amazing enough that while we yet sinners, Christ died for us, allowing us to enjoy life with God, free from eternal suffering. To quote Al Mohler,"In the end, the biggest problem with prosperity theology is not that it promises too much, but that it promises far too little."

I hope that this show fails so that people are not exposed to this dangerous teaching. These guys are pretty much just False Teachers.

Caution: Some NSFW language in this one!

John Piper and the Prosperity Gospel