Wednesday, March 31, 2010

100 words on bad theology...

There's sucky theology out there. Beware. You probably won't amass great wealth, drive a Ferrari, or own a plane, but some preachers will tell you that. It's a lie. You can't name and claim anything if it's not part of God's sovereign will. You can't preach health and wealth in a world broken to sin.

Furthermore, in a world teaching the prosperity gospel and Jabez-like prayers, it elevates us above a Savior who suffered. Jesus was poor. Jesus was homeless. Jesus was hungry. Jesus felt isolation. Pain. Despair. Rejection. Betrayal.

An empathetic Savior knows what we feel. Why should we be exempt from suffering if our Savior wasn't? Am I wrong?

29 comments:

rebeccannb said...

Some of my formative years were spent in a church that taught the "name it, claim it" theology. Thankfully I have parents that rejected that theology and got us out of the church!
Thank you for sharing this!

Jason said...

I get so tired of prosperity preachers. I'd just like to walk to up one and say:

"In the last ten years I've been thrown out of ministry, recovered from a porn addiction, been divorced, had one of my children molested, had another diagnosed with a lifetime disability, lost everything I owned in a fire, lost jobs, went deep in debt just to live, remarried and have had four miscarriages with my new wife and work 60 hours a week just to pay our bills. Through all of this I'm named and claimed a better life and believed God would bring it. So are you telling me because I've had to endure those trials and many more that somehow I'm not truly a follower of Jesus?"

I'm pretty sure security would whisk me away quickly.

Lydia said...

Amen!!

the BLAH BLAH BLAHger said...

Hmmmmm, don't know where I stand on this, yet. I TOTALLY agree that just because we follow Jesus, that we should be blessed more than the next guy, but didn't He ultimately suffer for us so that we would not have to???

Looking forward to reading more comments/reactions/thoughts!

Anonymous said...

Definitely wrong! Christ did not die on the cross for us to feel rejection, pain, and live in poverty. If God is Love, then I doubt that he wants you to be so poor and to not have ends meet. Ask and ye shall receive. Don't let your fear of wanting to reach out and obtain hinder you.

Bianca said...

@Rebecca: Thanks for reading it!

@Jason: What in the world?!?!?!? Wow, thank you for sharing so candidly. I had no clue. Brother, the fact that you are still walking and living for Jesus is nothing short of a miracle. I give you my respect and heart-felt prayers of love as you love your new wife, assist your child, and heal with your other child.

@Lydia: Werd.

@JJ: Let me break this down [as I crack my knuckles in preparation]: JC suffered a physical and spiritual death as an act of propitiation. He did what we could never do. That is the ULTIMATE act of suffering.
But people want to talk about us living a sickless life void of pain or discomfort. Yes, we are blessed in Christ, but Paul had to work for a living and suffered with a physical ailment. Peter was crucified. John was banished. None of them led lives without pain.
Priscilla and Aquila had financial wherewithall. Jairus had dinero. Joseph of Arimethea has ca$h. But they all suffered too.
Living for Christ comes with a cost. Let's tell people the truth and explain what it means by, "picking up the cross and following Jesus."

Bianca said...

@Anonymous: I LOVE YOUR STAND! But let us know your name and who you are so we can dialogue.
I mentioned it to JJ, but I'll explain a bit more here.

God doesn't WANT us to be poor, but we live in a world of sin and brokenness and sometimes we are faced with tough situations.
My mom is SO in love with the Lord and has lived a life FULL of faith. But she had brain cancer. Does that mean God didn't love her? No way, Jose!
There are tons of examples of people in the bible who suffered. It's how we respond to the suffering that's awesome and displays Christ's love.
Furthermore, the "ask and recieve" scripture you are referencing is in regards to spritual gifts, not wealth. The texts must be read in context.

Marisa said...

love this post and your continued explanation in the comments! amen is right!

Andre said...

Amen B! You can add to that list that coming to Jesus will not promise...healing missing limbs ;), guarantee a mate, not be affected by economy, not FEEL the hurt of various pain, etc. All these Jesus allows to display His worth by our willing to endure to stay close to Him.

-dre

Rebekah Elena said...

Okay, the post was a little bit vague, so I think your explanations have really helped, Bianca :) I'll put in my two cents based on your post alone.

I would have to disagree with the statement that Jesus was poor, hungry and homeless. When he was crucified, they gambled for his garments. Why would they do that if they were not of a certain worth? I don't think that Jesus was hungry, at least not all the time. Five loaves two fish, anyone? Don't you think there were people in his path who blessed him because he was in the will of God doing his work?
Jesus was not some bum that walked the streets. He was the son of a carpenter, from a family that had a source of income. He did not just magically appear one day dressed in rags preaching the gospel. Now, that isn't to say that every day was sunshine and rainbows, obviously there was the 40 days in the wilderness. However, that having been said, it's my two cents. I don't know everything, totally not. There is great humility in correction so if I am wrong, feel free to point it out.

I do not think that we are exempt from suffering, but I do believe that Christ died so that we could break free from the law which prohibits people from living blessed lives and keeps them in a poverty mentality.

We go through certain things so that we can draw closer to God. If we lived lives that were happy go lucky carefree...well, why would we need God, right? I do not think that we should be in the mentality of "NEVER BEING SICK! EVER! I AM INVINCIBLE CHRISTIAN!" but having said that, we have authority over our bodies. The faith of using that authority draws us closer to God. :]

God's will is for us to be blessed. We are not supposed to live paycheck to paycheck or just where it's comfortable enough.

However, I do not believe that simply claiming something will make it magically appear, either. We need to offer ourselves as a living sacrifice, to help others and bless them and live a life pleasing to God.

God is not the God of getting by. But I also don't think God is the God if "YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR! YOU GET A CAR!"

Anonymous said...

AMEN!! Great post B-I love it!!

-j

Carrie LeighAnna said...

It's ironic how much opposition this article is getting.

You're right. And I love that this makes people a little flustered. It causes us to look at things a little differently, especially if we disagree.

LaShorne said...

I believe that there are people that have confused the message of prosperity, taken scriptures out of context and have unfortunately mislead people. Also people have different meanings for the word prosperity. Some think just in terms of material things. Some define prosperity as riches and success. When I think of prosperity, I think of wholeness. I know that Jesus wants me to be whole Spirit, Soul and Body (3 John 2).

I believe that Jesus paid the ultimate price for us on the cross. We have been redeemed from the curse of the law. Everything that is bad is under the curse. Only good comes from God. Does that mean that we won’t face challenges in life, absolutely not! We do have an enemy that comes to steal and to kill and to destroy. But Jesus came so that we could have life and really live it to the full! (John 10:10)

People need money to preach the Gospel… People need to have healthy and strong bodies to preach the Gospel… People need to be healthy in their mind, will and emotions to preach the Gospel. Try preaching the Gospel without prosperity… it isn’t just about money. Are we exempt from experiencing trials and tribulations in this life, absolutely not! Can we live an overcoming life, yes… and let it be so!

DtotheG said...

Ruffling a few feathers with this post B!! I think that's great.


Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.”
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” - Matthew 8:19-20

Jesus did not tell this sribe - No Do not follow me....instead He gave him the truth and did not say "Following me will be glamorous", it will come with many bumps on the road, we still have to live in this fallen world. Count the cost of discipleship.

I know your works, tribulation, and poverty- Revelation 2:9

Jesus knew the poverty that those in the church of Smyrna were facing - they were not rolling in chariots on 20's, this church was dirt poor and about to be hit with some major suffering if you read on in the chapter.

If God blesses us then cool - we thank Him greatly for it, but I do not think that we should use the Gospel as a means to get rich. We should take up our crosses daily and follow Jesus, not follow Him and with the intent of picking up money bags. Store your riches in Heaven and not here on earth.

Renee Johnson said...

Bianca,

You never cease to amaze me. Your blog is REALLY good and you always bring fresh and raw content. I love hearing your writer's voice and it always makes me laugh.

In RE: to this post, I am writing my next book on suffering --NOT a popular topic. Thanks for being real. We need to read more of this. Sometimes we gloss over the Bible and stores like RUTH where we think aww a chick flick. WRONG. Ruth was Pagan. The wrong skin color. Homeless. Bitter mother-in-law. Yeah I want to be her. NOT. Humm...church?

Brianna said...

Hmm... interesting comments here B. Well I definitely think clarity comes when you understand context and also when you differentiate our own personal desires/wants/pleasures vs. what His will is and what He desires.

Just a couple of points that come to mind that I happened to go over in my small group last night. :)

James 4:3 "You ask and do not receive, because you ask amiss, that you may spend it on your pleasures."

**Yes--he does say ask and you shall receive. But it matters if we are asking according to his will. God knows a selfish prayer when he hears it. He knows our motives and if it is in line with his will. So when we ask for things or if we expect good things, it doesn't just happen because we have asked. I think he will always provide for what we NEED, but after that we have to seek God's will when we go to Him asking for things. And sometimes all the pain, suffering, etc. actually does draw us closer and has a purpose in the bigger picture that we don't always see.

John 14: 13,14 "And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it."

**I think the part of that verse you can't overlook is asking so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. It's not just asking.

I dunno...just how I understand it.

Bianca said...

Whoa! Who knew y'all were so deep. I'm seriously blown away.

Ok, just so we're on the same page here, I'll clarify with the following:
*I would LOVE to drive a Ferrari.
*I would LOVE to buy a house in Laguna Beach.
*I would LOVE to be free from my college loans.
In fact, I pray for big, HUGE things.

If we're being honest, just this morning I prayed that I would find an Easter dress for Sunday. But not just ANY dress. I asked for a million dollar dress that I could find for $20. Hey, I dream big! ;)

But I also know God will sustain me and provide according to His will.

Annie said...

Seems like in the end, it's all about being content with what we have been given and blessed with (Heb 13:5, Phillipians 4:12). Just sayin'...

Jasmine said...

Loved this post, but I definitely think it shouldn't have been on 100-word Wednesday! ;) It's a bite piece of pie you're biting so just make sure there's enough room to talk with your mouth full! :)
xoxo

jacquelinefigueroa said...

Never thought of it that way. Awesome! Your responses are blowing me away.

Jason said...

I love all the perspective. I grew up in an urban prosperity preaching mega church. I now work at a super conservative predominately white southern baptist church. I think ultimately we preach what we need. Lots of black people are in a "come up" mode as to they desire to be at a better level in life, mainly finances. There are lots of white people who have had for a long time (not all of course). In talking with a coworker who HATES prosperity teaching I have found that they live and have what many of the people I grew up with wanted (from a material stand point). When I walked in their home, I thought to myself this is what so many people I know pray for, to live at this level. That person's issue in life though is a serious chronic pain disease, not wealth.

Ultimately, I am thankful for all the perspective I have gained, I have a whole life approach to the things of God. I dont just want to be wealthy, I want to be a light in this world.

It does amaze me though that some people despise the prosperity gospel so much, seeing as that we will have mansions in heaven LOL. (John 14:2)

God came to give us abundant life (John 10:10). I believe that is a reference to the NOW and for ETERNITY.

There are so many different disciplines in the word of God, many preachers/teachers only focus on one area e.g. prosperity, end times, healing, salvation, reformation, hell... I think that it is wise for us to take it all in so that we are balance christians and not brainwashed to one specific section of the gospel.

That's all I got for now. :)

Danny Bixby said...

"Am I wrong?"

Nope.

Sare said...

Book of Job anyone?? That is all about a man's suffering and his CONTINUED faithfulness to our almighty God.

I despise the prosperity gospel and the idea that we will live a blessed life here. We are called to a life under Christ and God's submission, that doesn't mean that we will be blessed in this lifetime. Surely our "blessing" as such is that we get to spend not only this life leaning on him and having a relationship with him (that can be difficult and stormy at times when we want things to go our way in out time and under our control) but also that we get to spend eternity in his presence without living in our current fallen world...

hope this makes sense :)

Jason said...

How can we talk about the book of Job and not look at the fact that he was wealthy to begin with, God took away his protection and then AFTER Job showed his faithfulness he was RESTORED 7 times what he had before.

Why would God give him so much wealth again? I believe it was to glorify God.

the BLAH BLAH BLAHger said...

Thanks for delving in a little deeper...I feel ya, yo!

Jenn said...

Couldn't agree more!

Sunny Cain said...

I am in total agreement with you Bianca. I have been thru so much over the past several years. I have had several Christian people share with me that my "suffering" must be due to some sin in me...otherwise I would have total peace in my life. I disagree with this mentality..COMPLETELY! Following Christ makes it possible to have peace IN THE MIDST of our suffering. Check out Hebrews 5:8 "Although he was a son, he learned obedience by what He suffered." (in reference to Jesus' life & death) I believe it is the same for me. Although I am a daughter of the King, I will learn obedience by what I suffer. I know God wants to bless us...but sometimes it is in different measure that what we can understand with our humanness. I am blessed...even though at times..I suffer.

Hope that makes sense:)

Christa said...

Wow! Love this post and all the dialogue/comments too. So insightful!!

Michelle said...

Dang! Late to the party. Seriously, this is your topic for a 100 Word Wednesday!? ha!!

This reminds me of Jon Acuff's "Booty God, Booty!" ;)

I have been in churches that teach both prosperity and poverty. <-- Yes, for real.

And I think I've landed in the middle. I think of "in this world you will have trouble" along with "I have come that you may have life, and life abundant."

God knows the desires of our hearts and we are free to ask. And He is free to give what He sees as best for us. If our hearts are right we will accept His answers. But along with asking and receiving we also need to be content with not receiving at times. And I take comfort in the fact that I'm not God. And I don't always (if ever) know what's best for me.

Like I said, I'm somewhere in the middle. Love this topic. Sorry I'm late to it. I hope you revisit it down the road with 1000 words! ;)

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