09 August 2013

Views of the Bible, Part 3

Last installment in this quick look at views of God's Word.

It’s a goldmine of selfish platitudes about abundance. Sometimes the Church is its own worst enemy. Christianity is intended to be God-centered. Yet, we have turned it into a self-centered dispenser of good news about health, beauty and riches. Those who believe it is God's will that we all be rich are part of the movement generally referred to as the Prosperity Gospel. Yes, God has promised material blessings to some specific individuals in the Bible, specifically in the OT.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Job -  are a few examples. The Lord promises Joshua for example, "Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you... then you will be prosperous and successful" (Joshua 1:7-8).

Denis Haack in "The Success Factor" describes a TV preacher declare as he pointed to his diamond rings and new Cadillac, that the difference between him and us is that "I have Cadillac faith and you have Volkswagen faith." Haack continues, "By the end of his message I was led to believe that to own anything less than the most expensive was not only an indication of anaemic faith, but a slap at the dignity and generosity of the God of Abraham. And Abraham happened to be, by the way, a very wealthy man." So what's so wrong with all this? Prosperity teaching undermines the teaching of the Bible in numerous ways.

1 Timothy 6
Love of Money 

3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.
6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

God’s Word is not down on capitalism or possessions. But God makes no specific promises that we will all get rich. By spending time and energy  - and sending money to the preachers who promise to pray us into riches – we are elevating an idol, and perverting God’s Word.

So whats true?

It’s the authoritative manual for life. (This falls under the category of “What does Scripture say about itself?")

1 Timothy 3
16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. Hebrews 412For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-­edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. 13Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

'Nuff Said. It's God's Word.

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