Friday, August 17, 2007

Prosperity and the Poor



Christianity Today has an article on the rapid spread of the prosperity Gospel in Africa and it's heartbreaking to read that it is because of America they have this destructive teaching in their churches.

"[The prosperity gospel] is the most sweeping movement within the continent of Africa," says Dolan. "The African people at large in the church have bought into it hook, line, and sinker. It offers tremendous promise to an economically deprived people."

It's also an issue of controversy for some of the larger churches in Australia. But instead of holding up cash and cars in front of people to chase after, I'd much rather see the Western Church helping to feed the poor and heal the sick. There was a great interview of Bono (of U2) by Bill Hybels during the Leadership Summit last year and I think Bono's "Gospel" to Africa is a much better one for us to embrace and proclaim.

Currently Listening
All That You Can't Leave Behind
By U2
Grace

6 comments:

Timothy Wonil Lee said...

Hey, Eddie, thank you for your posting. Only God knows how much I am angry at the so-called "Prosperity Gospel" which isn't the gospel at all. And yet, as I was getting worked up (once again) reading your post and listening to John Piper's message, I found myself ashamed. I may not be preaching with my lips the prosperity gospel, but my lifestyle and my actions (and inactions) may as well be perceived as "Prosperity Gospel". Maybe I am being too harsh to myself? Perhaps. But when I look at my own life, I find myself holding back my weekly earnings from the persecuted and the poor when I spend it so carelessly on my temporary enjoyment. When I look into my own heart, I still find the corrupt and ugly soul treasuring all my earthly possessions just like the Gollum of the Lord of the Rings.

Oh, how I hopelessly I need Jesus, and how hopelessly all the poor and the rich need Jesus!

- Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! -

Eddie Byun said...

Amen brother. No matter how much we hate the prosperity gospel, we need to fight in our own hearts the idol of materialism too. But may we never give up the fight to have Christ as our everything ... and as the True Treasure of our lives.

Eric Bae said...

man, love John Piper's message there.. this makes me think that I have to be really careful in who I listen to Eddie.. because many of the preachers mentioned in the article are shown in Australian Christian Channel, and I sometimes listen to them and have to discern whether they are preaching the Christ crucified & resurrected or just the wealth and prosperity that we can "get" just by believing in Him... I mean, some preachers are clear cut prosperity-focused (like the ones mentioned in the article), but I think some are more subtle and difficult to know?

paul oh said...

agreed! if my pastor had a gold coated throne that he descends from, I'd get freaked out hehe... but it's the grey areas that are hard to figure out... *scratches chin*...

kind of scary really... i would assume that most people don't know/see the huge differences there are and take what the pastor say without thinking too much about it... it's scary in terms of what kind of pastor 'new life' will end up getting... it's dawning on me more and more the importance of the way he will approach the bible, and how he will/won't faithfully preach God's word...

Ruth said...

Hello Pastor Eddie, again I would like to say that this is such a very good Christian website. About "Prosperity Gospel" - this is the main reason why my husband and I decided to go back to Wesley. We discovered that in three years we attended the Christian Life Centre, and sometimes attending the Hillsong Church, that almost every Sunday they preached about how to prosper financially and in other material things. Being raised in a Methodist christian belief since I was a child, I can discern that this is not what God is telling us. Yes, one of God's promises to his people is prosperity but that's not the way these churches are perceiving it and preaching it. I would prefer to be an ordinary child of God who enjoys God's humble blessings. I agree with John Piper's message and I know you agree and uphold that too. The last time I asked the Lord to increase me financially was so that I could extend more help to some of my relatives in the Philippines and help the poor people in the country - not only in material things but in a way that will bring Glory to God. Praise the Lord that there are preachers like you Pastor Eddie, that preach the true message from God. Halleluja, Amen!!!

Eddie Byun said...

Amen Ruth! I totally understand where you're coming from. I visited some of the places before too and got a bit frustrated at the imbalance of some their view of money and giving in light of the Christian faith.