I was in National Bookstore (a secular bookstore chain in the Philippines) last Sunday and whose faces should greet me by the door? TD Jakes’ and Joel Osteen’s. According to the display, they are Bestsellers. Omg.
It is so alarming – the proliferation of books that convert others to believe in the Prosperity Gospel. I find it sad because it makes non-Christians think that the teachings of the books are all we Christians subscribe to. Even sadder is the fact that I can name two (but I actually won’t) churches in the Greater Manila Area that preach the Prosperity Gospel. Who knows how many more there are outside of GMA. One of their church-goers gave my dad an autographed copy of his book, which is basically a “Your Best Life Now” clone. Sigh.
It is frustrating to imagine that millions are deceived into thinking that when Jesus promised an abundant life to believers, He meant a comfortable lifestyle, unending happiness, actualization of one’s aspirations, and perfect health on earth! Folks, this is the reason why a lot of so-called new Christians backslide. They are painted a picture-perfect Christian life, ie heaven on earth, and when this does not materialize, they become disillusioned and “fall away” from the faith. (I put quotation marks because some Christians, like Daniel of The Truth Group-hi! will debate that those Christians did not experience a real conversion in the first place.)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Without discernment, any literate person can come to the conclusion that the “speaker” is referring to the person’s life now.
This interpretation is negated by the ff. passage:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
We are made for God’s glory and purposes. People who interpret Jeremiah 29:11 and John 10:10 as God’s providence on earth are seriously misled. This mindset relegates God to the status of servant; or genie, who will fulfill all their wants and needs; who will make life easy for them when they “become” Christian. Folks, this is idolatry. The God they are “serving” (or should I say, the God they expect to serve them) does not exist.
One of the main proponents of Way of the Master Teaching, Ray Comfort, believes that the best way to combat “falling away” from the faith, is to preach properly, ie, to preach about hell, about God’s wrath as well as His love. Often, Christians avoid talking about hell for various reasons. Instead, they resort to attractive marketing schemes to win as many converts as possible. Folks, God already knows who will be saved, and it is not through your savvy skills that they will be led to God. He calls them, regardless of the method. Let us preach the gospel not for the points, but out of obedience to God. While doing so, let us not add or substract to the truth, taken from the Best-Selling Book of All Time.