Money Driven Christianity: By John Kehrli ( Revised Version )
I am a Charismatic Christian, but there is a serious question that must be raised, that everyone seems to want to avoid. Why is it that many of “name it and claim it”, “health and wealth” and “prosperity” preachers always come out of the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches? These are often times preachers who claim that God wants all “Christians” to be rich and God somewhere promised all of us Christians earthy riches and money? Shockingly, many of these preachers come out of one large charismatic denomination that gained massive popularity because of a Christian television network that constantly asks for its viewers for money, but recently many others have come from other diverse denominations in the Pentecostal movement. Sadly, we are seeing an influx of this kind of doctrine hitting both Manila and Cebu in the truck loads and more and more people are buying into the idea of “comfortable Christianity”.
Again, I believe in the gifts and I believe that they are for today, but I mean, come on, do people read their Bibles these days? Do people actually check this garbage out (the church doctrine on prosperity) before they believe it, or does some guy with puffy white hair just need to say the words, Jesus and Money and they are Kool-Aid Drinking drones?
If you do not believe there is a psychological aspect to their preaching in order to get to buy books, give money to their ministries, and brainwash people for long term devotion, then you are flat out wrong. These people are masters of their own self domains and they know the tricks of the trade. Their version says “easy is the way to salvation”, however the Word of God says “narrow is the way”. Their version focus almost exclusively on what you can GET out of God but the TRUTH talks about how much you can GIVE to God. These preachers always mask the spiritual with the material, which is completely counter to what the Word of God says.
I recently heard about a televangelist (an evangelical preacher who appears regularly on television to preach and appeal for funds) who was visiting the Philippines on a missionary crusade, attempting to educate people of other countries on western Christianity. When I heard what this guy believed, my jaw dropped. His ideology is that all of Jesus followers in the Bible were financially rich and as such God promised all of us who are Christians the same blessing, the financial riches–a common denominator shared by many mega-preachers today. Why is it that these preachers always associate “blessing, prosperity, and riches” with “money, cash and material possessions”? As I said previously, there is a psychological strategy to what they are saying, and they depend on weak minded Christians who do not read their Bibles or fact check what their leaders are preaching.
Sadly, joke is literally on the people who listen to these preachers, they are the ones who pay good hard cash for the books, give tons of money to their ministries, and they are the ones who put their lives in the hands of “claiming things for the kingdom”. When you think about it, what are these followers actually getting in return? Are they getting the Word of God? Absolutely not, they are just getting a momentary emotional high. Are they getting money? Of course not, most people who belong to these churches who are financially well off, already had money before attending the prosperity churches in the first place. Are they getting hope? Well they are getting a false hope that can potentially lead them right to Hell. If you put your faith and hope in selfishness, is that truly a relationship with Christ?
Then again, maybe these followers are only after the Multi Level Christianity that is all about hype, motivational speaking and God forbid ever judging sin as sin. If you look at the crux of many multiple level marketing programs, they often times have the same approach. Everyone can be rich, you too can do it, you can have the “blessing” and you too can achieve earthly success. But then you look at the dropout rate, and it is astronomical. The top few percent actually makes the money, and it’s always the biggest voices speaking to the people with the smaller voices, manipulating them into doing the will of the company. No, I am not saying all Multi Level Marketing companies are bad, but I am saying that a vast majority have one goal. Their goal is to get as many subscribers or agents or sellers as possible and to spread the good news of money. Often times it is to sell a dream, rather than actually create real opportunity. In fact, many times the prices are so high that it would literally be impossible to sell enough of their product you need in order to get rich in the first place. Then again these Multi Level companies know the truth and their focus is less on “who you sell to” but to make sure that “you are a buyer” supporting your own supposed business. After all, if you are buying, they con you into believing you are supporting your own business, but in reality they are milking people for as much profit as possible, selling over priced goods. Otherwise, does it not make sense that people would be lining up at your door to buy, rather than you having to force someone to buy something as easy as vitamins, soap or even beverages? So they in the end, they will tell you anything you want to hear, just to keep you a part of their faithful few, buying the products, this making “them” successful, while you believe in the dream. This is much like this prosperity gospel that is infiltrating the world of Christiandom today. They will tell you everything you want to hear, they will keep you excited, and they will motivate you, with literally nothing in return but “hope” in a “dream” that does not include the God of the Bible, but a god of prosperity and an endless abyss.
Now understand, I am not against people being rich, having money, striving for success and acquiring material possessions. I love a nice car, admire beautiful homes and have many wealthy friends. I personally strive my hardest to be successful in my financial life as well as my spiritual life. However, to create a “doctrine” out of money and success is just flat out contradictory to the Word of God, and borders on cultic ideology verging on humanism. God does not call everyone to be financially rich, God does not promise vast earthly possessions and God does not tell us that he wants us all so have the “earthly blessing” of financial rewards. In fact there are references to the contrary all over the Bible, but then again, that would take the Body of Christ actually opening their Bibles and reading them. The key is not to demean people who are wealthy, for that truly could be “their” calling by God. The key is not to demean the poor, for that too could be “their” calling by God. The key is to understand what is influencing our church today and what is motivating the people, but also what we must contend that if we are going to truly be sold out for Christ then we must be spiritually aware enough to understand what tactics the “enemy” is using and how he is brainwashing our own denominations and belief system. You cannot fight against sinful doctrine, if you do not want to admit that it is sin in the first place and the only way to understand what sin is, is to get in the Word of God. Only then can you actually fight against what is happening. What greater trap for the “enemy” to use than to create a theology that centers around “us” and our “momentary” desires, rather than a Christ centered-life that centers around servant-hood.
This kind of ideology and thinking is not only an embarrassment to Christianity but to non-Christians. It literally looks like we are crazy, desperate and unsatisfied with the life God has given us. Things are getting way to scary out there in the world today, and the society is not moving toward God but away from Him. If we want to hold strong to our faith, we had better hold strong to Christian doctrine that focuses our hearts and lives on a relationship with Christ and not on all of the material things He can give us. What God chooses to bless us with is not based on how much we claim for the kingdom but how much the Lord wants to give us or what God believes we can handle. After all, are we not only on this planet for 50, 60 or 70 more years if we are fortunate? Do we not have eternal life to look forward to? If we have an eternity with Christ, then why would God ever put an emphasis on financial and material reward “now”? Do we not understand how much God loves us and what great things lay ahead for those who love him?
Do you realize, the very man who wrote the book called, “Your Best Life Now”, could not even answer the simple question, “Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Salvation” when he was in front of the world on CNN’s number one television show, Larry King. This is a man who writes books on how to become successful, how to live a comfortable life, and how to achieve whatever you want, but when he is faced with actual doctrine, he could not answer the simplest of questions, “Is Jesus Christ the Only Way to Salvation”. You either are a complete coward or you are not a Christian, there are no two ways about it. Most people would agree that if a pastor is asked before the world, is Jesus is the Only Way to Heaven, that he should be able to proudly say, “Jesus is the Way the Truth and the Life, No Man Comes to the Father But By Me”. Then again, prosperity preachers function by a different set of rules. They have no accountability, and the churches and followers continue to give them a pass under the “do not judge clause” that is grossly taken out of context.
In the end, we Pentecostals need to face the facts. We rarely see the Baptist, the Lutherans, the Calvary Chapelites, or the Community Churches getting sucked into this kind of theology, primarily because prosperity followers come from within our own churches and denominations within the Charismatic movement. Which leads me to wonder: Why are we always the ones who get sucked in? Are we so desperate for money? Are we so dissatisfied with the life God gave us? Are we not content in our relationship with Christ? Are we not happy with the blessings he has already given us? More importantly, are we even functioning properly in the gifts of the Spirit how the Word of God says? I would contend, if we were, then we as a segment of Christian society would not be susceptible to such deceitful doctrine. It seems like we are so desperate for an “emotional” experience that we forget about the “Godly” experience. No, I am not coming down on ALL Pentecostals, but we have to face it, there are enough out there giving us a really bad name and enough of us out there following this clearly bogus preaching to cause concern for us as a belief. Personally, I believe that if we as Pentecostals actually focused on a “real” desire to have the Holy Spirit move in our lives, through the work of Jesus Christ, because of a genuine relationship with our Creator, then we would see an astronomical change happen that would spread across the globe, and that my friends is with true and real revival happens. However, that means giving up the bad doctrine, that means laying aside “comfortable Christianity”, that means drop kicking emotionalism, and that means pursuing a selfless “Christ Centered” relationship with our Jesus Christ. A true work of the Holy Spirit is not some emotional temporary fulfillment that leads to nowhere and a true work of the Holy Spirit is not something that makes me look foolish in front of the unbeliever. It is an act of God in a mighty way showing us that His power is real and through that act the people’s lives are changed.. If we want to have a true and fruitful relationship with Christ, that means making a stand against doctrine that repulses the very God we serve and that means standing firm on the Word of God without any fleshly or financial motivation.
I Timothy 6: 6 – 12
6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 10 For 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. 11 But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses. ... See MoreSee Less
4 years ago ·