Thursday, December 6, 2007

Why do prosperity messages resonate more with so many people?

Mr. Nteff,
Prosperity Gospel is now monaie courant and like a dress it sells like hotcake. It has slackened the faith of some and strengthened that of others. To some; Christianity is all about getting rich while to others it is more than a social gospel. Believe it or not prosperity gospel sells more than any other Christian doctrine in the whole cycle of human existence. Today I will attempt to cross-examine why it resonates more with many people above any other doctrine. As you look at it churches and pastors or church owners are getting richer daily and the Christians and church goers are getting poorer everyday. While the givers live in modest homes, the preachers barricade themselves in sumptuous duplexes and estates.
To easily get their preys or adepts the preachers claim that God has spoken to them and given them the message. As you look through the Bible there is no single passage where God or Jesus tells any of his disciples or followers to preach on prosperity. The $64 question would be: is Prosperity Gospel God’s message? If not why does it sell?
In Num 11:5 the Israelites complained about eating only manna daily but that they wanted something else. Their ungratefulness shows up when they start to desire what life should be from what it was. That was like the ideal and reality principle in conflict again.
In the conflict of idealism and realism, idealism always prevails because man easily caves to escapism. That is just the psychological nature of mankind. What is happening nowadays is the reenactment of The Great Gatsby emptiness of the upper class that saw money as their god. Almost everyone today thinks wealth is the solution. One of the main reasons is because the worldview governing the world now is Secular Humanism.
During the making of the golden calf (Ex 32:1-35) we quickly realize that man has the penchant to replace God in the face of hardship. In the presence of hardship humanity thinks about replacing God. The human body does not support pain and so it always seeks relief in the face thereof. As you watch all through history you will realize that this prosperity gospel or the insatiable vaulting ambition to hoard wealth by some church members is not a new phenomenon. The Human Manifesto II reads: “no deity will save us; we must save ourselves”. With the replacement of God everything we do goes along to please the flesh.
The flesh is always eager to be pleased. That is why the prosperity gospel resonates more than holiness or goodness to the neighbor. Just look at the pattern: God out; excess food and excess drinks in. The next thing that follows is indiscriminate sexual encounters. Do you realize that each time you go to a party where there is excess eating and drinking the next thing is that if you pass there early morning you will find condoms littered around?
Spiritually the Bible tells us that there is a constant battle between the flesh and the spirit (Rom 7:23) but the flesh always prevails. That prevents you from doing the good things you want. (Gal 5:17). The fact that Christians and listeners want to be fooled is normal for them to be fooled. Jesus said the poor will always be with us (Mk 14:17). By implication not everybody will be rich. So no matter how you pray and fast and no matter how much money you give if the spiritual name that was picked for you is poverty, whether you descend or ascend you will be poor.
However, one has to synthesize this biblical position by considering verses like Eccl 10:19 and 9:7-9. God created human beings with a feeling and it is normal for them to feel big or small, hungry or lustful, and angry or joyful. If money is the answer to everything then money is paramount to our existence. People look for money to eat, drink and take care of themselves. That again is no problem because what we eat, drink and wear is what belongs to us the rest may be for someone else. So there is nothing bad in a Christian having a good time and enjoying himself or herself.
Though the pastor is a Christian but the profession he or she has chosen does not encourage him or her to hoard wealth. On the contrary they should be like the wells from which people fetch water; I mean both spiritual and physical water. This is the message that we should preach: “the time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mk 1:14). Paul summarizes it this way: the gospel message we should preach is that Christ died for our sins, was buried and resurrected to save us (I Cor 15:1-7). If a church neglects this message in favor of money then they have chosen another path.

Until then, prepare for the coming of the Lord.

Prince & PA Hamilton Ayuk.

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