To Gospel or not to Gospel

 

I read a post today by a friend of mine in the blogging world that got me to thinking, or trying to think anyway. Bryan over at http://chiefofleast.com/ posted an article he reblogged from reformedbaptistfellowship. This was an article on today’s preaching in the church, or lack thereof. You can see Bryan’s repost here.

Why is today’s preaching so different? Not all preaching, there are many good preachers of the Word yet, lest I be barbecued for saying otherwise. There is however a decline in quality teaching of the Word of God today…why?

Many churches teach a feel good theology. They teach that Jesus loves you, well that is true and a good thing to teach. What about the rest of what God has to say? These types of churches only teach the “nice” parts of the bible, you know the parts that are easily palatable. This is doing a huge disservice to their congregations.

Many other churches teach that God wants to give you all good things; this is totally reprehensible. God does not want to give you the world and everything in it, what would you need Him for then? (If we had all things, we would be busy enjoying them instead of where our true enjoyment should come from…God) Why then are we not all rich? Drive nice cars and have all the toys? This is called prosperity gospel teaching, and it is very damaging. Suppose you are a fresh new Believer…and you are taught in this kind of church. You are taught that you just pray enough, ask properly, and Walla…God your sugar daddy in heaven will give you all things. What happens when you don’t receive many of things you asked for, and after this has happened for a few years? People are going to become disillusioned and walk away from Christ, that is a terrible thing to happen because they were improperly taught and their false expectations were not met. No blame on God for this, the blame and the shame belongs to the one(s) teaching a false gospel.

Today’s churches need to come back into preaching the way God intended it to be done. I don’t presume to speak for God, but some things are just blatantly obvious.

God did not say anywhere in the bible that He would give us everything we want, people take verses in the bible out of context and make theses verses say what they want to hear.

An example of this is 2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know what our Lord Jesus Christ gives freely, that though He was rich, for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich.”

This verse has nothing to do with money and possessions. This verse is actually teaching that our true “wealth” comes in the form of our spiritual blessings in Christ. Yes Paul was talking in the surrounding verses about real money, but he was talking about giving it away, not lining our own pockets with it! The coming kingdom is not going to be about money, and being a disciple of Jesus is not about how much money and you can have and how many toys you own.

Another verse taken out of context, John 14:13-14 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

But wait…that looks like Jesus is saying He will give us all things. It looks that way because that is the part prosperity gospel teachers choose to use. The whole verse reads this way…

13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. 14 You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.

Now John 14:13-14 has a whole new meaning! Jesus will do anything for us that brings glory to the Father, context always matters! What we ask for must be within the will of God, not for our own selfish gain.

I abhor the teaching of the prosperity gospel so much; I can’t state it in words. God would never be ok with this teaching…ever! Life with God on this earth is so much better than without Him, but the best God has to offer is yet to come…eternal life with Him. 1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”

The best is yet to come; we don’t even comprehend what that is…He did not tell us. We only know that we will be with Him as we are forgiven our sins and adopted as His children.

Next time, part two which finishes this article on the Word and teaching it.

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About πίστις

A prodigal for many years, I eventually found my way back to Jesus through several difficult trials. I write with the hope that I can bless others who have struggled as I have. I seek through Christ to present the truth, and lead others to the cross of Calvary. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. There is no other. In 2014 Greg Holt founded The Olive Branch Report, a premier Christian news service. Please visit Greg Holt on the web: Inspirational Christian Blogs, & The Olive Branch Report
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21 Responses to To Gospel or not to Gospel

  1. Pingback: Impossible Tasks | YOU DECIDE

  2. Pingback: To Gospel or not to Gospel, part two | ChristianBlessings

  3. mtsweat says:

    When a half-truth or even added-to-truth is presented as the gospel, there is no longer good news. We will no longer be presenting the life-changing message of Jesus Christ, but a synthetic and useless religion. We must be lovers of the truth! The whole truth! Thanks for a great word, friend. God bless.

  4. Pingback: Sinking Sand | mypentecostalreformation

  5. wdednh says:

    Reblogged this on YOU DECIDE.

  6. ptl2010 says:

    I well appreciate the full gospel churches that have taught me to know our good God and what it means to be living in the centre of God’s will with clean heart and hands, and to abide in His Presence in sunshine or rain or in the storm and in each season of life. Where God is there is liberty to enjoy all that He gives with thanksgiving in sickness or health, in little or much of the world’s present wealth as He chooses to give and the hope I impatiently long for to enjoy heaven after its foretaste on earth. He allows me to smell the roses even among the thorns for He leads me by day and night. It is a good life because He is with me and His joy is my strength as He grows the fruit of the Spirit within me for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ and His call as a living sacrifice unto Him. I must share the gospel that has been taught to me and no less for it is the full gospel of Jesus Christ and the empowerment of His Holy Spirit, not an empty gospel of man and his theatrics Praise the Lord!

  7. As someone who has been a Christian for 53 years, I share your concerns about modern “preaching”. I look back at the preaching of the 60s and wonder. I listen to young people describing Church as a ‘good concert’ and ‘entertainment’ and ‘fun’ and wonder what happened to the challenge and conviction and changed lives. I wonder what happened to the teaching of responsibility and accountability. I wonder why the mention of ‘doctrine’ brings groans. I wonder why the word “repentance” is never heard and ‘sin’ is something not talked about.

    I praise God for smaller sized Churches which are more like a Christian family where Christ is preeminent and exalted; where worship is true; where discipleship is nurtured; where the teaching of the Word is true, and where there is a concern for the unsaved, local and distant.

    Prosperity Gospel teaching is not “big” here but I have come across it occasionally. I believe in prosperity teaching – but spiritual prosperity. We are meant to grow and grow and grow spiritually and certainly God does shower His blessings on us to bring this about. After all, His goal for us is Christlikeness (Eph 4:13) and one day He will present us faultless before the throne.(Eph 5:27. Jude 24)
    Now, THAT is what I call prosperity!

    What an amazing God!

    • writinggomer says:

      Agreed, teach all the bible, read it yourself! Doctrine is important.
      I’ll post a quote here from A.W. Tozer that relates to what you are saying. It was used in the post I referenced above.
      “Many a preacher has been warned about preaching over the people’s heads. I ask, ‘What are people’s heads for? God Almighty gave them those heads and I think they ought to use them!’ As a preacher, I deny that any of the truths of God are over the heads of the people. I deny it!” (A.W. Tozer)

      • Like Tozer, I deny the truths of God’s Word are over the heads of any child of God.

        So many people don’t know WHY they believe WHAT they believe because the teaching of doctrine has been ignored. I teach doctrine to children and teens as well as adults and no one has difficulties in understanding. In fact, Romans has become the favourite and most read Book for most of the teens I have taught.

  8. PASTOR DAVIS/MASTER TEACHER says:

    You are making some really interesting points here and I can truly agree with you. Thanks for sharing and keep doing what God has blessed you to do. Grace and mercy be with you now and forever.

  9. I personally think that there’s nothing wrong with the prosperity teaching as long as there is balance. I believe in the Jeremiah 29:11 promises of God – 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. If we don’t even believe in this promise….then are we choosing to accept the opposite of prosperity?

    I understand where you are coming from but where I think people have a problem with the “Prosperity Teaching” is that the way that it is taught is always in reference to money. I don’t believe that Prosperity is just in respect to MONEY only. I believe it also concerns your health and general well-being as well.

    Quality teaching should preach in both blessings and conquences to those involved in active Sin. This is how I think the teaching should maintain balance. Sin needs to be addressed as well when you speak of blessings…you can’t prosper if engaged in continual active sin…and all sin leads to death so how does one prosper if sin is not addressed and confessed and renounced.

    If you look at Deuteronomy 28, it shows you what blessings are available for those that are Obedient to God’s word in verses 1-14. However the following scriptures after that from verses 15- 68 outline a whole bunch of consequences for being disobedient to God and being rebellious to God’s word by engaging in active sin. It clearly shows you God’s emphasis on obedience is necessary in order to remain blessed. The Consqueneces of remaining in sin allows for such curses to appear in ones life and therefore, the blessing of ones prosperity is absent because of disobedience.

    Repentance allows for people to get blessed and remain blessed but sin and active sin must be confronted with love in order to experience the jeremiah 29:11 promises of God. I guess what I’m saying is is that the prosperity teaching is not bad in and of itself when it is balanced and when the word is taught in context that exemplifies how one must live in order to be blessed and what are the consequences that drive people to miss the blessings of God in their lives when they are actively engaged in continual/habitual sin.

    Balance is always necessary in every teaching. Don’t you agree?

    • writinggomer says:

      All teaching of the Word needs balance, but if the whole Word of God is taught, we will have balance.

      I would certainly not argue the merits of Jeremiah 29:11, God’s promises are ever true, to borrow from ptl2010.
      God’s blessings upon us do include our health, our spiritual growth, our income etc. That still does not mean that we will receive all things.

      Maybe we are coming at the same thing from different angels?
      True prosperity gospel teachers are always teaching that money and things are ours for the asking, while ignoring the other promises of the Word…such as if Christ suffered, and He did, then so shall we.

      It is wrong to preach that God wants to give us all things. It is entirely another matter to say that God wants to bless us with a rich spiritual life, health in our bodies, A home and food to eat, and such things.
      At the same time, it needs to be taught that just because you follow Christ, that does not mean that you will receive all things, not even the necessary ones at times.
      Look at the Apostle Paul, he certainly was following the Lord in all things, and look what happened to him. How about the other Apostles?
      I know many Believers who are wonderful disciples of Christ, and have or are suffering great hardship(s).

      If people are taught that God wants to prosper them, (and they should be) then they should also be taught that even when they follow Christ the best they can…hardship can and will come into their life. God allows suffering in our walk with Him in many different forms.

      I’m saying that some churches emphasize the good, and ignore the not so good things that will come. Both must be taught, not one or the other. People are taught that God is going to give all things to you if you believe in Him, and are not taught the rest of the story, well they are going to be rather disappointed when they do not receive all things. Then they leave the church. Then they leave God, and that is not good.

      Some of us as followers of Christ will have a lot of money. Some of us will have enough to get by. Some of us will be poor forever until we are not here anymore. One needs only to look at the garbage dumps in Mexico…these followers of Christ have pretty much nothing. They build their homes on top of the dumps, life is hard. These people have some of the greatest and strongest faith in God I’ve ever heard of (our church does many mission trips there, so the info on these people is reliable, and I only mention this because I have never been able to go there and don’t want to phrase my words to make it sound like I have)

      Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate them. I hope you will read part two when I post it.
      Greg

  10. thoughtbugs says:

    I loved your post. I agree with you that the prosperity gospel causes many to fall away from the church. Many people are confusing Jesus with Santa Claus and when he doesn’t come through with what they want they take their toys and go home. The gospel doesn’t preach a life of ease and prosperity, if anything it promises just the opposite. That frightens people so, rather than face it, we have warped it to fit what we want. Thanks for writing this.

    • writinggomer says:

      Thank you thoughtbugs. Yes we are told in the bible that we will suffer for Christ. The rewards at the end though are rather good! Thanks for stopping by Christian Blessings, hope to see you again.

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