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Tuesday, July 10, 2007

piper goes off on the prosperity gospel

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  • Garet,

    I followed you here from the Pyro blog.

    Let's see...

    Theological Conservative
    Political Conservative
    Johnny Cash fan
    John Denver fan
    Not FV fan
    John Piper fan
    Not shallow evangelicalism fan

    I think I've got a new hero! Keep up the excellent work at this blog, and God bless you in your service at your local church as well, as you defend orthodox Christian truth in a spirit of love. (humour isn't bad either - I laughed out loud when I saw the title of your "FV just got owned. Again." blog entry. Beautiful.)

    By Blogger Matt, at 11:59 AM  

  • Hey Matt,

    Can't take credit for some of that. If you will notice we are a group blog here at the Horde. My buddy Dave writes all the FV stuff- he's certainly the intellectual heavyweight when it comes to those types of issues. I really appreciate your kudos, but believe me, none of us deserve to be anyone's hero. :-)

    Blessings, Garet

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:25 AM  

  • I agree 100%...the health, wealth, and prosperity movement is anti-God and pro-me and is COMPLETELY unbiblical. It shows an utter disrespect for WHO God is and gives a false hope that is NEVER promised by the Lord to those who're suffering.

    I've written rant about this whole thing last year which i'll post here:

    I've just been sickened so much by the "Word of Faith/Name it Claim It/Prosperity" Movements that are so rampant in our churches and taught among many televangelists today. These people teach that whatever you ask of God, if you have enough "faith" when you ask it, that God is OBLIGATED to then give you what you want. They in essence use faith as a tool to try and get what they want from God. Not only that, but they go to the extreme as to say that those who are not wealthy, that they are not godly enough...they see anything but wealth as a curse from God. They then guarantee that if you're "godly enough" and say things with enough "faith" that you will then become rich here on earth.

    It sickens me to see these very same men and women using tithe money (they call it "seed money") that people who don't have the discernment to know send to them because these teachers tell their listeners that by giving them money, God will bless them and make them rich....these men using this very same tithe money to then spend sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars a week on the richest most luxury hotels, to buy personal jets for themselves, to throw lavish parties...and then on their supposed "missionary trips" to go on hunting safaris instead. They're using this money that people have unknowingly given them thinking it is going toward God's work...they then use it to fulfill their own pleasures and desires. Not only that, but in their preaching to treat God, the most sovereign, holy, powerful Creator of everything as some sort of "duty boy" some magic genie to do OUR bidding (not that we serve Him) have OUR will done on earth, rather than to seek His perfect Will for us. This is sick...and I have no doubt in my mind that God has a special place set apart in hell for these very same false teachers, these "wolves in sheep's clothing".

    I came across a verse today that amazed me. Paul here is addressing this very same kind of stuff to Timothy...knowing that these men would come. It really puts into perspective what our focus should be in light of these teachings and I'm so thankful it is found in God's Word to set stuff like this straight.

    1 Timothy 6:3-9, 11, 17-19
    3If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, 4he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions 5and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

    6But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.

    11But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.

    17Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. 19In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life.

    By Blogger Danae, at 12:29 PM  

  • Just came to your blog through the comment you left on Emerging Grace...

    Have to say that was an awesome speech, though I have never heard of John Piper.

    Will be reading more of your blog.

    By Blogger Alexander Fear, at 3:33 PM  

  • It has always seemed to me that lambasting the prosperity gospels is a bit like shooting ducks in a barrel.

    Prosperity gospels really seem to operate on basic American principles in both cult and culture. The volume is simply turned up to an irritating screed. It gets most people’s attention because it more tends to violate common belief that we ought to be discreet when considering money or material wealth, which is to say, polite and civil society does not talk about such things. We put our bills on a wallet and not a sweaty paper clip. To link up such indiscretion to the Most High only makes it worse.

    But it’s not nearly enough to simply take to task the uncouthness of cheesy comb-overs and gaudy rings. The real work is to mine for those basic principles of creaturely comfort and ease informing the brash obnoxiousness and expose them to the light of the Gospel. Turn down the volume a few notches and you have most of us who seem to think it’s all about being comfortable and at ease, with God signing off on the odd trinity of “happy, healthy and whole.” It is an American thing to outfit children in head to toe crash gear to peddle exactly one block to a friend’s house. We just don’t like having to live with any measure of uncertainty, regret, mistakes.

    Sinclair Ferguson’s “6 steps to finding out God’s will for your life” is the same thing as the crash gear: you don’t have to live with making difficult decisions up front or with regret when you question whether you did the right thing. Sift it all through these steps or principles and, like a sanctified Ouji board, you too can know if it is all right to proceed—the Most High saith, “All signs point to yes!” Too bad it really doesn’t work that way.

    John Piper also preached an anti-abortion sermon on sanctity of life Sunday. Whatever problems of mixing religion and politics this creates, one thing seem certain--Piper doesn’t want to have to live with the phenomenon of abortion sharing his world; he will go to great lengths to help unbelief be swallowed up not by conversion but by transformation, even to the point of linking a minority morality (anti-abortion) to a majority one (human slavery): if you don’t share his politics on this issue (which I do, by the way), you are utilizing the same principles as those who promoted slavery. Please. Talk about bullying. Now he is beating up on the health and wealthers. Are they false gospels? What’s that about the Pope being Catholic? Seems almost silly to have to say yes. But turn down the volume and we shall find ourselves—we who believe that the Gospel has resident within it the means to make us happy on our own terms; who believe that our lives begin instead of end when we possess faith. Dig far enough, and we are all prosperity peddlers. Piper has just found the most vocal. Ah, the siren sound of ducks quaking in barrels.


    By Blogger zrim, at 11:58 AM  

  • zrim:

    I think I agree with you. But is it as simple as saying it is shooting fish in a barrel? I mean, if it's so easy to strike down, why are there so many that fall for it? (btw, I pick up on your tone of self-examination) The reality is, what Piper has to say is a shock to a lot of people. I get your drift though, I wonder if we could say that the Willow Creek/Purpose Driven crowd preach an existentialist prosperity gospel. And perhaps we do the same, just not so patronizingly.

    Thanks for the thoughts.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:32 PM  

  • One flaw in your argument though Zrim,

    I am not American, and neither is 88% of the worlds population American.

    Not all of us believe in America's brand of capitalism.

    By Blogger Alexander Fear, at 11:27 AM  

  • I should modify that to..

    88% of the worlds Christians' American.

    By Blogger Alexander Fear, at 11:29 AM  

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