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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Christ Died For Your Wallet

Heard a preacher - don't know who - on television the other night.

"Christ died for your financial prosperity."

Unfortunately, I am not taking it out of context, and it's verbatim. The guy really said it, and he really meant it.

"Prosperity theology" is one of the most common threads in modern Christianity, and it's no wonder - most people would love to be rich, would love to feel that being rich isn't a bad thing, and that God will help them get rich.

That's all very nice, and a careful reading of the Bible doesn't really contradict it. At least, not too many times. I mean, Jesus did say that it's easier for a camel to pass through the Eye of the Needle than for a rich man to enter heaven, but:

  • rich people are smarter and can perform at a higher level, so what's hard for you now will be easy when you're rich
  • there were a lot of rich people in the Bible that God seemed to like so we don't really need to put too much stock in this one comment
  • the Eye of the Needle is a gate in Jerusalem's wall, not the eye of a sewing needle, so camels passed through it all the time
Besides, Jesus was rich! Carpenters made good money. His friends were rich - one of them had two boats, one for fishing, one for fun.

And...now watch this...poor people are cursed by God!

I've heard all of this stuff come from people who are doing well enough to maintain a TV presence, and that presumably means that this is a large part of the Christian message for a significant number of people.

The saddest thing about it is the reduction of the Almighty to something approaching an ATM...swipe your card and key in the password (worship and pray the way the book you got for a Love Gift of $59.95 said to), and God will dispense cash.

One day you, too, will be up on the screen, giving a testimonial as to how a check for $10,000 arrived from a suddenly dead uncle the day after you sent $1000 to Reverend P. Ross Perity.

Maybe I'm wrong, but I think their hamster got so far off the wheel that it'll need a GPS to get back. I think God's about love, and most especially love for those who've had life's breaks go the wrong way.

I don't think God has anything against rich people, but I think he does expect more from them...more help for the poor, more help for the church.

And I think we ignore words directly ascribed to Christ at our own peril.

Our own mortal peril.

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