I was recently given the Logos Bible study program. It is a great tool and I am very thankful to have it. One of the things it does each day is to give you news that Faithlife, who owns Logos, finds pertinent for Evangelical Christians. Today, for instance, I read Joel Osteen tell us why he doesn’t apologize for not preaching about Hell. He explains that people are beaten down enough and he wants to lift them up. Evidently he knows what sinners need better than Jesus and the Apostles did.
But what is sad about such an article is that there are those Christians who actually think this has something to do with Christianity. If this article was in a “cult” section it would be one thing, but to pass it off as a legitimate biblical and edifying article explains why there is so much confusion in churches today.
Even before I read about Joel Osteen today I had read a couple of articles earlier in the week that irritated me enough to decide to include them in my blog. One was from Rick Warren and the other was from Perry Noble who pastors a mega church down in South Carolina.
On the surface Rick Warren’s article might not have seemed too bad. It is entitled, “Christians must accept Jesus, not just hope they will go to Heaven”. But usually when someone uses the words “accept Jesus” instead of trust or believe you know where they are coming from and Rick made it quite apparent what he meant by that.
Here is a quote: "God nailed everything that separated you from himself to the cross. But God won't force you to make the most important decision of your life. It's in your hands," Warren writes, noting that it's "time" for Christians to choose.” Of course, this is blatantly unbiblical because it gives man the ability to choose on his own without the power of God. If Romans 3 is true then we know that no man seeks after God or does any good thing. Romans 8 says Rom 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God's law; indeed, it cannot. Rom 8:8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God. It always amazes me that so many Christians find it so offensive to admit that no one gets saved unless God first changes their heart so that they will believe and he only regenerates the elect. Eph 1:18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, Eph 1:19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might.
The other article by Rick Perry is worse, if one can even rate them. He promises to refund tithes if God doesn’t bless you in 90 days. You can sign up for this and it appears others churches have done the same thing. It is even described as a “money back guarantee by some!
The problem is that all this assumes that God’s blessings are temporal, physical and for the most part monetary or at least things that make us happy. Nowhere in the NT do we read that money and ease and heath are the only blessings or are blessings at all in some ways; but blessings are whatever makes you a better servant of the Lord. And for the most part we are told to expect suffering and trials. James tells us to count it all joy when we fall into various trials. He doesn’t say count it as a blessing when you escape all manner of trials. Timothy reminds us, 1Ti 6:9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. 1Ti 6:10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. Often ease is detrimental to our spiritual health.
One poor woman admitted that God’s blessing won’t always be monetary but then describes them as other things that come with what money brings. She said, "Everyone thinks it's a financial change that He's gonna bless you with but it might not be monetary. I didn't imagine how it would change me. A promotion at my job, being recognized for the work I've done for patients at work. I just don't worry about finances anymore. I just give to Him and say You'll provide and I'll never fail. He always does (provide)," she said. So evidently God blessed her by giving her recognition from her peers for her good works and a promotion to boot.
Well, we don’t bargain with God. We give to his work because we love him and his work and out of hearts full of thankfulness. Whether he gives it back to me or not is neither here nor there. This is the worst kind of selfishness and it is no wonder the world has lost all respect for much of what passes as Christianity today.