Categories
Life Theology

“We are rich. Filthy rich.”

I love Mondays.  You see, I have Mondays off.  So I get to kind of relax as I spend time with the Lord in his word.  There’s (usually) no distractions and no work to go too.  As I sat down on the couch this afternoon, I looked around our apartment and said, “Lord, you have given us so much stuff.  We aren’t poor.”

Carly and I both have average-paying jobs — and I work part-time at our local French retailer, Target — but we have more than, not just the average person in the world, but probably the average American. We are truly “blessed.” I was truly humbled as I sat there and stared at all this stuff in our living room.  I said, “Lord, I praise you that we can afford to have the lights on.”  You know what else is humbling? I get two days a week off. Most people get one. Some people don’t get any.

After reading the Scriptures, I read chapter 5 in Francis Chan’s book Crazy Love.  He wrote about the exact thing I was meditating on. Francis writes:

Which is more messed up — that we have so much compared to everyone else, or that we don’t think we’re rich? That on any given day we might flippantly call ourselves “broke” or “poor”? We are neither of those things. We are rich. Filthy rich.

Francis goes on to talk about how this hurts us spiritually:

The reality is that, whether we acknowledge our wealth or not, being rich is a serious disadvantage spiritually. As William Wilberforce once said, “Prosperity hardens the heart.”

Understanding that we aren’t poor, but rich — filthy rich — starts in the heart. Do I want to prosper materially or spiritually? What do I really want? Of course I need to eat and sleep and wear clothes. I need a car and I need to put gas in it. God understands this. But where is my hope and energy and adoration going? I pray that everyday it goes to God, not because he gives stuff, but because he is the only thing that will give me satisfaction.

Prosperity hardens our hearts because it causes us to depend on our money and stuff and not God. If we daily lack food and clothes and shelter, we will be on our knees begging God for help. I don’t need to do that. But I want to be on my knees thanking God for what he has given and begging him for his mercy because all I deserve is hell and damnation.  When that sobering truth is on your mind, you will never say, “I’m poor.”

Categories
Life Ministry

New Blog: the (un)gospel

My friend Chuck Bergen (who blogs at Writing on the Walls) and I have launched a new blog called the (un)gospel.  Don’t let the title fool you.  It’s not heretical.  Anything but.

The blog’s driving force is preaching against prosperity.  We want to counter the false, demonic prosperity with the true gospel of Jesus Christ.  In the simplest terms, it’s a blog about Jesus and money.  Here’s an excerpt of the about page:

As far as we know, there isn’t one central place on the internet where Christians can find resources about the dangers of the prosperity gospel.  We want this to be that place.  We want to advance the true gospel and preach against the false gospel of health, wealth, and comfort.  We want this blog to not only inform people, we want God to use it to transform people so that Jesus will become the supreme treasure of their lives.

We want one thing to be clear: we don’t hate money.  Money is a very good thing, and we work hard to make money (albeit not much). Our hope is that God will use this blog to help people use money in a way that shows Jesus is infinitely valuable, not money.

While Chuck finishes up exams at RTS and I prepare for my wedding (and start a job — more on that later), the posts will be sparse.  However, after the New Year, things will really get rolling.

Subscribe now via RSS or email.  You can also follow us on Twitter @ungospel.

Categories
Ministry

America’s Ugliest Export

Here’s a video from Christianity Today about the prosperity gospel in Africa.

(If you are viewing this in a feed reader, you may have to click through to the blog to see the video.)

(HT: Justin Taylor)

Categories
Life

Abortion and Artemis: The Damning Desire of Lust for Wealth

FoxNews reports that a Planned Parenthood worker in Texas quit after seeing an ultrasound of a baby being aborted.  Here’s a snippet:

Abby Johnson, 29, used to escort women from their cars to the clinic in the eight years she volunteered and worked for Planned Parenthood in Bryan, Texas. But she says she knew it was time to leave after she watched a fetus “crumple” as it was vacuumed out of a patient’s uterus in September.

The most intriguing part of this article was when Johnson described the driving force behind the clinic’s abortions:

“Every meeting that we had was, ‘We don’t have enough money, we don’t have enough money — we’ve got to keep these abortions coming’…It’s a very lucrative business and that’s why they want to increase numbers.”

Immediately, Acts 19:21-41 came to my mind.  Paul had been preaching the gospel in Ephesus, and he was preaching against the goddess Artemis, the Greek deity of hunting and fertility, who later became associated with wealth and prosperity.

Some Ephesians were angry at Paul, who “persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not god” (v. 26).  What was the driving force of their anger at Paul and zeal for this goddess?  Verses 24-25 tell us the answer:

For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, brought no little business to the craftsmen.  These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth.”

Just like the Ephesian silversmiths, the Planned Parenthood workers acquired their wealth from a god (i.e. abortion) they made with their own hands.  In a word, they were greedy. Greed and abortion, like Artemis, are idols.  And when the idol of greed is threatened, the result is either repentance  toward Jesus or rage, chaos, hatred, and only more idolatry and greed.

The lust for wealth is a damning desire.  Truly “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” (1 Tim. 6:9).

Categories
Life Theology

Oh to be a Giver Like This

If our charities do not at all pinch or hamper us, I should say they are too small.  There ought to be things we should like to do and cannot do because our charities expenditure excludes them…Sometimes our pride also hinders our charity; we are tempted to spend more than we ought on the showy forms of generosity (tipping, hospitality) and less than we ought on those who really need our help.

– C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity