Friday, October 28, 2011

Did God Spoil Joseph Prince, Or is He Just Spoiled


This weekend I heard someone say that "God loves to spoil His children."  If one were talking about grace and salvation then that person would have been completely right (with the exception of a terrible choice of words).  We have no idea of the wonder and riches that await us in our eternal home.  Unfortunately, this person was talking about earthly treasures. This particular brand of the prosperity gospel comes right from the apostate lips of the likes of Joseph Prince.  I know I have talked about this many times before, but I just can not seem to get those words out of my head.  "God spoils his children."  Really?  I wonder if people who say this even consider what the word means.  Let me help.  Here is the definition of spoil:
1. a. To impair the value or quality of. b. To damage irreparably; ruin.
2. To impair the completeness, perfection, or unity of; flaw grievously
3. To do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence, or excessive praise.
4. Archaic a. To plunder; despoil.  b. To take by force.   (source: thefreedictionaryonline.com) 
Can any of these apply to God in our lives? Has God impaired your value or quality?  Has God damaged you irreparably?  Has God impaired your perfection or completeness?  Has God harmed your character, nature, or attitude by overindulgence?  Has God taken you by force?  To say that God spoils is to you say the complete opposite of everything God is trying to do to you.  God has made you invaluable by giving up His Son for your eternal life.  God has made you complete and perfect in Christ.  God has replaced your already harmed character and nature and made you a New Creation with a new character and new nature.  And all of this is because you chose to accept that free gift of God.  God did not force you to come to Christ.  If God were into taking away our free will, He would have just made us with the inability to sin.  To say that God spoils us is to declare the opposite of everything God is doing in your life.

Of course, what these teachers are referring to is the third definition of spoil "To do harm to the character, nature, or attitude of by oversolicitude, overindulgence, or excessive praise."  Of course, they leave off the first part about doing harm and teach that spoiling is merely God giving his people riches and prosperity and living the good life here on earth.  Of course that begs the question as to why God would give us the very thing He tells us to not lay up for ourselves on earth. 
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  Matthew 6:19-21 NKJV
So God tells us not to hoard earthly treasures yet He gives us them?  That makes no sense at all!  Think about it, that would be like a parent telling their child not to collect baseball cards all the while that parent keeps buying them for the child.  The whole idea is ridiculous.

What you get in the end are wealthy successful pastors justifying their lavish lifestyle by teaching a doctrine that tells his followers that this is what God wants for everyone and you have envious followers who follow their leader hoping for their own piece of the pie.  You get a wealthy church lost in its own arrogance and sense of entitlement.  In that way they truly are spoiled.  What little treasure God has allowed them to collect has only resulted in the sense of entitlement.  They are spoiled children, but it was not God who spoiled them. 

I often wonder if these people have ever actually been outside of their wealthy surroundings.  I am talking to where the true meaning of poverty is a daily reality.  Have they ever been to a third world church?  Have they ever spent time with someone who has to pray just to have enough food to not starve to death.  I wonder how they would explain their wretched doctrine to them.  Would they tell them that they have a problem with their faith because God desires for them to be spoiled?   Those poor Christians have to rely on God for everything.  They put their faith in Jesus alone just to get their next meal, while the spoiled Christian is fretting about when cable will be back on because he is missing the big game.  Please, Mr. Prince, how do you explain your doctrine of prosperity to the millions of third world Christians starving and relying every day for God's provision.  Are you saying that those Christian just do not have you faith?  I mean you have a half billion dollar cultural center that you teach from, surely that means God likes you better right?  Do you even comprehend the harm your doctrine does to the morale of those struggling Christians?  Then again, I am sure Mr Prince gives "generously" to the less fortunate, I am sure that when he was done sharing his excess with those who lack he just happened to have half a billion dollars left over for his monstrosity. 

I also wonder about those Christians who are imprisoned, raped, tortured, black listed, and murdered for their faith.  It happens all over the world today, but we never see it.  Does God love them less because they do not have the favor of man?  Does their faith lack because their faith only results in terrible persecution?  I mean surely they must be doing something wrong because teachers like Mr. Prince say that they are supposed to be favored by man, successful in all that they do.  They should not be fired and black listed for their faith, they should be promoted right?  Their wives and children should not be tortured and raped, but respected and loved right?  Their men should not be imprisoned and killed but made into national heroes right?  I wonder what they think of your teaching, if they give any thought to it at all.  Personally, I doubt they fret about teachers like that because they enjoy a special fellowship of suffering with the Lord whom they love.

So why does God allow some Christians to amass such fortunes while others have nothing? There are a couple of reasons.  The first is so that they can share with those who have less. 
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. And in this I give advice: It is to your advantage not only to be doing what you began and were desiring to do a year ago; but now you also must complete the doing [of it]; that as [there was] a readiness to desire [it], so [there] also [may be] a completion out of what [you] have. For if there is first a willing mind, [it is] accepted according to what one has, [and] not according to what he does not have. For [I do] not [mean] that others should be eased and you burdened; but by an equality, [that] now at this time your abundance [may supply] their lack, that their abundance also may [supply] your lack--that there may be equality.  2 Corinthians 8:9-14 NKJV
Many prosperity teachers like to stop at verse 9.  They do not want to teach that their excess is given for a purpose and that purpose is to share with those who have less.  The fact is that God is allowing you to be part of His work in giving to those who lack to create an equality in the Body of Christ.  When one prosperity teacher flies around in private jets and hundreds if not thousands of third world missionaries have to beg for even a bicycle to get around, then there is no equality whatsoever.  If you are a Christian and you are rich, that money is not for you to use on yourself for wasteful things but to share with the rest of the body for needful things. 

As for the other reason, and this is where I will end today, is that they have bought into the lie of the prosperity gospel.  God has not given them this abundance though God has allowed them to attain it.  They live in their illusion that they are the spoiled children of God and live their lives as children.  I am not talking about the model of the child that Jesus provides that we are to become, but a perverted version of that model that we often call the spoiled brat.  They probably actually believe that it is through some great faith that God has given them their riches, but it is really about a weak faith that God allows to be supported by having a good collection of toys.  Having nothing but relying upon God for everything is faith.  Living in mansions drowning in your riches to where you have to rely on God for nothing is not faith at all.   Like all illusions, one day it will come to a quick and sudden end.  When they are stripped naked of every crutch they ever had, what faith will be left to hold them up?  Sadly, I believe there will be none and they will fall.  Perhaps then they will finally learn what faith is when they only have God to reach up to to pull them out from the pit they are in. 
Because you say, 'I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing'--and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked-- I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, [that] the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.  Revelation 3:17-19 NKJV

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