Thursday, July 10, 2014
False Humility Meets Phony Prosperity
"Jesus drove a Cadillac, I'm sure it was pure gold,
Its dash made of leather, its seats tucked and rolled!
Why else would God's children need such fancy things
Like big old fancy houses and massive diamond rings?"
---Lyrics from "Jesus Drove A Cadillac" a satirical song by the Christian rock group Unveiled
Antipope Francis had a meeting with some popular "tele-evangelists." Most notably, Joel Osteen, Kenneth Copeland, and James Robison. Osteen and Copeland are known for what has been called the "prosperity Gospel," i.e., preaching that if you really love God, He will reward you with wealth and material goods in this world. Mr. False Humility himself, Jorge Bergoglio, gave what the papers have dubbed as the first ever "papal high five" with Robison. Of course, Bergoglio has never condemned their errors, nor has he exhorted them to convert. In Vatican II ecclesiology, all is well as long as you're not in the Truth (i.e. a Traditionalist).
These false preachers are quite a bunch. Here are some pertinent facts about those who achieve the "Frankie High Five."--with an emphasis on the one I believe is worst:
Joel Osteen According to the Christian Post, Osteen (b. March 5, 1963), leads one of the largest Protestant "mega-church's" in America. He stopped taking a salary in 2005, because his book deals are so lucrative. His last book yielded a reported 13 million dollars. Here are some excerpts from an interview Osteen did on Larry King about the "prosperity Gospel":
KING: How about issues that the church has feelings about? Abortion? Same-sex marriages?
OSTEEN: Yeah. You know what, Larry? I don't go there. I just ...
KING: You have thoughts, though.
OSTEEN: I have thoughts. I just, you know, I don't think that a same-sex marriage is the way God intended it to be. I don't think abortion is the best. I think there are other, you know, a better way to live your life. But I'm not going to condemn those people. I tell them all the time our church is open for everybody.
KING: You don't call them sinners?
OSTEEN: I don't.
KING: Is that a word you don't use?
OSTEEN: I don't use it. I never thought about it. But I probably don't. But most people already know what they're doing wrong. When I get them to church I want to tell them that you can change. There can be a difference in your life. So I don't go down the road of condemning.
In other words, "Who am I to judge?"
KING: I want to get to the seven steps. But when the people call you cotton candy theology. Someone said you're very good but there's no spiritual nourishment. I don't know what that means ...
OSTEEN: I think, I hear it meaning a lot of different things. One I think a lot of it is that I'm not condemning people. And I don't know, but Larry I talk, I mean every week in our church we're dealing with people that are fighting cancer, that have their lost loved ones. That are going through a divorce. I mean, I talk about those issues, and to me I don't see how it can get any more, you know, real than that. So I don't know what the criticism is.
How about Salvation, repenting of your sins, how about accepting Jesus? Sure, Protestantism is a false sect, but Osteen just wants to be a glorified social worker and motivational speaker. It's "Protestantism Lite"--feel good and shout "Amen" to receive money and health and forget all that "negative talk" about sin, repentance,etc. Sound familiar?
Here's what Osteen said about Frankie in an interview with the Huffington Post :
“I think the pope is fantastic, his tone, his humility,” he said.
“We may not agree 100 percent on doctrine and theology, but the Catholic (sic) Church, our church, it’s open for everybody. I like his tone, not pushing people away.”
So why is the "Prosperity Gospel" wrong? It's because it has nothing to do with the real Gospel and is even more heretical than traditional Protestantism:
1. Materialism keeps people out of heaven.
The Osteen/Copeland group tout the Gospel as a way to live "the good life” and claim wealth is a sign of spiritual maturity. Such a message appeals only to our sinful, selfish nature. True Christians are not to love the world or anything in the world (1 John 2:15). Jesus repeatedly warned that wealth can be dangerous to our souls (Luke 8:14; 12:15) and even keep us out of heaven (Matthew 19:21-24; Ephesians 5:5). Rather than indulging ourselves with material "blessings", the true Christian message is to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ, for “you cannot serve both God and money” (Matthew 6:24).
2. Unnecessary fear.
Anything negative, especially doubt, will supposedly cancel out your faith and short-circuit God's blessing in your life. As a result, when hardships come the believer puts pressure on himself to do the impossible: to never have a negative thought. The result is bondage to a constant, superstitious fear of anything negative.
Actually, faith grows stronger if we ask questions and wrestle honestly with our doubts. The Bereans were commended for their healthy skepticism (Acts 17:11). We are to search for wisdom as for hidden treasure (Prov. 2:3-5) and test everything (1 Thess. 5:21).
Fear of anything negative shows how weak and fragile a person's faith really is, and keeps it from growing stronger.
3. It jives with Phony Frankie
How they LIKE him. He doesn't condemn. He doesn't focus on small-minded rules. They like the Modernist Vatican II sect, a spiritual cousin. According to the National Catholic (sic) Reporter:
"Copeland was unavailable for comment about his meeting with the pope, but in an address to his congregation, he played a recording from earlier this year where Francis spoke on a smartphone camera and called on Christians to set aside their differences. Copeland led his congregation in prayer where many spoke in tongues, a common Pentecostal practice." (Emphasis mine)
There you have it. A "humble pope" proud of his humility who wants "unity" at the price of sacrificing the Truth. "Prosperity preachers" who tell us that God is the Big ATM and Health Care Provider in the Sky, so buy our books, don't worry, and fill the collection plate. Feel good and come together! But the real question is, "Will you be feeling good and giving high-fives, when you don't have the True Faith and end up in Hell?"