today (and lately) about how The Church has become corrupted. The Church being the entire body of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. I think that The Church is currently under siege from false teachers, as Jesus said it would be in Matthew 7:15-16 and in Matthew 15:9. Everywhere I look, I do not see The Church in mission to Christ but instead, all energy and resources are poured into other things, mostly into the aquisition of money.
Look at some of the quotes in this article, Does God Want You to Be Rich?
“I’m dreaming big–because all of heaven is dreaming big,” Adams continues. “Jesus died for our sins. That was the best gift God could give us,” he says. “But we have something else. Because I want to follow Jesus and do what he ordained, God wants to support us. It’s Joel Osteen’s ministry that told me. Why would an awesome and mighty God want anything less for his children?”
“Who would want to get in on something where you’re miserable, poor, broke and ugly and you just have to muddle through until you get to heaven?” asks Joyce Meyer, a popular television preacher and author often lumped in the Prosperity Lite camp. “I believe God wants to give us nice things.” If nothing else, Meyer and other new-breed preachers broach a neglected topic that should really be a staple of Sunday messages: Does God want you to be rich?
“I don’t think I’ve ever preached a sermon about money,” he says a few hours later. He and Victoria meet with TIME in their pastoral suite, once the Houston Rockets’ locker and shower area but now a zone of overstuffed sofas and imposing oak bookcases. “Does God want us to be rich?” he asks. “When I hear that word rich, I think people say, ‘Well, he’s preaching that everybody’s going to be a millionaire.’ I don’t think that’s it.” Rather, he explains, “I preach that anybody can improve their lives. I think God wants us to be prosperous. I think he wants us to be happy. To me, you need to have money to pay your bills. I think God wants us to send our kids to college. I think he wants us to be a blessing to other people. But I don’t think I’d say God wants us to be rich. It’s all relative, isn’t it?” The room’s warm lamplight reflects softly off his crocodile shoes.
Caldwell knows that prosperity is a loaded term in evangelical circles. But he insists that “it depends on how you define prosperity. I am not a proponent of saying the Lord’s name three times, clicking your heels and then you get what you ask for. But you cannot give what you do not have. We are fighting what we call the social demons. If I am going to help someone, I am going to have to have something with which to help.”
But that isn’t the only type of corruption that has happened within the Church in the unchecked quest for money and power. No, I think that the political teachings of today’s current crop of “Christian Leaders” is far worse in the long run. Yeah, I think it is a shame that preachers are getting rich off the flock, luring them into thinking that they too can fleece someone out of their money someday under the guise of God’s blessing (have you noticed that these guys rarely, if ever, use the name of Jesus, preferring the more generic term “God”?). But at least they have some pretext of using the Bible, sometimes even quoting it in context. And Paul says that the Word is sharper than a double-edged sword.
What I see happening is good people, thinking that they are being good Christians, being deceived into following partisian lines in politics, expending huge amounts of time and money pushing various legislative agendas, never touching a living human being, all because they are following some “Christian leader” in a political exercise. Oh, I admit it isn’t easy pushing away from this special brand of legalism. It is much like the peer pressure of our youth, wanting to be included in something so badly that we twist the gospel, twist the teachings of Jesus and the apostles, twist it so far that we are certain that we are correct in our interpretation of Christianity. Of course, most Christians in the world never bother to actually read the Bible, choosing instead to follow the words of men about the Bible.
These people use anything and everything to push their point across, the point being that they and only they are correct and that if you do not follow them lock, stock and barrel, you are an incoherent, dangerous, evil liberal Democrat. They pick and choose short readings from the Bible, taken completely out of context, to “prove” their poiint. They use the illustration of Paul arguing before a Roman court for his life to “prove” that it is okay for Christians to organize politically. They use the illustration of Jesus turning water into wine for the wedding guests to “prove” that Christians should be pushing trade legislation because Jesus cares, ignoring completely the interpersonal relationships that Jesus pursued and the reason he turned that water into wine. And I don’t think it had anything to do with trade legislation. They refuse to use context in any argument, so that their view of the world will conquer.
As far as I can tell, organized political groups using the name of Christ started coming to the forefront of politics in the late ’70’s. To be certain, they have weilded a great deal of authority and have pushed some legislation that is for the public good. But ask yourself, was it worth it? During the 60’s and 70’s, a great revival of evangelism was occuring in the US. At no time were more people led to Christ, were more people helped in the name of Christ, were more seeds planted to do Christ’s work. Now, why exactly do you think this stopped? I’ll tell you what I think – it stopped because Christians stopped evangelizing and started politicizing. Obviously that is an opinion but it is an opinion based upon years of observation, reflection and data. Yes, data. Data says emphatically that evangelism is at it’s lowest point in many years, even if you include the Prosperity bunch. Data says that church attendance is at an all time low. Data says that abortions are at an all time high. Data says that corportate and government corruption is rampant in our society.
All under the watchful eye of “Christian” political groups. Imagine where we would be today if the billions of dollars and hours spent by the various “Christian” political groups had instead been used in the mission of The Church, to spread the Gospel far and wide. I’ll tell you what I imagine it would be – a better world.