No Apologizing

Christian Apologetic, and Social Commentary in a world gone mad

Tag Archives: Prosperity

Are you a God? Part 2

This is part 2 of the “Are we gods”.

God called us little gods, so we are what the word says we are.  This argument is based on John 10:32-36, and Psalms 82.

Word of faith preachers lean heavily on this text to show that we are little gods.  Here is John 10:32-36:   but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many great miracles from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”   33 “We are not stoning you for any of these,” replied the Jews, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.”   34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods’? 35 If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— 36what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?

Word of Faith preachers say “Scripture calls us little gods.  We must follow the scripture.”  This argument offered up by the word of faith preachers offers more of a challenge because it is so easily misinterpreted if it is taken out of context.  When you read John 10:34-36 it says you are “gods”.  When you read Psalms 82:6 it says you are “gods”.  Like I mentioned before, when you listen to a word of faith preacher discuss these two verses in particular this would be about as deep as they go.  “It says it, so you are.”  So let’s put these into context…

When you are looking at this section of John, Jesus is standing before the Pharisees.  They are ready to stone him for claiming to be God.  Christ defends himself in 34-36 referencing Psalms 82. 

1 God has taken his place in the divine council; in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:

2 “How long will you judge unjustly and show partiality to the wicked? Selah

3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.

4 Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding, they walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken.

6 I said, “You are gods, sons of the Most High, all of you;

7 nevertheless, like men you shall die, and fall like any prince.”

8 Arise, O God, judge the earth; for you shall inherit all the nations!

 Psalm 82 was written in reference to the judges and magistrates.  These people are official representatives and agents of God.  I am going to break Psalm 82 down and look at it verse by verse to help you gain better understanding of what Jesus was referencing in John 10:34. 

Look at verse 1.  This is notification to the “gods” that God gives judgment on them.  This statement is followed by a plea to the “gods” in verses 3-4.  Verse 5 offers truth, without these things anarchy will ensue.  Then, in verses 7-8, comes the reckoning… Though they are honored in verse 6 God also humbles them by reminding them  in verse 7 that they are only mere mortals and that they will, therefore, die.  Basically, these two verses are saying that these judges are NOT god-like, because they are imperfect and mortal then verse 8 definitively declares that God has authority and will judge all of them.  If you read Psalm 82 through the lens that the “gods” are just the average person (as opposed to leaders and judges), it makes no sense.  Let’s dig a little deeper.

Look at verse 2.  When the question is asked “how long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?”  Focus on the word “you”.  The word “you” in verse 2 can only be referencing God or “gods”.  God does not judge unjustly, so then the reference must be to the word “gods”.  The “gods” judge.  On to verse three…the “gods” are able to give justice.  Now, if the “gods” judge and are able to give justice, are they average folk or are they people with power and authority (like leaders, kings, judges, rulers, etc.)?  The actions described in Psalm 82 describe the actions of people in leadership.  The actions they perform are “god” – like in that they judge and have a certain (limited) amount of power and authority.  They are judging and leading others with the possibility of liberating them.  This is similar to the way that God will one day judge the world, but in a limited way. Of course leading other people and/or judging for them is an awesome and powerful responsibility – one that carries a heavy burden  One last comment on Psalm 82.  When you read this verse, think of a local or national leader.  Keep them in mind as you hear God’s plea to them to be fair, and righteous.  Keep them in mind as God reminds them that his judgment will happen.  When I do this I am filled with the instant need to pray for them. 

Let’s jump now to John 10:34-36.  Here, Jesus quotes Psalm 82 to make a point.  So who is Jesus talking to here?  The Pharisees.  The keepers of the law (magistrates), and the judges of the law.  So when Jesus says “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’, he is referencing the judges and magistrates of His day (like Psalms 82 was).  What we are seeing Jesus do in John 10:34-38 is draw a comparison between himself, and the Pharisees.  The Pharisees, administers of the law of God, and Jesus the one the Father consecrated and sent into the world.  Both are the word of God delivered.  This is cemented by what Jesus says in verses 35-36.  “Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are gods'[e]? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and the Scripture cannot be broken— what about the one whom the Father set apart as his very own and sent into the world?

If “gods” in John 10:34-36 means just anyone then this verse becomes superficial, and meaningless-There is no power to the analogy that Jesus draws between the two groups, because is no distinction between the groups.

There is danger in claiming that we are gods, even if it IS with a little g, because it minimizes God, and lifts man up to be more than what we are intended to be.  If, in fact, we have God like authority on Earth why would we need to submit to God?  If this sounds silly, then think about this…  Many word of faith preachers go so far as to teach that God has to submit to US!  That God cannot act on this Earth without our consent (much more could be said about this clear fallacy, and probably will be in a future post).  Any preacher who teaches that man controls God, or preaches that you are god like preaches a God that does not exist in the Bible (cf. Romans 11:33-36), and deliberately, or otherwise, misleads people into thinking they have God like power.  Keep in mind that this type of teaching has been used before (when Satan told Eve that she could like God). Of course, we know that Adam and Eve’s response to this false teaching had a catastrophic effect on the history of the world – Let’s be wise and refuse to listen to that same lie again.

The next time someone asks you if you’re a god you SAY…

The title may look a little familiar to you.  This is the response that Winston gave to Ray after the Demon spirit in Ghostbusters fried them.  This is relevant to today in that many word of faith preachers say that we are “little gods”.  Some of the more well known preachers associated with this doctrine are Joyce Meyers, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Creflo Dollar, and Bill Winston.  Some quotes from the preachers:

Hagin:  God “made us in the same class of being that he is himself”. 

Copeland: “You don’t have a god in you, you are one”

Meyer:  “Now you understand I’m not saying you are God with a capital “G””.

The argument:

The “little gods” doctrine is based largely two key points. 1. God produced after his own kind, and two that God called us “gods”.   The ramifications of this doctrine are far and wide.  If we are in fact little gods, there isn’t anything on this earth that we cannot control.  Weather… no problem.  Sickness… no problem.  Whatever it is we have control of everything because we have been created as gods.  Word of faith preachers will follow these arguments up with statements of “there is divinity in humanity”, and some will say “You don’t have to go to Him (God), to take care of any problems” (This is from Bill Winston).  Anytime I listen to a sermon regarding this doctrine, I always see a high level of excitement, and the reading of these Bible verses.  Never, have I seen a pastor go into the context of the verse being used.  I get the distinct feeling that there is no thought put behind the use of these verses, rather just a superficial use of the verse to demonstrate a point that then comes off as being hollow.  As I mentioned in my previous posts, without context you can make the Bible say just about anything you want.  If you pull two obscure verses out of thin air you can warp it to mean….that you are gods on earth – Which is coincidently very similar to Mormon doctrine.  Here is what the Bible verses mean in context.

Today we will take a look at the first point…

  1. God produces after his own kind.  The scripture used to support this is Genesis 1:26.  The argument is as follows…Well let’s just use Mr. Dollars own words from a sermon given to his own congregation:

Dollar: “If horses get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Horses!”
Dollar: “If dogs get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Dogs!”
Dollar: “If cats get together, they produce what?”
Congregation: “Cats!”
Dollar: “So if the Godhead says ‘Let us make man in our image’, and everything produces after its own kind, then they produce what?”
Congregation: “Gods!”
Dollar: “Gods. Little “g” gods. You’re not human. (The) Only human part of you is this (the) flesh you’re wearing.”

 This argument focuses on the first sentence of Genesis 1:26:  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.   It also takes the central theme that each produces after it’s own kind.  This theme can be found the 1st book of Genesis.

  1. God produces after his own kind.  We have to start at this point because it (for me at least) is the underlying theme to the little gods doctrine. 

Genesis 1:26:  Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…

In this verse word of faith preachers will tell you that because everything produces after its own kind, and God produced man in his own image and after His likeness that we are in fact gods on earth.  If we follow this argument all the way through to conclusion…God created Adam.  Adam, being produced by God, was…god (Hagin and Copeland both assert this).  Adam sinned meaning what….God can sin?  Even if we work it backwards….If Adam could sin, and Adam was a carbon copy of God…does that mean that God could sin?  Of course, the answer is no.

What do you think of when you hear the word image? Do you think of a carbon copy of yourself?  Would an image of yourself contain all of your qualities, all of your mannerism’s, all of your talents?  Because this is exactly what God did.  God created man in his own image (Genesis 1:27).  He did not create a clone of himself.  But what about the word likeness?  Wouldn’t that mean that that we were like God?  No.  The Hebrew word used in this verse was “dmwt”,which means “image.  Thus, Genesis 1:26 could really read “Let us make man in our own image…”.  When you hear the word image do you think of a carbon copy, or do you think more of a picture? Which makes more biblical sense?

There are none who are LIKE God. Take these bible verses into consideration when praying about this point…

Ray, the next time someone asks you if you're a god you SAY YES!

Isaiah 43:10 – “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen,   so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me.

Isaiah 46:9  – Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other;  I am God, and there is none like me.

God makes it extremely clear that there are NONE LIKE HIM, and that there will be no god  formed before him or after him.  There is a clear contradiction between the word of faith interpretation of Genesis 1:26, and the word of God.

Part two tomorrow!  Stay tuned!


Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

All you need is faith, faith. Faith is all you need.

Is faith in Christ enough for salvation?  This simple question can ignite a war of words.  The “Word of Faith” doctrine holds, on many levels, that there are “side effects” to your salvation.  These side effects would include speaking in tongues, being healed from affliction, and gaining prosperity.  The baptism of the Holy Spirit is the method to how these “side effects” are given to believers.  The natural question based on the above argument is…”If I don’t speak in tongues, or get sick, or do not prosper…am I saved?”  While this is a question that I have struggled with, and one I think that is worth asking, I believe that this is the wrong question.  The primary question that needs to be asked should be “Is faith enough?”

The Word of Faith’s basic answer to this question is as follows:  “Upon salvation you receive the Holy Spirit; however your baptism of the Holy Spirit is separate from salvation.  Upon the Baptism of the Spirit, you will demonstrate certain sign gifts… In fact, you should be able to successfully call on Him to deliver you from sickness.  If your faith is strong enough, you will be healed.  If you are in poverty, and your faith is strong enough you can bring wealth.”  Or how about this “The baptism of the Holy Spirit is evident by speaking in tongues” (this from Gloria Copeland).  These messages are being preached in churches across the world.  The premise is simple.  In order to avoid issues with affixing anything to salvation, the word of faith movement creates two baptisms or assigns the baptism of the Holy Spirit to a point after salvation.  This premise allows a word of faith preacher to say that powers are received upon baptism of the Holy Spirit.  What they normally won’t say but end up implying is that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is separated from salvation.  The timeline for a born again Christian would then be as follows:  Profession Jesus is Lord – salvation/indwelling of the spirit; Baptism of the Spirit – taking place at some point thereafter.  Either way the word of faith movement is consistent in saying that the sign gifts are required.  If you don’t have the sign gifts, you have not been baptized by the Spirit.

How does this process stack up against the Bible?  Word of Faith preachers point the Pentecost to answer the question.  The argument; All of the apostles were saved prior to the day of the Pentecost.  Jesus explicitly told them they would then be baptized by the Holy Spirit.  This shows two points for the apostles, salvation upon faith, and then baptism of the Holy Spirit.  Word of faith preachers argue that they are two distinct events.  Upon receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit the apostles were able to speak in tongues, and perform miraculous signs.  Thus if you do not speak in tongues, et al.  then you have not been baptized by the Holy Spirit.  This statement gets to the heart of the matter.

What if there is only one salvation, and one baptism?  The natural implication would be no sign gifts, no salvation.  Thus the dilemma.  If I don’t speak in tongues have I been baptized by the Holy Spirit? 

The Bible offers a number of answers in regards to the questions I asked above.  The best way that I can answer this is in timeline fashion.  First let’s take a look at whether or not there is separation of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit from salvation. 

When do we receive the spirit?  1 Corinthian 12:3 gives us the answer:  Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.  When do we proclaim “Jesus is Lord”?  We sincerely proclaim it upon salvation for the first time.  At that point in time…we are in the Holy Spirit.

When does the baptism of the Holy Spirit take place?  The baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place when we enter the body of Christ. 1 Corinthians 12:13 illustrates this point.   For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

When do we enter the body of Christ?  Upon Salvation.  If this is not the case, then we would actually have those who have faith in Christ, but do not belong to the body of Christ.  Also take this into consideration:  If we have believers who are not one with the body, then Christ’s prayer in John 17:11, 21-23 has not been answered.

How many Baptisms’s are there?  According to Ephesians 4:5, there is only one baptism. “There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope when you were called— 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all

So what does all of this mean?  The Word of Faith Preachers use a piece of the Bible to illustrate a point that the baptism of the Spirit can be separated from salvation.  However, the use of all of the New Testament demonstrates that, from a practical stand point, this is impossible.  If we enter into the body of Christ upon salvation, then we have to be baptized at the point of salvation for 1 Corinthians 12:13 to hold true.  We also know that sincerely proclaiming Jesus is Lord is made by someone in the Spirit.  This proclamation is made at the point of salvation.  This means that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not separated from salvation.  They happen all at one time.

So what does all of this really mean?  Let’s go back to the very first question, “If I don’t speak in tongues, or get sick, or do not prosper…am I saved?”  If you can show that the baptism of the Spirit takes place at the time of salvation, then according to the word of faith movement….you are not saved.  This creates a fundamental issue on one of the primary tenets of Christianity, salvation through faith.  This brings us to the primary question, is faith enough?

Is it really true that all we need is faith? Absolutely.  There are a number of verses in the New Testament that support through faith alone (Romans 3:28-30, Romans 4:5, Romans 5:1, Romans 9:30, Romans 11:6, Galatians 3:5-6, Romans 1:16-17).  My personal favorite is Ephesians 2:8-9; For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. 9Not by works, lest any man should boast.”  On this point many preachers of the word of faith movement would not disagree.  Here is where the problem is, when you establish that the baptism of the Holy Spirit takes place at salvation, word of faith preachers add to the requirements of salvation. 

If tongues are needed to demonstrate the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and the baptism takes place upon salvation…word of faith preachers are saying that you must speak in tongues in order to demonstrate that you have been saved.  And it’s not just tongues that would fall into this category.  It could include water baptism, prayer, and anything that someone says you must have in order to show you are saved.  These are counter to the teachings of the Bible.  Since the protestant reformation, we have correctly understood that all you need for salvation is faith.  At the point of salvation, you are baptized by the Holy Spirit, and the Spirit assigns gifts at His will.

When sign gifts, or anything for that matter, are attached as requisites for salvation it becomes an obstruction to the primary tenant of the Christian faith.  That tenant….salvation through faith alone.  This is something that cannot be blown off or left alone.  In today’s society many of us are offended by educators teaching erroneous ideas such as global warming, and evolution.  We also become frustrated by the notion of revisionist history being taught because of political correctness.  This is should concern you because of its nature. 

But we aren’t about just attacking folk’s ideas… Instead, this info is actually REALLY Good News!! How so? Well, for the Christian who has ever doubted their salvation because of their not feeling moved to or experiencing any of the sign gifts you can rest in the knowledge that these signs and wonders are NOT linked to your salvation in any way shape or form… In fact, I’d venture to say that most of our Charismatic friends would even agree whole heartedly with that. We would be content to just live and let live if it were not for the fact that many of the proponents of Word of Faith make this a primary (salvation) issue… Hopefully, we’ve shown well enough that it is NOT a matter of one’s salvation… If you still believe that it is, we respectfully ask that you reexamine God’s Word on this issue with an open heart and mind… We’ll examine more Word of Faith claims from a biblical perspective in posts that are soon to follow.

And I just want a million dollars

Anybody a big fan of Friends?  Remember the first episode?  Ross, is sitting on the couch having just been divorced.  Ross says “I just want to be married again”.  Rachel comes running through the door in a wedding dress.  Chandler (ever the opportunist) screams “I just want a million dollars!”

Over the last month-month and a half I have been studying the word of faith movement.  I needed to know if what these preachers were saying was biblical or not.

I started by looking at what the word of faith movement was.  What is included in it?  The word of faith movement is basically described as follows:  “Say what you want in faith, and it will be yours.”  You may have heard of the word of faith movement by some of the following names:  the prosperity gospel, health and wealth gospel, or name it claim it gospel.

The history of the word of faith movement is pretty well documented.  Many of the word of faith teachings can be traced back to E.W. Kenyon and include;  Christ going to hell, positive confession, God creating the universe based on faith, etc…There is debate about who the true founder of the word of faith movement.  Some will argue Kenyon, others Hagin.  To me this really is irrelevant.  It was a nice to know, as it kept showing up in text describing the word of faith movement.  While I understand that this can prove to be relevant, I am only concerned about how their preaching stacks up against the Bible.

Who are the preachers of the word of faith movement?  Preachers of the word of faith movement would include; Kenneth Copeland, Gloria Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, Jr, Benny Hinn, Paul Crouch, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, Oral Roberts, John Avanzini, Robert Tilton, Fred Price, Bill Winston, and a whole host of others.

Up until a couple of months ago I looked at the word of faith movement as something that was just there.  I may have disagreed with it, but I thought that there was nothing dangerous about it.  Now I know the truth.  The word of faith movement is dangerous.  It is harmful.  It is misleading.  And those that follow the word of faith preachers follow a gospel that is not biblical.  Furthermore, any gospel that assigns anything to salvation (healing powers, becoming god like, speaking in tongues or the like) is not biblically founded as well.  Those that preach these things alienate people who are moved to Christ, but do not speak in tongues or because they can’t heal.  They also lie to those who are poor or sick and tell them that it is because they do not have enough faith.  These “preachers” draw in crowds based on the false premise that they receive special revelation that you do not.  They claim that they are special instruments of God, and you are to listen to what they say – Even if it contradicts the Word of God itself, they expect you to take THEIR word for it and not research it on your own.  All of this to me is dangerous.

I spent a lot of time reading into this for personal reasons.  I had to make sure that I got this right.  I couldn’t be sure solely based on other peoples’ opinions…  I had to do my own research, pray, and have the Spirit of God draw me in the right direction.  I had to understand the Bible, understand the context, and know, what was really there.

There will be several posts following this one that will take a biblical look at the flaws of the word of faith movement.  There are several videos on YouTube that will give you a quick version of it.  We hope to provide a comprehensive version of it here.  If we hurt some feelings, if we offend any of the readers, that is not our intent… However, we’re not apologizing for the truth.

Wait a second! Why do they get that!

Have you ever wondered…how it is…that people who will lie, cheat, steal have great lives?  By “Great” I mean from a material aspect.  They have a nice house, a nice car, never have to worry about money.  Now, this is not to say that the only people who have nice car’s, nice house’s and never have to worry about money are all liar’s cheaters, and thief’s (though all of us are some combination of that).  You get my point.  Anyway, sometimes it feels like people who hate GOD, or don’t even recognize that he is real are rewarded, while Christians sometimes are set to a life of mediocrity!  For some reason I want to say that there is a jumping point here about being prosperous etc…  Although I’ve done a lot of research on this topic over the last couple of weeks, I will avoid the prosperity gospel at this point and time.  Right now I want to focus on one specific point…. Some people who hate God, appear to have exceptional lives.

I know that all of us have had this passing thought…why?  Why do they get to have this while I work so hard to have average (the definition of success can be discussed at a later point) As it turns out… our questions are not unique in the history of the world they have been posed to God numerous times.  As a matter of fact, a little known book (to me at least) Malachi 3 deals specifically with this issue:

13 “You have said harsh things against me,” says the LORD.
      “Yet you ask, ‘What have we said against you?’

14 “You have said, ‘It is futile to serve God. What did we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the LORD Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly the evildoers prosper, and even those who challenge God escape.’ ”

 16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.

 17 “They will be mine,” says the LORD Almighty, “in the day when I make up my treasured possession. I will spare them, just as in compassion a man spares his son who serves him. 18 And you will again see the distinction between the righteous and the wicked, between those who serve God and those who do not.

Let’s look at this verse by verse.

In verse 13 God is talking to the Hebrew people.  They had been complaining about why evil people prosper.  Why those who do not fear the Lord have the appearance of being blessed.  God finally responds in verse 13.  When God responds the Jews are basically saying…”we didn’t say that!”  This revealed their arrogance for sure.  So, God clearly defines for them what they have been saying in verses 14 and 15. 

Have you said those things when looking out into the world?  I am guilty of this.  When I look at places like Hollywood, pro-athletics, CEO’s or whatever… I wonder.   I think a natural fit here is to look at James 4:4; “You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”  This is what the Hebrews were guilty of.  The Hebrews wanted what the world had, and were wondering why God wasn’t giving it to them.

After God calls the Israelites out they respond.  God makes a distinction about who He’s talking to in verse 16 when He addresses “Those who feared God”.  God’s response in verse 17 is to those who fear God.  He says that they will be mine in the day when I make up my treasured possession.  I believe that here God is talking about His judgment.  At the day of judgment we will be able to see the distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.  If God considers you to be treasure He will take you up, and spare you.  Those who have accepted His Son, Jesus, and only those who have accepted Him are considered God’s treasure.  In other words, The Cross becomes ours and our way onto this list of remembrance.  It is this way only…that we will be spared from judgment.  An illustration of this judgment can be found in the parable of the wedding banquet.  Here the King invites many to the banquet, but they refuse to come.  When the King’s servants are mistreated by those who refuse…the King sends his out his military to destroy them.  Such is the response in verse 18.  God has sent the invitation to many to come to Him… some will refuse (those that do not fear God).  They will perish.  Because, as Jesus said in Matthew 22:14 “Many are invited, but few are chosen”.

What we are seeing is a very personal God who has heard the cries of His people.  God reassures the Israelites (and ultimately you), that while you may have things hard, that your life may not be easy, and there is an appearance of impropriety in this world… there will be no impropriety on the day of judgment.  It is here that through God we will again be able to see the difference between the righteous, and the wicked.

Funny Thing About History… It Repeats

Have you ever wondered why Israel failed at their job to evangelize the world (Scripture calls it being a priest nation) and why they missed Jesus as their Messiah? And, are we falling into the same trappings in the US, now?!?!?! I think so…

I posed these questions to one of my classmates and this is what she said (I think she’s right):

I believe Israel looked inward partially because they were an “obstinate people”, as God declared through Isaiah (Isaiah 65:2), but also because they walked the fine line of not mingling with the Canaanites and other peoples they encountered during the Exodus and as they conquered the Holy Land, yet living life as the apple of God’s eye and slated to be a kingdom of priests. It can be hard to understand how to follow God without becoming legalistic. The same holds true today in the US today. One need not look far to find Christian groups that have separated so far from the rest of the world that they cannot possibly be a witness to those around them that don’t know Christ. Even just by spending almost exclusively time in our Christian circles, we can easily get caught up in a separate world.

Personally, I think that they focused in on the tangible aspect of the covenant – the land – without thinking about the purpose of the covenant (or rather they mistook the purpose of the covenant). I think they thought that they were so cool with God that He just loved blessing them for their own prosperity and enjoyment rather than the prosperity being a sign/proof to glorify God and make it possible for Israel to engage in the ministry of reconciliation.

I think we do the same here and now… We get so caught up in the tangible (the physical/material prosperity God has allowed this nation to have) and we get so comfortable in our own exclusive Christian circles that we become useless for the Kingdom (I say “we” on purpose, because I’m including me). I heard a quote somewhere that, “money (blessings) is (are) like manuer… it’s no good unless you spread it all around (like fertalizer)”… What God blessed Israel with and what He has blessed us with (corporately and individually) wasn’t just for our enjoyment and ease (why would there be so much about suffering in the NT if that were the case)… Instead it is for us to be a blessing to others in order to share God’s message of Love, forgiveness, righteousness, etc… You know, the ministry of reconciliation (spoken of in 2 Corinthians 5).

Like I said, I’ve been thining about ancient Israel’s failures for several years and somewhat paralelling that to the US. But, the stats Dr. Wheeler shared in my personal evangelism class were so shocking (i.e. some 90% + of Christians don’t actively share their faith AT ALL) that it shook me out of my stupor… I think now way more than ever that personal evangelism and world missions is not just an important aspect of the Christian life, but it is THE most important aspect of it… Greg Stier of Dare2Share ministries calls it “THE Cause.” I just hope we, as the Body of Christ, take our calling in Matthew 28 and 2 Corinthians 5 so much more seriously and that we get on board with God’s program so that we do not continue to flounder away in the same old rut that ancient Israel did.

%d bloggers like this: