My sister-in-grace Geri was forwarded this video by her cousin-in-law and asked me for my opinion on it, and I thought I’ll share my views with the rest of you too.
My immediate gut reaction is that it is not fair for Ps MD to just show a 5min clip of JO's sermon and then preach against what he said because JO's words can be easily taken out of context. Also, I believe (rightly or wrongly) that MD is riding on JO's fame, just like unknown pastors in Singapore will surely get noticed when they mention something about NCC or Pastor Prince in their sermons.Ps MD said "In your pursuit of joy, you gotta be really careful; just because it's in a Christian bookstore, radio and TV doesn't mean it's right. You gotta be discerning."
I agree with Ps MD that we have to be discerning; and I've discerned that what Ps MD preached in his youtube video is wrong!
When he said "in your pursuit of joy", he has already started off on the wrong foot because we don't have to pursue joy, as if it is some goal we have to attain. Joy is found in the presence of God and we have obtained this joy because we have been ransomed and given His righteousness; there is no need to pursue it. The joy remains in us when we remain in God's love ie. we are conscious of how much God/Jesus loves us.
He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,He shall see His face with joy, For He restores to man His righteousness.
"You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore."
2 Behold, God is my salvation,
I will trust and not be afraid;
‘ For YAH, the LORD, is my strength and song;
He also has become my salvation.’”[a]
3 Therefore with joy you will draw water
From the wells of salvation.
So the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness; Sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
11 “These things I have spoken to you, that My joy may remain in you, and that your joy may be full. 12 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.
In reference to Ps Joel's clip, Ps MD said "by that definition, walking closely with God in maturity of faith means you are wealthy, with good relationships, living in victory, without pain and without anxiety, excludes Jesus."
Ps MD is saying that Jesus walked closely with God but he was was not wealthy, did not have good relationships, etc ... he said Jesus "was born in a poor family, worked a common job for 30 years, spent 3 years in ministry flat broke, homeless, sometimes hungry and when it came time to pay his taxes, like some of you, he couldn't afford it."
Firstly, I think Ps MD has taken what Joel said out of context. Joel is not saying that wealth, good relationships, etc means that you are walking closely with God. From what I understand from the 5min clip, Joel was preaching about the rights and privileges that we, as children of God, have and that we should see ourselves in that light; poverty, poor health, etc should not be accepted as your lot in life.
Ps Joel :
"You are not ordinary, you come from great stock. Your Heavenly Father spoke the worlds into existence. Long before you ever got here, He was thinking about you. He didn't create you to be average, to barely get by, have all kinds of things holding you back, you gotta get the right vision.
God created you to be totally free, to have peace in your mind, to have divine health, to have good relationships, to have plenty to pay your bills, God created us as victors, not victims.
Fight the good fight of faith, know who you are - the seed of Abraham. You have rights and privileges, one of those privileges is total victory." (emphasis in bold mine)
Secondly, Ps MD is absolutely wrong to justify poverty, pain, worry, etc as normal in a Christian life because Jesus had all of those! I really lost all respect for Ps MD when he said Jesus was flat broke, went hungry and couldn't afford to pay his taxes! What he said betrays a lack of basic bible knowledge which even I, a hawker, have! (I'm not trying to boast here, just registering my indignation at his incompetence).
Yes, Jesus was born in a poor family BUT his birth made the family rich! When he was a young child, magi came with treasures to worship him and the family received gold, frankincense and myrrh which more than sponsored their escape to Egypt shortly after:
11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
12 Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.
13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”
Traditionally, we believe that Joseph was a carpenter, but the word in Greek can also mean a skilled craftsman, nonetheless why should it be labeled as a "common job"? Does it mean that one can never be rich by being a carpenter? You can buy cheap furniture at "Courts Superstore" but expensive furniture can also be found at high-end stores like "Space" in Millenia Walk.
Did Jesus really spend 3 years in ministry being flat broke? If he was flat broke, how could he have a money bag and a treasurer (Judas)? - John 12:6 "He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it."
Was Jesus truly homeless? No! Jesus traveled from place to place on foot to preach. How could he set up a home at every place that he went? He would have to sleep in somebody's house at the place he was preaching. He can't go home often because he walked; he did not travel by car, train or plane. I'm sure Peter Youngren has his own home in his hometown but surely he won't be buying a house at every city he preaches in, will he?
Did Jesus really couldn't afford to pay his taxes? This is a total misinterpretation of Matt 17:24-27 by Ps MD:
24After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"
25"Yes, he does," he replied.
When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?"
26"From others," Peter answered.
"Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him. 27"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
The key issue in those verses was NOT that Jesus couldn't afford to pay the temple tax BUT rather Jesus declaring that He is the Son of God and therefore He DID NOT HAVE TO PAY the temple tax. Moreover, Jesus did "pay" the temple tax, for himself AND Peter, not with his own money but with money in the mouth of the first fish that He told Peter to catch.